- Continent: Asia
- Area: 36,179 km²
- Population: 23,045,230
- Capital city: Ta-p'ai
- ISO code: TW
- National language: Mandarin
- International dialing code: +886
- Currency: New Taiwan Dollar
- License plate number: RC
- Alternative spelling: Formosa, Taiuã
- Flight routes from Taiwan: 1755
- Flight routes to Taiwan: 1795
- Popular airports: Taiwan-Taoyuan (TPE), Tainan (TNN), Hualien (HUN), Taichung (RMQ), Taipei (TSA), Kinmen Shang Yi (KNH), Taitung (TTT), Makung (MZG), Kaohsiung (KHH), Chiayi (CYI)
- Large cities: Taipei, Keelung, Yün-lin, Ta-hsi-chen, Feng-jung, San-ho, Shan-chiao, Shan-yüan, Fan-she, Yen-liao, Ma-tung, Kou-tzu-li, San-chiao-li, Chien-kang, Shang-chien-ho
- Airlines based in Taiwan: China Airlines, Tigerair Taiwan, Mandarin Airlines, EVA Airways, V Air, Uni Air
Taiwan travel guide (Asia)
The island of Taiwan is located off the Chinese mainland in the Pacific Ocean. The independent state is officially called the Republic of China is, however, recognised as an independent state by many governments worldwide. In Europe, the island was also known by its Portuguese name, Formosa. The Pescadora islands in the Straits of Formosa and the islands of Quemoy and Mazu off the Chinese mainland also belong to Taiwan’s territory.
Geography and climate: the islands are located in the Tropic of Cancer, the climatic boundary between the tropics and the subtropics. A mountain chain runs through the centre of the island, dividing the country into two climatic regions. In the north the climate is mainly tropical whereas in the south it is subtropical. The weather in the winter is determined by the northeast monsoon and in the summer by the southwest monsoon. Similar to Japan, Taiwan is often threatened by heavy typhoons and frequent earthquakes due to the fact that the island state is located between the European and the Japanese continental plates, which counts as one of the most active earthquake regions in the world.
Mountains and rivers: the highest mountain in the country is Yu Shan with an altitude of 3,997 m (13,113 ft) and also marks the climatic boundary. The largest lake in Taiwan is Sun Moon Lake, 762 m (2500 ft) above sea level.
Language and communication: the official and national language is Mandarin Chinese; various dialects are also spoken all over the country, such as Taiwan or the south Chinese Hakka. English is only understood in the capital and the tourist centres.
Health and vaccinations: vaccination against hepatitis A, typhoid, diphtheria, polio and tetanus is recommended. Long clothing should be worn to provide protection against mosquitoes and other insects, and a locally purchased insect repellent should also be used. There is no occurrence of malaria in Taiwan. Medical care is only of a sufficient standard in larger cities and tourist resorts. Visitors are advised to take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance that covers repatriation costs. A first aid kit should be packed and fruit and vegetables peeled or boiled before being eaten.
Entry requirements: passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival and visits of up to 30 days do not require a visa. Some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country. For further information on exact requirements at immigration please contact the Taipei Representation in London. For More information on vaccination and entry requirements please refer to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Website.
Arrival and onward journey: most flights from London to Taipei (TPE) involve at least one stop over. Flights with British Airways (BA) and Cathay Pacific (CX) involve a stop over in Hong Kong (HKG). Good direct flights are provided by numerous scheduled airlines such as Singapore Airlines (SQ), Eva Air (BR) or Thai Airways (TG) from Europe to Taipei, with a stop over in the respective hubs. Within Taiwan, several regional airways such as Mandarin Airlines (AE), Trans Asia Airways (GE) or Uni Air (B7) fly for example to Kaohsiung (KHH), Kinmen (KNH), Makung (MZG), Tainan (TNN), Taitung (TTT).
Capital city: the capital Taipei is in the north on the banks of the river Danshui and has a total population of 3 million inhabitants. The modern metropolis is the political, economic and cultural hub of Taiwan and is one of the most important Asian states. Attractions include the Taipei Financial Centre, a skyscraper 509 m (1669 ft) high and the highest office block in the world. It was given its nickname from the number of floors: "Taipei 101". Art lovers should head for the National Palace Museum at the edge of the city. The art gallery in the museum has over 650,000 pieces of art and artefacts from the emperor’s palace in Beijing. Due to the civil war, the other part of the collection has since 1949 been in the Palace Museum of Beijing.
Places of interest and beaches: the oldest and the most beautiful city on the island is Tainan. It was built by the Dutch in 1621 due to its convenient location and houses most of the colonial remains in the whole of Taiwan. The city has more than 300 well-preserved examples of traditional Chinese culture. The Confucian temple, the Kuanti Temple, the Wufei Temple and the shrine of Koxinga are all worth visiting.
The tropical Kenting National Park in the south of the island and holiday resort for the Taiwanese is recommended for bathing. The wonderful coves with white sandy beaches and palm trees swaying in the wind and the nature reserve are an ideal place to relax.
Religion: the majority of the population of Taiwan do not consider themselves as belonging to any particular religion, the belief of the inhabitants is influenced by Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist elements.
Major Cities and accommodation: Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Tainan, Panchiao, Chunghe, Keelung, Hsinchu, Hsinchuang and Sanchung.