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Overview website for Taiwan

www.prospects.ac.uk/taiwan_overview.htm

Geography. Full country name: Republic of China; Population: 23.1 million; Border countries: Taiwan is an island in an archipelago with a small number of other …

www.asiarooms.com

Located on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean with Philippines to the south and Japan to the north, Taiwan has a breathtaking landscape consisting of …

wwwc.moex.gov.tw

In recent years the number of registrants for national examinations of various types has shown an increasing trend. Taking 2010 for example, a total of 24 Civil …

www.studyintaiwan.org/en/why46.html

Overview The people of Taiwan are very well educated, literacy is about 96%, and students from Taiwan score very high on international tests. These a.

www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R41952.pdf

CRS Report for Congress. Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress. U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues. Shirley A.

When the Portuguese named the main island of Taiwan Ilha Formosa, which means “Beautiful Island” in 1544, they provided an apt summary of the area that became Taiwan. Stunning mountains, rivers and gorges, giant trees, colorful blossoms, and tropical reefs in blue-green seas all contribute to the beauty of the island. Today, these natural attractions are complemented by modern cities, with the country attracting an increasing number of Asian tourists, as well as those from beyond the region.

While parts of modern Taiwan are full of factories and office blocks at odds with the nation’s reputation for beauty, there are some wonders of modern architecture, significant monuments, and historic buildings and temples which give the cities an appeal of their own. Taipei is by far Taiwan’s largest city and is home to the bulk of Taiwan’s famous tourist attractions, museums, and art galleries, while all the major cities are known for excellent food and shopping. The rural areas of Taiwan are the most beautiful, with mountains like the Wulai and gorges such as Taroko attracting hikers, photographers, climbers, and romantics.

The many hotels in Taiwan range from considerably down-market backpacker hostels to five-star resorts. Some international hotel chains such as Hyatt operate in Taiwan, but tend to charge more than local hotels. Visitors should be aware that in Taiwan motels are much like the Japanese ‘love hotels’ and refer to places where couples can hole up for anywhere from one hour to a few days. For ease of travel, it is a good idea to research and book hotels in advance, but be aware that many hotels will have an English and a Chinese name that bear no relation to one-another, so it is a good idea to have the Chinese name written down for dealing with taxi drivers or getting directions.

All kinds of food including Western food and fast food are available in Taiwan but the real culinary joy of visiting Taiwan is the opportunity to try the local food, which is varied, interesting, and delicious. Taiwan’s confusing history has lead to an ongoing ambiguity about the political status of Taiwan. Aside from this, the Taiwanese have a strong regional identity, characterized by distinctive traditions, foods, festivals, crafts, and habits.

Diverse Taiwan is not yet seeing the visitor numbers of other Asian hot spots such as Singapore, but its mix of natural and urban attractions ensure great potential for excursions from its pulsating cities. A favorite here are hot springs, with Taian a popular choice, while national parks and even aboriginal villages provide worthy distractions from the glass-and-steel architectural wonders of Taipei.

Taiwan has three international airports, with Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport being the main arrival point for most overseas tourists. Trains are a popular way of getting around Taiwan, particularly some of the more scenic routes such as the one along the east coast or the one that goes through the Central Mountains.

Highlights

Soak in a hot spring

Hike up Yushan Mountain

See the 3,000 year old sacred tree at Alishan

Check out the trendy Ximending District, Taipei

Snorkel Kenting reefs

Sample local xiaochi at a night markets

Admire the treasures of the National Palace Museum

Take the world’s fastest elevator up Taipei 101

When the Portuguese named the main island of Taiwan Ilha Formosa, which means “Beautiful Island” in 1544, they provided an apt summary of the area that became Taiwan. Stunning mountains, rivers and gorges, giant trees, colorful blossoms, and tropical reefs in blue-green seas all contribute to the beauty of the island. Today, these natural attractions are complemented by modern cities, with the country attracting an increasing number of Asian tourists, as well as those from beyond the region.

While parts of modern Taiwan are full of factories and office blocks at odds with the nation’s reputation for beauty, there are some wonders of modern architecture, significant monuments, and historic buildings and temples which give the cities an appeal of their own. Taipei is by far Taiwan’s largest city and is home to the bulk of Taiwan’s famous tourist attractions, museums, and art galleries, while all the major cities are known for excellent food and shopping. The rural areas of Taiwan are the most beautiful, with mountains like the Wulai and gorges such as Taroko attracting hikers, photographers, climbers, and romantics.

The many hotels in Taiwan range from considerably down-market backpacker hostels to five-star resorts. Some international hotel chains such as Hyatt operate in Taiwan, but tend to charge more than local hotels. Visitors should be aware that in Taiwan motels are much like the Japanese ‘love hotels’ and refer to places where couples can hole up for anywhere from one hour to a few days. For ease of travel, it is a good idea to research and book hotels in advance, but be aware that many hotels will have an English and a Chinese name that bear no relation to one-another, so it is a good idea to have the Chinese name written down for dealing with taxi drivers or getting directions.

All kinds of food including Western food and fast food are available in Taiwan but the real culinary joy of visiting Taiwan is the opportunity to try the local food, which is varied, interesting, and delicious. Taiwan’s confusing history has lead to an ongoing ambiguity about the political status of Taiwan. Aside from this, the Taiwanese have a strong regional identity, characterized by distinctive traditions, foods, festivals, crafts, and habits.

Diverse Taiwan is not yet seeing the visitor numbers of other Asian hot spots such as Singapore, but its mix of natural and urban attractions ensure great potential for excursions from its pulsating cities. A favorite here are hot springs, with Taian a popular choice, while national parks and even aboriginal villages provide worthy distractions from the glass-and-steel architectural wonders of Taipei.

Taiwan has three international airports, with Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport being the main arrival point for most overseas tourists. Trains are a popular way of getting around Taiwan, particularly some of the more scenic routes such as the one along the east coast or the one that goes through the Central Mountains.

Highlights

Soak in a hot spring

Hike up Yushan Mountain

See the 3,000 year old sacred tree at Alishan

Check out the trendy Ximending District, Taipei

Snorkel Kenting reefs

Sample local xiaochi at a night markets

Admire the treasures of the National Palace Museum

Take the world’s fastest elevator up Taipei 101

Geography

Full country name: Republic of China

Population: 23.1 million

Border countries: Taiwan is an island in an archipelago with a small number of other islands, located approximately 100 miles from the coast of mainland China.

Climate: sub-tropical (also described as marine tropical) except for the more tropical area in the extreme south. Parts of the island can experience typhoons from May to November, and some areas have a monsoon cycle during October to March. Rainfall is high and summers are hot. Humidity can be high from around June to September.

Terrain: the main island is approximately 250 miles in length and around 88 miles across. The landscape consists of a variety of mountain ranges (mostly along the East) and lower lying, flatter plains in the West, which are more densely populated.

Natural hazards: Taiwan suffers from earthquakes and typhoons.

Living in Taiwan

Cost of living: typically varies and can be higher in some urban areas, with Taipei being fairly expensive. Property can be rented but a deposit of, for example two months, may be required.

Utilities: water, gas, electricity and air conditioning are available and are typically equal to standards of most developed countries. Natural gas is widely used for cooking and water heating.

Internet domain: .tw

Health: standards of health are generally high and compare favourably with those in other countries. A National Health Insurance (NHI) programme provides healthcare for the population. A wide range of healthcare services and specialist medical staff work in Taiwan and hospitals are licensed by the Department of Health (DOH). Some health and dental services have English-speaking staff and may operate a ‘pay as you use’ system so it is wise to have plenty of spare funds available.

Laws and customs: drug offences are treated very seriously in Taiwan. Smuggling, trafficking, possession or use of illegal drugs may lead to a severe jail sentence or even the death penalty in some cases. Taiwan now has a parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Economy and finance

Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (NT$)

Type of economy: Capitalist

Health of economy: Taiwan has been described as one of the ‘Asian Tigers’. The highly skilled workforce and diversity of the Taiwanese economy enables Taiwan to deal with global economic circumstances. Further details of key economic indicators are available at the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (Taiwan) and additional information can be obtained from Invest in Taiwan . Key export partners include Europe, China, Japan and the United States.

Unemployment rate: 4.35% (September 2009, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Taiwan).

Main exports: various types of computer equipment, textiles, metals, vehicles, plastic and rubber products. A diverse business and financial services sector also exists.

Culture

People: in addition to the Taiwanese, a large number of people from mainland China as well as foreign workers from various parts of the world also live in the province. A number of smaller ethnic groups also exist with Hakka and Holo being spoken as well as Taiwanese and the official language of Mandarin.

Major religions: a wide variety of religions are followed. Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are practised by a very high percentage of the population (over 90%). Other religions include Christianity and Islam.

History: see BBC Timeline: Taiwan .

Local etiquette: day-to-day business routines are in many ways similar to those in the UK. Taiwanese society has many festivals and celebrations and this has an influence on popular local culture. Taiwan has a diverse culture, accommodating traditional Chinese and western influences. In the workplace and in daily life, most forms of social etiquette such as attitudes to punctuality and good manners will be understood and accepted. Handshakes are the usual form of greeting, with bowing only used for very formal occasions. It is generally expected that guests will remove their shoes when visiting someone’s home.

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