Taiwan Travel Guide
Taiwan’s position on the Pacific Ring of Fire has created spectacular mountain ranges which run down the island's spine, so its cities are found along the coastline. You'll almost certainly spend time in the capital, Taipei, which is balanced in the south by the city of Tainan, where you'll find a more spiritual ambience, and fantastic seafood.
Where to travel in Taiwan
Inland, dense forests and plunging gorges flank the highest peaks in north-east Asia — Yushan, and Snow Mountain. Near the east coast, Taroko Gorge cuts into deep layers of marble and offers excellent hiking, and in the island’s centre you’ll find tranquil cycle paths around the scenic Sun Moon Lake. Further light adventure awaits in National Parks such as Alishan and Kenting. The latter, on the south-east coast, is also the place to go for beaches and seaside R&R. Alishan’s Forest Railway takes you up into the mountains to witness some of the island's most impressive views.
To explore Taiwan's spiritual side, visit Fo Guang Shan Monastery — a massive edifice dedicated to Buddhism, where you can stay overnight to meditate. For a different approach to self-care, head to Chihpen Hot Springs, where you can bathe in volcanically heated springwater with reputed medicinal properties.
Taiwan’s unusual political history leaves it on the fringes of the international community – it has all the outward attributes of a fully independent country but it remains unrecognised by most other nations around the world. China still claims Taiwan as a part of its territory, despite the opposition of the vast majority of Taiwanese people, who would far rather go it alone.
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Population: – 23.5 million
Capital: – Taipei
Currency: – New Taiwan dollar
Language: – Mandarin, Taiwanese Hokkien
Religion: – Diverse
Perfect straight ‘off the peg’ or as a source of inspiration allowing us to start with blank canvas. You decide.
Explore Taiwan's highlights
Taipei combines a dazzling array of culinary options, a vibrant cultural scene, and a friendliness and approachability unmatched in other busy metropolises. It is also an excellent base from which to explore the country’s areas of stunning natural beauty, and has quite a few unexpected secrets of its own.
Taroko National Park
Carved by the Liwu River, Taroko Gorge is perhaps the single most impressive natural wonder of Taiwan, and boasts the title of world’s deepest marble gorge. Surrounded by lush vegetation and majestic mountains, the National Park delivers spectacular views of the canyon, hewn by water and geological activity out of the marble of the central mountain range.
Whilst Taipei can leave at least some visitors a little underwhelmed, Kaohsiung strikes all the right chords. From the vibrant arts centre to ultra-Taiwanese Lotus pond, its a city with plenty to fill a few days.
The Love River flows through the city and provides its leisure hub in the form of cycling and walking paths, a night market and several outdoor cafés which are popular spots for live music.