With all the talk about China invading Taiwan, we feel very fortunate to have visited the cities of Hualien and Taipei during the cruise. The whole region could become involved in a dispute that would include Okinawa, mainland Japan, Philippines, and South Korea because of their proximity to Taiwan. So, this was a very special visit to us.
Our first impression was that much hadn’t changed from what we saw in Japan. The Japanese character set is based on Chinese (with some adaptations) and some of the religious sites were very similar. That’s where the similarities ended. After changing our translate app to Chinese and replacing the Yen in our wallets with New Taiwan Dollars, we were ready to go. Taxis and food were less expensive and there was much more hustle and bustle on the streets. Finally, there was a less formal atmosphere when among the people and it looked like building maintenance wasn’t a priority, which may have been a tax reduction strategy.
Here’s a few images of what we saw: