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STA Travel Blog

Made in Taiwan: 8 things you didn’t know about Taiwan

One of our favourite new travel destinations, here are 10 Taiwanese lessons on life, love and garbage trucks. It’s time to embrace the strange.

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Taiwan’s top 5 themed restaurants

When a city is a melting pot of some of the world’s boldest cultures – China, Japan, Southeast Asia and America – you can bet a few bob that something weird might come out of it. In Taipei, Taiwan’s eclectic and altogether gorgeous capital, it comes in the shape of their now iconic themed restaurants. Some come and go (you can no longer drink your beer through an IV drip at the hospital-themed DS Music Restaurant – boo), others are standing the test of time. Fun, colourful, tacky, bear-shaped… it’s all here.

Modern Toilet

For anyone who’s ever wanted to eat curry out of a toilet bowl. So you come in, you sit down on a toilet, you eat off a sink and you drink out of colourful urinal-shaped cups (for an extra fee). So far, so gross? Believe it or not, this is actually one of Taipei’s most popular themed haunts. And though they do their level best to make the food look like you’ve just passed it (the chocolate ice cream is a delight), credible sources tell us it’s not all that bad. Appetisers include poop meatballs.

Alice is Coming

Taipei’s very own rabbit hole! Hard to miss from the outside (it’s pink and has makeshift turrets), this casual café is made up of all things Wonderland. Even the waiters are dressed for the occasion. Grab a regular table – complete with antique chairs and macaroon-shaped cushions, – book the table in the giant teacup, or get yourself to the garden for your very own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Who’s for cucumber sandwiches?

Brick Works

Technically, this café is aimed at children. But adulting is hard, and you deserve a break. The premise is simple: come play with Lego, eat Lego-shaped food with Lego-shaped cutlery and look at all the Lego! That’s really it.

Hello Kitty Kitchen & Dining

One of Japan’s cutest exports is now the star of her very own restaurant in Taipei. After the popular Hello Kitty Sweets closed its doors on Da’an Street last year, people panicked. But thankfully, Hello Kitty Kitchen & Dining opened on Jinshan N Road with a menu featuring Hello Kitty-shaped burgers as well as enough cakes and waffles to satisfy even the sweetest tooth. Expect a lot of pink.

Oia Café


We see your cat café, and we raise you an alpaca. Yes siree, alpaca cafés are on the way and we are EXCITED! This particular one is located just outside the capital in the Sanzhi District, but we’re more than happy to make the journey. The food is fine, but it’s mostly all about the ‘pacas. Not all of them are allowed in, and even the well-behaved ones will nibble at your shirts given half the chance, so don’t come in your Sunday best!

Top 6 things to do in Taiwan

It’s time we all learned a little more about Taiwan, and what better way to do that than with a list of the best things to do while you’re there?

Drink tea

Tea service at the top of a spiraling mountain road in Jiufen.

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You’re in Taiwan, and tea houses are a big deal here. You’ve got so many to choose from, so where do you start? Head to Taichung (which birthed bubble tea, if you’re familiar with it), or Jiufen if you’d like to drink your tea while looking out over the mountains and ocean.

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Taiwan’s best hikes

Though relatively new on the backpacker trail, Taiwan is a country full of surprises. It boasts sensational food, an eclectic mix of cultures, incredibly hi-tech cities and ridiculously friendly locals.

Yet perhaps the biggest surprise here lies in its natural beauty. Known for centuries as ‘Ilha Formosa’ (Beautiful Island), Taiwan’s impressive scenery has an uncanny ability to win over travellers.

Think towering mountains, tropical forests, a whole host of alluring offshore islands and a staggering eight national parks to boot. Pretty darn impressive in a country just half the size of Ireland! The best way to soak in all this rather spectacular scenery is to strap on a pair of walking boots and get your hike on.

Taiwan has a vast network of trails to explore, and most can be undertaken without a guide. And the best part? Given that the country remains largely undiscovered, you’re unlikely to spot any other tourists along the way. So lace up, strap on that day pack and get cracking.

Yushan National Park (Jade Mountain)

Topping almost 4,000 metres, the imposing Yushan, or Jade Mountain as it’s otherwise known, is Taiwan’s highest peak and arguably one of the best places for hiking and climbing on the island.
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Thailand: Beyond Bangkok

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for those looking to find bliss, but paradise isn’t always found diving head first into an infinity pool. You probably already know all about the beautiful beaches and the electric nightlife of Bangkok, so here are a few experiences to shake things up a bit and make your Thai adventure EVEN more memorable…

1. Caring for rescued elephants

elephant thailand
Whether you’re a volunteering veteran or a first timer, caring for rescued elephants will warm the coldest of hearts. The Thai Elephant Conservation project in Chiang Mai is home to around 30 rescued elephants who have sadly suffered a lifetime of abuse working in the tourist trade before they found their way to this little sanctuary. Help feed and take care of these glorious creatures, conserve their environment and be prepared to get a little wet when it comes to communal bath time!
Interested in this volunteering project? Get in touch with us here.
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