Guide to Taiwan

Taiwan Guides website provides all the information needed for a trip to Taiwan; from destinations and activities to a sample itinerary to guide you through.

Taiwan is an island in East Asia located off the coast of mainland China, south of Japan and north of the Philippines. “Taiwan” is commonly used to refer to the territories currently governed by the Republic of China (ROC), which include the Taiwan island group (including Lanyu (Orchid Island) and Green Island), the Pescadores in the Taiwan Strait, Kinmen and Matsu off the coast of mainland Fujian, and Taiping and the Pratas in the South China Sea. The current political status of Taiwan is contested by the People’s Republic of China, which claims it as one of its provinces.

The main island of Taiwan, also known as Formosa (Portuguese sailors called it Ilha Formosa, which means “beautiful island”), is bounded to the east by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the South China Sea and the Luzon Strait, to the west by the Taiwan Strait and to the north by the East China Sea. The island is 394 kilometers (245 miles) long and 144 kilometers (89 miles) wide and consists of steep mountains covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation.

History of Taiwan

History In 1895, Taiwan, including the Pescadores, became a Japanese colony, a concession by the Qing Empire after it lost the First Sino-Japanese War. After Japan’s defeat at the end of World War II in 1945, Allied Command ordered Japanese troops in Taiwan to surrender to the Republic of China (ROC) and the ROC has been the de facto ruler of Taiwan ever since. In 1949, upon losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China, the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) of the Republic of China retreated from mainland China and moved the ROC government to Taipei, Taiwan’s largest city, while continuing to claim sovereignty over all of China and Mongolia. On the mainland, the Communists established the People’s Republic of China (PRC), claiming to be the sole representative of China including Taiwan and portraying the ROC government on Taiwan as an illegitimate entity.

Taiwan has been transformed into a major industrialized economy and is touted as one of the East Asian Tigers. Meanwhile, political reforms beginning in the late 1970s and continuing through the early 1990s liberalized the Republic of China from an authoritarian one-party state into a multiparty democracy. In 2000, the KMT’s monopoly on power ended after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the ROC presidency. Besides groups seeking the reunification of Taiwan with the mainland, there is a Taiwan independence movement that seeks to establish a Taiwanese republic. The competing claims over the future of Taiwan have made and continue to make Taiwan’s political status a contentious issue.

The political environment is complicated by the potential for military conflict should overt actions toward independence be taken. It is the policy of the PRC to reserve the right to “use force to ensure reunification” if peaceful reunification fails, and there are substantial military installations on the Fijian coast for this reason. In return, the US has provided military training and arms sales to the ROC. However, the United States has repeatedly stated that it does not condone the Taiwan independence movement, and furthermore that it does not support unilateral changes in the current status quo by either the ROC or PRC leadership.

The KMT supports the status quo for the indefinite future with the ultimate goal of reunification because unification under the current political climate in PRC is unacceptable to its members and the public. The DPP, which supports an independent Taiwan, supports the status quo because the risk of declaring independence and provoking mainland China is unacceptable to its members. However, both parties support taking active steps to advocate the ROC’s participation in international organizations.

Currently there are 25 states — mostly small, developing nations in Africa and Central America — that have diplomatic relations with the Republic of China, although many countries such as the United States and United Kingdom have de-facto embassies in the ROC. The United States, for example, maintains unofficial diplomatic relations through the American Institute in Taiwan. ROC’s de facto embassies are referred to as “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Offices” (TECRO), with branch offices, the equivalent of consulates, called “Taipei Economic and Cultural Offices” (TECO). Each year since 1992, the government of the Republic of China petitions the UN for entry but has so far been unsuccessful because most countries, including the United States, do not wish to discuss the issue of the ROC’s political status for fears of souring diplomatic ties with the PRC, although both the US and Japan publicly support the ROC’s bid for membership of the World Health Organization as an observer. Without official support from the international community, it is unclear how the pro-independence contingent’s vision of Taiwanese independence can be achieved.

Facing tremendous pressure from the PRC, the ROC uses the name Chinese Taipei in the Olympics and other international events, usually of which PRC is also a party. The ROC is also barred from using its national anthem and national flag in international events due to PRC pressure. PRC’s pressure goes even further by barring Taiwanese spectators attending events such as the Olympics from bringing ROC national flags into Olympic venues.

Major Statistics
Area: 35,801 square kilometers
Population: 22.9 million
Language: Mandarin
Religion: Buddhist, Taoist and some protestants.

Destinations
Destinations The area in which Taipei is now located was once a lake in an area that was full of swamps and grassy lowlands, but a lot has changed now. Originally only aboriginal tribes lived there. The Chinese eventually came to fish and to do business. Chen Lai-chang established a farm in central Taipei. The numbers of immigrants to Taipei began to increase. The most concentrated area of settlement was at the rivers. Taipei is a city that developed around a river culture. Taipei was essentially divided among immigrants from different areas of China. This resulted in many conflicts. Taipei was first built like a rectangle shape with four main walls on the east and west. The city faces from north to south, and its main axis points towards the North Star. Financial agencies were kept in between the walls. The Japanese colonized Taiwan in 1895, and they continued to develop the city. It eventually became the administrative, economic, and cultural center of Taiwan. The city of Taipei is located in the Taipei Basin in northern Taiwan. It is bordered by the Xindian River in the south and the Danshui River in the west. The northern districts of Taipei extend north of the Keelung River and border Taipei’s famous Yangmingshan National Park. The city is surrounded by mountains. The climate of Taipei is subtropical. It is affected by monsoons from April to September. Winters are short, but temperatures can drop down to around ten degrees Celsius. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures in the thirties. The weather is often rainy.

Taipei is the center of government and culture in Taiwan. The major industries in Taipei are electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, metals, shipbuilding, and motorcycles. The current government of Taipei is the Kuomintang (KMT) government. The current mayor of Taipei City is Ma Ying-jeou.

The traffic in Taipei is often chaotic and pollution levels are sometimes high. The city is in the process of advancing its transportation by building a mass transit system. The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a railway system that includes both a subway and elevated rail lines. The network already reaches many parts of the city and more lines are currently under construction. Buses run regularly on all major roads and some roads have special bus lanes. Meter taxis are also readily available.

Living in Taipei is like living in a major city. There is pollution, traffic and it is very noisy. It is expensive to live there, although not as expensive as Japan. Water shortages have been a problem in recent years. Taipei is however cleaner, safer, convenient, and better run than most cities in Taiwan. The positives for living in Taipei are that you can buy almost anything you want there and have a large selection of different kinds of food. If you want to cook for yourself there are supermarkets and markets there. It is very convenient to buy clothing in Taipei. There are department stores, clothes stores and street shops that you can buy clothing from. It is easy to find a job here because it is the city and the nightlife amazing. There is also more culturally orientated, and has more schools and universities.

Taipei is a wonderful city to visit. The people here are very hospitable especially to foreigners. There are many opportunities to experience Chinese culture. Taipei is a city with a great blend of the traditional and modern. You can experience the culture how it was back then now with the latest in technology. Taipei is a shopper’s paradise whether you have a lot to spend or not. Taiwan is home to the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101. The lower floors of Taipei 101 have a huge shopping mall. If you love shopping then you would love Taipei 101, because it gets its name because it has 101 different stores. There is also another shopping mall in Taipei called “Sogo”. Both “Sogo” and Taipei 101 are expensive places to shop. If you are not a big spender it’s okay as soon as the sun goes down the night markets pop up. The most famous of these markets is called the Shilin night market. It is the largest and oldest night market. These night markets are a great place to get anything cheap. Night markets are usually crowded with people that it is hard to move around. When walking down the street you can smell the delicious aroma of the authentic Chinese food. You can enjoy some of Taiwan’s favorite dishes such as fried chicken steak, small bun wrapped in large bun, fried buns, oyster omelet, pearl tea, aiyu jelly and stinky tofu. Shilin night market is a great place to eat and shop at the same time.

In Taipei, there are also a lot of museums. There is the National Place Museum, Taipei gallery, National Museum of History, and Miniatures Museum of Taiwan. The most famous is the National Palace Museum. Some say it is the best Chinese museum because it has over 7000,000 exhibits display paintings, historical relics, calligraphy, jades, woodcarvings, bronzes, books and documents that give you so much information about the past. It was brought over by Chiang Kai-shek’s government when they fled form China. You can spend many hours there learning about the past. If you are more of a person who likes the nature than there is the Yangmingshan National Park is the smallest on Taiwan because it is located between Taipei city and county. The Butterfly Corridor has about 151 species of butterflies in Yangmingshan National Park. Butterfly Corridor is about two miles long and takes about two hours to walk. Bird Watching Trail starts in the Erhtsuping area. This forest attracts many species of birds. There are an average of twenty different species of birds that can be seen. Taiwan blue magpie and Muller’s barbet are perhaps the most famous and numerous in Taiwan. Muller’s barbet is a small emerald-green barbet with blue, red, and orange head. Hot springs can be found in Yangmingshan National Park. Volcanic hollows are where steam and acidic gases are to make hallows. The plant life at Yangmingshan National Park is beautiful. Cherry blossoms also contribute to the flower season. Mt. Chihsing is the tallest mountain in the parks. It is about 1,120 meters tall. There is also Tatun Natural Park in Yangmingshan National Park. The area is surrounded on four sides by mountains. The park is used for schools and a place for leisure.

In Taipei, there are two major memorials dedicated to two great men in Taiwan’s history who are Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek. Sun Yat-sen was a famous Chinese revolutionary leader that over threw the Qing Dynasty. He was the founder of the Kuomintang and he was the first provisional president of Taiwan. He developed the three principles of the people, which are used in Chinese government today. He wanted too united China and Taiwan. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall is a memorial located in Taipei. The museum the exterior of the memorial has gardens, and historical walls. The interior has a statue of him on the left. There are many historical artifacts in here. Every one loves to come to watch the entertaining changing of the guards here. The other memorial is for President Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader that assumed the power of Kuomintang when Sun Yat-sen passed away.

He was the commander of the North Expedition to unify China. He was the leader of the Republic of China. He led China into many wars such as the second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. He lost to the Chinese Communist in the Chinese civil war and this forced his government to retreat to Taiwan. National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall has a concert hall and a national theater. The memorial is in a park in the Zhongzheng District that covers 24 hectares of land. During festivities, concert hall and the national theater are used as backdrops to the stages. There are usually schools or the military practicing outside of the Hall. There are more than 800 performances. The theater is designed to minimize the sound outside and maximize the sound inside. There are many ponds and parks throughout the memorial. The ponds are filled with the colorful goldfish.

If you are a devoted Buddhist, Taoist, or Matsu then you should check out the Longshan temple. You can worship Guanshiyin Buddha and other spirits here. The Longshan temple was build by Han settlers from China in 1738. It served as a place of worship and a gathering place for the Chinese settlers. Longshan Temple is facing towards the South. It is build like a square and has a three-section design. There are a dragon that protects the left side of the middle hall and a dragon that protects the right side of the middle hall. There are six dragon poles total in the Longshan Temple on top of the two dragons in the front. That is a lot of dragons. They are delicate, exquisite, wood sculptures. The Buddha setting in the main hall is the main sculpture. He is the one that everyone bows down and worships. The temple has many Chinese poems, verses and lyrics everywhere. There are also a lot of streets and shops. The shops are usually Buddhists and Chinese medicine based. The Longshan temple has gone through many natural disasters, but is still standing. Every first through the fifteenth day of each month of the lunar year people come to worship at the temple. The temple attracts many people. At normal times, there are domestic and foreign tourists visiting the temple. It is now one of the most important historical sites of Taiwan.

Taichung is a city with pleasant climate on the west coast of central Taiwan. The city is home to many manufacturers and in recent years has undergone a rapid growth of various cultural venues. Traffic in Taichung is better than in Kaohsiung or Taipei, though parking a car is still tricky.

Taichung is relatively crime free compared to other cities of the same size, as long as you don’t count overstaying a visa and working illegally as ‘crimes’.

Among the activities to catch when visiting Taichung: visit the world-class science museum, and hike the nearby hills.

There are many famous night markets(ChungHwa night market, Feng-Chia university night market, Tung-Hai university night market, Chung-Shiao night market) in Taichung, which can provide you different night life experience. You can enjoy delicious foods, drinks and buy cheap and interesting stuffs in these night markets.

Alishan is known throughout Taiwan for its beautiful morning views of jagged peaks jutting out of a sea of fluffy clouds. Just about every visitor to Alishan will make the short train journey on up the mountain to the prime sunrise-viewing location of Chushan. By the way the sunset at this popular resort is also pretty amazing. Alishan was first discovered during the early years of the Japanese occupation (1895-1945) for its abundant cypress forests. These cypress forests are also worth to explore.

Cuisines of Taiwan
There are several cuisines in Taiwan. In addition to the following representative dishes from the Hoklo (Ho-ló) ethnicity, there are also aboriginal, Hakka, and local derivatives of Chinese cuisines (one famous example of the last is beef noodle soup). In Taiwan, many of the diverse cuisines from the different parts of China converge. Traditional Chinese food to be found in Taiwan, alongside Taiwanese and Hakka-style dishes, includes dishes from Fujian, Guangdang, Jiangxi, Shanghai, Hunan, Sichuan and Beijing.

Pork, rice, soy are very common ingredients, as with many Chinese cuisines. Beef is far less common, and some Taiwanese (particularly the elderly generation) still refrain from eating it. This is in part due to a traditional reluctance to slaughtering precious cattle needed for agriculture, and an emotional attachment to such beasts of labor.

Taiwan’s cuisine has also been influenced by its geographic location. Living on a crowded island, the Taiwanese had to look aside from the farmlands for sources of protein. As a result, seafood figures prominently in their cuisine. This seafood encompasses many different things, from large fish such as tuna and grouper, to sardines and even tiny fish the length of a thumbnail. Crustaceans and squid/cuttlefish are also eaten.

Because of the island’s subtropical location, Taiwan has an abundant supply of various fruit, such as papayas, melons and citrus.

Some of Taiwan’s agricultural products in general are rice, corn, vegetables, fruit, tea; pork, poultry, beef and fish/seafood.

The scarcity of natural resources has made for hard living on the island. As the Taiwanese had to make do with very little, they showed remarkable adaptiveness, craftiness and creativity when it came to preparing food.

From many of their dishes, the Taiwanese have shown their inventiveness in the selection of spices. Taiwanese cuisine relies on an abundant array of seasonings for flavor: Soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil, Black beans, pickled radishes, peanuts, chili peppers, parsley, and a local variety of basil (“nine story tower”). The resulting dishes thus combine and layer interesting tastes, which make Taiwanese cuisine simple in format yet complex in experience.

Activities in Taiwan
Bird Watching – Resident and migratory birds total some 440 species, and endemic birds such as the black-faced spoonbill and the Sterna leucoptera can be seen here. Sites for watching these migratory birds include The Guandu Swamplands in northern Taiwan, Ilan Swamplands, mouth of the Exit Dadu River in central Taiwan and Gaopin River in southern Taiwan. Other bird-watching sites are the Penghu islands, Mazu, Wulai, Mt. Hehuan, Xitou, Alishan, Yangmingshan National Park, Yushan National Park, Shei-Pa National Park, Taroko National Park, Kenting National Park, Kinmen National Park, Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, the East Coast and the East Rift Valley national scenic areas.

Bungee Jumping activities are most frequently organized in Taoyuan at the Fuxing Suspension Bridge and the Dahan Bridge. After this thrilling experience you can enjoy some of the beautiful scenery on Lala Mountain and Taiping Mountain, and in Little Wulai.

Butterfly Viewing – Some 17,000 different butterflies are known around the world; almost 400 can be seen in Taiwan, 50 of which are endemic to the island. There are many different sites where you can go to watch them, including Doll Valley in Wulai near Taipei, Yangmingshan National Park, Mt. Jiaoban, and Mt.Lala along the Northern Cross-Island Highway, Qilan near Taipingshan, Guguan, Lishan, and Cuifeng along the Central Cross-Island Highway, Nanshan River and Huisun Forest near Puli, Shanlinxi in Nantou County, Butterfly Valley in Pingtung County, Sheding Park and Nanrenshan in Kenting, and Butterfly Valley in Taitung.

Canoeing
can be done on the sea or on rivers. In Yilan, for example, annual international boat races are held on the Dongshan River. Other areas suitable for canoeing include the Beishi River in Pinglin, Taipei (the section from Guolai to Pinglin), the Nanshi River in Wulai, Taipei (the section from Doll Valley to Wulai), Shuangxikou in Xindian, and Shalun Beach in Danshui.

Climbing – Natural climbing locations of all degrees of difficulty can be found anywhere from northern to southern Taiwan and the east coast. There are also many artificial climbing sites, so there is a choice for everyone. Natural climbing locations include Longdong, Tabao, Guantziling and Qijin.

Cycling – Some areas suitable for biking are the Danshui River in Taipei, the Aofeng Mountain in Taichung, the Love River in Kaohsiung, and the Black Forest and Kuanshan Village in Taitung.

Diving – Areas in Taiwan suitable for diving include the north and northeast Coast, the Hualien-Taitung Coast, Kenting, Green Island, Orchid Island, and Penghu. You can either choose to descend into the deep seas and marvel at the underwater wonders or have a glimpse of the beauty below from the surface and go snorkeling.

Ecotourism – Taiwan’s diversified natural environment has produced an extensive and precious collection of different species that are known around the world, making Taiwan into a miniature northern hemisphere ecosystem, a natural treasure-house unique in the world. The following list some areas where you can enjoy this:

Coastal Regions – The West Coast mainly consists of sand dunes, sand beaches, sand bars and lagoons, and its straight coastline is rather monotonous. The East Coast on the contrary presents a dramatic coastline of towering cliffs that almost directly descend into the deep sea. The coastal plains here are very narrow. The rock formations at the North Coast alternate with beautiful bays and offer the most varied coastal landscape of Taiwan, while the South Coast mainly consists of coral reefs. The off shore islands of Taiwan also offer a great variety of geographical landscapes that are characteristic for the region, such as the basaltic rocks of the Penghu islands, the granite rocks of Kinmen, and the marine erosions of Mazu.

Flora and Fauna – Taiwan harbors a great diversity of organic life and some variations that are rarely found elsewhere in the world. An example is the black forest similar to that in Germany, with vegetation going back 30 to 60 million years, such as Taxus sumatrana, mangrove, Taiwan isoetes, and the rare high-altitude grass plains. The world’s oldest amphibian, the Formosan salamander, can also be found here, as well as the Formosan black bear, the Mikado pheasant and the land-locked salmon. The beautiful azalea, cherry blossom and maple leaf are also subjects of admiration. If you want to have a taste of this diverse animal and plant life, consider a visit to one of Taiwan’s national scenic areas, national parks or forests, or nature reserves, as these form the most ideal outdoor natural resource learning opportunities in Taiwan.

National Parks including Yangmingshan, Taroko, Yushan, Shei-Pa, Kenting, and Kinmen, form the back garden of Taiwan and in themselves are natural treasure-houses. Next to beautiful scenery, they provide shelter to unique animal and plant life, including insects, fish, and birds. The natural reserves actually form miniature ecosystems that not only provide a protected environment but also offer a great alternative for recreational activities, environmental education and academic research. Here, visitors can get away from their hectic lives in the city and enjoy the serene environment. For more details on these, click here.

Fishing – The best time for fishing is from November to March and you can catch drummer, bream and white-spotted rabbit-fish. If you would like to experience a different kind of fishing, you could also try the popular boat fishing and trolling. On Taiwan’s offshore islands you can find large numbers of cutlass fish and big-eye red fish that are attracted to the reefs that surround these islands. Spring and summer are most suitable for beach fishing.

Grass Skiing – With so many mountains and so little snow, several grass skiing resorts have sprung up around the island. Many also offer grass tobogganing and grass sledding.

Hang Gliding Places where you can go hang-gliding include Green Bay in Taipei; Sanzhan, Liyu Mountain, and Jichi in Hualien County; Qixingtan in Hualien City, Taiping Mountain and Gaotai in Taitung County; and Saijia Areo-Park in Pingtung.

Hiking here can be superb. Yushan and Hsuehshan provide a challenge for the keen mountaineer, while the less athletic should have a go at Alishan and Dongpu. The weather in Taiwan’s mountains can be extremely changeable, so be prepared for cold, wet conditions, and in the rainy season watch out for landslides.

The main trails that exist are as follows:

North Taiwan – the Yangmingshan trail, the Tatun Mountain trail, the Miantian Mountain trail, the Erziping trail, the Yekungkeng Mountain trail, the Chunlianyan trail in Beitou, the Sishou Mountain trail in Taipei’s Xinyi District and the Caoling Historic trail on the Northeast Coast.

Central Taiwan – the Lion’s Head Mountain trail in Miaoli and the Dakeng trail in Taichung.

South Taiwan – the Shoushan trail in Kaohsiung; and the Lushui River trail, the Lotus Pond trail, and the Mystery Valley trail in Taroko National Park. Next to these trails, there is also a system of national forest trails, including the Ruitai Historic trail, the Duli Mountain Historic trail, and the Fengihu Datung Mountain trail in Chiayi County, the Lilong Mountain trail in Pingtung County, the Shenmu Mountain Resort trail in Yilan County, the Hiking trail in Taitung County, and the Malabang Mountain trail in Miaoli County, all offering extraordinary scenery and great opportunities for hiking and mountain climbing.

Marine Life Viewing – The clear waters and warm climate of Kenting and Green Island, provide the ideal environment for colorful and peculiarly shaped coral reefs. These not only form the architecture of the undersea world, but also provide shelter for all kinds of tropical fish. In Wangan Island, as well as Orchid Island you can even see the green sea turtle coming to shore to lay its eggs (Do not disturb these animals when viewing them, they are endangered and your interference will only assist in the species decline…thus maintain a good distance when watching them). Along Taiwan’s East Coast, particularly off the coast of Ilan, Hualien, and Taitung, more than 60% of all whale and dolphin species that are found in Taiwan can be spotted. You can take one of the boat trips that are organized in this area and go whale watching. While listening to the introduction by professional whale spotters, the chance of seeing these extraordinary creatures is as high as 90%.

Mountain Climbing – Some great destinations for mountain climbing in Taiwan are Yushan (Jade Mountain), highest peak in Northeast Asia; Snow Mountain, second-highest peak in Taiwan; Daba Mountain, known as one of the most peculiar peaks in the world; Hehuanshan, one of the few places in Taiwan where snowfall can be expected during winter; and Nenggao Mountain, third-highest peak in Taiwan. Yushan in particular, with its grand beauty and imposing main peak, is a favorite among mountaineers from around the world and is frequently challenged by foreign mountaineering groups. Hiking and mountain climbing are favorite pastimes in Taiwan. Popular trails can be reached by car very easily, while it requires only two to three days to reach altitudes higher than 3,000 meters.

Nightlife – Taiwan has an abundance of nightlife, and Taipei in particular is lively at night. Western-style entertainment can be found in hotels and in the many discos, clubs, restaurants and cinemas in Taipei. Popular amongst local people are KTVs, a type of sing-along club modeled on Japanese karaoke bars and beer houses, which sell draught beer and snacks.

The visitor can also sample both traditional and modern tea houses, open all day and in the evening. In the tea-growing countryside around Mucha, it is possible to visit all-night tea houses and sip locally produced teas such as ‘iron Buddha’ tiehkuanyin tea. High-quality meals and snacks are also provided. These tea houses are popular with local families, particularly on special occasions.

Back in Taipei, there are night markets selling a variety of items, both modern and traditional. These are bustling with browsers and bargain hunters, whose persistence can be spectacularly rewarded. It is advisable to take a pen and paper to assist in the bargaining process, as most vendors speak only Chinese.

Taipei’s largest night market is probably Shihlin Night Market, famous for its good-value clothing and food. Snacks such as oyster omelet’s, pork liver soup and papaya milkshakes are available. Many shops are open at night.

Parasailing Places – where you can go parasailing include Green Bay, Luyeh, Hualien Jichi, Xiguandao Mountain 900, and Saijia in Pingtung County.

Rafting – If you are not an experienced canoeist, you can also choose to go rafting on the Xiuguluan River in Hualien County or the Laonong River in Kaohsiung County.

River Racing can be pursued on the Beishi River, Gupoliao River, Nanshih River, Chakong River, Neidong River, Tunghou River, Haben River and Jiajiuliao River, Taipei City (Tatun Mountain Valley), Yilan County (Nan River), Nantou County (Tiepilun River, Guandao River and Shalixian River), Chiayi County (Nanzixian River), Hualien County (Taosai River, Chiakan River, and Sanchan River), Taichung County (Qijiawan River), Pingtung County (Ailiaonan River), Kaohsiung County (Weichin River) and Taitung County (Taimali River).

Snorkeling Areas suitable for snorkeling include Dabaisha, Matijiao, Shilang and Jiekou on Green Island; Jibei, Xianjiao, Gupo, and Qimei in the Penghu; Longdong Bay on the northeast coast; and Nanwan and Eluanbi in Kenting.

Springs Taiwan, is ranked among one of the world’s top hot spring sites, harboring a great variety of springs, including hot springs, cold springs, mud springs, and seabed hot springs. For more information on these, please open the respective Entertainment and Activities guides to the cities/areas within the country.

Surfing spots are of variable quality, but the east coast, extreme north and extreme southern tips are definitely worth a try. Areas suitable for surfing include Honeymoon Bay and Fulong on the Northeast Coast, Jichi and Shanyuan on the East Coast, Nanwan in Kenting and Guanyinting on Penghu. The best time for surfing in Fulong, Jichi and Shanyuan is from May to the end of October, in Guanyinting from the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival until the Dragon Boat Festival , and at Honeymoon Bay and Nanwan all year round.

Holidays and Festivals in Taiwan
The main holidays and festivals in Taiwan may be divided into two major categories: Festivals are associated with the traditional lunar calendar whereas official holidays are celebrated according to the western calendar.

The lunar festivals developed from the customs of China’s past, and to the celebrants, these occasions are a time for recalling one’s cultural origins and remembering the wisdom of early ages. Such festivals include the Chinese New Year Festival, and Lantern Festival, all symbolic of discarding the old and ushering in the new; the Dragon Boat Festival, a time for warding off evil and strengthening the body; the Ghost Festival, when the outcasts from the underworld are given salvation; the Mid-Autumn Festival a celebration of the full moon and unity of mankind; and Double Ninth Festival is to remember the elders.

Official commemorative holidays are primarily based on the achievements of the people and are celebrated to remember events important to the development of the nation. These occasions include the Founding Day of the Republic of China; 228 Memorial Day; Women’s Day; Youth Day; Children’s Day; Tomb Sweeping Day; Armed Forces Day; Teachers’ Day; and days commemorating the decisive events of the ROC’s history, including Double Tenth National Day; Taiwan’s Retrocession Day; and Constitution Day to name a few.

Both traditional festivals and commemorative holidays and Festivals in Taiwan are celebrated not only in a style unique to the region, but more importantly, in a way that both exhibits the significance of each occasion and fosters the hope of peace on earth.

When To Visit Taiwan
Taiwan is sub-tropical, the mountains can be chilly in summer (June to August) and snowy in winter (December to February). The dry season lasts from November to January in the north but extends to April in the south. Summer is hot and sticky all over the low parts of the island, with drenching rains in the mountains. Daytime temperatures in Taipei are around 33°C (91°F) in summer and 19°C (66°F) in winter, while the southern regions experience warmer winters with daytime highs of around 24°C (75°F).