Taiwan Destination Guide
The island state of Taiwan is also known as 'Ilha Formosa' or 'Beautiful Island.' According to legend, these were the first words spoken by Portuguese sailors upon its discovery and their sentiments that have been echoed by travellers on tropical Taiwan holidays ever since.
Geographically speaking, Taiwan ('the Republic of China'), lies just off the eastern coast of mainland China with Japan to the northeast and the Philippines to the south.
Take in Taiwan's highs and lows
A country with a long colonial history, highly developed industry and booming economy, Taiwan is also rich in beautiful landscapes, with several mountain ranges running across it on the eastern side.
One of the tallest islands in the world, Taiwan's highest peak is Yu Shan at 3,952 metres and part of the Central Mountain Range popular with mountaineers.
The country's modern capital Taipei also lays claim to one of the tallest buildings in the world, with the Taipei 101 building rising to 508 metres.
Though the country is a land of peaks and troughs, Taiwan travel is simple and convenient thanks to an extensive high-speed rail network.
Most flights to Taiwan arrive in Taipei, which is home to cultural attractions of all shapes and sizes. Most notable is the National Palace Museum, which houses some of both Taiwan's and, controversially, China's most precious historical artefacts.
The collection, which includes items from Beijing's Forbidden City, is so large it cannot be displayed all at once, so the 650,000 pieces of Chinese bronze, porcelain, jade, calligraphy and painting are rotated regularly.
Tour the island countryside
Outside Taipei, Taiwan tours are likely to take travellers to visit some of the country's famous hot springs. Many local favourites are located in the town of Jiaoshi, however there are plenty more opportunities to soak elsewhere in Taiwan.
Indeed, the island is home to the world's only accessible seawater hot springs, the Sunrise Spring on Green Island off the southeast coast. For some sun and surf, head to the Penghu Islands, a group of 64 islands located off the western coast of Taiwan.
Of course, no Taiwan travel guide would be complete without mentioning the fabulous Taiwanese food. Eating is serious business to locals and food takes up the social role that alcohol does in many Western countries.
Extra tasty is the world-famous 'xiaochi' or Taiwanese version of tapas, found readily at one of the many night markets around the island.
Seafood is another popular menu item. Combine it with something tasty from the land in the form of an oyster omelet, then finish it off with a piece of pineapple cake so you can almost disguise yourself as a local.
Regional Buddhist influences mean vegetarian restaurants are also plentiful, while Taiwan also gave the world bubble tea – just in case you were wondering.