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Three Easy Reasons to Make Taiwan a 2014 Trip

February 24, 2014 at 3:13 PM | by | ()

Above: the view before landing in Taipei

The New York Times recently included Taiwan on its list of 52 must-visit destinations for 2014 (it's #11). Jaunted's Lilit Marcus just returned from a visit to the "heart of Asia" and reports back all this week on why it's a worthwhile vacation destination.

Though we do love us some Hong Kong and Singapore travel here at Jaunted, Taiwan is not to be disregarded. In fact, its popularity and appeal is only on the way up, coinciding with increased flight connections and its burgeoning reputation as a foodie mecca. Beyond these, however, there are three major reasons why visiting Taiwan is one of the easiest options for Southeast Asia:

· It's easier to get into than China

Unlike mainland China, you won't need to deal with complicated visa paperwork in order to visit. Aussies, Americans, Canadians, and Brits are among the many nationalities able to enter the country without a visa, provided the individual doesn't have a criminal record.

It's also well-connected to major US cities. Taiwan's own EVA Air began nonstop flights to Taipei from New York last year, plus they run the colorful "Hello Kitty" Boeing 777 on the route from Los Angeles. US airlines have Taiwan covered as well, but the most notable recent addition is Hawaiian Airlines, with new nonstop service from Honolulu clocking in at under 10 hours. [Note: this trip was sponsored by China Airlines, which offers direct flights from Los Angeles and from New York with a brief stopover in Osaka.]

· It's easy to navigate.

Thanks to Taiwan's relatively small size (locals will tell you that the island is shaped like a sweet potato), it's pretty easy to get from place to place and cover a lot of ground in a small amount of time. Taiwan's train system is extremely well-organized and easy to follow, even if you don't speak Mandarin. Announcements are made in four languages—Mandarin Chinese, two Taiwanese dialects, and English—and tickets are printed in multiple languages as well. In addition, Taiwan can be combined with a trip to another Asian destination since it feels close to almost everywhere else, and the air connections are plentiful.

· It’s easy for families and totally kid-friendly

Taiwan currently has the lowest birthrate in Asia, so the country is making major strides to accommodate kids and their parents. First-time visitors to Taiwan will be pleasantly surprised to notice “breastfeeding rooms” in most major buildings, including train stations. And when it comes to kids at tourist sites, most people will smile and wave instead of thinking they’re a bother. Need a high chair at a restaurant? They've already brought one over before you had a chance to ask.

[Photo: Jaunted]

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