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Welcome to Taiwan! Give yourself a holiday in Asia. Taiwan is a beautiful country beside China, it's also known as "Republic of China". Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, you might hear of Taipei 101, it used to be the highest building in the world. That's right, it is in Xin-Yi district, Taipei. Traveling in Taiwan, you can easily find a lot of stuffs which representatives Taiwan culture, entertainment, values and so forth.

According to「Lifestyle9」in USA, Taiwan is one of the most safe country to travel in the world, it is ranked number 2. Have a trip in Taiwan, you do not have to worry about anything! Oh wait, you might have to worry about your schedule! Why? because you won't have plenty time to travel every city in Taiwan. Even Taiwan is just a small country, you will have much fun in anywhere!

 

Information from Tourism Bureau, Republic of China (Taiwan) http://eng.taiwan.net.tw/

TAIWAN

The Republic of China(Taiwan) was founded in 1912, making it the first democratic republic in Asia. In 1949, the government moved to Taiwan anNational Flag of ROCd maintained jurisdiction over an area encompassing the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, Dongsha, Zhongsha, and Nansha.
Area : 36,000 square kilometers
Population : 23 million
Language : Mandarin / Taiwanese / Hakka / Indigenous Languages

Religion : Buddhism / Taoism / Christianity / Islam
President : Mr. Ma Ying-jeou

Location

Taiwan's total land area is about 36,000 square kilometers (14,400 square miles). It is shaped like a leaf that is narrow at both ends. It lies off the southeastern coast of mainland Asia, across the Taiwan Strait from China-- an island on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. To the north is Japan; to the south is the Philippines. Many airlines fly to Taiwan, making it the perfect travel destination.

Taiwan lies on the western edge of the Pacific "rim of fire," and continuous tectonic movements have created majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other natural landscapes. Taiwan's tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate climates provide clear differentiation between the different seasons. There are rare or endangered species of wildlife on the island. Among these are the land-locked salmon, Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkey, Formosan black bear, blue magpie, Mikado pheasant, and Hsuehshan grass lizard. 

The Taiwan government has established 8 national parks and 13 national scenic areas to preserve Taiwan's best natural ecological environment and cultural sites. There are various ways to discover the beauty of Taiwan. For example, trekking in the magnificence of the cliffs at Taroko Gorge; taking a ride on the Alishan Forest Railway and experiencing the breathtaking sunrise and sea of clouds; hiking up to the summit of Northeast Asia's highest peak, Yu Mountain (Yushan). You can also soak up the sun in Kending (Kenting), Asia's version of Hawaii; stand at the edge of Sun Moon Lake; wander through the East Rift Valley; or visit the offshore islands of Kinmen and Penghu. It's fun in capital letters as well as an awesome journey of natural discovery! 

 

 

Taiwanese SnacksChinese cuisine goes back to ancient times and achieves its present level of excellence through the accumulation of thousands of years of practical knowledge and experience in cookery. Emphasis is placed on the perfect combination of color, aroma, flavor, and appearance, through which the most common ingredients are transformed into culinary tours de force. In Taiwan, cooking techniques from all areas of China have fused; the Taiwanese have not only mastered the traditional local Chinese specialties, but have also used traditional techniques to develop new culinary treats. These features attract many tourists to Taiwan every year to savor these Chinese specialties, ranging from small steamed buns to boiled dumplings.

Traditional Chinese food to be found all over Taiwan, next to Taiwanese and Hakka-style dishes, mainly including dishes from Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangzhe, Shanghai, Hunan, Sichuan, and Beijing.

Following are descriptions of the characteristics and different cooking styles of dishes from different regions:

Taiwan:
Natural original flavors are preserved and the main focus is on light-seasoned, fresh, and simply flavored dishes. Thanks to Dutch and Japanese influences,
raw and slightly water-scalded food is widely accepted.

Fujian:
Dominated by seafood, preferably steamed, mainly light-seasoned, with sweet and sour flavorings.

Guangdong:
Great variety of ingredients, focus on light-seasoned, fresh, smooth, sweet, tasty, and tender dishes. The main methods of food preparation consist of frying, baking, stir-frying, steaming, and boiling.

Jiangzhe:
Focus on original flavors, with methods of preparation consisting mainly of stewing, braising, steaming, and stir-frying, for all of which temperature control is the most important aspect. Flavors are light but do not lack taste, and bones are removed while keeping shapes intact.

Shanghai:
Dishes breathing international fame originate here. Local flavors are adhered to and dishes are mostly oily, drowning in sauce and brightly colored.

Hunan:
Sour, hot, and rich flavors are the secrets behind the popular dishes from this area, with a well-known specialty being smoked bacon. Dishes from Hunan and Sichuan show some similarities, with many dishes being spicy because of the use of large amounts of red pepper.

Sichuan:
Famous for its spicy-flavored dishes as dried and fresh red pepper is used during preparation; fish and other seafood is favored. Sichuan cuisine is extremely popular among those who favor strongly-flavored food.

Beijing:
A combination of flavors from all corners, magnificently and delicately prepared; dishes combine color, shape, flavor, and nutrition, and are mostly light and tender.

Hakka:

Dried and preserved materials form important ingredients in the Hakka kitchen; dishes are mostly strongly flavored (burnt, flavored, well-done, salty, fat).
 

Taiwanese Snacks

Next to these Chinese delicacies, the enormous variety of typical Taiwanese snacks is unique in the world and most snacks perfectly illustrate the important place that the food culture takes in the lives of the Taiwanese people. Famous and unique Taiwanese snacks include oyster omelets, fried rice noodles, tempura, Tainan Danzai noodles, Taiwanese spring rolls, rice tube pudding, and braised pork rice. This food is cheap and delicious, and by no means inferior, with each specialty giving you an insight in the people of the area from which it originates.

Typical Taiwanese snacks are found everywhere, but the island's night markets in particular, are the places where these snacks can be found in abundance. Trying out these snacks, tourists will be able to learn about different specialties, cultures, and people from different areas, and gain a whole new perspective on traveling.

 

Chikanlou (The Chamber of Red Hill) in TainanDuring Taiwan’s long history, prehistoric people, indigenous tribes, Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Han Chinese have successively populated Taiwan, creating a varied culture and developing different local customs and traditions along the way. When visiting Taiwan, you will be able to come in touch with all aspects of this beautiful country's multifaceted cultures.

Because of its unique historical and geographical background, Taiwan has a rich and varied culture composed of elements taken from many different ethnic groups, including the indigenous peoples, the Dutch, the Spanish, the Japanese, the Han Chinese (bringing traditions from China and creating their own in Taiwan), as well as more recently the Americans. Consequently, the customs and traditions that make up Taiwan's culture as we know it today are extremely vivid and mix different cultures. And not only that; the people who previously inhabited Taiwan also left many cultural remnants that can still be found around the island today, including traditional architecture, relics of prehistoric civilizations, folk art, and traditions.

Taiwan's history goes as far back as two, three, even tens of thousands of years. According to archeologists, prehistoric people were the first to have lived in Taiwan, proof of which can be found in archaeological dig and sites in Taitung and elsewhere.

The indigenous people who first came to Taiwan so long ago form the northernmost branch of the Austronesia culture group. The indigenous people who remain today are divided into 14 tribes; the Amis, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Yami (or Tao), Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya, and the Sediq. Over the years, other tribes, especially flatland groups, increasingly came in contact with the Han Chinese, their daily lives becoming more and more integrated, and by now most have assimilated with the Chinese. The other tribes, however, have also managed to preserve some of their traditional customs, tribal structures and architecture, and continue to keep the tribal spirit alive through the practice of traditional worship.

 

ConsulateTraces left by the Dutch, Spanish, and Japanese include Fort San Domingo in Tamsui and the remains of Anping Old Fort (Fort Zeelandia) in Tainan along with many other buildings such as the Presidential Office Building, the Legislative Yuan and Control Yuan buildings, various schools, and other large structures that now house governmental institutions, assembly halls etc., all testifying to the importation of foreign cultures into Taiwan.

Nevertheless, the most important part in Taiwan's cultural history was played by the Han Chinese who brought with them traditional customs from China and created new ones in Taiwan. Whether they were southern Fujianese who immigrated over the centuries, the Chinese who came in the late 1940s, or Hakkas, they created their own cultures, traces of which can still be found all over Taiwan. In Taipei, Tainan, and Lugang, for example, old cities, streets, and temples still breathe the atmosphere of times long gone, while traces of wars, settlements and different cultures can even be found on the off-shore islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.

Next to these cultural remnants, Taiwan also offers a unique collection of art expression, such as Sanyi's wooden carvings, Yingge's pottery, and Kinmen's ceramics. Another important aspect of culture are the many holidays and festivals that the Taiwanese celebrate so passionately and devotedly, such as the Chinese New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Tomb Sweeping Festival, Ghost Festival, and temple festivals. By watching or even participating in these celebrations, one can get a better understanding of the cultural and historical background of the Taiwanese people.

We would like to invite you to come to Taiwan, travel through time and go on a journey of past civilizations, relive the past, and experience these cultural treasures.

Hot Spring MuseumHot springs, the hot tears of the earth, are one of the most precious gifts that the earth has given to us. Ever since the ancient times, people have recognized the rejuvenating and therapeutic properties of these natural resources. Taiwan is ranked among the world's top 15 hot spring sites, harboring a great variety of springs, including hot springs, cold springs, mud springs, and seabed hot springs. The island can proudly regard itself as one of the regions with the highest concentration and greatest variety of hot springs in the world.

Hot springs are formed by natural waters that emerge from the bowels of the earth and that possess therapeutic properties said to have a positive effect on disorders of the nervous and digestive systems, the circulation, and the organs. People have used hot springs to keep in good health for ages. In Taiwan, with its peculiar crustal structure and location on the fault line where the Euro-Asian and Philippine continental plates meet in the Circum-Pacific seismic zone, subterranean heat is spread across the island producing hot springs island-wide. With the exception of Changhua, Yunlin and Penghu counties, almost every city and county in Taiwan can find hot springs, and so it is well to see that by some tourists name Taiwan "the Hot Spring Kingdom".

More than one hundred hot springs have been discovered in Taiwan, located in different geological areas including plains, mountains, valleys, and oceans. The highest concentration of hot springs can be found in the northern Taiwan, where the Datun (Tatun) Volcano is located, while along both sides of the central mountain range, covering an area that to the north is bordered by Yilan and to the south by Pingtung, the largest number of hot springs can be found. Hot springs found here make up more than 80% of all hot springs in Taiwan.

As hot springs generally come from deep below the surface of the earth, when they emerge they bring along a high concentration and great variety of minerals that are mostly foreign to the human body and benefit our general health. Specific properties of hot springs vary depending on chemical composition, mineral concentration and water temperature. Taiwan has a great variety of springs, both cold and hot. 

Distribution and therapeutic properties of hot springs in Taiwan:

The German Quely first discovered the Beitou hot springs in 1894, and when the Japanese occupied Taiwan, they brought with them their rich culture of spring soaking which greatly influenced Taiwan. In March 1896, Hirado Gengo from Osaka, Japan opened Taiwan's first hot spring hotel, called Tenguan. This not only heralded a new era of hot spring bathing in Beitou, but also paved the way for a whole new hot spring culture. The four most famous hot springs during the Japanese occupation were Beitou, Yangming Mountain (Yangmingshan), Guanziling and Sichong River. However, after 1945 the hot spring culture in Taiwan gradually lost momentum, and only in 1999 did the authorities again started a large-scale promotion of Taiwan's hot springs, initiating a comeback of the hot spring culture and setting off a new hot spring fever.

While in the past hot springs mainly had a recreational function, present development and usage of Taiwan's hot springs not only focuses on the traditional aspect of soaking, but also includes health benefits as a major drawing point of hot springs. Modern applications of hot springs include hydrotherapy, spring pools, spring saunas, spring massage pools, health bathing houses, and spring health centers. Many enterprises have invested in the construction or renovation of spring hotels, and have even purchased modern scientific hot spring equipments, transforming the traditional concept of hot spring soaking into the added-value concept of hot spring hydrotherapy. Now, while enjoying the traditional comfort of soaking in a hot spring, people can receive additional health benefits by taking advantage of the physical properties of water using hydro jets that splash columns of water onto the body, ultra-sonic massage equipment, and the water's natural buoyancy, made possible through the installation of modern equipment and the professional assistance of hot spring hydro therapists.

Because most of Taiwan's hot springs are located in beautiful scenic areas, when going to soak in one of the numerous hot springs you will not only be able to get away from hectic life in the city but will also be given the opportunity to enjoy gorgeous scenery while listening to the voices of nature, thus adding a new dimension to recreation and health. Therefore, coming to Taiwan on a hot spring tour will definitely pay off!

Hot SpringAt a time when the “LOHAS” trend (LOHAS means “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability”) has become popular throughout the world, Taiwan offers you an endless number of ways, with an Oriental flair and a uniquely Taiwanese character, to stay healthy. Come to Taiwan and feel “LOHAS” the Taiwanese way, in the island’s cuisines, sports, leisure activities, and traditional health care therapies.

In Taiwan, you can give your taste buds a treat and stay healthy at the same time by enjoying your fill of medicinal foods and healthful organic cuisine. If you are anxious to achieve a physical and mental balance, then you might try yoga, Zen meditation, martial arts, or Tai Chi to bring you tranquility the Oriental way. If you just want to relax a bit during your trip, then a visit to one of Taiwan’s popular spas, a soak in a hot spring bath, or a soothing cup of traditional tea might be just the thing for you. If you want to experience the Chinese medical treatment that is receiving ever more attention around the world, then Taiwan will provide you with a health-travel environment of the highest quality. This brochure introduces Taiwan’s rich variety of health-giving resources so that you can experience, in the most relaxed and natural way possible, the island’s health culture and leisure travel at the same time.
 



【Zen Meditation】

Zen meditation can revitalize you and make you feel almost reborn. You can see temples all over Taiwan, and many of them have meditation rooms that
visitors can use. Some offer meditation classes, and even overnight accommodation. Many of these meditation areas are located in the mountains,
surrounded by beautiful natural scenery—the perfect place for you to harmonize your body and purify your soul.

Qigong

【Qigong】

This unique method of strengthening the body and curing illness is an ancient Chinese way to health. In general, its practice is meant to harmonize the mind, breath, and body. Qigong is supposed to free you of random thoughts, paving the way for emptying the mind and relaxing the body. Harmonizing the breath means breathing from the abdomen, and harmonizing the body means achieving a state of relaxation and tranquility whether standing, sitting, or lying down. According to the theory of Chinese medicine, people become ill because the free circulation of blood and breath is blocked, and needs to be opened up. This is what the practice of Qigong is supposed to do.

【Tai Chi】

Tai Chi Chuan has been proven beneficial to mental and physical health, and is achieving international popularity. It is extremely easy, and just about free, to study Tai Chi Chuan in Taiwan, with teachers giving instruction in public parks, community activity centers, and schools. Tai Chi emphasizes relaxation, and exercises every part of the body with slow and graceful movements that can improve the sense of balance, enhance cardiopulmonary function, lower blood pressure, alleviate melancholy, and strengthen the immune function. Scientific research carried out in America also shows that it consumes 280 calories an hour, making it capable of “weight reduction without sweat.”
 

【Yoga】

MeditationThe fashion for yoga in Taiwan encompasses small class instruction, large yoga centers, and even vacation spots. International yoga groups have come in; True Yoga, for example, gives instruction at a 2,112-square-meter six-star facility in Taipei’s Xinyi District that is said to be the biggest yoga hall in Asia. Space Yoga also has a top-class facility in the same area. Near Hualien in the eastern part of Taiwan, the Promised Land Resort offers a yoga itinerary that emphasizes the slow life.

【Spas】

Taiwan offers a wide variety of spa services to fill all kinds of different needs. There is far more than just functional hydrotherapy on offer here; these services extend to cover the entire field of leisure esthetics, encompassing essential oils, aromatherapy, skin treatment, music, yoga, meditation, and everything else you need for a beautiful, relaxing, and healthful experience.

Each of Taiwan’s spas is unique, since it incorporates the resources of its particular local area. Vacation resorts are usually located in scenic spots; at Sun Moon Lake’s Lalu hotel, for example, you can enjoy a spa in the midst of splendid mountain and lake scenery. Club-type spas generally offer larger spaces and more functions, in health and leisure facilities all over Taiwan. There are also hotel spas, where you can enjoy accommodation, fine dining, leisure, and spa activities all at the same time as you replenish your energy and your spirit; an example of this is provided by the Being Spa chain, which offers services in the Tayih Landis of Tainan, Evergreen Laurel of Taipei, Splendor of Kaohsiung, Royal Zhiben , and Caesar Park in Kenting. Metropolitan type spas like the Orient Retreat and Canjune Spa go for efficiency with professional health products, hardware facilities, and massage techniques designed to produce a peaceful mood in the shortest time while protecting the skin and muscles and relaxing the body and mind.

【Hot Springs】

Hot SpringTaiwan is known for its dense of hot springs (and rare cold mineral springs as well), with more than 100 hot-spring areas all over the island. This makes Taiwan one of the best places in the world for enjoying a healthful and relaxing soak in refreshing mineral waters. These springs can generally be divided into four types of water: sodium carbonate, sodium hydrocarbonate, sulfur, and pure-water. The different types have different chemical compositions that produce different therapeutic effects. Sodium carbonate springs contain carbon dioxide which generates bubbles on the skin, providing a slight massaging function; this type of spring can be found at Xiake in western Taiwan; Bulao, Baolai, and Sichongxi in southern Taiwan; and Zhiben, Green Island (Ludao), Wenshan, Jiaoxi, and Renze in eastern Taiwan. The cold springs of Su'ao also contain this kind of water. The most representative sodium hydrocarbonate springs, which lubricate the skin, are located at Wulai, Jiaoxi, and Zhiben.

Strongly acidic sulfur springs are located in the area of Yangmingshan and Beitou. Pure-water hot springs have a less simulative, moderate therapeutic effect; the Jinshan Hot Springs are of this type. The unusual “mud” springs of Guanziling in Tainan County are salty in nature.

【Acupuncture】

Acupuncture has a history of several thousand years in China, and its effectiveness is widely recognized. Taiwan has a high-quality environment for this kind of treatment. Needles are inserted at acupoints to stimulate the nerves; sometimes, moxa is also burned on the acupoints to regulate physiological functions. The World Health Organization of the United Nations has determined that acupuncture is effective for a wide variety of ailments, including headache and stomachache. Since acupuncture is a medical procedure, be sure to choose a legal clinic for your needle treatment.
 

【Foot Massage】

Foot massage uses stimulation of the feet to improve blood circulation and to remove wastes and toxins from the body. The human feet can directly affect the organs, and so massaging the feet makes the whole body feel comfortable and completely relaxed. The “Father Wu Foot Massage” is especially popular in Taiwan, and massage services are also provided by a foundation for the blind. Concentrations of foot-massage parlors offer their services in the area of Xingtian Temple, Section 2 of Zhongshan N. Rd., and Jiuquan St. in Taipei. A number of health clubs also provide the considerable pleasures of foot massage.

【Naprapathy】

Naprapathy, or manipulation massage, is a passive exercise type of treatment that involves the use of the practitioner’s hands and arms to apply pressure to acupoints throughout the body with a variety of motions. It is used for treating ailments such as headache, neck pain, and algomenorrhea, and can aid the circulation of energy, enliven the joints, adjust cardiopulmonary function, and strengthen resistance—all making you feel relaxed and comfortable.

 

Taiwan's Offshore IslandsAre you looking for a place where the waters are clear, the skies are blue, and countless stars stud the sky at night? Or, would you like to wander through remote and picturesque fishing villages? Then pack your bags and visit the offshore islands of Taiwan!

Taiwan is located along the southeast coast of the Asian continent, on the fault line where the Euro-Asian and Philippine continental plates meet. This unique geographic location and frequent seismic activity not only created an extremely diversified topography and natural environment on Taiwan, but also resulted in the diverse characters of its off-shore islands. Main offshore islands include Penghu, Ludao (Green Island), Lanyu (Orchid Island), Kinmen, Matzu, Turtle Island, and Little Liuqiu. As their locations, topographical characteristics, and human activities differ; each has its own unique scenery and culture. Therefore, each island offers something different to satisfy the various needs of visitors, such as sightseeing, snorkeling, or sport fishing.

 

Penghu Twin Hearts Stone Weir【Penghu】
The Penghu archipelago is Taiwan's offshore island group, situated in the straits that separate Taiwan from China. Penghu is made up of 90 small islands with a combined coastline that stretches more than 320 kilometers. Each season brings its own particular scenery, and rich natural and cultural resources can be found here. The landscape here is characterized by basaltic rocks, coral reefs, sea-eroded formations, and beaches, while the fishing culture and migratory birds add extra dimensions to the picture.

 

【Ludao】

LudaoLudao, also known as Green Island, is located some 33 kilometers off the coast of Taitung in eastern Taiwan. It is a volcanic island where winds blow and waters eat away at the rocks all year round, creating a beautiful and diverse coast.

 

 

 

Lanyu Plank Boats【Lanyu】

Lanyu, or Orchid Island, is situated off the southeastern coast of Taiwan; like Ludao, its neighbor to the north, it was raised from the sea by the accumulation of volcanic lava. It has a moist and rainy climate, and its mountain areas (which occupy most of the island) are covered with dense rain forests that are filled with a great variety of plant and animal life. Coral reefs decorate the surrounding seas, and the Japan Current which flows past brings in large numbers of fish. This makes Lanyu a paradise for fishermen and skin divers. The island is inhabited mainly by people of the Yami tribe, the most primitive of Taiwan's indigenous peoples, who still keep much of their traditional culture and lifestyle. Their traditional stone houses were built mostly underground to avoid extremes of temperature as well as the ravages of typhoons. The Flying Fish and Boat Launching festivals are seen nowhere else on earth. In addition to savoring the beautiful island scenery, you can also enjoy a glimpse into the fascinating Yami culture during your trip to Lanyu.

Kinmen【Kinmen】
Lying just 2,100 meters off the coast of China at the nearest point, this hilly island is composed mostly of granite and has a history that derives largely from war. It can, therefore, be termed a "battlefield island," and it possesses unique battlefield scenery. Kinmen also contains numerous traces of history, and the government has designated 21 historic sites within its small area. It also has large numbers of houses built in the traditional southern Fujianese three-sided courtyard style, giving it a rich ancient atmosphere.

Qinbi Village, Matzu【Matsu】
Situated in the northeast corner of the Taiwan Straits and separated from China by only a narrow strip of water, Matsu, like Kinmen to the south, is also made up largely of granite. Its scenery consists of sea-eroded terrain, natural sand and pebble beaches, sand dunes, precipitous cliffs, and other scenic features. In addition to its beautiful jagged coastline and the migratory birds that pass through Matsu also offers traditional eastern Fujian villages built on mountainsides as well as defensive fortifications built by the military.

 

Guishan Island【Guishan Island (Turtle Island)】
This small, solitary island located about 10 kilometers off the coast of Toucheng in Yilan County has a volcanic terrain that, from certain angles, looks like a turtle floating in the sea. Among the features of the island are high cliffs, steaming fumaroles, welling underwater hot springs, mountain peaks, sea-eroded caves, a lake, and unique cliff vegetation, as well as rich marine ecological resources. It is a perfect place to study volcanic terrain and the natural ecology.

Little Liuqiu Vase Crag【Little Liuqiu】

Lying in the sea about 14 kilometers to the southwest of Donggang in Pingtung County, Little Liuqiu is the only one of Taiwan's numerous offshore islands that is composed of coral. Three special features make this island unique: the finest location for viewing the sunset, the most species of coral, and a terrain made up of coral. Strange coral rock formations stand throughout the island, and its ocean scenery is entrancing. This is a fishing island whose inhabitants are intensely religious; there are many temples here, each with its own unique features and special attractions.

If you are longing for a peaceful holiday on an island, Little Liuqiu should be at the top of your list of choices. Let the clear transparent sea water, blue skies, and interesting local folk customs and cultures entertain your eyes and enrich your mind!

Butterfly ValleyIf you want to know how beautiful Taiwan really is, you have to come and see for yourself. You will be amazed at the diversity of ancient species this beautiful and relatively young island has to offer. Come and explore its numerous mountains, forests, wetlands and oceans, and find an incredible collection of natural ecosystems.

Taiwan lies off the southeast coast of the Asian Continent, where the tropical and subtropical zones come together. Surrounded by the sea and dominated by high mountains created by tectonic action over the eons, the country features a full range of climates and terrains from the tropical to the frigid. The variations in weather, geology, and elevation give Taiwan an unparalleled richness of flora and fauna, including many endemic species that are found nowhere else in the world. Taiwan is, in fact, a northern-hemisphere microcosm and natural treasure house that, truly, must be seen to be believed.

【Coastal Regions】

Taiwan is surrounded by oceans and therefore has a long coastline, which offers different sceneries wherever you go. 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 offshore 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 Matzu.

【Flora and Fauna】

Yushan National ParkTaiwan harbors a great diversity of organic life, and some variations 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 experience 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.

Taiwan's national parks, including Yangming Mountain (Yangmingshan), Taroko, Yu Mountain (Yushan), Shei-Pa, Kending (Kenting), Kinmen, Dongsha Atoll, and Taijiang, form the back garden of Taiwan and in themselves are natural treasure-houses. Next to beautiful sceneries, they provide the 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.

You can also come to Taiwan to watch its numerous species of butterflies and birds.

【Butterflies】

Some 17,000 different species of 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 dance in the air, including Doll Valley in Wulai near Taipei, Yangming Mountain (Yangmingshan) National Park, Mt. Jiaoban, and Mt.Lala along the Northern Cross-Island Highway, Qilan near Taipingshan (Ta-ping Mountain) , Guguan, Li Mountain (Lishan) , and Cuifeng along the Central Cross-Island Highway, Nanshan River and Huisun Forest near Puli, Shanlin River (Sunlinksea) in Nantou County, Butterfly Valley in Maolin near Kaohsiung County, Sheding Park and Nanren Mountain (Nanrenshan) in Kending (Kenting) , and Butterfly Valley in Taitung.
 

【Birds】

Yushan National ParkBecause of its warm and humid climate, Taiwan has extremely rich vegetation which attracts many birds. Located at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, it is also a favorite resting area for migrating birds. Resident and migrating 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 migrating birds include the Guandu swamplands in the northern Taiwan, Yilan swamplands, mouth of the Exit Dadu River in the central Taiwan and Gaopin River in the southern Taiwan. Other bird-watching sites are the Penghu islands, Matzu, Wulai, Mt. Hehuan, Xitou, Ali Mountain (Alishan), Yangming Mountain (Yangmingshan) National Park, Yu Mountain (Yushan) National Park, Shei-Pa National Park, Taroko National Park, Kending (Kenting) National Park, Kinmen National Park, Taijiang National Park, Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, and East Coast and the East Rift Valley National Scenic Areas.

【Marine Life】

As Taiwan is surrounded by oceans, marine life and other oceanic resources are abundant and diverse. The clear waters and warm climate of Kending (Kenting) and Lu Island (Green Island), for example, provide the ideal environment for colorful and peculiarly shaped coral reefs. These not only form the architecture of the undersea world, but also provide the shelter for all kinds of tropical fish. On Wang-an Island in Penghu, as well as Lanyu in Taitung County, you can even see the green sea turtles coming to the shore to lay its eggs. Along Taiwan's East Coast, particularly off the coast of Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung, more than 60% of all whale and dolphin species that are found in Taiwan can be spotted. You can choose to take one of the boat trips that are organized in this area. While listening to the introduction by professional whale spotters, the chance of seeing these extraordinary creatures is as high as 90%.

Alishan Forest RailwayTaiwan's railways offer an endless variety of experience, and the scenery lining their routes provides an infinite range of fascinating scenery. If you want to get a close look at the island's beauties without having to suffer the troubles of unfamiliar roads and the frustrations of traffic congestion, then you could do no better than choose a railroad tour and immerse yourself in the delights of enchanting coastlines, awesome mountains, placid farmlands, and engrossing countryside.

The history of railroads in Taiwan dates back to 1887, in the declining years of the Qing Dynasty, when court official Liu Ming-chuan started to work on a section of track in the northern part of the island. The Japanese expanded on that beginning when they occupied Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, and the round-the-island network was completed after the island was restored to Chinese rule. Today, more than a century after its small beginning, Taiwan's convenient railway network consists of the West Coast Trunk Railway, East Coast Trunk Railway, North-Link Railway, and South-Link Railway. Passenger service is divided into four classes, offering travelers a choice depending on their destination, the urgency of their trip, and the size of their pocketbooks.

The scenery along the railroad glides by in a never-ending sequence of change, and each line has its own unique characteristics. The long, narrow, mountainous nature of the island's terrain lines the length of the railways with exquisite scenes of mountains and rivers, and the rail passenger gains access to scenes that are out of reach of the highway. Taiwan's railroads are far more than just a tool of transportation; they embody a deep affinity with the development of local culture and society, and have left behind large numbers of historical relics, including old stations and track sections that hark back to the past and reveal unique facets of local history.

 

Following is a brief introduction to the characteristics of Taiwan's trunk railway lines :

Taiwan's Trunk Railway LinesWest Coast Trunk Line system :

This includes the Keelung to Kaohsiung north-south line, the Taichung Line (Zhunan to Changhua), Pingtung Line (Kaohsiung to Fangliao), and South-Link Railway (Fangliao to Taitung New Station).

(1) Main Line, Taichung Line, Pingtung Line :

The main cities served by this system include, north to south, Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung. Each of these cities has its own local customs and natural scenery, and itineraries through them are quite diverse. Travelers can arrange tours of the Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung metropolitan areas, they can savor the famous delicacies of Miaokou (Temple Mouth) in Keelung, see the fascinating City God Temple in Hsinchu, taste the snacks of Danshui and the seafood of Pingtung, enjoy the pottery of Yingge and the wood-carving culture of Sanyi, and observe the historical sites of Sanxia and Tainan. They can also choose a tour through the countryside of Chiayi, or go bird-watching at the estuary of the Keya River in Hsinchu or the Cengwen River in Tainan.

(2) South-Link Railway :

This is the only railway line in Taiwan that gives you access to both the Taiwan Straits and the Pacific Ocean. Passing through the southernmost extremity of the Central Mountain Range, it links Pingtung in the west with Taitung in the east, along the way allowing passengers to enjoy views of the beautiful Pacific Ocean, the awesome natural sights of the mountains, and the lovely mountain-and-sea views as well as the indigenous cultures of southeastern Taiwan. Among the most famous sights of this route are the daylily fields of Taimali, the hot springs of Zhiben, the Bamboo-Pole Festival of the Atayals, and the vast expanses of the Pacific.

East Coast Trunk Line System :

Rice Paddies of East Rift ValleyThis system encompasses the Yilan Line which reaches from Badu to Su-ao, the North-Link Railway which runs from Su-ao to Hualien, and the Hualien-Taitung Line, which together form a complete system that serves all of the eastern Taiwan and displays the attractions of Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung. Trains run along the seacoast, with the high mountains on one side and the vast ocean on another providing the most intoxicating scenery on this part of the round-the-island railway. Travel these lines and you will experience the permutations and changes of natural beauty; after passing though the flat vastness of the Lanyang Plain, and enjoying the bucolic flatlands and the distant sight of Turtle Island along the way, you will pass through Su-ao and the scenery outside your window will undergo a drastic change as majestic sights of mountain and sea appear before your eyes. Tourist sites along the way include the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, the Lanyang Plain, Turtle Island, the East Coast National Scenic Area, the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, Taroko National Park, and Taroko Gorge with its Swallows' Grottos, Tunnel of Nine Turns, Bulowan, Cuilu Precipice, Tianxiang, and the Liwu River. Besides enjoying the stupendous masterworks of nature's art, travelers here can also arrange itineraries that allow them to experience indigenous cultures, bird watching, hot springs, rustic old towns, and other special sites of the area.

 

In addition, there are also slow trains that run along narrow-gauge railways: the Alishan Forest Line, Jiji Line, Pingxi Line, and Neiwan Line. For those who have just come to Taiwan, riding on this kind of tourist train that proceeds at a leisurely pace and allows passengers to enjoy the scenery along the way to the utmost can provide a new and interesting experience.

Pingxi Line【Pingxi Line】

This line runs through Pingxi District in New Taipei City, and can be boarded at the Ruifang Station or Houtong Station on the main railway line. Travelers in this branch line can savor the beauties of mountain cliffs, streams, and waterfalls along the way, and experience the rustic lifestyle of country villages and small mining towns. The main scenic spots along the line are the Shifen Waterfall, Wildman Valley Waterfalls, and Lingjiao Waterfall.

 

【Neiwan Line】

This line is located in the easternmost part of Hengshan Township in Hsinchu County. You can board trains on this branch line at the Hsinchu Railway Station; as your train moves slowly along the track, passengers can gain a feeling of the rustic life in mountain towns. The main scenic spots along the line include the Beipu Scenic Area and the Wuzhi Mountain (Wuzhishan, Five-Fingers Mountain) Scenic Area.

【Jiji Line】

This line passes through bucolic scenery in Changhua and Nantou countries, giving access to "green tunnels," historic sites, rivers, old pottery kilns, and the little town of Jiji. A ride along the Jiji Line is like a trip into the past.

【Alishan Forest Line】

Alishan Forest RailwayThis is one of only three alpine railways that are left in the world. It carries passengers through four climatic zones--tropical, subtropical, temperate, and frigid--and each section of the line passes by truly unique scenery. It also allows you to experience a "corkscrew" ride as it winds its way up one of the mountains along its line; it ends up at the Alishan National Scenic Area, where you can see the spectacular sunrise, sea of clouds, sacred tree, flower season, and mountain pathways.

If you want to travel the complete length of Taiwan's railway system, you can purchase round-the-island tickets from the Taiwan Railway Administration. These seven separate tickets allow you to stop at seven stations along the way, so along as you get back on at the same stations. The tickets are valid for 15 days from the date of your first ride. If you don't want to bother making your own arrangements, you can take a special Tourist Train. Tickets on these trains are currently sold as part of a tour package that includes accommodation and tours; in addition to larger and more comfortable seats, these trains are also equipped with salon and dining cars where passengers can engage in karaoke singing and savor hot meals.

The railroad will always have an allure for travelers that other methods of transportation cannot match. Do you want to take a romantic journey by rail? Take a trip on the Taiwan railways, and you will not be disappointed!

Night Markets

Next to these Chinese delicacies, the enormous variety of typical Taiwanese snacks
mango shakeis unique in the world and most perfectly illustrates the important place that the food culture takes into the lives of the Taiwanese people. Famous and unique Taiwanese snacks range from oyster omelets to fried rice noodles, tempura, Tainan Danzai noodles, Taiwanese spring rolls, rice tube pudding, and braised pork rice. Food is cheap and delicious, and by no means inferior, while each specialty gives you an insight in the people of the area it originates from.

Typical Taiwanese snacks are found everywhere, but Taiwan's night markets in particular, each night market having its own traditions and characteristics, are the places where these snacks can be found in abundance. Trying out these snacks, tourists will be able to learn about different specialties, cultures and people from different areas, adding a whole new perspective to traveling.

Famous night markets in Taiwan :

 

North Taiwan Night Markets
Night Market
Characteristics
Location
Keelung Night Market The cuisine in Keelung Temple street night market is very famous, for example: pot-edged pancake soup, shaved ice, Tempura, fried sandwiches, bean noodle thick soup, and shrimp Taiwanese ball. The cuisine stands on Ren 3rd Rd. near the Dianji Temple in Keelung City and on Ai 4th Rd.
Shilin Night Market

(11:00-02:00)

There are various Squid Thick Soupcuisine in the night market, including steak, hot stuffed dumplings, little cake wrapped in big cake, sliced noodles, liver soup, squid thick soup, oyster omelets…etc.

Along Dadong Rd., Danan Rd., Wenlin Rd., and Jihe Rd.
Raohe Street Night Market

(17:00-24:00)

This is the first tourist night market in Taiwan, and the total length is about 600 meters. There are many herb-steamed sparerib restaurants here, which provide good opportunities for nourishment in winter.
 
Intersection of Sec. 4, Bade Rd. and Fuyuan St. in Taipei City to Ciyou Temple on Bade Rd.
Huaxi Night Market

(16:00-24:00)

This is the most famous tour night market in Taiwan, which attracts many foreigners and natives for sightseeing. The famous cuisine includes snake meal and snake wine, pot-edged pancake soup, salty rice pudding, fresh water turtle meal, seafood, etc.  Between Xiyuan Rd. and Huanhe S. Rd. in Taipei City
Linjiang Street Night Market

(18:00-24:00)

OdenYou can go eating and shopping at the same time. There are plenty of groceries sold on Linjiang Street, the way to get there is to go on Jilong Road and turn to Linjiang Street, then pass Tonghua , which is the part with stores of clothes and quilts. Between Sec. 4, Xinyi Rd. and Sec. 2, Jilong Rd. in Taipei City
Ningxia Night Market

(18:00-24:00)

Located by the Datong District roundabout, this traditional-style night market specializes in mouthwatering Taiwan snack foods. This is the first night market in Taipei to separate pedestrian and car traffic, making it easier for visitors to enjoy the food and shopping attractions here. Around the area of Minsheng West Road, Nanjing West Road and Chongqing North Road in Taipei City

 

 

Central Taiwan Night Markets
Night Market
Characteristics
Location
Fengjia Night Market

(12:00-02:00)

"Low prices, all included” is the main feature, and it sells several of cuisines, clothes and accessories. On Fuxing Rd., Fengjia Rd. and Wenhua Rd., between Sec. 2, Xitun Rd. and Xi-an St., Taichung City

 

South Taiwan Night Markets
Night Market
Characteristics
Location
Wenhua Night Market Thousands of venders gather here, and there is various cooked cuisine. Among these cuisines,” fountain chicken rice", "Kuo-jing-chen flat noodles soup" and "fried preserved cabbage and shrimp egg" are the famous dishes. At fountain traffic circle on Zhongshan Rd. extend to Chuiyang Rd., Chiayi City
Garden Night Market Garden Night Market is a large and conveniently located night market with an extensive array of tasty Tainan specialty foods. The wide selection of clothing, accessories and other items further add to the popularity of this tourism hot spot. Intersection of Hewei Rd., Sec. 3 and Haian Rd., Sec. 3, in North District, Tainan City
Liuhe Night Market Seafood PorridgeDainties of all lands and seas, food and beverage, special products are all available here, and the plenty of flavorful food of Liuhe Night Market is famous in Taiwan. Among these cuisine, papaya milk, salt-steamed shrimp are the main feature. Liuhe Rd., Kaohsiung City
Zhonghua Street Night Market Jelly fig ice, Taiwanese fried chicken, rice with chicken, beef noodles, grass tea and other tasty traditional snacks have made it a most favorite night market among the locals as well as a must-visit destination for visitors.The market is especially packed on weekends and holidays. Zhonghua Street, Fengshan District, Kaohsiung City

 

East Taiwan Night Markets
Night Market
Characteristics
Location
Luodong Night Market The native cuisines including salty rice macaroni, smoked ducks, meat thick soups ,longfeng legs, tofurolls ,thick rice noodles, seafood, sausage stuffed pork and sweet potato powder, sausage stuffed tofu, oyster omelet…etc. At the center of Luodong Township and around Zhongshan Park in Yilan County