Taiwan travel guide, including map of Taiwan, top Taiwan travel experiences, tricks for travel in Taiwan, plus the best places to hike and eat. Taiwan renders a name for itself as among the most diverse destinations in Asia. Pulsating cities - notably yet not only Taipei - are evidence of the country’s rapid economic growth, with Taipei 101 just overtaken as being the world’s tallest building.
But leave Taiwan’s cities behind, and you’ll discover a warm and affectionate country, inviting one to stay longer and keep an eye on. Taiwan’s remote mountains offer great hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities. Home to North-eastern Asia’s tallest peak, Yushan, and amazing hot springs such as ones at Nanao dotted throughout the island, Taiwan maintains its aboriginal roots: Hakka culture and cuisine are available everywhere. For the complete flavour of Taiwan, stay awake and go to the bustling night markets and sample local snacks. Religion plays a serious role in Taiwan - visit temples and monasteries like Chung Tai Chan amidst dense jungles and busy towns.
Hike to your summit of Yushan (Jade Mountain; 3,952m), Taiwan’s highest peak
Take within the sounds, sights and smells on the night markets - taste all the different Taiwanese cuisine
Head to Lanyu (Orchid Island) for some on the best snorkelling and diving sites
Marvel on the 22m-high Great Buddha statue atop Baguashan in Changhua, before walking over the mountain-top park’s prime birdwatching area
Row your boat on Sun Moon Lake from Shuishe Village before being placed in one from the hot springs about the shore
Take part from the spectacular Yenshui fireworks festival and dash out on the way of 1000s of rockets
Taroko Gorge, just 15km north of Hualien, lies within Taroko National Park and is also a hikers’ heaven. Walking trails and swimming spots are dotted throughout the park, while using Tunnel of Nine Turns trail being probably the most scenic of the, only available to walkers.
Travel in Taiwan: vital stats
Capital of Taiwan: Taipei
Population of Taiwan: 23 million
Languages in Taiwan: Mandarin Chinese (official language), Taiwanese (Min) and Hakka dialects. Little English is spoken over and above Taipei.
Time in Taiwan: GMT+8
International dialling code for Taiwan: +886
Voltage in Taiwan: 110V 60Hz
Visas for Taiwan: Not required by UK nationals. Find out more about Taiwan visas here.
Money in Taiwan: New Taiwan Dollar (TWD). Cash might be withdrawn from ATMs at most of the banks and 7-Elevens. Most places accept cards, but small food stalls just take cash. US dollars are probably the most commonly accepted and exchanged currency. Traveller cheques in US dollars are the simplest to exchange.
Taiwan is suffering from two monsoons each and every year. The first hits the northeast with the country between October and march, as the southwest monsoon brings rains from May to September. The climate is subtropical, with wet and humid summers and short, mild winters. In the north and about the peaks, it is usually several degrees colder than inside the rest from the country.
The annual ‘plum rain’ will bring two months of rain from originate to early summer. Generally, autumn and winter are the most effective times to go to, though the early summer can be nice. Bear in mind that the Taiwanese want to travel over weekends as well as on public holidays, so attractions and transport could be packed.
Taiwan’s main gateway is Taiwan Taoyuan International airport (TPE) 50km southwest of Taipei. The other airport terminal is Kaohsiung International (KHH) from the southwest on the country.
Getting around in Taiwan
Train is the foremost way to get around Taiwan, using a western and eastern main line, as well as a short southern line, which connects them. Some narrow-gauge lines run inland. A high-speed train connects Taipei and Kaohsiung in 1.5 hours, even so the stations are beyond your city centres. Bus travel is a great alternative between big centres. For remote areas, consider leasing a car or scooter. Bikescan even be hired; major cities have cycle paths. Boats and planes serve the outlying islands.
Camping is now more popular, plus in remote areas it will always be the only option. Homestays (minsu) present you with a glimpse into Taiwanese family life. In the cities, hostels and hotels range between dormitory style accommodation to hot-spring hotels. Single rooms are rare, as Taiwanese don't tend to travel alone.
Taiwan food & drink
Rice or noodles accompany virtually any meal, but it doesn't mean that Taiwanese cuisine is boring or repetitive. As an island nation, seafood is popular; fish stir-fried with peanuts and pickled vegetables can be a local favourite. Hakka cuisine is mostly rich and hearty, containing lots of pork. Food in Taiwan could be anything from mild to extra hot, so be mindful when ordering. Snacks and some on the best local food are available at the city night markets.
Health & Safety in Taiwan
Yellow fever and cholera vaccinations are needed if arriving from countries where these diseases are endemic. Hepatitis A & B, Japanese encephalitis and typhoid jabs are recommended; speak with your GP or travel health clinic ahead of when departure. Water must be boiled or sterilised before drinking. Crime is low; perhaps the larger cities are safer than most in Europe.
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