Jake’s Top Ten for Taiwan

Taipei 101 Tower

Go to the top of Taipei 101: First on my list is an undeniable tourist staple, the iconic Taipei 101. Opening at the end of 2004, Taipei 101 is now the world’s third largest skyscraper. With 101 floors above ground, this monster of a building reaches 1,670.6 ft at the tip of its antenna spire. Located in the Xinyi District on the eastern side of Taipei city, I believe this is a must see for any visitor to Taiwan. Although I have been in close proximity to the tower twice now, I am waiting for that perfect weather day to take a trip to the top.

Learn some Chinese: This semester I am taking my first Chinese class. Living in a place where you don’t speak (or read) the language can make small tasks seem impossible. I expect I will be very good at charades by the time I return home, and I’m already pretty good at pointing to stuff. So, as the second item on my list, I would like to learn to speak some Chinese!

Visit Green Island: Green Island is located approximately 20 miles off the south east coast of Taiwan and is accessible by ferry. I have heard many good things about the island since I’ve been here, I’m told it is a common destination for locals and tourists alike. I hope to make plans for a visit during the warmer months.

Taiwan Street Food: Stinky Tofu

Eat stinky tofu: It’s hard to miss the smell of “stinky tofu” on the streets of Taiwan. I’m still not sure if they’re joking, but apparently this is a real treat for many Taiwanese. I hadn’t been here long and was already receiving pressure to try the infamous cuisine. I’ll admit I don’t have the courage just yet, but soon enough I will throw caution to the wind and eat stinky tofu. Albeit, there may be alcohol involved.

National Parks: Cities are nice, but every once in a while you need a break. Luckily, Taiwan is rich with nature, and I plan to take full advantage. There are seven national parks in Taiwan and because I enjoy hiking and the outdoors, I hope to see as many as possible. Some of the more popular destinations include Kenting National Park and Taroko National Park. Recently I had the opportunity to hike with friends in central Taiwan and it was absolutely beautiful. I can’t wait to see more!

National Scenic Areas: Much like National Parks, National Scenic Areas are in plentiful supply and amazing for any nature lover. There are currently thirteen National Scenic Areas in Taiwan. Some of the National Scenic Areas I hope to visit are Alishan and Maolin National Scenic Area.

 

The view from my last hike.

Hot springs! Another popular attraction I have heard a lot about here in Taiwan are hot springs. These hot springs are naturally occurring and heated within the earth’s crust. The water emerges clean and hot, perfect for a relaxing bath. These hot springs bring rise to resorts and mountain getaways. There’s no way I’m going to miss this.

Use a squat toilet: When I first saw it, I had no idea how to use it. Luckily, I was able to move on and find the style I’m used to. It was only after some internet research and talking with friends that I learned the proper way to use a squat toilet. This made the list because although I don’t plan on using one anytime soon, I’m sure I will find myself in a situation where I don’t have a choice.

Eat Betel Nuts: Betel nuts are a common treat here in Taiwan, often sold by “Betel Nut Beauties.” You can find them at roadside stands where young attractive women (scantily dressed) will sell you this nut. When chewed, it acts as a mild stimulant.

Oh ya, get good grades: Even though study abroad can be a blur of new friends and experiences, we can’t forget our schoolwork!

 

Making new friends

Submitted by Jake, Abroad101 Global Ambassador in Taiwan