BootsnAll Travel Network

10 weeks in…

After leaving my 2nd and particularly nice hotel in Tainan with people bowing to me almost as much as Japan and walking in front of me to open automatic doors for me!!!  Another arduous day of travel ensued, it is amazing how long it can take to get anywhere on such a small island.  I spent 6 hours on trains or in train stations today, it is really starting to get irritating because I am spending all my time in transit and not actual seeing much of anything.  I finally got to Yuli, on the East coast which is a gateway to the Yushan Nat’l park.  The town itself isn’t much at all, I stayed at the only hotel I saw and it wasn’t great, pretty cheap though.


A few observations about Taiwan.  Once you get out of Taipei, Taiwan is a whole different place.  Much less english spoken or written.  Travel is much more confusing but mainly just takes much longer, and is much less efficient, which is a real contrast to Taipei where they have the most reliable metro system in the world.  I really miss the Japanese infrastructure now.


Now for some general thoughts on the trip so far.


I feel like the standards are dropping in each country I go to.   Japan having probably the highest standards in most areas that I’ve ever seen.  Then S.Korea, very modern and high standards in Seoul and in Busan somewhat, but in the smaller towns the standards slip.  Taiwan is similar to Korea in that sense, Taipei is probably the most hi-tech place I’ve been with a super efficient transit system.  Though not as clean as Japanese cities (but really, what is?) it really is a great place and easy to experience.  Once outside of Taipei though things drop off quite quickly.  People stare a lot more, and it’s just more work to travel here.


I enjoyed Japan immensely almost the entire time I was there.  Korea was good most of the time and I had some great experiences there.  Taiwan, except for Taipei is more hit and miss for me.  What I’m not sure is if the amount I enjoy a country is tied to how modern and easy to travel through it is or if it is the different cultures (which have varied quite a bit just in these three countries), and the friendliness of people etc etc.  I think it is probably a combination of all the above, maybe also the order I’ve visited these countries…


I am looking forward to being back in a English speaking country, which I will be in just over a week.  There I will be able to eat dishes made with lots of cheese (the main thing I miss in meals here) and converse with people without complication.  Also understanding announcements on buses & trains again will be nice.  Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying Asia, this really is an experience (and a good one most of the time!) but traveling through countries not knowing any of the local languages can be a lot of work, especially in Asia where the culture and everything is so different from normal for me or any Westerner.  Here in Taiwan where there are precious few hostels, half the time I feel like I am the only westerner in town…


2 more days in Taiwan before I fly to Hong Kong and I hope to be spending it hiking/seeing some mountains here on the East coast.

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One response to “10 weeks in…”

  1. Rick Green says:

    It seems to me that you are traveling with unrealistic expectations. Most of the world is not as clean, convenient, or efficient as Europe, Japan, and North America. Nor do most of the people in the world speak English and behave the same way as we do. Therefore, it does take longer for one to get around than within a culture/country you are intimately familiar with.

    If you don’t give yourself a reasonable amount of time to travel in these situations, you will constantly be frustrated. If you don’t have a reasonable amount of time to travel on your own, then you should find a guide or book a local tour with an English-speaking company to facilitate.

    I was recently in Taiwan for the first time and had a guide, which made it very efficient to get around the whole island in the eight days I had there. I also understand the culture, though, and speak some of the language. So, next time around, it will be easier to go it alone if I have the time.

    Wonder why you feel you have to have Westerners around… Isn’t that the point of travel to another country? To experience something different from your culture?

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