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Taiwan Tourist Information

 


Fascinating culture, breathtaking scenery, artistic masterpieces, delicious cuisines, and friendly people make Taiwan and ideal destination for tourists.  In addition, the island's convenient transportation, excellent hotels, and outstanding restaurants allow travelers to explore these many attractions in comfort.

In 2002, over 2,726,411 people visited Taiwan.  Japan provided the largest number of visitors, with 986,053 or 36.17 percent of the total.  Hong Kong and the United States were the second and third largest sources of visitors that year, numbering 435,080 (15.96 percent) and 354,087 (12.99 percent) respectively.

 


Major Tourist Sites

Northern Taiwan
Many temples and traditional-style houses are scattered throughout Taipei.  Longshan Temple is the city's oldest and most famous temple, and the Lin Family Garden is the island's finest example of classical Chinese landscaping and architecture.

Taipei's leading attraction is the majestic National Palace Museum, which houses the world's largest and finest collection of oriental art treasures.  The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, the island's most impressive monument to the late president, has a beautiful Ming-style arch at its main entrance that is flanked by the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.  In addition to numerous other attractions, Taipei is well known for its excellent restuarants, though many visitors also enjoy eating local delicacies at the city's lively night markets.

Northern Taiwan is rich in natural beauty.  Towering over Taipei to the north is Yangmingshan National Park, where well-maintained walkways and trails lead visitors to scenic spots such as waterfalls, volcanic craters, lakes, and hot springs.

On the northeast coast, just west of Keelung, are the amazing natural rock formations of Yeliou, while to the east of Keelung is the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, whose rugged beauty makes it a popular destination for both local and international tourists.  Two of the more notable features ofthe latter are the magnificent sandstone promontory that rises from the sea at Longdong and the wooden pavilions and walkways at Yanliao Seaside Park.  Boats are now available to take visitors on "blue highway" tours between Yilan and Taipei County.

At Wulai, just south of Taipei City, there is an indigenous village where visitors can enjoy the traditional dances and ceremonies of Taiwan's Atayal people, as well as the beauty of magnificent waterfall cascading through lush vegetation.

Central Taiwan
Central Taiwan displays the full range of Taiwan's natural beauty.  Although the massive earthquake of September 21, 1999, seriously damaged many resorts surrounding Sun Moon Lake, other resort areas, such as the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and Sitou Forest Recreation Area, were less affected.  All of these resorts, however, have already recovered and re-opened.  Other scenic spots along the Central Cross-island Highway include Hehuanshan, Lishan, and Cingjing Farm.

Taichung, the largest city in central Taiwan, is one of Taiwan's main business centers and offers many high quality hotels, museums, and parks.  Located near Taichung is Lugang, which still has many old temples, traditional shops, and colorful festivals.

The nearby resort at Mount Ali is famous for its view of the sunrise over a sea of clouds.  Some 15 kilometers away from Mount Ali is Mount Jade (Yushan), East Asia's highest peak; which, at 3,952 meters, is covered with snow for most of the year.  Yushan National Park, the island's largest park, was established in 1985.

Southern Taiwan
Southern Taiwan is a land of contrasts, where bustling

People

Taiwan has a rather homogeneous society.  Early Han Chinese immigrants, or "Taiwanese" are of two groups: the Hakka, who came mostly from Guangdong Province, and the Fujianese, who came from China's southeastern coastal province of Fujian.  These two groups comprise about 85 percent ofthe population with the Fujianese outnumbering the Hakka by about three to one.  There are currently, nine major aboriginal peoples in Taiwan Province: the Atayal, Saisiyat, Bunun, Tsou, Paiwan, Rukai, Puyuma, Ami and Yami.  The Atayal, which are known for their custom of tattoing their faces, are distributed primarily over a large area in the northern part of  Taiwan's central mountain range. There are more than 7,000 Tsou people in Taiwan.  The Tsou are partrilineal and every Tsou man in required to learn the skill of hunting.  The battle ceremony, Mayasvi, is still observed by the Tsou.

Early plain-dwelling tribes or the Pingpu people, have ceased to exist as distinct groups due to assimilation with Han Chinese over the last three centuries.  In 1997, the number of indigenous people in the Taiwan area was just over 389,900.  The Hakka comprise an estimated 20% of the population.

The Arts

Art in the ROC is tremendously diverse: from gilded temple carvings to conceptual abstract sculptures; traditional folk operas to avant-garde performance art; conservative Chinese ink paintings to contemporary award-winning films; ancient aboriginal chants to experimental blends of Chinese and Western classical music; Peking opera to postmodern dance; and every in-between.

Until the television era coming in the 1960s, puppet shows were one of the primary forms of entertainment in Taiwan.  Almost any festive occasion, whether a wedding, holiday, or temple festival, called for a puppet performance.

Traditional Chinese Festivals

Traditional festivals are important events in the life of every Chinese, beginning right from childhood.  Festivals such as the Chinese New Year, the Dragon Boat Festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the Winter Solstice are more of less evenly distributed across the four seasons.  In China's traditional agricultural society, festivals served to mark the passing of time.  Lifestyles of the people of the Republic of China today have undeniably changed a great deal since those time, and people now function according to a different concept of time, but the importance of traditional festivals in their lives has not faded.

Households set off firecrackers and paste Spring Festival couplets on the Chinese New Year and for the Lantern Festival, the have colorful lanterns.  The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated with moon-cakes, while the Dragon Boat Festival , on the fifth day of the lunar month, commemorates the death of Chu Yuan, who drowned himself in a river to protest again tyranny and corruption.  Another custom is the eating of tzung-tsu, a rice dumpling stuffed with pork or beans which are wrapped in broad bamboo leaves.

Taiwanese Snacks

Chinese cuisine is world famous, and Taiwan is unquestionably the capital of Chinese cuisine.  Wheat-based foods, which are the staples of the more arid northern part of China, and rice-based foods, which are the staples of southern China, can all be found here in Taiwan.  A wide variety of Taiwanese-style snacks can also be savored in boisterous night markets around the island.  Thanks to Taiwan's natural environment of high mountains and surrounding seas, people can enjoy delicacies from both land and sea anywhere on the island.

 


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