Hello, folks! After our visit to Florida, I’m back on the trail of the best for handicapped travelers in Asia. From afar, Asia can really look like the “last frontier” in disability-friendly tourism, but we’ve found a lot of good in this fascinating part of the world, and I’m not quite done yet!
Our trip today covers Taiwan, the little island east of China.
The last stronghold of the Chinese Nationalist government during the Communist takeover of the 1940s, this little place is, now and again, one of the most contentious issues in international politics. Depending on who you ask, it’s a province or a nation … either way, it’s our next stop!
A major handicapped organization in Taiwan is the Taiwan Access for All Association. Run by a majority of disabled people, it has been representing the needs of the disabled for over eight years and only seems to be growing. In addition to their advocacy activities, the group’s members offer accessible transportation, arrangements for hotels and assistive equipment, tour packages, and expert local tour guides. This last service is especially critical for navigating an island where certain paths and trails can lead nowhere for disabled guests.
Taiwan’s official tourism website is available completely in English and gives you contact information and details for hotels, attractions, and tours around the island. The Tourism Bureau also operates the Taiwan Tour Bus, a combination transport and tour operator that offers trips to natural and historic destinations. Sadly, there’s no evidence this service accommodates wheelchair-using passengers yet. But with the local push to attract more tourism from the West, and the worldwide shift toward accessible tourism generally, we can hope this will change soon.
A Glance at Taiwan is another useful site for general information, culture, and events. Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is the major air route to Taiwan, and has some wheelchair accessible features, including handicapped parking. For attractions, try the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, which has extensive ramps and Braille use throughout. One of the most iconic, as well as the most recent, additions to the Taipei skyline is Taipei 101, the Taipei Financial Center, which was briefly the world’s tallest building. Known for its fantastic observatory, it also includes accessible routes and wheelchair accessible bathrooms. Audio tours are available in eight languages. The tower is really a world onto itself, with museums, cafes, binocular stations for observing the cityscape, and more. The tower also houses exclusive boutiques such as the upscale jeweler Treasure Sky.
The official website of Taipei is one of the most valuable tools in our arsenal. Using the search function, you can find out a lot about accessible features in the city’s mass transit and disability access for the capital city and its surrounding area. Taipei Travel is also useful for finding things to do and see in the city. Both sites have a pretty vast amount of content in English, and provide a glimpse of urban life and the experience you’ll be treated to if you pay a visit.
With a destination like this one, there are bound to be some information gaps that you really need to fill with inside knowledge, but consider this little post our first step toward understanding Taiwan. A little later on, I’m going to get in touch with Taiwan Access for All myself and see what I can find out about their recommendations for attractions, hotels, and equipment providers. So keep an eye out for part two in the very near future!
That’s all for today, but our journey will continue before you know it. Adventure on!