This is a shame, since it is a gem

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Many drink cheaply in restaurants or buy more cheaply in convenience stores. Taroko gorge, east coast, etc. They are not covered by the rail pass. They might offer for you to wait in the restaurant car until a bed is available. Get over to the sparsely populated east coast and you'll find the highlights of Taiwan.

All major train stations have a tourist information office. Capitalism meets Zen master.

This means fewer tickets are available when you arrive to book. The summer is pretty muggy and half the country's annual rain falls in July and August.

You can have a basic meal from Y, a good meal for Y, or Y in a good restaurant. Arrange a tour or join a private group with the right permits. In some places this will get you a nice double, in others, only just stretch to a massive impersonal dorm. This includes stopping at Lake Manasarovar along the way.

Shinkansen bullet trains with lines all over the country connecting most major cities. Otherwise you will be relying on the book swaps in hostels. The Chinese do not usually like to share their berth with foreigners.

Best weather in

Not really difficult to get, just a hassle if not near an embassy and will need a few days to issue. Some good beaches in the Southern part of the island, although not on a par with other parts of Asia such as Thailand or the Philippines. Many are expats or working in other Asian countries like China, Korea or Japan.

The result is massive crowds, huge over development and underwhelming sights. Best to track down one of a few English language book stores. Not as fantastic as you might have expected, but not bad.

Private exchange offices

Some good, though quite expensive nightlife in Taipei. Koreans are sheer geniuses when it comes to cooking up absurdly delicious fried chicken. As with most cheaper hotels don't expect much English so a few phrases to haggle with should bring the price tumbling down at a great rate for the type of rooms offered. Prices are cheaper than fast trains but take longer and about the same as the slower trains but, are often faster depending on rail connections. Food can be a struggle due to its strangeness and language barrier.

Particularly recommended are the dumplings and crepes with savoury fillings. Cold remedy and warm clothes if travelling during the winter. It is worth understanding that Japan is undergoing a huge tourist boom lasting many years.

Best weather in spring or autumn and most beautiful also. Private exchange offices are not easy to find or common - again any post office is your best bet. It also worth taking at least a basic knowledge of a few Chinese phrases and words - e. Whatever your reservation, you can usually change your bed by arriving a bit in advance and smiling at the driver.