Saturday, November 01, 2014

How A Travel Destination Becomes A Plan - Taiwan Is Next, For Example

"Do you just blindfold yourself in front of a map, and point!?!" was the reaction of a good mate this week when he asked about my next travels. I am headed to Taiwan next week for 10 days, after having the idea grow on me as a place to visit...and then I had some time available for another trip. Why not!?

Usually a potential travel destination comes up from someone else's travel photos or stories I hear or see. And then often, once a place has popped up as a vague idea like this, it seems to come up in so many other places - blog posts, news stories, mentions by someone else. The power of persistent suggestion works for me! Riga and Iceland and two other such places that have persisted now for awhile - just have to get to that side of the world again!

As an idea plants itself, my next steps are usually visual - Google Image for one, is an inspiration tool for me. If I see enough places of interest to fill a week or so of exploring, the travel idea grows legs. In this case, the mix of modernity and old Chinese culture appealed with such a search.

Many of the photos online look like a cross between China and Japan - the temples, and city sights, and the food! I loved going to
both those countries!

Seriously, Google Image is to blame for many of my travel ideas. The developing plan to try and get to the Marshall Islands early next year is another such example.

Taiwan will be a new country for me, which is always an exciting prospect, so the plan solidified around a period of time I needed to take off work around the coming family wedding.

So once the Taiwan plan was hatched, I did some cursory research about flights, and about how to get around the country. I did some more research via Twitter, and the travel blogger resources posted there for everywhere.

Quirky and beautiful is usually what I am after, with some iconic country sights, plus some interesting places. Posts about the Toilet Themed Restaurant and other such bizarre dining experiences, the Cat Village, a town all about Paper Umbrellas, the idea of the Museum of World Religions has sparked my interest, as has the stunning sights within the Taroko National Park down the East coast. Then the vibrant street art examples found in Taipei had me booking those flights!

I then bought a Lonely Planet, and read this on the flight to work last rotation, to get an idea of where I might want to go, and how long to stay at each point. I don't always buy or take a guidebook, but often find it helpful to have an overview of places, as starting points. Plus, it's great to have a pocket of information about what you are looking at with you already when you are travelling. Key considerations for me are travel options for around the country, to allow me to see both city and countryside in the time I have - and based on my reading, it seems the super fast train will be perfect for this. I also want to be sure that I can see most of the things that my research has pointed me to - I hate leaving things or wants not done, or not able to be attempted!

After just visiting the tallest building in the world in Dubai, I am still pretty keen to see the unique looking Taipei 101, which used to hold that title. It looks pretty amazing at sunset, from Elephant Hill, I have read and seen. Plus there are an host of temples around Taipei to check out. The Night Markets for food have been noted almost everywhere as something not to miss.

I fly off later this week, and am very much looking forward to it!

jouljet's questions
How does a new travel destination become a plan for you?
Do you have any Taiwan tips for me for the coming weeks?


  1. Taiwan is AMAZING! But I am biased since I'm Taiwanese-American. If you need any tips let me know! We've been here for two months and have been traveling around the island. By the way the toilet themed restaurant isn't very good food wise but it is fun. Taroko is beautiful but make sure you go to Tianxiang as that is where the good hiking trails are. I hope you have a great time in Taiwan!

    1. Oh, thanks Sammi! Open to any and all suggestions! Will look up Tianxiang.
      Easy to travel around - the trains look too good to be true! Ha!


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