At Black Tomato we’re always searching high and low across the globe for unique destinations and unforgettable experiences. But rarely do we stumble across somewhere so obvious that we can’t believe we missed it. And Taiwan is definitely one of those places. There’s more to this island than its production of all things ‘made in Taiwan’. So here’s the lowdown on why we’re lovin’ Taiwan and why it should be on your ‘must visit’ list.
Floating off the coast of China, Taiwan is booming with city lights, outdoor adventure and extreme culture. The pulsating capital, Taipei, is bursting with life and walking around you’ll be taken on a whirlwind tour of rich ancient heritage mixed with ground breaking modernity. Think ancient elaborate shrines and bustling traditional street markets alongside Asia’s tallest tower (the 101) and Manhattan-esque commercial districts. The city is a haven for food lovers (wasabi coffee, anyone?) and storeaholics alike with food markets running long into the night and diverse storeping districts ranging from luxurious labels to quirky Japanese-Harajuku inspired streets. Here you’ll find the fastest lift in the world at 60kmph, temples decorated with dragons, and if the local specialty ‘Stinky Tofu’ doesn’t appeal then you’ll find the freshest dumplings imaginable to tuck into.
Taiwan has the most incredible landscape with mountain ranges made of marble reaching up to 4000 meters high, luscious rainforests, gushing rivers, and steaming hot springs. With amazing terrain, comes just as amazing outdoor activities. Hike up Mount Yushan for some advantageous views of Taiwan, rock climb up the faces of marble cliffs of Taroko Gorge (so big they block out the sun) and kayak, raft or even trace by foot along electric turquoise rivers across the island. After all this, what better way to end your day than a soothing muscle soak in one of the many hot springs.
Hop on the train (rivalling Japan’s bullet trains for efficiency) and bang in the middle of the country you’ll find the spiritual Sun and Moon lake: where mirror-still waters protect Lalu island for the Thao tribe, the only people allowed on it. Swimming is prohibited, but take a hike through the lake’s surrounding mountains and you’ll come across gardens of peacocks and Assam black tea farms reflected in the eerily still waters. Boat across the water for a closer view of the historical piece of land, and you’ll really start to feel the enchantment.
Surrounding Taiwan are postcard-perfect islands boasting azure waters and fantastic coral reefs. Whilst summer is perfect for catching some rays and swimming laps, winter brings in strong winds making islands such as Penghu one of the best locations in Asia for wind surfing. Little Liouciou Island has the finest location for jaw dropping sunsets and is surrounded by the most unusual coral that emerges out the sea like artistic sculptures. But for a more raw experience, the most southern island, Orchid Island, is populated with Taiwan’s aboriginal people, the Yami, who are of Australasian decent and who have a culture quite far-removed from the Taiwanese.
We could go on, and on, but really the best way to see why we love Taiwan is to get out there and experience it for yourself. Clean, modern, but yet still rich in culture and authenticity, Taiwan is simply perfect for those who want an alternative taste of the orient.