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South East Asia
In May 2015 four of us, Craig and Sonia Wendy and I, bought a package deal: eleven days in Taiwan and Hong Kong - Wendy and I added two nights in China at the end. We had previously travelled together with Craig and Sonia in China; Russia, India and South America and this seemed like a good place to do it again and to learn more about the region.
Taiwan is one of the Four Asian Tigers, along with Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, achieving the fastest economic growth on the Planet during the past half century. Trying to understand that success was of equal interest with any ‘new sights’ we might encounter.
A quick glance at Google Earth or an old fashioned Atlas reveals that geographically Taiwan forms a step in the archipelago that that extends, down the Pacific Plate boundary, from north east Russia down to Japan and then to Taiwan and the Philippines. To the north is the East China sea; to the east is the Pacific; and to the south is the South China Sea, now an area of international tension. It is only about 140 km off the west coast of mainland China and sits on the edge of the continental shelf so that the sea off the east coast is quite shallow and sheltered, both from typhoons and tsunami.
Taiwan is around half the size of Tasmania (or Ireland) and is volcanically active. In geological terms it was formed relatively recently by the collision of more than one tectonic plates (refer to Wikipedia if you are interested).
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