Published: May 31st 2010May 31st 2010
I had to come back to Taiwan for a little bit to let my body recover. Africa is not an easy place to travel for a solo traveler. It took a toll on my body so I decided to come back home and rest a bit before I head out again on my world journey.
I want to dedicate this blog to all the travelers who haven’t been to Taiwan. I met many travelers on my journey and none of them have ever been to Taiwan. They’ve been all over Asia but overlooked Taiwan. I thought it’d be a good idea to show people what this country is about.
First and foremost, I am writing this blog for the travelers and not for the tourists. I don’t want to encourage a whole bunch of tourists to come because I don’t want Taiwan to become a tourist trap. When a lot of tourists start going to a country, it starts changing the locals and creates a scamming atmosphere where tourists are taken advantage of. Taiwan has not been affected by that yet, so fellow travelers, that’s one less stress on your mind. This island is for the adventurous
Check out that clear blue waterrr
soul who loves rich traditions, great food, amazing nature, happy people and great infrastructure for a smooth travelling experience.
I think the best way to introduce Taiwan is to say that it is very balanced. Taiwan is a mix of Japan, China and the US but keeps its own traditions very rich. Taiwan has amazing technology and infrastructure like Japan but is still able to keep everything quite inexpensive. Not ‘inexpensive’ like China where the goods are fake and cheap, but inexpensive with solid quality. There’s a newly built bullet train that can get you from the north to the south in less than 2 hours so transportation is a breeze. In the capital city, Taipei, you’ll find it quite easy to get around because there is English almost everywhere. The menus, hotels, billboards and road signs all have English. However, the locals aren’t very polished in English but they’ll understand what you’re saying because English is a mandatory second language in the schools.
Ever been to a night market? Be sure to hit up Shilin night market in Taipei where the whole market comes alive every night. Delicious food at every corner, boutique shops, specialized shops, technological
shops, pet shops, street vendor ( they have to run when they see police!) and my favorite is the games area. They have a mini carnival in the night market where you play local Taiwanese games to win prizes. There are night markets everywhere in Taiwan but Shilin is definitely the most fun!
If you love the beach, you’ll love Kenting which is located at the south. It’s not the dreamy white sand beaches that tourists flock to, but more like a surf town where you relax during the day and enjoy the night with live music. You can rent a motorbike and ride along the long road looking for adventure! The main street has a lot of cheap accommodations so you don’t need to book ahead of time. If you’re a surfer, you’ll be happy to know that there is great surf there. When night time comes around, the main street becomes like a night market where you’ll have plenty of fun.
If you’re a nature-lover like myself, then you’re in for a treat. The best kept secret of Taiwan is at a place called Hwa-Lien. The nature is…WOW. I’ve been around the world and I couldn’t
There's a fun paintball place. You do paintball in the jungle, its in Nei Hu
believe that my own home country had such beautiful nature that could rival New Zealand’s. The river is so pure that it seems to glow in blue. I went on a hike with an aboriginal who took us waterfall rappelling. Basically, we walk all along the river until we reach a waterfall. Then we rappel up the waterfall (not as hard as it sounds) until we reach an even bigger waterfall. Once we rappelled up that one, we reached a beautiful cave with a waterfall splashing down on the clear-blue pond. Swimming is highly recommended! After that, we rappelled down the waterfalls. Instead of walking back down this time, the aboriginal told us to jump into the glowing blue river and let it carry us all the way down. Amazing experience!! We saw people kayaking and rafting along the way while we were just floating in our life vests. While in Hwa Lien, also be sure to hike the Toroko Gorge. If you’re not a nature-lover already, this place will certainly convert you! You don’t need a guide or anything like that, just follow your adventurous soul.
Also, if you want to experience natural hot springs, you can find
them almost anywhere in Taiwan. I’d recommend going to the ones in the mountains like Yang Ming San, where the hot water is completely natural. There are outdoor hot springs where you can overlook all of Taipei while you relax in the springs. Believe me, you’ll be pretty damn rejuvenated and that’s when you’ll be ready for a massage. Taiwan has its own style of massage where they work on trying to untie all the knots in your body and letting your blood flow more smoothly. I can’t explain it too well, just try it and you’ll feel healthier than you’ve ever felt before.
Another unforgettable experience is setting off sky lanterns. Go to a town called Ping Xi and you’ll find that it is a unique town which has been influenced by the Japanese culture. When you’re there you’ll see sky lantern shops everywhere. Buy one or a few and write your wishes on them. Then they’ll help light up a fire inside the sky lantern and it’ll float up into the sky. It’s a magical experience. This is a must try since this is a rich tradition that we keep in Taiwan!
There are so many
unique things to do and you’ll fall in love with the people here. Taiwan is starting to get more and more popular as people are starting to realize all the adventure and fun this island has to offer. Eventually, a lot of tourists are going to start coming and that’s why I wanted to give the real travelers a head start before the authentic Taiwan start to get affected. It’s safe, easy to get around, there’s beautiful nature, rich traditions and you’ll stuff your face with food. This is an adventurer’s paradise!
There are more photos below