Taiwan is best described as a hidden gem located in the middle of the China Seas. It is, in many ways, an oxymoron in and of itself. It has traditional eastern roots combined almost effortlessly with western ideals. There are historic, cultural landmarks intertwined with modern condos and buildings. One moment you may interact with the laid back type of people you would expect on a tropical island, and the next you may get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. Within the same hour you can indulge yourself in fine cuisine at an upscale restaurant and then grasp the opportunity to scale the volcanic mountains and surrounded by villages that appear untouched for centuries. The variety you will find in Taiwan is spectacular. From the almost chaotic commercial center to the sprawling volcanoes, there is something for everyone, no matter your interests, tastes or budget.
Understanding the Diversity within Taiwan
The diversity when it comes to activities, the people and the culture is stunning in Taiwan. In just the past few hundred years alone the country has been under Chinese rule, Dutch rule and even Japanese rule. The history of the nation is tumultuous to say the least and is fascinating in a number of ways. The diverse culture that has come about is celebrated each year with a number of passion filled festivals, parades and events. In February you can partake in the Taiwan Lantern Festival, and in June you can be entertained by the world famous Dragon Boat Festival. On top of these well known events there seem to be constant celebrations and opportunities for the Chinese, Taiwanese and Aboriginal people to celebrate their unique heritage.
Taipei 101 is probably the most infamous symbol for Taiwanese culture as it towers over every other building, coming in at 508 meters and 101 floors. It is more of a status symbol for what it represents rather than its incredible size. When the building was finished in 2003, it was an accomplishment that signified the recent economic growth of a city that had been through so much turmoil over the years. Taipei offers a commercialized look into Taiwanese culture and you will never find yourself bored or with nothing to do when visiting the area. If you are looking for a more authentic Taiwanese getaway, then Tainan is an excellent option. It is the fourth largest city on the island, yet has not seen the effects of commercialism and western culture as much. Tainan is covered in Temples and Memorials that seem to find a way to inspire the uninspired.
Explore Unchartered Waters
Exploring the major urban areas of Taiwan is an excellent way to have a great vacation, but you cannot neglect the rural areas or you will miss out on a lot of the beauty. The topography of the island is rugged yet majestic at the same time. From the lush valleys to the awe-inspiring waterfalls to the ominous mountain peaks, there is no shortage of picturesque and seemingly perfect sights. Jade Mountain is an attraction that will make your trip well worth the effort as it towers over the rest of the island at an incredible 2,610 meters. After experiencing Jade Mountain you should make the trek to Taroko Gorge on the rocky east shores of Taiwan. From there you can begin to truly appreciate more of the history behind Taiwan and its people. You will notice the almost too beautiful to be real green islands that dot the Pacific Ocean. Each one has its one unique native history that you need to experience for yourself in order to understand. You will easily find lodging and tour guides that can take you around the islands where you can choose which ones you would like to get up close and personal with.
Hidden Land of Opportunity
From the towering buildings and mountains, to the plethora of cultural experiences and historic sites, Taiwan is a destination that should not be overlooked. Possibly the best news for anyone who would like to experience the island is that there are so many employment opportunities to be found. The nation is very accepting of expatriates and the recent economic growth has really increased the need for foreign workers in a number of fields. Taiwan is consistently ranked as one of the best destinations for teaching abroad. If you have considered working overseas as an English teacher, then Taiwan just may prove to be the opportunity you are looking for. ESL teachers are offered competitive salaries, comfortable housing and a plethora of rewarding benefits. In general the people of Taiwan are extremely friendly towards foreigners and accept visitors with open arms. So whether you are looking for an opportunity to get paid to travel or are just planning your next vacation getaway, take a long, hard look at Taiwan. It may turn out to be the hidden land of opportunity you have been looking for.