15 Random Facts about Taiwan
To offer some fundamental insight into Taiwan, I decided to start with random facts about it which may turn you on. :) This list can literally go endless, but I don’t intend to make this post far too long, so here are 15 things that came to my mind!
1.) A small island country located in East Asia
Well located, Taiwan had long been a territory that many countries contended for trade and military base (if you’re a history geek, it’ll be interesting to learn about Taiwanese history ;) ). Close to other East Asian countries such as China, Japan and Korea, it only takes a mere 1.5h, 3h and 2.5h by plane to get to Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul respectively. Manila, Philippines is only 1.5h away, and Bangkok, Thailand around 3.5h. If you plan to travel from Southeast Asia to East Asia or vice versa, Taiwan is, beyond doubt, the best country to stop by for a couple days (or more)!
2.) Bigger than Belgium, smaller than Netherlands
Taiwan is sooo small compared to the countries around it. Only 36000 km2! The amazing thing about it is that, in such a tiny land, it contains nearly everything you can expect from a subtropic country — prosperous cities, high mountains home to some endemic species, coral coast, large field, hot spring, etc. Small as Taiwan, it is a great gift from Mother Nature with a lot of amazing people that have built up the country.
3.) Nice and warm people
Yes, really. It is said that the most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is its people. :) If you ever get lost, just ask a random guy on the streets for help, or walk into a store and ask. I guarantee you that 90% people will be willing to help! Actually, you can even travel around Taiwan by hitchhiking!
4.) Bubble tea’s home ♥
Originated from Taichung, bubble tea has apparently become the most symbolic thing of Taiwan! If you don’t know yet, bubble tea is, in fact, bubble MILK tea, so don’t get other weird flavors next time you go grab a drink. I’ve seen sooo many odd flavors that I never saw in Taiwan before! That’s also why I feel like most bubble tea you get in the West (even some in Asia) is NOT authentic. Come to Taiwan and taste authentic bubble tea!
5.) Cheap yet delicious food
How cheap, you may ask. Well, like USD$3–4 or EUR$2–3 for a full meal. Not a sandwich or a piece of pizza, but rice with meat and vegetables, a bowl of noodles, etc. If you go to a night market, most food only costs $1 and you get to sample various kinds of food with just a little money. Food is definitely one of the best things in Taiwan!
6.) Convenience stores are so convenient!
Another best thing you will find here! It is not called “convenience” for no reason — you can buy a wide range of food and drinks (hot and iced), daily necessities, makeup and skincare products, pay bills, print and copy, buy tickets of concerts/trains/buses/etc, add value to an EasyCard and so on. Some stores also offer free Wifi, tables to sit down and eat, and washrooms. The density of convenience stores is quite high, especially in the cities — sometimes there are 2–3 of them on one street!
7.) If you lose your wallet/passport/etc, it is likely that you will find it back.
It has happened so many times, especially to foreigners! It’s funny that it doesn’t really happen to Taiwanese people, but there are some exceptions, of course. I have two stories to tell. 1) Years ago I lost my cellphone in the MRT station, and I found it back in an hour with the help of a kind woman, who found my phone, a dad that borrowed me his phone, an employee in the information center of the MRT station, and a policeman. 2) My sister’s purse once got stolen, with her money and phone in it. Miraculously, after a couple weeks or a month, a man called my dad telling him that he found my sister’s phone on the street (the thief may have thrown it away), and returned it to my dad. Yea, this is how nice Taiwanese people are. News about people returning a large amount of money they found the street without taking a penny is often heard, too.
8.) Free washrooms
If you want to go to the washroom, many stores and restaurants don’t mind you using theirs. Yes, for free. Just enter and ask. Some chains you don’t even need to ask, like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Mos Burger, just go and use theirs! :D
9.) Taipei 101 used to be the highest building in the world.
…… but not anymore lol. It is 508.2 meters high, having 101 floors. You can go up the observatory on the 89th floor and enjoy the amazing bird’s-eye view!
10.) A 24hr bookstore in Taipei
If you are, like me, a massive night owl plus bookworm, Eslite Dunnan branch is the best place to spend your night in.
11.) In downtown Taichung, it’s free to take buses within 10km.
If over 10km, it only costs you maximum NTD$60 for an adult ticket or $30 for an half-price ticket. As cheap as it is, buses are not always the best for transportation. Many buses don’t run frequently, so you may have to spend a long time waiting. If you are a group of friends traveling, taxis may be a better option considered the carfare is split into many.
12.) East Taiwan has amazing nature!
Love going hiking, taking pictures of beautiful scenery, breathing fresh air? Yilan, Hualien and Taitung are famous for the incredible nature! Isolated from the hustle and bustle by the mountains, East Taiwan gets to keep the air clean, maintain the original beauty of the nature and preserve the precious, fascinating cultures of the aborigines whose ancestors had long been living in Taiwan before the island was discovered. A trip to the East is a must if you want to see another appearance of Taiwan!
13.) Only 1 city out of 20 is not by the sea.
As said earlier, Taiwan is an island country, which obviously means it is surrounded by the ocean. The only city not by the sea is Nantou, where Sun Moon Lake and Mt. Yu, the highest mountains in Taiwan, are located!
14.) Safe at night
Not in every place, but in quite a few places. I kind of live in the suburb of Taipei, about 30 mins away from the city center by the MRT. I walked my dog at midnight before, and my sister once did at 2am. We were both safe and sound, and there was nothing harmful on the streets. Of course it doesn’t mean it is always safe — you still have to keep your eyes peeled when going out at late night (after 10pm in the cities), as you never know what could possibly happen.
15.) One of the safest countries to travel to
Taiwan was the #2 safest country in 2015, and the capital, Taipei, was the #13 safest city in the world in the same year. Even solo female travelers don’t have to worry — people would much rather help you than hurt you! :P
♥ ♥ ♥
I apologize for the lack of pictures — I honestly haven’t taken a lot of photos. I will try to take more and post them, though. Hope you all enjoy this post, and if you have any questions, suggestions or just wanna chat, feel free to leave a comment down below! I’ll be more than happy to hear from you :)
Have a nice day/evening!