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The heart of Asia
The leaf-shaped island of Taiwan has one of the most developed, technologically-based economies of the world, where research and advancement form the backbone of this island nation’s vibrant infrastructure.
The nation prides itself on its long and vibrant historical democratic traditions. Founded in 1912, the Republic of China (Taiwan) was one of the first democratic republics in Asia.
Taiwan: What others have to say!
Inhabited by a population of 23 million, Taiwan has repeatedly been highly praised in the international media as one of the world’s most unique getaways.
Lonely Planet voted Taiwan one of world’s best tourist destinations in 2015. The New York Times ranked Taiwan 11th among 52 tourist sites of the world. The island nation’s cuisine was ranked 35th among the 40 must-experience attractions by The Guardian newspaper.
CNN noted 10 things that Taiwan does better than other nations, including its unique night markets, themed restaurants, and readily available Wi-Fi access. CNN also reported that among the top 12 places in the world to enjoy the sunset, Guanshan, Kenting, sits in eighth place. The San Francisco Chronicle noted its people are warm and inviting; tradition, respect for ancestors, and faith are woven into Taiwan’s daily life.
Taiwan’s first nation indigenous people
Taiwan’s long history can be traced back 7,000 years. Austronesians, the ancestor of the island’s indigenous peoples, where the first to arrive and inhabit the island nation. These original indigenous inhabitants of Taiwan still live on the island, and number 500,000 people, organised into 16 different tribes.
This fusion of native indigenous cultures, as well as the influence of Dutch, Spanish, Japanese, and Han Chinese, allows visitors to connect to with all aspects of this nation’s multifaceted cultures. Generations of locals have left their cultural remnants scattered throughout Taiwan, such as traditional architecture, folk art and music, and relics of a prehistoric civilizations; newer arrivals brought traditions from China and created their own distinctive culture in Taiwan.
Taiwan, though modern, has a soul infused with varied and vibrant cultures which have seen the development of numerous and differing local customs and traditions, providing visitors a distinctive cultural and tourist experience.
Incredible natural beauty of Taiwan’s national parks
Scenic skylines, endowed with over 200 mountain peaks hovering to more than 3,000 metres in height, make Taiwanese geography unique.
Nine national parks offer a variety of distinct topographic landscapes, leaving visitors in awe of nature’s powerful creative hand; the parks themselves are Taiwan’s natural treasure houses.
These jewels include the Taroko National Park, a narrow ravine cutting through mountains; Yushan National Park, Taiwan’s highest landmark and Northeast Asia’s highest peak; Shei-pa National Park (magnificent steep slopes); Yangmingshan National Park (volcanic craters and lakes); Kenting National Park, the only tropical region in Taiwan; Kinmen National Park (white coral and shell beaches among other geological wonders). Last but certainly not least, Taijiang National Park’s cultural and natural attractions will leave one breathless.
Taipei’s unique night markets. Colourful and vibrant. Amazing diverse food. Try the snake wine.
Food culture is important to the Taiwanese. Taipei’s culinary traditions offer an enormous variety of typical Taiwanese snacks, and are unique throughout the world.
Famous and unique dishes range from oyster omelettes to fried rice noodles, tempura, Tainan Danzai noodles, Taiwanese spring rolls, rice tube pudding, and braised pork rice, all delicacies. Food is inexpensive and delicious. Each edible specialty provides insight into the people of the area from which it originated.
Four of the most well known night markets in Taipei, each having its own traditions and characteristics, include the Keelung Night Market, famous for its pot-edged pancake soup, shaved ice, Tempura, fried sandwiches, bean noodle thick soup, and shrimp Taiwanese ball. The Shilin Night Market offers various cuisines including steak, hot stuffed dumplings, little cakes wrapped in big cake, sliced noodles, liver soup, squid thick soup, oyster omelette. The 600 metre Raohe Street Night Market, popular with tourists, is where many herb-steamed sparerib restaurants are located. The Huaxi Night Market, one of the most famous night markets in Taiwan, which attracts numerous foreigners and locals alike, is famous for its snake meat and snake wine, pot-edged pancake soup, salty rice pudding, freshwater turtle meal, seafood cuisine.
National Palace Museum — One of the world’s top museums.
The National Palace Museum, Taipei’s most popular tourist attraction, encompasses a collection covering 10,000 years of Chinese history, from the Neolithic age to the late Qing Dynasty.
The museum consists of over 696,000 pieces, housing one of the world’s most unique and largest collections of ancient Chinese imperial artefacts and artworks.
The National Palace Museum is considered one of the most prominent and highly ranked museums of the world. Its collection is housed over four levels, which feature rare books, Qing and Ming dynasty furniture, religious sculptures, and an orientation gallery allowing visitors to gain an overview of the Chinese dynasties. Visitors can also view an impressive array of paintings and calligraphy, as well as gaining an insight into the history of Chinese ceramics. There is a unique and priceless array of items. The jade collection alone is stunning, covering weapons, teapots, jewellery, and ritual objects.
The most popular item in the collection, which has drawn international attention, is undoubtedly the hand-carved Jadeite Cabbage. Shaped as a cabbage head, its ruffled semi-translucent leaves feature two grasshoppers camouflaged in its leaves. The Jadeite Cabbage is a masterful combination of various natural colours of the jade which realistically capture the colour variations of a real cabbage.
The Carved Olive-Stone Boat is another unique work. A minute boat carved from an olive pit. This incredible, fully equipped work is skillfully carved featuring a covered deck and moveable windows. The boat’s interior contains chairs, dishes on a table, and eight figures representing the characters of Su Shih’s Latter Ode on the Red Cliff. The bottom is carved with small characters, the entire 300+ character text, with the date and the artist’s name.
The museum also contains an entire level encompassing works of bronze, weapons, and ritual vessels, and Ming and Qing dynasty carvings. The last level houses a Sanxitang Teahouse.
To reach the National Palace Museum from Shilin MRT station, take Exit 1 to Zhongzheng Road and catch R30 (red 30), minibus 18 or 19, or buses 255, 304, or 815. It takes around 15 minutes to reach the museum. From Dazhi MRT station take bus B13 (brown 13).
Further tourist information on Taiwan can be obtained by visiting the website www.taiwan.net.tw, or by contacting the Taipei Mission in the Republic of Latvia, Room 602, Elizabetes Street 2, Riga, LV-1340, Tel:+371-6732-0610/Fax: +371-6732-3268, Email: email@example.com