Taiwan, also known as Formosa (from Portuguese: Ilha Formosa, "Beautiful Island"), is an island situated in East Asia in the Western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. Separated from the Asian continent by the 120 kilometers (75 mi) wide Taiwan Strait, the main island of the group is 394 kilometers (245 mi) long and 144 kilometers (89 mi) wide, making it slightly smaller than the Netherlands. To the northeast are the main islands of Japan and the East China Sea, and the southern end of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan is directly to the east; the Philippines lie to its south across the Bashi Channel. Taiwan lies on the western edge of the Pacific "rim of fire," and continuous tectonic movements have created majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other wonders. The mountainous island spans the Tropic of Cancer and is covered by tropical and subtropical vegetation. There are about 18,400 species of wildlife on the island, with more than 20% belonging to rare or endangered species; among these are the land-locked salmon, Taiwan mountain goat, Formosan rock monkey, Formosan black bear, blue magpie, Mikado pheasant, Hsuehshan grass lizard, and many more.
The Climate of Taiwan
Taiwan enjoys warm weather all year round. Weather conditions fluctuate during spring and winter, while in summer and autumns the weather is relatively stable. Taiwan is extremely suitable for traveling, as the annual average temperature is a comfortable 22 degrees Celsius with the lowest temperatures on the lowlands generally ranging from 12 to 17 degrees Celsius (54-63 Fahrenheit). Therefore, with the exception of a few mountain areas where some traces of snow can be found during winter, no snow can be seen in Taiwan. During raining season (March to May), continuously drizzling rain will sometimes fall on Taiwan.
The Nature of Taiwan
Taiwan has been abundantly endowed with mountains; 258 of its peaks are more than 3,000 meters high, making Taiwan geographically unique. As mountains can be found anywhere, mountain climbing is a popular leisure activity in Taiwan. One can choose to hike the mountains on the outskirts of the city or accept the challenge of climbing one of the numerous high mountains, following the course of streams and valleys, tracing back to the source of rivers, or crossing entire mountains. In any case, lush scenery will unfold your eyes and it will not take too long for you to be convinced of the beauty of Taiwan's mountains.
There are nine national parks which offer a variety of distinct topographic landscapes:
- Yangmingshan National Park
- Taijiang National Park
- Shoushan National Nature Park
- Kenting National Park
- Yushan National Park
- Taroko National Park
- Kinmen National Park
- Dongsha National Park
- South Penghu Marine National Park
Taiwan has a very rich marine ecology. You can see a groups of bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, Risso's dolphins, and pan tropical spotted dolphins jumping out of the Pacific Ocean along the east. Azure seas and magnificent coral reefs can be found in Kending (Kenting) at the southern tip of Taiwan, and on Green Island and the Penghu Archipelago. This is a place for you to discover and be amazed.
The Language of Taiwan
The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese; but because many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent, Minnan (the Southern Min dialect or Heluo) is also widely spoken. The smaller groups of Hakka people and indigenous tribes have also preserved their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, as they were subjected to Japanese education before Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945 after the Japanese occupation, which lasted for half a century.
The most popular foreign language in Taiwan is English, which is part of the regular school curriculum. However, for your own convenience, when taking a taxi in Taiwan, it is advisable to prepare a note with your destination written in Chinese to show the taxi driver.
Taiwan is also the ideal place to learn Chinese. There are numerous language schools that offer Chinese classes, ranging from hourly-based classes to recognized university programs. Many foreigners from Europe and the United States, as well as other areas, come to Taiwan to spend their holidays, or one or two years, studying Chinese.
The Culture of Taiwan
The cultures of Taiwan are a hybrid blend of various sources, incorporating elements of traditional Chinese culture, attributable to the historical and ancestry origin of the majority of its current residents, Japanese culture, traditional Confucianism, and increasingly eastern values.
One of Taiwan's greatest attractions is the National Palace Museum, which houses more than 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, jade, calligraphy, painting and porcelain, and is considered one of the greatest collections of Chinese art and objects in the world. The KMT moved this collection from the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1949 when it fled to Taiwan. The collection, estimated to be one-tenth of China's cultural treasures, is so extensive that only 1% is on display at any time.
Karaoke is extremely popular in Taiwan, where it is known as KTV. KTV businesses operate in a hotel like style, renting out small rooms and ballrooms varying on the number of guests in a group. Many KTV establishments partner with restaurants and buffets to form all-encompassing elaborate evening affairs for families, friends, or businessmen. Tour buses that travel around Taiwan have several TV's, equipped not for watching movies, but primarily for signing Karaoke.
Taiwan inherits the pursuit of perfection from Japan and the hospitality from China. These become the driver of convenient living in Taiwan. According to the "Location Ratings Survey 2007/2008" published by ECA International Taipei ranked 6th best place to live among the 49 Asian cities, only second to Singapore, Kobe, Yokohama, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. We can proudly declare that Taipei is the city where cost and security meet the quality. Furthermore, with 1 store within 0.5 miles in radius, Taiwan has the highest density of 24-hour convenience stores in the world. In addition to the usual services, the convenient stores in Taiwan provide services on behalf of financial institutions or government agencies such as collection of parking fees, utility bills, traffic violation fines, and credit card payments. They even provide the service of mailing packages.
The visitors even don't need to worry if they got sick. Taiwan is now one of the best destinations for medical care travel. Taiwan's medical care system is well known for its quality at home and abroad. An accreditation system ensures that every hospital maintains excellent personnel, facilities, instruments and services, as well as the highest safety standards. Taiwan's medical institutions provide patients with high-quality medical care services at prices competitive with those in other countries. Generally speaking, surgical fees in Taiwan are only about one-fifth to one-sixth of those in the United States and the United Kingdom. Professional medical teams eagerly serve their patients in Taiwan, which ranks the second healthiest country in the world by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The EIU uses thirteen indexes to evaluate.
The healthcare provided in 27 principal countries in the world. Taiwan's high rating stems from its abundant medical resources. On average, there are a total of 22.2 doctors and 56.3 beds, with the occupation rate only 70%, for each ten thousand people. Last, we introduce traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to the course of our treatment. TCM covers three types of treatment: traditional herbal medicine, acupuncture, and tui- na (a kind of chiropractic medicine). The eastern way of healing is one of those you should never miss when visiting Taiwan.
The living expense in Taiwan is well below those of the major cities in Asia, which makes the MICE/after-tour related costs here much lower than they are in the competitors. According to the"WORLDIDE COST OF LIVING SURVEY 2012", published by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Taipei ranks 58th. Two Japanese cities, Tokyo (1) and Osaka (3), are the region's most expensive cities. Other highly ranked Asian cities are Singapore (6), Hong Kong (9), Shanghai (16), Beijing (17) and Seoul (22). As the result, we can proudly ell you that we offer the best price for you and your attendees.
Information is the key to success. Visitors to Taiwan will find that they can still get access to their business with very low cost. Taiwan enjoys the 7th lowest in the world in combined communication service charge per capita, according to the "ICT development Index 2009" published by the International Telecommunication Union. The visitors can get the temp 2G/3G mobile card upon their arrival. The average service respond time for telecommunication in Taiwan is 15 minutes, providing the instant access to the world for our visitors.
Getting Around in Taiwan
Taiwan's domestic air network provides flights to link 13 additional airports, serving major centres like Taitung, Kenting, Tainan and Chiayi, as well as off-island territories such as Kinmen, Mazu, Penghu, Green Island and Orchid Island.
Taiwan High Speed Rail
Taiwan has an extensive and efficient transport infrastructure, making travel aroung the island and its cities convenient and stress free. The Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) covers 345 kilometres along the west side of the island, whisking passengers from Taipei in the north to Kaoshiug in the south in just 90 minutes.
Mainline Rail Network
Taiwan also has an established and extensive mainline rail network providing an inexpensive means of getting around the island. The network has stations conveniently located in the centree of cities and towns.
Metro Systems (MRT)
The municipalities of Taipei and Kaoshiung have metro systems called the MRT, providing very cheap and convenient transport. They are rated as some of the best in the world with unparalleled levels of punctuality, reliability and cleanliness.
Bus, Car, and Taxi
Twenty-four hours bus services for long distance trips are provided by most bus companies, while overseas visitors can easily hire a car with an international driving licence. Taiwan also offers an abundance of cheap, safe and reliable taxis.