By Valerie Wang

Taiwan definitely stands as one of the more unique and extraordinary places to travel to in this world. From luscious green nature to towering modern skyscrapers—Taiwan has it all. I visit almost every year for family reunions, and Taiwan never disappoints. 

One of the many areas in Taiwan to admire its natural wonders is Alishan—a gorgeous mountainous landmark. There are many hiking trails to breathe in the crisp, fresh air and take lasting photos of the mountain’s beauty. I went there with my grandparents and watched the sunrise. Very memorable. Additionally, Alishan is famous for producing pretty much the finest oolong tea. 

A must-see attraction is the Taipei 101 tower. One of the tallest buildings in the world, the skyscraper stretches at a height of 1,667 feet. Inside the tower, you can shop, eat, and maybe even ride to the top to gawk at the stunning view. The Taipei 101 skyscraper is also known for its spectacular firework show on New Year’s. 

Best of all, Taiwan offers literally the most heavenly food. Beef noodle soup is very popular in Taiwan and the delicious noodle soup has become popular around the world. A warm meal of broth, noodles, green onions, and cow sirloin and tendon, is never better anywhere, but in Taiwan. That’s actually one of the astounding aspects of Taiwan: the ideas of foods spread around the world, but it will never taste as good or authentic as in Taiwan. Taiwan offers soup dumplings which are most known in the chain restaurant Din Tai Fung. The delicate dumplings are hand-crafted from paper-thin dough wrappers, meticulously folded into an appealing shape, and filled with a variety of meats, vegetables, as well as red bean and chocolate sauces. 

Taiwan’s tropical climate also produces the sweetest, tangiest fruits. Taiwan’s most popular fruits are mangoes, guavas, passion fruits, wax apples, and dragon fruits. Besides being eaten by itself, the assortment of fruits are used in many foods including two of Taiwan’s to-die-for desserts: shaved ice and bubble tea. Taiwanese shaved ice is light in texture and rich in flavor, and can be adjusted to one’s liking with a wide selection of flavors and toppings. Originated in Taiwan, the iconic and all-beloved bubble tea bursts in flavor and brings happiness. Taiwan makes the  best tapioca pearls—chewy and soft. The pearls are immersed in all sorts of teas and milk teas. In Taiwan, bubble tea will never be close to bad, always bringing satisfaction, and setting the bar higher and higher. Did you know that the price of one small bubble tea in the United States is equivalent to a large bubble tea in Taiwan? Yes, please!

While Taiwan is simply incredible, I suggest visiting during any other season besides summer, if you can. The summer heat is boiling, and because the country already has so much humidity, the summer air is stuffy and moist. Nothing feels better than hiding in local convenience stores to exploit their blasting air conditioning. Not to mention, the mosquitos are ginormous and do not hesitate to leave their mark. Although, the summer season adversities never stopped me from visiting—there’s just too much good to outweigh the bad!