Travel Guide | Taiwan

Why Taiwan deserves a spot on your bucket list.

5 Tips for visiting Taiwan, the hidden gem of Asia.

Tell me five things you know about Taiwan… Couldn’t reach it? Good, because neither could I prior to this year. After a week long trip to Taiwan with the National University of Singapore’s Outdoors Club I can now tell you why you need to visit this amazing country. Taiwan is an island nation located 180km off the East Coast of China. It has a population of around 24 million and has a well developed bus and train system. Here are a some reasons why you need to visit this incredible place now.

Taroko National Park Hualian Taiwan Image Lydia Ward

 You won’t be left hungry after visiting the night markets

The food scene in Taiwan is huge. You could spend hours strolling around the different areas of the night markets. Expect the unexpected here and have an open mind to trying new dishes. Some of the crazier things I saw while strolling around were pig intestine soup, oyster omellete, duck blood, chicken feet, stinky tofu and chicken heart. Most signs are in Mandarin so if you are there alone without being able to speak or read Mandarin just point at the photo of the dish you want.

Hualian Night Markets Taiwan Lydia Ward Image

 It’s a natural playground for kids and adults alike

Sometimes we get too carried away with technology or man-made ways to have fun. Embrace your inner child and clamber over all the boulders on the rivers edge at Shakudang trail, Taroko Gorge National Park. Here you can find the clearest water and the best boulders for climbing. Once you’ve had enough simply find your favourite rock and sit there people watching till you’re ready to leave.

Shakadang Trail Taroko Hualian Taiwan Image Lydia Ward

 You’ll overcome your fear of heights

Taiwan is a very mountainous island so you’ll have plenty of choices when it comes to which track you should undertake. While I was there I undertook the Zhuilu Old Trail in Taroko National Park, Hualian. It is one of the best day walks I have ever done. This shouldn’t be taken lightly considering I am from New Zealand which is known for its day walks.

Jhuilu Old Trail Taroko National Park Hualian Taiwan Image Lydia Ward

 Any adventure craving will be satisfied

If you’re feeling deprived of adrenaline filled activities then you need to get on the next plane to Taiwan. From world class hikes to river tracing, rafting and Sea Kayaking in the Pacific Ocean along the cliffs, Taiwan is something you dream about. There aren’t many Western Tourists here yet either which makes the experiences even better. Even the night markets are an adventure.

Friends and family will love you for all the gifts you bring home

As any good friend or sibling you’re expected to bring home gifts to all your friends and family waiting patiently. This behavior is very big in Asia and you can see this by the overloaded compartments in flights. Taiwan has great Taiwanese Snack Gift Shops that allow you to sample the different flavours and varieties of snacks before making a decision. They will then wrap it nicely for you so that you’re prepared for your flight home.

All in all Taiwan is an incredible place that after having little or no expectations for blew my mind. This is an adrenaline junkies playground and even if you’re not that adventurous there are still many activities there for you. The level of english is limited and challenging when outside of Taipei so I recommend travelling with someone who speaks a bit of Mandarin or possibly joining a tour. If not, then you’re in for even more of an adventure. Go to Taiwan now before the secret gets out about how incredible this place is.

What other hidden gems do you know about around the world? Comment below

Hualian Taiwan. The Hidden Gem Of Asia

Lydia Ward

University of Otago | 3 stories

Hey everyone. My name is Lydia and I'm passionate about photography, authentic travel and adrenaline filled adventures. I'm originally from New Zealand and am currently finishing up an exchange in Singapore before starting the autumn semester in Sweden. I'm passionate about motivating others to join the travel tribe.

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