Taipei City is located in northern Taiwan, including the northeastern part of the Taipei Basin and the surrounding hilly region. It is divided into twelve administrative districts. The population is around 2.67 million and with an area around 271 square kilometers.Taipei City houses various ethnic groups, such as the indigenous people, Minnanese, Hakkas, mainlanders, new immigrants and expats.
The development of Taipei was relatively late compared to other major cities on the west coast of Taiwan. The area of Taipei was the territory of Taiwanese plains indigenous peoples before the Han Chinese settlers starting to migrant from the south of the island at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1884, the Taipei City Walls were established under the Qing Dynasty administration, marking the economic shift from Tainan, the old southern capital, to Taipei. Taipei has thus been the political, economic and cultural center over a century, and became the most internationally recognized metropolis of Taiwan today.
Taipei City Government: http://english.gov.taipei/
New Taipei City
Situated in the northern part of Taiwan, surrounding the country’s capital, New Taipei City has an estimated population of over 3.9 million and an area of 2052 km2. Given its location advantages, today’s New Taipei City is a major city of business and industries second to Taipei City. As a result, 70% of the population is from different parts of Taiwan. The administrative center of New Taipei City is located in Banqiao district, which is also the most populated and thriving area of the city.
The city’s region was once the Plain Indigenous People’s inhabitancy. The earliest history of Mainland Chinese immigrants can be traced back as early as 1620 A.D. Through later development and prosperity of the country, Tamsui district has become an international commercial port in 1850 A.D. British Consulate and stores were being established in the region which help promote the local tea business, resulting in massive export of the tea leaves to Europe.
Before upgrading to special municipality back in 2010, New Taipei City was once named Taipei County. The era of Taipei County started in 1945. After the end of Japanese’s governance, the Republic of China (Taiwan) government turned Taipei City and Keelung City into provincial administrative municipality while making the rest of then Taipei region into Taipei County. Since this separation, Taipei City and County have officially become independent administrative bodies. The city of New Taipei then gradually develop into the largest city of Taiwan as it is today.
New Taipei City Government: http://foreigner.ntpc.gov.tw/
Taoyuan city is in northwestern Taiwan, next to the New Taipei City. Since the earliest Han Chinese settler came in around 1713, over 2 centuries, Taoyuan has been gradually developing as one of the major cities in northern Taiwan. When the Taoyuan International Airport opened in 1979, a large number of passengers and freight transport made it the most important gateway of Taiwan. Therefore, the development of the city has significantly accelerated. From a satellite city of Taipei to the fourth largest city of Taiwan, Taoyuan had been upgraded to one of the special municipality cities in 2010, which led to deeper integration into the Greater Taipei Area.
Taoyuan culture is composed of diverse groups, including Hakka, Minnan, mainlander Chinese immigrants, indigenous people, and new immigrants. However, with almost 40% of the population is Hakka, Taoyuan is the only special municipality in Taiwan where Hakka is the major ethnic group. This uniqueness in demography has enriched the diversity of the city.
Taoyuan Government: http://www.tycg.gov.tw/eng/index.jsp
Taichung, literally ‘the center of Taiwan’, is the largest city of central Taiwan. Before the 18th century, the central area of Taiwan was controlled by the “Kingdom of Middag,” a plain indigenous supra-tribal alliance, until the Chinese Qing Dynasty government dismantled it in 1732. In the late 19th century, the Qing government was planning to separate Taiwan from the Fujian province and establishing Taiwan as an individual province. Taichung area was thus being chosen as the new provincial capital, and new city construction started. The new city and its peripherals were named as “Taiwan county.” However, due to an insufficient budget, the new capital project had to stop and later moved to Taipei instead.
In 1896, the Japanese colonial government renamed the city “Taichung.”
In the center of Taiwan, Taichung plays an essential role in both Taiwan's economic development and transportation systems. It is the hub for the five cities and counties in the whole central region of Taiwan. Following the merger of Taichung city and county on December 25, 2010, Greater Taichung became second-largest among Taiwan's five special municipalities with a population of around 2.8 million. Surrounded by the mountains and sea, it possesses the precious asset of rich cultures of numerous townships and districts. Thus, Taichung city has established an inclusive land, sea, and air transportation network that is seamlessly connected to different parts of the city.
Protected by the Central Mountain Range, it is rarely threatened by typhoons and is known as a city of sunshine, radiating warmth and energy. The city is made up of 29 administrative districts, each boasting unique distinctive cultural and natural landscapes. Therefore, a mixture of cultures slowly developed there during the Chinese Ming, Qing dynasties and the Japanese colonial period. Over the centuries, people from different backgrounds migrated to Taichung and settled down, and the city has become the cosmopolis, contributing to a great society of diverse cultures. Each year, Taichung city has held a great number of international and local cultural events.
Taichung City Government: http://eng.taichung.gov.tw/mp.aspx?mp=49
As the oldest city of Taiwan, and famous for its long history and culture, Tainan, located in southern Taiwan, boasts many historical architectures and heritage sites.
Tainan was established in 1624 by the Dutch East Indian Company. It was the first walled city in Taiwan and was also the place of origin of the name “Taiwan.” Today, Tainan has 34 districts; they were formerly under Tainan City and Tainan County under Tainan Provincial Government but came under Tainan City’s jurisdiction when Tainan was made a special municipality in 2010. As of 2018, the population of Tainan is around 1.88 million with an area around 259 square kilometers.
A walk around Tainan is like stepping back in time. As the first city in Taiwan, it was the source of the development of people’s livelihood; you can visit the first Confucius temple or other various temples and see traditional belief passed on to this day; take a trip to the ancient canal and witness the ebb and flow of civilization. In Tainan, turn a corner, and you will encounter an ancient temple or historic site telling stories of the city from long ago.
Tainan is also famed for its many reasonably priced, and delicious must-try snacks. The city’s food was once recommended by the renowned travel guide the Michelin Green Guide. Fresh and tasty beef soup, rice cake with dried fish and braised pork on top or aromatic steamed rice cake, etc., are unique staple foods and old-time snacks that are part of the foundation of Tainan’s gastronomic culture and bear the historical memories of 4 centuries.
Tainan City Government: https://goo.gl/7AZpNb
Kaohsiung is a beautiful and modern metropolis located in southern Taiwan, as well as the largest port city of this island, with a population of around 2.77 million and an area around 2,951 square kilometers.
Before the 16th century, the area was the homeland of the Plain Indigenous tribe, the Makatao. The tribe named this area as “Takau,” literally means “the bamboo forest.” Thus when the Han Chinese immigrants moved into this area, they also called this area accordingly. In the Japanese colonial era, the Japanese government changed the original Chinese characters of “Takau” from “打狗 (Beat the dogs)” to “高雄 (after an area in Ukyo-Ku, Kyoto).” After Taiwan was handed to the Republic of China (Taiwan), the government remain the Chinese characters “高雄” but changed its romanization from Japanese “Takao” to Mandarin “Kaohsiung” until today.
Looking down from an airplane, one will see the abundant landscapes of Kaohsiung: the lush Chai Mountain and Banping Mountain, the clear and serene Lotus Pond, and Love River flowing across the city. The subtropical city boasts brilliant sunshine and gentle breezes from the passionate sea. Sitting between Cijin Island and downtown, the Port of Kaohsiung is a world-class port in Taiwan as well as a hub for international trade. The ceaseless ships and containers from around the world represent the energy and vitality of the business in Kaohsiung. Kaohsiung, a city of glamour, not only has unique features of mountains, seas, rivers, and ports but also possesses a rich culture and beautiful cityscape.
Kaohsiung City Government: http://www.kcg.gov.tw/EN/Default.aspx