As featured in Suitcase Magazine

It is impossible not to be in awe of Taiwan’s vibrancy. I’ve visited many countries, but Taiwan more than any other felt like two juxtaposing worlds meshed together. Ultra modernity seems to be the overwhelming theme of the capital city of Taipei with its neon signs and pungent ‘stinky tofu.’

Yet only a few hours away is the breathtaking Taroko National Park, which is known for its marble-walled canyons and mountainous landscapes.

When I roamed outside the city to Taitung, a smaller town in southeast Taiwan, an eerie calmness replaced the buzz of Taipei. In the midst of celebrating its Annual Balloon Festival, local artists painted thousands of small hot-air-balloon-shaped lanterns. At night, the illumination of the lanterns painted the suburban sky while reflecting their colourful light on those who walked below.