When one thinks of Taiwan they think of rows and rows of factories with little albeit no tourist areas to boast of. I had no intention of visiting the place but since my husband is currently Taipei based I had the pleasure of calling “Ilha Formosa,” the beautiful island, our second home.
Here are my top 7 reasons why you should visit Taipei:
1. Good Food. Hello siao long pao and milk tea! Home to the world famous Din Tai Fung and night food markets, you can find small restaurants in every corner. Even the unassuming eatery offers good food and is so cheap! Cheaper than in Manila! You can get a good dumpling for NT5 per piece. And the variety is exciting! My personal favorites are their oyster omelet, green onion pancake, braised beef noodle soup, mango shaved ice, fried chicken or squid (their flavoring is not Western style, sooo tasty!), gua bao (what we call cua pao), Taiwanese sausage, and ohhh their fresh breads. Ok sorry, I’m doing a litany here. The point is, there are sooo many good things to try and eat and all are very affordable! What to eat in Taiwan here.
2. Scenic destinations. I like it that most of the scenic destinations are reachable by train or public transport in an hour or so. Of course there are a lot of other places to explore that would take longer than that but for a Taiwan newbie tourist the one’s that are an hour away are a good start. My top 10 places to visit in Taipei with the Family here.
3. Relaxing and Convenient. Taiwan is heavily influenced by Japan because it was under the Japanese colony for 50 years (1895-1945). If you have travelled to Japan, you will see the familiar tiled buildings, lots of pretty bakeries filled with good breads and pastries, efficient train system (see my post about how to get around Taiwan here). There is also very little traffic so getting from one place to another, no matter how far it is, is just a breeze. Taipei though a highly urbanized city is enveloped by mountains and is full of greenery which makes it very pleasant.
4. Cool Weather. For us Filipinos who would travel 6 hours to go up to Baguio to enjoy cool weather, Taiwan will be a welcome treat. Taiwan enjoys a temperature of 20-22°C almost all year round except during their summer months from June-August which can be almost as hot as you were in Manila.
The coldest months are from January to March, temperature will range from as low at 7°C (January) to 18°C. March, spring, is the best time to go! Walking is pleasant and you can catch the cherry blossoms in full bloom. November, semestral break of kids, is cool at 20°C but it’s raining on and off so it’s hard to go around. December is also a good time to visit because it’s beginning to get cooler at 15-20°C.
5. Not much tourists, yet. Since Taiwan is dismissed as an industrial country, it is not in the tourists’ radar, yet. My family and I are not fans of places with swarms of people so I really appreciate this.
6. Budget Friendly. I am so surprised at how cheap everything is in Taipei. Transport is cheap. Food is cheap (budget around NT100-150/person). Entrances are cheap (except to the viewing deck of Taipei 101). The world class Taipei Zoo is just NT60! What airline to take to Taipei from Manila, here.
And last but one of the most important,
7. Nice and courteous people. Traveling and being met with rude locals can ruin an experience. The people of Taiwan will give you an easy and relaxed experience. They are a little bit shy, probably because of the language barrier, but some locals who knows a little bit of English will even try to strike up a conversation with you. For the ones who can barely speak English, it is charming to see them go out of their way to try to help you despite the language difference. They speak very little English (Mandarin is their main language) so when you speak don’t complicate what you want to say. If you want water, just say “water” not “can I have a glass of water please.” They follow rules and are very considerate of others like if you are with your child someone will readily offer you a seat on the train.
Did I pique your interest for a Taiwan visit, click here on How to Get a Taiwan Tourist Visa for Filipinos post.
Add Taiwan to your Asian Travel Bucket and you will be in for a delightful surprise.