Explore the best of both worlds in Taiwan that is dubbed the hidden gem of Asia due to its mesmerising scenic locations coupled with a modern concrete jungle.
This makes the island a suitable place to visit by travellers from all walks of life – solo, couples, friends and even families who are looking to simultaneously relax and explore.
Taiwan has also made it easier for Muslim travellers as the country has provided ablution facilities, prayer halls, mats, Kiblat (prayer direction) and halal options in establishments nationwide.
The Bruneian recently learned more about Taiwan during a virtual interview with Salam Taiwan ambassador and Malaysian celebrity, Mira Filzah.
Diverse culture and breathtaking locations
“Taiwan is a beautiful country with various unique places to explore,” said Mira, who has been chosen as Salam Taiwan ambassador for the second year in a row.
From mountains, vast lakes, amusement parks and bustling night markets, there’s plenty of activities suitable for all walks of life.
For those looking to enjoy nature, Mira recommends visiting the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area located in Central Taiwan.
“One of the best ways to get there is by a narrow-gauge train that runs through forests – showcasing even more of its beauty and wonders, making it an unforgettable experience.”
The area is also home to the Tsou aboriginal villages that are known for tea production.
Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks while at the park as it has numerous trails which are not too difficult to go through.
Nature lovers are also encouraged visit the Chung-she Flower Garden in Taichung, Central Taiwan where myriads of flowers from tulips, sunflowers to lavender and cosmos are not only displayed, but sold all year round.
“You don’t have to go as far as Europe to enjoy a breathtaking flower garden when it’s available closer to you,” said the Malaysian actress.
Visitors also have the choice to cycle around the garden to enjoy even more of the garden, which according to Mira, is one of the best ways to explore Taiwan’s attractions.
When it comes to landmarks, the region’s Taipei 101 is a must-visit.
Dubbed the tallest green building in the world, visitors can enjoy the view of the city through the observatory area which spreads over four floors.
At the same time, travellers can learn about the engineering marvel, enjoy the souvenirs, desserts and restaurants located in the building itself from the famous Din Tai Fung to Da Antonio that serves halal cuisine for Muslim travellers.
When it comes to shopping, Mira shares that she prefers to go to the night markets suggesting visitors to visit the Ximending or Shihlin Night market.
“Taiwan is known for its night markets and it is understandable why as you can find various quality items at cheap prices from handbags to shoes and home-made trinkets.”
Visitors can also enjoy the food such as strawberry candy, fish cakes and even bubble tea, added the actress.
“There’s definitely something for every type of traveller and it’s suitable for families as well. Most importantly, Muslim friendly facilities and eateries are available at most of these attractions!”
Food for one, food for all
When it comes to the food, visitors and travellers alike can definitely find a variety that is enjoyable for every palate.
“As there are over 200 halal restaurants nationwide, food choices are very broad,” according to Mira, from Moroccan cuisine to Indonesian and Thai.
“One definite must-have is their bubble tea as they have softer boba making it easier to chew, the flavourful Taiwanese beef noodle and rich pineapple tarts.”
While the food may sound familiar or even similar to dishes served in Malaysia and Brunei, what makes them unique is the flavour.
“The noodles are truly one of a kind that I believe you can only find in Taiwan so it’s highly recommended for visitors to try when they come visit,” added Mira.
Salam Taiwan, offering efficient travel
Introduced by the Taiwan Tourism Board of Malaysia since 2018, Salam Taiwan aims to welcome travellers from Malaysia and Brunei to make the island their next holiday destination.
Apart from showcasing Muslim friendly facilities, the campaign additionally highlights halal-certified cosmetics as well as skincare.
To make trips even more convenient, two apps: Tour Taiwan and Halal-TW were introduced for Muslim travellers to locate Halal outlets, prayer times, prayer halls and mosques.
Users can also find information on accommodation and transportation and the Halal-TW app supports English, Chinese and Indonesian.
“The transportation system in Taiwan is very convenient even for first-time visitors whether by train, bus or taxi,” said Mira.
“Even though admittedly there will be communication barriers as not many speak English, Taiwanese nationals are always ready to help you find your way. This makes the trip even more enjoyable.”
Mira added that this also applies when it comes to safety, travellers will not have to worry much if they are walking in pairs.
“Though right now we cannot travel due to COVID-19, we can always plan ahead. Once this is all over, everyone is excited to travel again so why not make the island one of the destinations.”
The Malaysia actress recommends visiting during the winter as the cold weather there is not as harsh as other countries.
“It makes visiting or participating in activities more enjoyable as you will not sweat or feel uneasy.”
Currently, Taiwan has a Muslim population number over 300,000 and counting.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN