UPDATE 16 March 2020: due to the global Coronavirus crisis I was forced to cancel my Taiwan trip this April that was already fully planned and paid for. It's a shame, but obviously necessary. I hope I can have another attempt next year. Meanwhile I could perhaps at least write up some stubs based on the research I've done for this trip, even though I will have to wait to personally get to all the places I had lined up. Although right now that would feel a bit torturous, so I'll wait a little ... please check back again later.
UPDATE: this chapter is quite outdated, but I am working on it. I've done some research for a planned trip to Taiwan hopefully in 2020, and after that will replace this chapter and add several all-new subchapters about a number of highly intriguing dark places in this country that are not yet even mentioned ... bear with me.
An island state south of the China
coast, formerly known as Formosa, about halfway between the Philippines
to the south and Japan
's archipelago of Okinawa
to the north-east.
Originally part of China
and still hotly contested between the Taiwanese "Republic of China" and the mainland "People's Republic of China". The island separated from China after WWII
, during which the island had been under Japanese occupation, in the context of the Chinese Civil War, as communism
took over in mainland China driving out the Nationalists. For that reason, Taiwan also enjoyed the support of the West during the Cold War
– as a kind of beacon against Chinese (and Vietnamese
The island of Formosa/Taiwan was the last retreat for the Nationalist Kuomintang and its leader Chiang Kai-shek. Here he became president of the newly declared Republic of China/Taiwan, with its capital in Taipei, in 1950. He served/ruled until 1972, at the helm of a largely dictatorial military one-party regime, which suppressed the local/indigenous people and culture. This repression was only relaxed years after Chiang's death, and especially since the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Back in the late 1940s as the Nationalist Chinese took over the island, Taiwan was gripped by violence, repression and ethnic/cultural tensions. A particular incident from that period is commemorated in the 2-28 Memorial Museum in the capital Taipei, which is why the country gets a mention on this website.
Of course, Taiwan also makes great efforts to market itself as a mainstream tourist destination (as well as an economic powerhouse), which means travelling to the island isn't difficult. For most, it will mean flying into the capital Taipei.