Taiwan is 'Asia's Best-kept Secret,acclaimed travel magazine states
By Edwin Hsiao
The National Geographic Traveler, a popular travel magazine in the United States, published a special report to introduce Taiwan's diverse sights and cultural features in its November/December 2007 issue. In the 13-page article, the NGT's senior editor Jayne Wise and chief researcher Marilyn Terrell wrote about their voyage to Taiwan and their visits to various parts of the island.
Titled "You have won a trip to ... Taiwan!," the report pointed out that the two from the United States traveled halfway around the world. When Wise and Terrell arrived, they discovered Taiwan and called the island "Asia's best-kept secret," according to the article.
The duo, who had never been to Asia before, made their trip to Taiwan in November 2004 after Wise won two free round-trip air tickets to Taiwan in a lucky drawing in February of the same year. The NGT dispatched its photographer and contributing editor Justin Guariglia to Taiwan in May 2005 to take photos, which cover seven full pages in the story.
The writers' journey encompassed varied destinations, such as the modern metropolis of Taipei City and a village in Nantou County inhabited by members of the Bunun tribe, one of 13 aboriginal tribes now recognized by the government. The pair also spent one day in the sea-resort town of Kenting on the southern tip of the island. Later, they headed to Alishan, which is one of highest mountain ranges in Taiwan, to watch the sunrise on the peak.
"Articles, which give affirmation to the nation's tourism, like the one by the NGT, are always a big encouragement to the relevant industries in Taiwan. They actively promote the nation's natural beauty and cultural features to the world," Wayne Liu, director of the Division of International Affairs under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications' Tourism Bureau, said Oct. 30. Liu also mentioned that the Tourism Bureau has kept in touch with major European and U.S. media organizations for a long time and has always urged them to conduct in-depth coverage of Taiwan's scenic spots.
"In fact, there are many international-class attractions in Taiwan, such as the Taipei 101 building. Though it will soon cede the title of 'the world's tallest building' to the Burj Dubai, which is scheduled to be completed in late 2008, the skyscraper in Taipei is still a world landmark," Liu noted.
On their first day in Taiwan, Wise and Terrell visited the Taipei 101 building and took a ride on the building's elevator, which rocketed from the ground level to the 89th floor in 37 seconds. "My 11-year-old son would never forgive me if I didn't ride the world's fastest elevator," Terrell wrote.
"It is exciting that Taiwan could be covered in a world-famous magazine," Stanley Kao, Taiwan's deputy representative to the United States, was quoted as saying by Taiwan's Central News Agency Oct. 26. He pointed out that the writers, who always stayed at small bed-and-breakfast inns instead of luxury hotels during the trip, came into direct contact with ordinary people in Taiwan.
The NGT, a sister publication of the renowned National Geographic Magazine, was founded in 1984 by the U.S. National Geographic Society and is published in six languages other than English, with 720,000 copies per issue in English alone.