Air Canada flies directly to Los Angeles where you can hop on Eva Airlines direct to Taipei. Make sure you fly Deluxe Class, one up from Economy, where they give you a hot towel to wipe your face and slippers to keep your feet warm before you hit Taiwan’s city streets. Flying time approx: 19 hours.
What to See
Ting Tai Fung is famous for its dumplings, an unpretentious restaurant where waitresses take your order on the street while you wait for a seat. Businessmen, English teachers and the odd foreigner are only some of the clientele packed into four floors, all chowing down on delicate dumplings with tasty fillings and light-as-air dough. 194 Hsin-I Road, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan; tel: (02) 3218927. Prepare to spend $20 US per person.
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
Coral reefs, sting rays and whale sharks greet visitors to this marine museum. Floor to ceiling aquariums are home to a multitude of ocean and lake life representing the ecological environment around Taiwan. Underwater blue tunnels that encircle visitors as they wander through giant cylindrical tanks are the highlight. Located in Checheng Village, Ping-tung County; tel: (08) 8825001; www.nmmba.gov.tw
Taroko National Park
Taroko Gorge is a 19-kilometre canyon in Taroko National Park, one of six national parks in Taiwan. It’s known for its sheer marble cliffs, deep gorges, winding tunnels and the Liwu River, which flows through its classic watercolour-mountain landscape. The best way to see the Gorge is by hiking its many trails. The more adventurous can bike along the road, just be careful of the many tourist buses. Located in Hualien county; www.taroko.gov.tw
Hualien County’s Xiuguluan River has long been Taiwan’s No. 1 rafting venue. The best time is during the wet season when massive rainfall flows down the island’s steep mountains, creating fast rivers. After getting fitted with a paddle, helmet and lifejacket, eight people sit with one leg in and one leg out the boat to begin the journey down the river. From the beginning point at Ruisui to the end at Rainbow Bridge, the rafting trip takes three to four hours, with a rest stop at the village of Chimei. You can raft here all year round, but the busiest months for rafting operators are May through October. The last rafting trip departs around 3 p.m. each day.