Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Fri June 29 2018
Image of beatiful landscape, Taiwan (photo via nicholashan / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Taiwan

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Taiwan’s capital and gateway, Taipei, features terrific attractions and is a dynamic city where a wealthy Chinese population pursues the good life via a busy nightlife and some of the world’s best Chinese restaurants. Taipei’s National Palace Museum houses the world's largest collection of Chinese art with 620,000 art objects. The collection is so large it can’t be displayed in its entirety at any one time. Taipei’s Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hallwas constructed in Ming Dynasty style. The National Theater and The National Concert Hall flank the hall. Snake Alley, a brightly lit street in the Wanhua district is one of Asia’s most colorful night markets. The alley takes its name from restaurants offering snake wine and soup.

The Yingge Ceramics Museum, located in the pottery town of Yingge, just outside Taipei, allows visitors to view exhibits chronicling the development of ceramics in Taiwan. A large gift shop affords visitors a wide choice of ceramics for purchase. The town of Peitou, also outside Taipei, has a long heritage of hot springs, developed by the Japanese in the late 19th century. The Peitou Hot Spring Museum explores hot springs culture, Peitou-style. Taiwan’s biggest concentration of wood carvers is in the town of Sanyi in Miaoli County. Tea trees and camphor wood forests blanket the area where many residents are involved in carving. Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s largest natural lake and it’s located in the foothills of the island’s Central Range at 2,460 feet. The lake is surrounded by temples, shrines and pagodas as well as a 26-mile path that loops around the lake, perfect for cycling and accessing many hiking trails. The Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village to the east of the lake features reconstructed villages that showcase the culture of the island's aboriginal tribes. The Taroko Gorge National Park is Taiwan’s answer to Big Sur. A beautiful road takes drivers into the heart of the island by hugging the edges of the dramatic gorge. The outlying islands of Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu, once off limits to visitors, are now filled with tourist activities, as is Green Island, off the southeast coast, which has coral reefs that attract many divers.

The Chinese restaurants in Taipei can compete with the best restaurants in Hong Kong or Shanghai. In Taiwan, chefs from all over China work in close proximity sharing secrets and recipes. The results are new dishes that are Taiwanese rather than traditional Chinese.

As in the U.S., Taiwan is hottest in June, July and August, and coldest during our winter. Temperatures range between the 60s and the 90s throughout the year. There are many ways to get to Taipei from the U.S. The country’s two carriers, Eva Air and China Air, each offer extensive service from the U.S. United, American and Continental also offer service to Taiwan. A great train network and an extensive road network make it an easy destination in which to get around.

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A Rainy Day in a Taiwanese Mountain Town.

No more than an hour outside of Taipei, in the northern mountains, Mark takes a day to explore the town Jiufen. A former gold rush town, once forgotten, Jiufen is known now for its tea houses and grand Ocean views. Yet, the rainy day in jiufen is no waste. The steep staircases and nostalgic scenery are enjoyable enough, but the artisan shops and restaurants are the hook. See horse hair brushes being fashioned, calligraphy artists practicing their craft, and see the stages of an Okarina in making, then relax to the euphonious sounds of a one being played.

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Continent Asia

Population 23,000,000

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