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Over the course of a year, I went from not being able to find Taiwan on a map to calling it home. Since then I have been back many times and with each trip I am more convinced that it is the best country to travel alone.
This small island off the coast of China has always been a hidden gem in the travel world, but travelers from all over the world have begun to discover it in recent years, largely due to its popularity with ESL teachers. .
Now that the country has reopened, travelers rush backand Taiwan welcomes you with open arms. They are even taking extra steps to attract travelers, even offering a lottery that visitors can apply to earn smart cards preloaded with cash to spend on trips around the island.
Taiwan has a vibrant culture with something to offer every traveler, from a bustling city experience to stunning beaches in every direction, lush forest hiking trails, award-winning food, and experiences that can’t be found anywhere else.
But why is now a particularly good time for solo travelers to visit?
Street food or high end restaurant – the food is phenomenal
The food scene in Taiwan is enough to entice anyone to take a trip, and it changes almost daily. As the birthplace of bubble tea, it’s no surprise that you can get a glass of the classic milk tea with tapioca pearls, a passion fruit tea with lychee jelly, or any combination you can think of for just $2.
Taiwan is also famous for its night markets and street food, and stalls all over the island serve up a variety of tasty snacks like pork buns, deep-fried sweet potato balls, and shaved ice with fresh fruit. And we’re not talking about just any street food: more than two dozen Taiwanese food stalls are in the Michelin map for 2023!
While pork, chicken and beef are staples in traditional Taiwanese dishes like Thee Cup Chicken or Beef Noodle Soup, there has been a marked increase in the amount of vegan restaurants in the country in recent years. And as a country with a strong Buddhist tradition, vegetarian cuisine has always been accessible.
21st century comforts
If you’re a lone digital nomad looking for a new hub, Taiwan really can’t be beaten for convenience.
It’s culturally acceptable, and even encouraging, for locals and travelers alike to set up shop on their laptops in most of the island’s cafes, and free, fast Wi-Fi is easy to access.
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Also, if you are looking for a place to work remotely for the long term, Taiwan offers a single visa, the Gold Card. Although not strictly a digital nomad visa (it actually allows you to find a job within the country as well), it does apply to people who work remotely and grants them residency as well.
there is something for everyone
Whether you’re looking for a lively urban experience, outdoor adventure, or relaxing on stunning beaches, Taiwan truly has something for every traveler.
As an island country, Taiwan is surrounded by beaches, and the mountains in the center of the island have treks for both beginners and advanced adventurers.
Thermal activity on the east coast means that after hiking or swimming, you can enjoy a dip in a natural hot spring or spend the night in a luxurious hot spring hotel.
And if you’re traveling solo and looking to meet other people, larger cities like Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung offer a variety of ways to connect with other people.
From expat meetups in local bars to language exchanges in coffee shops, there is no shortage of ways to meet people.
Communication is not a problem
While it’s always a good idea to learn a few phrases in the local language you’re visiting if you’re not already fluent in it, you don’t need to worry about the language barrier in Taiwan if you speak English.
Many Taiwanese speak English well, and you’ll likely find that a friendly smile and a willingness to engage in charades will also do the trick.
While you may find it a bit more difficult to navigate if you venture outside of the cities, most signs in Taiwan are in both English and Chinese, and many public announcements, for example on the subway, are in both languages as well.
It’s easy to navigate
It is remarkable how much there is to explore in such a small country. You will find that you can get from the capital city of Taipei in the north to Kaohsiung, a city in the south of the island, in less than 2 hours on the high-speed train, while a traditional train can make that trip in about still reasonable 3 or 4 hours.
Within cities like Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung, in addition to public bike rentals, there are incredibly efficient and clean subway systems that make it easy to explore cities.
Taipei also has a metro line that connects to the international airport, making getting into the city when you arrive a breeze.
Won’t break the bank
Unlike other cities in the region, such as Singapore and Tokyo, Taipei is quite affordable. Along with your $2 bubble tea, you can get a meal at a concession stand for $3 to $5, while a fine dining meal can cost as much as $30 or $40.
Of course, if you’re looking for a truly luxurious experience, Taipei offers that too! However, for most travelers, Taiwan is considered an affordable destination, especially if you choose to explore outside of Taipei.
It is one of the safest countries in the world.
Perhaps the number one concern for solo travelers is safety, and in Taiwan you can put your fears aside. Both Taipei specifically, and the country as a whole, Consistently rank among the safest places in the world.
Speaking from personal experience, I felt much more comfortable exploring on my own in Taiwan than in other places.
Safety statistics combined with modern infrastructure and accessibility in English make it one of the most convenient and pleasant countries I have traveled to.
Add in the delicious food, the variety of experiences, and the easy chance to meet up with others, and you have one of the best countries for solo travelers!
traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com