Experience the vibrant Taiwan

Written by weddingfables 19 Aug 2015
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Whether you are looking for an enjoyable vacation to unwind, a romantic and memorable honeymoon or a wellness destination, Taiwan has it all. Its spectacular  mountainous terrain, brilliant blue seas,  rich marine life, healthful hot springs, fascinating culture hubs and vibrant night markets will surely touch your heart  says Poonam Thapa who recently sampled it all.

It was raining when we landed in Kaoshiung, Taiwan. Perhaps of my love for the rains, I felt the rainy Kaoshiung looked enchanting and romantic. I was all excited to discover this island country little known to us, apart from the electronic gadgets that we use. Kaoshiung is an industrial hub but I would certainly call it a romantic city because of the Love River that flows gently and gracefully here. Famous for its charming boat rides and beautiful sunsets, the banks of the river is a hotspot for young couples. Luckily for us, the Ambassador Hotel, where the Taiwan Tourism Bureau organised for us to stay was located just next to the river bank!

Kaoshiung has a lot to offer to the tourists. The Pier 2 art centre engages you with some great sculptures and 3D murals, set up as an open gallery on a once abandoned harbour. We got our first taste of Taiwanese cuisine and warm hospitality at the lavish Bien Ye Fang restaurant at Banana pier.  A royal feast of Peking Duck awaited us for dinner. It was a special ceremony when the chef displayed his duck slicing skills as a staff made a loud announcement of it. The sliced pieces were then passed around to sample and some deftly transformed into spring rolls before our eyes. You have to be well prepared for Taiwanese hospitality as we lost count of the excellent gourmet dishes one after the other from the royal menu.

Just an hour’s drive away is The Ten Drum Creative Village which was also an abandoned sugar refinery. What an innovative way to allow space to artists in Taiwan to showcase their work! Do not miss the brilliant drum show here that is internationally acclaimed.  We even enjoyed a class on drumming but it was the superlative performance that had us captivated as we experienced rain, thunder, lightning together with the booming sounds of the drums  as we watched agile performers display their amazing skill. 

 

KENTING

Before we arrived in Kenting in the Ping Tung county, we visited the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium which is a delightful and eye opening experience. It houses an astounding variety of beautiful marine life. You can also book a nightstay in the underwater tunnel here for a unique and enchanting experience of the aquatic world.

At the entrance of the Kenting Howard Beach Resort we were welcomed by dancing girls. The rooms in the resort are huge, fit for holidaying families with children. A passage from the hotel takes you straight to the beautiful beach. The resort offers mind boggling variety of cuisine and you will get to sample the most delicious sea food here.

Kenting has an amazing energy that will enliven and unwind you at the same time. tropical paradise in southernmost Taiwan,  it is known for its beautiful sandy beaches and national park-reason enough for it to be a top holiday destination.

 

A vibrant nightlife, buzzing night markets and great places to eat adds to the natural charm of Kenting.  Besides a number of resorts and hotels, Kenting also offers luxury Bed & Breakfast such as the Kenting Tuscany Resort where one can experience an organic Farm experience.

A must visit is the Kenting National Park with striking sceneries, dense forests and caves to explore.  After a short walk, we reached the observatory from where we could see the southern tip of Taiwan. I let my adventurous side overtake and bravely entered the silver dragon cave which to my delight found it all lit up and safe.

 

TAITUNG

Driving to Taitung alongside the vast stretches of unexploited Pacific Ocean is an unforgettable experience. Enroute we stopped by at a local restaurant for lunch and I mustered courage and tried fried snails for the very first time in my life. I was delighted to find that they were crunchy and quite delicious.

Located in the southern mouth of the East Rift Valley, Taitung is a charming place with picturesque undulating blue hills and pleasant ocean breeze.  Its spectacular scenery, hot Springs and the annual hot air balloon festival is a major attraction here. Watching the hot air balloon festival in itself is an exciting and happy experience though we could not do our scheduled baloon flight as the winds were not conducive. It was quite a disappointment as I was looking forward to it.

The population here is mainly of aboriginal origin so you will find a lot of countryside and tribal influences. The luxurious Luminious Resort where we stayed had interesting glimpses of tribal artifacts and Japanese influence reflected in the delicious cuisine. My room was a lavish duplex with brilliant Mountain View, a stone tub that could be filled directly with hot spring water where I soaked myself completely into luxury and wellness! The hot spring water here is clear, colourless and odorless and it is said that regular bathing can heal burns, skin and stomach ailments. There was no way I could keep away from it considering its healing properties.

TAIPEI

We took the train to Taipei from Taitung. It rained when we arrived, but one need not worry as the showers stay for short spells. The bright yellow cabs that caught my eye provided cheer on a rainy grey skyline. We were hosted in the luxurious Mandarian Oriental Hotel in Taipei which is an ultimate experience in luxury, elegance and comfort.

Taipei is like any modern metropolis with its tall buildings and busy streets. There are many things to do in Taipei and we started by visiting the National Palace museum,  which has an  astonishing  collection of valuable Chinese art and treasures . You will require a full day if you are a museum buff. Our guide Peter told us that the city has an amazing nightlife if one is inclined to experience it. We headed to the bustling nightmarkets of Raohe and Ximending that had us completely fascinated at the amazing varieties of street food and shopping choices.

Another must see is the Taipei 101 tower, a marvel in engineering architecture. We zipped to the 89th Floor in 37 seconds flat where we get a gorgeous view of entire Taipei. The tourism bureau of Taiwan who had hosted us had considerately included dinner at an Indian restaurant in Taipei which we, specially the vegetarians in the group, thoroughly enjoyed after days of seafood. We travelled by Cathay Pacific via Hongkong but there are direct flights also from Delhi to Taipei.


Things you should know about Taiwan 

It is a safe country so do not be afraid to venture out on your own, even at night.

Keep your hotel’s card handy for any help in case you feel lost as the taxi driver will be able to read the address (in Chinese) and take you to your destination.

Food maybe bit of an issue for vegetarians but some restaurants do serve vegetarian on request. Alternately French fries ,breads  and juices are there to help you survive.

Google for an Indian restaurant if you crave for Indian Khana.

Even though many may not speak English, you CAN bargain while shopping. Just type the amount you wish to pay on the calculator or use the dictionary app to communicate.

Taiwanese are very friendly people and will welcome you with warm smiles. So don’t worry and just enjoy!


 

 

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