Taiwan Travel Guide

If you travel to Taiwan at some day, maybe my itinerary and tips are able to help you.

In general: You’ll need adapter for electricity. Mosquitos are annoying but Taiwan is Malaria-free and there are just rare cases of Dengue. It turns „summer“ in April when lots of locals start to walk around in shorts. Still, bring a long sleeve if you stay indoors due to aircon. Meals at food courts of shopping malls and night markets is really cheap. Japenese food is excellent in Taiwan, Korean food is not on that level. Public transportation is really cheap and easily managable with knowledge of English only. Convenience stores can print for you, call taxis, most of the times they have free toilets and wifi, cash machines and café tables where you can sit down and enjoy a drink (this is why they are called convenience stores). Taiwanese people have early dinner, start at 5:30 or 6. Latest by 8, restaurants will be empty and oftentimes they have „last order“ times at around 8:15 or 8:30. Try the bubble tea as it’s so different from the one known in Germany and you can adjust sugar and ice. Taiwanese people are really friendly and caring. Most Taiwanese use umbrellas against the sun instead of sunscreen.

 

Itinerary for 10 days country trip:

We picked up the car at Taoyuan airport, making our way to north-east skipping Taipei. I didn’t drive in Taipei but after witnessing traffic and parking situation, I strongly recommend to avoid it if you can. First stop Lefu B&B in Yilan, takes about 2 hours drive from Taoyuan airport. Great B&B (big rooms, super clean), great host but bring cash. We stayed 1 night to prepare for the drive to Taroko National Park.

For the drive from there to Taroko, plan a day. The distance doesn’t look that far but the streets are narrow and twisty. But the drive is amazing as you drive along the coastline which has magnificent views. Stop as often as you can.

Next hotel: Silks Place Taroko. I know it’s really expensive but it’s one of the only hotels that is directly located in the Taroko NP and has a great rooftop pool and breakfast. Rooms are a bit old-fashioned but clean and big. Book a room with a view, it’s adorable. We stayed to 2 nights and Taroko NP was my personal highlight on that trip.

After Taroko, we took a narrow street to Sun Moon Lake in the heart of the country. Again plan enough time as there are so many great views and enjoy. Our hotel at Sun Moon Lake was Shui Sha Lian Hotel, and it was ok if you want to save money – but don’t expect anything great. There are plenty of hotels around, we stayed 2 nights. Sun Moon Lake was really pretty, lots of opportunities to hike, visit temples or pagodas.

Next stop was Alishan mountain. Taroko and Sun Moon Lake was not that touristy and crowded, but Alishan definitly is !!! Make sure that you do not visit at weekends as  locals told me that they would rather not go than on weekends! Unfortunately it was raining and I was ill at that time, so I didn’t like it. Hotels and restaurants in the park are expensive and I cannot recommend any hotels or restaurants. If you go, be prepared to spend lots of money! If I had known before, I would have skipped it. Again, we also spend 2 nights here.

Final stop on our tour was Kenting in the very south. It looks like it’s a long way down there but a huge part of it is highway or street through some towns so you can go faster than in the narrow mountain streets. If possible, be there on the weekends because then the town gets vibrant and lively with street food and cocktails – but without getting too crowded. We stayed a 10 minutes walk away from town in Howard Beach Resort near the beach and with a pool. Free parking as well. We stayed 3 nights and make sure that you take your car and drive around the coast a bit, it’s beautiful.

On the last day, we drove up all the way to Taoyuan airport to return the car.  It took about 7 hours (mostly on highways) but I preferred to do that instead of spending a night somewhere in the middle. I took an extra 2 days trip to Kaohsiung and it’s nice but I definitly preferred Taroko, Sun Moon Lake and Kenting. From Taoyuan airport, you can take the MRT into Taipei (about 40 minutes) and start your adventure there. Taipei is a great city with a lot to explore!

Summary: Driving in Taiwan is really easy. They don’t go that fast and drivers are generally friendly and patient. My highlight was Taroko as I love nature. I would have loved to stay longer there. Don’t forget to try all the good food they have, especially Taiwanese Hot Pot, Dumplings, Bubble Tea and Japanese Ramen soup. It was an essential part of my travel experience.

Enjoy your travels & be safe!

 

 

Kenting Beach Life

Kenting is a lovely beach town in the very southern part of Taiwan. After travelling through national parks and the Sun Moon lake, it was a perfect addition to our vacation just to spend a few days right at the beach. I constantly forget how great beaches are and how beautiful the blue horizon is at all times of the day. If you travel to Kenting, check out first where the next accessible sandy beach is. We had access to “Little Bay” directly through a tunnel from our hotel so it was perfect.

Kenting ist ein süßes kleines Stranddorf ganz im Süden Taiwans. Nachdem wir Nationalparks kennen lernen durften und den schönen Sonne Mond See bewundert haben, war der Strand als letzte Urlaubsstation einfach perfekt. Ich vergesse immer wieder, wie toll Strandurlaub ist und wie wunderbar der blaue Horizont zu jeder Tageszeit ist. Wenn man nach Kenting reist, sollte man erst mal checken, wo der nächste Sandstrand ist, denn die sind doch eher spärlich gesät. Wir hatten Zugang zur „Little Bay“ direkt durch einen Tunnel von unserem Hotel Resort, also in perfekter Reichweite.

Also Kenting township was just a few minutes away from the hotel which loads of genius food offers: From street food (best squid ever!!) to restaurants offering Taiwanese, Chinese, Thai food and good old Pizza with mango smoothies, everything was in place. It got crowdy at the weekend but very manageable. Just make sure you don’t venture out too late in the evening, restaurants get empty after 8 pm.

Der Ort Kenting war nur wenige Minuten von dem Hotel entfernt mit massenweise genialem Essen: Über Street Food (bester Octopus überhaupt) bis hin zu Restaurants mit Taiwanesischem, Chinesischem und Thai Essen – und selbstverständlich mit guter alter Pizza und Mango Smoothie gab es alles. Es war recht viel los am Wochenende aber ohne zu viel u sein. Man sollte nur darauf achten, dass man nicht allzu spät vor Ort ist, denn die Restaurants leeren sich bereits gegen 20 Uhr.

For day activities, best way to go is to get into the car and drive along the coastal road. It takes you along beautiful scenery with the bluest sea ever, stunning coast lines and the southernmost point of Taiwan with a lighthouse. You can also find a tiny bay with unbelievable white sand which is a protected area: Some places should not be accessed by people in order to keep them this way. Just take the chance and leave the car (even if it’s really hot and humid outside). As we have been there in April, I’m seriously wondering how sweaty it will get in July / August.

Tagsüber ist es eine wunderbare Sache, einfach ins Auto zu steigen und die Küstenstraße entlang zu fahren. Man kommt an wunderschönen Aussichten mit Buchten, tollen Küstenlinien und dem südlichsten Punkt Taiwans mit Leuchtturm vorbei. Auf dem Weg liegt außerdem eine kleine Bucht mit wahnsinnig weißem Sand, was Naturschutzgebiet ist: Manche Orte sollten nicht für Menschen zugänglich sein, um sie zu erhalten. Trotzdem sollte man die Chance ergreifen und trotz Hitze und hoher Luftfeuchtigkeit das Auto verlassen – wir waren im April vor Ort und ich frage mich, wie es dann wohl erst im August ist.

Last but not least: Don’t miss out to meet Mr. Chief Officer Zebra and the funny store advertisements in Kenting town: Watch out carefully!

Zu guter Letzt: Auf jeden Fall Herrn Hauptpolizist Zebra treffen und die witzigen Austeller im Ort beachten: Uffbasse!

4 West Coast Impressions

So it’s been almost 10 years now that I’ve been to California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona for the first time. As I failed to collect and save pictures at this time, I can only give you a few impressions here. But at least those are the few pictures that I really care about.

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#1 Ultimate California view – Orange County. Beautiful as hell and waves were amazing.

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#2 Bryce Canyon dressed to impress to make it for Utah. Just WOW.

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#3 Somewhere on the „road“ to Death Valley. I don’t really have words for this one. Nobody dares to restrict the US to only superficial, shining cities after this.

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#4 Death Valley. Be prepared for the heat of your lifetime and turn off the air con in your car so the engine will survive (been there in July!)

It might take some time until I come back to this area. Next US stops are more likely to be Hawaii tour or Alaska.

Florida fever

September 2013 – another trip due to the USA, this time: Florida. Cheaper flights than to California and going to the same part of such a huge country for the 3rd time seems a bit … limited. So yay let’s go for a tropical climate this time. Just without mosquitos.

So let’s start with a few absolute cliché pictures about Miami and what you see when you drive around in your over-sized SUV.

 

Driving north of Miami, first stop was Cocoa Beach. Oh and if you visit in September, make sure to be prepared for the tropical afternoon rain (not comparable to anything you can experience in Europe!! Umbrella not needed as no use…)

Made our way to Cape Caneveral to see the space shuttle, rockets of all kinds and to get into the spacy stuff which was way more interesting than I expected tbh. American history 😉

Next stop in line were Springfield and Hogwards / Hogsmeade in Universal Studios / Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Though the absolut tourist-magnet, I strongly recommend it, especially if you are the European traveller. What the US guys are capable of when it comes to those kinds of leisure park, is beyond compare to any European standards. Do go to Europapark (in Germany) definitly before coming here!!

Off to west coast next – beautiful beaches, whiter sand than at the Atlantic coast and much warmer water. Looks a bit like the Baltic Sea cost in my opionion (see my Germany posts).

Next: Crocodile farm. These lovely guys came to be fed. As far as I could see, the conditions they’re kept in are okay. All that they do for entertainment is to feed a few times a day with giant dead rats.

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We made all our way down to Key West after this. I can so much recommend going there, the drive is really extraordinary (make sure you like lots, lots of water). And welcome the little visitors that join you at the pool ❤

Also of course we took the opportunity to get this photo before emerging in the lovely orchid gardens. At night, Key West old quarter is pretty. If you look for the right place, insert Hard Rock Café Key West in your navi and it will take you to the street you were probably looking for.

Overall: Florida is a really nice place if you look for some vibrant cities (Miami), nice beaches (Cocoa beach and west coast), one or two days pure touristy fun (Universal Studios Orlando), a funny animal encounter (Alligator farm near Tamiami trail) and a smooth chilly athmosphere (Key West). This is why I like the US very much for vacation as you can get to enjoy so many different things.