Taiwan July 2017

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In July 2017 I was fortunate to be offered a “taste” of cruising on Princess Cruise’s newest ship “Majestic Princess” from Xiamen in China to Taipei in Taiwan.

I’ve cruised on many cruise ships of varying standards but never on a Princess Ship. She is a Royal-class vessel and is a sister ship to Regal Princess and Royal Princess.  This was definitely one of the better ships I’ve sailed on.  The décor of this ship is very appealing with a huge selection of sitting and eating areas.  I shared a suite with a colleague & we had plenty of space and a particularly large well-appointed bathroom.

As with all cruise ships there was plenty to keep me entertained and I especially loved lounging by the pool, cocktail in hand, watching a movie on the huge outdoor screen.

Having not visited Taiwan before I decided to extend my trip with a week in Taipei.

I was surprised to find such a vibrant progressive city with infrastructure that would be the envy of many world cities.

My first day I experienced something very different called “Taipei Taxi Diary”.  Intrepid Travel Urban Adventures offers these “local” experiences in many cities of the world.  I spent the afternoon with a local taxi driver purely as a tourist watching as he went about his daily business carrying passengers between stops.  It meant I saw areas of the city outside what the regular tourist sees.

The evening involved another tour taking in the city sights after sunset including a visit to the famous Taipei 101 Building to view the city after dark.  I did get back to this view in daylight on another day and it really gives you an idea of the topography of this country where it’s hard to tell if the city is eating into the lush vegetation or if the forest is overtaking the city.

Taiwan is a country of tropical forest and mountains and their ability to tunnel through vast areas of rock and marble is astounding.  A highlight was a full day tour to Taroko National Park where Taroko Gorge is an exceptionally beautiful gorge created by the Liwu River which has cut deep into the mountains of solid marble.

The history of Taiwan is very interesting but more recently at the end of the Second World War, the Republic fled to Taiwan after losing control of the mainland in the Chinese Civil War.

Taiwan then experienced rapid industrialisation and economic growth and was known as one of the “Four Asian Tiger”.  I can still recall when a lot of imported goods were “made in Taiwan”.

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