Taipei is known for its hustle and bustle. You feel it from the moment you arrive. The bicycles, the crowded markets, the booming tech industry, the flashing neon lights-it’s quite the metropolitan hub! While Taiwan may seem as distant as it gets on the globe, I think most Westerners would be amazed to discover how accommodating this city is. If you decide to hop on over, here are a few perks you can expect from the capital city…
First, the highly-advanced subway system. The subways are still expanding, with a few lines under construction. However, the current operating lines are extremely efficient. There are 9 different routes, a few running north to south and east to west, making it very convenient to get anywhere central in the urban and suburban districts of Taipei. They also run every 2-4 minutes, so risking your life by darting through the closing doors is completely unnecessary (I apologize to all that I freaked out when first attempting this move). And they’re spotless. The strictly enforced “no food or drinks” law helps to keep these trains in top-notch condition. I find this concept fascinating, being an avid passenger of the NYC subways.
Second, there are gadgets galore! This is where technology is born. The newest models of phones, computers, TV’s all arrive hot off the manufacturing belt, making them reasonably priced and easy to get. China has experienced its own industrial revolution, so as you can imagine, technology is a big part of the culture. It’s advancing at a rate that I can’t even begin to keep up with.
Third, and most importantly, the world-renowned medical system (Warning: if you’re from the States, the next few sentences may inspire the immediate purchase of a flight –and yes, the ticket would be cheaper than all the medical non-sense we’re charged for back home). This system has been praised by medical professionals near and far. It was established in 1995, and has been running like a well-oiled machine ever since. They call it a consolidated system, and it was designed to give everyone free choice of doctors with no waiting time. Mind blowing! And to finance the operation they enacted a national insurance system: a single, government-run fund that requires every citizen to join and pay. People are a product of their environment, so I feel this strong sense of equality here. Due to the fact that everyone falls under the same medical umbrella, it creates this sense of responsibility for each other. It’s just healthy way to live your life, mentally and physically.
With all of these advances, Taiwan still continues to fly under the global radar, hidden beneath the giant shadows cast by Japan and China. It’s referred to as the Undiscovered Country, and that’s such a shame because there is so much to discover! I’ll save talks of the mountains, oceans, and tea valleys for the next blog. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to research flights. The $5 dentist visits alone are worth it.
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