"Beautiful Island" Top 5 Page for this destination Taiwan by chewy3326

Taiwan Travel Guide: 3,733 reviews and 10,429 photos

台灣

In the 16th century, the first Dutch ships sailed by the island of Taiwan; after seeing the island, they decided to name it Ilha Formosa, the Beautiful Island.

Despite being rather tiny, Taiwan is a very interesting, diverse, beautiful, polluted, smoggy, friendly, offensive, jammed, humid, hot, and wonderful place. It claims to be the second most densely populated nation on earth (not including microstates), but can also boast of vast, untouched stretches of alpine mountain scenery. Taiwan has a mostly subtropical climate, but also has tropical rain forest in its far south, and alpine tundra in its lofty mountains. The island also has what once the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 in Taipei. It has immense stretches of overpopulated cities, but also hundreds of square kilometers of unbroken, rarely trodden wilderness. Its people may seem offensive and unfriendly at first, but get to know them well and they will become all the more friendlier.

Though it is not yet up to par with cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo, the city of Taipei is quickly becoming one of Asia's most vibrant cities. Nonetheless, Taiwan still doesn't have the tourist hordes that plague mainland China and Japan. Visit Taiwan now, before the secret's out: Ilha Formosa lives up to its name.

Taiwan (officially the Republic of China) has a population of around 23 million people, all crowded on a rather small island. It only takes six hours to travel from Taipei to Kenting (the northern and southern tips of the island), but there is a lot of diversity crowded into that small space. Almost 75% of all the land on the island is mountainous; the remaining 25%, most of which is in the western coastal plain, is heavily developed.

Running the length of the island are four major mountain chains, from north to south: Xueshan (Syueshan) (Snow Mountain) Range, Zhongyang (Central) Mountain Range, Yushan (Jade Mountain) Range, and Alishan (Ali Mountain) Range. While Taipei may seem hot, humid, and subtropical, a short drive can put you in the heart of the Zhongyang Mountain Range, where the scenery is alpine and magnificent, the temperatures are 20 degrees C lower, and there are dozens of kilometers of trails above the timberline waiting for you to explore.

During my multiple visits to Taiwan, I've gradually seen more and more parts of the island. All time favorites have to be my trips to the wild and stunning Taroko Gorge, the rugged mountains around Dabajianshan, the temples at Lukang, and the treasures of the National Palace Museum. But there's still so much more for me to see! I have yet to climb Yushan, the island's tallest peak (and the highest in Northeast Asia). And I have yet to journey to either Penghu or Taitung.

This is my list of my ten favorite places in Taiwan, in no particular order:
1. Dabajianshan, Shei-Pa National Park, Hsinchu
2. Taroko Gorge
3. Taipei 101
4. Hehuanshan
5. National Palace Museum
6. Sun Moon Lake
7. Xitou Forest Recreation Park
8. Kenting National Park
9. Lugang
10. Changhua

I love Taiwan for the bustle of its cities, the calm of its remote mountains, and the meditative feel of its temples.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Vibrant cities, beautiful alpine scenery, food
  • Cons:Smog, pollution, traffic, unfriendly people, overcrowding
  • In a nutshell:A good place to spend a month
  • Last visit to Taiwan: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Sep 7, 2011
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chewy3326 Visits Here Frequently!

chewy3326

“Climb the Mountains and get their good tidings -John Muir”

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