Like most island nations, Taiwan has cultural diversity, scenery and a business climate exclusive compared to anywhere else worldwide. Influences of the past and the economic base it has grown from has generated unique attractive qualities that appeal to a business traveller and tourist.
The island nation Taiwan sits between East China, South China and Philippine Seas. Home to twenty-three million people, cultural diversity is rife here. This is a consequence of the dense populous occupying the 13,800 square mile landmass and a history of overwhelming colonisation. There are three cities which exceed the one million population, Taichung, Kaohsiung and the outright most populous and capital, Taipei. Mountainous regions surround these metropolitans, essentially embodying the spine of the country. In fact, two-thirds of Taiwan’s landscape is mountainous. The country is therefore crammed with beautiful scenery and sightseeing spots, leading to demand from tourists and corporate for new serviced accommodation.
The history of Taiwan played a significant role in creating its modern-day society, influenced both by indigenous and overseas populations. It was not until the 16th century that the indigenous Taiwanese, who first inhabited the land fifty thousand years ago, were disturbed by outsiders. Trade prompted change and following the Dutch East India Company’s exploitation in the early 1600s, to the Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese tussled for control in Taiwan. Despite the first native-born Taiwan president taking power in 1980 and the modern-day people believing they belong to an independent nation; the sovereign country is still technically under Chinese control. This has not stopped Taiwan from creating its own identity though. This has been essential to accommodate the rapid progression of the tourism industry, with the number of arrivals doubling between 2002 and 2008.
Some would argue Taiwan’s economy is essentially just an attachment of China’s economic success. The only flaw with this is that Taiwan is greatly dependent on China, despite looking to grow more independent. Its own economy does rank fifteenth though on the Global Competitiveness Index and fifth regarding economic freedom. Considering the country’s size, these rankings are impressive, and the government does not fear international relations. 130% of the GDP actually revolves around international trade. Changing from an agricultural island to a productive powerhouse in high-tech goods, Taiwan has gained the attention of big players like the US, particularly its massive electronics industry.
Taiwan also gets attention for its promising business climate. World Bank ranks the east Asian state fifteenth out of 190 countries concerning ease of doing business. At the forefront for this business ease are the many offered tax incentives, free economic demonstration zones and the undergoing project for improved national infrastructure. With significant experience of dealing with overseas presence, Taiwan takes advantage of its gateway geographic through Asia. A priority is to make the country an Asia-Pacific Free Trade Centre. This means accommodating sufficiently for foreign investors, traders and travellers. Part of this process includes provided serviced accommodation to home corporate travellers.
Residents of sixty-six different countries can enter Taiwan visa-free for trips ranging between fourteen and ninety days. Whilst EU, US and Canadian residents can enter visa-free for ninety days, Russian residents are only permitted entry for fourteen days. Only the Turkish can obtain a visa upon arrival. There are quite a few specific requirements for some nationals to consider, so it worth contacting a Taiwan Representative Office in your country before travelling.
You may be surprised to know though that concerning the quality of life, Taiwan ranks as the best for expats. According to the InterNations’ Expats Insider report in 2018, the country also ranks fifth for both travel and transport, and health and wellbeing. There are countless categories which Taiwan ranks highly in, and this says a lot about business travel here. A couple things to be aware of though are the unpredictable climate and slight language barrier. Also worth knowing is that despite being part of China, Taiwan does have its own currency. You can check exchange rates for the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$) at www.xe.com.
Driving in Taiwan is an experience of contrast. Whilst exploring the stunning countryside and coastal towns by car is very fulfilling, driving in major cities, such as Taipei, can be stressful. Patience is key. Belongs as you have an International Driving Permit (IDP), your own driving license, drive on the right-hand side, and have an awareness for toll roads, car journeys will most likely be straightforward. If this, however, does not fill you with confidence, you could instead travel by taxi. Taxis in Taiwan are ubiquitous in the cities, but less so the more rural you go. If in doubt, you can always book a taxi through your serviced apartment.
Similar to the national culture, Taiwanese attractions optimise an indigenous and colonial blend. Nowhere in Taiwan showcases this mixture more than the capital Taipei. For Taiwanese tradition, be sure to visit the vibrant Shilin Night Market. Nearby Jiantan station, the market oozes Taiwanese culture, inviting crowds to try traditional cuisine and shop exclusive local produce. While you wait for this evening market to awaken, learn of colonialism in Taiwan by visiting the National Palace Museum. Take an insight into ancient Chinese culture, whilst also admiring the world’s largest Chinese art collection. Top off or start a long day of learning, exploring, or even business conducting, by trekking up Elephant Mountain or the Taipei 101 skyscraper. Look no further than these spots for the best overlooking views of the capital.
Whilst Taipei will most likely be the home of your corporate accommodation, this does not mean you can not explore beyond the city. Not far from Taipei is one of Taiwan’s natural wonders, Taroko Gorge. The impressive ten-mile-long canyon has been carved by the Liwu River, leaving extraordinary marble cliffs covered in tropical vegetation. Its visitors are immediately astonished by the picturesque scenery and influences of the local aboriginal tribes. Challenging as the most stunning attraction in Taiwan, Yushan National Park has an abundance of staggering views and natural greenery. The park derives its name from the country’s tallest mountain, Yushan. If you do not fancy hiking, an alternative would be the Alishan mountain region via train. Winding its way to the top, this railway service is popular because of the array of incredible photo opportunities it presents.
Whether its scenery, culture or urbanisation that you are looking for, Taiwan has it all. Staying in Taiwan serviced apartments makes all these aspects accessible, as well as perfectly assisting successful business travel.
This is the largest airport in Taiwan, serving the capital Taipei and much of northern Taiwan. Its services are convenient, operating only twenty-five miles west of Taipei’s city centre.
A metro system connects visitors to Taipei’s main train stations, whilst operating bus and taxi services outside the airport enable easy routes to-and-from the city centre. The airport dealt with an excessive forty-five million passengers in 2017, so two new terminals are planned for construction as well as extensions to the original two terminals.
There are three metro systems operating in Taiwan through Kaohsiung, Taipei and Taoyuan, with a system scheduled in Taichung in 2020. All these services connect international and domestic airports, whilst also providing safe and convenient travel through Taiwan’s major cities. English signposting throughout may also be useful for some.
Websites for each metro system are as followed:
Kaohsiung MRT - www.krtco.com.tw
Taipei MRT - http://english.metro.taipei
Taoyuan MRT - www.tymetro.com.tw
TRA is responsible for nearly all railway operations in Taiwan. The railway system runs along both east and west coasts, serving most major cities in a loop-like fashion around the country. For information about the classes, that range from Chu-Kuang (standard) to Puyuma Express (quickest), or schedule and route information, visit TRA’s website www.railway.gov.tw.
Alternatively, you could take advantage of Taiwan’s High-Speed Rail services (HSR). These operate out of cities such as Taichung, Taipei and Kaohsiung.
The bus network is extensive in Taiwan, offering both intercity and rural services, as well as tourist-orientated shuttles. Buses are typically punctual, cheap and surprisingly comfortable.
The two biggest bus companies in Taiwan are Kuo Kuang and UBus, but for a broader range of services visit www.taiwanbus.tw. Remember that children under 12, students and seniors can all travel on Taiwan tourists’ shuttles for half price.