10 Things You Didn’t Know about Taiwan
Taiwan, Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Formosa... However you refer to her, one thing is for certain - this beautiful island is definitely worth visiting! To fall deeper in love with Taiwan, we'd like to tell you 10 amazing things you probably didn’t know about Taiwan!
1. How big is Taiwan? – Bigger than Belgium!
Taiwan has an area of 35,883 square km2, slightly bigger than Belgium (30,528 square km2) However, Taiwan has a population of over 23 million, while there are only 11 million people living in Belgium.
2. Taiwan is the 10th most densely populated country on the planet!
Taiwan has 648 inhabitants/km2, ranking 10th on the list of most densely populated country. In Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, the figure goes up to 9,939 people/km2! (Comparing with NYC, the most crowded city in America, NYC has 10,640 ppl/km2.) Quite a horrifying figure huh? But no worries. As one of the most popular and urbanized countries in Asia, the crowded feeling you would expect is actually easily fixed by well-constructed public transport system and super kind and helpful locals. You don't really feel uncomfortable or smudged traveling in Taiwan. That's how we got crowned as the top place for solo travelers!
3. Taiwan Baseball Team Ranks 4th in The World!
Baseball, an exhilarating word to all Taiwanese! When we talk about baseball in Taiwan, most would know that it is considered to be Taiwan's national sport. But did you know that Taiwan's national baseball team actually ranks 4th in the world? According to the International Baseball Federation, Taiwan is just behind Cuba, USA and Japan in sequence. Taiwanese baseball season often starts from March and the final game is usually in the last week of October. If you're a big fan of baseball, why not take a visit to one of our stadiums and enjoy a good game?
4. Taiwan is the 4th Highest Island On The Planet!
Travelers always love to visit the highest mountain or the tallest building to enjoy a fantastic view. For examples, Mountain Fuji in Japan (3,776m) and Dubai Khalifa Tower (828m) are both known worldwide for the magnificent views from their altitudes. But did you know that Taiwan is actually the 4th highest island on the planet? The peak of Mountain Jade (Yu Shan) is 3,952m high, which is higher than both of the places we just mentioned! Yu Shan is located in central Taiwan, Nantou county. With a panoramic view of the overlapping mountains, Yushan National Park is well known for its scenery during sunrise and sunset, and the view of a sea of clouds unraveling before your eyes. If you're also a mountain-climbing lover, welcome to Taiwan for an unforgettable hiking experience!
5. Taiwan was once home to 26 distinct native languages!
“What language do you speak in Taiwan?” “Mandarin? What’s that? Isn’t it a kind of fruit?” Aha, Have you heard the same question before? The official language in Taiwan is “Standard Chinese”, also known as “Mandarin Chinese.” Apart from Mandarin and Taiwanese, Taiwan was actually once home to as many as 26 different native languages! “Formosan Languages” is the name for these aboriginal languages. Although most of the Formosan languages are slowly being replaced by Mandarin Chinese, this amazing fun fact shows the distinctive face of Taiwanese history!
6. Taiwan has the HIGHEST DENSITY of CONVENIENCE STORES!
As a country with the most convenience stores per person, Taiwan is no doubt a convenient and joyful place to live in. The convenience stores can often be found located so close to each other. “7-11" and "Familymart” are the two biggest ones in Taiwan, offering a lot of unique services that could barely be found in other countries! Apart from buying lots of different kinds of food and drink in convenience stores, you can also pay the bills, print documents, call a taxi, ship packages, get a concert ticket, and withdraw money….and so on. All of these services can be reached in a block or two by walk! Incredibly convenient!
7. Taiwan Ranks Asia's 4th Most Democratic Country!
According to “Democracy index” published by Economist Intelligence Unit in 2014, Taiwan has an overall score of 7.65 and ranks Asia's 4th / World’s 35th. The index is based on five categories -- electoral process and pluralism, the functioning of government, political culture, civil liberties and political participation. The top 3 Asian countries are Japan (20th), South Korea (21st) and India (27th). Besides, as you may imagine, the world’s most democratic country is Norway with the score of 9.93! Although Taiwan still needs some improvement before reaching full democracy, we are proud to be a democratic country with a lot of rights and freedom!
8. Taiwan is not a Member of the United Nations.
When the UN was established in 1945, Taiwan, politically known as the Republic of China, was one of its 5 permanent members of the Security Council. The role was replaced by the People's Republic of China in 1971 when the General Assembly approved of its membership. The fact that Taiwan is not accepted as a member of the UN implies not being politically recognized as a sovereign state. Nonetheless, Taiwan has official diplomatic relationships with 22 countries, who would initiate resolutions favoring Taiwan in the General Assembly. What's more impressive, Taiwan has visa waiver agreements with 153 countries. Not being a member of the UN does not stop Taiwan from being an active member of the international society.
9. Bubble Tea was Invented in Taiwan!
Have you ever tried one of the most popular beverages in the world - bubble tea? No matter what your answer is, you should know more about it! Bubble tea was invented in Taichung, Taiwan in the 1980s. It has ever since become one of the most favorite drinks on this island. According to statistics, people in Taiwan consume 100 million bubble tea per year! In 2004, the government casted a campaign for national defense budget, saying "all that it costs for you to support your country's security is one less bubble tea per week." More recently, Taipei city government even published the annual budget measured with the amount of bubble tea, allowing citizens to better grasp the financial situation.
10. Taiwanese engineers invented the running green man
Have you ever noticed the little green men in Taiwan's traffic lights? - THEY RUN! The running green man was first invented by Taiwanese engineers in 1999 in order to improve user experience on traffic in Taipei, Taiwan. It can be viewed as a successful infographic in early stage. Rumor has it that the little running green man would fall down when it reached 20,000 steps. If you happen to witness it fall, do share with us!