Thirty-eight tourist attractions in Taiwan were awarded three stars in Michelin’s recently published Green Guide Taiwan, which debuted in Taipei yesterday.
The guide was first launched in New York last week.
As expected, the guide contains internationally renowned tourist attractions, such as Longshan Temple, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, Wanhua (萬華) and Beitou (北投) districts, all in Taipei City. They joined other scenic spots such as Taroko Gorge, the Alishan Forest Railway, the Lin Family Garden (林家花園) in New Taipei City (新北市) and the Chung Tai Buddhist Temple (中台禪寺) in Nantou County in the three-star category.
However, the guide listed Sun Moon Lake in the two-star category, while Yushan National Park was given one star.
Sun Moon Lake and Yushan are considered by locals to be among the biggest attractions in the country.
Florent Bonnefoy, travel guide manager of Michelin Maps and Guides for the Greater China region, said the group decided to publish a travel guide on Taiwan because the country has cultural diversity, rich tourism resources and because of the warmth of the people.
Serving as the writer and editor of this travel guide, Bonnefoy said he had worked with eight other professional travel writers, most of which live in Taiwan at the moment.
“They personally experience Taiwan’s unique customs, traditions and foods, including the annual Dajia Matsu pilgrimage (大甲媽祖遶境), the Ghost Festival, eating pig-blood cakes and drinking pearl milk tea,” Bonnefey said.
Having visited the country himself, the travel guide editor cited Maokong (貓空) in Taipei City’s Muzha District (木柵) as one of his favorite places in Taiwan.
“In a big city like Taipei, you can have a place so close to the city and it allows you to relax, drink and chat with your friends, which is great,” he said.
The English-language version of Green Guide Taiwan is scheduled to be available in Taiwan in April.
Michelin is known for two types of guides: the Red Guide and Green Guide. The former rates restaurant and hotel services, whereas the latter reviews travel and tourism.
Both guides employ the Michelin star system. For the Green Guide, a place receiving three stars means that it is “highly recommended.”
It is followed by those that are given two stars or one star, meaning “recommended” and “interesting,” respectively.
Michelin said in a statement that writers of the Green Guides visit these scenic spots regularly and anonymously, with all the travel expenses paid for by the writers themselves.
Aside from the choices made by the writers and the editors, the publisher said that it would also consider tourist attractions recommended by the readers. Each tourist attraction is evaluated based on several standards, which apply in all the Green Guides published so far.
Writers will take into account their first impression of the tourist attractions as well as the official recognition, artistic value, historical significance, accessibility and service quality of the places.