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