The official name for Taiwan as a country is the Republic of China; Taiwan is actually the name of the island on which this sovereign state is located, off the coast of mainland China. The country's history is a little confusing but the island has had its own president since 1996 and operates as an independent nation. The island is densely populated with a population of over 23 million people, residing largely on the main island (there are actually several dozen smaller islands within the country also). The official language is Mandarin but other Chinese variants and indigenous languages are often sometimes spoken.

There is a comprehensive choice of accommodation for visitors, with serviced apartments in Taiwan available in the numerous large cities. The capital city is Taipei with a population of 2.6 million, but confusingly the largest city is called New Taipei with a population of almost 4 million. Either way, the cities are known for their striking skylines and Buddhist and Taoist temples and monasteries. The best time of year to visit Taiwan is June to September when temperatures are between 25 and 30°C on average, and the humidity is at its lowest. Outside of the cities the Kenting and Shei-Pa National Parks are very popular and the Alishan National Scenic Area has some beautiful mountain wilderness.

Cities of Taiwan