What you need to know
Good Eye City Guide is a gorgeous, comprehensive guide to Taiwan. First time visitors and seasoned locals will take much away from reading.
Guo Pei-ling prefaced her new travel guide on Taiwan with the words of Cheng Nan-jung, a Taiwanese free-speech activist: “We are a small number of citizens in a small country, but we are also good citizens in a good country.”
“Taipei has been called an underrated city, and Taiwan is no doubt a country that deserves more attention,” Guo wrote. She proves her point in Good Eye City Guide: Taiwan, a bilingual travel series introducing off-the-beaten-path itineraries all around the country.
Having studied in the United Kingdom, Guo is often asked by friends from abroad about fun places to visit in Taiwan. Prior to creating the colorful series, she felt like her identity was always tied to a company, with little work to represent herself independently. Good Eye City Guide offered a chance for Guo to introduce her favorite sightseeing spots and hidden gems in Taiwan and to create something that she could call her own.
A small number of good citizens in a small but good country
Good Eye City Guide not only introduces Taiwan’s travel destinations, but also other facets of the country, including its technology, literature, and food culture. First-time visitors can get a good grasp of Taiwan through this book, which also features a lot of information that’s not yet available on the internet.
Unlike a straightforward guide book, Good Eye City Guide incorporates elements of storytelling to introduce an event or a place. In between the city insights, there are special features on Taiwan’s cultural activities or the history of a small town. The description of Taipei, for example, draws attention to the city by highlighting its vibrant LGBTQ scene and its annual Pride parade.
None of the stores introduced in Good Eye City Guide paid for sponsorship. Every independent book store, every single bar and street stall featured in the book derive from Guo and her team’s own experiences. Sometimes their recommendations may differ from what people normally suggest because the choices were inspired by the different neighborhoods that Guo and her writing team grew up in.
With a slew of selections, the Good Eye team members prioritized places that are not repetitive in style. Most importantly, they emphasize the haunts that they would personally tell their friends about.
Not only for hipsters
Before Good Eye City Guide, Guo had published a mini version of it. Her publisher thought it was too indie or hipster that the sales would not fare well. The book is now on its eighth print run. Guo and her publisher learned that Cloud Gate Dance Theater, a prestigious modern dance group in Taiwan, had been gifting the guide book to its visiting dancers for them to explore the country in between performances. Bed and breakfast owners also love displaying the guide in their lobby in case any visitor asks for recommendations.
Thoughtful design from the color palette to the book jacket
Small details show how much effort was put into the making of the travel guide. Every inner fold features an empty field for readers to record their date of visit in each city. There’s also a QR code in each itinerary that redirects to a Google map marked with all the recommended spots.
The colors of the four mini books also have hidden meanings. According to Guo, the yellow for northern Taiwan is meant to carry on the color usage in her previous Good Eye City Guide: Taipei. The green for central Taiwan represents Guo’s hometown, alluding to its political leaning. The vibrant red color for southern Taiwan reminds us of the old brick houses in the region, also symbolic of the friendliness apparent in the south. Lastly, the sky blue for eastern Taiwan and its offshore islands is simple - that’s the natural impression of the coasts.
When you’re visiting Taiwan, take Good Eye City Guide with you and experience what the “small but good country” has to offer.
TNL Editor: Daphne K. Lee, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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