Relaxing and laid-back, Taipei is a hidden gem in Asia with a classic island vibe. Surf beaches are plentiful, many restaurants and shops close during the afternoon, and late-night markets compete with karaoke bar performances. Sporting droves of bicycle and scooter riders, the affordable university town boasts a large population without feeling overcrowded. The friendly and forward-thinking Taiwanese people welcome the rich mix of expatriates and international visitors to their shores. Vast parks and open spaces reflect the citizens' efforts to balance an urban lifestyle with a commitment to green living.