Dolphin & Whale Biology/Conservation
in Tropical Asia
General Information About Taiwan
Be ready for some culture shock - often experienced during the long-haul flight to Asia. Chinese food in Taiwan is unlike most of the food served in "Chinese" restaurants in Canada. The variety of food is enormous. Taiwan also has a fairly large community of Canadians living in different parts of the country and in general, Canadians are liked by Taiwanese.
Although Taiwan is a small island (about the area of Vancouver Island), the population size is over 23 million. Climate can be quite different throughout Taiwan with the north being coolest and the east being wettest. May in Taiwan is a transition period between the end of the NE monsoon winds (a drier season) and the start of the SW monsoon (the rainy season). Although typhoons (=hurricanes in this region) can occur at this time of year, the probability is very low. The temperatures in the daytime are usually in the high 20s and low 30s - nighttime temperatures are usually in the low 20s. Humidity is generally very high (over 80%). Taiwan receives considerable rainfall each year but most of the rain occurs during the main part of the typhoon season (July - October). Taiwan is part of the Pacific's ring of fire and earthquakes are common.
For the most part, Taiwan is a wealthy nation. It is one of the most developed countries in the area. Large cities are little different from other large cities around the world with modern high tech. amenities. However, some parts of Taiwan can still lack modern facilities and the distribution of wealth can be quite uneven. A wide variety of western restaurants (e.g., from fast-foods such as KFC, McDonald's to more middle ranged restaurants like Australian Outback, TGI Fridays, Swensen's to higher priced establishments such as Ruth's, Chris Steaks, Vic Trader's and higher) are common in larger cities. Convenience stores such as 7-11, Family, and OK, are widespread. Many western products can be purchased. More and more employees of the service industry are able to speak at least some English and people are in general quite friendly, very hospitable and try to be helpful to foreigners.