Travel Ideas Taiwan places to see and foods to eat in Taiwan
Travel Ideas Taiwan: A few decades ago, whatever we bought and realized that it was good, we found that it was made in Taiwan. Who remembers this?
Our purchase may be anything small such as:
- Roller ball-pen
- Money clips
- Pocket torch
- Digital watch
All these bore the label that reads “Made in Taiwan”. At that time, we were not even aware where Taiwan was and did not bother to look the atlas to find out Taiwan’s location. It was not an era of computers and the Internet.
Just for your information, I have given the map below showing the exact location of Taiwan in Asia.
Taiwan is officially a Chinese State. Ah, that explains the good quality of the products that were manufactured in Taiwan. I remember the calculators of leading brand ‘Citizen’ that was made in Taiwan and sold on Indian shops. Nothing could match its quality even today. The battery lasted forever.
The prices of the products manufactured in Taiwan are dirt cheap but the quality is top-class.
So, Taiwan is a Chine State and the people of Taiwan speak Mandarin.
Taiwan is an island on the Pacific Ocean and is located very close to China.
Taiwan’s capital is Taipei.
As a typical Chinese nation, Taiwan is not all Taipei. All its other cities and towns too are equally dazzling. Every small town and city in Taiwan contributes immensely to Taiwan’s economy.
How to reach Taiwan?
Do you know that there are as many as 5 international airports in tiny Taiwan? It speaks how well the country’s economy has improved throughout.
The international airports in Taiwan are:
- Taoyuan International Airport
- Kaohsiung International Airport
- Hualien Airport
- Taipei Songshan Airport
- Taichung Airport
This means Taiwan is superbly connected to the world by flights.
Can you go to Taiwan Island by ship?
Of course, yes. Cruise ships are operated from Hong Kong by the popular Star Cruises.
Two of Chinese port cities Quanzhou and Xiamen operate sea voyage facilities to Taiwan.
What to see in Taiwan?
In spite of being a small island, Taiwan’s sightseeing and tourist attractions are many. I have handpicked some of them and I hope you too like them.
So, Taipei 101 is a building, a skyscraper that stands tall and awesome. It was the tallest building in the whole world when it was completed in the year 2004. Its height is 1670 feet! The total number of floors is 101 and hence the name Taipei 101.
Not even neighboring Korea and technologically advanced Japanese could come up with any building that could match the Taipei 101 that has an attractive and colorful shopping mall. I bet even there, you can buy high-quality things cheap.
Tourists go to the viewpoint located at a height of 1300 feet and once they reach that height in less than a minute, their gasp will be audible. The Pacific Ocean’s magnificence will make you speechless for several seconds.
Taroko National Park
National Parks in islands are big attractors because they usually comprise:
- Exotic flora and fauna
Taiwan has nine national parks and Taroko National Park is one of them.
Yes, there is a river named Liwu River that flows inside the National Park and is also the cause of a canyon.
Wildlife in Taroko National Park
Not many animals are spotted in this Taiwanese National Park but the avifauna is counted over 150 species.
Here are a few of the beautiful birds of Taroko National Park.
- Swinhoe’s Pheasant
It looks more like Feral Cock.
Taiwanese Blue Magpie
- Fire-breasted Flowerpecker
- National Palace Museum, Taipei
Don’t be biased towards this Taiwanese museum, folks! This is a national museum that houses about 700 thousand exquisite arts of the Chinese that date back to 10 thousand years!
That’s a staggering number of collections-eh?
You must be more curious to know which artifacts from the famous Chinese Forbidden City are now inside the National Palace Museum.
I am sure the majority of this vast antique collection would be of porcelain for which the Chinese are world famous. Equally famous is the Chinese Jade that they consider sacred and valuable. Therefore, artifacts made of jade would also be displayed in the National Palace Museum, Taipei.
I read the museum, in spite of its big size doesn’t display all that it owns but only 10% of the collections are displayed.
I think it makes sense because even we can’t see all of 700,000 thousand antique collections in a few hours that we will be inside in any museum.
Longshan Temple, Taipei
As it seems, this is a Buddhist temple but houses several Gods. The temple’s date is inscribed as 1738. Like a Hindu temple, this place is also used for social gathering.
Outside the temple, you will find several shops selling Buddhist statues, shawls, and wooden artifacts. This Taiwanese attraction is thronged by locals mainly. They love to eat whatever is sold there.
Sun Moon Lake
What an odd name for a lake. Both the Sun and the Moon! It is learnt the lake resembles both of them from two different sides.
Sun Moon Lake is located at a height of 2500 feet. Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range looms large behind the Sun Moon Lake.
The lake is the center of several Taiwanese festivals. Since the lake is quite large, ferry rides are offered to see around the lake. An exciting cable car ride gives you an aerial of this beautiful lake.
A zoo in an important tourist landmark attracts more crowds, especially the children. The Taipei zoo is home to numerous animals and birds that were brought from various other countries as well that include Africa and Australia. Ever since it was established in 1914 (oh, a hundred and five years old zoo!), more wildlife was added such as the cute Pandas, several species of ducks and geese, Swiss Llamas. Children love the penguins and their clumsy walk.
To spend more time with the beautiful birds, they are housed in a separate section called the ‘bird world’.
I like the idea of keeping animals based on their place of origins.
- Desert animals section
- Rainforest insects and reptiles
- Formosan animal area-Formosan rock monkeys, moon bear, wild dogs, and Clouded Leopard
- Xinbeitou Hot Springs, Taipei
The place is very beautiful with a lush green background. The fumes coming out of the natural geyser are inviting the tourists to take a dip. The thick steam says the water’s temperature might be around 60 deg and you need to test the water by gingerly dipping your feet first.
This is a sulfur spring and hence the water has therapeutic properties. In spite of a large gathering of tourists, you tend to spend more than a couple of hours here.
There is a mountain called Yang Ming Shan in the vicinity of the Xinbeitou’s hot springs. Now you know why there is a natural mineral water geyser there.
- Millennium Bath Spring
- Thermal Valley
- Ximending, Taipei
There it is, the real bustling Taipei city area. It is full of shops, restaurants, bars, street food stalls, and several multiplexes.
The crowd you saw in the video is comparatively less. On weekends, you will have to jostle each other to surge forward. However, once you are in, the next 4 hours or so will engage all your senses.
It is how the South Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Bangkok will look like. The entire area is colorfully lit and the aroma of edibles will make your eating choice tough.
Plan for at least two visits to Ximending, Taipei.
- Shilin Night Market, Taipei
It’s another not-to-be-missed shopping area in Taipei. Ensure a good day of rest to your legs because you will be walking several kilometers in the night to see around this bustling night market in Taipei. Please be aware this night market in Taipei opens only after 4 pm.
In addition, eat a miserly lunch so that you have enough space left in your stomach to eat at least 10 different Taiwanese delicacies that are spread attractively in 500 odd street food stalls.
Dadaocheng Wharf, Taipei
A wharf or a quayside is always attractive in any city. A late evening stroll is a pleasant experience.
There is also an estuary here where the Tamsui River enters the Pacific Ocean. You can spend about 30 minutes on a ferry when the wharf’s lights are on.
Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei
Well, the name Dr.Sun Yat-sen must ring a bell in your ears. He is the Father of China. His statue will greet you as you enter the memorial with other tourists. The beautiful hall built in his memory is a big attraction in Taipei.
Inside the memorial hall, there are several sections that are conveniently segregated.
- Performance Hall
- Events center
- A theater (not to show cinema)
- Art Gallery
- Kenting National Park, Taiwan
Kenting National Park is a scenic tourist spot located at the extreme south of Taiwan Island. You will have to take a bus to the Hengchun Peninsula to enter the national park area that comprises lovely beaches that were white clothing (sand) and caves. If you are a scuba diver, you can dive in to admire the colorful coral reefs.
- Shifen Waterfall
There is a greater area of Taipei and it is called New Taipei City. It is here is the Shifen Waterfall is located. The waterfall that is fed by Keelung River and the drop is from a height of 65 feet!
There are two more national parks in Taiwan namely:
- Yangmingshan National Park
- Alishan National Park
That concludes the places to see in Taiwan. Oops! That’s a long list of tourist attraction in Taiwan Island in spite of its small size. I don’t think you will have to see all of them during your short stay in Taiwan unless you have planned for a whole week holiday.Travel
Similar to other South Asian cities, the best of the places to eat an array of local cuisine are the streets. Taipei is no exception. You can see a wide range of street food stalls that sell only meat and seafood.
To prepare you for your future visit to Taiwan, I have listed some of the Taiwanese food below. Decide now itself what you are going to eat once you are in Taipei or other cities of Taiwan.
The advantage of deciding to hit the street food stalls is, they are open till 1 am. You don’t have to finish your drinking time in the bar in an urgency fearing your hotel restaurant would close by 11 pm.
- Oyster Mee Sua
- Lu Rou Fan-a pork gravy
- Beef noodles-what is life in South Asia without the ubiquitous noodles!
- Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang-a pork sausage of American that is Asianized.
- Oyster Omelette with a chili sauce that is sweet
- Ham and Potato-what a combination. Imagine your bewilderment when you are asked to eat nacho cheese sauce along with the mashed potatoes. I think this a weird combination-the ham and potatoes I mean.
- Grilled Squid-oh, I thought the squids cannot be cooked because of its rather gelatinous and chewy texture at all but here they are grilled and served!
- Grilled beef-it is uniquely seasoned with rose salt
- Fried Milk-oh this is culminating all other innovative Taiwanese cuisines. See here how the fried milk is made. They freeze milk in mold of cubes, apply rice batter and fry! What an idea! I think I will try this in my home.
Now that you know what to eat among the appetizing range of street foods in Taiwan and what to see around in Taiwanese cities, consider yourself a travel guide to Taiwan even if you are not ready to go there.
Don’t bother to Google it; it means ‘Good Bye’ in Taiwanese.