Taiwan                          Taipei

Taiwan highlights


Taiwan National Museum

After his defeat at the hands of the communists in 1949, Chiang Kai-Shek retreated to Taiwan with the treasures of China, accumulated by emperors over thousands of years.  The museum now houses the world's best collection of Chinese artistic accomplishments.


Taipei night market

There are a number of night markets in Taipei. This is the place to go to see crowds of people, great food and lots of bargains.


Taroko National Park

One of six national parks, Taroko has many peaks over 9000 feet and the spectacular Taroko Gorge.


Chiang Kai-Shek memorial hall, National Theater


La-La Mountain

Also known as DaGuan Mountain, this high resort area has views featuring trees 3000 years old



Taiwan is a modern industrialised megalopolis clinging to the fringes of an ancient culture; a string of teeming cities at the feet of a glorious mountain range. It has traditional noodles from a 7-Eleven, aboriginal tribes in mini-skirts and a day of temple rituals followed by waterslide rides.

If you step outside chaotic Taipei you'll discover why Taiwan is known as Ilha Formosa, 'the beautiful island'. Mountain peaks puncture a sea of clouds, slick black volcanic rock wraps the coastlines and waterfalls shroud themselves in mist. Taiwan is a computer-generated Chinese watercolour.

-Lonely Planet


"The complexity of politics in Taiwan is shaped by its contradictory position in the world. It alternates among the top three positions in foreign exchange reserves, ranks thirteenth in foreign trade, has the sixteenth largest army, stands eighteenth in GNP and twenty-fourth in GDP per capita, and belongs among the top one-third in population size. Yet it is excluded from the United Nations, recognized by only thirty-one countries, geographically small, and tucked close to China, its main antagonist, and far from the United States, its main supporter.

Within China, Taiwan is again both large and small. Despite its large GNP and foreign  trade, it is the second-smallest Chinese province in size and sixth smallest in population. Taiwan is large as a country but small as part of China; wealthy economically but exposed diplomatically and militarily; a prize and a threat for mainland China; for the rest of the world, a legal anomaly that can neither be abandoned nor protected."

-The Great Wall and the Empty Fortress - China's Search for Security, Andrew J. Nathan & Robert S. Ross


From BBC News:


Taiwan is the island which has for all practical purposes been independent for half a century but which China regards as a renegade province that must be re-united with the mainland.

Legally, most nations - and the UN - acknowledge the position of the Chinese government that Taiwan is a province of China, and as a result Taiwan has formal diplomatic relations with only 26 countries and no seat at the UN.

China insists that no state can have formal ties with both mainland China and Taiwan. But despite its diplomatic isolation, Taiwan has become one of Asia's big traders.

The Chinese nationalist government of President Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan ahead of the advance of Communists under Mao Zedong in 1949. The government-in-exile established Taipei as its capital and for decades hoped to reclaim control over the mainland.

The leadership of mainland China has reserved the right to use force to bring Taiwan under its control, and has missiles aimed at the island. The military threat is partly offset by the United States' cooperation with Taipei, and by the military capacity of Taiwan itself - one of the world's big arms purchasers.

Taiwan is considered to have achieved an economic miracle, becoming one of the world's top producers of computer technology. In the early 1990s it made the transition from an authoritarian one-party state to a democracy.

  • Population: 22.5 million (government statistic, 2002)
  • Capital: Taipei
  • Area: 36,188 sq km (13,972 sq miles)
  • Major languages: Mandarin Chinese (official), Min Nan Chinese (Taiwanese)
  • Major religions: Taoism, Buddhism, Christianity
  • Life expectancy: 72 years (men), 78 years (women) (government statistics)
  • Monetary unit: 1 New Taiwan dollar (NT$) = 100 cents (current exchange rate is about 32 NT$ = 1 US$)
  • Main exports: Computer equipment, textiles, basic metals, equipment, plastic and rubber products, vehicles
  • GNI per capita: US $13,320 (World Bank, 2003)
  • Internet domain: .tw
  • International dialling code: +886

A quick history of Taiwan

Cell phones in Taiwan






Kenting National Park

Taiwan's most beautiful beaches 

Yun Shian Falls, Wu Lai

 Scenic mountain vistas, hot springs

Taipei 101 Building 

The tallest building in the world

Sun-Moon Lake

A central Taiwan resort area





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