Return to blog listing

Discovering Taiwan

Memorial to Chiang Kai-Shek, Taipei
Hehuanshan, Taroko National Park
Sun Moon Lake
Dumplings, Din Tai Fung Restaurant in Taipei

Taiwan is a traveller's gift. This tiny island has everything Asia has to offer in one easily navigable package. From the modern city of Taipei to the old capital Tainan; from the towering mountains and imposing cliffs of Taroko Gorge to the delicately beautiful Sun Moon Lake, a traveller can see how the island has developed while still keeping its natural beauty and cultural heart intact. Add to this one of the highest concentrations of hot springs in the world, a number of stunning beaches, and some of the finest food Asia has to offer, and you're guaranteed a trip to remember.

A recent trip took one of our team through the highlights of what Taiwan has to offer, beginning in Taipei, a modern and vibrant capital city and Taiwan's cultural and political centre. Highlights include the National Palace Museum, home to the largest collection of Chinese artefacts and artwork in the world; the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall; and Taipei 101, until 2010 the world's tallest building.

Leaving the capital and heading further into the lush interior, it's not hard to see why the Portuguese gave Taiwan the name ‘Ilha Formosa' - ‘Beautiful Island' - upon discovering it in the 16th century. The Taroko National Park is Taiwan's top tourist attraction and boasts some steep gorges and spectacular mountains, many over 3,000 metres. There are a number of hiking trails to suit all levels of abilities and fitness, and accommodation to match the surroundings with Silks Place, a luxury hotel right in the heart of the National Park.

Continuing south from Taroko Gorge you will reach Sun Moon Lake, the largest body of fresh water in the country and an area of stunning natural beauty. The lake gained the name due to its shape, with the eastern side representing the sun while the western side is the moon. Here you can spend a laid back few days exploring the lake by boat or bicycle, visiting some of the numerous temples nearby, and getting to know the culture of some of the island's aboriginal tribes.

The south of Taiwan enjoys year-round good weather, and some of the island's best beaches. Kick back in Kenting, not just worth a visit for its beaches but also the fact that the whole peninsula is a National Park, and home to a wealth of natural beauties. The beaches of Kenting are popular among locals looking to escape the city, so for more remote relaxation take a look at some of Taiwan's outlying islands.

No trip to Taiwan would be complete without a mention of the food. Rightly seen as one of Asia's food capitals, Taiwan has taken inspiration from every country that has made its mark on this small island, and combined it all with their own unique spin to create some truly wondrous ‘fusion' cuisine. There is a clear Chinese influence, with familiar dishes from all over Mainland China, but mostly from the south-eastern provinces. The period of Japanese rule also makes itself known, with some of the best Japanese food outside Japan. Out in the countryside you can sample some of Taiwan's more hearty aboriginal fare. But as with any country in Asia, to get the best taste of what's on offer simply wander around any of the island's many night markets, and nibble at whatever takes your fancy. Taiwan prides itself on its ‘xiaochi' (snacks), and you'll find some weird and wonderful (and also delicious!) treats on offer in street markets across the country.

Taiwan can be easily covered in a 2 - 3 week trip. Take a look at some of our recommended itineraries here, or get in touch to speak to one of our experts about putting together a tailor-made tour.

Posted by Emily on 26 November 2015

Forward to a friend

If you would like to forward this page on to a friend, please complete the details below and press send.