Taiwan: An Island Exploration



For those who love rich, adventurous landscapes, rich cultural history, exciting nightlife and diverse religious ceremony and traditions, Taiwan is the perfect island to immerse yourself in all things Asian heritage. A sovereign state of the Republic of China, Taiwan maintains a diverse grouping of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and a wide variety of multicultural beliefs. The blend of religious ideals, coupled with a tolerance nearly unmatched by any other country, creates a unique atmosphere filled with tradition and temples on every corner. Taiwan is home to a flourishing democracy, with emphasis on respect, human rights, and equality for all things, big and small. If you are looking for one of the most celebrated and diverse Asian cultures, look no further than the thriving green land known as Taiwan.

Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial, Dunheger Travel Blog
Fo Guang Shan Buddha Memorial, Flickr © Tony Lin

The biggest problem with visiting Taiwan is trying to figure out how to fit everything you want to do in just one trip. From hiking the Yushan or Dabajian mountains, to visiting one of more than 15,000 temples that boast a number of different belief systems. there is something to do around every corner and in the depths of the deep green island countryside. Taipei is the capital and largest city in Taiwan, and with the core and New Taipei taken into consideration, is home to more than nine million people in the city proper. Nearby are the Elephant Mountain hiking trails, and inside the city is the Yangmingshan National Park historic walking area, where you will find one of the best views of the mountains and the city in a single vantage point. Take a soak in the Beitou’s hot springs to the north of Taipei, and visit the Kuandu Temple before you leave.

Liberty Square, Taipei, Dunheger Travel Blog
Liberty Square, Taipei, Flickr © See-ming Lee

Taiwan has an amazing display of architecture and highrise buildings, Taipei 101 being the worlds tallest building until 2010, which was designed to look like a pagoda and withstand the numerous earthquakes and typhoons that plague Taiwan regularly. The National Palace Museum is another architectural beauty, and home to priceless historic art and artifacts that range as far back as the tenth century. Another fun, outdoor excursion is the Maokong Mountain, with runs a gondola to the top of the mountain, stopping at the Zhinan Temple and the Taipei zoo, and gives one of the best 360 degree views of Taipei available

Taipei 101, Taiwan, Dunheger Travel Blog
Taipei Skyline with 101 Building, Flickr © Dave Wilson

When you finally finish sightseeing and exploring for the day, Taiwan offers some of the best mulch-cultural cuisine, from Chinese and Japanese restaurants featuring stir fries, noodles and barbeque, to night markets that maintain traditional dishes such as dumplings, rolls and Taiwanese teas. If you love food, streets vendors and restaurants line the city and boast some of the best and most exotic cuisine in the world. Take time to try it all, and save room for the markets and vendors that you will surely come across.

Traditional Taiwan Dumplings, Dunheger Travel Blog
Traditional Taiwan Dumplings, Flickr © m-louis

There is so much to do in Taiwan that figuring out how to get through the excitement of the streets and explore all that nature has to offer can be a daunting task. Plan ahead and map out your walk or metro travels, and decide what suits your style and interests best. And if you get the chance, check to see if you will be visitng during the Taiwan lanter festival, which typically starts in the beginning of March. From shopping to eating to meditating, the streets of Taiwan are constantly alive and ready to be discovered. If you are looking for a complete experience in rich Asian culture and heritage, consider taking your next vacation to Taiwan, and see for yourself what bustling city streets and lush green forests were meant to look like.