Friday, June 16, 2006

German Publisher Debuts Travel Guide To Taiwan

BERLIN, June 16 Asia Pulse (CNA)

A leading travel publisher in Germany, Polyglott Tours & Travel AG, published a new guidebook this month that is considered the most useful and detailed German-language source of information for traveling in Taiwan.

The 106-page color travel guide contains comprehensive summaries of Taiwan's history, culture and politics, while recommending four key tours in the island's northern, central, southern, and eastern regions, and covering 12 major sightseeing attractions including the capital city of Taipei, the wood sculpture township of Sanyi and Kenting National Park.

The guide also provides detailed information about special folk traditions and cultural life in Taiwan, such as the night markets, hot springs, tea ceremony, local religion and traditional puppet shows.

The author, Guenter Whittome, also reminds his readers -- would-be travelers to Taiwan -- of the existence of many cultural differences, such as the custom of not leaving chopsticks upright in bowls or the acceptability of making lip-smacking noises while dining.

For instance, Whittome notes in his new book that most Taiwanese are not accustomed to paying the check separately while dining with friends because one of them will "fight to pay."

Whittome, who holds a degree in Sinology from Hamburg University, said in an interview with CNA Wednesday that to refresh the German media's outdated image of Taiwan, he spent more than half a year writing the guidebook hoping his compatriots would better understand modern Taiwan and how its culture differs from China's.

Whittome has resided in Taiwan for three years, and is currently working as a translator in Taipei.

Taiwan's Tourism Bureau in Frankfurt has ordered 10,000 copies of the book to send free copies to Europeans who are preparing to travel to Taiwan, office director Chan Wei-ting said.

The new Taiwan guidebook is expected to be on shelves of bookstores around Germany and German-speaking countries including Austria and Switzerland, according to Polyglott.

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