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Team-Building in the Hills of Taiwan: Life of Taiwan & Kelvin Chia Partnership

This spring, Life of Taiwan (LOT) was honoured and delighted to make travel arrangements for the Kelvin Chia Partnership, one of Southeast Asia’s leading commercial law firms. Headquartered in Singapore with offices in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Shanghai and other major cities in the region, the partnership selected LOT to help organise a four-day trip that combined team-building activities with celebrations to mark the firm’s 20th anniversary.

‘As soon as we received the request to devise an itinerary that would achieve the firm’s goals—while ensuring every member of the 102-person party would have a brilliant time —we realised this is exactly the kind of challenge we relish,’ says LOT CEO and founder Mark Pemberton.

‘In any group that size you’re going to get people of various ages and fitness levels, something we have to take into account when advising on outdoors destinations,’ he adds.

‘Dietary considerations were another factor. Being a multinational firm, the partnership has a number of Muslim employees. Fortunately, in the past few years, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has done a great deal to make Taiwan more attractive to Muslim visitors. For instance, there’s been a huge increase in the number of halal-certified restaurants.’

Because members of the firm were flying in at different times from various cities, and the following day would be a busy one, the first evening was kept low-key. Nevertheless, because some members of the party couldn’t wait to sample Taiwan’s famous street foods, a contingent headed out to Shilin Night Market.

Taipei is blessed to have on its doorstep Yangmingshan National Park. This realm of steep mountains and natural hot springs is a paradise for bird-watchers and hikers, and was the setting for much of the second day.

‘We knew from the previous team-building tours we’d organised that Yangmingshan is a perfect location for group events and exercises,’ remarks Pemberton.

The day wasn’t all work and no play, however. In the middle of the afternoon, the entire party drove down to Tamsui to enjoy the town’s history and legendary sunset. For people with an international mindset, Tamsui is a fascinating place. It was here, back in the 19th century, that Western merchants began bringing Taiwan’s superb teas and other natural resources to global attention.

The group then enjoyed a celebration dinner at the Asia Pacific Hotel in Tamsui. ‘We treat every tour, long or short, as a special occasion, so of course we ordered a custom-made 20th-anniversary cake to mark the firm’s ongoing success,’ says Pemberton.

Much of the third and final full day was spent sightseeing on Taiwan’s north coast, but late in the afternoon the group headed inland to the picturesque hill towns of Pingxi and Shifen. Expressing their hopes for the future via a local tradition, the group participated in an en masse, coordinated launch of sky lanterns.

‘When they flew in, many of them knew each other only as a voice on the telephone or a name cc’d in on emails,’ says Pemberton. ‘We like to think they left as firm friends, not only with each other, but with Taiwan. Some have already been in touch with us, and are planning to bring their spouses and families to Taiwan in the near future.’

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