TAIWAN IS DEFINITELY A HIDDEN GEN IN ASIA!
Taiwan seems a much underrated tourist destination in Asia, especially for western travelers. Based on the travelers’ feedback, Taiwan exceeds their expectations a lot and is very worth visiting. The tremendous diversity in a small island is amazing – rich nature wonders, interesting night market, fantastic food, fabulous hiking trails and outdoor sports, cultural experiences, aboriginal village, and very friendly people. We sum up 8 highlights to tell you why Taiwan is worth visiting!
Taiwanese like to ask “jia ba buay (have you eaten already?) ” and we usually put having food on our priority list. Taiwan serves all kinds of cuisine from Taiwanese cuisine, Hakka cuisine, Chinese cuisine, aboriginal flavor, hot pot, BBQ and also exotic cuisine. In general, the most common local ingredients are seafood, chicken, pork, rice, soy and seasonal vegetable. Fresh fruits are also things you can’t miss! Instead of merely eating the food, you can also learn the interesting story behind some of the dishes.
You could go from lush mountain forests to lakes and tropical beaches in one or two hours, Taiwan’s landscape is extremely diverse.
Bisected by northeast Asia’s highest mountains and surrounded by 1566 km of shoreline, making Taiwan geographically unique. There are 9 national parks which offer a variety of distinct topographic landscapes. Taroko National Park, features its lofty gorge; Yangmingshan National Park is known for its volcanic landscape. Kenting National Park is the only tropical area in Taiwan which includes best beaches and rich marine ecology. There are also agricultural scenes such as rice fields and tea plantations. Taiwan is definitely paradise for travelers who loves nature.
There are plenty of hands on activities that the whole family can join together such as tea processing or indigo dyeing. You will have lots of fun learning Taiwanese culture through these activities. There are also numerous cultural festivals during the whole year.
Due to the natural location and altitude of Taiwan, it’s an appropriate place for growing fruits, tea and all kinds of agriculture. In this way, you can experience how does it feel when being a farmer. We can also learn how to make Taiwanese cuisine. We will cherish the food we have after experiencing the process. Besides, we try very hard to preserve traditional skills such as making sky lantern, handmade paper and indigo dyeing art crafts.
Taiwan abounds with venues for hiking, cycling and water sports: hundreds of well-maintained natural trails, popular cycling trails along the coastline or lake, ideal clean mountain streams for river-tracing and beautiful beaches for world-class snorkeling.
Over 50% of Taiwan is mountainous, so the island is a heaven for mountaineers! From low-altitude and flat trails to the highest mountain in northeast Asia, Jade Mountain (Yushan), no matter on which level you are, you could find a trail that delights you. Taiwan also offers excellent conditions for variety of activities. The highlights are cycling along Sun Moon Lake or the northeast coast , river tracing in Hualien, snorkeling or scuba diving in Kenting or offshore islands (such as Green Island and Lanyu). If you love surfing, Taiwan Open of Surfing is held in Taitung in every November.
There are over 300 night markets in Taiwan and they are full of energy! You can get everything such as clothes, shoes or souvenirs and have a chance to sit next locals and enjoy authentic street food such as famous stinky tofu.
There is at least one popular night market in each city of Taiwan, for example, Raohe, Ningxia and Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Fengjia Night Market in Taichung and Liuhe Night Market in Kaohsiung. Each one has its own characteristic and the abundant local snacks there gives you an insight in the people of the area. The most famous food are stinky tofu, oyster omelet, Taiwanese sausage with sticky rice, braised pork rice, bubble tea and shaved ice…etc. Besides authentic local snacks, shopping in the night market is interesting as well. The shops sell various things from fashionable clothing, accessories, shoes, toys to electronic products.
Taiwan is home to groups of Austronesian indigenous people. The 16 officially recognized indigenous peoples, who each have their own native languages and lifestyles enrich the culture in Taiwan.
Most indigenous groups live around Central Mountain Range and east part of Taiwan. Apart from enjoying the scenery, learning and experiencing unique culture is the most beautiful part of each travel to indigenous village. The experienced hunter will teach you how to survive in the nature, tell you many charming local myths. It is also the best chance to taste authentic indigenous cuisine and admire their handicrafts such as weaving, carpentry and pottery.
Many aspects of traditional Chinese arts, crafts and customs are better preserved in Taiwan than anywhere else. For example, National Palace Museum houses one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts in the world.
The links between Taiwan and the Chinese culture had begun as early as in the Song and Ming dynasties, when the ancestors crossed the ocean and came to Taiwan. Taiwan is quite an important place to preserve the Han heritage in the forms of antique, architecture, festival, religion and entertainment. For example, Taiwan is one of the few places still using traditional Chinese characters.
SWEET POTATO MAMA – OUR EXCLUSIVE VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE
Sweet Potato Mama volunteer tour is an exclusive tour arranged by TOPOLOGY. The travelers will support the single mothers by helping them sell the sweet potatoes on the street and get to know them as they teach you how to roast sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato mama project helps single mothers live independently by allowing them to become vendors of the traditional Taiwanese sweet potatoes. No matter how tough life is, they never give up because there is always something that keeps them moving toward a better life—their lovely kids. This project contains 2 parts: first part we will introduce the whole sweet potato mama project, including the start of the foundation and the project. The second part you will experience what the mamas do everyday – sell the sweet potato with them! You can also take your time chatting with the mamas or other participants. Don’t forget to learn as much as you want to cook yams.
Book Sweet Potato Mama volunteer tour right night!
Report by CNN