Taiwan

Many surprises await you when you visit Taiwan with its sunny beaches. Mountains covered in forests and sleepy little villages. The mix of modern centers with temples and historic sites gives this country an air of mysticism that enchants all its visitors.

Attractions

 Taipei

Taipei is the largest city in Taiwan and one of the most exciting cities in Asia. It is the home of the National Palace Museum, which houses the most extensive collection of Asian art and antiques in the world. There are wide swaths of forest through the city where you can walk on the nature trails enjoying the flora and fauna of this country. You should be prepared to do a lot of walking uphill, because these preserves are very hilly.

Wanhua is the oldest part of Taipei and retains its ancient flavor. Here you will find the Lungshan Temple, which draws endless streams of worshippers and tourists every day. There are wood carvings and paintings on the underside of the eaves of this temple. Unless it is a festival time, you have to enter through the side doors, as the main doors are only open on special occasions.

Visit the market street, once called Snake Alley. The alley has a roof over it and is the only indoor market in Taipei.

 Po-Ai Historical District

This section of the city of Taipei is the location of the Presidential Palace. You will also see the brick buildings built by the Japanese, which house the government offices. Relax in 2-28 Peace Park, which is dedicated to the victims of the February 28 Incident of 1947. This park has pagodas set in the middle of shady palm trees and the Taiwan Provincial Museum. 

Travel to Taiwan

Since Taiwan is an island, you have two choices in modes of travel ? by air or by boat. There are international flights to and from Chiang-Kai-Check Airport about two hours outside of Taipei and there is another airport ? Kaohsiung  - in downtown Taipei.

Taxis are very expensive and a chartered bus is probably the best way to get to and from the airport. For getting around the country, there are trains and buses or you can rent a motorcycle or a bicycle.

Food and Drinks

If you like Chinese food, then you will think you?re in heaven with the Cantonese food of Taiwan. Enjoy shark fin soup and boiled abalone as one of the main dishes, if you want to taste authentic food. Cantonese food is not too spicy or greasy and the dishes are frequently roasted or steamed. The main ingredients are seafood, pork and poultry. Each region has its own traditional food. The traditional alcoholic drinks in Taiwan are very strong.

Visas

If you are visiting Taiwan from the US, Canada or the UK, you don?t need to have a Visa to enter Taiwan. You do need to have a valid passport, a return or ongoing ticket and not have a criminal record in your home country. You have to declare all foreign currency when you arrive and you are not permitted to have more than $5000 in US currency. You cannot bring any guns, ammunition or drugs into the country.

Safety

There are few risks to your health in Taiwan, but if you are in rural areas, where sanitation may be a problem, you should make sure all the dishes and utensils a re clean and to never drink directly from a bottle or can.

Street crime is rare, so it is quite common for people to carry large amounts of cash. You can roam freely about the streets and not have to worry about being mugged.

Language

There are two official languages in Taiwan ? Mandarin and Taiwanese. English is widely spoken as all students have to take this language in school.

Shopping


Snake Alley is an indoor market where there are thousands of shoppers. Here you will find one of the most exotic markets in the country with restaurants where you can dine on snake and taste delectable desserts. Night markets are very popular and in Taipei alone, there are dozens of them. Items of every kind are for sale at bargain prices. If the price is not displayed, then that means you are expected to haggle.

There are two department stores ? Far Eastern and Rebar. At the restaurants in Rebar you  can get the best Dum Kim in Taiwan, but it is often hard to find a seat, especially on holidays.
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