In the 16th century, Portuguese ships sailed to Southeast Asia and discovered Taiwan. Sailors aboard these ships were enchanted by the island's natural beauty and majestic scenery. They exclaimed "Ilha Formosa!" This means "beautiful island" in Portuguese. Ever since, the name has become synonymous with Taiwan.
Taiwan is an island shaped like a leaf that is narrow at both ends. It is located on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean with a total land area of about 36,000 square kilometers (14,400 square miles). It lies off the southeastern coast of mainland Asia, across the Taiwan Strait from China. To the north is Japan; to the south is the Philippines. Many airlines fly to Taiwan making it the perfect travel destination. Taiwan lies on the western edge of the Pacific "Rim of Fire," and continuous tectonic movements have created majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other natural landscapes. Taiwan's tropical, sub-tropical, and temperate climates provide clearly distinct seasons.. There are rare or endangered species on the island. Among these are the landlocked salmon, Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkey, Formosan black bear, blue magpie, Mikado pheasant, and Hsuehshan grass lizard.
If you are from a high-latitude country, you can leave your winter coat behind when coming to Taiwan and enjoy the pleasant warmth of the sun. If you'd rather experience the carefree sensation of healthy beads of sweat running down your forehead, then you should visit the beach at Kending (Kenting) in southern Taiwan where it is summer all year round. Don't worry too much about getting burned by the dazzling sun so long as you take prudent precautions. The sun may not be as stinging hot as it seems. Furthermore, the country is surrounded by the ocean that has a nice warm breeze giving Taiwan a humid weather and will surely make you completely forget the dry cold back home..
Literature and Art
If you want to observe the multifaceted manifestations of 5,000 years of culture, or feel for yourself the joy and harmony of life in a heterogeneous society, then a tour of Taiwan is just what you need. Perhaps the best thing about experiencing the endless variety of Taiwan's cultural and artistic wonders is that whatever you like, whether it be folk festivals, religious practices, traditional skills, or modern art, everything is right at hand. You can find expressions of the country's rich and varied arts on every street and lane, and in the lives of the people. Every part of Taiwan - north, center, south, east, and even the offshore islands - presents its own unique local characteristics, profoundly different yet centered on a common cultural core. This is the source of Taiwan's magnetic allure.
Friendly people of Taiwan
Taiwan has a population of 23 million. The larger part of the country's inhabitants are the descendants of immigrants from the various provinces of mainland China, but in particular from the southeastern coastal provinces, Fujian and Guangdong. Because the different ethnic groups have fairly well integrated, differences that originally existed between people from different provinces have gradually disappeared. Nearly 500,000 indigenous people, the original inhabitants of Taiwan, still live here. There are 16 different tribes, namely Amis, Atayal, Paiwan, Bunun, Puyuma, Rukai, Tsou, Saisiyat, Yami, Thao, Kavalan, Truku, Sakizaya, Sediq ,Kanakanavu ,and Hla'alua.
Population: 23.37 million
Area: 36,194 square kilometers
Peoples: Han Chinese (97%), Aborigines (2%), Other (1%)
Languages: Mandarin / Taiwanese / Hakka / Aboriginal
Foreign Languages: English, Japanese
Currency: New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
Time Zone: National Standard Time (UTC+8)
Electricity: 110V, 60HZ