So last week, I told you that even though I have a lot of future posts coming up about my FAM/Press Trip to the Philippines, I was going to divert to writing about Taiwan!
Now let’s be honest. A fortnight ago, I told you that western travellers tended not to choose the Philippines when travelling to Asia, and with Taiwan, it gets distinctly worse because.
Nobody knows where it is!!!
There are murmurs of:
Do you mean Thailand!
Is that in Turkey or something!
In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!
Was it any wonder that when I decided to add another Asian destination to my trip, I opted to choose Taiwan!
But if you’re just following my blog, and you haven’t a clue why Taiwan even came up in the first instance, here are a couple of links to remind you:
- Shocking news! I’m actually in the Philippines and guess what? The secret Chinese-speaking location I told you about is….Taiwan!
- My second huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines – How to work with #TBEX, and how to do it right!
- Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
- How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!
So let’s do some history.
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. It was founded in 1912, making it the first democratic republic in Asia!
Neighbors include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous non-UN state and the largest economy outside the UN boasting a per capita income of over $45,000!
Despite its contentious relationship with China, Taiwan has thrived over the last four decades as one of the strongest economies in Asia, a population of just 23.4 million people, and a GDP of over $1.1 trillion!
The history of Taiwan can be traced back to at least 7000 years!
Between 7000 and 400 years ago, Austronesians, (the ancestors of the island’s indigenous people), arrived in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan.
Taiwan was initially colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by an influx of Han Chinese, including Hakka immigrants from the Fujian and Guangdong areas of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.
The Spanish built a settlement in the north for a brief period, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1642.
In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were also defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan.
The island became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years, during which time it evolved from a traditional society into a modern one.
In 1945, following the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan.
The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s.
During the post-war period, Taiwan experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth, and was known as one of the Four Asian Tigers.
I was enormously impressed by Taiwan and here’s why:
16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!
- Taiwan is an island country boasting abundant natural resources
- A great collection of landforms have been carved out of the Taiwan landscape, such as majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other natural landscapes
- There are 8 national parks and 13 national scenic areas to preserve Taiwan’s best natural ecological environment, and cultural sites
- Taiwan has invaluable rare and endangered wildlife such as the Taiwanese land-locked salmon, the Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkeys, Formosan black bears, Swinhoe pheasants, blue magpies, Mikado pheasants, and the Hsuehshan grass lizard
- Taiwan boasts excellent infrastructure, a convenient transportation system, and high-quality communication services
- It’s utterly and completely clean! I couldn’t believe that there was no litter or trash on the underground train. And if it’s raining, you can pick up an umbrella at the train station. For free!
- The fabulous food, and the Night Market. I’m going to say no more about it, until next week!
- So that you can pay a visit to Taroko National Park
- Get all sweaty and energetic with a hike up Jade Mountain
- To experience the wonderful ambience of Sun Moon Lake
- So that you can hang out where the cool kids do in the hip neighbourhood of Ximending – the first pedestrian zone built in Taipei and the source of Taiwan’s pop subculture, cool Japanese trends, cultural-creative goods, food, and entertainment, as well as unique avant-garde fashion and style. In fact, I stayed in this region for 3 days before I moved to another part of town. More about this next week!
- To discover and explore a bustling modern metropolis sprinkled with quiet lanes and alleys in corners that you would never expect, as well as a unique cultural environment filled with creativity and design. One evening, we bumped into a film company making a Taiwanese soap-show, based around a red-brick cultural building, constructed in a historically preserved heritage warehouse!
- So that you can hop on a high-speed train and experience the Taiwan Railway Journey across the country island!
- Get in touch with authentic Taiwanese life by visiting the mountain region of Pingxi where you can write wishes on a sky lantern, before letting it go into the sky!
- Be fascinated by the beauty and serenity of the Shifen Waterfall
- Because Taiwan has the feel of being Chinese, but itsn’t!
That’s all for now!
16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!
This article is not sponsored and even though I received a part-complimentary stay at amba Taipei Ximending and amba Taipei Songshan, all opinions and the magnificent time that I had, are my very own!
Next week I’ll be writing about what I did in Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!
On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be joining my American friends to celebrate Thanksgiving!
On November 27th, the Berlin German Christmas Market will open, and the furore of mulled wine, German sausages and green cabbage, will begin!
In December/January, I’ll be going to Holland.
The British Shorts Fillm Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017
Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th – 20th January, 2017.
At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.
Save the Date!
November is going to be compulsive!
Watch this space!
Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!
Would you like to visit Taiwan? Have you been there? Did you know that Taiwan was not a part of Thailand or Korea!! Let me know!
See you in Berlin.