By Jenna Jolie
From dramatic mountain landscapes to white-sand beaches, and from some of the world’s best food to its finest collection of classical Chinese architecture, Taiwan is a land of countless pleasant surprises.
Here is our shortlist of Taiwan's most alluring attractions.
1. The view from Taipei 101
Soaring 101 stories and for a time the world’s highest building, Taipei 101 is a wonder of engineering that offers tremendous views from its observation deck near the top.
2. Chinese art treasures at the National Palace Museum
Home to the world’s greatest repository of Chinese art, collected over the course of a thousand years by China’s emperors, with approximately 700,000 individual works, each priceless.
3. Taroko Gorge's spectacular landscape
A deep, breathtaking 19km (12-mile) -long chasm of lofty, marble-laced cliffs and a cascading river strewn with massive boulders, traversed by a slow highway at the bottom literally chiseled from sheer rock.
4. Diving and sunbathing at Kending National Park
At Taiwan’s tropical south tip, this top tourist destination with an emphasis on conservation is a natural playground of upraised coral, exotic flora and fauna, sandy beaches, and blue-water recreation.
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5. Traditional temples and teahouses in Taiwan
Taiwan's fourth-largest city, Tainan is a hub of rich cultural heritage, with hundreds of shrines and temples and delightful places to sup Taiwanese-grown tea.
6. Weird and wonderful food at a night market
The country’s history and location has made it a crossroads of humanity – and a grand gourmet bazaar. The best initiation to Taiwan’s fantastic traditional snack culture is Taipei’s incredibly diversified Shilin Night Market.
7. Cycling around the country
A high-quality nationwide system of dedicated paths and lanes has been built. Circle the entire city of Taipei by riverside, and head to the north coast, on inexpensive rental bikes.
8. Hiking in Yangmingshan National Park
Just 40 minutes from downtown Taipei, overlooking the city, Yangmingshan National Park is a large, easily reached getaway of volcanic landscapes, hot springs, pleasant trails, and colorful bird and butterfly life.
9. Soaking in hot springs
Taiwan's hot springs are believed to provide restorative cures for all manner of ailments, while their scenic locations are simply good for the soul.
10. Learning about ethnic minorities on Lanyu
This island off Taiwan's southern coast is home to the Dao people, a matrilineal, seafaring society. Their lifestyle is a world away from the glitz of 21st-century Taipei