With breathtaking scenery, exotic cultures and hospitable people, Taiwan is a relatively unexplored treasure. Taiwan offers a tremendous diversity for a small island. From cosmopolitan cities to stunning landscapes, Taiwan also has a fascinating history and delicious food due to its many cultural influences.
The attractions of Taiwan stretch from the ultra-modern capital of Taipei to Tainan, the country’s oldest city. The Alishan National Scenic Area is perfect for walking with its tea plantations and beautiful mountain views, while the Sun Moon Lake and beaches of Kenting are idyllic for relaxing shore side.
Taiwan’s natural wonders continue in Taroko National Park, with the spectacular Taroko gorge and mountains towering above 3,000 metres. Meanwhile, Fo Guang Shan or ‘Light of Buddha Mountain’ is the largest Bhuddist monastery in south-east Asia.
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Currency Taiwan dollar
Flying time from London 12.5 hours
Official language(s) Mandarin
Time difference +8 GMT
Visa requirements Not required for UK passport holders
The Taiwan Experts
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Tainan’s long history involving the Dutch, Japanese and Chinese has left the city with many ancient relics to explore, including forts, temples and churches, some more than 300 years old. Tainan is home to some of the finest examples of Taiwanese architecture. Wander through the narrow lanes to discover courtyards, walled gardens, chic cafes and tranquil tea houses.
See Chinese art in Taipei
The National Palace Museum’s antique collection comprises almost 700,000 pieces spanning the entire 5,000 years of Chinese history. It is regarded as the best collection of Chinese art and antiques in the world, brought to Taiwan by the Kuomintang forces in 1949 when many ancient treasures in mainland China were destroyed in the ravages of the Cultural Revolution.
Travel by train
The history of rail travel in Taiwan dates back to 1887. Today, a modern rail system links most large towns and cities, and a new high-speed train operates from north to south between Taipei and Kaohsiung. In places, old stations and track sections remain. Of particular interest are the Neiwan line, which passes Hakka temples, the Pingsi line, with views of crashing waterfalls and idyllic countryside, and the Jiji line, passing spectacular mountains and quaint villages.
Try local delicacies
Influences from other countries, tropical climate and the abundance of fresh seafood have given Taiwan a unique and delectable food culture. Wander the markets in Taipei, taste xiaochi (snack foods) in Tainan, and experience a tea ceremony in Sun Moon Lake to uncover the local flavours for yourself.
See Taroko National Park
Situated in the north-east of Taiwan, the Taroko National Park covers an area of more than 92,000 hectares of the Central Mountain Range. Visitors can enjoy scenery of high mountains and steep gorges, with many peaks towering above 3,000 metres. Highlights include the spectacular Taroko gorge and the Liwu river, which can be seen from the central cross-island highway. There is also a number of rewarding day hikes in the park.
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Travel in the Far East
Find out more about what you can expect from travelling in the Far East – from internal flights to accommodation standards and local transport.