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What’s new for 2014 from Taiwan Tourism Bureau

This fascinating country continues to offer visitors a truly unique travel experience, with an exciting line up of annual festivals that celebrate the country’s rich diversity of cultures.

The Taiwan Tourism Bureau is delighted to announce a range of new developments taking place in Taiwan in 2014 which will further enrich the experiences of its visitors, including new flight routes, new hotels, new culinary tours and the opening of a new line on the Taipei Metro. As well as these new developments, this fascinating country continues to offer visitors a truly unique travel experience, with an exciting line up of annual festivals that celebrate the country’s rich diversity of cultures.

Emirates Route from Dubai to Taipei
Emirates has announced the launch of a new direct route between its hub Dubai and Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. The flights are due to commence on 10 February 2014. The service will consist of three daily non-stop flights, totalling 21 connections throughout the week. This new addition to Emirates’ route map is great news for British travellers looking for flexible daily travel connections between the UK’s regional airports including London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle and Taiwan.  For the duration of the flight, passengers will be able to enjoy the luxury of eight private suites in First Class, 42 lay-flat seats in Business Class or 304 comfortable seats in Economy.

The opening of Mandarin Oriental, Taipei
Mandarin Oriental has announced that its new 300 room luxury hotel is due to open in the heart of Taipei’s financial and business district in April/May 2014. The Mandarin Oriental, Taipei will be a 1.25 million sq ft complex located on Dun Hua North Road, one of the city’s most cosmopolitan areas, home to many company headquarters and with easy access to transport links. Designed with a contemporary, elegant interior style, Mandarin Oriental, Taipei will boast spectacular views of the city.
The opening of the Xinyi Line on Taipei Metro
The long-awaited Xinyi Line of Taipei’s MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system, or Taipei Metro, is now fully operational. The new line connects the northern city district of Beitou, best known for its hot springs, with the cosmopolitan eastern district of Taipei, known for its numerous large department stores and hotels. The two districts are connected by a single line which allows travellers an efficient mode of transport between two of the country’s top tourist destinations.
The Bao Culinary Tour
From 14 – 19 March 2014, visitors are invited to experience the food culture of Taiwan, one of the most interesting culinary melting pots, with Bao, the award winning London based Taiwanese street food outfit. Taiwan’s gastronomy centres around xiaochi, small dishes served informally on street markets and the Bao team will introduce guests to traditional culinary practices and local Taiwanese customs. Highlights of the tour include learning how to make xiao chi street snacks with the Bao team at a local cookery school, a tour of Tainan, the capital of Taiwanese street food, and ‘night shrimping’, a Taiwanese pastime which involves  fishing for shrimp in a pool and then grilling them on site.

This six day tour costs £645 per person and runs from 14 – 19 March 2014. Price includes five nights accommodation at a central Taipei 3 star hotel with breakfast, all local transfers by bus and train, cookery courses at the TALK cookery school, guided tours to Taipei night markets and shrimping, Tainan and Yilan.

Festivals in Taiwan in 2014

Taiwan is renowned for its array of annual festivals, many of which highlight the rich heritage of the Chinese, Fujianese, Hakka, Cantonese and Aboriginal cultures:

Lantern Festival
The annual Lantern Festival (Shang Yuan Festival) takes place on the 14 February 2014 and forms the final celebrations of the traditional Chinese Lunar New Year. The festival is celebrated throughout Taiwan, with towns and villages putting on beautiful displays of decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts and historical figures. Lanterns are carried by children in processions, used to decorate temples and light up family homes. This year’s opening ceremony will take place in Nantou County, home to one of Taiwan’s top tourist locations, Sun Moon Lake.

Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival
The Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival which takes place in spring 2014 is one of Taiwan’s most popular flower festivals and is held annually in Chiayi County. With an altitude above 2,000 meters, Alishan is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna and in spring the area is covered by more than 19,000 cherry trees. Visitors will be able to see Yoshino cherry tree blossoms as the area has the largest number of this variety than anywhere else on the island.

Taiwan Cycling Festival
Since it debuted in 2010, the annual Taiwan Cycling Festival which takes place in autumn 2014, has continued to bring together world-renowned cycling teams for a weekend of top-class international racing as they compete for the Taiwan Cup.  Taking place in the Hualien and Taitung counties in scenic eastern Taiwan, the festival is built around two main events, the Formosa 900 and the Taiwan KOM Challenge with a number of smaller cycling events taking place over the course of the week.

Ghost Festival
The infamous Ghost Festival taking place from 1 – 29 August 2014 combines the Buddhist Ullambana Festival and the Taoist Ghost Festival, both of which honour dead spirits. Highlights of the event include folk-art performances, the opening of the gates of hell and the release of burning water lanterns. During the festival, families make offerings to their ancestors and ghosts of the underworld.

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