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Why haven't you explored this island before?
Be it temple hopping in Taipei or bathing in the thermal waters of Beitou; climbing the snow capped peaks of Yushan or riding a glass floor gondola over tea fields, Taiwan will hit you with a wave of euphoria everytime you set foot in it.
Mountains, canyons, beaches and culinary delights the tiny island has it all, and yet very rarely does it feature on our bucket lists.
Steeped in culture and history, Taiwan is renowned for its fascinating blend of traditional and modern practices.
The island nation never fails to charm you with its cultural diversity, heritage and inclusivity often leaving you with the question “why had you not explored this island before?

Taipei

Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is a modern metropolis with Japanese colonial lanes, busy shopping streets and contemporary buildings.
The skyline is crowned by the 509 metre-tall, bamboo-shaped Taipei 101 Skyscraper, once the tallest building in the world filled with upscale shops at the base and an elevator that takes visitors to the observatory deck.
As the  sun begins to set, Taipei’s nightlife comes alive, with mouth watering street-food stalls and lively night markets, including the renowned Shilin Market.
Head to the Thermal ‘Hell’ Valley for an unparalleled hot springs experience. Located on the foothills of Yangmingshan National Park in Beitou District, the sulphur-rich boiling hot water often reaches a temperature of 100°C.
It is the only metro-accessible hot spring in Taiwan, thanks to the two station lines connecting Xinbeitou to Beitou station on the Danshui line. You can smell the area’s hot springs while you are making the transfer.

Taichung

Taichung is the gateway to exploring the island’s mountainous interiors, as well as prominent tourist spots like the Sun Moon Lake, popular for boating and hiking, and the Ci’en Pagoda to catch a glimpse of the Taiwanese wilderness.
Take an early morning High Speed Rail to Taichung from Taipei Main Station.
Travelling at a speed of 300km’hr, it covers nearly 200 kilometres.
Those with an adventurous streak can also head to Lihpao land, home to the world’s first tilt roller coaster.
The Gravity Max hangs riders over a 13-storey vertical drop at 90° and sends them off on a ride of a lifetime.
From thrilling rides to an inhouse water park, there is something for everyone.
Packed with instagram worthy locations, a visit to the Rainbow Village in Taichung is worth every penny.
Easily topping the list of the most ‘instagrammable’ places, it is quickly becoming one of the hottest new destinations to check out when in Taiwan. With colourful walls and vibrant designs, it’s definitely a paradise for selfie seekers around the world.
Packed with instagram-worthy locations, a visit to the Rainbow Village in Taichung is worth every penny.
Topping the list of the most ‘instagrammable’ places, it is one of the hottest new destinations. With colourful walls and vibrant designs, it’s definitely a paradise for selfie seeker around the world.

Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung, a massive port city in southern Taiwan, is home to many skyscrapers, such as the 341 metre-tall Tuntex Sky Tower, and a wide variety of parks.
The main attraction here is the Love River, with walking paths and caf├ęs along its banks, and cruise boats navigating through the waters.
No trip to Kaohsiung is complete without paying a visit to the city’s nighmarkets.
From highend malls to the Liuhe and Ruifeng night markets, the city is a shopper’s paradise.
The Lotus Lake, a famous scenic area on the northern outskirts of Kaohsiung City offers a profusion of temples, with the Confucius Temple at its northern edge, and the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and Spring and Autumn Pavilions in the south.
The lake is a sight to behold in the evening as the setting sun creates a magical streak of glittering light across the water.
Nearby are the ruins of the Fengshan County walls and gates, which have been designated as an iconic historic landmark.

Kenting

Away from the chaos of the city life, Kenting is a breath of fresh air with its white sand and rocky beaches.
Situated at the southern tip of Taiwan, Kenting owes its popularity to the novel-turnedfilm Life Of Pi.
Often considered the pulse of Taiwan’s beach scene, it offers a ton of water activities.
Right from jet skiing, tube rides to even floating around on a banana boat, it’s a slice of paradise for the beach bums.
Kenting is also a popular snorkelling and diving spot. A close second to the beach experience is exploring the Kenting National Park, located on the south coast.
The centrepiece of Hengchun Peninsula, it is the only tropical national park in Taiwan.
With long stretches of agricultural land, it gives you a glimpse into the traditional Taiwanese rural life. The park also includes mountains, forests, pastures, and coral reefs, offering an opportunity to nurture your bond with nature.
Rent  a scooter to explore the town and the National Park. Evenings at Kenting are made even more special with road side food stalls and locally made cocktails.
Visiting a night market is quintessential to the Taiwan experience. Lively hubs of food and pop culture, these markets have attracted locals and tourists alike.
Probably the biggest market in southern Taiwan, the Kenting Night Market is home to some exotic culinary delights.
Stalls run the gamut from freshly grilled scallops and squid to fried noodles, stinky tofu, deep-fried milk and heaps of fruity cocktails.

The Local Fare

Minced Pork Rice

Taiwanese style rice dish consisting of ground pork and stir fried with shallots, soy sauce and seasonings.

Stinky Tofu

A traditional Taiwanese snack made of fermented bean curd. The pungent odour may lurk in your nostrils, but nonetheless it’s a crowd favourite.

Deep-Fried Chicken Cutlet

The Taiwanese fried chicken, also known as G-Pie is pretty much a fixture at all night markets.

Bubble Tea

A beloved Taiwanese classic, it blends the unique flavours of milk, tea leaves, fruit and tapioca balls.

Shaved Ice

The best way to beat the heat is with some Taiwanesestyle shaved ice. Try out the Mango Shaved Ice available at many night markets.

Pro Tips

How To Reach

There are a number of flights that fly to Taiwan; China Airlines was my airline of choice as it is one of the more economical and direct flights available to Taipei. It's a five hours journey from New Delhi.
Taipei is approximately 35 minutes away from Taoyuan Airport MRT.

Getting Around

One aspect that left me quite impressed was the ease of planning and getting around the country.
Most of the cities in Taiwan have wellestablished metro networks, as well as taxi services.

Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR)

Is the most preferred mode of transit for travellers to cross the island. If you don't have much time, I would recommend the high-speed rail and shuttle between the major cities in the western half of Taiwan to enjoy the convenience and city exploration.
For travellers who wish to roam in a slow paced manner, visit the eastern half of Taiwan via Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) as there are plenty of mountain and sea views In Kenting you can rent a motorcycle and enjoy the majestic visuals.