When Portuguese sailors first set eyes on Taiwan (officially called the Republic of China) more than 500 years ago, they named it "Ilha Formosa," or Beautiful Island. Today, the island boasts one of the 20 largest economies in the world and is home to lush mountains and pristine beaches. With influences from the Polynesians, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, and Chinese, Taiwan is the exotic hidden gem of East Asia. Experience all it has to offer when the subtropical island–known for its unbearable summer heat and humidity–finally cools down from December to February. By Lisa Chung
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