Therapeutic Taiwan

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  • BEITOU HOT SPRINGS MUSEUM :
    Reminiscent of an era long gone, the Beitou Hot Springs Museum located in Taipei City used to be a public bath house during the Japanese Imperial Rule. Now, the structure displays old clothing and accessories and even serves meals to those that wish to dine, Japanese style.

  • SHILIN NIGHT MARKET :
    The city comes alive within the maze of alleyways that are full of local food and quirky shopping. Dig into a variety of Taiwan’s traditional food such as oyster omelettes, fried buns and bubble tea that can be bought at reasonable prices.
    Tip : While the people of this country are incredibly polite and nice, keep track of your phone and wallet. Also, dig in to your haggling skills and get the best price possible!

  • THERMAL VALLEY :
    Thick sulphuric steam blankets this valley to give it local nicknames such as ‘The Ghost Lake’. Reaching a top temperature of 100 °C and rich in sulphur, the Japanese believed that the hot springs could heal a variety of physical pains. The locals, on the other hand, used the heat to boil eggs but this practice was banned to keep them from falling in!
    Tip : The high sulphur content does not make the trip a good experience for the olfactory.
    Tip : Don’t take a dip in the valley but find your way to a hot spring resort and soak in the warm water. It will leave you relaxed and rejuvenated.

  • TAIPEI 101 :
    The best part about being on top of the world is getting to look down in awe. But the best part of being on top of Taipei 101, is taking in the city of contrasts. Mountains, lakes and rivers live alongside malls, towers and temples in a synergy that is cathartic and complete.
    Tip : Keep an eye out for those doing Tai Chi in front of the tower.

  • KAOHSIUNG LOVE RIVER CRUISE :
    Named the ‘Love River’ for the lovers that jumped to their death in this body of water, the river lost it’s charm during the 70’s when the industrialisation of the city caused the river to become a dumping ground. Decades of clean up drives and numerous politicians jumping in to prove how sanitary it is, has restored the river to its former glory.

  • SUN MOON LAKE :
    Situated in the Nantou district and home to the Thao tribe, one of the 16 remaining aboriginal tribes in Taiwan, the Sun Moon Lake must be explored from every angle and as many times as possible. You can take a cruise on the lake, hike and cycle around it or, if you’re feeling adventurous, cable car across it.
    Tip: Forget a good night’s rest while at the lake. Take a walk down to the pier, sit back and look on in wonder at the countless stars in the sky. We promise, you would have never seen that many before.
    Tip: Stalls selling fresh fruit are on the pier so dig in to the custard apple, star fruit, watermelon and mango.

  • MAOLIN NATIONAL SCENIC AREA :
    Located in the Kaohsiung County, the majority of the people that reside in the Maolin area are from the Rukai Tribe. The area is known to be the home of the Purple Butterfly between the months of November and March. Pick a route and take a hike or go cycling through the mountains.

I was just about done with one issue of Femina ME and was considering my options for the next when the Taiwan Tourism Bureau came knocking on our door. There I was, on one hand, frantically working to send the magazine to print and on the other, packing a bag to visit a land I knew nothing about. What followed was an experience that filled my soul with joy-   Sharon Carvalho

Taiwan is one of those places that sways to it’s own beat. It is a peaceful lull that sets you at ease and nudges you to explore. It tempts you with long winding roads, serene greenery and the bluest skies. It also comforts you with some of the nicest strangers you will ever meet. It has fallen into
the hands of the Dutch, the Spanish and the Japanese. It has faced torrential typhoons, horrifying earthquakes and catastrophic floods. And yet, it is beautiful. Taiwan can only be described as such, a beautiful land full of breathtaking juxtapositions.

• Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways have direct flights to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
• The high-speed train that connects numerous cities within the country is an effective way to travel.
• Local buses can take you to your local destination at almost any time of the day. We saw them on the road at 3am!
• Taxi drivers are a blessing in this country. All you have to do is find the location on your phone, show it to them and voila! You’ve reached your destination!
• A seven day SIM card with unlimited 3G data will cost you NT$ 500 (AED 62.5). The card comes loaded with NT$ 1500 (AED 187.5) to make phone calls but we suggest saving that for emergencies as international calls to the UAE cost a pretty penny.
• AED 1 equals NT$ 8.5 (approx.)
• Be adventurous. The food may look questionable but is, ultimately, delicious.
• The country and its people are very hygienic so do not worry about the sanitary conditions of the street food.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY: SHARON CARVALHO

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