9 Reasons Taiwan Is Your New Number One Instagram / Foodie / Travel Goal
Hello Kitty, poop ice cream and intestines stuffed in more intestines...
If the movie The Beach taught us anything, it's that undiscovered country is always the best. That, and never start sleeping with your commune leader (it gets awkward pretty quickly). So when I got asked to travel to Taiwan, my first question (after clearing up exactly where it was), was when do I go?
For those who don't know, Taiwan is the largest island in the Republic of China - no, not the People's Republic of China (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) - the smaller, non-communist nation next to the most populous country in the world. At only 23 million people, it feels pretty small scale compared to big brother across the sea, and, as such, a lot more individual.
Over the week I was there, I saw (and subsequently pimped on Instagram) some pretty amazing things, all in the hope I could show that Taiwan really should be your new #travelgoals.
1. the cities are INCREDIBLE
You love city breaks? Taiwan's got you covered!
For starters, here's the view from Taipei 101 - one time tallest, now 8th tallest, building in the world!
My ears popped TWICE in the lift on the way up! Shame I'm not a huge fan of heights...
2. And the countryside ain't so bad either
Seriously, how does this incredible waterfall look to you?
It's called the Golden Waterfall (GET YOUR MIND OUT THE GUTTER), so called because the rainwater runs through the old mining caves in the hills around Taipei, picking up loads of tasty iron that turns the water - YOU GUESSED IT - gold!
Plus, they're on the way to Jiufen, the town that inspired the setting for Studio Ghibli's beautiful Spirited Away! I mean really, it's like stepping into the film...
Pretty awesome, right!?
3. It's, like, WAY spiritual as well
Oh, and if temples are your thing NEVER FEAR there are plenty in Taiwan! Here's my favourite from Tainan (the oldest city in Taiwan).
3. It is cultural af
Seriously, you can't move for culture! Fancy the theatre, or taking in a concert... GOOD NEWS the National Theatre and Concert Hall are RIGHT OPPOSITE ONE ANOTHER (how's that for convenient?)
And if you wanna chill in a museum and soak up the history, the National Palace Museum is beautiful, and has a pretty sick collection of art, ceramics and dope af restaurant.
4. There are loads of weird things you'll never experience anywhere else
This pretty cool upside-down house thing, which lives in one of Taipei's super hip, young, and happening creative parks (they're going big on design in 2016).
Aaaaaand this pretty incredible 'oh a tree started growing in the living room? Best to leave it tbh' house...
5. Three words: Hello Kitty Cafe
Seriously, how many of you haven't ever wanted to go to a restaurant dedicated to Hello Kitty!?
You can even meet her if you're lucky!
Also, did you know that Hello Kitty isn't actually a cat at all, rather a school girl? Makes you think, right?
6. Three more words: Toilet-themed restaurant
Or, you know, if you're feeling a little more adventurous, you can always head to Modern Toilet (Taipei's toilet-themed restaurant)...
Seriously, this is the tastiest diarrhea you're ever gonna eat! And the chocolate-flavoured poop ice cream? To DIE FOR!
7. amazing street food
Orrrrrrr if you'd rather focus on what comes before the toilet, you can always get some local delicacies at one of their many night markets. How about some small intestines... wrapped in larger intestines?
Then again, they also do some pretty good English tea fodder... You know, if the whole 'amazing asian food' thing doesn't float your boat.
8. They put you up in STYLE
Seriously, Taiwan love tourists, and their hotels are to die for. I mean just look at Home Hotel in Taipei, which comes with one of the best showers I've ever used in my life!
LOOK AT IT
Or how about Tainan's JJ Hotel, where each and every room is themed! Our tour guide gave us ours based on our personalities, so I have no idea what she thought of me (mine came with a crash mat party bed, surrounded by fish-eye mirrors and a... unique aquarium theme).
9. They have the most Instagrammable dogs in the world
LOOK AT THIS LITTLE CUTEY (who, incidentally, earned me the most Instagram likes out of my entire trip ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
Seriously... GO TO TAIWAN
Soooo amazing landscapes? Check. Incredible food? Check. Great hotels? Check. The cutest animals in the world that will make you want to break every single quarantine rule in the book? CHECK CHECK CHECK!
Also, in case you were wondering, it's pretty cheap to get there! We flew Eva Air (via Taiwan Tourism Bureau), who offer a direct (nearly - we stopped off in Bangkok for half an hour) flight for only £587pp including tax! And believe me, the flight may be 16 hours, but it means you can watch some pretty great movies on the way, or maybe get started on your debut novel... I watched How To Be Single and it was totes amaze, highly recommend.
So, yeah, what the hell are you doing reading this anymore? Go GO book your tickets now and meet the Instagram / Food / Design / Toilet-themed restaurant capital of the world!