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  • The east coast Guide | Taiwan Travel | Rough Guides
    View Guide The Rough Guide to Tokyo View Guide Rough Guide Audio Phrasebook and Dictionary Japanese View Guide Tibet Rough Guides Snapshot China View Guide Kyoto and Nara Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide Pocket Rough Guide Hong Kong Macau View Guide The Rough Guide to Southwest China View Guide The Rough Guide to Shanghai View Guide Nowhere in Taiwan shatters the myth of the island as an industrial wasteland more resolutely than its pristine east coast cut off from the country s crowded west and north by the cloud piercing central ranges While the region is best known for the awe inspiring Taroko Gorge the centrepiece of Taroko National Park it encompasses a broad array of geological wonders The plunging Qingshui Cliffs in the north of Taroko National Park are among Asia s most magnificent while the East Coast National Scenic Area and East Rift Valley National Scenic Area are defined by picturesque landscapes and outdoor activities hiking surfing snorkelling diving and whitewater rafting on rivers such as the Xiuguluan The main cities of Hualien and Taitung are fairly slow paced and well equipped for tourism with numerous companies offering tours of nearby attractions And just off the coast of Taitung are two exotic Pacific islands both easily accessed by air and sea and fringed with coral suitable for snorkelling and diving The closer Ludao Green Island was a centre of exile for political prisoners during the White Terror of the 1950s while the less touristy Lanyu Orchid Island is home to the Tao people by far the most isolated of Taiwan s aboriginal tribes The region is visibly marked by ethnic diversity with Taiwan s densest concentration of indigenous peoples seven officially recognized tribes are represented here and their relative isolation has enabled them to preserve many of

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/taiwan/east-coast/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The Taiwan Strait Islands Guide | Taiwan Travel | Rough Guides
    Related Guides Hide Related Guides The Rough Guide to Taiwan View Guide Kyushu Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Laos View Guide Kyoto and Nara Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka View Guide The Rough Guide to Malaysia Singapore Brunei View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide The Rough Guide to Tokyo View Guide The Rough Guide to Thailand View Guide The Rough Guide to Japan View Guide The Taiwan Strait Islands sprinkled across the windswept channel that separates Taiwan from the People s Republic of China hold endless fascination for travellers and Chinese history buffs With enormous geopolitical significance that far transcends their tiny size the islands to this day form a natural buffer between the two versions of China Closest to the main island of Taiwan the Penghu Archipelago is littered with ruins from the Dutch colonial period as well as successive Chinese regimes and boasts some of Asia s most magnificent golden sand beaches and unspoilt coral reefs In the warmer months regular commuter ferries allow for easy island hopping here opening up possibilities for a variety of watersports from the region s most underrated snorkelling and diving to some of the world s most celebrated windsurfing In addition the curious basalt columns that buttress the sheer cliffs of many of Penghu s islands give them a mysterious primordial dimension and make them eminently photogenic Kinmen and the Matsu Islands huddled just off the mainland Chinese coast were once among the world s most austere Cold War flashpoints but are now becoming the main bridges for closer ties between Taiwan and the People s Republic Despite the damage caused to these islands by heavy PRC bombardment in the 1950s and 60s many historic monuments

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/taiwan/taiwan-strait-islands/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Map of Taiwan | Taiwan Regions | Rough Guides
    kept secret This tiny island is crammed with awesome scenery from lofty Yushan to dramatic Taroko Gorge perfect for adventure and exploration For lazier days soak up the surroundings from a hot spring resort head to one of the beautiful east coast beaches or explore the charming old town of Lugang Use our map of Taiwan below to start planning your trip to this most underrated destination You won t be short of things to do on this vibrant island Sample oyster omelette curry rice and seafood broth at Keelung s celebrated night market or marvel at the National Palace Museum s extraordinary art collection Take to the water with a spot of surfing or diving in Kenting National Park or relax and enjoy a cup of Tiěguānyīn tea from a mountainside pavilion Find out more about Taiwan Interactive Taiwan Map Regions of Taiwan Click the links below to find out about your chosen region 1 Taipei and around 2 North Taiwan 3 Central Taiwan 4 South Taiwan 5 The east coast 6 The Taiwan Strait Islands Related Ebooks The Rough Guide to Taiwan View Guide The Rough Guide to Shanghai View Guide The Rough Guide to Laos View Guide

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/maps/asia/taiwan/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Taiwan Travel | Places to visit in Taiwan | Rough Guides
    View Guide Taiwan remains largely undiscovered and seriously underrated by Western travellers but those that make it here are in for a real treat In the 1990s Taiwan became the first true Chinese democracy developing a sense of civil society bewildering to its giant neighbour across the Taiwan Strait Since then popular culture has blossomed on the island an eclectic mix of Chinese Western Japanese and indigenous influences It has sensational food traditional Chinese and aboriginal festivals and exuberant temples yet the biggest surprise is Taiwan s hinterland think towering mountains eight national parks a selection of alluring offshore islands and numerous hot spring resorts Taiwan s perception problem stems in part from its astonishing economic success The Taiwan Miracle the island s transformation into one of the world s richest countries in less than fifty years created images of endless manufacturing plants and overcrowded cities The long struggle to establish a distinct political and cultural identity in the shadow of its big brother on the mainland hasn t helped for years its rulers insisted that Taiwan was the real China Not any more Taiwan has preserved much of the civilization and many of the traditions lost on the mainland but while its political future remains uncertain Taiwan has developed a dynamic culture all of its own One of the most endearing things about the island is the overwhelming friendliness of its people Taiwan is one of the most welcoming countries in the world and you are bound to encounter numerous acts of generosity or kindness throughout your travels whether it s a taxi driver rounding down a fare a stranger helping with directions or a family providing a bed for the night Eating in Taiwan comes a close second with a vast array of Chinese food and local delicacies

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/taiwan/?wpfpaction=add&postid=42396 (2016-02-16)
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  • Explore Destinations | Travel Guides | Rough Guides
    Sri Lanka Taiwan Thailand Vietnam See all destinations Taiwan Overview Introduction Where to go When to go Getting there Getting around Accommodation Food and drink The media Festivals and public holidays Outdoor activities and adventure sports Culture and etiquette Travel essentials Inspiration Things not to miss Features Gallery Explore Taipei and around North Taiwan Central Taiwan South Taiwan The east coast The Taiwan Strait Islands Shop Ebooks Travel Insurance Hostels

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/taiwan/explore/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Thailand Facts | About Thailand | Rough Guides
    Fact file Show Related Guides Hide Related Guides The Rough Guide to Thailand s Beaches Islands View Guide The Rough Guide to Thailand View Guide The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia On A Budget View Guide The Rough Guide to Bangkok View Guide The Rough Guide to Seoul View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide The Rough Guide to India View Guide The Rough Guide to Southwest China View Guide The Rough Guide to Vietnam View Guide Pocket Rough Guide Hong Kong Macau View Guide Thailand Fact file Divided into 77 provinces or changwat Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 and again from 1945 to 1949 some academics suggest changing the name back again to better reflect the country s Thai and non Thai diversity The population of 63 million is made up of ethnic Thais 75 percent and Chinese 14 percent with the rest comprising mainly immigrants from neighbouring countries as well as hill tribespeople Buddhism is the national religion Islam the largest minority religion but nearly all Thais also practise some form of animism spirit worship Since 1932 the country has been a constitutional monarchy King Bhumibol also known as Rama IX being the ninth ruler of the Chakri dynasty is the world s longest ruling head of state having been on the throne since 1946 the current prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra entered politics only six weeks before winning the general election in 2011 with an absolute majority Thailand fell to 153rd out of 178 countries on Reporters without Borders index on press freedom in 2010 because of a surge in the use of the lese majesty laws The world record for nonstop kissing was set by two Thai men in Pattaya on Valentine s Day 2012 at a gobsmacking 50 hours 25 minutes

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/thailand/fact-file/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Where to go in Thailand | Rough Guides
    flows east to Pattaya the country s seediest resort but for prettier beaches you re better off venturing just a little further to the islands of Ko Samet and the Ko Chang archipelago with their squeaky white sand and shorefront bungalows Few tourists visit Isaan the poorest and in some ways the most traditionally Thai region Here a trip through the gently modulating landscapes of the Mekong River valley which defines Thailand s northeastern extremities takes in archetypal agricultural villages and a fascinating array of religious sites while the southern reaches of Isaan hold some of Thailand s best kept secrets the magnificent stone temple complexes of Phimai Phanom Rung and Khao Phra Viharn all built by the Khmers of Cambodia almost ten centuries ago Closer to the capital Khao Yai National Park encapsulates the phenomenal diversity of Thailand s flora and fauna which here range from wild orchids to strangling figs elephants to hornbills At the heart of the northern uplands Chiang Mai is both an attractive historic city and a vibrant cultural centre with a strong tradition of arts crafts and festivals It does a burgeoning line in self improvement courses from ascetic meditation to the more earthly pleasures of Thai cookery classes while the overriding enticement of the surrounding region is the prospect of trekking through villages inhabited by a richly mixed population of tribal peoples Plenty of outdoor activities and courses as well as hot springs and massages can be enjoyed at Pai a surprisingly cosmopolitan hill station for travellers four hours northwest of Chiang Mai With Chiang Mai and the north so firmly planted on the independent tourist trail the intervening central plains tend to get short shrift Yet there is rewarding trekking around Umphang near the Burmese border and the elegant ruins of former capitals Ayutthaya and Sukhothai embody a glorious artistic heritage displaying Thailand s distinctive ability to absorb influences from quite different cultures Kanchanaburi stunningly located on the River Kwai tells of a much darker episode in Thailand s past for it was along the course of this river that the Japanese army built the Thailand Burma Railway during World War II at the cost of thousands of POW lives Sand and sea are what most Thai holidays are about though and the pick of the coasts are in southern Thailand where the Samui archipelago off the Gulf coast is one of the highlights Ko Samui itself has the most sweeping white sand beaches and the greatest variety of accommodation and facilities to go with them Ko Pha Ngan next door is still largely backpacker territory where you have a stark choice between desolate coves and Hat Rin Thailand s party capital The remotest island rocky Ko Tao is acquiring increasing sophistication as Southeast Asia s largest dive training centre Across on the other side of the peninsula the Andaman coast boasts even more exhilarating scenery and the finest coral reefs in the country in particular around the Ko Similan island chain

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  • Best Time To Visit Thailand | Rough Guides
    three seasons rainy roughly May Oct caused by the southwest monsoon dumping moisture gathered from the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand cool Nov Feb and hot March May The rainy season is the least predictable of the three and worth considering when thinking about the best time to visit varying in length and intensity from year to year but it s never a case of the heavens opening in May and not closing again till October there ll be rain most days but often only for a few hours in the afternoon or at night The rains usually gather force between June and August coming to a peak in September and October when unpaved roads are reduced to mud troughs The cool season is the pleasantest time to visit although temperatures can still reach a broiling 30 C in the middle of the day In the hot season when temperatures often rise to 35 C in Bangkok the best thing to do is to hit the beach Within this scheme slight variations are found from region to region The upland less humid north experiences the greatest range of temperatures at night in the cool season the thermometer dips markedly occasionally approaching zero on the higher slopes and this region is often hotter than the central plains between March and May It s the northeast that gets the very worst of the hot season with clouds of dust gathering above the parched fields and humid air too In southern Thailand temperatures are more consistent throughout the year with less variation the closer you get to the equator The rainy season hits the Andaman coast of the southern peninsula harder than anywhere else in the country rainfall can start in April and usually persists until November One area of the

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