Taiwan: a land of extraordinary contrasts


From breath-taking mountains and coastlines to bustling cityscapes – in a compact package

Taiwan is indeed a combination of Asia’s most beautiful characteristics. The island’s breath-taking landscapes offer impressive gorges, high mountains, adventurous coastlines, colourful corals, and volcanic islands. This stands in contrast to modern cities like Taipei or Kaohsiung, fused with traditions and culture.

Whether there on a stop-over or for a longer stay, Taipei will surprise and delight visitors with its extraordinary variety of sights and activities.


Whether they are there on a stop-over or for a longer stay, Taipei will surprise and delight visitors with its extraordinary variety of sights and activities. Contrasting with the “raw nature”, Taipei is a dynamic and exciting metropolis, which merges the old and the new in a lively, diversified and exuberant way. Undergoing a drastic transformation in the last 20 years, Taipei is the island’s economic, political and cultural centre – a never-ending series of fascinating contrasts filled with energy and friendly smiles. The capital’s cultural kaleidoscope is reflected into centuries-old temples facing contemporary neon street life. The city has dozens of world-class restaurants offering the best regional cuisine but also plenty of night markets serving up scrumptious evening snacks.

Taipei’s urbanity effortlessly merges with this spectacular destination’s luxuriant nature. Just a few minutes from the city, tourists can soak in hot springs nestled in lush mountainous hills or wander along trails and parks.

Two-thirds of Taiwan is covered by forested mountains while the remaining areas consists of hills, plateaux, coastal plains and basins. The Central Mountain Range stretches from north to south, forming a natural line for rivers on the east and west of the island. The island has an abundance of mountains; over 200 of its peaks are more than 3,000m high. First and foremost, Yushan at 3,952m is Taiwan’s highest peak.

Yushan Mountain

Yushan’s snow cover in winter has earned the nickname of Mount Jade, primarily because its peak glistens beneath the frozen ice like a sparkling green gemstone. Despite its size, Yushan can be hiked relatively easily by hikers of all levels (with the relevant permits obtained in advance) which adds to its popularity.

Those who prefer to go in search of adventure on two wheels are also well catered for — that is why the island has earned a justified reputation as a cyclists’ paradise. A series of both simple and challenging routes wind through the island’s dazzling scenery, showcasing a mesmerising juxtaposition between coast and cliff-side, sea and mountain.

Each area boasts its own unique geographical features, ranging from tropical forests and walled gorges to dramatic sea cliff s and abundant wildlife — small wonder that when Portuguese sailors first sighted the uncharted island they noted it on their maps as Ilha Formosa or the “beautiful island”.

Photo: Yanping Mountain


Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau offers free halfday tours for transit passengers with 7- to 24-hour layovers, who have valid Taiwan travel visas or come from countries eligible for visa-exempt entry.

There are both morning and afternoon half-day tours. The morning tour includes visits to sites in Sanxia and Yingge. The afternoon tour includes visits to Taipei 101, Longshan Temple, and Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Memorial Park, among other sites in Taipei.