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Five Must-Do Activities in Taiwan

Known for its year-round spring time weather, Taiwan is a place that is rich in culture and history. Visited by millions of tourists each year, Taiwan is fast becoming a popular tourist destination. The country has a number of natural and man-made attractions that draw visitors to the island each year. LeafCanoer, Crooked Flight, recently posted a leaf highlighting Taiwan’s landscapes and culinary delights.  For those interested in visiting Taiwan, here is a more in depth look at five of Crooked Flight’s activities in Taiwan.

View the city from Taipei 101
Taipei 101 is known as the world’s second tallest building. Formerly known as the Taipei World Financial Center, Taipei 101 stands 1,671 feet tall, with 101 floors and a design that can withstand earthquakes and typhoons. First opened in December 2004, Taipei 101 has both an indoor and outdoor observation deck that visitors can go to get 360 degree views of Taipei. Access to the observation deck is available year round from 9 am to 10 pm via a high-speed elevator.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 Building (photo credit: Eileen Cotter)

Indulge in a traditional foot massage
The practice of reflexology, or traditional foot massage, has gained in popularity across Asia. Made famous by a Swiss priest named Josef Eugster, this traditional Chinese and Egyptian therapeutic practice has taken hold in Taiwan. Taipei’s Minchuan East Road and Linsen North Road are lined with many foot massage parlors, and you can generally get a good price for a foot massage. After a long day of sight-seeing, it’s well worth the cost!

Reflexology

Traditional foot massage (photo credit: Eileen Cotter)

Stay the night in the Hello Kitty room
There is something oddly appealing about Hello Kitty. Created in Japan in 1974, the Hello Kitty brand has gained international popularity over the years among kids and adults, and the company is worth more than $5 billion a year. Hello Kitty holds a special place in Taiwan, where you can find a castle, maternity hospital, and restaurant all featuring the Hello Kitty theme. For any Hello Kitty lover, a stay at the Hello Kitty room in the Hi-Lai Plaza Hotel in Kaohsiung is a must. Decked out in Hello Kitty decor, a stay in the room includes breakfast with a real live Hello Kitty, and the opportunity to ride around town in a Hello Kitty car or bicycle.

Hello Kitty Room

The Hello Kitty Room at the Hi-Lai Plaza Hotel (photo credit: Eileen Cotter)

Experience traditional culture at Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park, located in the northeastern part of Taiwan, is one of nine national parks in the country. Established in 1986, the park was named after the Taroko Gorge. Taroko National Park is a popular place for biking or hiking. The park has a number of must-see spots such as the Eternal Spring Shrine, the Swallow Grotto, and the Water Sheet Cave. Taroko National Park is also a place to experience Taiwan’s traditional culture. Visitors have the opportunity to experience music of regional indigenous tribes several times during the year. And within the national park is a restaurant that serves up cuisine from the indigenous tribe of the region, the Truku.

Aboriginal Meal

Aboriginal cuisine (photo credit: Eileen Cotter)

Enjoy nature at Sun Moon Lake
With the distinction of being the largest body of water in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is a popular spot for tourists and locals to catch views of the sunrise and sunset. Visitors to Sun Moon Lake can arrange boat tours to experience the beauty of the lake from the water. In addition to enjoying nature, tourists can also learn about Taiwan’s traditional culture through dance and singing performances by the Thao tribe, the local indigenous tribe. These performances are incorporated into many of the boat tours.

Sun Moon Lake

Boats at Sun Moon Lake (photo credit: Eileen Cotter)

With so many activities in Taiwan for you to enjoy, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re only staying for a few days or planning a more long-term visit, these five activities are a great starting off point for your Taiwan exploration.

For more travel inspiration and ideas, download the Leaf Canoe app.

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The skyline of San Francisco and the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square.

The Top 3 Tours of San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, as each year upwards of 15 million visitors come to see the city’s spectacular landscapes and quirky neighborhoods. It seems obvious to say that the city has a lot of tours to accommodate all of these visitors and practically every type of organized tour imaginable can be booked, whether it’s something as simple as a food tour or something more exotic like a “seafood foraging adventure.” In this article, however, we’ll take a look at the city’s top three tour offerings.

The skyline of San Francisco and the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square.

The skyline of San Francisco and the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square.

The Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours is the city’s top tour operator and has a long history of satisfied clients. Its bicycle tours take visitors around the city, all the while doing their best to avoid the city’s famously steep hills. The “Heart of the City Tour” takes visitors on a 9-mile, 3-hour cycle across city-center neighborhoods like The Mission and Lower Haight, otherwise a full day of riding can be found on the “7×7 Tour,” which sees visitors make a loop from Downtown to the Presidio and all the way to Golden Gate Park. Before you think it’s all cycling, however, the tours also take the time to stop in the neighborhoods it visits for local eats.

The Real S.F. Tour is the city’s second most popular offering and it prides itself on showcasing the “real” San Francisco to visitors. Lasting eight hours, this tour sees travelers move around San Francisco both on foot and using public transportation like the city’s famed Cable Cars. Guests rave about the tour guide Genie, who both entertains and informs with fun historical facts and a true local’s perspective on the city.

Finally, the third most popular way to see the city is with the Electric Tour Company and its Segway tours. For those who have never rode a Segway before, it’s super easy and a lot of fun! There are several tour routes to choose from, with the company offering fully-guided tours of Chinatown, the waterfront, North Beach and Golden Gate Park. No group is larger than 10 guests and each rider has a small radio and earbud so that they can hear the tour leader narrate the city sights. Families will especially appreciate the tours, which are also good for retirees as they don’t involve any walking!

The entrance to San Francisco's iconic Chinatown.

The entrance to San Francisco’s iconic Chinatown.

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