NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today in Taiwan's Miaoli County, throngs of residents and tourists celebrated the opening of the island's annual 13-day light show, the Lantern Festival. In New York, more than half a world away, Michelin unveiled its first tourist guide for Taiwan. Prepared with the assistance of the Taiwanese Government Information Office, the English version of the MICHELIN Green Guide Taiwan will go on sale April 1. A French version will be released in March.
"From the technologically advanced and densely populated capital of Taipei to the rugged, mountainous countryside, Taiwan is just waiting to be explored and appreciated," said Cynthia Ochterbeck, editor-in-chief of Michelin's English-language Green Guides. "After spending lots of time learning and writing about this great destination, our writers were eager to offer our readers this collection of the best things to see and do in Taiwan."
Michelin has done as much to enhance mobility as any company in the world. The company patented the pneumatic, or air-filled, automobile tire in the late 1800s. This was a milestone moment in mobility; it permitted automobile owners to travel at great length in a single journey. Then, in an effort to prompt travelers to enjoy their newfound mobility, the company created guides – and detailed maps – to steer travelers on their way. Today, more than 10 million maps and guides are sold each year.
Recently opened to tourism, Taiwan—a place of many contrasts—welcomed 5.3 million visitors in 2010, according to the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau. To prepare the guide, Michelin dispatched a 10-member, international, English-speaking team. The team included eight authors, many of them residents of Taiwan—all experts on Taiwan and inveterate travelers who explored the island for several months, verifying information and selecting featured sites. The authors were supported by Michelin Group teams, who have been operating in Asia for more than 40 years.
An invaluable tool for travelers both before and during their trip, the MICHELIN Green Guide Taiwan is divided into three parts: blue for the "Planning Your Trip" section, orange for "Introduction to Taiwan" and green for "Discovering Taiwan."
In Planning Your Trip, the authors suggest four itineraries for driving tours that enable travelers to discover Taiwan's unique scenery, which includes tea plantations, temples and Taiwan's many hot springs. Other suggestions include hikes for walkers of all levels, as well as opportunities for swimming and cycling. The authors have also added activities for families and a schedule of popular events such as the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, the Yanshui Fireworks Festival and the Dajia Mazu pilgrimage. This section also contains a wealth of information travelers should know before they go, including useful words and phrases in Mandarin.
The second section—Introduction to Taiwan—contains an overview of Taiwanese society today, its habits and customs, and its traditional hospitality, with a focus on the island's especially rich culinary heritage that mixes elements of native, Chinese and Japanese cooking. This section also helps readers understand the history of the island, which was long known as Formosa.
The third section of the guide—Discovering Taiwan—provides more detailed information on the sites to visit. It is divided into six micro-regions extending from Taipei, the island's modern, cosmopolitan capital, to the East Coast, where nature is still intact. The map on the cover flap allows readers to see in a glance all the important sites, which are rated with stars. These sites are then presented in detail along with suggested lodging accommodations and restaurants selected by the editorial team with an eye toward all budgets.
Regardless of the guide or destination, stars are always awarded according to the same Michelin criteria: the impression made on the visitor upon arrival, the site's renown, its cultural heritage, its convenience and visitor-friendliness, its authenticity and charm, the quality of the reception, and other factors. Three stars mean "highly recommended," two stars "recommended" and one star "interesting."
Taiwan features 38 three-star attractions, including:
- Taipei, with the Taipei 101 tower and the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, as well as the old city of Tainan and its temples, and the historic seaside town of Danshui
- The natural wonders of the island's National Parks – Taroko with its gorge, Yangmingshan and Kenting – as well as Purple Butterfly Valley
- The monasteries of Chung Tai Chan in Puli and Foguangshan north of Kaohsiung as well as the temples of Longshan and Bao'an in Taipei and Nankunshen near Tainan
- The Muzha tea plantation just outside Taipei
- The National Palace Museum
- The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium near Kenting National Park
- The Lin Family Garden and Mansion in Banqiao
- The Beitou Hot Springs
- The Alishan forest railway
The destination also includes 142 two-star and 138 one-star sites.
A gateway between Asia and the West, Taiwan is an outstanding tourist destination with something for everyone – rich collections of Chinese art, ancient monuments and other cultural attractions; opportunities for biking, hiking and other leisure activities; wellness and spa facilities; and gourmet restaurants.
Michelin created its first travel guide over 100 years ago to promote road travel and inspire driving confidence. Today, Michelin Travel & Lifestyle offers travelers an extensive range of travel guides, maps, online travel resources, automotive accessories and footwear. These products deliver the same Michelin promise of quality and consistency consumers expect from one of the world's most trusted brands.
Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, motorcycles and the space shuttle. The company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America (www.michelin-us.com) employs 21,400 and operates 18 major manufacturing plants in 16 locations.
SOURCE Michelin North America