vital statistics
  • Taipei
  • 23.5 million
  • Mandarin
  • New Taiwan dollar
about Taiwan

While officially and administratively part of China, Taiwan is a destination in its own right – a burgeoning self-contained getaway or stopover. The Chinese influence combined with the population’s following of Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism makes for a mix of festivals. Events like Buddha’s Birthday, Dragon Boat Festival and cherry blossom season are interesting, but Spring Scream, an outdoor rock festival held each April, will get you going hard or going home.

Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung are certainly stereotypical of many of Asia’s densely populated, neon-lit cities, where night markets are a staple of entertainment, shopping and eating. Yet the island is also home to high mountain ranges, which do see snow fall despite the tropical climate, and it’s possible to get away to beaches boasting palm trees and all. The otherworldly Taroko Gorge will wow and, as an antidote to the urban jungle, you’ll find serenity in the national parks, many with hot springs.

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Getting set on fire isn’t everyone’s idea of a party, but this rocket...

Getting set on fire isn’t everyone’s idea of a party, but this rocket festival...