Taiwan is a breathtakingly beautiful place. It’s a delightful blend of bustling cityscapes, serene mountains and historical artifacts. But it isn’t for everyone. In fact there’s a chance this quirky country might just be too quirky for you.
Travel agents are quick to sell you on any dream – the American dream, the European escape, the Asian adventure. But that’s their job – sell you places and get money. So here’s a few blunt signs you’re the type of person who shouldn’t visit Taiwan – and a few great signs you will love it.
You love your personal space
Prepare to be packed – and I mean feel like a sardine in an air tight tin, into a small space with so. Many. People. This is especially true in Taipei, which sometimes feels like people are packed on top of people.
So if you love to stretch out your arms or currently live as a recluse in the mountains, you might want to reconsider Taiwan.
However there is one great plus to living like a tin sardine – it’s guaranteed there will be plenty to do for cheap. It’s basic economics really. More people means more markets. More markets means more price sensitivity or price wars.
Your sense of smell is vey delicate and needs to be treated gently
As a whole, Taiwan doesn’t smell like much. But if you really want to have fun and get your hands dirty, a must-do experience is going to a night market.
These markets are riddles with delightful aromas: steamed pork buns, handmade jellies, sweets and… stinky tofu. The smell is hard to miss. You know you’re approaching it from about ten stalls away.
And once you get close it’s really something. Alongside this, it’s pretty common for stall owners to hang meet up while roasting it.
But for those who can tolerate the smell, stinky tofu is another must try experience in Taiwan. Even if you don’t like the taste, you have at least satisfied your curiosity about how stall owners can still be in business.
You hate quirkiness
There’s unusual weird. But then there’s eat marinated chicken out of a toilet bowl weird. Taiwan fits into the second category. Quirks like this exist in almost every crevice of Taiwan.
Really. There’s a restaurant where you can eat out toilet bowls while sitting on your own golden throne. There’s also multiple cafe’s with live ninja performances. There’s also a street dedicated to wedding photography, a district dedicated to manga and old men blowing bubbles to try sell you goods.
These quirks and many, many more are what gives Taiwan spirit. They differentiate Taiwan as an interesting place. But for the unadventurous, sensible sorts this might not sound too appealing.
You like to pretend your meat comes from trees
In Western cultures, people have a tendency to pretend their meat doesn’t infact come from animals. You don’t really want to think about the was-be cow grazing in a field or the pig that now sits on your plate.
In Taiwan, it is what it is. Stalls are cropped up all the time with animals looking not too far from their original forms. Expect to see entire pigs (yes, including their heads) being roasted and birds being hung by their necks.
It isn’t glamorous but it’s reality. The good thing about this is you don’t need to worry about how manufactured or fake your bacon is – you can see it is pretty natural!
In short: If you hate people, getting out of your comfort zone, quirkiness or any kind of fun, don’t go to Taiwan!