Taiwan and Hong Kong: two cultures, one trip

Everyone knows that Hong Kong is the vibrant financial hub of Asia and that Taiwan leads the world with delicious rice noodles and the best cycling environment. But did you know that both destinations offer amazing scenery, trails, and golden beaches along with fascinating cultural events?

"Cycling is very popular in Taiwan," says Linda Lin, Director – San Francisco Office of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, "with Sun Moon Lake elected by CNN Travel as one of the world's best cycling routes.

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Island hopping is a popular tourist pursuit in Hong Kong. The outlying islands offer a sharp contrast from Hong Kong's trademark hectic pace.

"Take the island of Cheung Chau, for example," says Michael Lim, Director of Canada, Central and South America for the Hong Kong Tourism Board, "it has no cars, beautiful scenic walks, fresh seafood and the popular Bun Festival. It's a great place to relax and experience the culture and lifestyle of the fisher folk."

With nine national parks and a rich marine ecology, it's not difficult to see why the Portuguese used the name "Formosa," meaning beautiful island, to describe Taiwan when they arrived in the 16th century. In the 21st century, the customs and traditions of Taiwan's indigenous people are still celebrated through events such as the Harvest Festival (Smatto), the Worship of Hunting (Mabuasu), snake worship, totemism, and various other spiritual rituals.

More information on Taiwan's vibrant cultural and traditional festivals and activities can be found here.

"The best thing to do," Michael says, "is to come and walk through the various neighbourhoods in Hong Kong and Taiwan and enjoy the different experiences. See how people live and interact with each other. Enjoy the street markets of Hong Kong and make sure to visit the night food markets in Taiwan. Both destinations are about living the culture."

For the first time visitor, the Tourism Boards of Taiwan and Hong Kong in conjunction with China Airlines can recommend a wide variety of packaged trips or guided tours to experience the fascinating cultures, vibrant cities and dramatic outdoor experiences of both Hong Kong and Taiwan.

For more information on exploring the vibrant cities, peaceful bike trails, and golden beaches of Hong Kong and Taiwan, visit www.taiwanhongkong.com.

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