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While Taiwan has long been known as an industrial mecca, the
leaf-shaped island off the eastern coast of Asia is stepping into
the tourism industry. With the goal to double the number of
tourists to 5 million by 2008, Taiwan’s transportation system and
tourism bureau are being updated.
In June 2005, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau launched a new Web site
with up-to-date information about events and festivals, as well as
a Taiwan Specialist Program aimed to gain interest from the U.S.
While a formal training program will likely soon be in the works,
for now, travel agencies and tour operators can register to have
their business information included in an online directory
available to potential clients surfing the site.
In addition, the Web site lists several packages from a night tour
of Taipei, to day tours of Taroko National Park and Wulai
Aboriginal Village with price and itinerary information.
While many Taiwan travelers opt to stay in the country’s capital,
travel to the country’s southern cities will soon be more
accessible. A high-speed rail system connecting Taipei to major
cities along Taiwan’s west coast including Kaohsiung and Tainan is
slated for completion before the year’s end, said Michael Khang,
the director of the Taiwan Tourist office in New York.
Upon completion, clients will be able to travel from Taipei to
Kaohsiung, one of the country’s southernmost cities, in about the
same amount of time it takes to fly. The 90-minute trip will cost
between $70 and $80, Khang said.
Southern Trails Kaohsiung is the second-largest city in the country and a
commercial harbor along the Taiwan Strait. Located south of the
Tropic of Cancer, Kaohsiung is typically hot and sunny
Evenings in Kaohsiung are best enjoyed on the Love River. The
river, which runs through the city, is lined by well-kept parks,
gardens and walkways. The riverside area is also a venue for events
like the Lantern Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and other
performances, concerts and folk art festivals. Clients can pay
$1.50 for a short boat ride along the Love. While touted as a
romantic tour, the open-air boats carry about 30 people which
doesn’t make for a very private experience.
Clients looking for retail therapy in Kaohsiung can head to the
new Jyuejiang Shopping Area the largest seller of international
goods in southern Taiwan with fashions from Tokyo, Paris, London,
Milan and New York. At the Liu-Ho night market, clients can wander
the many food stalls and shop for souvenirs.
Attractions in Greater Kaohsiung include the Chengcing Lake and
Shoushan scenic areas and one of the world’s most important
Buddhist centers. Foguangshan’s central feature is a golden statue
of Buddha, measuring more than 130 feet, surrounded by 480 smaller
Traveling Tainan A 90-minute drive from Kaohsiung, Tainan offers more
historical sites than any other place in Taiwan, including several
The Goddess of the Sea Temple, a 15-minute drive from Tainan, pays
tribute to those who lived and died crossing the Taiwan Strait some
400 years ago. Visitors are welcome in the almost 70-year-old
Taoist temple and can photograph and participate in local
Other temples around Tainan include the God of War Temple and the
Great Queen of Heaven Temple both famed for their Chinese-style
While Taipei boasts the famed National Palace Museum, in Tainan
history buffs can check out the Chi-Mei Museum, which offers one of
the most prestigious private collections in the world. The museum,
open to the public free of charge, displays Western art, musical
instruments, arms and armor along with artifacts. Keeping with the
country’s industrial emphasis, a technology-focused collection is
in the works.
Taiwan Tourism Bureau
The recently renovated Ambassador Hotel Kaohsiung is set near
the city’s financial district and Love River. The 453-room hotel
offers dining venues serving up Chinese and Western menus, a
business center, an outdoor swimming pool and health club.
Room rates range from $135 for a Standard Single to $1,825 for
the Presidential Suite.
Tayih Landis Tainan Hotel
661, sec 1, Shi Men Rd.
Tainan, 700, Taiwan
The five-star Tayih Landis offers a business center, a spa
featuring a full-service salon with massage and aromatherapy
services, as well as a fitness center and indoor pool. Dining
options include several restaurants featuring Asian fare and the
Lips Lounge Bar off the hotel lobby for smaller bites and
Room rates range from $190 for a Superior Single to $1,500 for
the Presidential Suite.
Insider’s Tip: Few locals speak English, especially in Taiwan’s
southern areas. If clients need to cab it, tell them to carry a
card from their hotel to show drivers the address.