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Seven Reasons to Visit Taiwan in 2016

For us here at LeafCanoe, Taiwan is the up and coming destination to visit in 2016. Once referred to as Ilha Formosa, or Beautiful Island, by the Portugese, Taiwan holds plenty of intrigue and curiosity for many a traveler.

LeafCanoer, ladyd, can attest to the wonders of Taiwan. With several leaves showcasing many of the country’s attractions and sites, including “Taiwan – 7 Days in Paradise” and “South of Taiwan is full of surprises!” ladyd shares some of her favorite destinations in Taiwan and tips for how to get the most out of your visit.

visit Taiwan

For those itching to experience a new destination this year, here are seven reasons to visit Taiwan in 2016:

Aboriginal culture
Nearly 2.3% of Taiwan’s population, roughly 530,000 people, refer to themselves as part of the indigenous peoples of Taiwan. Unlike the majority of Taiwanese, who originate from the Asian mainland, the aboriginal people of Taiwan can trace their roots to the islands of the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even as far as out as Madagascar. Though in the past, these groups have experienced pressure to assimilate with the majority of the Taiwanese, many aboriginal villages have held on to their cultural uniqueness, and their existence represents the diversity of Taiwanese culture.

visit Taiwan

Cuisine
Taiwanese cuisine is highly derived from Chinese cuisine, but there are several nuances and influences from other countries such as Japan. Popular dishes in Taiwan include beef noodle soup and congee. Many of the dishes highlight the use of seafood, which is abundant and common for this island country, and due to its sub-tropical location, fruits such as papaya, starfruit, melons, and citrus have made their way into the cuisine as well.

visit Taiwan

Hiking opportunities
Despite being sub-tropical, Taiwan is also quite mountainous. The multi-level terrain of the country makes for some interesting and memorable hiking experiences for visitors to Taiwan. The best time for hiking in Taiwan is in the autumn, from late August to early October. The weather is usually much cooler and drier during this time. Some of the parks with the best hiking include Shei-Pa National Park, Taroko National Park, and Yushan National Park.

visit Taiwan

Architectural marvels
One of the reasons behind Taiwan’s selection as an up and coming place to visit is its commitment to inspiring wonders in architecture. One of the country’s most popular buildings is the 101 Taipei building, classified as the tallest building in the world. But there are other buildings around Taiwan worth visiting, including the glass slipper church, a building shaped to look like a blue glass slipper. visit Tawain

Rich history
Taiwan’s history dates back to tens of thousands of years. Formerly colonized by the Dutch, Taiwan then came under the influence of the Chinese, which transferred some of their own cultural traditions to Taiwan. These days, Taiwan is a hodge-podge of cultures. But the old buildings and temples around Taiwan still remain, and offer plenty of opportunities to explore the country’s cultural history.

visit Taiwan

Modern art
With so many historical temples and buildings to visit, it’s easy to overlook the role of modern art in Taiwanese culture. Taiwan, particularly the city of Taipei, has a large selection of modern art galleries that are worth exploring. Some of the best modern art galleries include Aki Gallery, 1839 Contemporary Gallery, and Angel Art Gallery, all of which are located in Taipei.

visit Taiwan

Hello Kitty love
The Taiwanese have a strong fascination with Hello Kitty. The airport in Taipei has a gate dedicated to Hello Kitty, as well as several rooms filled from floor to ceiling with Hello Kitty decor. But the best example of Taiwan’s Hello Kitty love is the existence of the Hello Kitty hotel, where lovers of all things Hello Kitty can pay to stay in a room decorated in their favorite character.

Hello Kitty Room

Taiwan is a wealth of interesting sights. With a fascinating history, spectacular natural and man-made views, as well as a unique culture, a visit to Taiwan is sure to make any trip memorable and worthwhile. For the adventurous traveler, this country is your choice for 2016.

For more ideas of where to visit in Taiwan, check out more of ladyd’s leaves by downloading the LeafCanoe app.

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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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