Monday, September 30, 2019

When in Taiwan: 5 Things You Shouldn't Miss

Taiwan is slowly becoming one of the most popular destinations for Pinoys. It’s not surprising, to be honest, as the island is a modern powerhouse of a nation with an ideal geographical location. Taiwan also has a rich history and culture, which means you’ll enjoy hopping from temple to museum to park and back again.

With Taiwan’s many, MANY attractions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. If you’ve recently booked a Taiwan tour package and feel like you need a bit of help choosing what to do or where to go, don’t fret. Here’s a quick list of places and activities you shouldn’t miss when in Taiwan.

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 got its name from its 101 floors. It used to be the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2010 before it got dethroned by the Burj Khalifa. Nonetheless, this engineering marvel is still one of the world’s tallest freestanding structures. It also holds the record for the fastest high-speed pressurized elevator, which can reach speeds of up to 1,010 meters per minute. In addition, Taipei 101 also has the biggest mass damper. This huge steel ball, weighing a whopping 728 tons, sways in time with the building to resist movements caused by strong winds and earthquakes.

Visiting Taipei 101 and its observatory on the 89th floor is among the top things to do in Taiwan, and it’s definitely worth the ear-popping elevator ride. It’s best to visit near the evening to catch the sunset and the twinkling lights of the city below. However, make sure to check the weather forecast before visiting, since cloudy skies can somewhat ruin the views.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Another must-visit in Taiwan is Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It’s the most notable historical landmark in Taiwan, built in 1980 as a tribute to the country’s founder, Chiang Kai Shek. The actual memorial hall is about 250 feet above-ground and features an octagonal blue roof. The design is a symbolism for the number 8, which is linked with abundance and good fortune. Meanwhile, the two sets of white stairs with 89 steps each lead visitors to the main entrance. The number represents Chiang’s age when he died. 

One of the reasons tourists flock to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is to witness the ceremonial changing of the guard. The ceremony happens every hour, so it’s best to come early to get the best spot. Other points of interest in this iconic landmark are the library and museum on the ground level. These contain exhibits about the life of Chiang Kai Shek, as well as information about the history of Taiwan. Entrance is free, so that’s an added perk!

Are you a fan of the animated movie Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki? If so, then Jiufen is a must-visit. Located in the northeast mountains of New Taipei City, Jiufen is full of artist stalls, shops, and authentic tea houses. One such tea house is the 100-year-old A-Mei Tea House, which is one of the biggest inspirations for the bathhouse featured in Spirited Away. The movie went on to win the Academy Award’s Best Animated Feature in 2003.

Jiufen used to be a gold-mining village and it’s a wonder how everything is so well-preserved. Everywhere you look, you can see Japanese and Chinese elements that lend a truly unique vibe to the place. For those looking for unique pasalubong and souvenirs, Jiufen is the best place to look for little trinkets and random odds and ends.

Authentic Milk Tea/Bubble Tea

photo credits to the owner

The milk tea craze has taken over the Philippines by storm in recent years. Everywhere you look, milk tea chains both local and international—and even some independent brands—are cropping up. But did you know that the Taiwanese have been enjoying this delicious drink since the 1980s?

You can choose between a milk-based or a fruit-flavored bubble tea, but for the most authentic experience, the consistency should be slushy smooth and the pearls should be chewy tapioca balls. If you really want the real deal, go to the first and original milk tea shop in Taiwan. Its name is Chun Shui Tang and you can find this shop in Taichung.

Yehliu Geopark
Yehliu Geopark is one of the most visited tourist spots in northeastern Taiwan. The unique formations were sculpted naturally after thousands of years of waves and sea winds carving out the softer portions of the rocks. The most iconic formation here is called Queen’s Head, which resembles Queen Elizabeth I. The formation is said to have taken 4,000 years to form, although it’s predicted to be broken in the coming years. This is due to the weathering rate of the formation’s “neck” of 0.2 to 0.5 centimeters per year. With this prediction, Yehliu Geopark has seen an increase in visitors in recent years.

Aside from the Queen’s Head, some of the most popular formations in Yehliu include Sea Candles, Fairy Shoe, Elephant Rock, Kissing Rock, and Princess’ Head.

Have a read of the France travel inspiration from Explorersaur.

The sheer number of interesting and beautiful spots in Taiwan means you can go back again and again without repeating the same experiences. Start with thesemust-visit spots and then explore the rest of the country on your succeeding trips. Happy travels!

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