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Four weeks in Taiwan

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Hi everyone,
My family and I are thinking of spending a month (4 or 5 weeks) in Taiwan from late December 2011 to Late Jan / early Feb 2012.
Why Taiwan, well we like that it is an island (and so a manageable area to cover), and we're interested in Chinese and native culture, and it will be warmer than the mainland at that time of year!
We'll spend some time in Taipei, of course. But then we want to travel around. So three initial questions, in the hope that there are some 'old Taiwan hands' here who can help.
1. Would we be mad to hire a car? I've heard that the driving can be pretty wild. But we want to be able to get to more 'off the beaten track' places'...
2. Any ideas for an itinerary, covering most of the big sights?
3. Has anyone been to Lanyu Island? What is the trip over there like in winter? I've heard the seas can be bad (and I get sea sick!).
Hope to hear from some of you. THANK YOU :)

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