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Taiwan or also officially known as the Republic of China is a sovereign country located in East Asia. It is surrounded by People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and Philippines to the south. The capital of Taiwan is Taipei or Taipei City in official records, being a special municipality of Taiwan that sits on the northern tip of the island. It is the enclave of the municipality of New Taipei City that is about 25 kilometres southwest of the Keelung port town, with most parts of the city being located in the ancient lakebed of Taiwan Basin. As of 2015, it is home to 2,704,810 residents, forming a major part of the Taipei-Keelung Metropolitan Area together with New Taipei and Keelung. During the Qing dynasty, it was once known as Taipeh-fu while under the Japanese rule, it was known as Taihoku. In present, it is the centre of politics, economy, education and culture of Taiwan, and also one of the East Asia’s major hubs.
Once an island known as Formosa, in which the name came from the Portuguese sailors marking the island in their maps as Ilha Formosa which literally translates into beautiful island. The island is said to be populated since 6, 000 years ago, with the majority of the settlers being farmers from mainland China which are believed to be the ancestors of present-day Taiwanese aborigines. It is only in 13th century that Han Chinese fishermen began to come over to the nearby Penghu islands, only by 17th century the Dutch East India Company came over and established trading outposts and importing labourers from Fujian. In 1626, the Spanish Empire occupied northern Taiwan but later lost to the Dutch forces in 1642. In 1662, Koxinga, a Ming dynasty loyalist seized control of the island from the Dutch and started the Kingdom of Tunging which lasted till 1683 when Qing dynasty annexed Taiwan to place it under the province of Fujian. This lasted till 1895 when the Qing dynasty was defeated in the First Sino-Japanese War and the sovereignty of Taiwan, Penghu and Liaodong was ceded to the Empire of Japan. After the surrender of Japan to the United States in 1945, Taiwan was handed over to the Republic of China. Later, the ruling Kuomintang lost mainland China to the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War. Consequently, they moved back to Taiwan and established the present-day Republic of China.
The weather in the Taiwan is tropical marine climate, considering its location on the Tropic of Cancer. The northern and central regions are typically subtropical, while the southern area is tropical and the mountain regions are temperate. Its rainy season is concurrent with the East Asian Monsoon in May June, while hot and humid weather is experienced from June to September. July to September would witness a handful of typhoons as well. Unquestionably, the prominent language in Taiwan would be Mandarin. Nonetheless, there are also local dialects and other variants being spoken such as the Taiwanese Mandarin, Hokkien, Matsu, Hakka and aboriginal languages known as the Formosan languages. Regarding the time difference, Singapore’s time is similar to that of Taiwan. Hence, there is no issue of adjusting yourself to the time difference.
For those of you who want to visit Taiwan, you can board a plane at Singapore International Airport (IATA: SIN). The destination would be to Taoyuan International Airport IATA: TPE) which is located about 40 kilometres west of Taiwan in Dayuan District, Taoyuan. It is the largest and busiest airport in the country. It is one of five Taiwanese airports with regular international flights and is operated by the Taoyuan International Airport Corporation. In 2016, it was ranked the best airport for its size in the Asia-Pacific region by Airports Council International. Formerly known as Chiang Kai-Shek International Airport, it was renamed to its current name on 2006. There are also limited cruise services going in and out of Taiwan and surrounding areas operated by Star Cruises from Keelung and Kaohsiung to Hong Kong and other Japanese islands, as well as ferries heading to Matsu from Fuzhou which runs twice daily. From the mainland, Xiamen would offer ferry services to Kinmen and Keelung at Dongdu Harbor, while Quanzhou would also offer several ferry services to Kinmen.
Once you are in Taiwan, you will find out that there are a handful of modes of transportation to choose from in order to get around town such as plane, train, bus, rapid transit, taxi, scooter, motorcycle and car. The only way to make the best choice is to plan your route accordingly – if you are going to the smaller islands, plane would be your best bet, while high-speed rail would save time and the rail stations allow bypassing highways. If you are coming over with a tight budget, going by bus would be a good idea since the cost is much lower. For end-to-end trips, there are always the taxis. Unless if you are well-versed with the roads and would like to have a lot more flexibility, you do not have to consider renting a scooter, motorcycle and cars.
Taiwan 101 or formerly known as Taipei World Finance Center is a landmark supertall skyscraper in Xinyi District, Taipei. It was the world’s tallest building from 2004 and only remained so till the completion of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai in the year 2010. It is also the largest green building ever erected, having received the platinum LEED certification. Serving as the modern icon of Taiwan since its operation, it was architecturally designed as a symbol of the evolution of technology and Asian tradition.
National Palace Museum
Located in Taiwan and Taibao, the National Palace Museum has a collection of nearly 700,000 pieces of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artworks, making one of the largest of its kind in the world. This collection amasses nearly 8,000 years of history of Chinese art beginning from the Neolithic age, with most of them being high-quality pieces collected by China’s emperors. The National Palace Museum shares its roots with the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City.
A speciality of the Jiufen area, taro balls are a dessert made of chewy taro, sweet potato, and green tea rice balls, mixed with red beans, green beans, and a sweet syrup all in one bowl. They can be enjoyed hot or with shaved ice on top of it. The combination of tastes and mixture are definitely uplifting and refreshing. While it is more popular around Jiufen, it is also sold nationwide, hence fret not if you are not planning to go to Jiufen for your Taiwan trip.
Originated from the south of Changjiang, soup dumplings typically features small size, considerable amount of fillings, juicy and fresh taste, thin wrapper and exquisite shape. The main component of the traditional soup dumplings would be the soup itself, whereas chefs would spread flour on the rolling pin before rolling the dough in order to obtain paper-thin wrappers and nice presentation. Din Tai Fung has been popularizing the soup dumplings by opening chains around Taiwan and increasingly worldwide, with a setup that is ready to serve the customers despite the typically long queues.
Across most of the night markets around Taiwan, you shall simply look for stalls with large cooking plate, piles of eggs and bowl of fresh oysters to know that they are selling oyster omelettes, which are one of the highly sought after delicacies in Taiwan. Some stalls will also add bean sprouts and lettuce, as well as topping it off with a syrupy red sauce. Worry not, the sauce is not spicy and you can adjust the amount of sauce needed to get the right taste that you prefer.
Taroko National Park
Taroko National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan, being named after the mesmerizing Taroko Gorge, the landmark gorge of the park carved by the Liwu River. Spanning across Taichung Municipality and counties of Nantou and Hualien, it was established as Tsugitaka-Taroko National Park by the Governor-General of Taiwan on 12 December 1937. It was later abolished in 1945 and reopened to public in 1986. The main highlight is certainly the Taroko Gorge and the surrounding areas which are known for the abundance of marble. That aside, there are a lot of other wonderful sightseeing places such as Tunnel of Nine Turns, Eternal Spring Shrine, Hill of Tayuling the Great and many more.
Jiufen is a mountain area located in Ruifang District, New Taipei City, founded during the Qing Dynasty and thrived further due to the discovery of gold during the Japanese rule in 1893. Due to the effect of gold rush, developments happen at a fast pace, many of the buildings stand till this day, reflecting the Japanese influence on both architectural and cultural aspects. Most of the attractions in Jiufen would focus on the cobblestone steps of Shuqi Road between Jiufen Elementary School and the Jiufen police precinct, whereas there are a lot of shops and cafes worthy of visiting at Jishan Street, Qiche Road and Qingbian Road.
With the flight and ticket package available at Traveloka Singapore, you can visit Taiwan easily and cheaper. Choose a variety of tour packages that we offer, and modify as you like to get the combination you want.
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