Eight Days in Taiwan

By on February 1, 2014

By Norine Rae –

Taiwan is truly an exquisite secret vacation destination for Westerners. Known as ‘the heart of Asia’ everywhere you look is a fascinating picture to be remembered. In eight days I saw less than eight Westerners and I kept asking others and myself why.

It was truly a pleasurable adventure from the kindness of the people, the delicious food, spectacular sites, and the ease of travel due to the fact that most people speak excellent English. Even on the trains, buses, and subways everything is in English as well as Chinese. And if that isn’t enough, I found that even when I wasn’t having a problem that people eagerly came to offer help. Yes, the people were delightful, both young and old. If you are looking for someone to converse with just look for those under the age of thirty as most of them have been studying English since grade school and love to talk with Americans.

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

Norine Rae photo of river in TaiwanSo why choose Taiwan for your next get away, besides what I have already mentioned?  It is authentic Asia without the tourist traps. There are wonderful site seeing tours for under $50.00 a day, and your dollar will go a long way for an adventure of your liking. Almost every hotel and bed and breakfast has an information area, and they’re more than happy to assist you to find the perfect experience to satisfy your taste. From whale watching, walking on the beach, swimming, bike riding, spas and hot springs, rafting, shopping, eating, or visiting museums, national parks, and so much more. – The choices are both abounding and diversified depending on the cities you select to visit.

Yes, there is a plethora of adventures to savor and for me I decided to travel around the Island by the fast train staying a few days in each place. I enjoyed my itinerary, but if asked what I would change, it is easy, I would stay longer at each place.  However, if my time were limited, I would adjust my plans to see fewer places so I would not feel so rushed. One could easily spend eight days just in Taipei taking tours to the outlying areas as well as exploring the sites within the city by foot or local transportation. My favorite places that I would consider “a must see” are Wulai Hot Spring, all the National Parks (especially Taroko National Park in Hualien), markets, teahouses, various temples, and of course the National Palace Museum.

Norine Rae bridge over river TaiwanIn Taiwan you will see the influence of the Dutch occupation of the 1600’s, Japanese occupation in the 1940’s, the indigenes Taiwanese, and of course mainland China. When I asked a Chinese student about the relationship between Taiwan and China she gave a remarkable answer. She said, “When you think of the difficultly between China and Taiwan think of parents and how hard it is to release their children when they come of age. Taiwan is like many young adults, who want to be fully independent and better than their parents. But because of their history they will always be family.”

Parents or not, China’s influence is everywhere with most of the tourists being from Mainland China with some from other countries within Asia mixed in. Sure you could register for a formal tour before you arrive in Taiwan, but consider taking a leap of faith as I did and explore the countryside through the recommendations of the locals upon your arrival at each destination. That does not mean that I did not do my homework, but I was open to change upon visiting each city and willing to ask the locals what they recommended I do and see. What I know for sure is, if you’re looking for a genuine Asian experience you will find it in Taiwan and hopefully like me, come home knowing that you have not only made fond memories, but treasured friendships as well.

 Norine Rae with boy in Taiwan

About Norine Rae

Norine Rae resides in Redding, California where she is a member of Bethel Church. In 2012 she completed her Master’s in Intellectual Leadership from A.W. Tozer Seminary through Simpson University. She has worked over 30 years in Human Services fields and has done extensive work in ministry, missions, and leadership both foreign and domestic. She is a lifelong learner, international speaker, minister, writer, mother, and friend.

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Eight Days in Taiwan