Taiwan is a truly unique, beautiful and enchanting country. So we’ve delved a little deeper to uncover it’s quirks, to give you a taste of just how intriguing this island nation is…
BASEBALL AND BASKETBALL ARE NATIONAL SPORTS IN TAIWAN
Never knew Taiwan were quite the baseball and basketball fans? Well neither did we, until now. Believe it or not, baseball is the national sport of Taiwan and they’re pretty good at it as well. America is its main rival which is pretty impressive considering the size difference. How’s that for a David and Goliath story? Let’s all root for the little guy.
4, NOT 13, IS AN UNLUCKY NUMBER IN TAIWAN
So for most of us, number 13 is considered the devil in disguise; we try to avoid it at all costs, however, in Taiwan it is the number four that’s considered unlucky. How so? Well, when said out loud, it sounds like the Taiwanese word for death, and no one wants to be chiming that word around too much. Yet another super important fact for you. You’re welcome.
YOU MUST KEEP YOUR FEET OFF THE FURNITURE IN TAIWAN
Feet are strange things, right? Well it would appear Taiwanese people agree with us on this one too. In fact, they are so anti-feet, if you happen to find yourself resting your weary limbs on a stool or sofa you’re sure to receive a cold reprimand. You see, in Taiwan, resting your feet on the furniture is considered seriously rude. So keep those toes firmly glued to the ground.
TAIWAN HAS PRODUCED AN AWARD WINNING WHISKY
We wouldn’t blame you for not knowing that Taiwan is now recognised as a bit of a whisky connoisseur. But ever since Kavalan, a premium whisky from Taiwan, was named as the New World Whisky of the Year after a blind taste test, the island has been exporting the award winning blend to the UK. Want to try it? Pop out to your local Tesco and you’re likely to find a bottle. Who knew.
TAIWAN PRODUCES SOME INCREDIBLE TEA
No we’re not talking about bubble tea this time (though we’re definitely quite the fan of the stuff) rather we’re talking about the actual tea leaves growing out in the countryside. The climate and topography of this little island is perfect for growing tea, so Taiwan is thought of as a bit of a tea empire. From Oolong to Pekoe, you’ll be able to find your perfect flavour on a tea tour of this fascinating island. You’ll need a teapot to brew all those flavours, and you can find virtually any style and size of teapot along the high street and at markets.
THERE’S A HELLO KITTY THEMED MATERNITY HOSPITAL IN TAIWAN
Yep, its official, Taiwan has cemented Asia’s obsession with hello kitty by creating the first ever hello kitty themed maternity hospital. Should you be an expectant mother, you can check yourself into this unique ward for an experience like no other. From bed linen to towels and nappies, your new little bundle of joy will even be welcomed into the world by a nurse bedecked in a pink kitty uniform. Still, we’ve been left wondering…what about the boys?
EATING FROM A TOILET, LITERALLY, IS A BIT OF A THING IN TAIWAN RIGHT NOW…
Eating from a toilet not your thing? Well, in a few short sentences we might just persuade you otherwise. At the unique (unique? understatement of the century) Modern Toilet Restaurant, food is served out of miniature toilets and drinks are presented in urinal styled glasses. Yep, we know, it sounds pretty grim, but we say give this novelty experience a try. As the saying goes: When in Taiwan, dine from the toilet. Or something like that.
THE FIRST WOMAN TO GET A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WAS TAIWANESE
Vice President from 2000-2008, Annette Lu Hsiu-lien was a feminist who strongly criticised the Taiwanese Government. She spoke out about Taiwanese policy and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts. Since winning her prize she’s continued speaking out about policies. Girl. Power.
TAIWAN HAS AN APARTMENT MADE ENTIRELY OF SALT
Salt. It’s usually used to preserve and flavour. Usually. Not in Taiwan, however. You see, they’ve managed to create an apartment made entirely of the white stuff. 30 tonnes of it has been used to sculpt sofas, desks, beds, lamps and even bath tubs have been carved out of the crystal. Now, we know this little island is brimming with novelties, but this looks like one we just have to try.
TAIWAN IS HOME TO THE ‘PEARLS IN THE OCEAN’
Dreaming of bright, sandy beaches and coral islands? Well, did you know that Taiwan has all of these things in abundance? That’s right, paradise can be found at the Penghu Islands, also known as “Pearls in the Ocean” which are located just southwest of Taiwan. There are 100 tiny islands that shine like little pearls floating in the ocean and what’s more, they’re seriously easy to reach. Taiwan, you surprise us every day.
NEVER GIVE A GIFT ‘MADE IN TAIWAN’
Take a look at your technological goods and we can guarantee at least one of them will say ‘Made in Taiwan’. It’s fair to say this island is a power house of production, however if you’re ever getting a gift for someone in Taiwan, then try to make sure those three little words can’t be seen. Break the mould and get a gift with ‘Made in England’ emblazoned across it; this will more than likely bring a smile to the recipient’s face.
TAIWAN HAS SOME OF THE BEST GEOTHERMAL HOT SPRINGS IN THE WORLD
Not only is Taiwan a hotspot for culture, food and technology, it’s also home to hundreds of natural spas. In need of a recharge? If you’re in Taipei, go to Beitou, the most luxurious geothermal spring in Taiwan, where you can take a dip and immerse yourself in the mineral waters.
TAIWAN HAS FEATURED IN PLENTY OF BLOCKBUSTER FILMS
Now this one wasn’t really a surprise to us. Considering how beautiful both the natural landscapes and the cities in Taiwan are we’d be shocked if there hadn’t been any films shot on the island. One of the most famous was the multi-award winning Life of Pi, a part of which was filmed in Taipei Zoo, Kenting National Park and an airport in Taichung. More recently, the 2014 film ‘Lucy’ featuring Scarlett Johanssen had scenes shot in Taipei.
TAIWAN HAS ITS VERY OWN ‘GHOST FESTIVAL’
The Taiwanese throw this spooky festival in the belief that the spirits of the dead are able to return to roam the earth for a whole month every summer. Apparently an amnesty is decreed in the underworld, leaving lost souls free to return to earth and so the people of Taiwan spend four weeks throwing exciting celebrations and making offerings to appease the wandering spirits. Any excuse for a celebration, hey?
TAIWAN IS THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD OFFERING FREE WI-FI FOR ITS CITIZENS AND TOURISTS
We already knew Taiwan was ahead of the game with technology, but now we’ve found out that there is free Wi-Fi all across the island for everyone; tourists included. Great news for all you Instagramers out there; be the envy of everyone and get sharing your Taiwanese memories.
TAIWANESE PEOPLE ARE THE SMILEY-EST PEOPLE ON THE PLANET
Okay – so we don’t have rock solid evidence for this one, but as anyone that’s been to this incredible little island knows, the Taiwanese have a seriously infectious smile. What’s more, they’re always happy to help. Never mind the language barrier, stop and ask a local for directions and they’ll more than likely do their very best to help you, smiling all the while of course.