Taiwan covers approximately 35,000 square kilometres and each part of the island has its own qualities. The focus point of northern Taiwan is the capital, Taipei. Central Taiwan is best known for another city, Taichung, as well as the island’s tallest mountain, Jade Mountain (3997m).
Taipei itself is a typical Asian city. It is busy, full of people and cars and gets clogged up with smog. Its second largest city, Kaohsiung, isn’t as frequented with visitors as it is more industrial, while the third largest, Taichung, is a good base if you plan on doing some hiking in rural Taiwan.
If you have the time, and if you want to get off the beaten track, then you should make the effort and leave mainland Taiwan for one of the surrounding islands. Lanyu (Orchid Island) just 80km east off the coast of Taichung is regarded as one of Taiwan’s hidden treasures, while Green Island (also off the east coast) and Liuchiu Island off the west coast are also worth the small journeys.