In the Republic of China, or Taiwan, the capital Taipei shares the basin of an ancient lake with New Taipei City. The Tamsui River runs through the cities, which are separate administrative entities.
With the Tropic of Cancer just to the south, Tapei enjoys a hot summers and warm winters and it is humid year-round.
The democratic nation Taiwan claimed independence after World War II and is now a prospering island. Taipei has a convenient transport system, a computer-savvy population and a unique culture.
Some 6 million people visit Taipei each year. Many head straight to the city’s landmark skyscraper, Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, and the glorious Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall downtown.
To the southeast, the Maokong tea-growing area is another favorite destination. Learn more about the cultivation of the world’s favorite drink, then jump aboard the Maokong Gondola for panoramic views over Taipei.
The gondola stops at the huge Taipei Zoo, which featured in the Oscar-winning movie The Life of Pi in 2012. Signs tell you which real-life animals starred in this animated 3D spectacle and you can come eye-to-eye with the Formosan black bear.
Visit the Shilin Night Market to hear the vendors shout out their specialties in Mandarin and order delicious Chinese food such as roast duck or noodle soup.
Of course, a temple tour should be on your itinerary too. Admire the buddhist dragon sculptures in Longshan Temple and see how the sober interior of the Confucius Temple embraces the philosophy of being content with little.
Taipei hosts many festivals and in the 5th lunar month, around the time of the dragon boat festival, you can photograph traditional races.
The dolphin-shaped island of Taiwan in the North Pacific Ocean is just a short flight away from Hong Kong. From Taipei, it is easy to take a plane to anywhere on the island.