Taiwan for Culture Vultures, a new downloadable travel guide published by
Guidegecko, is aimed at visitors intrigued by Taiwan’s fascinating blend of cutting-edge
modernity and centuries-old tradition. Users of the guide are saying it opens a door into a
society that is one of Asia’s most distinctive, but which often leaves visitors who can’t speak
Chinese baffled.

LINK: http://appshopper.com/travel/taiwan-for-culture-vultures

Author Steven Crook, who has spent most of the past 20 years in Taiwan, expects
it to be the first in a series of electronic guides about the island for visitors and
expatriates. “Taiwan is such a fantastically diverse destination that hikers, foodies and
eco-tourists also deserve tailor-made guides,” he says. “I decided to begin with cultural
attractions because travelers have told me that’s an area they need special help deciphering
what they see.”

Taiwan for Culture Vultures is available for iPhones and iPads and priced at
US$2.99. “Electronic platforms have several advantages over traditional printed
guidebooks. In addition to being very inexpensive, because there are no printing costs, they
are of course lighter to carry, and they’re updated, corrected and expanded very often,”
he says. “As a writer, I’ve appreciated being able to avoid repetition. Instead of having to
explain who a particular person (or deity, in the case of temples, or ethnic group) is each
time he or she is mentioned, I simply link to one of the background articles.”

Currently the guide features 95 places of interest, among them museums, temples,
churches, parks, and other landmarks. Taiwan’s key cultural and architectural attractions,
notably the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101 and Tainan’s Confucius Temples are
featured – as are many lesser-known but just as fascinating attractions.

LINKS:
http://www.guidegecko.com/taiwan/museums/national-palace-museum/p,608184800
http://www.guidegecko.com/taiwan/monuments-buildings/taipei-101/p,608184801

“I decided to include several places I feel have been neglected by English-language travel
writers,” says Crook. “At Ten Drum Culture Village, visitors can enjoy performances
that are modern yet draw heavily on folk traditions, and which have won international
acclaim.”

“Also, I have included some places – such as Houtong Coal Ecological Park – which
opened too late to be included in the conventional guidebook I researched and wrote in
2009-2010.”

“I really think there’s a good mix. There’s plenty for those who want to learn about and
appreciate traditional arts. If they want a more outdoorsy experience, they can head to the
Old Mountain Railway Line. Those with environmental interests will enjoy the new Magic
School of Green Technology.”

Entries average 250 to 300 words with between one and four photos, giving users an in-
depth introduction to each site. In spring 2012, the guide will be expanded to cover at least
120 sights.

“I researched the guide by combing both English- and Chinese-language sources, in
addition, of course, to visiting each spot at least once,” says Crook. “Many of the details I’ve
included don’t appear in any of the major English-language guidebooks to Taiwan.”

Crook is the author of three books about the island: Keeping Up With The War God
(2001), Dos and Don’ts in Taiwan (2010) and Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide
(2010). Links to many of the hundreds of articles he has written about Taiwan can be
found at: http://crooksteven.blogspot.com