A small island nation with a complicated history, Taiwan is a place to discover beneath the politics. Boasting a total of nine beautiful National Parks, and several bustling night markets, there is much to see and do.
Although officially still a part of the People's Republic of China, this is a hotly debated topic. Taiwan has it's own government, constitution, and cultural values, an evolution of the Republic of China which reinstated there after the cultural revolution in mainland China. Diverse backgrounds contribute to a diverse culture, making Taiwan a richly fascinating place to visit.
Any tour to Taiwan will likely start in the bustling capital city of Taipei. This international city is home to ‘Taipei 101,’ the world’s fifth tallest building. Other architectural and cultural wonders include the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, National Palace Museum, and several buddhist temples. All are easily visited in day tour around Taipei, which is included on most multi day tours to Taiwan.
While boasting dozens of skyscrapers and miles of concrete, nature is not far beyond the borders of the inner city. There are numerous hot springs to explore on the outskirts of Taipei, either as part of your tour or as an independent activity during free time. Be sure to enquire around proper etiquette if enjoying the springs, as this might differ from your home country.
Taiwan is a nature lover’s paradise, with multiple national parks on the island. One of the most well known, and perhaps most striking, is Taroko Gorge National Park. A visit to this park is included on many Taiwan tour itineraries due to its relative proximity to Taipei. Popular activities, either included on your tour or optional, are hiking, rafting, and walking among the marble studded gorge. There is also a popular music festival that is hosted each year in the park.
Sun Moon Lake, the largest body of water in Taiwan, is also quite popular with tourists as well as locals. If you look closely enough, the east side of the lake resembles a sun while the west side resembles a moon - hence the name. Many tours of Taiwan include walking or cycling excursions by the lake, with picturesque lunch stops along the way.
Alishan National Park is also among one of the most visited national parks in Taiwan. Located in a mountainous region, the park offers a serene setting for hiking and walking among giant red Taiwanese cypress trees and quaint tea plantations. There is also an old narrow gauge railway, dating back to 1912, that runs through the park.
More than ⅓ of Taiwan’s population are Buddhist and this is displayed through the country’s many shrines and temples. While Taipei features temples such as the Lungshan, dating back to the 1700’s, Tainan, the cultural capital of Taiwan, is home to many more.
Literally thousands of temples dot the landscapes of this coastal city, including those devoted to Buddhism and Taoism. If you enjoy visiting cultural shrines, choose your itinerary accordingly, ensuring a day or two is spent exploring Tainan’s culturally-rich heritage.
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