Taiwan may be a small island, but its culture, traditions and vibrant lifestyle still attract many tourists every year. Personally, I wasn’t disappointed when I chose this beautiful country for my vacation, and I can’t wait to visit again. That said, I did notice a few strange and important facts during my stay that I thought I should share with you, so keep scrolling to find out all about them!

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1. Taiwan is quite the rainy country

Rainy street in Jiufen

As Taiwan’s climate is predominantly subtropical (except in the south), the country experiences roughly two monsoon seasons. As Taipei is one of the wettest and cloudiest cities in Taiwan, you should plan your trip accordingly, or spend more time in the south, where the weather is considerably drier.
If you want to avoid rain as much as possible, I’d advise you to travel to Taiwan in winter, because even though temperatures are lower, the risk of precipitation is lower.

You can also travel with an umbrella and some nice rain boots!

2. You’ll hear the garbage trucks from afar

Taking out the trash isn’t the same thing in Taiwan. Why not? Simply because every day you hear a song, usually Beethoven’s “Für Elise”, and see a stream of people coming out of their houses to throw away their garbage.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that what I had initially thought was an ice cream truck was in fact a garbage truck!

Although this was one of the things I found odd at first, after a while I actually think it’s a pretty great idea, and when you see how clean Taiwan’s streets are despite the scarcity of garbage cans, I guess that says it all, doesn’t it?

3. Taiwan is only recognized by 13 countries

What does this mean? If you don’t know much about the country’s history, let me tell you that it’s rather complicated, mainly due to political tensions with China. You may have heard some people refer to Taiwan as a territory and others as a country. So here’s the problem: if you ask different people about it, chances are they’ll disagree.

Why is this? To simplify the explanation: for a territory to be considered a country, 193 member states of the United Nations must recognize it.
Unfortunately, at present, only 13 of these member states recognize Taiwan as a sovereign country.
Try debating this at your next gathering of friends or family and see how people have differing opinions on the subject.

4. Cycling around the island

lotus pond

Getting around Taiwan is easy enough thanks to an efficient and fairly inexpensive transportation network. As the territory is also quite small, whether you choose to take a day trip or cycle around the island, you should know that it’s perfectly feasible and shouldn’t take you more than a couple of weeks. You’ll also meet other cyclists, as Taiwan is a popular and picturesque destination for our two-wheeled friends.

So start stretching your legs now and embark on a beautiful journey along Taiwan’s cycling routes!

5. The bubble tea nation

Bubble tea

Who hasn’t heard of the famous beverage that can now be found just about everywhere in the world? But did you know that it originated in Taiwan, and more specifically in Tainan?

If not, now’s your chance to try the original! This drink, also known as “boba”, is made from tea, milk and, usually, those black gelatinous tapioca pearls. While the description may sound unappetizing, I’m sure it will delight the palate of children and adults alike once you’ve tried it!

6. Keep your receipts

Are you going for a quick lunch in one of the mini-markets, or shopping for clothes, accessories…? Every time you make a purchase, you’ll get a receipt with a potential Loto winning number. Isn’t that great? This contest takes place every two months. Make sure you keep all your receipts if you’re staying for a long time, or give them to someone you know who lives in Taiwan!
Foreigners can enter too, so why not try your luck?

7. A nation at the cutting edge of innovation

Such a small country and yet, would you believe it if I told you that Taiwan is in fact the world leader in technology and the electronics industry? This is indeed the case, especially when it comes to semiconductor production, more than half of which comes from the island.
A sort of technological powerhouse, isn’t it?

8. Food is an important issue in Taiwan

Taiwan's night market

Like most Asian countries, Taiwan is a paradise for street food lovers! With numerous night markets in every city, food from all over the world available on every street corner, you won’t be short of options here – quite the opposite, in fact, as you may even find it hard to choose your dinner.
My favorite dish: the simple but delicious scallion pancake!

Fun fact: in Taiwan, people tend to spend more money eating out than going to the movies or any other type of entertainment.

9. A mountainous terrain of 268 peaks

Taroko National Park

Thanks to its humid, subtropical climate, Taiwan is the ideal place to relax and unwind in surprisingly lush, green nature. With its nine national parks, it’s the ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts. So it’s not surprising that climbing is considered a national sport. And if you prefer hiking or walking, don’t worry: there are trails to suit every level of experience!

10. A representative but dangerous festival

Tainan festival
Photo by Winston Chen on Unsplash

The Yanshui Hive Fireworks Festival (around February) attracts thousands of visitors every year. The fact that it’s one of the country’s most important religious events is the main reason, but it’s also because of its uniqueness and festive atmosphere.

The story: the tradition dates back to the 1880s, when an epidemic claimed many victims. The people of Yanshui, who were living in fear at the time, prayed to the god of war (Guan Di) to get rid of the plague. This gave rise to the idea of lighting firecrackers to ward off bad luck, disease and trouble. As for the name “Beehive”, it refers to the noise fireworks make when they get off!

So you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect that day! As for the danger of the event, you’ve guessed it: with so many firecrackers exploding at once, you need to keep your distance and wear a helmet to avoid injury.

What other experiences have you had in Taiwan? Any advice for future travelers? Feel free to share your opinions in the comments!

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  1. Wow, so different things I didn’t know specifically that only 13 countries recognize it as its own country, thank for sharing more knowledge 😊

  2. Very informative! I will surely try scallion pancake and their bubble tea! I can’t wait to explore the beauty of Taiwan and I’ll start by following your suggestions!

  3. Some really interesting facts you shared about this country. I’m particularly surprised at how Taiwan is a global leader in technology and electronics. Simply Amazing!
    Thanks for sharing

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