What I Love About Taiwan

Culture

Taiwan was once known as Formosa, which means beautiful island. If you ever have the chance to travel and explore the island, you will see its beauty in nature, culture, and people. It is really somewhere you need to come to see and experience for yourself. When I was younger, when I said my family is from Taiwan, there was often a response of you’re from Thailand? When I was in Taiwan as a child, some people weren’t sure where NZ was on the map or would think New Zealand is a place in Australia or part of Australia.

New Zealand is definitely far more well known now among tourists. I really really hope Taiwan can be more and more well known among tourist destinations in Asia. There is definitely a significant lack of knowledge about the country, compared to say Korea or Japan. It is a hidden treasure for many, as I really feel that it’s not quite so well known globally as it could be. This has been the longest period of time I’ve stayed in Taiwan, and I would definitely love to live here someday.

1.Friendly people. Taiwanese are some of the most friendliest, helpful and polite people in the world.

2. Convenience. It is one of the most convenient places to live, especially if you are living in one of the cities.

3. Transport. Similarly, the transport is incredibly convenient and efficient. For example, in Taipei, you can use the MRT, Bus, Bike, Taxi or Drive.

4. Recycling. The sorting of rubbish here is taken seriously, as the rubbish is sorted into food, plastic, paper, etc.

5. Food. You haven’t had the full experience in Taiwan if you haven’t tasted the food.

6. Busy but also not. Taiwan is pretty slow paced in many places, and even in the larger cities such as Taipei and Kaohsiung, it is more slow-paced compared to cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

7. Biking. It is a wonderful place to bike, and you can actually travel the whole island by bike!

8. Efficiency. Food is usually delivered quickly to your table and even when I got my wisdom teeth removed, I made a last minute booking on the day and got it pulled out.

9. Safety. I never feel unsafe in Taipei if I ever happen to walk on the streets after 11pm.

10. Nightlife. From night markets, cafes, bars, parties, arcade, movies, events, exhibitions and so on, there’s always something happening.

11. Mountains. It doesn’t take too long to travel to beautiful mountains and go hiking. The nature in Taiwan is breathtaking.

12. Fruits and Vegetables. It is one of the best places to be vegetarian or vegan. There is a plethora of options.

13. Cafes. Most cafes have their own personality and vibe. There is usually a certain feeling or theme.

14. Cute things. There is definitely a lot of Japanese influence. But, if you love cute things, Taiwan has a lot of cute things!

15. Cinemas. If you love watching movies, there are different kinds of cinemas in Taiwan. You can also go to ones where you can watch several films in one day.

16. Tea Culture. If you love tea, there is no shortage of tea in Taiwan.

17. Bookstores. I feel like you can spend hours sitting in a bookstore in Taiwan, just reading.

18. Random things. I was biking to the grocery store today and biked past a park where an owner was walking her cat on a leash.

19. Insects. I love creepy crawlies, and when I go hiking up the mountains, if I look around there are caterpillars, butterflies, dragonflies, and other beautiful insects.

20. Chinese Culture and Taiwanese Culture. The Aboriginal Taiwanese culture and Chinese culture.

21. Hotsprings. Winter is my favourite season, and it’s the perfect time to go to the hot springs.

22. Walking. As someone who walks most of the time in Auckland, for me, anywhere that’s walking distance within 30 minutes is very close.

23. Creativity and arts. There are so many activities in Taiwan to do from crafts and workshops.

24. Natural beauty. It’s truly one of the most beautiful places. I think it’s always good to go out of a city to really see a countries natural beauty.

25. Internet. There are many areas with Free wifi and the internet is fast.

26. Umbrella. This is something I really like because I like to use an umbrella in NZ when it’s sunny which still gets a few stares, but in Taiwan, it is a norm.

27. 7/11.You can do so much at 7/11 from buying food, paying your bills, ATM machine or sending parcels. Plus It’s opened 24/7.

There is definitely more than 100 things I love about Taiwan, but there are also areas I hope that will improve. Every country has its pros and cons. Some areas I hope will improve include the economy, politics, architecture, traffic, driving, pollution, education system, tourism, the number of scooters, low paid jobs and the number of stray dogs.

Adventures In Taipei

Culture

48058879_2079400948973175_2495150650631913472_nTaiwan holds a special place in my heart. I still remember my first trip to Taiwan, I think I was around 3 or 4 years old. The airplane seat felt big and spacious, there was a kids set with colouring in books and games, and I had my red dragon toy. I cannot count the exact number, but I have been back to Taiwan maybe around twenty times. It is my second time traveling to Taipei this year, as I came earlier this year with one of my close friends. If anyone is ever interested in traveling to Taipei, I always like to give similar advice to those who travel to Auckland. Always make sure to travel outside of the city.

There are so many exciting things to do in the city, but it’s good to see the sights, go for a hike and surround yourself with the natural beauty of the land. Some of the things I love in Taiwan is the immensely large amount of creative souls, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and the amazing amount of cute things that fills my heart. Taiwan is truly one of the best Asian countries to be Vegetarian or Vegan in, as there is such a vast variety and many vegetarian restaurants. Most restaurants also have vegetarian options.

Taipei Fine Arts Museum had an interesting exhibition called: Post-Nature. I love the feeling of being in a museum, gallery or bookstore. There’s a certain stillness that is good to experience within the fast pace of the city. Something a little amusing that I noticed, is the number of English signs or labels that have the wrong grammar. One of my dear friends came to Taipei to visit for ten days, and we had such a great time. When we were in Jiufen, there was a store that sold Chi Pao’s at a reasonable price, and my friend suggested that we buy one and wear them. It was so much fun.

I was intrigued at how many people thought I was Japanese, and how many people said I have a gentle demeanour and a soft voice. It’s always interesting how cultures are vastly different in their own ways and similar in other ways. In Taiwan, I find people are very friendly and helpful and also very direct at times. Although, most of the time it is out of kindness and honesty. The great thing about the Summer break (although it’s Winter here in Taiwan, Summer in New Zealand), is that there is more time to read! The feeling of reading a book that is not a textbook truly gives me great joy haha.

A thought that’s been in my mind lately, are these two sayings: You don’t need a lot to be happy and that beautiful things in life cannot be seen with the eyes. It really is the simple moments and the small things in life that give us the greatest joy. The most beautiful thing in a person is the kindness and love that they radiate, it’s those feelings felt from the heart. The moments that give us the greatest happiness, is really doing the things we love, enjoying the day to day moments and spending time with the people we love. I think it’s easier to be unhappy if we feel we are always in need of more and focus on the feeling of lack.

You create the world you live in with your thoughts. I find this incredibly important to remember. I feel that if I hold negativity in my heart, I start feeling bitter and send out bad energy into the world. If I allow myself to accept and be open, I can be more positive and focus on the moment. Believing in oneself and having faith, really takes positive self-talk. You are your own motivator. What we feed our mind, affects the person we become and it affects how we treat those around us. You are here for a purpose. The only self-doubt and judgment comes from yourself.

There are so many delicious fruit in Taiwan. From Dragonfruit, Guava, Mangos to Bellfruit, Pineapple and Starfruit. Although, I haven’t been back here in the Summer in years. During the Summer, there is an amazing abundance of fruit. It’s a blessing to be surrounded by the culture and to immerse myself fully in speaking Chinese every day. Being 22 years old, the journey of my 20’s has been an exciting one so far. I think of when I left home at 16, and how much we change over time. Our experiences are so valuable, and how we choose to use our time.

Have you been to Taiwan? What are some of the favourite things you did?