Discovering More about Taiwan
Taipei was design to resemble a giant bamboo stalk. Taipei has been Taiwan’s capital since 1949. The best way to travel around Taiwan to appreciate what this country has to offer is through hiking. Taiwan is dubbed as “The Beautiful Island”. A tourist who wants to spend less of his cash must definitely head towards Taipei where he can eat well. In Taipei, one can find local cuisines as well as regional dishes from all over China, Japan and even India. Many of the places to stay in Taipei will only charge a visitor around $65 a day.
Visiting Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall is a nice idea if a visitor wants to engage in kite flying as well as see beautiful scenery around the hall. This hall is actually a park that offers recreational, outdoor and artistic activities. It is a great place to know more about the Father of China, Sun Yat Sen. One can attend a concert in this hall with a minimal cost. Sometimes pop bands stage their concert in this hall as well. The gardens are beautiful, a nice place to walk leisurely and relax while enjoying the view.
The National Palace museum displays the world’s largest collection of Chinese treasures. Most of the art pieces on display are part of the old Chinese dynasties of the past. When visiting the museum, drop by Chih Shan garden. Traditional elements of Chinese gardening are seen in the plants in this garden. Graceful pieces of calligraphy are on display for visitors to appreciate even if they don’t understand what it says. One of the well known treasures is the jade cabbage carved out from just one big piece of jade. This green cabbage is said to be a dowry given to one of an ancient Chinese emperor’s concubine.
One of Taiwan’s famous halls and a place where most tourists visit is Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. It has a great building and is famous for international art performances. World famous musicians perform in this hall such as Yo Yo Ma who plays the cello and the great violinist Shao Lian Lin. The place has a traditional yet beautiful Chinese garden where a visitor can relax. A visitor would be glad to know that most of Taiwan’s tourist spots are near an MRT terminal which makes it easier to go from one place to another.
Since Taiwan is part of Republic of China it is therefore natural to give Confucius a sort of tribute. Confucian temples are built not only to honor his great contribution to the Chinese culture but as a way of expressing the artistic side of Chinese people. Still Taiwan has more than 5000 temples ranging from the small single room shrines to something so elaborate and big. These temples are built as a place of worship. Temples can be classified into Confucius, Taoist and Buddhist temples. Some people consider Taiwan as the heart of Asia because of its strategic location.
One of the temples that won a place in the UNESCO World Heritage and Cultural list is the Baoan temple. This temple was added because of the incredible restoration work made in this temple. 36 celestial officials who are carved from 1829 to 1834 are on display for visitors to admire. Eye catching murals are posted on the walls that depict Chinese legends. One of the largest night markets in Taipei is Shilin Night Market. This market started in 1899 and continues to thrive up to this day. The market is famous for its snacks and eateries. It is famous for serving out of the ordinary but delicious dishes.
Since most of this market’s customers are students, the prices are cheaper. There are areas where furniture and clothing are sold as well. For food lovers who want to have a night of serious eating, he can walk and search for the best meals in town. Taiwan’s traditional foods are served here by the locals like Giant Fried Chicken Steak, Oyster Vermicelli Omelet or Fried Buns. Stinky Tofu is served here as well which may smell that bad but some say it tastes good. Most of the food vendors here stay from early evening to before midnight only. A tourist can buy some of the food to eat later if he still would like to browse on other products.
Still there are other night markets worth visiting like the Keelung which is famous for its paopao ice, a snack that resembles a snow shave ice served in different flavors. It also has a good seafood selection too. For those who are found of sex toys they are sold at Huaxi night market. They also offer food items that are so bizarre like snakes and turtle. They also serve paopao as well. If it’s cheap Taiwanese Teppanyaki then head towards Tonghua night market.
One of the largest zoos in Asia is Muzha Zoo, or simply Taipei Zoo. It houses a zoological garden and is the center of animal research and education as well. In 2008, this zoo has received two pandas from the People’s Republic of China which is now one of the zoo’s mascots. The zoo has a Formosan animal area where native animals are kept. A visitor can see the crab eating monggose, Formosan Sika deer or a wild boar. The zoo has an area for Asian Tropical Rainforest where animals that live on such a habitat can be seen by visitors to the zoo.
In the Northeast part of Taipei stands Yangmingshan National Park. Here tourists can hike since the mountains have a well kept hiking trail. The trail leading to Mount Cising to see the great views await anyone who hikes following this trail. Cherry blossoms are in bloom in this park every spring. Standing on the observation platform at the entrance of the Zhuzi-hu(bamboo lake), a visitor can see a panoramic view of Taipei in the night. Soak in the sulfur hot spring baths that dot this park. There are also a few free baths maintained by the government. It is not expensive to indulge in this luxury and rest your tired and sore muscles. This is just a glimpse of what awaits a visitor to Taiwan.