Traveling To Taiwan
Taiwan is a hidden gem in Asia that is often overlooked by travelers in favor of more popular destinations like Japan, South Korea, and China. However, those who do take the time to visit Taiwan are often pleasantly surprised by the country’s natural beauty, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine. In this guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know to plan your trip to Taiwan, including the best time to visit, the top attractions, and tips for traveling in Taiwan.
Why Travel to Taiwan?
There are many reasons why you should consider traveling to Taiwan. Here are just a few:
- Natural Beauty: Taiwan is known for its stunning natural beauty, including majestic mountains, pristine beaches, and breathtaking national parks. From the towering peaks of Alishan to the turquoise waters of Kenting National Park, Taiwan has something to offer every nature lover.
- Rich Culture: Taiwan has a rich and diverse cultural heritage that is reflected in its art, music, and cuisine. Visitors can explore traditional night markets, attend folk festivals, and sample local delicacies like stinky tofu and bubble tea.
- Modern Cities: Taiwan’s cities are modern and bustling, with skyscrapers, high-end shopping malls, and a vibrant nightlife. Taipei, the capital city, is home to the iconic Taipei 101 tower, as well as numerous museums, galleries, and cultural centers.
- Friendly People: Taiwanese people are known for their hospitality and warmth, and visitors are often struck by their genuine kindness and generosity.
When to Visit Taiwan
The best time to visit Taiwan is during the spring and fall, when the weather is mild and pleasant. The summer months can be hot and humid, while the winter months can be cold and rainy. Here is a breakdown of the seasons in Taiwan:
- Spring (March to May): Spring is a beautiful time to visit Taiwan, with warm temperatures, blooming flowers, and clear skies. This is also the season for the annual cherry blossom festival, which draws visitors from around the world.
- Summer (June to August): Summer in Taiwan can be hot and humid, with temperatures reaching up to 35°C (95°F). However, this is also the season for many festivals and outdoor events, including the Dragon Boat Festival and the Taipei International Beer Festival.
- Fall (September to November): Fall is another beautiful time to visit Taiwan, with cool temperatures, clear skies, and colorful foliage. This is also the season for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which celebrates the full moon and is marked by the consumption of mooncakes.
- Winter (December to February): Winter in Taiwan can be cold and rainy, with temperatures ranging from 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F). However, this is also the season for the famous Pingxi Lantern Festival, where thousands of lanterns are released into the night sky.
How to Get to Taiwan
Taiwan has two international airports: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) in Taipei and Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) in the south. There are numerous airlines that fly to Taiwan, including Taiwanese carrier EVA Air and China Airlines, as well as international carriers like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Cathay Pacific.
Visitors from certain countries, including the United States and Canada, are eligible for visa-free entry to Taiwan for up to 90 days. However, be sure to check the latest visa requirements before you travel, as these can change at short notice.
Getting Around Taiwan
Taiwan has a well-developed transportation system that makes it easy for visitors to get around. Here are some of the options:
Taiwan has a modern and efficient metro system in its major cities, including Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taoyuan. The Taipei Metro, also known as the MRT, is one of the most extensive metro systems in Asia, and it provides easy access to most of Taipei’s popular tourist attractions. The Kaohsiung MRT is also a convenient way to explore the city, while the Taoyuan Airport MRT provides a direct link between the airport and Taipei Main Station.
Taiwan has an extensive bus network that connects most cities and towns. Buses are generally affordable and convenient, with many routes operating around the clock. However, be prepared for crowded buses during peak hours, especially in Taipei.
- High-Speed Rail:
Taiwan’s high-speed rail system, known as the THSR, provides fast and efficient transportation between major cities, including Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. The THSR is a popular option for travelers who want to explore multiple cities in a short amount of time.
Taxis are widely available in Taiwan, and they are relatively affordable compared to other countries in the region. Taxis in Taiwan are metered, and the fares are based on distance traveled.
Renting a scooter is a popular way to explore Taiwan, especially in smaller towns and rural areas. Scooters can be rented for as little as NT$400 per day, but be sure to wear a helmet and obey traffic laws.
Top Attractions in Taiwan
Taiwan has a wealth of attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Here are some of the top attractions that you should consider visiting:
- Taipei 101:
Taipei 101 is a must-visit attraction in Taipei. This iconic skyscraper was once the tallest building in the world, and it offers breathtaking views of the city from its observation deck.
- Taroko Gorge:
Taroko Gorge is a stunning natural wonder located in eastern Taiwan. This 19-kilometer-long gorge is known for its marble cliffs, crystal-clear streams, and lush vegetation.
- Sun Moon Lake:
Sun Moon Lake is one of Taiwan’s most beautiful natural attractions. This picturesque lake is surrounded by mountains and forests, and it offers a range of activities, including boat tours, hiking, and cycling.
Jiufen is a charming town located in the mountains near Taipei. This historic town is known for its narrow alleyways, traditional tea houses, and stunning views of the coastline.
- Kenting National Park:
Kenting National Park is located in southern Taiwan, and it is known for its stunning beaches, coral reefs, and diverse marine life. The park also offers hiking trails, hot springs, and other outdoor activities.
Tips for Traveling in Taiwan
- Learn some Mandarin:
While many Taiwanese people speak English, it can be helpful to learn some Mandarin phrases before you travel. Simple phrases like “hello” (nǐ hǎo) and “thank you” (xiè xiè) can go a long way in making connections with locals.
- Try the local food:
Taiwan is known for its delicious cuisine, which includes dishes like beef noodle soup, dumplings, and bubble tea. Be sure to try as much local food as possible during your trip, and don’t be afraid to venture into night markets and street stalls for a true taste of Taiwan.
- Be prepared for crowds:
Taiwan is a popular tourist destination, especially during peak travel periods like Chinese New Year and the summer months. Be prepared for crowds at popular attractions, and consider visiting during off-peak times if possible.
- Carry cash:
While credit cards are accepted at many places in Taiwan, it is still a good idea to carry cash with you, especially in more rural areas or at smaller establishments.
- Respect local customs:
Taiwanese culture places a strong emphasis on respect and politeness. Be sure to follow local customs, such as removing your shoes before entering a home or temple, and avoiding pointing with your finger.
- Stay connected:
Taiwan has a well-developed mobile network, and purchasing a local SIM card can be a good way to stay connected during your trip. Many cafes and restaurants also offer free Wi-Fi.
- Be aware of the weather:
Taiwan can experience extreme weather, including typhoons and earthquakes. Be aware of weather conditions during your trip and follow any safety instructions from local authorities.
Taiwan is a fascinating destination that offers a unique blend of modernity and tradition. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Taipei or the natural beauty of Taroko Gorge, there is something for everyone in this small island nation. With its efficient transportation network, delicious cuisine, and friendly people, Taiwan is a must-visit destination for any traveler. Just be sure to follow these tips for a safe and enjoyable trip.