Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide

Tripoto
25th Jan 2013
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 1/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Taiwanese Temple, Taroko
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 2/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Hot Springs, Mud Bath
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 3/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Hot Springs Meeting the River
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 4/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Turtle Meat, Taipei
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 5/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Sunset at Tamsui
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 6/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Tamsui
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 7/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Waterfalls at Taroko
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 8/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Taoyuan by Night
Photo of Taiwan in 7 Days: A Backpacker's Guide 9/9 by Dave @ Travel Transmissions
Local Deity's Parade, Taipei

I’ve got an odd fetish for lesser developed Asian countries, so I’m not sure if Taiwan ranks as my favorite, but it is a fantastic country with all the order, comforts and general pleasantries that are missing from mainland China. The 'Heart of Asia' was my last stop before heading home. It's a surprisingly beautiful country. There are a lot of things to do here, and if you’re a native English speaker, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself teaching English and studying Mandarin like most of the other expats. It seems like a comfortable, good life to me.

During the day Taipei has all the hustle and bustle of a modern city. In the evening, the seaside district of Tamsui is a great place to watch the sun set, and has an absolutely stunning beach. The night markets of Taipei are alive and full of color. From street parades celebrating the birth of a deity to betel nut girls (girls in glass booths selling cigarettes and betel nut). And here's the catch, they have to wear skimpy clothes and the skimpier they are the better their business! The food on offer contained many quaint local delicacies, like turtle meat, which was quite good and snake blood, and bile which were, well, indescribable. The markets outside also had some diverse types of foods, snails for example! But apart from this there were a number of delicious seafood options and other foods that wouldn't make a tourist cringe.

Photo of Taipei, Taiwan by Dave @ Travel Transmissions

In search of Taiwan's nightlife, I made my way to Taoyuan, a county neighboring Taipei. For movement within and around Taipei, I used the Taipei MRT (subway system), which is very modern and extremely efficient. In Taoyuan, I entered a Filipino night club called 'Thai Ok' and to be fair it was quite seedy! But otherwise, Taiwan has a pretty good and fun nightlife.

Photo of Taoyuan County, Taiwan by Dave @ Travel Transmissions

Towards the east, Taiwan's urbanized metropolitan nature fades into lush green, tropical nature. You can get there either by the well connected and modern Taiwan National Train System, or by road. Gushing streams and waterfalls run fast through the gorge.

I went through Taipei and its night markets, Taoyuan with its dirty Filipino disco (Thai OK), Taroko Gorge and local hot springs, during my stay in Taiwan. I got the chance to see, do and eat some amazing but strange things! From encountering betelnut girls in Taoyuan, to eating turtle and drinking snake blood, Taiwan was quite an experience!

Superior to mainland China in every aspect I can think of, Taiwan escaped the wrath of Mao Ze Dong and has a lot to show for it: beautiful mountains and beaches, great cuisine, friendly and civilized people, efficient transportation, and fun nightlife, especially in the north. Great place to see!

 Suspension bridges take you across these streams and the lush green forests in Taroko National Park (home to Taroko Gorge) make for an amazing sight. Moreover, because of the geology of the place, there are natural hot springs and volcanic mud baths that you can get into and relax and refresh yourself. Really works!

Photo of Taroko National Park, Xiulin Township, Taiwan by Dave @ Travel Transmissions