I didn’t know much about Taiwan before this trip to Taipei City.
But when I heard about Hawaiian Airlines launching a route to Taipei, the political and economic capital of this island nation, it really piqued my interest.
I knew about the street food and night markets, but not much else. And that’s a shame. This island off the southeastern coast of mainland China is incredibly fascinating.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
• The island of Taiwan was mainly inhabited by Taiwanese aborigines until the Dutch period in the 17th century when ethnic Chinese began immigrating to the island. (Now China governs the island.)
• About half of Taiwan’s terrain is mountainous, and you can hike ridges, walk through forests or wander through national parks all over the island. And many of the animals you find here — particularly a staggering percentage of butterflies — are endemic and found nowhere else in the world.
• Surfing is growing in popularity here. (Taiwan is the same distance from the equator as Hawaii.) Like many islands in this area, surf depends on typhoons. (And one is heading this way while I’m here!)
• While the official language of Taiwan is standard Chinese, recognized languages include Taiwanese, Hakka and the Fuzhou dialect. And you can hear all of these all over Taipei.
• Taiwan’s economic engine is manufacturing. It’s one of the “Four Asian Tigers” alongside Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore, boasting among the highest income per capital in Asia.
I was fortunate enough to get invited on Hawaiian Airlines’ inaugural flight to Taipei, which left at 2 a.m. Tuesday. The 10-hour flight gave us just enough time to rest up before our long, long first day in Taipei.
Here’s what the day-time part of our first day in Taipei looked like: (Our visit to the Shilin Night Market is going to have to be a whole ‘nother post!)
Follow my adventures in Taipei on Twitter @thedailydish and on Instagram @catherinetoth. Special thanks to Hawaiian Airlines for allowing me to be part of this special inaugural flight.
Glow sticks and vaseline – essentials on any vacay! Haha! Ok really – Those cake rolls are amazing!
Right??? Love it!
Nice! Too bad you can’t explore the rest of the country. Kenting has some decent beaches with pretty good surf breaks (and its not crowded!!), but nothing compared to Hawaii…gotta be honest.
Tea eggs are okay. Braised shoyu eggs are better. They are commonly served with the braised beef on rice dish (lu ro fun)–also highly recommended.
*Tell Hawaiian Airlines I’m booking my next flight to Taipei with them! 😉
YES! Come back to Taipei! I do wish I could explore more. I’d love to come back and go hiking in the mountains, see the butterflies, surf. So much more to do!
CAT: I am full from those fuud pix! Is the breast whitening cream used in cooking turkey? LOL
And no comment on the turkey comment. 😛
Hey Cat: I just saw the news and saw that Typhoon Soulik was headed your way … take care and hope it just fizzles out …
… love your pics!!! …
You mention the butterflies, you guys should go to the Insectarium at the Taipei zoo. They have tons of butterflies there. It is a pretty cool place. Of course being a zoo lover would help.
Where’s the zoo? I gotta find that on the map!
Keep the pictures coming!
I be head to Taiwan soon also and see glad to see bookstores. I am a bookworm and more book stores shuting down in San Francisco. Great to see one in Taipei that 24 hours and see I get lot of books there and ship back to state.
I like cartwheel cake and custard my fav. I always like green onion pancake with a fried egg on top for breakfast with soy bean milk. People like tomatoes and eat them whole like apple and I like it in drinks their vegetable fruit drinks is must have for it healthly too.
It’s so sad that bookstores are closing in the U.S. Seriously. I don’t know what to do about it. Maybe it will just be a phase and bookstores will become back in vogue again. I’d hate to think my kids would never have that experience…