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The record incursion into Taiwan's air defense identification zone was the latest move to heighten fears about what critics say has been Beijing's increasingly brazen behavior ...
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Things to Do in Taiwan, Asia: See Tripadvisor's 1,281,277 traveler reviews and photos of Taiwan tourist attractions. Find what to do today or anytime in May. We have reviews of the best places to see in Taiwan. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.
- Background — What Is Taiwan? Is It China?
- The People of Taiwan
- Food of Taiwan
- Languages of Taiwan
- Taiwanese Society
- Activities in Taiwan
- Life Logistics
Taiwan is not the same as China… unless you ask China, in which case it definitely is. According to many Taiwanese, Taiwan is also the official “China”. In many ways, Taiwan is much more China than modern mainland China. (See our complete layman’s guide to understanding what it means to be and speak Chineseto get a fuller picture.) When I was living in Mainland China (see below), non-Chinese friends would often describe Taiwan as being “like China, but without the bad bits”. In other words, like Mainland China but with fast and uncensored internet, clean air, reliable public transport, beautiful (accessible) nature and warm weather. Even better described: Taiwan is pretty close to paradise. What wasthis mythical place, I wondered? I looked forward to finding out. So what is, “China”? Is that “Mainland China”? It’s confusing, sometimes even to the Chinese. (And for that matter, so is who and what is “Chinese”). In the West, when people say China, typically they mean the Mainland, not...
Taiwanese people are super chill. It’s not quite a tropical island, but it’s getting close. Especially compared to most of China, which is moving at a frenetic pace and constantly in competition with itself, most of Taiwan is super relaxed, and so are the people. The level of education in Taiwan is high, and a large number of young Taiwanese (and middle-aged professionals, like dentists and lawyers) have been educated at least in part in English-speaking countries. So in many scenarios, you can expect Taiwanese people will speak English, something I definitely wouldn’t say even in Beijing. For example when visiting a doctor or dentist, it’s likely the person treating you speaks English, particularly if they’re savvy enough to have their location listed on Google Maps. It’ll be professional English, not exactly banter, but I doubt you ever learned how to say “I think I need a root canal, because I got a filling a few weeks ago and there’s dull, throbbing pain” (sigh, the joys of trav...
Taiwan is a place with a lot of amazing foods. So much so that we dedicated two entirely separate posts to it: our guide to finding amazing places to eat in China, and our guide to eating healthy in Taiwan. Taiwan is of the places in the world most often cited by travellers as having amazing food, alongside Japan, Korea, Italy and Singapore (crushing it, Asia!). This is pretty anecdotal, but something I’ve noticed. You just have to look at a list like thisof 57 foods to be convinced. (Yikes! Also: we ate all of those 57 things. Well done, us.) Of particular note are the following things that you are a chump if you don’t eat: 1. Fried chicken cutlets (雞排, ji pai). Like fried chicken of any variety, these are tender breast or thigh fillets that refried in batter and that make time temporarily stop. 2. Buns, particularly local “Taiwanese hamburgers”, gua bao(刮包), which are tender braised pork belly and a few flavourings between pillowy soft buns. A common staple anywhere in China, but...
Obviously, people in Taiwan speak Chinese, because they are Chinese. Right? Right. Except it’s slightly different. Firstly, the Mandarin is a little different (though totally mutually intelligible. Secondly, they use traditional characters in Taiwan, vs simplified. And finally, there are other languages spoken in Taiwan — most notably “Taiwanese”.
Health and Healthcare in Taiwan
Taiwan has a national healthcare system (NHI, National Healthcare System… yes, similarly named to the one in the UK) that means that most healthcare is free or very cheap for citizens or residents (i.e. anyone on a work or student visa). For you, the traveller, it’s just “very cheap”. We only explored the fringes of it, but we found that, for example, major dental operations only cost the “gap” or “co-pay” that we’d pay in Australia or the US with full insurance cover. In-patient services wou...
Religion in Taiwan
Taiwan has more evidence of religious influence than most of Mainland China. Many streets we’d walk down would have small temples and shrines, a sudden room full of gold and crimson amidst the shopfronts selling pork rice or seafood congee. Regularly, people would place out offerings and burn incense paper in the streets (something we didn’t grab a photo of… seemed opportunistic). At major temples we visited, it was common practise for people to bow, make a wish, light a candle and place it a...
Race and Racism in Taiwan
In Taipei, there were some visitors, but it was notable that there were far fewer foreigners visible than there would be in, for example, Shanghai. Venturing south to Kaohsiung, we barely saw ANY obvious foreigners. At the touristy spots (e.g. near Hualien, a gateway to Taroko National Park) there were more, especially tour groups, from other parts of Asia (Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and the Mainland, most notably). In talking to people, we noticed a lot of tension with Mainlanders. People were...
What people do in Taiwan
Taiwan has a lot of social spaces but they don’t centre around alcohol. There are very few bars and clubs. From what we were told, young people don’t generally drink a lot of alcohol in Taiwan, and prefer to go to places like night markets, malls and arcades with their friends. Even at the night markets, we saw no alcohol. I thought I saw some taps at one stand, but it was for tea! Night marketsare a favourite place for people to meet. They are huge and open, with a large range of things to d...
Weather in Taiwan
Taiwan is tropical. It’s generally always warm, but it can definitely rain. In the north (Taipei), it’s warm but can get cool around the end of the year. By ‘cool’ we mean you’d wear one layer over your shirt or t-shirt, as the temperature will be 10-20 degrees C, or 50-70F. So if you’re from the Baltics, you’re laughing at this definition of “cool”. Beach time! In the south, near Tainan or Kaohsiung, it’s decidedly more tropical. It’s notably warmer. You might want that layer as backup, but...
Getting around in Taiwan
This is one of the most wonderful things about Taiwan. It makes the US and other western countries look like they really doesn’t have it together. Get a metro card (“EasyCard”): While these are regional, they’re highly interchangeable. If you pick up an Easycard in Taipei (悠遊卡), you can use it anywhere in the country, on buses or subways. The subway networks are amazing and fully integrated into Google Maps. The bus networks are also amazing. It’s incredible just how many places you can go wi...
Getting Visas for Taiwan
Most westerners can get 90-day visas on arrival. According to policy, you have to have an exit trip booked to be granted the visa. I was asked if I did when leaving the port I was at (Amsterdam), but NOT at arrival. Also I never had to show anyone anything. Nonetheless, other people visiting Taiwan have assured us that you definitely do need an exit ticket to be granted an entrance visa, and they are strict about it. In case you want to play it safe, get an Eva Air ticket to Manila, which sho...
Cost of living in Taiwan
Living in Taiwan is CHEAP. This was the reason we went, after all! If you’re staying very short term, you can easily pay under $50 a night for a decent private room in a hostel or a small hotel. Staying for a couple of weeks? You can get studio apartment AirBnBs with daily service (fairly basic, like changing towels and taking out the trash) for US$25 a night. It will have air conditioning, fast internet, clean tap water and some basic amenities — one of ours even had a washing machine. If yo...
Technology in Taiwan
A few details on the tech side of things, important for anyone visiting, particularly as a digital nomad! Electricity and wall sockets/power points: Taiwan operates on 100/110V, using a US-style connection but usually withoutthe earth pin. So it’s two-pronged flat pin, not three-pronged. This means you should check everything you’re travelling with and make sure it’s compatible with 100/110V. For us, oddly enough, only our toothbrush chargers are not compatible internationally. Everything els...
There’s a lot more to living in Taiwan that we’d be happy to cover. Is there anything more you’d like to know? Let us know and we’ll add it in.
- Take in a Traditional Taiwanese Puppet Show in Yunlin. In Taiwan, puppets are more than just for entertainment; they are actual works of art. The puppet capital of Taiwan is undoubtedly Yunlin County, which is located on the west side of the country.
- Tour the Woodcarving Shops of Sanyi. In the northwestern part of Taiwan, you can learn more about the proud woodcarving traditions of the region by visiting Miaoli Sanyi.
- Learn About Hakka Culture on Baipu’s Neiwan Old Street. In Baipu, a well-preserved thoroughfare called Neiwan Street affords you the opportunity to learn about the country’s compelling Hakka culture, early immigrants from China.
- Visit Chiang Kai-Shek’s Mausoleum. The Cihu Mausoleum, which is located in Daxi, is the site of the temporary resting place of Chiang Kai-Shek, an important 20th century political and military leader.
Taiwan's Hakka people descend largely from Hakka who migrated from southern and northern Guangdong to Taiwan around the end of the Ming dynasty and the beginning of the Qing dynasty (ca. 1644).  The Taiwanese Hakka communities, although arriving to Taiwan from mountains of eastern Guangdong and western Fujian , have also likely mixed ...
Refer to the People's Republic of China (PRC) as "Mainland China." Especially for Women . American women generally can do business easily in Taiwan, though it may take time for some businessmen in Taiwan to accept women in business roles.
Taiwanese cuisine features some really stand-out dishes which have gained global popularity, carrying simple back-alley vendors to international acclaim. To say that noodle dishes are popular in Taiwan is an understatement – there are countless types of noodle dishes in Taiwan waiting to be savored. There are even regional varieties within Taiwan, ranging from Nantou slender noodles to
Apr 14, 2021 · This group, referred to as Mainland Chinese and then making up 1.5m people, dominated Taiwan's politics for many years - even though they only account for 14% of the population.
Jan 08, 2019 · Things to do during Chinese New Year in Taiwan Unlike many other regions that celebrate the Lunar New Year, Taiwan has very few events organized during this holiday. Some locals will make their way to a temple hoping to be one of the first to pray to the gods at the stroke of midnight, while others visit places of worship on New Year’s Day.
This is an old answer I put under another question. That is it: Some Taiwanese are very confident to say their island is a country, well, I can understand some of their reasons, but as something might harm the interests of my country, of the Chine...
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