The End of Summer
It's finally officially the end of the summer here in Taiwan, and things should start to cool down soon. Actually in the lunar calendar it is already mid-autumn (hence the Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival just past). Autumn in Taiwan is fleeting, but it can the most beautiful time to visit the island. In fact, waking up to the crisp fresh mountain air in Taroko Gorge at this time of year is perhaps my favourite travel experience anywhere (especially when staying here: http://taroko.silksplace.com.tw/en/aboutus.html). I am often asked about the weather and climate in Taiwan, so with the changing of the season I think it's a good time for a reminder of the Central Weather Bureau website (there's a link to the English site on the top of this page): http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V7/index.htm It really is an excellent resource for current observations, forecasts, weather warnings including typhoons, general climate information and much more. So if you are planning a trip to Taiwan I highly recommend checking the site. Another positive as we wave goodbye to summer is that there shouldn't be many more, if any, typhoons this year. Which brings me back to the Central Weather Bureau website, as their forecasts of any extreme weather tend to be spot on. I learned this the hard way last month when I assumed that two days after a typhoon had passed the weather would be great. This has almost always been the case in Taipei at least, but apparently this storm had a tail which snapped off and became trapped over Taiwan, and especially the centre and south. The rain was biblical as well as strong gusts of wind, meaning that all ferries were cancelled to the island I had been hoping to visit. Of course had I checked the CWB website I would have known and not discovered the fact while on the high speed train heading into the stormy weather. Still, one positive is that I got to visit the Tourist Information booth in Zuoying Station, and if you are in need of a hotel in Kaohsiung they were really helpful and very patient. I would also recommend heading to the Sizihwan area of Kaohsiung where you can get a hotel by the harbour with great views (well I saw the view once in a gap between the rain and wind, but it looked good). And this is a good time to head to the harbour if you are a fan of the giant yellow duck which has been a huge hit in Taiwan (http://focustaiwan.tw/search/201309220013.aspx?q=duck). It will be in Kaohsiung until October 20th and a duck will be showing up in Taichung and Keelung later in the year. Another question I am frequently asked through the site is about travel itineraries. Although the Tourism Bureau does not organise itineraries, there is a list of companies that do on the website: http://go2taiwan.net/inbound_agent.php These companies have English speaking staff and should be able to help with your plans. There are some good deals to be had as well if you want to travel with a group, such as a five day / four night trip around the island staying at 5 star hotels for around NT$16,000 per person. You get an English speaking tour guide for that price as well (contact me through the website if you'd like more details). And finally for this round up, the National Day holiday is on Thursday October 10th. It's a great time to visit Taiwan, just remember to check the weather first!
Taiwan's spirit of transformation
Taiwan's spirit of transformation .Publication Date:02/25/2011 .Source: Taiwan Today .By Tito Bacchus As countries grow and develop, certain events in their histories stand out as key moments for ushering in significant processes of change. For Taiwan, the staging of the Taipei International Flora Exposition is such an event, heralding a new era of transformation that promises to promote the country as a hotbed of innovation, and showcase its many economic, cultural and social achievements. This expo-inspired national reboot, which has turned heads at home and abroad, is the product of progressive policymaking, effective public-private sector cooperation and the indomitable spirit of the Taiwanese people. It also reflects the nation's will to make its voice heard while rendering a significant contribution to progress?Xan expression of true democracy in the global community. As of Feb. 20, the expo had welcomed 4.8 million visitors and looks certain to surpass original projections of attracting 8 million by the time its 170-day run draws to a close April 25, 2011. The central and Taipei City governments are justifiably proud of this tremendous advertisement for Taiwan, which has thrust the country into the international spotlight and garnered headlines for all the right reasons. Representing a vote of confidence in Taiwan's blossoming global horticulture industry, the event similarly serves as a timely reminder that the local meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition industry?Xa lucrative segment within the global tourism sector generating millions of dollars in revenues?Xis on a strong footing. Equally important, however, is that the expo offers a fresh take on the country for visitors from around the world. This benefit is critical in that it paves the way for Taiwan's rich and diverse culture to receive even greater global attention, helping change the way the nation is perceived overseas. Taiwan is a special nation and one of the most exciting in which Chinese culture is rooted. Over the past 400 years, local society has been shaped by Chinese, Dutch, Japanese and American influences. Such a distinctive mix has created a fusion of cultures and produced a variety of creative and vital cultural activities. The importance of communicating this fact explains why the government is putting a premium on bolstering Taiwan's cultural and creative industries through such initiatives as the recently launched Cultural and Creative Industries Development Research Institute. Set to play a key role in driving development and spurring innovation, the center will also promote groundbreaking products, protect patents, cultivate top-tier output in related fields and develop new distribution channels and retail markets. The ripple effect of this initiative will be felt throughout Taiwan's cultural and creative industries. In addition to root-and-branch industry support programs, the center plans to instill the younger generations with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the arts and creative industries. Such heightened awareness is certain to spark greater participation in the sector?Xan essential requirement for its future strength and success. In capitalizing upon Taiwan's top-flight environment for creative thinking and living, the center helps lay the foundations for sustaining and increasing national prosperity. This measure promises to make arts industries significant growers of wealth in the national economy: a prime example of how thinking outside the box can pay off. The special qualities and assets of the nation and its people are also playing a key role in this process. By sharing with the international community what is distinctly Taiwan's, this manifests and protects the national character while ushering in change and further opening the country to the influences of the world. There is no question that the expo is an effective way for Taiwan to demonstrate the vitality of its soft power in nurturing international relations. Hosting such events is also an outstanding platform for sharing the achievements of the nation's industries and R&D outfits, while showing off the renowned warmth and hospitality of Taiwanese people. With the country's abundance of creativity and its vibrant democracy serving as conduits for boosting foreign investment, trade and tourism, ongoing efforts aimed at promoting the unique local cultural spirit overseas are paying dividends. The time is fast approaching when Taiwan's emerging creative industries will come into their own, standing tall on the international stage. Globalization has created a new kind of interdependence among nations and brought all peoples much closer to each other. Events such as the Taipei International Flora Exposition are extensions of this new reality, functioning as forums where the world can learn about one of Asia's most distinct countries and experience up close and personal its array of economic, cultural and social achievements. This process reflects Taiwan's determination as a free and sovereign nation to forge a strong, dynamic future while writing a new chapter in its history?Xa significant aspect of the spirit of transformation sweeping the nation. ?XTito Bacchus is a freelance writer based in Montreal, Canada. These views are the author's and not necessarily those of Taiwan Today. Copyright c 2011 by Tito Bacchus Write to Taiwan Today at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to the TTB Blog!
Welcome to the all new Taiwan Tourism Blog! My name is Malcolm Higgins and I will be reporting on what I hope will be fun and interesting articles about Taiwan from my perspective. If you'd like to get in touch with me about any Taiwan tourism related question, please use the contact form. You are also welcome to leave comments for each article, although to keep the comments relevant and the spam down, all comments need to be approved before they appear on the site. I hope you enjoy the read and hope you make it to Taiwan! Cheers Malcolm