Earlier in October, I had the pleasure of attending the Asia Super Team 2019. The almost week-long event is an annual affair geared towards corporate travelers and is usually held around Taiwan’s national day – 10th October. In it, teams from 8 countries go around various sights in the island and compete in a set of challenges for the grand prize. This year, that prize was US$50,000 worth of incentive travel for the winning team’s company.
Other than simply serving as an event for corporate travelers, Asia Super Team 2019 also provided a peek into many of Taiwan’s off-the-beaten path attractions. Personally, I have visited Taiwan for 7 times now but most of the places we visited for the event were totally new to me.
I have compiled a short video showcasing these places but in summary, these were my new discoveries in Taiwan:
Wanhua – Taipei’s oldest district seems to be a world away from the glittering malls and sky high towers of Xinyi, where many travelers base themselves. Wanhua still seems to be stuck in time, with many red brick houses still standing. At the center of this neighborhood is the Bopiliao Historic Block which is being revitalized as a commercial and creative center at the time of my visit. Here, the teams had a chance to do one of Taiwan’s sunset industries – metallic signboard making. We met one of Taipei’s few remaining proprietors of this business who demonstrated to us the painstaking task of crafting a signboard.
Daxi – Located in Taoyuan, the charming town of Daxi has an old street filled with souvenir and craft shops as well as eateries. The town has one of the finest ensembles of pre-war architecture in the island. In Daxi, visitors can also have a taste of the “santaizi” or a performance where practitioners don ancient warrior costumes and recreate a fight scene. From what I know, this is typically held on the ground but in Daxi, we were able to witness this spectacle in the air.
Xinpu – The town of Xinpu in Hsinchu County is known for its persimmon farms. The town has a large Hakka community and the persimmon is a staple food for them. How these persimmon farms have become a tourist attraction is because of the drying process where the baskets of dried persimmons create a pattern on the floor through the shadows that appear during sunny days. It is especially instagrammable when taken from certain angles. The peels of the persimmon are also being used as dye and during this visit, the teams had to come up with their shirt designs using the dye.
Taichung – It is not known to many but Taiwan has a thriving saxophone industry, with the island supplying a huge chunk of the saxophones made worldwide. In the outskirts of Taichung, there is a museum dedicated to the instrument. The Chang Lien Cheng Saxophone Museum is an interactive space where visitors can give saxophone playing a try. Here, the teams had to learn how to play on the spot in order to churn out different notes.
After two days of competitions, the last day was spent in tallying the results and unveiling the winner for Asia Super Team 2019. For this year, the team from the Republic of Korea (Hyundai Mobis) won the grand prize of US$50,000 worth of incentive travel.
You can also check out the official video of the event here: