Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Beautiful Taiwan

by Lisa Grajewski

Speaker: Maxine Lu—Project Manager, Taiwan Tourism Bureau

National Geographic Travel has described Taiwan as the “best kept secret.” After a stunning presentation by Maxine Lu, it would be hard to disagree with the magazine’s assessment.

The Island, off the South East coast of China, is a 14 hour flight from Los Angles and well wroth the time in the air! Approximately 14,400 square miles, Taiwan is slightly larger than Maryland. It is home to 23 million people, all of whom speak a myriad of languages: from Mandarin and Taiwanese to Hakka and other indigenous languages. English is also a prominent language in Taiwan.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau has worked hard to market Taiwan, drawing visitors from all walks of life – for all reasons. The new logo for Taiwan:

T = A house
A = the host
I = the guest
W = host & guest shaking hands
A & N = The host is offering tea to the guest

For those participating in the Rotary trip to Taiwan there is a lot to choose from for the traveler. Whether you are interested in art, and decide to visit the National Palace Museum, home to one of the largest collections of Chinese art and one of the top museums in the world or you want to ride on the Alishan, one of three remaining Alpine trains – Taiwan will keep you busy. For the foodies, Din Tai Fung, one of the top 10 gourmet restaurants in the world (according to NY Times) is an opportunity to experience delicate and delectable dumplings. And, as Taiwan encapsulates the best of Chinese cuisine, you will have many other opportunities to temp your taste buds!

Taiwan is also known for its natural beauty, diverse species (a quarter of the world’s animal species are found in Taiwan, as well as exclusive species) and breath taking destinations, such as Sun Moon Lake - Taiwan’s “Lake Tahoe” and a favorite honeymoon destination. Sunrise is particularly favorable as the water changes color with the rising son.

Along side the environmental diversity, Taiwan is diverse in its racial, cultural, and ethnic makeup as well. In addition to the several languages spoken in Taiwan, cultural influences from the Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Dutch, English and others can be found in the tiny country. It truly seems there is something for everyone in Taiwan.