Lonely Planet has named Taiwan as No. 9 on its list of Top Ten Countries for travel in 2012. Perhaps it’s time for a new year’s resolution after all…
By Stuart Hill
Everyone who lives and works in Taiwan knows it is a little gem in Asia, but now it is official: Lonely Planet has given its stamp of approval on Taiwan as a top travel destination.
A thing to note: that doesn’t mean the capital Taipei is the only reason to go. In fact, based on its description, you’d get the feeling that cycling around the island was the main attraction.
Which is perhaps why the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has resorted to a photo of cyclists as part of their latest campaign, almost paused as they are on the roadway contemplating the view along Taiwan’s stunning Taroko Gorge, located near Hualien in the east of the island.
Not noted for their brilliance in promoting Taiwan, the bureau seems to have picked up on a few new key words to help it with its advertising. That said, their “Taiwan, Heart of Asia” still seems a bit derivative of a certain south-east Asian nation that claimed to be “truly asia”.
To give them their due, if you take into consideration that Taiwan people ARE VERY NICE to foreign guests, you could take this display of kindness literally to heart. Then it all seems to make sense.
As the Lonely Planet mentions on its website:
“Taiwan offers visitors a hypermodern skin, an ancient Chinese skeleton and an aboriginal soul. And more than that, Taiwan has some of the world’s warmest people, affable to a fault and so filled with rénqíng wèi (which, roughly translated, means ‘personal affection’) that few who come to Taiwan a stranger leave that way.” – Lonely Planet website.
You could add to that a vibrant democratic nation-state with a highly ambiguous sense of independence. A potential flash point in the vitally strategic trading routes of Asia. Or a long-suffering victim of colonization struggling for a sense of its own identity.
But whatever the reason – intellectual, spiritual, sensual, emotional, or just out of curiousity – Taiwan does have a lot to offer the modern adventurer.
More information about Taiwan:
Taiwan Travel Ideas: