The capital of Taiwan is Taipei (Taibei).
Taiwan has mainly a Chinese cuisine. They eat lots of fish and eggs. There is a great variety of fruit. Each region has its own specialties. Taichung has sun cakes, sweet filled pastries. Tainan has drawers bread. Xiaochi the Taiwanese equivalent of Cantonese dim sum. At breakfast you can drink traditional soy milk in Taiwan. Taiwan has many Night Markets, try the delicious and cheap food at one of the many stalls. Very nice and tasty to do is the Hot Pot, this is Chinese Fondue. At Din Tai Fung (In Taipei, groundflooor of the 101 Tower) you can eat Michelin starred Dumplings. Many restaurants has only chopsticks, western cutlery is rarely available. With chopsticks, never point and one should never let them stand in the food. There are many juice bars that make delicious cocktails. Alcohol is not so much drunk in Taiwan. They do enjoy beer on ice. Besides foreign beers one has the local Taiwan Beer; penglai with barley and rice. Shaoxing, is a high quality rice wine.
In Taiwan people are very superstitious. Primarily there is a taboo on everything surrounding the death. Never write a person's name with red ink, this has to do with death. At night, whistle is an invitation to the spirits. Never point at cemeteries or graves. Take off your shoes when you enter a house or a temple. In a temple you must bow to the statues of the gods. Since many Taiwanese people are of Chinese origin, culture is a bit similar to that of the Chinese. When the Taiwanese health is a high priority and acupuncture and Chinese medicine is an important alternative to Western medicine. Many people practice shadow boxing, Tijiquan. This exercise is mainly performed during sunrise. The Taiwanese are a proud people and the worst that can happen is losing face. Taiwanese never say no directly, which is regarded as very rude. Karaoke is one of the most popular social activities in Taiwan. Very special in Taiwan is that the garbage trucks are playing Beethoven.
Danshui is also called Tamsui. It is a village located at the end of the red metro line in Taipei. Here are beautiful hiking trails along the river. A must is to walk from the subway station to Fisherman's Warf. Go preferably on one day during the week because on weekends this is a popular place for the locals and it can be extremely busy. Here there are countless masterpieces and also some historical monuments, including Red castle where the Dutch played an important role.
In Taiwan they have 110 volt/ 60 Hz. The outlets are American plug-in. Adapters are available.
Taiwan has the following public holidays: January 1 New Year, February 28 Peace Memorial Day, April 4 Grave Day (Qingming); graves of ancestors are visited, May 1 Labour Day, September 3 Armed Forces Day, October 10 National Day. Closed on these days are shops, banks and government departments. The Lantern Festival is celebrated February 22 (Yuanxiaojie); at the houses are hanging lanterns and there will be fireworks, there are also parades and dragon and lion dances.
Taipei International Airport is Taoyuan Airport (CKS), and Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA) is mainly for domestic flights and flights to China, South Korea and Japan. Taoyuan Airport is about 40 km from the city, from here you can take a taxi, as well as buses from the airport.
This Buddhist monastery was founded by Venerable Master Hsing Yun. It is possible to spend the night in one of the two Lodges, but this must be booked in advance. A double room costs about 50 euros per night. If you stay here you are welcome to join the shanten in the morning at 5.45 am. There is a buffet three times a day in the restaurant, for which a donation is requested. The monastery has a huge area with many attractions. Highlight is the Buddha Memorial Center, a wonderful museum including a tooth of the Buddha. You can reach the monastery by bus from the Kaohsiung station.
Formosa is the name given by the Portuguese to Taiwan in the 16th century. Formosa means beautiful island.
The official name of Taiwan is Chunhua Minkuo. Taiwan is an island east of the Chinese mainland, southwest of Japan and northeast of the Philippines. Until the end of World War II, Taiwan was mainly known as Formosa and it was a Japanese colony.
Taiwan is located about 160 kilometers southeast of China. North of Taiwan is Japan and south the Philippines. Taiwan has the shape of a tea leaf and the country is 402 km long and 129 km wide. There are a few small islands: Penghu, Lanyu, Green, Kinmen, Matsu and Wuchiu. Central Taiwan is mountainous with the central mountain massif and the Sun Moon Lake. The central mountain range covers 75% of the country and extends to the east coast from north to south. Eastern Taiwan is because of the mountains more or less cut off from the rest of the island. Here are beautiful gorges such as Taroko Gorge. There are more than 60 peaks above 3000 meters. The highest mountain in Taiwan is Yushan, the Jade Mountain, it is 3950 meters. Alishan is a misty rainforest with huge cypress. In the tropical south are many beaches and coconut palms.
Taiwan is a Republic and is divided into 18 counties, 3 provincial cities and 5 special cities. Because the People's Republic of China does not allow other nations to have diplomatic relations with both the People's Republic and the Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan, the major nations in the world do not have official embassies or consulates in Taiwan. The People's Republic of China considers Taiwan as its 23rd province and still considers Taipei as the capital of this province, as it does not recognize the changes to the administrative classification of the Republic of China after 1949. But because the People's Republic of China recognizes Taiwan as a separate economy, many countries have a "Commercial Office", an "Institute" or the like in Taiwan. These institutes also have limited consular powers such as issuing visas.
Healthcare in Taiwan is at a high level. There are doctors working westernly and there are doctors practicing Chinese medicine. In Taiwan you can not drink water from the tap. Beware of snakes
Taiwan has about 23 million inhabitants. The inhabitants of Taiwan are Taiwanese. In Taiwan, many Chinese immigrants live around 1,000 years ago. These Chinese were the so-called Hakka, a population from central China. After the Ming Emperor claimed Taiwan in the 15th Century as Chinese territory, more Chinese settled in Taiwan. The largest immigration Chinese took place in 1949, when communism occurred in China. Over a million people moved to Taiwan.
In Taiwan they speak Mandarin Chinese and 70% of the population speak Taiwanese/ Minnan. In addition, Hakka is spoken. A small minority speaks aboriginal languages. Mandarin is mainly spoken in the north and by young people. In the south, people usually speak Taiwanese. In Taiwan, traditional Chinese characters are used, not the simplified of the continent. Taiwanese has a lot of Japanese words, this is due to the 50 years of Japanese rule in the 19th and 20th centuries. In Taipei they often speak English too. Young people speak English more often than the elderly.
The currency in Taiwan is the TWD, the New Taiwan Dollar. There are bills of NT 50, NT 100, NT 200, NT 500, NT 1000 and NT 2000. There are coins of NT 1, NT 5 and NT 10. 1 Euro is about 33 TWD. At 7-11 supermarkets there are ATMs, there are 4000 in Taiwan. Credit cards are accepted in many places.
Taiwanese photograph each other often, of course, it is so polite to ask if you want to photograph someone. It is forbidden to photograph military objects and airports.
The metro in Taipei, the MRT = Mass Rapid Transit System, connects the entire area of Taipei and the area around it is quickly and easily. There are also trains and buses in Taiwan. Public transport is good and drives very on time. A bit more expensive, but very comfortable and fast, is the Taiwan High Speed Rail. In major cities, the HSR often has a separate train station, as in Tainan. You can buy the HSR tickets online, but at the ticket office you can always buy tickets for trains departing within the hour.
In Taiwan, 93% of the population has a religion that is a mix of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. 5 percent of the population is christian.
Taiwan is a safe country. Violent robberies hardly occur. Also, you will never see drunk people in the street. In busy places, bag rollers can be active. The police number is 100, ambulance or fire brigade is 119.
The Sun Moon Lake is an important highlight in Taiwan. It is Taiwan's largest natural lake. The lake has its name due to the form: from the surrounding mountains it appears in a round sun, the other time in a half moon.
In the 7-11 supermarkets there are devices to order a taxi. The cabs in Taiwan drive by a meter. The taxi drivers rarely speak English, so it is advisable to have your destination in Chinese with you.
Taiwan has an extensive mobile network. The international number of Taiwan is +886.
Staff in hotels certainly expect a tip. Further tipping in Taiwan is very modest.
Taiwan has two different seasons. Cool and moist and hot and stuffy. Taiwan has a tropical sea climate. Rain falls throughout the year. The temperature is subtropical at very high temperatures in summer. In the mountainous areas it is less hot. In the spring there are typhoons in Taiwan.
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