Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island) – that’s the phrase the first group of Westerns said when they saw Taiwan for the first time. A group of Portuguese sailors were said to have been the first people (other than natives) to stumble upon Taiwan. Not everyone has this same love-at-first-site reaction to Taiwan, but with the beautiful mountains, thriving cities and excellent hot springs, it’s hard to not fall in love with Taiwan. We realize that Taiwan isn’t at the top of everyone’s travel bucket list, but that’s likely because they just don’t know about it yet.
Probably the quickest way to get to Taiwan is to go to China. There are an increasing number of cheap flights to China. You can find cheap flights to china from uk with a number of different Chinese travel operators, compare these online with any number of comparison sites such as skyscanner.net , kayak.co.uk , travangelo.co.uk
Beaches in Taiwan
Some of the best beaches in Asia are actually found in Taiwan. If you can stand the heat, you’ll want to visit between May and October. While the heat during July and August can be unbearable, if you are looking for beaches – this is the time to come. Most Taiwan beaches are geared towards water activities – which are great for the extreme heat.
You’ll find activities like diving, surfing, rafting, wind surfing, kayaking, fishing, snorkelling and sailing. During the busy summer months, the beaches on the main island of Taiwan can get really crowded, so you may want to try to visit some of the outlying islands. The out islands of Taiwan don’t attract as many tourists, so if you get lucky, you’ll come upon a beach that is both beautiful and remote.
Things to Do in Taiwan
Sometimes it’s hard to travel internationally because you only have time to visit a small portion of the country or region you visit. In Taiwan, well, that’s not really the case.
You can use the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) to visit any west-coast city from your Taiwan resort in basically no time at all. This is a great way to travel, and will help you to see more of what Taiwan has to offer. If you are in Taipei, make sure you stop and visit Taipei 101 – the world’s tallest building ever. Take a trip up to the 89th floor observation deck and catch an eye-popping view of the city. You’ll also want to visit the National Palace Museum for 5,000 years of learning about the Chinese culture. And, if you want you can take a trip back in time by visiting the Lin Family Gardens in Banqiao.
Night Markets are very popular in many cities and large towns in Taiwan – probably because it gets so hot during the day time. These street markets often come to life in the evening and there are tons of bargains to be had. You’ll find a large range of items at these Night Markets – from handicraft souvenirs to fine jewellery to traditional Chinese watercolours. If you want a taste of real Taiwan, make sure you head to the market at some point. Jade jewellery is very popular (for both locals and tourists), so make sure you check out this precious Chinese stone and get a little souvenir to bring home with you.
Eating and Drinking
While Taiwan has its own cuisine, it has also embraced the best of mainland Chinese cooking.
So, if you a re visiting Taiwan, you’ll be able to taste both traditional Taiwanese food and Chinese food.
Taiwanese food is fairly simple and light and uses only fresh ingredients and natural flavours.
The Hakka people in Taiwan have their own unique cuisine which is made up of dried and pickled ingredients, which makes their meals very flavourful and very filling (and there’s plenty of spice too).
You’ll also find Cantonese (or Chaozhou) cuisine. This type of cooking originally came from Southern China and is well-known for its meticulous preparation and cooking style. Cantonese specialities include Dim Sum, abalone, squid and shark fin – you’ve got to at least try the shark while you are visiting.