First in Service News

Just Back From: Taipei

2070-926-I-R37This month, corporate and leisure Asia specialist Kathy Chou takes us to one of her favorite destinations, her native Taiwan.  A frequent visitor, she understands why interest in this magnificent island and its capital Taipei is heating up.

Why should people visit Taiwan?
Taiwan is still an under-the-radar, undervalued  gem, with a rich cultural and spiritual heritage, gorgeous natural resources, and incredible hospitality. Taipei is a vibrant capital, making it the perfect gateway to an unforgettable Asia adventure. For photographers and nature lovers who want to explore the island, it’s a dream come true, boasting Northeast Asia’s tallest peak, stunning gorges and rock formations, coral reefs, and the world-famous Sun Moon Lake. Taipei also gives the U.S. dollar an extra boost compared to nearby Hong Kong and Tokyo.

What top things are on your Taipei ‘must do’ list?
– Go to historic Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf for the freshest seafood and famous river views.
– Soak in the world class hot springs. They are considered a widely practiced healing art.
– Visit an organic tofu farm to see how the silken soybean staple is made.
– Check out the stunning views of the city from the observation deck of Taipei 101.
– Marvel at the masterpieces in the famous National Palace Museum.
– Hop on the subway for a clean, safe ride, with award-winning architecture and art installations.

Taiwan is a culinary paradise. What dishes should visitors definitely try?
Eating is heaven here! Start the day with traditional sesame flat bread and a cup of fresh soybean milk. Dive into a night market for rows of mouthwatering Taiwanese street food. From famous soup dumplings to fish cakes simmered with daikon, fresh oyster omelet, roast pork steam buns, and even a plate of stinky tofu. Also, the coffee bars and artisan tea houses have amazing deserts.

What is the best time of year to go?
It’s a year-round destination with diverse geographic and temperate zones.  Summertime can be very hot and humid.

Where should you stay?
High end favorites in Taipei include the Shangri-la Far Eastern, with amazing buffet breakfasts and stunning views. The new W hotel is sexy and chic. The Mandarin Oriental opens this spring, keeping Taipei on its fast track to becoming a leading luxury destination.

Any tips for first timers to Taiwan?
Taipei is a city that never sleeps, so don’t worry about jetlag too much. Choose accommodations near a park by day, and night market after dark. Learn a few phrases in the Taiwanese dialects. It will earn you more than a few smiles.

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