Taiwan's technological revolution and the devoted work ethic of its people are well known, but this tiny island nation off the coast of China possesses a plethora of little known surprises, among them: misty towering peaks famous for sunrises and high-mountain tea; the world's finest Chinese art museum; coral reefs and sea critters that thrive in its tropical waters; aborigine peoples who are alive and well and still practice such age-old traditions as harvest dances; and undoubtedly the best Chinese cuisine in the world. National Geographic guides the traveler through this enchanting land of unexpected charms with this lavishly illustrated, fully updated guidebook.
Broken into six regional chapters, this fully updated edition of the guide begins in Taipei, where traditional night markets and bustling Taoist temples contrast its 21st-century skyline (the tallest building in the world is under construction here). You then explore Taipei's surroundings and other sites in the North, including the potter's town of Yingko, where you can stroll down one long lane devoted to pottery shops featuring works made right in town; take the cure at Beitou hot springs; and hike through Yangmingshan National Park, popular for its mountain scenery and spring flowers.
Next it's off to Taiwan's East Coast and one of Taiwan's major tourist sites, the stunning Taroko Gorge, a marble canyon etched with a roadway for easy access, but branched with lots of remote hiking trails. Take a drive farther down the coast through the East Coast National Scenic Area, along high-steeped cliffs past turquoise seas and sandy beaches. In the south of the island, you won't believe the gorgeous beaches lapped by turquoise waters; Kenting National Park is a prime birding spot, but is also known for its outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, and hiking. Explore some of the remote offshore islands in the Taiwan Straits, including Penghu, famed for snorkeling, scuba diving, and charming fishing villages; and Kimen, a national park island whose underground military bases offer insight into the tenuous Sino-Taiwanese relationship. Wrapping back north through central west Taiwan, you can take the alpine railway to the tiptop of 10,000-foot Alishan, a mystical realm high above the clouds offering hiking, fabulous scenery, and the chance to relax. Neighboring Jade Mountain, Taiwan's highest peak, lurks in the distance, beckoning the brave and adventurous to climb its summit. Sun Moon Lake lies nearby, its peak-ringed waters changing hues with the daylight, creating romantic scenes popular among the honeymooners who flock here.
Phil MacDonald worked for the Hong Kong Standard and the South China Morning Post for a number of years before settling—by way of Laos and Singapore—in Phuket, Thailand, in 1996. He now lives in Bangkok, working as a freelance journalist and writer, and contributing to a number of regional and international publications.
The award-winning National Geographic Traveler has been enhanced with engaging new features and a contemporary redesign. Each guide begins with an introduction that enables you to sample a bit of the culture, history, and attractions before you go and plan the trip based on your own interests and length of stay.
Immerse yourself in active, in-country "Experiences" and "Off-the-Beaten-Path Excursions" you won't find anywhere else.
Other new features, such as "Insider Tips" from National Geographic photographers, writers, and experts, and "Not-To-Be-Missed" lists ensure that each visit will be memorable.
The guides' design has been simplified, opened up, and enhanced with easy-to-read tinted sections. Gorgeous color photographs, high-quality maps, and the popular walking and driving tours are still highlights of our crisp, new look.