If you don't have a visa when you visit Taiwan
Well thanks for all those responses. Just to answer some of your questions - I am a citizen from Hong Kong with a US green card (US permanent resident) and I reside in Los Angeles.
Also, it is to my knowledge and experience that you can visit Taiwan without a visa with my Hong Kong SAR passport (or passports from other nations)by filling out some paperwork at the immigration office at the airport which will grant you 2 weeks of stay. Also you are allowed to renew your stay by filling out new paperwork and I don't think it is a crime if I had extended my stay.
The island of Taiwan is adrift 160km (99mi) off the coast of mainland China. The island's total area is 35,563 sq km (13,869 sq mi) - it's 394km (244mi) long and 144km (89mi) wide. Taiwan's spine is a ridge of steep mountains, falling away to a rocky coastline on the east and a narrow, fertile plain (where 90 per cent of the population lives) on the west. Mount Yushan is, at 3952m (12,963ft), the highest peak in North-East Asia outside of Tibet. The small islands of Penghu, Lanyu, Green, Liuchiu, Kinmen, Matsu and Wuchiu are controlled by Taiwan.
The island's high mountain forests are predominantly cyprus, although camphor used to grow in abundance. Taiwan was once home to many endemic species, including the Formosan black bear, the Formosan Sika deer and the Formosan landlocked salmon. In its headlong scurry towards economic prosperity, Taiwan has managed to destroy most of the western coast's habitat and wipe out a species or two, although the inaccessibility of the rest of the island has made it a natural wildlife reserve. But in the last 20 years Taiwan has declared 67 reserves, including six national parks, and instituted some fairly hefty environmental legislation.
Although Taiwan is subtropical, the mountains can be chilly in summer (June to August) and snowy in winter (December to February). During winter it rains pretty much non-stop in the north-east, while the south-west is much warmer and drier. Summer is hot and sticky all over the low parts of the island, with drenching rains in the mountains. Daytime temperatures in Taipei are around 30°C (86°F) in summer and 20°C (68°F) in winter.
Go to Chih Hsing tan beach in Hualien
Chih Hsing Tan is a beach that, instead of sand, is formed of millions and trillions of pebbles which have unique and intricate markings on them. It is a nice place for a picnic. And you don't even have to bring your own food because there are push cart vendors there selling from ice cream to cappucino to stuffed sausages.
Round Taiwan Adventure trip - 01 - 11 May 2005
"Facts and Figures"
Official Name Republic of China (Taiwan)
Capital City Taipei (2.7 mil) metro (7.9 mil)
Languages Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese
Official Currency New Taiwan Dollar
Religions Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist, others
Land Area 32,260 sq km (12,456 sq miles)
Latitude/Longitude 25º 02N, 121º 45E
"Touring Taiwan By Car"
If you looked into the map, the blue line indicates the route we took by train from Taipei to Tsin Cheng. Dark blue line indicates the route we drove in Taiwan and Red line indicated the return route we took by train back to Taipei.
"My Taiwan Adventure"
Its a short 11 days trip to Republic of China (Taiwan) but one that is memorable and will always remains deep in my heart.
Upon arriving at Chiang Kai Shiek Airport from Singapore at 5.30pm by Jetstar Airlines, I took airport bus from airport to Taipei Railway Station to meet my another 2 friends who had arrived in Taiwan earlier. Together we board the 8.30pm train to Tsin Cheng. Arriving Tsin Cheng at 12.15am. A whole days is spend on the journey from Singapore to Tsin Cheng. Spend the first night at Tsin Cheng.
Early in the morning, we gather some informations about the surroundings for any places of interest to visit. Actually, we did not have an itenery on hand. Our intention at that time was to tour Toroko National Park and Hua Lien. However, we took the advice of the hotel owner to rent a car because its cheaper and more convenient. But as we drove in deeper and deeper into Toroko National Park, little did we expect that we will be touring all over Taiwan by car. A new adventure begins......
Over the days on the road, we would stop at any places of interest, trek any trails that we came across, enjoying hotsprings at 2 hotpring destinations, trekking water falls to even trying to trek up YuShan, Taiwan tallest mountain standing at 3997m high. Seems fun? Yeah.....but considering that all the treks are without any local guides.
I will share a little on the Yushan trek. This is a very daring and adventurous trek. We did not actually plan to trek Yushan, hence, we did not bring along any mountaineering equipments. Neither did we engage with local guides. However, we did report ourselves to the local police and also inform the hotel owners. Our only equipments are a backpack with some snacks and street shoes. A little joke to share but its a true joke. One of my friends actually trekked Yushan on sandals and instead if carrying backpack, he actually carried his belongings in plastic bags. The sight really shocked me and my other friend but we just proceed with the trek.
Temperature is around 15 degrees at DongPu, one of the starting trekking points to trek Yushan but rarely being used by trekkers as its further away and took longer time to ascend. The path on the ascend was narrow and steep and along the cliff and needed to cross some 25 makeshift bridges which were pretty dangerous considering if one of us slipped off while crossing the bridge. We managed to trek up to the first waterfall (forgotten the name) in about 4 hours and to the second waterfall (forgotten the name too) in about another 3 hours but failed the reached the Base Camp which has about 10km trek to go and maybe about 2-4 more hours of trek. Temperature here had already dropped to below 10 degrees. By this time, we had already crossed about 4 mountains. The maximum height we ascended was about 1800m before we started our descend at 3pm. We sprinted our way on the descend as night falls nears and manage to reach DongPu at 6.30pm. Just nice........
We proceeded to Alisan on the 7th day and this was the place where disaster struck us. All 3 of us were diagnosed with food poisoning, the sandwhich which we bought on the way to catch sunrise. For the rest of the journey, its like we had to stop every now and then to take turns to go to the toilet. We recovered from the diarrheoa until a few days after our arrival back in Singapore. For myself, I had high fever and diarrheoa at the same time. Temperature dropped to 5 degrees at night. I was shivering even with 3 thick blankets and 3 layer of cothings. I really had to endure the pain from the diarrheoa as i am too cold to take off my clothes to go to toilet. What a memory.........
Despite the diarrheoa and fever, we still endured the remaining 4 days and continue driving down to Chiayi, Kaoshiung, Kenting, Taitung and Hualien. From Hualien we took train back to Taipei before catching the flight back to Singapore the following day.
Taiwan in Winter
It's quite dark winter in Taiwan. For the most part, because we were in the central part of Taiwan (Taichung, Hualian), the weather wasn't all that good. It did get better when we got further down south. Warmer too.
It gets depressing when you travel in this sort of weather.
"There are Perks"
The last few days were superb. It wasn't too warm, and it wasn't too cold. The sky cleared up. Winter's not really winter in the south, so it's probably best to travel Taiwan in winter if you want to go south - then you avoid the heat and still get great views!