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Jan 25

What I Loved About Taiwan

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Until recently, the only thing I knew about Taiwan was that toys were made there. I’d seen the ubiquitous “Made In Taiwan” sticker countless times, but I couldn’t point the place out on a map and I envisioned it as one big factory of a nation. Does that make me a stereotypical ignorant American? Probably. But after a stream of friends returned from Taiwan spewing nothing but positive reviews, I decided to find it on a map take a trip there to see what the fuss was all about–and I’m so glad I did. Taiwan blew my mind!

 

For those as geographically challenged as I was, Taiwan is a small tropical island off the eastern coast of China. Taiwan is kinda-sorta a part of China, in a way that I don’t completely understand; apparently there’s some political controversy, so read the wikipedia page if you are so inclined. While it maintains a lot of its Chinese cultural heritage, Taiwan has developed its own identity. Taiwan is artistic and spirited; the people are friendly, and although the country is strict about abiding the laws, the atmosphere is decidedly laid-back. Coming from Korea it was so refreshing to see people waiting in lines (not a single old lady shoved me!) and offering friendly smiles in passing on the street.

 

Some of my favorite things about Taiwan were:

 

Food

If you like noodles and dumplings, prepare to eat your weight. The street food at the night markets was also heavenly! Think fresh squeezed juices, grilled meats, cheesy sandwiches, and fruit galore. Bakeries with pastry-filled windows made me drool, and delicious bubble tea could be found on nearly every corner. I also really enjoyed drinking an IPA as big as my head at a craft brewery.

dumplings in Taiwan

food in Taiwan noodles

fruit in Taiwandumplings in Taiwanbakery window in Taiwan

food in Taiwan

drinks in Taipei Taiwan

 

Sights

Taiwan is beautiful in many ways. Its land is tropical and lush with dramatic coastlines bordering the bluest water I’ve ever seen. The modern architecture is innovative but the traditional neighborhoods are still quaint. The temples were ornate and breathtaking, and the National Monument was quite impressive.

National Monument Taipei Taiwan

National Monument Taipei Taiwan

Chinese Temple in Taipei Taiwan

spiral staircase tower Taiwan

street in Taipei Taiwantemple in Taipei Taiwan

 

People

The people of Taiwan were incredibly kind, friendly, welcoming–and they spoke a surprising amount of English!  If we looked lost, people would offer to give us directions and generally made us feel very welcome in their country.

Chinese temple Taipei Taiwan

 

Nature Activities

Taiwan is stunning. The landscape is so green and tropical it feels like jurassic park, and there are plenty of opportunities to explore nature and look for dinosaurs. Taroko Gorge, one of the country’s most famous sights, offers hiking and gorgeous canyon vistas. You can climb waterfalls, surf, relax in hot springs, or simply take in the unbelievable view of the Qingshui cliffs.

water tracing Hualien Taiwanwaterfall river tracing Hualien Taiwantemple in Taroko Gorge TaiwanQinshui cliffs Taiwantemple in Taroko Gorge Taiwan
overlooking Taroko Gorge Taiwan

I only spent 5 days in Taiwan in September, but the country is certainly on my list to return to someday when I have more time! Oh, and one more thing I loved about Taiwan… my awesome shoe purchases! I’m a sucker for anything cats or owls… 

cat shoes owl shoes

Cats and owls–my two favorite things!!

 

Have you been to Taiwan? What was your favorite thing?

 

  • I am so jealous! I had a layover in Taiwan on the way to and from Singapore for Christmas break, but it was only 2 hours each time. So, I didn’t get to see any of Taiwan except the airport. I did get to glimpse the mountains as we were flying in, and see the sunset over them, which only made me want to visit more. I really hope to get to actually visit Taiwan soon, it sounds awesome.

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      I remember I had a layover in Taipei a few years back too, but the airport totally doesn’t do the country justice. 😉 I hope you get a chance to go there someday!

      • The giant pink Hello Kitty area does the country some justice at least 😛 Me too. I’m already starting to plan a visit, though it will be awhile.

  • Kendra Taylor Ruczak

    Kaleena, I love your blog! This post really made me want to explore Taiwan, and especially Taroko Gorge! My fiance and I had a 7 hour layover in Taipei a few years ago. We had so much fun wandering around the city, but that wasn’t nearly enough time. Your photos are gorgeous! Also, I love those owl and cat shoes. 🙂

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      Thanks for reading Kendra, glad you enjoy it! I’m actually working on a post about Taroko Gorge right now. Taipei is really cool but 7 hours definitely isn’t enough! I hope you get the chance to go someday, it’s one of my favorite countries I’ve ever visited! The shoes were the icing on the cake 😉

  • I have 15 days of vacation this summer and was thinking about going to China and Taiwan. Now I definitely want to go! 😀

    • KaleenasKaleidoscope

      15 days whoa! That’s awesome! Definitely spend a week in Taiwan if you can, there’s so much to see and do! Although I think summer is the typhoon season there…