Night view of Taipei - By Beautiful Taiwan
Credit/Licence flickr: By Beautiful Taiwan

Taiwan is an island situated in the Western Pacific Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Mainland China. Separated from the Asian continent by the 120km wide Taiwan Strait, the island is home to a population of around 23 million.

Taiwan was first known to the West as Ilha Formosa, or Beautiful Island. Aside from the well publicised industrial side of Taiwan, the island is also home to breathtaking scenery, a diversity of traditional folk customs, a rich culture, modern arts, and fantastic food.

The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese, but, as it's now part of the school curriculum, many also speak English. To be on the safe side though, if you’re catching a taxi it's a good idea to prepare a note with your place of destination written in Chinese to show the taxi driver.

The incredible natural landscape of Taiwan, home to more than 200 mountains, means there are some incredible natural sights. Taiwan now has 8 National Parks – including Yangmingshan National Park in Taipei suburban, which is famous for its volcanic landscape; and the Shei-Pa National Park.

Adventurous travellers can take an unforgettable hike at Taroko Gorge; ride on the Alishan Forest Railway and experience the stunning sunrise and sea of clouds; or hike up to the summit of Yushan, Northeast Asia's highest peak. Taiwan also has a rich marine ecology. In southeast of Taiwan, Orchid Island and Green Island are great spots to enjoy a bit of whale watching or scuba diving.

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