Travel in Taiwan after the pandemic

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) held the 2022 Taiwan Scholarship Awards ceremony on 22 July. There were 68 recipients this year and many of them have traveled to Taiwan. Among other things, the food, transportation and hospitality of the Taiwanese have left a deep impression on them.

There is a famous saying: “The most beautiful scenery of Taiwan is its people.” Almost every Filipino who has visited Taiwan have told me that Taiwanese are very friendly.

REPRESENTATIVE Michael Peiyung Hsu with the Ministry of Education Taiwan scholarship recipients. | photograph courtesy of in the philippines

One tourist, Jeffrey D. Arroyo, wrote to the TECO in 2019 and said that when he and his family visited Taiwan, he lost his wallet in the bus. They were really anxious and went to the police. The police promised Arroyo that they would track the bus and get his wallet back in 10 minutes, and the police brought Arroyo and his family to another police station. When they arrived, “the wallet was there.” The police even offered them juice while they were waiting.

Arroyo said he was really thankful to the police who helped them, and he loved Taiwan even more after the incident.

Filipino tourists also like fruits in Taiwan, especially the sugar-apple. Fruit in Taiwan usually isn’t very expensive and one Filipina friend said she liked sugar-apples so much that she wanted to bring the fruit back to the Philippines so that she could taste it again.

BEITOU Public Library. | photograph courtesy of unsplash/camille san vicente

Some of the tourist attractions in Taiwan I would recommend to Filipino friends are Jioufen, Beitou, Dadaocheng and Houtong Cat Village, if you are a cat lover.

Many tourists know about Jioufen, which is a mountain town in northeastern Taiwan known for its narrow alleyways and traditional buildings and teahouses of the old town.

JIUFEN, a mountain town in northeastern Taiwan. | photograph courtesy of unsplash/martin manullang

If you like to take selfies, Jioufen is definitely the spot for you. The streets and houses in Jioufen which resemble the scenes of the Japanese animation movie “Spirited Away” so much that many people mistakenly think the director Hayao Miyazaki created the scenes based on Jioufen.

If you are visiting Taiwan in winter, you must not miss the hot springs in Beitou.

During the colonial period, Japanese discovered hot spring thermal in Beitou and bathhouses were built accordingly. The Japanese Emperor Hirohito went to Taiwan in 1923 when he was the crown prince, and because of his interest in Hokutolite, a rare stone only found in Beitou and Tamagawa Hot Spring in Japan, then crown prince Hirohito visited Beitou.

Nowadays, wooden houses and some of the historical remains where Hirohito had visited can still be seen, and travelers can book a hotel to enjoy the hot spring and nostalgic sentiment there.

TAIPEI’S oldest district, Daodaocheng. | photograph courtesy of unsplash/enot nil

Dadaocheng, on the other hand, is not a place to spend leisure time but at the business and trade center for tea leaf and cloth back in the Qing Dynasty. You can see lots of red-brick-walled Western-style buildings here, owned by wealthy merchants back in the old days.

What’s special about Dadaocheng is not only the fusion of old buildings, traditional stores selling Chinese herbs and dried food, but also the booming cultural and creative industry. To celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day and attract people to visit Dadaocheng, the Taipei City Government holds a fireworks festival every year. And girls who are looking for their Prince Charming must go to the Xiahai City God Temple to pray to the Matchmaking God and take a piece of red thread that will bring them to their love.

It is estimated that Taiwan may open its borders and ease quarantine restrictions in August or September. Once that happens, hopefully we can see tourists coming from the Philippines to enjoy the food, culture and hospitality in Taiwan.

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