Taiwan is located in between the southeastern coast of the Asian continent and the East Asian islands distributed among the western Pacific Rim. To the north lie Japan and the Ryukyu Islands; to the south are the Philippine Islands; to the west is Mainland China. Taiwan is a long and narrow island stretching from north to south. The island is about 395 km long and about 144 km in width with a total land area of around 36,000 square kilometers (about 14,400 square miles).
Taiwan is endowed with steep mountain ranges; therefore, great altitude differences occur throughout the island. The mountains mostly run from north to south. The highest point is Yushan Peak of the Yushan Mountain Range, which reaches an elevation of 3,952 meters above sea level making it the highest peak in Northeast Asia. Since mountain areas cover the majority of the island, Taiwan’s ecological resources are abundant. The plains of Taiwan are relatively narrow and found only in the western region and the longitudinal valley along the east coast. These also happen to be the most densely populated areas in Taiwan.
Taiwan belongs to tropical and subtropical climate zones that range from rainy to dry weather and hot to cool temperatures, depending on altitude and latitude.
Average temperature for the northern half of the island is about 21.7°C; average temperature for the southern half is around 24.1°C. The island is coldest from January through March with temperatures dropping to around 10°C. From June to August, hot weather prevails with temperatures rising up to 38°C. More moderate temperatures follow in the months between, with an average temperature of 25°C.
Taiwan’s average annual rainfall is 2,515 mm.
Taiwan has a population of about 23 million people which consists of various ethnic groups. The aborigines who have inhabited the island for around 8,000 years make up 2.3% of the total population; the Han Chinese who migrated to Taiwan in the seventeenth century constitute the rest of the population. The diversity of Taiwan’s culture and heritage formed with the integration of different ethnic groups and illustrate the harmony and prosperity possible among various religions, architecture, languages, lifestyles, and cuisines. Seventy percent of the population are concentrated in the five western metropolitan areas (Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung), among which the Taipei metropolis harbors Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan, and New Taipei City, the largest city in Taiwan.
Despite coming from distant provinces with complex languages and ethnic backgrounds, new immigrants who migrated along with the Republic of China Government in 1949 can generally communicate in Mandarin Chinese. With the advent of public education, Mandarin has become the official language of Taiwan’s various ethnic groups.
Since many Taiwanese are of southern Fujianese descent, Minnan (the Southern Min dialect) is also widely spoken. The smaller groups of Hakka people and indigenous tribes continue to preserve their own languages. Many elderly people can also speak some Japanese, as they were once subjected to Japanese education before Taiwan was returned to Chinese rule in 1945 after the Japanese occupation, which lasted for half a century.
After the 1960s, Taiwan underwent economic and industrial reforms, and experienced rapid social development. The economic achievements of the 1970s and 1980s allowed Taiwan to rank among the Asian Tigers and, in the 1990s, among developed countries.
Since the 1980s, the economic structure of Taiwan gradually shifted from labor-intensive industries to high-tech industries, wherein the electronics industry was particularly vital to the world’s economy. Taiwan has excelled in the semiconductor, optoelectronics, information technology, communications, and electronics fields. At present, the economy is shifting toward nanotechnology, biotechnology, optoelectronics, and the tourism service industry.
Moreover, international trade is the economic lifeline of Taiwan. Japan and the United States were Taiwan’s top two trading partners until 2005, when Mainland China took over as Taiwan’s main import/export trading region, with Japan and the United States coming in second and third.
In recent years, the grim financial situations of the U.S.A. and European economies and the economic slowdown in China had a joint impact on the economic performance of Taiwan. In 2013, Taiwan’s economic growth rate was 2.11%, the gross domestic product (GDP) was $489,132 million USD, the gross national product (GNP) was $503,264 million USD, with an average per capita GDP of $20,952 USD. In terms of commodity prices, the consumer price index increased 1.07% this October (2014) in comparison to the last year. As for the employment situation, the average number of employed is 1,109.9 million people as of this September (2014), which is 1080 more people than the previous year; the average unemployment rate is 3.96%.
For more information about Taiwan, please visit About Taiwan.
The polarities of Taipei are vividly present with the joining of the urban and natural worlds. Just a few minutes away from the heart of the city you can soak away the cares of the world in mineral-rich hot springs nestled in the lush mountain foothills ringing the Taipei Basin. And throughout the city there are plenty of trails, parks, and other oases of tranquility to lift and invigorate your spirits.
Whether you are just stopping over en route to another Asian destination, or planning a longer stay, Taipei is a multi-faceted treasure that will call you back again and again. Discover the heart of Asia in beautiful Taipei!
Access to Taipei city from Taoyuan International Airport
Taxis queues are located outside the Arrival Halls of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. A typical fare to Taipei downtown is around 1,100 TWD.
High Speed Rail
The Taiwan High Speed Rail is connected to the airport through a shuttle bus. The bus ticket is 30 TWD for single journey, while a HSR train ticket to Taipei costs 160 TWD. For more information please visit.
Airport Terminal 2 Station serves as the interchange point with eastbound heading Taipei Main Station, and southbound heading Zhongli Railway Station while passing by Taoyuan HSR Station. For more information please visit.
Transportation in Taipei
Taipei Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT)
The easiest way to travel around Taipei City is by the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRT). The system operates according to a spoke-hub distribution paradigm, with most rail lines running outward from central Taipei in a radial direction. Stations are located in key locations around the city, often built-into or connected to major department stores, shopping districts, and major tourist attractions. It is the fastest and most convenient way to sightseeing in Taipei.
Operation Hour: Daily from 6am to midnight; extended services during special events.
Frequency: 1.5 to 15 minutes intervals depending on the line and time of day.
For more information please visit.
The Bus operates daily from early morning to late night with special service hour during weekends and special events. For more information please visit.