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Geography

Location

Taiwan is composed of the main island of Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago, which is made up of 64 islands and 21 other smaller islands. It sits astride the Tropic of Cancer, off the coast of mainland China in the South China Sea, separated by the Taiwan Strait, which is about 220km at its widest point and 130km at its narrowest.

Taiwan is amidst a chain of islands from Japan in the north to the Philippines in the southwest. It lies on major air and sea transportation routes in the western Pacific Ocean.

Size

The tip of Taiwan points toward Japan, stretching to about 390km in length and 140km wide at its broadest point. With the total area being almost 36,000 sq. km, Taiwan is approximately the size of Holland, and slightly smaller than the Netherlands.

Topography

Taiwan is known for its eminent mountain features that span from the north to the south of the island. These hard rock mountains had developed from series of volcanic activities during the passÚ centuries. Nearly 200 of the island's peaks rise 3,000 meters or more in altitude, with Yu Shan (Mount Jade) being the highest peak at 3,952 meters.

Lush green mountains occupy up to the edge of the cerulean Pacific Ocean on the east coast, while the west coast features large coastal plains, which oblique downwardly to the Taiwan Strait.

Climate

Taiwan's weather is distinct in both the north and south. While the south enjoys a tropical, oceanic climate, the north is semi-tropical at mountain altitudes, with a touch of snow.

Summer (May to September) is usually hot and humid with temperatures from 27░C to 35░C. Sometimes, Taiwan could well be a natural sauna if humidity level does not drop to 75 percent.

Winter (December to February) is normally short and mild. Temperatures hardly drop below 5░C, but the dampness will freeze right through to the bone. Higher mountain peaks are blanketed by white, silky snow and make great ski slopes for sport lovers.

Rainfalls are dependent on the season, location, and altitude. The average rainfall is roughly 2,515mm per year.

The best times to visit Taiwan would be during spring (April and May) and fall (October and November). The weather is mostly clear; the nights are cool and days are moderate. It is an ideal condition for traveling or hiking around.

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