Representative of the Taipei Economic & Trade Office, John Chen, talks about Taiwan tourism and why you need to visit the country.
Taiwan and Indonesia have enjoyed quite a healthy partnership over the years. How is the balance of visitors between the countries?
Indonesia is always a strong partner to Taiwan. For year 2018, there were 210,000 Indonesian visitors going to Taiwan, and there were around 170,000 Taiwanese people visiting Indonesia. The bilateral exchanges have shown not only in the trade side but also the tourism part. The tourist forum has been held on both sides to enhance the communication between travel industry in both countries.
We have set up a tourism information center in Jakarta this year to promote visiting Taiwan while Indonesia has assigned an officer in Taiwan to promote the 10-New-Bali attraction sites. Taiwan has been joining the ASTINDO travel fairs since year 2014, and we are glad to see an Indonesia booth in Taiwan’s biggest travel fair, ITF (Taipei International Travel Fair), this November for the 2nd consecutive year. We believe by working together, we can foresee more and more mutual cooperation.
What are some available features within the tourism bureau that makes it convenient for Indonesian visitors to visit Taiwan?
To attract more tourists from Indonesia to Taiwan, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau official website has equipped with the Bahasa Indonesian version. Indonesian tourists can look for the suggested itineraries on the website according to their preferred style of travel. We are encouraging Indonesian tourists to visit our website to get more information about attractions, festivals, food, shopping and travel information. Please visit https://www.taiwan.net.my/id
Could you tell us a little bit about the Halal tourism programme that Taiwan has been promoting?
Taiwan has been ranked as the world’s top 3 muslim-friendly country among the non-muslim countries in year 2019. We have more than 200 restaurants and hotels with halal certification or are muslim-friendly, and the number is still increasing. All these information are listed on the TTB (Taiwan Tourism Bureau) website. In addition, we also encourage tourists to download an application named “Halal Taiwan” on smart phones. This application is developed by a group of Indonesian students in Taiwan, and it helps tourists easily locate the nearest musholla and halal food restaurants wherever they travel in Taiwan.
Finally, would you like to share some interesting Taiwan tourism facts that potential Indonesian visitors must know?
Taiwan is an island full of natural wonders. We have not only the highest peak in Northeast Asia, “Yushan”, but also more than 268 mountains with an altitude of more than 3,000 meters. To many people’s surprise, visitors can enjoy the alpine cool breath in the morning and arrive at a city’s waterfront to taste fresh seafood in the afternoon because of the well-developed transportation system all around Taiwan. It’s not over yet. We have the most pleasant biking trails around the island if you are LOHAS. Besides, during the Chinese New Year, we have the most amazing Lantern Festival in the world with various celebration events in different cities on the island. The largest one next year is the 31st Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung with the topic of Forest Fantasy. I do highly recommend that everyone pay a visit to Taichung, it’s a must see.
Another natural marvel you must visit is Alishan National Park, a scenic mountain resort and natural reserve located in Alishan township, Chiayi County. Alishan is a 415sqm wide landscape of mountain wilderness, four serene villages, majestic waterfalls, high altitude tea plantations, the Alishan Forest Railway and endless hiking trails. Alishan has become one of Taiwan’s signature tourism destinations, particularly famous among hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Alishan is home to the legendary cypress trees. Renowned for its extremely fine quality timber, these trees can reach nearly 50 metres high and live for centuries, with some even recorded to reach 3,000 years old.
As a champion of sustainable technology, Taiwan promotes a number of environmentally friendly activities, including cycling. Cycling tourism is a popular activity in which visitors can explore the beautiful landscape through designated biking trails. One popular cycling tourism destination is the biking trails at Sun Moon Lake, the largest and most beautiful alpine lake in Taiwan. The entire course of the bike trail is 30 kilometres long overlooking turquoise waters blanketed by mists in dusk and dawn and glistening with sunlight reflection in the mornings or afternoons.
In terms of people, many foreign tourists would agree that Taiwanese people are most friendly in the world. Everyone can easily walk around the cities at any time of the day without worrying about personal safety. Talking about convenience, convenience stores like 7-11 and Family Mart are almost everywhere. They run 24/7 with all kinds of meal options and offer numerous services needed in your daily life. You can print out a document or photo, call a taxi, send a parcel, pay utility bills, withdraw money and do much more. You can even buy bubble tea at convenience stores at midnight. What’s more, we understand that Indonesians cannot live without social media, so we have free Wi-Fi everywhere in the capital city of Taipei and some nearby areas. You just need to register once at the website: https://wifi.taipei/, and then you will have access to Wi-Fi in public spaces such as shopping areas, public train/MRT stations and most of the attraction sites. Shooting selfies and posting on IG is so easy in Taiwan.
Taiwan is a special mix of Chinese, Western and Japanese influences and therefore the culture is a special combination that you cannot find in any other country. Sharing some similarities with Indonesia, in Taiwan there are still some historic traces from the Dutch colonial era. For example, Fort Zeelandia in Tainan was actually built by Dutchmen in the time of the golden age way back to year of 1624. Speaking of architectures, the Taipei 101 was the tallest building in the world until 2007, after which it was surpassed in height by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Visitors to Taipei 101 can get to the 88th floor within only 39 seconds at the lightning speed of 16.8 meters per second by the fast lift. Be sure to check out the enormous 660-ton stabilizer ball (Tuned Mass Damper) inside the Taipei 101, which stabilizes the once tallest building in the event of an earthquake and strong wind.
Have you tried hot springs before? Taiwan is ranked among the world’s top 15 hot spring sites, harboring a great variety of springs, including hot springs, cold springs, mud springs, and seabed hot springs. The island can proudly regard itself as one of the regions with the highest concentration and greatest variety of hot springs in the world.
One thing that I save for last is the delicious Taiwanese food, ranging from Michelin cuisine to famous street food at night markets. In the metropolitan area of Taipei, there are more than 30 big and small night markets. The only thing you need to worry about is that you don’t have a big appetite for 6 meals a day in Taiwan.
Visit www.taiwan.net.my/id and discover more wonders about Taiwan tourism.