Surprising at Every Turn
Taiwan is well-known as the world's electronics powerhouse. With plenty of state-of-the-art venues and a robust hotel base it is a perfect place to host an event or meeting regardless of scale or size.
But it also has another side, one that is relatively unexplored by international planners. With its towering mountains and hidden valleys chock-full of natural wonders, it is waiting to be discovered. For all planners wanting to surprise their attendees with something new and exciting but also safe and accessible, Taiwan is one such place.
Contrary to popular opinion Taiwan is not a monoculture. Although the Chinese influence is by far the most visible, the island is a melting pot of different cultures which becomes apparent the more time you spend on the island.
截圖 2021-08-11 下午8.55.17
train portrait mask_edited
Taoism religion temple3
Indigenous Peoples of Taiwan
Taiwan’s indigenous tribes have been on the island for thousands of years, but are now a tiny minority. Just one in fifty Taiwanese is officially aboriginal, yet a far greater proportion – possibly a majority of the population – has some aboriginal heritage.
There are 16 ethnic groups in Taiwan, each with its own unique customs and lifestyles that are evident in traditional festivals, costumes and other cultural elements.
Han Chinese are undoubtedly the largest ethnicity in Taiwan. Separated by only 273 km of the Taiwan Strait, the island was a frequent destination for immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong provinces. Now, Han Chinese represent 95% of its population, keeping the old Chinese traditions and beliefs alive, especially in the countryside.
Taiwan is a great destination to catch a glimpse of this living culture, for example at one of the ubiquitous temples scattered around the island. It also boasts the world’s largest collection of Chinese artifacts held in the famous National Palace Museum. Traditional culture is on broad display during the largest and most vibrant festivities such as the famous Matsu Festival or adrenaline-filled Yangshuo Beehive Rocket Festival.
Han Chinese brought an immense variety of cuisines resulting in a very eclectic offering that can be savored in numerous local restaurants. In a country as small as this it is surprisingly easy to find dishes originating from all over China.
The 50 years of Japanese colonial rule left a lasting impression on the Taiwanese culture. You can see it every day by visitng numerous ramen restaurants in Taipei or in mangas read by students during their morning commute. It was the Japanese who popularized hot spring culture in Taiwan, still popular among all age groups.
Some Japanese-style architecture still remains on the island and serves various functions, not always connected to their historical purpose. In what other country can you dine in the same buildings that once served kamikaze pilots before their fateful missions?
the heart of Asia
The island of Taiwan lays between Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Hong Kong, just across from the South-East coast of China. Its location makes it a perfect gateway to the rest of Asia. It's well-communicated with all its neighbors and enjoys good flight connections with Europe and the US. Taipei presents a great stepping stone into the tropical archipelagos in the south, Okinawa, or even Palau.
The country's geography is quite dramatic, with over 70% of the island covered in mountains. In fact, there are over 160 mountains in Taiwan exceeding the height of 3,000 meters. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire translates to frequent seismic activity and an abundance of natural hot springs. Active fumaroles can be visited Yangminshan National Park, just outside of Taipei.
The industrial centers that many associate with Taiwan are mostly located on the west coast of the island. The rest of the country is covered in lush forests and rocky mountains. The south and south-east are famous for their tropical beaches, surfing, and snorkeling spots.