My 30 day cycling trip around Taiwan last summer holiday.
I was not very enthusiastic about visiting Taiwan, I did not expect there to be much difference to the mainland, I also did not know much about the island.
But what a very pleasant surprise, it's been great.
The people very helpful, friendly & so different to mainlanders.
Chinese are a group culture, whereas Taiwanese are far more like foreigners - more individualists. They are adventurous & willing to try new things.
The media is very strong & I can access all overseas news channels.
The food is also more international, offering a lot of western food both in restaurants & in supermarkets. The food is also of a high quality, with many vegetables & fruit I have not seen before. I love mangos & they are so good here.
The island is kept very clean, with everybody concerned about the environment. Many Taiwanese carry their own metal chop sticks so disposable ones are not used. Lots of picnic spots with good facilities provided & very clean.
Banking, transportation, shopping, etc is all handled very efficiently. Changing RMB to Taiwanese dollars is so easy & quick.
The people are VERY law abiding, traffic is not at all chaotic with everybody staying on the proper side of the road for the direction they are travelling in, so I don't have to worry about people travelling on the wrong side of the road & nobody crosses a red light.
The scenery is breathtaking, a stunning coastline & incredible mountains. The sky & sea is so blue, the rivers so clear, the trees so green. When you are on the top of a mountain you can see everything so clearly as no pollution (this is on the eastern side of the island).
Taiwan is the perfect cycling destination, everything is great. Taiwanese are really into cycling in a big way. Everyday I see 100's of Taiwanese cyclists going the opposite direction, about 30% being female. They all look like bank robbers with their faces totally covered up, only sunglasses showing. They all wear cycling clothing & wear helmets. They don't worry that it's 30 - 38 degrees, they just get out & explore their island.
Every town has a 7-11 shop which is open 24 hours a day, that's the cyclists meeting place. Giant bike shops everywhere, even hotels for cyclist. All police stations offer toilets, washing facilities, water & a compressor for pumping tyres.
Cycling is the latest fashion & whole families are on the road, all masked up. Everybody waves & motorists are careful. Nobody breaks the traffic rules.
They have home stays called Ming Su, that are cheaper than hotels but very clean.
So much cycling gear & gadgets for sale.
I could happily come back here again & strongly recommend a cycling trip to Taiwan
I cycled from Nanning to Guiyang. The mountain scenery is very good, better than Guilin but very tiring. As soon as I managed to cross a mountain, there's another one waiting for me. Some roads were atrocious, dirt, rocks & just too steep to cycle. I didn't meet another cyclist (which is normal on the mainland).
Strangely from arriving in Nanning to Guiyang I have seen no foreigners & found very little English spoken in Guizhou, which is very polluted.
Hotels are very good & so cheap (some not so good in Guizhou).
- NYTimes covers a Hong Kong movie about the White Terror: "Mining Taiwan's Darker History."
- Jon Adams in Global Post on the joint China-Taiwan art exhibition.
- Assoc. for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia releases its report on its carbon disclosure project, which has some discussion of Taiwan's IT industry and its carbon policies.
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