Taiwan is an island state in southeast Asia

Taiwan – About the country

Once the Portuguese, the first Europeans to visit the shores of Taiwan, gave it the name “Formosa” which means “Beautiful”. Located off the southeastern coast of China, this island is indeed exceptionally beautiful. Visitors to Taiwan have sunny beaches, forested mountain peaks, sleepy quiet villages, ancient temples and monuments of bygone eras. Taiwan’s culture originally combines a variety of trends, here intricately intertwined the traditions of the aboriginal Haoshan, the Chinese, the Japanese, and modern Western innovations. The island has managed to retain all its charm, despite the fact that today it has become one of the most developed areas of Asia.

The official name

Capital city

Area

Population

23,069,345 people

Form of Government

Administrative division

Administratively the country is divided into 18 districts, five municipalities and Taipei and Kaohsiung Special Municipalities.

Religion

Most Taiwanese people are Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians, and some are Muslims and Christians.

Time

It is 5 hours ahead of Moscow time in winter and 4 hours ahead in summer.

Currency

New Taiwan dollar

History

Taiwan’s population was very small before the 17th century. It was mostly inhabited by tribes distantly related to the inhabitants of Indonesia and the Philippines, who were still living in the Stone Age. In 1590, the Portuguese visited the shores of Taiwan and named the island “Formosa” (“Beautiful”). In 1646, the island came under the rule of the Dutch East India Company. Meanwhile, events were taking place in mainland China that influenced the fate of Taiwan. In 1644 the conquest of China by the northern nomads, the Manchus, began. In 1661, Admiral Zheng Chenggong, who remained loyal to the Chinese Ming dynasty, landed in Taiwan and expelled the Dutch from the island. He established his own state there. Under Zheng Chenggong and his successors, Taiwan was settled by the Chinese, and its population grew to two hundred thousand. But in 1683 the Manchus came to the island. They destroyed Taiwan’s independence and incorporated it into Fujian Province. In 1886, Taiwan was separated as a separate province of China. In 1895 the island passed into the hands of Japan. Chinese patriots attempted to form an independent state on Taiwan, the “Taiwan Republic,” but this attempt was quickly suppressed by the Japanese. Taiwan did not rejoin China again until 1945, after the end of World War II. In 1949, with the victory of the Communists in China, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, head of the government of the Republic of China, took refuge in Taiwan. Since then, Taiwan has been virtually independent of mainland China, although the Republic of China existing here is recognized by only 23 states. For several decades, the dictatorship of Chiang Kai-shek and then his son Jiang Jingguo continued on the island. The democratization of the country began in the 1990s, with the first direct election of a president in 1996.

Geography

Taiwan is an island located southeast of mainland China, 160 km off the coast of the Asian continent. Taiwan measures 394km north-south (between Cape Fuguijiao and Cape Eluanbi) and 144km west-east (at its widest part). Taiwan is washed by the Pacific Ocean (the Philippine Sea) in the east, the South China Sea in the south and the East China Sea in the north. The country is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Taiwan. Taiwan is bordered by the islands of the archipelagos of Penghuledao (the Pescadores), Sishatsyundao (the Paracel Islands), Dongshatsyundao (the Pratas Islands), Nanshatsyundao (the Spratly Islands) and Zhongshatsyundao. Taiwan borders Japan to the east, China to the west, and the Philippines to the south. The largest city and capital of Taiwan is Taipei. The island’s main population is ethnic Chinese (Han Chinese), who speak standard Chinese (Goiui) as well as Mingnanhua and Hakka dialects. Taiwan is also home to the Gaoshan Aboriginal people, a group of ethnic groups who speak languages closely related to Indonesian and Malay.

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Climate

Taiwan has a subtropical climate in the north and a tropical monsoon climate in the south. June through August is the rainy season. The northern part of the island is characterized by high cloudiness throughout the year. Summers, which last from May to September, are usually hot and humid, with daytime temperatures ranging from +27oC to +35oC. Winters, which last from December to February, are short and mild. Daytime temperatures reach +18. +20оС during the day and lowers to +12. +14оС.

When to go

If you prefer a beach vacation, the water in the north of Taiwan is optimal for swimming from May to September, in the south – all year round. October and November are considered the best time for a beach vacation, as summer in Taiwan is hot, humid and rainy. For sightseeing, December through February is the best season.

How to get there

There are no direct flights to Taiwan from Russia. The most convenient way is flights of Air China (travel time – 11h. 50 min.). The International airport Taoyuan is located 40 km south-west from Taipei. From Taoyuan Airport, there are buses to all major cities in Taiwan. Directly in Taipei is Songshan Domestic Airport.

Attractions

Taipei is Taiwan’s largest city and a modern metropolis that combines traditional Chinese, turn-of-the-century Japanese, and modern Western architecture. At the same time in Taipei is a lot of greenery – beautifully landscaped parks and gardens. The main attraction in Taipei is the National Palace Museum with a huge collection of Chinese art. Much of it was taken in 1949 from the Forbidden City (the imperial residence) in Beijing. Now it is the largest collection of Chinese art in the world. Also popular with tourists is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Complex dedicated to one of the most famous political figures of China of the twentieth century. There are many places in Taipei connected with traditional Chinese religions. First of all they are Lunshan Temple dedicated to the bodhisattva of mercy Guanyin, Bao’an Temple (the oldest temple in Taipei, built in the middle of the XVIII century), and the famous Great Mosque (1960).

The western part of Taiwan is a land of majestic mountainous landscapes and vast man-made plains. The western coast is heavily urbanized, but closer to the center of the lake are picturesque mountain ranges topped by the peaks of Yuishan, Alishan, and Dongpu.

Jilong is a small resort town located 25 km from Taipei. There are several interesting sights to see here. At the top of the hill in Chuncheng Park is a 23-meter statue of the bodhisattva Guanyin. There is also an observation deck here that offers stunning panoramic views of the harbor and the surrounding area. And in Yelu Park, you can see the strikingly shaped natural rocks created over the centuries by the wind and the waves.

Hualian is a small resort located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The place is very picturesque, with an extraordinary mountainous landscape. There are daily performances with whales. Nearby is the Taroko Reserve – where you can see gorges created by a mountain river in rocks of marble and granite, surrounded by wild lush vegetation. The reserve also includes the Eternal Spring Temple, Swallow Cave, Nine Turns Tunnel, Marble Bridge, and several other attractions.

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Tainan is a city of temples and a citadel of Taiwanese culture. It is known for its leisurely atmosphere, colorful cuisine, and many historical monuments. There are more than two hundred temples of Buddhist and Taoist followers, the Confucius Temple built in the second half of the 17th century, which is one of Taiwan’s largest sanctuaries, as well as traditional gates, ruins of forts and memorial arches, most of which are over three hundred years old.

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan, the largest international port in the country, and one of the main commercial centers. The most famous of the historical sites is the 120-meter gilded statue of Buddha, the largest on the entire island. It is surrounded by 480 gold-plated life-size statues of Buddha. eg outside of Kaohsiung stretches Maoling region – a stunningly beautiful land of mountain rivers, high mountain passes and monasteries.

Kaoping is Taiwan’s first national park. It opened in 1984. Kengding is located in the south of Taiwan. It offers tourists a spectacularly beautiful coastline with pure white sand and small rocky massifs, as well as superb coral reefs off the coast. The botanical garden of Kendin contains a huge number of species of exotic plants.

The town of Taidong in eastern Taiwan is considered one of the cleanest places on earth. The area around Taidong is home to the Ami tribes, the original inhabitants of Taiwan. Every year in July and August, they hold grand festivals that feature elaborate colorful folk costumes, music, and dance, most of which are over a thousand years old.

Taichung is Taiwan’s third city and the country’s educational and cultural center. The main attraction of Taichung is the Lake of the Sun and the Moon. The east side of the lake is round, like the sun, and the west side is crescent-shaped. In the center of the lake towers an island that has long been a sacred place for the Shao people. The island is closed to the public, but boats pass near it. This place is famous for its stunning mountain scenery. There is also a small zoo, a temple of the deity of war and a Shao village where guests can take part in traditional dances and rituals, try local foods, and buy original souvenirs made in the national style.

Cuisine

Taiwanese cuisine combines the culinary traditions of the eastern provinces of China and Japanese cuisine. Seafood prevails among the dishes. Popular dishes include shark fin soup, omelette with oysters or octopus, boiled fish with greens, fried shrimp, and xian-yu fish soup. Vegetables, which are pickled, salted in soy sauce, fermented and dried, play an enormous role in Taiwanese cuisine. Young bamboo shoots, yams, potatoes, green onions, tomatoes, peppers and dozens of other kinds of vegetables and herbs are used in food. As for meat, Taiwanese people prefer poultry and pork. Local restaurants offer Peking duck, minced poultry with gingko nut sauces, roasted and boiled pork in sweet and sour sauce, Mongolian BBQ made of various kinds of poultry, meat, and vegetables. The most common drink is green tea, as well as various flower and plant teas. A local invention is the “frothy” or “pearl” tea, made on the basis of tea, milk, sugar, and cassava or yuca. Light and strong rice or millet beer, which is quite cheap and of high quality, is very widespread. Gaolian alcoholic beverage and rice wine are also popular. Many kinds of imported alcoholic beverages are sold everywhere.

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Shopping

Stores in Taiwan are arranged in blocks, which means there are pharmacies nearby, in one block, and electronics stores in the next block, for example, and so on. Freestanding stores are very rare. Most stores are open from 9:00 or 10:00 to 22:00, and department stores are open from 10:30 or 11:00 to 21:30.

Sports

Of water sports in Taiwan, diving and surfing are especially popular. The island’s waters attract many with their clear waters where visibility is up to 20 meters. Taiwan is the most attractive place for divers in all of Southeast Asia. The island invites all divers to the developed sites near the Green Islands, the coral reefs of Chunliao and eastern Taiwan, and the southern tip of the state, which is part of Kendin National Park. Surfing areas are located on the eastern tip of the island. Sporting season here lasts almost all year round, except during typhoons. In the south of Taiwan are excellent places for fishing. For trekkers is the greatest interest in the lake Taichung, picturesque surroundings which annually receive a large number of tourists from different parts of the world. There are many trails here, one of which leads to Mount Maolan. And for golf enthusiasts, there are several excellent golf clubs near Taipei.

Taiwan Island

Taiwan Island State is located in Southeast Asia, about 120 kilometers from mainland China. Its coasts are washed by the waters of the East China and South China Seas. Taiwan is a country with modern metropolitan cities, historic sites and beautiful sandy beaches.

Features of the island of Taiwan

This island is the fourth largest in the world. Mountains stretch across the central part of the country, forming the geographical ridge of the island. Impressive mountains, waterfalls and volcanoes, coastline with picturesque beaches, tropical vegetation with exotic palms and bamboo groves make the island an attractive destination.

More info! The beaches are varied, from fine white and golden, to beaches with black sand and coral. Active vacationers can engage in diving, surfing, sailing, kayaking and even fishing on the beaches.

Most of the island of Taiwan consists of forested mountainous areas with more than 60 peaks. The western part of the island is low-lying. The southwest coast is full of sandy beaches, lagoons, and sandbanks. The east coast is dominated by rocky shores, gentle slopes, and narrow plains.

Taiwan has eight national parks with distinctive features. All of them share a beautiful nature with rich flora and fauna.

The island’s location on the fault line of the Eurasian and Philippine continental plates determines the release of heat under the entire island, which creates thermal springs. Their rejuvenating and therapeutic effects have been known to mankind since ancient times.

Taiwan’s capital city

Taipei Taiwan

Taipei. Taiwan

The capital of Taipei, as well as the largest city in the country, is located in the north of the island and has over 2.6 million inhabitants. Quite a green city – the streets are dotted with trees and many parks. In addition, the surrounding area is very mountainous and green.

Taipei is an Asian metropolis with modern infrastructure. There are a huge number of museums, theaters, universities, and temples.

Take note! Taipei 101 Skyscraper – the symbol of the capital, has 101 floors above the ground, its total height reaches 509 meters. It took 5 years to build this tower. The shape of the structure resembles the trunk of a bamboo tree (a symbol of rapid growth), and its name means the number of floors of the tower. The outline of the skyscraper is illuminated at night, the side lights changing color depending on the day of the week.

A few turns away from the tower is a traditional town with markets, temples, and street food.

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There are many historical sites in the capital. The Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall was built in the early 1970s, in memory of the founder of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This memorial serves as a cultural center with changing exhibitions. In the great hall in front of the statue of Sun Yat-Sen there is a changing of the guard every hour.

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial. An important figure in Taiwan’s post-war history is General Chiang Kai-shek, who was president of the Republic of China before and during World War II, and Taiwan is officially part of it. The monument is surrounded by a large square, on the opposite side of which are two other buildings, the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. This square is the cultural center of the city.

Religion is an integral part of Chinese life, and this is also true of Taiwan and its capital. Taipei has dozens of great temples and hundreds of smaller ones. The temples are colorfully decorated, with carved decorations dominating the interior.

Longshan Temple (Taipei)

  • The Xiahai Temple is one of the most important religious centers in the city, although the temple itself is much smaller in comparison.
  • The Lunshan Temple is over 1,600 square meters, built in 1738 and dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. Inside the temple there are numerous bronze statues, stone carved figures and a waterfall.
  • Confucius is considered the first Chinese philosopher. Confucius Temple is one of the most visited temples in Taiwan. It was built in 1875, modeled on the main (original) Confucius Temple in China.

Confucius Temple Taiwan

The National Palace Museum houses the largest collection of Chinese art in the world. Most of the treasures of the Chinese emperors made their way to Taipei. All of the exhibits cannot be on display at the same time. The most important ones are on permanent display, but most of the collections of jade, paintings, and porcelain are exchanged on a regular basis.

National Parks.

The island is rich in history and culture, but tourists are also fascinated by its natural beauty.

Taroko Park is located in the northern part of Taiwan. Its main attraction is a deep gorge 18 km long with slopes tens of meters high, formed of pure marble. This marble treasure has several waterfalls, hot springs, temples, bridges and lookouts.

Taroko Taiwan

Taroko Reserve.

A narrow road with multiple turns through bridges and tunnels runs through Taroko Park. Visitors have to pass through suspension bridges to reach the monasteries.

The picturesque Alishan area is a 415 square kilometer nature reserve where the world-famous Taiwan Alishan tea is produced. The most beautiful scenery can be seen here. The area consists of the Dawu, Jian, Zhu, and Ta mountains, which are famous for sunrises. The view of the mountains surrounded by clouds is famous at sunrise. There is an observation deck in Zhushan. The best way to reach it is by mountain railroad. The train climbs up the slope in an amazing landscape.

Alishan Forest Railway

Alishan Forest Railroad Taiwan

Yanmingshan National Park is located near the capital. This area is of volcanic origin, and covers a large area of volcanic igneous deposits that make it home to a large number of hot springs. The famous Beitou hot spring and the highest mountain, Qixingshan, are located here.

Kengding Park on the Hengchun Peninsula in southern Taiwan is the only place with a tropical climate in subtropical Taiwan, with hot summers and pleasant winters. It’s warm here all year round. From November to April, it’s dry. Hengchun Peninsula is rich in plants because of its warm climate.Tropical forests, with many trails, are part of the recreation area. Diverse landscapes with rich flora and fauna. The animal life is diverse, many migratory birds spend the winter here.

The beaches of Kengting are some of the most popular places in Taiwan, ideal for swimming and surfing. It is primarily the large bays with silvery white sand beaches that make the national park so popular. The water is very warm, about 25 degrees, due to warm currents from the south. The peninsula is surrounded by coral reefs where countless colorful fish and sea creatures frolic. There are plenty of accessible diving spots.

Yeliu National Park is located in the very north of Taiwan in the village of Wanli and not far from Taipei. The geopark is popular and easily accessible.

More info! The Yehliu Geopark Peninsula stretches 1.7 km into the sea. The impressive rock formations created by erosion are a geological phenomenon. The rocks take different shapes that resemble different things.

Big cities in Taiwan

Tainan is the oldest city, the former capital. A city by the sea, the central part of which was originally on the coast. It is known for its history, many temples. Tainan was a Dutch colony, in 1662 it was liberated and became the capital of Taiwan. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Taipei became the new capital.

Tainan City

Tainan City.

Kaohsiung is the second largest city, and the most important port for trade in Taiwan. The city grew out of a village that was founded in the 17th century by the then natives of the island, and grew over the years. It is now a city with wide streets and high-rise buildings with glass facades.

Taichung is the third largest city in Taiwan and is known for its industry. It has a pleasant climate, rains less than Taipei, and summers are not as hot as in the south.

Taiwan. Taichung

Jiufen is an ancient gold mining town known for its scenic views of the surrounding area and the Pacific Ocean. Many historic buildings from the time of the Japanese colony have been preserved.

Climate

The island has a subtropical climate in the northern and central parts and a tropical climate in the south. Daytime temperatures are about 32°C in summer and 18°C in winter. In the south, winters are a few degrees warmer. Temperatures drop as altitude increases. The mountains have relatively cold weather in the summer, and even snow in the winter. The rainy season lasts from June to September. There is a risk of typhoons in July, August and September.

Taiwan is a very safe country, like most East Asian nations. It is a modern country of computers and electronics with many advances.

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