A rebellious island that manages to preserve its original culture at a high rate of technological development.
Things to do in Taiwan
The symbiosis of old buildings and skyscrapers looks surprisingly organic. Such eclecticism will be appreciated by people with a delicate taste. The architecture here is truly unique. For example, the modern giant Taipei 101 is a visiting card of the capital of Taiwan, from the observation deck of which stunning views open up. But the presidential palace is made in the Baroque style with a characteristic Asian flavor.
The nature of Taiwan is another attraction that will be appreciated by the ever-hurrying inhabitants of megacities. Yangmingshan Nature Reserve impresses with landscapes, cherry trees and volcanoes. A walk through Taroko Park will leave no less vivid impressions. The Lake of the Sun and the Moon awaits romantics and fans of contemplative relaxation
Amusement parks invite friendly families. LeoFoo Village has attractions for all tastes, and Dongshan River Water Park boasts a huge swimming pool and an artificial beach.
A multifunctional skyscraper was built in the capital of Taiwan in 2003. The height of the giant is 509 m, it is the fifth tallest building in the world. By the way, the number 101 is not only the number of floors, but also a symbol of renewal. The building was built using innovative technologies, so it can withstand the strongest earthquakes and typhoons — a frequent occurrence in this region.
The basis of the structure is a steel frame, which rests on 380 concrete supports driven into the ground for 80 m. Between the 87th and 91st floors, a pendulum ball is suspended, it balances the structure during vibrations and gusts of wind. The facade of the building is made of aluminum and glass.
Offices, shops, fashion boutiques, bars, restaurants and clubs settled in the skyscraper. Observation decks are located on the 89th and 101st floors. High-speed elevators will take those who wish to the top in just 40 seconds.
The official residence of the president is the former home of the Japanese governor, built in 1919, and a reminder of the island’s colonial past. The length of the building is about 130 m, the height is 6 floors. The palace was designed by architect Matsuyama. Allied bombing during World War II severely damaged the architectural masterpiece. Restoration work began only in 1947, and was completed after 3 years.
The white and red facade is designed in the so-called Asian baroque style. Inside are gates mounted in a tower commensurate in height with an 11-storey building. Only a few halls are available for inspection, but this is enough to appreciate the luxury of the interiors.
Tourists can also look into the courtyard with beautiful flower beds, sprawling trees and an artificial pond. They visit the Presidential Palace only as part of organized excursions, preliminary registration is carried out on the website of the palace.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall
The memorial was erected in 1980 in honor of the late President Chiang Kai-shek. The architectural ensemble consists of a square where public events are held, as well as a theater and a concert hall.
The hall itself, to which a wide road leads, stands in the eastern part of the complex. The building area is 250 thousand square meters. m, height — more than 70 m. It stands on a stepped base of three tiers. The roof is covered with blue tiles and decorated with gold tips. A staircase of 89 steps leads to the main entrance — according to the number of years at the time of the death of the Taiwanese leader.
Inside is a bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek. In the lower tiers of the hall there is a library and an exhibition dedicated to the formation of Taiwan. Every hour there is an honorary changing of the guard at the hall.
The most popular nature reserve in Taiwan covers an area of about 930 square meters. km. It was formed in 1937, but due to the unstable political situation, it became available to the general public only after 50 years.
The landscape of the territory is defined by mountains (some peaks go up to 3 km into the sky, making them the highest in the country), gorges, lush forests, rivers and waterfalls.
The park is full of trails for hiking and cycling. Almost all routes lead to the man-made waterfall of Changchun and the Temple of Eternal Spring, located nearby. The site of the sanctuary, erected in memory of the workers who died during the construction of the central island highway, offers breathtaking panoramic views.
A picturesque mountainous area lies near Yushan Peak. It forms a national park offering many recreational options. In addition to trekking trails along waterfalls, talkative streams and lush greenery, there is a tea plantation and a wasabi farm. Tourists can see all stages of the production of agricultural products and look into branded stores.
The national park and at the same time a recreational area, popular with local residents, is located in the southern part of the island. The area of the reserve is about 323 sq. km. It is famous for its dense forests, waterfalls, miles of hiking trails, coral reefs and soft sand beaches.
The park got its name from the tiny village of Kenting. Despite its modest size, it is the center of tourist life. It houses cafes, restaurants, shops and other infrastructure. In the spring, the park hosts a rock festival that gathers musicians not only from Taiwan and China, but also from all over the world.
The national park was founded during the era of Japanese occupation in 1937 — then it was called the «Green Mountains». Later, the reserve was renamed Yangmingshan in honor of an outstanding scientist who lived during the reign of the Ming Dynasty.
The reserve is located between Taipei and New Taipei. It is known for fields, sakura groves, rivers, waterfalls, dormant and active volcanoes (about 20 in total). The territory of the park is marked by numerous hiking trails.
An archipelago of 64 picturesque islands with a total area of about 127 sq. km lies in the south of the Taiwan Strait. Penghu, or the Pescadores Islands, were formed as a result of volcanic activity, and therefore have a bizarre landscape. The three islands are connected by a causeway and a bridge. Chimei is considered one of the most beautiful among them. People come here to enjoy a beach holiday and do water sports.
In the vicinity of the city of Kaohsiung lies Chengqing Lake, whose name translates as «crystal clear». However, the locals prefer to call it Lotus Lake. Every year, these beautiful flowers bloom on the mirror surface of the reservoir.
In the middle of the lake there are several islands connected by a bizarre bridge. Chengqing is surrounded by a picturesque park with many pagodas and temples. One of them is dedicated to Pasheng Tati, the god of medicine.
The highest peak in Taiwan and all of East Asia is located in the very center of the island. The height of Yushan is 3952 m. The mountain was first conquered by man in 1898, and since then its popularity has only been growing.
Not every tourist dares to climb it, but you should not refuse to walk around the surroundings. Boundless expanses and bewitching panoramas appear before the eyes. In addition, Mount Yongshan is the only place in Taiwan where snow is guaranteed in winter. All excursions and hikes start from the village of Puli, which is the closest to the peak.
Lake of the Sun and Moon
One of the most beautiful lakes in Taiwan is located at an altitude of 2650 m above sea level. Those who are looking for solitude, as well as romantics and newlyweds, love to visit here.
One part of the reservoir looks like a flat disk of the sun, and the other looks like a curved crescent. There is an island in the middle, but tourists are not allowed there, as this is a sacred place for Shao pilgrims.
Lush vegetation and majestic mountains are reflected in the deep emerald water. There is simply no better place to contemplate nature.
This is one of the largest and most visited islands of the Yilan resort with an area of 2,841 sq. km. Once there was a fishing village here, but in the 1970s the population was taken to the mainland due to the lack of fresh water. This fact did not become an obstacle to the transformation of Guishan into a popular attraction. Tourists come here to sunbathe, enjoy the views and walk along the trekking trails.
Religious sites and museums
Sacred Hall of Military and Literary Arts
About 4 hours from Taipei lies the town of Kaohsiung, famous for its Hall of Martial and Literary Arts. The attraction was built in honor of the god Guan Gong and the thinker Confucius.
On the first level there is a memorial to the warrior god and an altar decorated with intricate carvings. The second level is dedicated to Confucius. On the third level is the Jade Emperor’s room. The pompous hall, decorated with precious stones, paintings and statues, attracts the most attention.
The main temple of Taiwan, glorifying the goddess Guanyin, was built in 1738 during the reign of the Qing Dynasty. The building was repeatedly rebuilt and modified. The last global reconstruction was carried out in the 1950s — the temple was almost burned to the ground during the American bombing in 1945.
The building impresses with an abundance of carved details and bright paintings. The entrance to the sanctuary is guarded by dragons, their images are duplicated on the two-tiered roof and in the interior decoration.
The dominant feature of the interior is a gilded Buddha statue sitting on a pedestal. Nearby are gifts — fruits and flowers. It is also worth paying attention to the wooden domed ceiling, the textured pattern of which looks like a cobweb.
National Palace Museum
The country’s most important museum is located in the suburbs of Taipei. Over 930 thousand artifacts are stored in its storerooms. These are paintings, decorations, interior elements, jade and porcelain items, scrolls, books and other items that once adorned the royal palaces of the Qing, Yuan and Song dynasties. A significant part of the collection was smuggled out of Beijing during the civil war.
Temple of Confucius
One of the most important temples of the country has a long and difficult history. The first building was erected in 1665 by order of the famous commander Zheng Cheng Gong. Later, it turned into a place of pilgrimage for those who professed Confucianism, and then a school was opened here.
When Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese, they destroyed the architectural complex. It was only possible to restore it in the 1920s. The new temple regularly celebrated the birthday of Confucius and comprehended the essence of his teachings. During the Second World War, the sanctuary was closed again, and it fell into disrepair.
The temple acquired the status of a national monument only at the end of the 20th century. Now the building and the surrounding area are divided into 2 parts — a philosophical educational institution and a temple, where Confucius Memorial Day is held on September 28. The colorful ceremony attracts many tourists.
Museum of theatrical puppets Ling Liu-Xin
An unusual museum is located in Taipei. Theatrical puppets from all over the world are presented at its expositions — more than 6 thousand in total.
- Workshops are located on the ground floor. Here you can watch the process of birth of inanimate actors.
- The second and third houses thematic exhibitions, where the dolls are divided by countries and continents. There are exhibits from Africa, France, Germany, Latin America.
- On the fourth floor, you can immerse yourself in the exciting world of Vietnamese puppet theater on the water.
The oldest zoo on the island was opened in 1914. Its area is over 165 hectares, of which 90 hectares are directly a zone of acquaintance with animals, while scientific work is being carried out in the rest of the park.
The zoo is divided into several expositions: the fauna of Taiwan, the zone of Asian equatorial forests, the inhabitants of the desert, the animals of Africa, Australia and the world of birds — the latter are more than 130 species. In the enclosures, living conditions are created that are as close as possible to natural ones. Pavilions with pandas, insects and penguins are always especially crowded.
The cable car, about 4 km long, was opened in 2007. The path starts at the metro station near the zoo and stretches up to Mount Maokong. There are 5 wagons on the line. The rise time is about 30 minutes. There are several stops along the way, the most popular are the Zoah temple and the observation deck.
Dongshan River Water Park
The park in Yinglan province was opened on the banks of the Dongshan River in 1993. A huge area of entertainment is at the service of local residents and tourists: an impressive open-air swimming pool, an artificial beach with all the necessary infrastructure, attractions, a cinema and an observatory. There is a rental of bicycles and hoverboards. The park regularly hosts competitions and festivals.
Leo Foo Village
Time in this amusement park will fly by. The rides will give you an adrenaline rush. Roller coasters and Free Fall await the most daring, and the local rollerdrome is impressive in size. The little ones will like thematic zones: Africa, Wild West, Arab East, etc.
Night markets are a kind of attraction in many Asian countries. But the Taipei Shilin has a special charm. All the «salt» of Taiwan is concentrated in this place. On a long street, shining with multi-colored illumination, there are stationary shops and portable tents. They sell clothes, shoes, haberdashery, jewelry, toys. These are locally produced goods and fakes of well-known brands.
Locals come here not only for shopping, but also for socializing. You can discuss pressing matters at the counter of street cafes. Tourists look at the market in search of souvenirs and national color. Shilin starts working at 20:00.