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They're small, they're beautiful, they're the best little towns in Taiwan, as voted by locals and "undercover experts"|
By Hiufu Wong
After months of canvassing, Taiwan's Tourism Bureau has named the island's 10 favorite small towns.
A short list of 17 townships and small districts has been competing for votes since January 2012 by giving away iPads and holding street fairs and parades. The 10 winning towns will each receive NT$500,000 (US$16,915) in tourism promotion funds and will also receive extra marketing efforts from the Tourism Bureau in 2012.
Votes cast by Taiwan residents accounted for 20 percent of the final score, with 80 percent of the score coming from a panel of undercover experts conducting field research in the towns.
The panel judged on criteria such as accessibility, sanitation, industrial cooperation and "local characters."
Click through the gallery above to see and read about the 10 winning towns.
The final winners are: (in no particular order)
1.Dajia District, Taichung City
2.Daxi Township, Taoyuan County
3.Beitou District, Taipei City
5.Jincheng Township, Kinmen County
6.Meinong District, Kaohsiung
7.Lukang Township, Changhua County
8.Jiji Township, Nantou County
9.Rueifang District, New Taipei City
10.Jiaosi Township, Yilan County
1. Dajia, Taichung Often overshadowed by the northern and southern counterparts, central Taiwan is in fact a center of Taiwanese culture and tradition.
Every spring, it hosts the biggest religious festival in Taiwan -- the Mazu pilgrimage festival (March 23-April 1).
During the festival thousands of worshippers travel across the city on foot, for seven days and eight nights, to pray for blessings from Mazu (the sea goddess).