When communist China was formed the non-communist government fled to Taiwan taking along with them China’s national treasures (which the communist government was destroying) along with China’s best and brightest (which the communists were killing). If Taiwan were a part of China….then it would be the soul (and mainland China is it’s corpse).
For many years the world dealt with Taiwan as China and the mainland was just considered an illegal thug. Taiwan held the United Nations seat for China while mainland China had no seat. But China uses its people as slave labour and was able to buy its way back into favour with the world.
Taiwan is relatively untouched by tourism, and the economy is stable…, so you don’t have people trying to sell you things or rip you off every step you take (unlike many other poorer Asian countries). The people are friendly and there is little racism against foreigners (in China if you are a foreigner the prices are doubled or tripled and if you have a vehicular accident in China the foreigner is ALWAYS at fault).
Taiwan is the perfect mix of adventure (like Thailand, but without the bombings and hostage taking) and modern civilization (like Hong Kong except without someone trying to sell you a fake watch on every street corner). So if you want to see “Asia” then you want to see Taiwan.