This week I’m traveling around Taiwan for AFAR Magazine and Taiwan Tourism. I’ll be writing an advertorial for the magazine and cover the country on my site. While I’m just halfway through my trip I wanted to share some quick thoughts about a country many of you may not know a lot about. I know I didn’t before I arrived earlier this week.
So much of what we in the United States know about Taiwan is couched in geopolitical terms and because of that the culture isn’t well known to us. I had my preconceptions before arriving, but they have all been proven false. I’m not sure what I expected really, but I think I anticipated a mix between Thailand and Hong Kong, neither of which are good comparisons at all.
As with most places I visit, what has impressed me the most are the people. Everyone I’ve met has been so warm and welcoming, ready to answer any inane question I may have; and I have a lot. They helped me learn some basic Chinese phrases and the proper way to seek guidance at temples. Most importantly, they have enthusiastically shared their culinary traditions with me.
I already know that when I leave Taiwan it will be the food memories that will be the most important. Some of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed have happened this week and not fancy restaurants. Good, simple and delicious food is the preference here and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. Dumplings, pork, steamed meat filled buns and Peking duck have all been personal favorites.
The beauty of the country has also been incredible, as has the importance the Taiwanese place on the role nature plays in their lives. As I have visited lakes and biked along trails, most of the tourists have been Taiwanese, out simply to enjoy the physical beauty of their country. I think that’s amazing and it’s made me feel proud to be a part of it.
Overall, I think I will walk away from this trip richer in spirit for having been here. I don’t know yet where it will rank on my unofficial list of favorite places, but it is indeed a special place and so far I’ve felt privileged to be able to see it for myself.
Is there anything you want to know as I continue to explore Taiwan?
9 thoughts on “A Few Quick and Honest Thoughts About Taiwan”
This is exactly how I felt about Taiwan as well. The people would help us find wherever we needed to go, even if it meant having to call their friends on their mobile phones who spoke English. And the street food…mmmmmm street food. I actually asked the TAs (I was teaching at the time) how to say the word “anything” so I could order it in restaurants. And I was never disappointed.
A place I’ve always wanted to visit! Can’t wait to see more.
If you want someone to take you around some of the less well-traveled areas, let me know.
After visited Taiwan 4 times, this is also my impression!
BTW, we visited same places, so it seems! – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4024672221
A quick and honest post, indeed. Yesterday, I’ve commented on a post about the written-content lacks the essence of visiting Taiwan. And ranting about not getting Taiwanese ‘feel’ in terms of style, culture, and food. Obviously, this is for tourist, not traveler who choose to walk on the beaten track, yet enthusiastically still seeking for the unbeaten, unbound, unexplored and undiscovered gems in places.
So you did just like many season travelers do, that is, meeting the local, talk to them, and going to places less-seen.
I’ve been really enjoying your updates from the trip. I don’t really know much about the country either, so it’s great to get your perspective.
Thanks Randy! It’s been fun to share!
I love Taiwan mate – it’s a truly excellent country and easily one of my favourites. My tips are bus trip up the East Coast (Taidong/Taitung to Hualien) – you’ll meet a load of locals who speak Taiwanese and are different from the rest of Taiwan. South Coast – Kenting and Eluanbi – there’s a point there known as “the beacon of south east Asia and some great beaches. The old city of Tainan is worth a look for its Dutch Fort. And I’d avoid Taipei – it’s just a big city and didn’t seem to represent Taiwan to me. I found it much too global, whereas the rest of Taiwan isn’t. Even Kaohsiung is a cool city and I’ve a mate DJ ing out there. Love it! Safe travels. Jonny
You’d already piqued my interest with your social posts. Now I can’t wait to read more!! Especially about the food and nature.
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