As of Apr. 26, Covid-19 tests will no longer be required for fully vaccinated travellers entering Singapore, essentially returning the state of travel to almost like pre-Covid-19 times.
Ahead of the long-coveted return of leisure travel, we talk to five Singaporeans, who tell us what excites them the most about exploring a foreign destination overseas.
And because many of them have been to Taiwan and have fond memories of the place, some also share with us their favourite activities to do there.
If you’ve only known Taiwan as the land of sky lanterns and night markets, we feature some of the hottest activities to rediscover in its cities right now.
Getting lost in the city
If you’re the kind that enjoys just going with the flow and seeing “what life has to offer”, you should try not planning an itinerary for the day, shares one colleague.
It can be as simple as people watching (“go inside a local shop to see how locals like to dress!”), or having a meal at a random restaurant even if you don’t speak the language.
It’s how said colleague discovered her love for 滷肉飯 (“Lu Rou Fan”, or braised pork rice) – while wandering the back alleys of Taipei city.
Not to mention, Taiwanese bubble tea.
For a gastronomical adventure, one can also check out any of the several watering holes and restaurants in Taiwan, which double as an opportunity to connect with the locals in the city.
As one colleague shares, meeting with locals is the best way to “push your boundaries”, in terms of learning about and stumbling upon activities or attractions you might have otherwise never discovered.
For a quieter affair, you can also patronise some of the smaller eateries, such as 紅記早點 and 保安路米糕 in Tainan, to try out some of the more popular breakfast/lunch dishes.
From Taipei to Tainan
Another way to traverse the city? Explore the local cafe and bar scene, which often highlights the unique influences on a destination’s culture.
For instance, several cafes and bars in Taiwan feature Japanese-style architecture and cuisine, a reflection of Taiwan’s deep-rooted history with Japan.
Some establishments also now reside in antiquated houses – converted to trendy cafes and restaurants.
Across most cities, there’s also this ever-Instagrammable, cool-for-the-summer dessert to try.
Exploring unique shops and stores
Another colleague notes that for him, the joy of travel comes with being able to explore “interesting shop concepts” unique to the destination he’s visiting, and then to share stories about these adventures with his friends.
He explains: “I like exploring alone, but telling stories together. So my friends and I usually go our own way, then we come back together at night to have dinner together or something. ”
For him, a “unique shop” can span from specialty stores with quirky knick knacks, to the local supermarket or convenience store.
Or for something a little different: The hipster, independent and second-hand bookstores of a city.
A colleague elaborates: “I love them because these bookstores often carry several vintage magazines and books. These bookstores also have great decorations and wonderful coffee. [I] can relax and chill after a day of touring.”
Another colleague who agrees shares that walking about the smaller neighbourhoods and farmer’s markets of a city also allows her to experience a “different pace of living”, amid the rediscovery of local specialties.
“I love learning about the culture and urban landscape of the city as I visit its lesser known spots. I [also] enjoy trying out new foods, especially the cheap ones!!”
The great outdoors
Beyond sightseeing cityscapes, two colleagues touched upon the thrill of exploring a destination's natural landscapes when overseas.
“Visiting nature sites is a priority, because they are so unique to the area and provide a good break from city life.”
In Taiwan, you can have a picnic on the grassy banks of Dahu Lake in Taipei, or go for some cherry blossom viewing at Sunshine Sports Park.
One does not even need to travel far out of the concrete jungle to get a taste of Taiwan’s stunning vistas.
A colleague who loves hiking as a means to explore the scenery and great outdoors added: “I think being alone and ‘one with nature’ helps me to look deeper into myself and find my soul.”
So our colleagues also recommend Taichung and Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Taiwan for more panoramic hiking trails and pristine naturescapes.
As a bonus, outdoor enthusiasts who seek an experience to remember can try canyoning in Tarako National Park, Hualien.
Also known as river tracing in Hong Kong and Taiwan, it involves the exploring of canyons using a variety of techniques - walking, rock climbing, roping, abseiling, jumping, and swimming.
Which brings us back to the heady thrill of satisfying one’s wanderlust.
With the streamlining of travel requirements, we can finally start travelling again for leisure.
If you’re considering Taiwan as a possible destination in the future, why not give some of these places a try?
Taiwan is not only budget friendly, but regardless of your interests, there’s a little something for everyone.
For more suggestions on what to do, you can click here.
This sponsored article by the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau Singapore Office inspired the writer to plan for her next trip.