Travel to Taiwan – Episode 231

categories: asia travel


The Amateur Traveler talks to Matt Anderson about a recent trip to Taiwan during the Chinese new year celebration.

Matt, who is an English teacher in South Korea, started his trip in Taiwan’s capital of Taipei before exploring the eastern coast and the rich heritage of Taiwan’s aboriginal people in the south.

In Taipei, Matt recommends eating at the Shilin night market where the fried chicken and the sausage are particularly good.

Matt and his girlfriend also went to Taipei 101 (which is now the world’s 2nd tallest building), the Chiang Kai-shek memorial, and an assortment of temples including the Confucius temple, the Bo-an temple, and the Longshan temple.

If you’re considering a trip to Taipei, you can check out deals on Expedia for great hotel accommodation at an affordable price.

Matt explored the rugged and less populated east coast on a bike trip that started in Hualien. He visited the Taroko Gorge near to Hualien and nearly spent a night in jail… but it’s not what you think.

right click here to download (mp3)
right click here to download (iTunes version with pictures)

Show Notes

Matt’s Blog – The Dig
Taiwan Aborigines
Taipei 101
Chiang Kai-shek


Hudson crash raises safety concerns
Airlines required to check no-fly list more often

Internet Resources

The Travel Resource List


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

7 Responses to “Travel to Taiwan – Episode 231”



My experience with guidebooks is that parts can be VERY out of date

Prices invariably are higher than reported (I’m sure inflation can’t be -that- high)

Places which have closed for years are sometimes reported as still open.

Perhaps the most egregious error was Lonely Planet which had named as Author’s Choice this restaurant in Juodkrante, in the Curonian Spit in Lithuania, which had never served the writer’s highly recommended variety of potato pancakes and which had had (according to the lady there), over the years, many tourists coming in to ask for the dish in question.



So ya like Agagooga said the Lonely planet is out of date, but restaurants change and buses get more expensive it cant be helped since it is a print format …I just wish they would keep that in mind before charging us 40$ for an outed book, but for overall transport information it was generally helpful considering Taiwan has little to no English…

I was in Taiwan about 2 years ago, ahah they almost did not let me in the country because tourists wanting to stay the Max 3 weeks was rare and the customs women just kept asking me WHY?

Here is some advice about budget travel, you should be able to get a train pass in Taipei which gives you 7 stops around the island for around 50$ most stations info booths have someone who can speak basic English and can help you get from Point A to Point B. As well about 3 years ago Taiwan implemented a back packing program trying to organize some places that where budget friendly…when you get off the plain in Taipei their should be a backpacking info booth with English information. To be honest I did not use most of the info but one very useful peice of advice are the “hero houses” so every major city will have a hotel of this name. These hotels for about 15$ offer you a room in a dorm and breakfast. The only thing is it doubles as a cheap hotel for those in the Taiwanese army meaning i spent a couple night trying to make convo with Taiwanese soldiers who at one point offered me heart shaped chocolates since it was the only food they had!

Lastly I would also like recommend Kaohsiung, which I don’t think your
guest went into detail on. This was my favorite place in Taiwan especially Lotus Pond, basically a large pond surrounded by many many temples. The temples are new so looking at them as works of art instead of for history is important. The temples look like giant dragons, Chinese gods and all sorts of interesting things I really enjoyed it and the food in this region is so good! Just enjoy ahaha.

Hope that helped!

chuck mchugh


Thanks for a podcast on Taiwan, a place where I had lived 30+ years ago. Listeners should note what was not really emphasized: do not travel during major holidays, especially Chinese New Years. Or book accommodations months in advance.

Chinese New Years should be avoided in Hong Kong but maybe no problem in Korea (?), Japan and the Philippines. I’ve never traveled in China during the May Day holidays but I would avoid it. Avoid Japan around solar New Years (Dec-Jan), Golden Week (April-May), Obon (August), and maybe even Silver Week (September).

Japanese working people seldom take accrued holiday days off but rely on travel during posted national holidays. Maybe the same for neighboring countries, too.

Hualien, on the east coast, has always caught my fancy with steep, cloud-shrouded mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. A place to avoid during typhoon season which usually finishes by October.



I was glad to see this episode, as I’m planning to spend 10 days on Taiwan during my upcoming RTW. Good to hear that Matt really liked the east coast, as I’m planning to go down the east coast and then across the central mountains to Tainan. Also good to hear about the food, as I’ll just have spent 10 days in S. Korea, and the food reviews there are mixed.

BUT, he left out what for me is the one do-not-miss sight on the island – the National Palace Museum. Most of its treasures were removed from mainland China when the Kuomingtan retreated to Taiwan. Since most of mainland China’s heritage perished during the Cultural Revolution this is probably the best collection of Chinese art anywhere – painting, calligraphy, jade, ceramics, Buddhist items…



I agree with Kathy. Visiting Taipei w/o going to the National Palace Museum is like skipping the Vatican in Rome. Mind you the Nationalist took the creme de la creme of the Imperial Collection to Taiwan in 1949.

Another must-see is the 2000m plus Alishan, for its famous alpine railway, virgin forest, sunrise above the clouds & its native culture.



Like Michael said, Kaohsiung!!!! This was by far the best city when I went to Taiwan. I am also a teacher in South Korea, only about an hour away from Ulsan. I live in Changwon.

Kaohsiung, has a brand new subway, monkey mountain and many other places. 2 days in Kaohsiung is a MUST when visiting Taiwan. They have an international airport as well or you can fly into Taipei and then take the train down the west coast. The train’s last stop is Kaohsiung (the main train) and you can stop at the other main cities along the way.

The temples are good, but one temple looks very similar to the other….the night markets are AMAZING as he says.

The east coast sounded nice, but there is really nothing on the east coast other than the gorge and Hualien city. So if you have plenty of time, then I would def check it out. I will be back to Taiwan soon, and then I will check out the east coast and the VERY south of the island where I was told it is even more beautiful.



Great post! I don’t see that you have made it to any Unrecognized Countries yet (Taiwan is a partially recognized country). Political Holidays ( are experts in unique destinations. Let us know if you want to share ideas.

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