Taiwan might not be on the radar for a lot of travelers, but it really should be. It has incredible cuisine, a thriving arts and design scene, beautiful scenery and really friendly locals. Plus, there's a great mix of Chinese and Japanese cultures.
Here’s another reason: Since 2000, artists, developers, and government officials have been transforming abandoned warehouses, factories, etc. into art spaces, complete with studios and exhibition space. The trend has really gained momentum in recent years; for instance, there is a series of railway warehouses stretching from Taichung, near Taipei, to Taidong that have been turned into art spaces, which are especially popular among locals on the weekend.
In Taipei, the controversial Treasure Hill area has finally been unveiled as an artist village. (Brief history on Treasure Hill: once an illegal settlement for KMT soldiers, it became a squatters’ village and a flashpoint for gentrification.) On Taiwan’s gorgeous, little-visited east coast is Dulan Sugar Factory, a community of mostly aboriginal artists. Need I say more?
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.