Shaped roughly like a tobacco leaf, Taiwan is situated in the Pacific Ocean about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the southeastern coast of the Chinese mainland. Located about midway between Korea and Japan to the north and Hong Kong and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is a natural gateway for travelers to and within Asia. Taiwan's total land area is only about 36,000 square kilometers.
Beautiful Island, Formosa!
Formosa is what the Portuguese called Taiwan when they first glanced Taiwan in the 16th century. Located along the southeast coast of the Asian Continent at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, between Japan and the Philippines and right in the center of the East-Asian island arc, Taiwan forms a vital line of communication in the Asia-Pacific region. Two-thirds of the total area is covered by forested mountains and the remaining area consists of hilly country, platforms and highlands, coastal plains and basins. The Central Mountain Range stretches along the entire island from north to south, thus forming a natural line of demarcation for rivers on the eastern and western sides of the island. On the west side lies the Yushan Mountain Range with its main peak reaching 3,952 meters, the highest mountain peak in Northeast Asia. In geology and climate, Taiwan lies on the Tropic of Cancer, the northern and central regions are subtropical, whereas the south is tropical and the mountainous regions are temperate. You can imagine how many varieties of flora and fauna are ? Taiwan is a place you must come to visit and explore.
The official language of Taiwan is Mandarin Chinese; but because many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent, Minnan (the Southern Min dialect or Heluo) is also widely spoken. The smaller groups of Hakka people and indigenous tribes have also preserved their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, as they were subjected to Japanese education before Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945 after the Japanese occupation, which lasted for half a century.
The history of Taiwan can be traced back to at least 7,000 years ago. Between 7,000 and 400 years ago, Austronesians, the ancestor of the island's indigenous peoples, arrived in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan.
During the age of discovery in the 16th century, Western sailors arrived in the Far East to set up colonies and conduct trade. As Taiwan was located at the conjunction of the East Asia and the ocean, as well as being where the Northeast Asian waters meet the Southeast waters, it became the focus of the Western powers that were operating in East Asian waters at the time.
In the first half of the 17th Century, the Dutch established a presence at Anping (in modern-day Tainan city). They conducted missionary activities, trade and the production of various goods. They also recruited many Han Chinese immigrants from the China coast, leading to a multicultural history of Taiwan. The number of Han Chinese immigrants in Taiwan steadily increased during the short-lived Cheng (Koxinga) regime and Qing period over the next 200 years, creating a primarily Han society in Taiwan.
In the late 19th century, the wave of imperialism touched the shores of Taiwan. The island became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years, during which time it evolved from a traditional society into a modern society. At the end of World War II in 1945, Taiwan was liberated from colonial rule. Since then, the island has experienced an economic miracle and introduced political democracy achievements that have attracted the world's attention.
Today, Taiwan boasts an excellent infrastructure, convenient transportation system, and high-quality communication services. It also has accomplished, in the face of several international energy crises and economic downturns, a remarkable record of economic development and political democracy by virtue of the perseverance and unremitting efforts of its people.
1. Voltage and drinking water
The voltage used in Taiwan is 110 V., 60 Hz.
However, most of hotels are equipped with 110 / 220 V sockets.
It is recommended to drink bottled water instead of tap water. Bottled water could be found in most of 7-Eleven stores and supermarkets.
The local currency in Taiwan is "New Taiwan Dollars" (NT$).
There are NT$1,000, NT$500, NT$200, NT$100, and NT$50 notes.
And there are NT$50, NT$20, NT$10, NT$5 and NT$1 coins.
Currently the exchange rate is roughly US$1 = NT$32~NT$33.
Credit cards are very popular in Taiwan.
One has to declare if one carries more than US$5,000 cash or otherequivalent foreign currencies. It is prohibited to bring fresh fruits, plants, any kind of fresh, frozen, preserved or boiled seaproductions. Most personal belongings are duty free, but stereo sets, TVs, VCRs and computers must be declared. Check entry forms for duty-free allowances and restrictions.
It is suggested to tip hotel porter US$ 1 per suitcase for carrying luggage, US$ 1 per day for hotel room-maids, US$ 3 per day for tour guide, and US$2 per day for driver.
Local calls cost NT$1 for 2 minutes. Prepaid phone cards and IC cards are available at most of the convenient stores and kiosks.
Most hotels have English and Japanese speaking switchboard operators.
For international calls, one should dial "002" to access an international call. Calling from foreign country to Taiwan, should dial + 886 + 2(Taipei) + number
Emergency call: 119 – for police, ambulance and fire
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|Address ：6F.-1, No. 86, Fuxing N. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 104, Taiwan|
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