Participating in the annual boat races is a unique chance to connect with local cultures for most foreigners. It is also an opportunity to build social connections and successful team dynamics that enhance your fighting spirit.
From Dragon Boat Festival zongzi, sweet rice ball soup, to sticky oil rice for celebrating a baby's first month, glutinous rice is milled into the most familiar and nostalgic flavors for Taiwanese. It is frequently a component of festivals throughout the year and at various stages of people’s lives.
Notes from a Small Island meets Eat Pray Love on the Tropic of Cancer, Formosa Moon is a dual-voiced cultural exploration around Taiwan undertaken by Joshua Samuel Brown (a long-time resident and author of three other books on Taiwan) and Stephanie Huffman (a first-time visitor who’s reluctantly agreed to relocate sight unseen), a sneak excerpt of which to kick off our featured #Taiwander submission series.
This article is a reader’s contribution to Crossing. It explores the environmental pollution caused by the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, one of Taiwan’s most famous tourist attractions. What can be done to create a win-win situation for the environment and the tourism industry?
Named by the Discovery Channel as one of the top three religious festivals in the world, the Dajia Mazu holy pilgrimage attracts large numbers of people of Chinese descent from abroad and foreign travelers alike. What makes the Mazu pilgrimage so special and fascinating that participants keep walking, determined to never look back, even when they have painful blisters on their feet?
Taiwan has thousands of temples, ranging from large multi-story buildings bearing multiple shrines and countless deities to small single-shrine structures barely big enough to fit a single god. Taiwanese temples can be dedicated to Taoist, Buddhist or Confucian beliefs, and often times multiple faiths (and deities) coexist peacefully under one roof.
Everyday experiences like shopping for materials at Yongle Market or listening to the rush of motorcycles on nearby streets provide vital creative energy for emerging Taiwanese fashion designer Angus Chiang. This attuned sensitivity to Taiwan’s distinctive everyday culture has helped Chiang make inroads into the fussy European fashion market.
Joshua Samuel Brown, co-author of twelve Lonely Planet guides, started his "long and slow" Tai Chi journey, not just to delve deeper into the mysteries of Chinese culture, but also because he doesn't want his Tai Chi classmates think he's a quitter.
Former Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai went to the United States to study when she was 23. She stayed there for nine years and subsequently lived in Europe for another 13 years. Back in Taiwan, Lung served as head of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and then joined the Cabinet as Minister of Cultural Affairs. Between her government posts, Lung taught at universities in Hong Kong for a total of nine years. During more than three decades abroad, her parents back in Taiwan were always at the back of her mind.
For many overseas visitors to Taiwan, Tainan is not at the top of their list of destinations. But in this commentary, travel agency owner Yu Chih-wei explains why his experience in promoting Tainan has given him hope for Taiwan’s tourism sector.
What's your #Taiwander story? Share it with us, let us broadcast it to the world, then find yourself on an exciting MyTaiwanTour this year! Where would you like to go with MyTaiwanTour? Here are some best travel recommendations for 2018 from their guides.
Ever wondered why spring rolls are called “spring” rolls? Run bings (潤餅), or steamed springs rolls, hold a special place in the hearts of many Southern Taiwanese, especially when tomb sweeping day is around the corner.
Haven't visited Ximen and Beimen last weekend? This weekend might be your last chance to catch a glimpse of the beauty of the city lit up with lanterns! Had a visit already? Then check out the list of top attractions and surprises to see if you have missed out any.
Stephen Turban is a recent graduate of Harvard College and an alumnus of Jianguo Municipal High school. Here he shares his personal attempt in becoming an internet celebrity in China and Taiwan and his observation on the two’s social media landscapes. (Part 2)
Kaohsiung Main Public Library is beautiful during the day and charming at night. Its structure composes of unique design and emphasis on humanities, radiating a vibe that is playful and serious at the same time.
There are only two overwintering butterfly valleys in the world, one is in New Mexico, U.S.A. and the other one is in Maolin. Each year during autumn and winter seasons, millions of butterflies migrate to warm areas to cope with the cold.
Stephen Turban is a recent graduate of Harvard College and an alumnus of Jianguo Municipal High school. Here he shares his personal attempt in becoming an internet celebrity in China and Taiwan and his observation on the two’s social media landscapes. (Part 1)
Still wondering where to go for the coming holiday season? Fly a lantern to send your blessings, ask some friends to join you 'around the round table,' then drink yoursleves merry to welcome the new lunar year!
The New Gangshan Hilltop Observation Deck (崗山之眼) was built as a sky cloister under a budget over NT$100 million. What is innovative about the observation deck is that it exhibits the beautiful landscape of Gangshan through the symbol of music, which conveys an image of melodic harmony.
Other than the “little eats” snack food for which Tainan is renowned throughout Taiwan and beyond, in generations past the private banquet food served in the homes of the area’s wealthy represented the pinnacle of fine cuisine. Now this ‘rich man’s fare’ is making a comeback.
This exclusive interview with All the Money in the World director Ridley Scott, actor Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer and Mark Wahlberg brings a first hand look behind the scenes and into its famous 'reshoot'. How did Scott and others manage to replace protagonist Kevin Spacey and reshoot the scenes in nine days?
Kungadavane Tribe is the final stop of the Maolin Scenic Area and also the very origin of local culture. Enter the tribe of Kungadavane and indulge yourself in the well-crafted stone houses, stone BBQ and rice cooked in bamboo tubes. The diverse characteristics of indigenous local life are great experience of five senses for visitors.
“Daxi is a living old street. Here foreign visitors can experience local life. It is like a living museum,” says Mu-Chin Lee, a travel expert who assists the Taiwan Tourism Bureau with showing foreign visitors around Taiwan.
With the Taoyuan Airport MRT and city bike rental service (YouBike) combined, it is easy, leisurely and economic to visit great travel spots in Taoyuan. The old town area of Zhougli is one of those spots that you shouldn’t miss. It is rich of local history and culture. Moreover, the night market and food are astonishing.
Samuel Galler is a Harvard graduate and DPhil candidate in International Development at Oxford University. He shared with CommonWealth his experience in Taiwan and the importance of establishing understanding and trust in today’s unstable world.
Do you consider yourself as an artistic, trendy hipster? Or are you just a normal person who occasionally enjoy culture and art? Either way, Pier-2 Art Center in Yancheng, Kaohsiung is an excellent place for you to spend a weekend.
Heading towards the unknown can be challenging but also rewarding. The high and exciting Kungadavane suspension bridge is one of these kinds of challenges. This extremely beautiful bridge is located in Maolin, Kaohsiung, attracting adventurous travelers with magnificent scenery and remarkable experience.
KUBIC, a cultural and creative market in Kaohsiung captures the eyes of both the city's visitors and residents. It is built by containers and will definitely challenge your imagination and concept of architecture.
"Nostalgia looms large to be a Channel. Here am I, and yonder my Continent!” Once a poet that had strummed the strings of all nostalgic hearts, Yu Guangzhong (余光中) conveyed one message through all his writings: “The beauty of Chinese culture should be passed down through words."
She has danced herself from Yilan to New York, from stage to screen, conquering large theaters around the world for 30 years. For this 46-year-old dancer, what has driven her to never stop improving? What sort of satisfaction and joy did she gain from the journey? Meet Fang-Yi Sheu, a woman still dancing her way up to achieving her dreams.
Taiwan's first Michelin Chef André Chiang has just officially announced the closure date of Restaurant ANDRE after 8 years of legacy. He expressed his enthusiasm and caring about passing down his experience and knowledge to young talents and cultivating a better food culture for Taiwan in the future.
Under the bright sunny day, a group of sweaty people are wearing gloves and protective clothing in a large pineapple field, and hurriedly harvesting pineapples. The edge of pineapple leaves is very sharp which one hand has to hold the bottom while the other bend it down with great strength. However, these group of people aren’t farmers at all, they are tourists coming from Japan.
Laura Russell is a writer and recipe developer based in Portland, Oregon. She is also a regular panelist on the award-winning podcast, The Four Top. Here she shares her experience and journey with the interesting factor in Taiwanese cuisines: "Q".
The female farmers group “Land Dyke” has established a new model of communal living and farming, using environmentally friendly farming methods, while also engaging in exchanges with local farms to share good food and good ideas with a greater audience.
A first in Taiwan, the curriculum in elementary schools in Tainan, one of the island’s major agricultural regions, includes “food education”. By growing their own food, students gain greater self-confidence and develop a stronger bond to the land.
In Mandarin, “flavor” is pronounced “way,” so we’ve decided to call authentic Taiwanese flavors the “Taiwan Way.” Up to now, it has defied definition but efforts are afoot to give it a clear identity and have it resonate around the world.
Veterinarian Kung Chien-chia witnessed the problems of Taiwan’s dairy industry first-hand on his daily visits to rural dairy farms. Realizing that the farmers are at the mercy of the island’s three major milk brands, Kung decided to rewrite the rules of milk distribution.
From buying Hollywood talent and acquiring movie theater chains around the world to protecting its home market, China is intent on becoming a powerhouse in the global film and video industry and setting the agenda on video content.
Chef André from Restaurant ANDRÉ, one of the 50 best restaurants in the world, chef Daniel Humm and manager Will Guidara from the Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park have an astounding cooking trio together, creating one of the most sensational dining experience ever.
A milkfish farm in Kaohsiung has found success with ecological aquaculture, using mostly all-natural feed. Its experience has raised hopes that eco-friendly fish farming can maintain supplies while allowing our exhausted seas to catch their breath.
Fair trade starts at the source. That’s why the Japan-born fair trade label People Tree set out to transform the fashion supply chain, making Japanese society realize that buying organic, fairly traded garments brings more joy than pursuing the latest fashion craze.
Romantic yet practical, Taipei’s free-flowing creative energy is surging beyond Taiwan and into ethnic-Chinese communities around the world. Even countries in the West are showing fascination with the city’s creative expression.
Fanatical young Shanghainese are bringing the world to Shanghai, from as far afield as Europe and America, and as nearby as Taiwan, carrying their cultural momentum forward, reproducing, tweaking and surpassing it… with the goal of taking Chinese design to the world.
Like his projects, Thomas Heatherwick operates in a world of practical considerations and constraints, relentlessly working to bridge modern cities with the individual need to feel important and productive. Inside Heatherwick Studio, an exhibition at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum through May 15, celebrates and gives insight into the mind behind such projects as the Garden Bridge and the British Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
Having barely graduated from university ten years ago, Tsai Pao-chang created a novel play consisting of six one-hour episodes, building his reputation as one of Taiwan's most promising theater talents. Now, Tsai wants to take his innovative playwriting abroad to entertain European audiences with plays in English and French.
Huang Sheng-Yuan's many architectural landmarks in Yilan reflect a free and rebellious style honed over the past two decades. That sometimes unappreciated style has now earned him the chance to exhibit at a Japanese architectural shrine.
Taiwan produces relative few coffee beans, but it is a prime destination when Asians want to open cafés, roast good coffee, or grow premium beans. How has Taiwan gained renown as a premium coffee hub in such a short time?
Jonathan Franzen is known for taking on Twitter and Facebook and lamenting how reading is becoming a lost art. In this exclusive interview, Franzen talks about how reading and literature have an important role in the new digital era.
Older people swore it couldn't work, but for the team at 1987 Studio, opportunity was right there before them, and they are determined to pave a new way in filmmaking for themselves and their young peers.
CommonWealth Magazine talked to Takeshi Kaneshiro when he returned to his native Taiwan recently to promote his latest film. Out of the limelight, Kaneshiro is very different from his melancholic heartthrob on-screen persona.
Taiwan occupies center stage in the ethnic-Chinese music world. How is it coping with the digitization of music, the decline of albums and competition from China, to maintain and fortify its position of strength?
He is the man behind the stunning UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and the 2012 Olympic cauldron. How does this uncompromising "Da Vinci of our times" present a new Great Britain to the world?
The British design team of Barber and Osgerby gained world fame with their design of a stylish and light all-weather Olympic torch for the London Olympics in 2012. What is the source of their creativity?
People from Hong Kong have swarmed to Taiwan in recent years to enjoy its night markets and slower pace of life and to learn from its "happy protests." But an unmistakable disenchantment with Beijing may lie behind this infatuation.
Taiwanese officials warn of a looming talent gap, yet Taiwan boasts a talent pool of nearly one million people with advance degrees. After studying for more than 20 years, why are they facing such difficulties finding decent jobs?
Within two decades more than one third of Taiwan's universities may have to close down for want of students. All of a sudden, university presidents and professors alike are being forced to peddle their services.
Founded 400 years ago as a cultural center, Kanazawa boasts a rich artistic heritage, which it lavishes with love, labor and generous investments. How is this city breathing new life into its creative and cultural industries?
The first Taiwanese cartoonist to secure a long-term serialization deal with a Japanese magazine, Zeco's armor-clad young beauties armed to the teeth have Japanese fans praising the quality and creativity of Taiwanese comics.
A twentysomething woman brings to life 19th-century Taiwan in her modern graphic novels. Every composition and every line in her drawings reveals her imagination and her feelings for her native Taiwan.
Traveling the length of gently curving Provincial Highway No. 1, CommonWealth Magazine witnesses the rising vitality of grassroots Taiwan, and discovers seven traits that enable countless Taiwanese to prevail.
Throughout his career, entertainer Jaycee Chan has had to fight to step out from under the shadow of his superstar father, Jackie Chan. But with the tireless help of his Taiwanese mother Joan Lin, he has managed to come into his own.
The selection of curator for the Taiwan Pavilion at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale was a major departure from the norm. What made the selection committee decide this upstart was the right architect to represent Taiwan?
MapleStory, a free South Korean role-play adventure game, has been a hit among school-age gamers for five years now. It even entices parents to venture into the fantasy world of their kids. What is the game's magic?
The right gift at the right time can help forge closer personal relationships, smoothen business ties, and even change a person's life. How can we choose gifts that adequately convey our intentions and also please the recipient?
With Taiwan's diet increasingly skewed toward meat and wheat, its food supply is ever more vulnerable. To fight global warming, bolster Taiwan's security, and improve your health, maybe the answer lies on your own plate.
Starting next year, life education will be a required subject at Taiwan's 330 senior high schools. In preparation for the new subject, a fresh crop of teachers has been taking courses themselves. Often, it has proven to be a life-altering experience.
Steeped in culture and basking in a wave of urban renewal, Taipei's West Side is undergoing a quiet metamorphosis. A new gateway to Taiwan, a new oasis in Taipei, the city's West Side is currently standing on the threshold of rejuvenation.
Six decades – a full epoch by traditional Chinese reckoning – have passed since the KMT lost control of China and took refuge on Taiwan, creating the political system and ethnic mix that now define the island. What does the future hold?
With a mystique of down-to-earth, old-fashioned flavor, Meet Fresh successfully attracts and retains customers by highlighting the handmade character of its products and spreading the heartwarming legend of its founders.
In Japan, Taiwan, and around the world, in the workplace, businesses and political circles, people are desperately seeking the social awareness skills that often mean the difference between success and failure.
Among the growing ranks of early risers are more than a few corporate leaders. Optoma Corporation general manager for Asia Telly Kuo frequents traditional morning markets, for fresh fruit and fish, and entrepreneurial inspiration.
Among the growing ranks of early risers are more than a few corporate leaders. Grand Hyatt Taipei general manager David Pacey uses early mornings to foster his health, boost his energy, and achieve tranquility.