I had a backpacking trip to Taiwan a month ago and it was a blast. From the beach to the mountains, Taiwan has got so much to offer. I am pretty surprised that when it comes to backpacking Asia, Taiwan is rarely the top few of the bucket list, Thailand is usually on top of the list, where else. Everyone has got their own reasons for traveling to a country, it can be part of your GAP year adventure. Read my post about GAP year here. Here are my reasons for you to book a ticket to Taiwan!
In almost every city that I went to in Taiwan has got a night market. Probably it is a trademark of Taiwan, but this means you can have a great selection of local food at cheap prices! Night market food in Taiwan is cheap and delicious, one serving of smelly tofu costs a dollar or two. Out of the night markets, there are plenty of food stalls and restaurants around, a definitely must-try if you have a thing for asian food. The convenience stores in Taiwan are open 24/7 and they sell food in there, you will never stay hungry in the middle of the night after your party.
2) Outdoor adventures
There are quite a few mountains in Taiwan that are worth looking at if you are a serious hiker. Taiwan has the highest mountain in East Asia, which is the Jade Mountain (Yushan), the trails look pretty interesting and challenging, Do it in winter and you need to prepare snow gear. If you are a landscape photographer, you will get stunning shots of the Taiwan mountains. During summer, people usually cycle around the island of Taiwan, either clockwise or anti-clockwise. This may take a couple of weeks but there are plenty to explore everywhere.
3) Culture & safety
Taiwanese are one of the most friendly and honest group of people around in the world. People are usually laid back and helpful, there are no worries about getting lost somewhere because someone will be offering help before you know it. Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world, I never felt any danger in any of the cities I traveled in Taiwan. However, things can happen so take precautions by know which streets to avoid and stuff.
4) Cost of living
The cost of living in Taiwan is generally affordable, much cheaper when compared to the West, no tips culture, oh yeah. People can earn their comfortable living and decide what to do with their money. If you are a native English speaker and like to teach, being an English teacher can be your thing and fund your travels. It pays pretty well, why not?
Transportation is Taiwan is easy and affordable. I traveled around the island mainly via train and bus. In Taipei itself, the whole city is connected by subway, it is really easy to get to places around the city. If you are in need of time and willing to trade off some cash for time, you can take the High Speed Rail, however the HSR does not go around the island. Whenever I walked out of the train stations, there are always taxis waiting out there. The train station and the bus station are usually located in close proximity. Out of Taipei, most people own a scooter, it makes things convenient when you are running some errands every now and then.
I hope it helped.
So, start planning and get going.