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The AFAR Guide to Taiwan

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Taiwan boasts a natural beauty seldom seen, combining dramatic mountains and vertiginous river valleys with a coastline offering a number of stunning beaches, many of which are off the beaten track. Not only this, but Taiwan's economy is among the most robust and modern in the world – with a population of just over 23 million in 2012, Taiwan possesses the world's 19th largest economy, and bears a strong and complex cultural relationship to the Chinese mainland.
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Liuqiu Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 929
Xiao Liuchiu is a beautiful island, but the best spot has to be the iconic Vase Rock. This spot is located near the downtown area and ferry dock. There's a wooden walkway where you can walk along the coast and watch the sun set over the Taiwan...
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108, Taiwan, 台北市萬華區富民里
I love discovering street food when I travel and Taipei was great for finding cheap eats everywhere. From noodles to fried food to roasted poultry, you can find anything sold on tracks along the streets. The night markets are also a great stop and...
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No. 18, Zhongbu Cross-island highway, Xiulin Township, Hualien County, Taiwan 972
These beautiful hot springs are located several kilometres into the gorge. To get there you must drive or cycle to the parking lot and then walk down a long wooden staircase built into the cliffside. At the bottom you'll find a quaint...
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Pingxi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 226
The Lantern Festival (two weeks after Chinese New Year), best celebrated in Pingxi, north Taiwan. You've seen the photos, but watching the clouds of lanterns rise up into the sky - hopes and dreams written on each one - really is a magical...
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Jinshan District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 208
Jinshan is one of the oldest and most consistent surf spots in Taiwan. Located just outside of the town of Jinshan on the north coast just an hour's drive from Taipei, the highway in front of the beach is lined with numerous surf shops and a...
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Changhua County, Taiwan
While exploring one of Taiwan's many night markets, the francophile in me was delighted when we stumbled upon a small crepe stand among the fruit juices, stinky tofus, and other xiaochi ("small eats") available for carryout. With a bit of pink...
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929, Taiwan, Pingtung County, Liuqiu Township, 屏東縣琉球鄉
Black Dwarf Cave (also known as Black Ghost Cave) is located on Xiao Liuchiu's west coast. It's more of a walkway through a maze of precipitous lava rock formations than a tunnel into a cliff like one normally expects of a cave. The cave has a...
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946, Taiwan, Pingtung County, Hengchun Township, 墾丁路石牛巷1-3號
A couple years ago I traveled to Taiwan solo. After exploring Taipei and its environs I decided to take the train then the bus down to the southernmost tip of the island and spend a few days by the beach in Kenting. Down there no one I met spoke a...
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No. 221, Sec 2, Zhi Shan Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
When the Kuomintang fled from China to Taiwan they didn't forget about their cultural roots. Before leaving the mainland, the party cherry-picked over 690,000 of the finest examples of Chinese art from the previous 8000 years. That art is now...
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No. 211, Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
Longshan is not Taipei's largest temple, but its unique beauty and proximity to the MRT have made it a very popular one. It's an awesome place to stop by at sunset when the after-work crowd comes to worship. The temple fills with people from all...
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Yushan, Xinyi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 556
Often said to be the tallest mountain in East Asia, at 3952 m climbing Taiwan's Jade Mountain (or Yushan 玉山) is an epic undertaking, even for experienced hikers. The trip takes most hikers two days, although some people do manage to rush to the...
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Alley 1, Lane 40, Linjiang Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
One of the many night markets in Taipei, prepare yourself to be flooded with sensations at the Tong Hua Night Market. Some people are adventurous eaters, and some aren't. To eat here, you may have to leave some of your preconceived notions behind...