Overview

Taroko Gorge National Park
Taroko Gorge National Park © Mark Kao

Taiwan may not be as popular a destination as Hong Kong or the People's Republic, but its culturally rich cities and arresting natural beauty will captivate the world's travellers.

Chinese nationalists fled to the island when the Communist Party seized control in 1949. Under their leader, Chiang Kai-Shek, they left the mainland with national treasures, gold and foreign reserves, and the goal of regrouping and retaking China. They never returned and relations between the two parties remain tense. Taiwan has thrived since the civil war ended, though.

Today holidaymakers can pack their visits full of vastly different adventures, as they tour thriving cities of glass-fronted boutiques and bustling streets, or celebrate lively traditional festivals around ancient temples. This blend of old and new makes Taiwan a world-class destination, along with being one of Asia's great economic success stories.

For nature lovers, the island's national parks have some fascinating wildlife species, many of which are rare or endangered. Popular outings include train trips through the Alishan mountain range or hiking in Taroko Gorge.

Taiwan offers visitors the cream of Asian sophistication and some of the region's finest landscapes. Anyone with a passion for East Asia should look into planning a trip.