The de-facto state of Taiwan lies just off the east coast of China – sandwiched between Japan and the Philippines.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when the defeated Nationalist government fled to the island. Tensions have lessened in recent years, however.
One of the technological centres of the world, Taiwan is home to one of the world's tallest towers: Taipei 101 (the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai took the title in 2010). It is certainly one of the best ways of checking out Taiwan's pulsating capital city – Taipei.
Taiwan doesn’t lack in natural wonders either. Taroko Gorge, within Taroko National Park, is a sight to behold. Dubbed the “marble gorge”, due to its towering marble cliffs, Taroko Gorge is packed with lush vegetation, streams and scenic trails.
A contrast of old and new, Taiwan will surely surprise and captivate travellers.
Taiwan Essential Information:
Major cities: Kaohsiung, Hualien and Taichung
Places of interest:Tainan, Taipei County and Taroko Gorge
Time Zone: GMT +8
Language: Mandarin Chinese (primary) and Taiwanese aka Min Nan Chinese. To learn the basics of Mandarin visit www.bbc.co.uk
Currency: Taiwan uses Taiwan New dollars (TWD). For up-to-date exchange rates see: www.xe.com/ucc.
International dialling code: +886
British Embassy: visit the website for more information