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No. 76, 2016


The LOVELY Islands of



Fine Flavors

Traditional and Modern Breakfast in Taipei


The Four Beasts of Taipei


Flying Cow Ranch THE Saisiyat TRIBE




Cycling in Rural Houbi and Baihe History and Heritage ALONG Streets and Alleys

Welcome to Taiwan! Dear Traveler, If looking for a unifying theme to our reports in this issue, you might well say it is “flying.” We literally fly to the remote Matsu Islands, then fly over the local waters on Matsu’s fast ferries. In other articles we fly through time, over mountain and rural trails on foot and bicycle, and even visit “flying cows.” Rugged, visually enchanting Matsu is the Republic of China’s northernmost possession, and a favorite destination with international travel writers. Michelin describes it as “Authentic and uncrowded … more like a well-preserved corner of eastern Fujian Province than a real piece of Taiwan,” Lonely Planet as a “Military stronghold on (a) beautiful archipelago, with tunnels and beaches aplenty.” In our Feature we’re off on a three-day trip, showcasing key tourist attractions and also providing suggestions on the best local foods and eateries, best homestays, and best gift and souvenir items to bring home. Our flights through time and history take place in our Special Report and Tribal Experience sections. In the former we explore the old southwestern city of Tainan, Taiwan’s first city and former capital, “arguably the best place in Taiwan to go on a history and heritage hunt.” In the latter we visit the Saisiyat indigenous tribe in Miaoli County’s highlands, best known for their intriguing, magnificent Dwarf Spirit Ceremony. The ceremony is held to placate the spirits of a mysterious dwarf people who, according to legend, long ago gave the Saisiyat their knowledge of agriculture, medicine, and spiritual worship and who were later decimated by the Saisiyat after a falling out. Our flights along Taiwan’s trails play out in our Easy Hiking and Rail/Bus/Bike articles. We hike the Four Beasts Mountain, a set of four peaks lined up directly south of the Taipei 101 skyscraper, from which stunning vistas over Taipei are enjoyed. We bicycle through Tainan’s rural districts of Baihe and Houbi, an area of “mellow beauty and unique country charm that also happens to be one of Taiwan's top cycling destinations.” Now, about those “flying cows.” In Farm Fun we visit the Flying Cow Ranch, located in a picturesque valley in Miaoli County, one of Taiwan’s most attractive leisure farms. Why are the cows flying? The article shall reveal all. Now, sit back in your armchair, relax, and get ready for launch. Enjoy!

David W. J. Hsieh Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.

CONTENTS July ~ August 2016

10 PUBLISHER David W. J. Hsieh Editing Consultant 

Producer Vision Creative Marketing & Media Co. Address 7F-1, 1, Sec. 4, Nanjing E. Rd., Taipei City 10595, Taiwan

Where you can pick up a copy of Travel in Taiwan

Wayne Hsi-Lin Liu

TEL: 886-2-2715-1052 Fax: 886-2-2715-0924 E-MAIL: General Manager Frank K. Yen Editor in Chief Johannes Twellmann English Editor Rick Charette DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & EDITING DEPT Joe Lee MANAGING EDITOR Jade Lin EDITORS Ming-Jing Yin, Chloe Chu, Nickey Liu CONTRIBUTORS Rick Charette, Owain Mckimm, Richard Saunders, Joe Henley, Dana Ter PHOTOGRAPHERS Chen Cheng-kuo, Maggie Song, Rich Matheson, Twelli DESIGNERS Andy Chang, Maggie Song, Carrie Chang, Erin Chen ui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang, Administrative Dept H Chen Wen-ling, Sandy Yeh


Publishing Organization

Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications CONTACT

International Division, Taiwan Tourism Bureau Add: 9F, 290 Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 10694, Taiwan Tel: 886-2-2717-3737   Fax: 886-2-2771-7036 E-mail: Website:

台 灣 觀 光 雙 月 刊 Travel in Taiwan The Official Bimonthly English Magazine of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (Advertisement) July/August, 2016 Tourism Bureau, MOTC First published Jan./Feb., 2004 ISSN: 18177964 GPN: 2009305475 Price: NT$200 中華郵政台北雜字第1286號執照登記為雜誌交寄

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1.Wu-Nan Culture Plaza, No. 6, Zhongshan Rd., Central Dist., Taichung City 40043 886-4-2226-0330 2. N ational Bookstore, 1F., No. 209, Songjiang Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 10485 886-2-2518-0207 This magazine was printed with soy ink. Soy ink is said to be more environmentally friendly than petroleum-based ink and to make it easier to recycle paper.

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Dongyong Lighthouse on Dongyin Island (photo by Chen Cheng-kuo)

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In Taiwan


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26 1 4 6 54


Publisher’s Note Taiwan Tourism Events

36 Peaceful Pastures

News & Culture

– A Day at the Flying Cow Ranch in Miaoli County

Talk in Taiwan


10 Way Up North – The Matsu Islands

22 Stay + Eat + Buy Considerations – In the Matsu Islands



26 Little Streets and Small Alleys – Soaking in Taiwan’s Early History in Tainan


32 Heaven-Facing Lake

– Visiting a Saisiyat Community in Miaoli County



40 Let’s Go Shopping!

– Claiming Tax Refunds When Leaving the Country


42 Morning Meals in Taipei

– Modern and Traditional Eateries in the Big City


46 The Four Beasts of Taipei – Superb Vantage Points for Stunning City Views


50 Lovely Lotus Flower Fields – Cycling Around Baihe and Houbi Villages in Rural Tainan


Late-Summer Events 8/5 8/8

Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar website

Taiwan Culinary Exhibition 臺灣美食展

The Taiwan Culinary Exhibition will be staged for the 25th time this year, on this occasion presenting the “pure flavors” of Taiwan. The exhibition always draws large crowds of gourmets and gourmands curious about the latest trends in local cuisine. There will be six exhibition areas, showcasing Food Art , Food Utensils , Foodstuffs , Food Journey , and Food Gifts . One of the highlights of the exhibition will be a cooking contest during which chefs from Taiwan and abroad try to “out-cook” each other by preparing dishes with local ingredients. Visitors are also presented with myriad opportunities to sample mouthwatering delicacies and to learn about different cooking styles, including those of the Hakka people and Taiwan’s indigenous tribes. For more info, visit (Chinese).

Location: Taipei World Trade Center; No. 5, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd., Taipei City ( 台北世貿一館 ; 臺北市信義區信義路五段 5 號 ) Website:

8/2 9/1


Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival 雞籠中元祭

9/1 Kinmen Mid-Autumn MoonCake Gambling Festival 9/15 金門中秋博狀元餅

The people of Keelung, the harbor city west of Taipei City, haven’t always harbored neighborly feelings toward one another. In imperial times, immigrants from different areas along the mainland China coast would get into serious clashes over business, land ownership, customs, and beliefs. After a particular bloody fight with a hundred casualties in 1853, leaders of the different factions came together to put an end to the fighting. They decided to bury and worship the men who had died in the clashes, and organize a ceremony that, eventually, became the city’s official annual Ghost Festival celebration. The festival today runs throughout the seventh lunar month (Aug. 3~31 this year), known as Ghost Month because it is believed that during this time of the year the gates of the underworld open and ghosts return to the world of the living. Highlights of the festival are ceremonies at Laodagong Temple, a grand procession through city streets, the releasing of spirit-guiding water lanterns at the coast, and the ending ceremony on Ghost Month’s final day.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated around Taiwan with barbecue parties and the eating of mooncakes and pomelo fruit, preferably under a clear evening sky with the moon, said to be at its brightest at this time of the year, shining above. On the islands of Kinmen, just off the coast of mainland China’s Fujian Province, the festival has another fun element, “gambling for mooncakes.” Gambling contests, staged in such locations as temple forecourts, feature hundreds of people gathered around tables playing a simple dice game. Six dice are thrown in large bowls, and those with winning numbers (the winning combinations are shown in images on the tables) receive prizes such as mooncakes and Kaoliang liquor (a Kinmen specialty). Winners at each table advance to further rounds, and final-stage winners take home such grand prizes as a flat-screen TV, a car – and perhaps even a real Kinmen brown cow(!). More about the game and how it’s played at: http://815. .

Location: Laodagong Temple; No. 37, Ln. 76, Le 1st Rd., Anle Dist., Keelung City ( 老大公廟 ; 基隆市安樂區樂一路 76 巷 37 號 )

Location: Chief General's Office; No. 53, Wujiang St, Beimen Borough, Jincheng Township, Kinmen County ( 金門縣總兵署 ; 金門縣金城鎮北門里浯江街五十三號 ) Website:

Travel in Taiwan

J U LY ~ A U G U S T

8/1 8/24

National Yimin Festival 全國義民祭

Like the Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival, this festival goes back to less peaceful times in Taiwan. In the late 18th century, when rebel Lin Shuangwen and his followers fought the Qing government in Taiwan and threatened villages in the area of today’s Hsinchu County, Hakka volunteers took up arms and fought alongside Hoklo Taiwanese (the Han Chinese majority in Taiwan) and members of indigenous tribes to repel Lin and his men. The more than 200 brave men killed in the clashes were buried, and a temple built in their honor, in today’s Xinpu Township. The annual Yimin Festival, staged to honor the brave Hakka who were willing to sacrifice themselves in order to protect their people, is a key celebration for the Hakka people living in Taiwan, always drawing large crowds. Location: Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣新埔鎮 ) Website:


Toucheng Qianggu Grappling with the Ghost Pole-climbing Competition 頭城搶孤民俗文化活動

This is one of the most exciting traditional events on the Taiwan festival calendar. Groups of young and daring men attempt to climb up greasy poles, eleven meters high, to reach a platform, from where they climb further up bamboo trestlework in an attempt to reach a wind banner at the very top. The climbers will also cut off goodies such as squid, rice dumplings, rice noodles, meat, fish, and other foods tied to the trestlework, throwing them down to the large crowd of onlookers. The purpose of this grand spectacle is to scare away lingering spirits at the end of the Ghost Month (seventh lunar month), but it is also a fiercely competitive contest in which pride and bragging rights are at stake among local lads. Locations: Wenxiaoyi Cultural Park, Toucheng Township, Yilan County (Qianggu Field), the estuary of Zhu’an River, villages of Toucheng, as well as Baiyun and Yushi villages of Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣頭城文小一文化園區 [ 搶 孤場區 ] 竹安河口,頭城鎮各里及礁溪白雲玉石二村 )


Sanyi International Woodcarving Art Festival 三義國際木雕藝術節 The township of Sanyi in Miaoli County, northwestern Taiwan, is best known for its wood-sculpting art, with many master sculptors working and living here. It all started in 1918, when a man named Wu Jinbao and his son began creating sculptures using the fragrant camphorwood widely available in the Sanyi area. The art of wood sculpting was passed on to the local residents, and over the decades Sanyi became the main center for this art form in Taiwan. This festival was first staged in 2001 to highlight not just local wood sculpting, but also Hakka culture and local cuisine. The venue is the modern Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum, where you can marvel at many an outstanding woodcarving example. Visitors also have the chance to see master sculptors at work, and even try their hand at chipping their own artwork out of wooden blocks.

Location: Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum Square; No. 88, Guangsheng Xincheng, Guangsheng Village, Sanyi Township, Miaoli County ( 三義木雕博物館前廣場 ; 苗栗縣三義鄉廣盛村廣聲新城 88 號 ) Website:


Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival 日月潭萬人泳渡

Swimming is not allowed in Taiwan’s largest lake, save for one day in September. Looking at participant numbers, it seems that on this day everyone fond of swimming in Taiwan seizes the opportunity. The swim across the lake, from Zhaowu Pier to Ita Thao Pier (about 3 km), is not about winning or setting record times, but instead about enjoying a swim, together with thousands of others, “in” one of Taiwan’s most scenic attractions. While the organizers ensure that the swim is safe – every swimmer has a flotation device, and lifeguards in boats keep an eye on everyone – this swim is only for individuals in good health and the ability to swim long distances.

Location: Zhaowu Pier → Ita Thao Pier, Sun Moon Lake, Nantou County ( 南投縣魚池鄉 日月潭朝霧碼頭→伊達邵碼頭 ) Website: Travel in Taiwan


W H AT ' S U P

NEWS & Events around Taiwan

New Changhua High-Speed Rail Station Wins Award Last year, three new stations were added to the Taiwan High Speed Rail system, handling super-fast bullet trains traveling between Taipei in the north and Kaohsiung in the south: Miaoli, Changhua, and Yunlin. Earlier this year Changhua Station, in central Taiwan, received a prestigious honor recognizing its modern, environment-friendly design, when it was named the popular-choice winner in the Bus & Train Stations category of the Architizer’s A-plus awards (awards. ). The station resembles a greenhouse, and has a large multi-paned glass wall giving travelers an unobstructed view of the rural landscape of Changhua and enabling sunlight to stream through the spacious concourse. More sunlight is channeled in by curved columns, and natural ventilation keeps the building cool all year round. For more info about the Taiwan High Speed Rail system and its stations, visit .

Arwin Qilixiang Rose Forest in Miaoli

Located near Mingde Reservoir in northwestern Taiwan’s Miaoli County, the Arwin Qilixiang Rose Forest is a new tourist attraction created by cosmetics company Arwin Biotech. This is the fourth tourist draw created by the company. Visitors can walk through a spacious rose garden surrounding the modern Rose Story Gallery building, which houses a restaurant/café and has a display and shopping area. The garden is divided into smaller sections, each featuring specific types of roses, including the England Rose Garden, World Rose Garden, and Palace Rose Garden. Up to 5,000 blossoms can be seen during the blooming season. Entrance is free. For more info, visit ( ; in Chinese only)


Travel in Taiwan

Ferry Trips to Green Island and Orchid Island

Combining visits to Green Island (Ludao) and Orchid Island (Lanyu) off the southeastern coast of Taiwan has now been made easier. Since May this year, once daily (9am), a ferry leaving Fugang Harbor in Taitung County first heads to Orchid Island and then, on the return leg (leaving the island at 2:30pm), stops at Green Island before heading on to Fugang (leaving the island at 4:30pm). Other ferries from Fugang continue as before, making trips to only one of the islands. This year, the “triangle route” is only being operated during the summer months. Twoisland combo tickets are priced NT$2,700, whereas single tickets to the islands cost NT$2,300 (Orchid Island) and NT$920 (Green Island). Tickets can be booked by calling Da Fa Lun Ship Co. at 089-281-477; website: (in Chinese only).

J U LY ~ A U G U S T

New Shopping and Entertainment Complex in Kaohsiung

EVA Air Flies to Chicago Starting in November Taiwanese carrier EVA Air will offer direct flights to Chicago on Boeing 777-300ER aircraft starting November 2 this year. It will operate four roundtrip f lights per week on the new route. The flights will depart Taiwan Taoyuan Int ’l A ir por t at 7:5 0 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, and will leave Chicago at 0:20am Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. The airline also plans to expand services on its existing routes to the U.S., increasing, for example, weekly flights between Taipei and New York to 14 by October this year.

Laonong River Ready for Rafting Again Recently opened Taroko Park, located downtown in the southern city of Kaohsiung, couldn’t be more different from Taroko National Park in eastern Taiwan. Instead of the lofty peaks and deep natural gorges the national park is known for, Taroko Park has manmade attractions, such as an ultra-modern shopping center and a sports-themed amusement park, combining recreation, shopping, restaurants, and sports facilities. In contrast to other theme parks, visitors to the new park don’t have to buy an entrance ticket; payments are made for each ride by using Kaohsiung’s iPASS stored-value card. One of the park’s biggest attractions is the Suzuka Circuit Park, a cart-racing circuit modeled after the Formula 1 Suzuka Circuit in Japan. For more info, visit www. (in Chinese only).

The Laonong River in greater Kaohsiung is one of Taiwan’s two rivers suited for whitewater rafting, the other being Xiuguluan River on the east coast. Rafting activities on the river were suspended seven years ago in the aftermath of devastating Typhoon Morakot, which heavily damaged the riverbanks and greatly altered the riverbed. As with the Xiuguluan, rafting on the Laonong is a thrilling – yet in all ways safe – experience, made especially enjoyable by the beautiful mountain scenery seen along the way. For more information and to make reservations, visit tw (in Chinese only).


CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings

Until 9/18

Nat. Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

Russian Festival Ballet 俄羅斯明星節慶 芭蕾舞團

9/9 ~



The Russian Festival Ballet, founded in 1989 by Timour Faziev, includes some of the most talented dancers from the best theater troupes around Russia. Over two decades this star-talent group has toured extensively, performing all over the world. This year audiences in Taiwan have the chance to see these superb artists perform the classic ballets Swan Lake , Sleeping Beauty , Nutcracker , and Carmen .

Various Venues in Taipei

Until & 9/4

National Taiwan Museum

The View of Formosa’s Landscape from Photographers II 影耀寶島 ‧ 攝影家眼裡 的臺灣大地 (II)

Until 9/18

The varied landscapes of Taiwan present myriad opportunities for photography enthusiasts. This exhibition showcases 200 images of Taiwan, depicting this beautiful island’s mountains and forests, coastal and ocean areas, and its people and daily life. It will whet your appetite before you head out on an exploration tour of Taiwan.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Taipei Arts Festival 2016

Ghibli’s World of Animation



Each year, the Taipei Arts Festival features a series of themed performances staged at different city venues. One highlight of the festival is the annual installation exhibition, which provides an opportunity for interpretation, presentation, and appreciation of theatrical performances. Taipei is presented as an international cultural city – the festival not only introduces works of creative originality, but also encourages cross-genre performances, fosters cultural exchange with other cities, and supports promising artists. This year’s festival will feature performances by troupes from France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and Taiwan.

Lovers of Japanese animation films are certainly familiar with Studio Ghibli. Founded in 1985, the studio has produced eight of the 15 highest-grossing anime films in Japan, including Spirited Away (2001), its biggest success. The films are very popular in Taiwan, explaining why the studio has carefully assembled this special exhibition, bigger than any similar exhibition ever staged in Japan, featuring a total of 23 life-sized sets from nine of the company’s popular anime productions. Collectors are delighted about the related products on sale, which have been specially designed for the occasion.

Travel in Taiwan

c ulture s c ene

Until 8/31

National Palace Museum

Terracotta: The Rise and Legacy of Qin Culture 秦 ‧ 俑—秦文化 與兵馬俑特展

Besides the Great Wall, the army of terracotta warriors guarding the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of China, is probably most closely associated with the Middle Kingdom’s long and eventful history. The state of Qin, victor in the battle of six states known as the Warring States period, unified China in 221 BC, and its leader, often portrayed as a brutal tyrant, gave himself the title of “Emperor.” Although shortlived, the Qin Dynasty (221~206 BC) is regarded as the foundation of modern Chinese civilization. This exhibition explains how the Qin created an empire that would have a great impact on all following dynasties. Among the display highlights are terracotta warriors, horses, and a chariot, accompanied by many other precious items excavated from tombs dating back to the Qin Dynasty.

Until 11/27

National Museum of Taiwan History

Sing a Song: Taiwan in Sound 「聽!臺灣在唱歌: 聲音的臺灣史」特展

This exhibition presents music lovers with a comprehensive look at the history of recorded music in Taiwan. Visitors have the chance to listen to many of Taiwan’s most famous music stars and to learn about the changes in music-recording technologies over the last century. Apart from introducing you to the popular music of past generations, the exhibition also shows how sound recording became important in various fields of science, and how anthropologists, musicologists, and linguists have used recording equipment to document the sounds of Taiwan.



Travel in Taiwan


Way Up North

The Matsu Islands “Military stronghold on beautiful archipelago, with tunnels and beaches aplenty” – Lonely Planet

“Authentic and uncrowded … more like a wellpreserved corner of eastern Fujian Province than a real piece of Taiwan” – Michelin

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Chen Cheng-kuo, Matsu NSA Admin.

Dongyong Lighthouse on Dongyin Island

Travel in Taiwan



Day 1 Dongyin


h e Matsu Islands, far to Ta iwa n prop e r’s nor t hwe st and the Republic of China’s northernmost possessions, are among my favorite Taiwan-travel destinations, accompanying Alishan, Taroko Gorge, and the East Rift Valley. Michelin is also much taken with them, bestowing many star-ratings in its Michelin Green Guide: Taiwan . I’ve visited thr e times, and though the mountainous mainland China coast is clearly visible from many Matsu locations, on the approach from mainland Taiwan I’m each time reminded of the island-approach scene in the first Jurassic Park film – I’m about to land in a place a world unto itself, unlike anywhere else in Taiwan. Or anywhere else I’ve ever been. The main “themes” in this remote theme-park-like cluster, all falling within the Taiwan Tou r ism Bu reau’s Matsu National Scenic Area, are: PRC/ROC Cold War military history and ubiquitous military fortifications (many now tourist sites); geological spectacle, especially in the form of dramatic seascapes; traditional East Fujian stone-residence and temple architecture and cuisine, dramatically different from “mainstream” Taiwan; ferryride island-hopping; and teeming, swirling migratory-bird colonies. The sparsely populated islands can be described as massive granite (primarily) outcrops rising abruptly from the sea. Flat land is precious, and the wildly indented coastlines, geologically twisted and tortured, are dominated by soaring cliffs with only a few good harbor inlets and bays. There are five main islands: Beigan, Nangan, Dongyin, Dong ju, and Xiju. The first two, close to each other, are the largest and most heavily populated. Travel in Taiwan recently visited Nangan, Dongyin, and Dongju, spending a single day in each.


Travel in Taiwan

Dongyin is actually two islands, joined by a causeway. Two hours from Nangan by ferry, this is Taiwan’s northernmost point, a windswept outpost of tremendous natural beauty, with Matsu’s most thrilling scenery, a place of lofty granite cliffs and rocky spurs projecting out into the tealgreen sea. At the Northernmost Frontier, on the western island, Xiyin, a grassy trail leads from a parking lot past sentries at a lonely military command post, and past bunkers and other abandoned facilities, to the island’s windy northern edge. On clear days the China mainland can be seen. Below the cape’s tip is the Luohan (“Arhats”) Flats, sea-eroded pillars and platforms said to resemble Buddhism’s 18 arhats. Note, however, that though you stand at the Northernmost Frontier tourist attraction, the true frontier is in fact ;tiny, rocky Beigu Islet, just off the coast, which struggles to keep its head above the waves. The cape-tip is at the northern end of a peninsula called the Reclining Alligator – the resemblance is indeed striking – and atop the alligator’s well-defined snout, at the peninsula’s southern tip, is Stronghold No. 33. The highlight of this abandoned facility is the decommissioned US-made twin-barrel M1 40mm anti-aircraft gun on display, which a signboard tells you “weighs 51,350 pounds, has a range of 11,000 meters, (and can fire) 160 rounds per minute.” Good English-language information signage is provided here, as well as at tourist sites throughout Matsu. Archipelago strongholds, invariably dug into the edge-tops of steep-cliff promontories, often have majestic edgeof-the-world views. The Andong Tunnel, on the east side of Dongyin Island, is a superlative work of engineering, shooting right through a small mountain and exiting far down below at sea level. The area outside the entrance is protected habitat for the Blacktailed Gull and Black-naped Tern. Inside the tunnel are now-unused barracks, bathrooms, a kitchen, a meeting hall

… even a pigsty. Side tunnels lead to openings on sheer cliffsides, formerly used for gun emplacements, looking over cliffs on which Black-tailed Gulls nest in great number in summer, crashing surf far below, the birds obliging with fly-by entertainment just meters away. A large platform right above the sea awaits at the bottom, with tern nests all about on the rocky cliffs. L o c a t e d a t t he e a s t e r n mo s t t ip of Dong yin Island, the br illiant-white Dongyong Lighthouse’s physical setting – stark, lonely beauty. The lighthouse is perched, at first glance seemingly quite precariously, on the precipitous-angle flank of a mountain, the great sea looming before, nothing in view. The mountain’s upper half looms behind and above, nothing of human creation in view. On the dizzyingly steep complex walkways, you look straight down into the sea at your feet. Completed in 1877, designed by an Englishman in 18th-century British style, this lighthouse is Taiwan’s northernmost national heritage site. A stone-step trail behind the lighthouse leads to the Suicide Cliff, where ocean waves have cut deep into a mountainside, sculpting a vertical 100-meter-high wall on one side. The site is so-named because, according to island lore, pirates infested the local waters during much of the imperial Qing dynasty, and during one attack a Dongyin woman, her husband killed, chose to leap from the cliff rather than surrender her chastity. The Chinese name translates directly as “Chaste Woman’s Pit.” A Thread of Sky, a deep and exceedingly narrow sea-erosion trench, splices two giant blocks of granite, towering rock walls facing each other just meters apart. The outer block is being cut from the mainland like a slice of birthday cake. Fallen slabs high up actually connect the cliffs in places. From the bottom only a thin, bright-blue ribbon of sky is seen. The foaming-white sea waters rush in with the sound of a freight train. From the viewing deck, more busy military rockburrowing is seen – a tunnel entrance and short cliff-connecting concrete bridge beyond, seeming to hang in mid-air.


Northernmost Frontier

Three-colored cliffs at Northernmost Frontier

Suicide Cliff

Andong Tunnel

Travel in Taiwan



“Blue Tears” seen on Dongyin Island Photographer: Wang Wen-Zhong

Blue Tears “Blue Tears” is a surreal otherworldly phenomenon that local officials proudly remind you CNN has declared one of the world’s 15 great natural scenic wonders. Local coastline waters sometimes glow blue at night – caused by algae called dinoflagellates, commonly known as “sea sparkle,” which produce an electric-blue fluorescence when motion (waves, tides) disturb the waters they inhabit. Though found worldwide, Matsu’s high concentrations, clear waters, and freedom from light pollution magnify the effect. Dongyin’s inlets generally have the most spectacular displays, which occur late spring through summer. Eco-tours focused on the islands’ Blue Tears, migratory tern colonies, and traditional coastal fishing have become increasingly popular.

A Thread of Sky

Dongyong Lighthouse


Day 2 – Dongju Forty minutes from Nangan by ferry, sleepy and sparsely populated Dongju and its partner to the west, Xiju, are Matsu’s most southerly islands. Matsu’s double-story stone-residence architecture, so medieval European in look, is a world apart from the traditional south Fujian wood f rame/ brick wall / stucco courtyard residences seen elsewhere throughout Taiwan. During the Cold War era many old fishing villages emptied. Today, tourism is leading to revivification. Lovely, tiny Dapu Village is a prime example. The village was for a time abandoned, but with the help of an artist-in-residence program supported by the Matsu National Scenic Area Administration, homestay and other enterprises are now taking root – the first two homestays opened within the past year.

Dapu Village

Dongquan Lighthouse, atop a cape in Dongju’s northeast corner, is informally called the “Red-Hair Lighthouse.” The term "red-hair" was commonly used for Westerners during China’s imperial days after the Dutch appeared in regional waters. Like Dongyin’s lighthouse, the tall British-built facility, finished in 1872, guided foreign vessels into the nearby China mainland’s Min River after Fuzhou city was opened to trade fol low i ng t he Se c ond O piu m Wa r. Britain built numerous lighthouses in the region – China had none – after losing many vessels. The highlight at the capetip stronghold below the lighthouse, beyond the stupendous seagull-angle views, is a massive gun poking from a camouflaged emplacement.

Fuzheng Village, significantly larger than Dapu, is another old fishing village just recently launched along the road to revivification. If you are a photography buff you might feel here like a kid in a candy shop, a photo opp at every turn with possibilities seemingly endless, with scores of tiered old residences, harbormoored f ishing craft, beached hulks, the lighthouse atop its backdrop hill, a f laming-orange-red temple and display tanks at its base. Ta k e y o u r t i m e s a v o r i n g t h e architecture up close. Most structures are two-storied, the second f loor providing sea views, cooling breezes, and relief from ground-level dampness. Windows tend to be small and higher up, facilitating defense (way back when) against pirate attack.

Travel in Taiwan




Travel in Taiwan

Dongquan Lighthouse


Fuzheng Village

Mural in Dapu Village

Wine jars in Fuzheng Village

Cliffs near Dongquan Lighthouse

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Day 3 – Nangan Matsu’s largest island, Nangan is its cultural and political/ administrative hub, and a very busy place compared to the rest of the archipelago. Niujiao Village in Nangan’s northeast, once again flourishing, was one of the first to undergo a renaissance. Note how the homes’ granite blocks are in two shades, yellow and blue. The yellow are from Matsu, blue from Fujian; as a rough rule, blue meant you were more prosperous. Wulinggong Temple, above Niujiao’s harbor, has the bright orange-red exterior seen on many local temples. The color symbolizes flames; since already “on fire,” why would real fire need to visit? As with many homes, exaggerated vertical eaves are also supposed to help block sparks from nearby fires. A 10-minute walk along the pathway that starts behind the temple takes you to the tip of the cape here, which is occupied by Stronghold No. 12 – not quite abandoned, for its two-floor command post/quarters has been “occupied” by “Thornbirds Book & Café,” an indie enterprise of great character that serves up splendid views of hilly Beigan to the north. The building is attached to such a steep rock face that you feel you’re hovering over the water rather than beside it.

Getting There and Around There are regular flights between Taipei and Matsu’s airports on Beigan and Nangan, and regular overnight ferry service from Keelung, near Taipei, to the islands. In the archipelago, regular service on smaller ferries is provided between the main islands. The islands are often fogged in, especially March-May, so check ahead before traveling. For detail on flights, ferry services, accommodations, taxi/van/scooter rental, visitor info centers, and more, visit the Matsu National Scenic Area website ( ). Note that tickets can be hard to come by during the summer high season, so book well ahead.

Picturesquely filling up a mountain-backed niche of flat land behind a sheltered cove, compact, narrow-laned Jinsha Village in Nangan’s southwest is another imperial-era settlement now breathing strongly again, with new homestays and shops opening. One example is funky Matsu 1st Hostel, where cheap, cubiclestyle single- and double-person rooms are offered. Housed in a true Matsu rarity, one of its east Fujian-style courtyard residences, beautifully restored, it’s one of four Nangan/Beigan youth-oriented homestays run by local entrepreneur Eddy Chuang ( ; in Chinese only). The Iron Fort east of Jinsha Village, both on and inside a rocky outcrop in a small bay, once protected frogmen units. Narrow tunnels within lead to sniper slots, gun emplacements, quarters, and a kitchen. Outside, note the dog kennel. When tensions were high, PRC frogmen units staged night attacks, poisoning the guard dogs and taking human ears as trophies and proof of success. Many died in such lightning attacks over the years, here and elsewhere in Matsu. For more information on the sights and experiences showcased in this issue, as well as the many others that await you, visit the Matsu National Scenic Area website (

English and Chinese A Thread of Sky 一線天 Andong Tunnel 安東坑道 Beigan 北竿 Beigu Islet 北固礁 Blue Tears 藍眼淚 Dapu Village 大埔聚落 Dongju 東莒 Dongquan Lighthouse 東犬燈塔 Dongyin 東引 Dongyong Lighthouse 東湧燈塔 Eddy Chuang 莊順福 Fuzheng Village 福正聚落 Iron Fort 鐵堡

Jinsha Village 津沙聚落 Luohan (“Arhats”) Flats 羅漢坪 Nangan 南竿 Niujiao Village 牛角聚落 Northernmost Frontier 國之北疆 Matsu 1st Hostel 馬祖 1 青年民宿 Reclining Alligator 鱷魚島 Red-Hair Lighthouse 紅毛城燈塔 Stronghold No. 12 12 據點 Stronghold No. 33 三山據點 Suicide Cliff 烈女義坑 Wulinggong Temple 五靈公廟 Xiju 西莒 Xiyin 西引

Wulinggong Temple


Jinsha Village

Former military post on Dongju Island

Stronghold No. 12

Iron Fort Travel in Taiwan



Stronghold No.12

Niujiao Village

Nangan Jinsha Village

Iron Fort


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The Matsu


Northernmost Frontier

Suicide Cliff

Stronghold No. 33


Dongyong Lighthouse

A Thread of Sky Andong Tunnel

Islands N Fuzheng Village



Dongquan Lighthouse


Dapu Village

Keelung Harbor

Day1 Day2 Day3

Taipei Songshan Airport


Google map with info

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Stay + Eat + Buy Considerations In the

Matsu Islands Text: Rick Charette

Photos: Chen Cheng-kuo

Though remote from Taiwan proper, and with fewer visitors and a narrower spectrum of stay/eat/buy selections than the island groups of Kinmen and Penghu to the south, Matsu still provides you with solid quality and range, served up by folks that are notably relaxed, warm, and welcoming.


At Happy Inn on Dongju Island Travel in Taiwan


Breakfast at Dongyin Haijiao

Dongyin Haijiao

STAY Matsu’s hotels are small, clean, and spartan. The way to go, however, is a homestay experience in one of the ever-growing number of old traditional-style stone residences converted into modern-interior, family-run homestays/B&Bs. Open less than a year, the Happy Inn homestay in Dongju’s Dapu Village, run by an enthusiastic hometown-proud middleaged couple, is composed of two beautifully restored heritage stone-built residences. The wife grew up in one; the other was her auntie’s. Each is small and cozy, with just a few rooms, all modern in styling and tastefully appointed. The first has ensuite bathrooms with showers, the second shared. Sitting out on a stone patio enjoying coffee at breakfast, looking out over the village’s still-abandoned lower section and, beyond, old fishing boats following age-old ways under rugged barefaced granite cliffs, is a uniquely stressreleasing experience I cannot more highly

recommend. (Rooms start at NT$1,000; simple Chinese breakfast included; free shuttle service to/from port.) Perched high on a steep slope overlooking a long, narrow fjord-like bay in which the “Blue Tears” phenomenon can be viewed, and looking across at Stronghold No. 33 and the Northernmost Frontier, quirky Dongyin Haijiao (“Dongyin Cape”) is “Taiwan’s northernmost homestay.” Its exterior struck me as though something Dr. Seuss would concoct, an eclectic agglomeration of what looks like building blocks of different colors and sizes stacked up willy-nilly, as though balanced against the mountainside. The young, chummy owner-couple, who grew up here, provide clean, modern-styling rooms with ensuite bathrooms. The homey checkin room/eatery is still decked out in the garb from its days as the hamlet’s bar/karaoke lounge. (Rooms start at NT$1,800; simple Western sandwich-style breakfast included; free shuttle service to/from port.)

Dongyin Haijiao

Happy Inn ( 東莒幸福居民宿) Add: No. 106-1, Daping Village (Dapu), Dongju, Juguang Township, Lianchiang County ( 連江縣莒光鄉東莒大坪村( 大埔)106-1 號) Tel: 0926-812-841 / (0836) 89-021 Website: (Chinese)

Dongyin Haijiao ( 東引海角民宿) Add: No. 137, Zhongliao Village, Dongyin,Lianchiang County ( 連江縣東引中柳村137 號) Tel: 0928-267-242 / (0836) 76-268 Website: (Chinese)

Happy Inn

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Plate of “Buddha Hand” at Zhen Shan Mei

Hongzao rice at Feng Shulin Xiaochi

EAT East Fujian culinary traditions are followed in Matsu, delectably distinct from the south Fujian traditions elsewhere in Taiwan, and the islands’ unique seafood harvest is showcased.

Drink at Daping’s Drink-Bar

Zhen Shan Mei ( 珍膳美餐廳) Add: No. 93, Lehua Village, Dongyin, Lianchiang County ( 連江縣東引樂華村93 號) Tel: (0836) 77-289


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Locals agree that the place to go for seafood in Dongyin is Zhen Shan Mei, a bright, sunny restaurant of straightforward décor located high on Lehua Village’s main street, which runs down toward the harbor. Matsu is Taiwan’s sole spot where mussels grow; the local variety has a sweet taste. The islanders eat theirs cold, marinated in a highly seasoned rice-wine sauce after cooking. “Buddha Hand,” a ty pe of shellfish rare in Taiwan, has a “hand” akin to a webbed claw; cooked with laojiu (see Buy section below), you crack the shell open with your teeth, like cracking a sunflower seed. Best of the nonseafood selections is the delicious “Matsu hamburger” – a charcoalbaked, sesame-covered, bagellike Jiguang bun – another Matsu specialty – that is deep-fried, sliced open, and stuffed with a savory filling of fried egg, fat oysters, green onion, and other yummies. The best eatery I’ve visited in Dongju is Feng Shulin Xiaochi (“Maple Grove Eatery”), in Daping Feng Shulin Xiaochi ( 楓樹林小吃) Add: No. 23, Daping Village, Dongju, Lianchiang County ( 連江縣東莒大坪村23 號) Tel: (0836) 89-137

Village. Another restaurant of humble décor, the walls here are prettied with an art gallery-style line of attractive photos highlighting Matsu’s beauty spots. Considering the eatery’s modest size, the menu’s heft is startling. Hongzao or redyeast rice, the dregs remaining from laojiu production, is a widely-used seasoning in east Fujian cooking, hongzao fried rice is an iconic dish, and the Feng Shulin version is notably aromatic and flavorsome. Hongzao fried pork and sea eel are also delicious, the seasoning sealing the natural juices inside (the local mussels are also prepared with hongzao). Other recommended creations are fried squid, blackpepper beef-noodle soup, wonton noodles, stinky tofu, Koreanstyle BBQ pork noodles, and spicy noodles with duck meat. A few steps away is the cheery Drink-Bar, all dressed up inside and outside in the pastel colors and trappings of a Mediterranean seaside bistro. The specialty at this teadrink bar/café is xiancao naidong , “herbal-jelly milk,” containing whipped milk, large herbal-jelly chunks, cane-sugar syrup, and ice – a cool, filling drink terrific when the sun comes out to play. There is also a lineup of other milk, tea, coffee, and fruit beverages, as well as hot snack foods. Drink-Bar ( 找茶仙草奶凍) Add: No. 30, Daping Village, Dongju, Lianchiang County ( 連江縣東莒大坪村30 號) Tel: (0836) 88-009 / 0919-919-118


Matsu snack treats

Lighthouse-shaped wine jars

Tunnel 88

BUY Processed-food products, especially snack treats, and local spirits are the souvenir and gift items most visitors carry in their luggage when leaving the islands. Each of the Taiwan Tou rism Bu reau’s island visitor centers has a sales boutique or display area showcasing Matsu specialty products, as do the air por ts. The best encou ntered on this Travel in Taiwan exploratory trip was the comely, tastefully designed Nangan Visitor Center boutique, which has a comparatively large selection. I never leave Matsu without some “Matsu crunch” made by f r ying a f lou r-andegg mix, adding barley malt syrup, and then pressing. Another bestseller is the turnip puffs; the delicate, lightly crispy, savory/sweet confections, which contain white turnip, peanut, and honey plum, are traditionally the final course at Matsu weddings and other special occasions. Matsu is also renowned for first-rate gaoliang (sorghum) liquor and laojiu , a rice wine.

Production of the former was introduced by the military in the 1950s. The latter is a traditional medicinal spirit made with glutinous rice; private production remains common. Matsu has two distilleries, opened by the militar y in 1956, in Nangan and Dongyin; each has a sales showroom, and in Nangan visitors can also visit Tunnel 88, a former military tunnel now used for spirits aging. Notably fetching purchases are the laojiu selections presented in ceramic jars shaped like Matsu’s iconic lighthouses – two of which (now empty) grace the mini-garden I maintain on my balcony. Finally, be sure to stop in for a chat with the bubbly ladies at the unusual Dongju Community Development Association retail outlet in the decommissioned camouf lage-paint Stronghold No. 64 command-post building, right beside Dapu Village, where mellow Dapu Village laojiu , hongzao , dried-roselle crisps, and other Dongju specialties are sold.

Dapu laojiu

Reminder: Please don’t drink and drive.

English and Chinese Buddha Hand 佛手 Dongju Community Development Association 東莒社區發展協會 gaoliang liquor 高粱酒 hongzao 紅糟 Jiguang bun 繼光餅 laojiu 老酒 Matsu crunch 馬祖酥 Matsu hamburger 馬祖漢堡 Stronghold No. 64 64 據點 xiancao naidong 仙草奶凍

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Little Streets and Small Alleys Soaking in Taiwan’s Early History in Tainan Text: Owain Mckimm

The southern city of Tainan is arguably the best place in Taiwan to go on a history and heritage hunt Here are just a few suggestions to get you started on a Tainan tour of intriguing sights and memorable delights.


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Photos: Rich Matheson



.s Taiwan's first and former capital, .the beautiful southern city of Tainan .is rich in history – far richer, it has to be said, than its hastily modernized usurper, Taipei. Once the regional base of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and later the pet project of the Ming Dynasty general and folk hero, Koxinga, Tainan boasts some of the oldest forts and ruins, temples, streets, and best-preserved historic buildings in Taiwan. And whereas Taipei aims to be international, modern, and forward thinking, Tainan remains a very old-school Taiwanese city, staunchly proud and protective of its heritage. That's not to say, though, that Tainan isn't innovative – indeed, artists and young entrepreneurs are taking the shells of the city's old buildings and repurposing them as cafés, shops, and restaurants, simultaneously preserving the city's antique facades while also catering to the needs of the modern urbanite.

Culture You can, of course, soak in Taiwan's early history by wandering around historic districts like Anping (controlled by the VOC in the 1600s) or the city center (home to the country's first Mazu and Confucius temples). However, for something a little broader in scope and more detailed, a visit to the National Museum of Taiwan History – without hyperbole, one of the best museums in Taiwan – is most certainly in order. The museum was opened in 2011 after 12 years of preparation and construction, and you'll find little in the way of gilded antique vases or jadeite sculptures here. Unlike the National Palace Museum in Taipei, which showcases

Blueprint Culture and Creative Park

National Museum of Taiwan History


ancient Chinese imperial artifacts that were evacuated to Taiwan from mainland China during the Chinese Civil War, and which, as a result, portrays Taiwan in a distinctly Chinese context, the National Museum of Taiwan History is all about the fascinating history of Taiwan on its own terms. The museum covers the whole gamut of this land’s short but chequered modern history, from Taiwan's early indigenous inhabitants, through its Dutch, Spanish, Ming/Qing, and Japanese periods, and ending with the martial-law period of the mid-tolate 20th century. Rather than illustrating local history via a collection of fragile artifacts hermetically sealed in glass cases, the museum instead presents a three-dimensional snapshot of each period with a population of lifelike and life-sized models. Reconstructions of cargo ships and their crew illustrate how early Han Chinese settlers immigrated to the island from southern China; a group of indigenous people signing papers with Han farmers show how the new immigrants interacted with the original inhabitants; an entire Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) temple procession complete with red- and green-faced guardian demons illuminates the island's religious life; besuited tea merchants and guild heads introduce the Taiwanese-tea boom of the 19th century. The jewel in the collection, however, is without doubt the reconstructed Japanese-era shopping street, complete with a grocery shop, photography studio, cloth seller, and café. Th e m u s e u m h a s e x c e lle n t i n f o r m a tio n boards, in both English and Chinese, as well as a comprehensive English audio guide. Set some time aside for this visit – you'll be captivated for hours.

National Museum of Taiwan History





Eating After gorging yourself on history, you may be in the mood to savor something a little more tangible than historical facts. Tainan has no shortage of good eateries, and a stop at a “coffin bread” or shrimproll stall will undoubtedly sate your appetite. However, in keeping with the historical theme, you might try lunch in one of the city's many converted old buildings. The Luzao Teahouse, for example, found beside a little courtyard down an inconspicuous alley off Weimin Street, was once an old family residence that was left vacant when the family moved into more spacious accommodation. The owner of the teahouse – Huang Shao-qi – whose mother once ran a restaurant by the same courtyard, often used to walk by the empty house and, wondering who owned it, one day slipped a letter underneath the door asking for permission to rent. A while later he got a reply, and seven years ago he opened the teahouse. The upstairs area has something of a Japanese feel about it, with a tatamicovered floor – though this is in fact a call-back to Huang's childhood, when he used to sleep on tatami, rather than an overt attempt to imitate the Japanese. The teahouse sells a range of local and foreign teas, but Huang recommends the four-fruits tea (made with fresh passion fruit, watermelon, kiwi, and pineapple) and the afternoon tea set, which includes finger sandwiches of pork and cheese, a mochi Swiss roll, and a whippedcream-and-cherry-topped pudding – all delectable, though more suitable as a light refreshment than a real lunch. For something a little grander in scale, try the Jieyichang Historic Restaurant, located in the old Xinhua Township Office. If you ask the manager, Gao Rong-jie, to tell you a little about the building's history, he might direct you to look at a mural on the wall of the building

opposite, which features a team of burly men tugging on a thick rope. In the year 2000, in order to preserve the township office following plans to build an underground car park beneath the building, 1,500 volunteers moved the structure over 300 meters away and then back again using only ropes and rollers. Of course, after expending so much effort to save the building, there was no question of demolishing it – giving it new life as a business was the natural next step. The mural also depicts Xinhua Township's "three treasures" – pineapples, bamboo shoots, and sweet potatoes. These are put to heavy use as ingredients in the restaurant's dishes – along with, somewhat incongruously, olives. A rarely seen crop in Taiwan, the local olives are larger and more strongly flavored than regular European olives. Local cultivation was undertaken during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) to provide a refreshing snack for soldiers barracked nearby. The restaurant's olive hotpot is quite the pleasant oddity, the olives giving the stock a sour, briny quality that you'll find nowhere else on the island.

National Museum of Taiwan History ( 台灣歷史博物館) Add: No. 250, Sec. 1, Changhe Rd., Annan Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市安南區長和路一段250 號) Tel: (06) 356-8889 Hours: 9am~5pm; Closed Mon. Website:

Luzao Teahouse ( 鹿早茶屋) Add: No. 1, Ln. 70, Weimin St., Zongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區衛民街70 巷1 號) Tel: 0919-633-225 Hours: Mon.~Fri. 10am~6pm; Weekends 9am~6pm; Closed Tues.


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Luzao Teahouse

Luzhao Teahouse

Jieyichang Historic Restaurant ( 街役場古蹟餐坊) Add: No. 500, Zhongzheng Rd., Xinhua Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市新化區中正路500 號) Tel: (06) 590-5599 Hours: 11am~10pm; Closed Mon. Website: (Chinese)





Jieyichang Historic Restaurant

Tainan's Anping District is without question one of the city's finest, with mazes of streets and alleys clustered with traditional low-roofed red-brick buildings that are, unfortunately, much a thing of the past in other cities on the island. It's only fitting, then, that traditional art is preserved in these buildings too. While handicrafts can be expensive, if you're on the lookout for some characterful souvenirs that don't break the bank, you could do a lot worse than visiting Lufu Cultural & Creative Industries. This store sells handmade scented sachets – embroidered silk pouches filled with fragrant herbs and spices, traditionally said to ward off evil spirits and disease – and charm bags – flat, purse-like packets containing a piece

Jieyichang Historic Restaurant

of Buddhist or Daoist scripture, some semi-precious stones, or a lucky coin, designed to bring the bearer good fortune, protection, or wealth. The items are made by a small and dedicated staff right in the shop, and come in a variety of patterns, ranging from traditional flowers and Chinese characters to more flamboyant caricatures of local folk deities and talismanic emblems such as peanuts, lions, and auspicious fruit. Prices start at around NT$40 (a bargain considering each sachet takes at least 3 hours to make) and top at around NT$350 for the most intricate. Lufu Cultural & Creative Industries ( 鹿府文創商店) Add: No. 5, Ln. 70, Yanping St., Anping Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市安平區延平街70 巷5 號) Tel: (06) 221-3811 Website: (Chinese)

Lufu Cultural & Creative Industries

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Blueprint Culture and Creative Park

Evening If you're heading back into the center of Tainan for the evening, a pleasant place to end the day is the Blueprint Culture and Creative Park (the “blueprint” in question is a three-dimensional optical illusion on the east side of the park, which fools the eye into mistaking a solid wall for an architectural blueprint). The park, which opened in December 2015, was created by renovating a set of old dormitories – that once housed employees of the local judiciary – as a way to both preserve the buildings and make the assets financially viable. The area is particularly lovely after sunset, the shop windows lit up and the artwork that adorns the walls brightly illuminated. The stores that are housed here are a mixture of cultural

Pets’ & Design

and commercial – selling everything from luxury pet products to artisanal stationery. Indeed, one of the most interesting shops in the complex is Juzhen Taiwan, which sells postcards, prints, and maps inspired by Taiwan’s past. The shop's general manager – Qiu Tian-zhi – is a fount of local knowledge, and certainly worth striking up a conversation with. One particularly lovely set of products that Qiu likes to introduce is a collection of thin metal bookmarks shaped to resemble the patterned wrought-iron window bars that you'll see on many of Tainan's old buildings. Walk through the little streets and alleys, Qiu tells visitors; you'll see them. The beauty of Tainan is everywhere.

Blueprint Culture and Creative Park

Blueprint Culture and Creative Park ( 藍晒圖文創園區) Add: No. 2, Ln. 689, Sec. 1, Ximen Rd., South Dist., Tainan City ( 臺南市南區西門路一段689 巷2 號) Tel: (06) 222-7195 Website: Hours: 1pm~8pm; Closed Tues.


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English and Chinese Anping District 安平區 “coffin bread” 棺材板 Gao Rong-jie 高榮傑 Huang Shao-qi 黃紹琪 Juzhen Taiwan 聚珍台灣 Qiu Tian-zhi 邱添枝 Xinhua Township Office 新化鎮公所

Juzhen Taiwan

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Heaven-Facing Visiting a Saisiyat Community in Miaoli County Text: Joe Henley Photos: Maggie Song, Culture and Tourism Bureau, Miaoli County

The Saisiyat, one of the smaller indigenous groups in Taiwan, live in the mountainous Nanzhuang area of Miaoli. This tribal people is best known for the Dwarf Spirit Ceremony, staged every two years by Xiangtian Lake. Every ten years a grand ceremony is staged – and this happens to be just such a year.


n the highlands of Miaoli's Nanzhuang Township, at an elevation of just over 700 meters, sits the scattered collection of modest one- and two-story houses that is Donghe Village, a settlement that rises up a slope along a winding road lined by the likes of betelnut trees, windmill palms, and small garden plots. The village is typical of many of Taiwan's somewhat isolated mountain communities, most reached by narrow, curving switchback roads agreeable only to those with a strong stomach and a knack for skillfully navigating tight corners. Above the village is a basin framed on three sides by tree-covered mountain peaks. Today the basin bottom, thought to have once been marshland, is


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filled by an artificial lake. The Han Chinese who came here centuries ago called it Yangtian Lake; the name was later changed, after the arrival of the Nationalist government, to Xiangtian (“Heaven-Facing”) Lake. But in the language of the Saisiyat, the people who were there before Taiwan's recorded history, this place is rareme an, “the place of dye plants.” The Saisiyat, like Taiwan’s other indigenous peoples, are possible descendants of prehistoric Iron Age peoples who settled in Taiwan sometime between 50,000 and 30,000 years ago and gradually spread throughout the island, though archaeological research has not revealed any proven connection.

According to one stream of scholarly thought, as these people split into different groups inhabiting regions separated by then near impassible mountainous terrain, they developed their own unique languages, spiritual beliefs, legends of origin, and customs. Today there are 16 recognized indigenous tribes in Taiwan, with the Saisiyat one of the smaller groups, counting just over 6,000 among the country's approximately 543,000-strong indigenous population. Much like their population, the area the Saisiyat inhabit is quite small. They occupy an oblong sliver of land running southwest to northeast, crossing the border between Nanzhuang and Shitan townships in Miaoli County and Wufeng Township in Hsinchu County.


medicine, and spiritual worship on the Saisiyat. According to the tale, the Saisiyat and the Taai lived in harmony for a time, until the Taai were accused of improprieties with Saisiyat women. They were subsequently attacked by their erstwhile allies, with most killed, the survivors cursing the Saisiyat to suffer from annual famine and other catastrophe. Since those times, the Saisiyat have held the Pasta'ay ritual to appease the spirits of those they killed, summoning their spirits with song and dance for offerings of food and drink, then sending them away, their rage placated, the Saisiyat having earned their freedom from the strife of nature and the vengeful spirits at its reins. Small Pasta'ay rituals are held once every two years, with larger events taking place once a decade on the 15th day of the 10th lunar month. The next larger ceremony will be this autumn.


Xiangtian Lake

Rivers and streams have played a key role in the lives of the Saisiyat, who to this day largely live along or near the banks of the mountain arteries that have dictated their history. In the distant past, tribal alliances were known as aehae' ba la, which means “one river”; they were enacted to fight against intrusions from neighboring tribes, or to resolve conflicts surrounding disputed hunting grounds or access to the life-giving waterways themselves.

during these colonial incursions than Taiwan's indigenous peoples. Time and time again they have been persuaded, by means both peaceful and violent, to vacate their ancestral lands under the capricious banner of “pacification.” Today, however, efforts are ongoing to preserve the ways of the past through educational initiatives surrounding the revival of tribal languages and ceremonies, as well as promotion of reverence for sacred sites and lands.

The modern history of Taiwan has been one of colonization and re-colonization, a pattern traced back to the Dutch attempt of the early- to mid-17th century through to the more recent Japanese colonial era ended by the cessation of World War II. No population has suffered greater indignities and collective loss of identity

For the Saisiyat, these efforts center around Xiangtian Lake. The grounds next to the lake are the hallowed place of Pasta'ay, or the Dwarf Spirit Ceremony, the tribe’s most important ritual. The ritual is traced to the legend of the Taai, or “short people,” who are said to have bestowed their knowledge of agriculture,

Next to the Pasta'ay grounds is the Saisiyat Museum, housing a collection of over 300 artifacts, including tools, pottery, and traditional clothing. Two short films are screened in the museum's theater at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. The first (Mandarin with English subtitles) provides a brief introduction to the museum and the history of the Saisiyat. The second (Saisiyat or English with

Dwarf Spirit Ceremony

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Mandarin subtitles) is a cartoon telling the story of the Daughter of Thunder, who descended to Earth to help the Saisiyat develop their long-held ties to the millet crops from which they make both food and drink. On the ground floor of the museum, with a patio overlooking Xiangtian Lake, is the 738 Café (named for the lake's elevation), a place to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, a snack or a meal, or perhaps to engage in one of the DIY activities. Patrons are invited to don traditional tribal clothing (vests and head coverings for men, blouses and headbands for women), in the colors red, black, and white, respectively signifying passion, purity, and a reminder of the taboos of tribal society. The cafe's owner, a locally renowned artist, will then guide you through the

making of blossoms fashioned from thin pieces of rattan. By the museum is a concrete path, which runs around the circumference of the small lake, leading over an arched bridge, then by another small café, the Beautiful Coffee Villa, where moderately priced food and drink are also available along with a pleasant view of lilies and their broad pads growing in the shallow waters. Walking around the lake to the end opposite the museum café will take you to old homes inhabited by the lake's few remaining year-round residents, and to the village market, less an actual place of commerce for the people living there than a spot for tourists to purchase locallymade products such as honey, sausages, and camellia oil. Down the mountain, a few minutes away from the lake by car along County

Highway 21, is the Walu Industrial Center. “Walo,” the Saisiyat name for Donghe Village, means “honey” or “sweetness.”). The building in which the center is housed is a former police station, constructed by the Japanese in 1924, which functioned as such until the late 1980s. Today it is a place where local culture and the arts are promoted, with products made by local artists available for sale, as well as snacks and drinks such as mae'aew honey water or coffee, infused with touches of lemon and ginger. After stopping at the center, it's a short drive further down the mountain and across Nanzhuang Bridge to Nanzhuang Old Street, a place to stock up on local snacks and treats, and also to acquaint yourself with an approximation of life in an old town as it was decades ago.

Fish dish at Beautiful Coffee Villa

Walu Industrial Center

Shop in Nanzhuang


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DIY activity at 738 Café


Walu Industrial Center

Saisiyat Museum ( 賽夏族民俗文物館) Add: No. 25, Xiangtian Lake, Neighborhood 16, Donghe Village, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣南庄鄉東河村16 鄰向天湖25 號) Tel: (037) 825-024 Hours: 9am ~ 5pm (closed on Mondays) Admission: NT$30 Xiangtian Lake

Getting There To get to Nanzhuang Township and the Xiangtian Lake area, take a train from Taipei Railway Station to Zhunan (1.5 hours). From Zhunan Railway Station take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus plying the Nanzhuang Route ( busline_post_m1_en.html ) to Nanzhuang Visitor Center. There, take a bus on the Xiangtian Lake Route ( m2_en.html ) to Xiangtian Lake. A 1-day pass for the Nanzhuang, Xiangtian, and also the Xianshan routes costs NT$150, and you can switch between the routes as many times as you like. It takes around 50 minutes to reach Xiangtian Lake from Zhunan Railway Station.

English and Chinese Daughter of Thunder 雷女 Donghe Village 東河村 Dwarf Spirit Ceremony 矮靈祭 Nanzhuang Bridge 南庄橋 Nanzhuang Old Street 南庄老街 Nanzhuang Township 南庄鄉 Saisiyat 賽夏族 Shitan Township 獅潭鄉 Walu Industrial Center 瓦祿產業文物館 Wufeng Township 五峰鄉 Xiangtian Lake 向天湖 Yangtian Lake 仰天湖

738 Café (738 文創餐坊) Add: No. 25, Xiangtian Lake, Neighborhood 16, Donghe Village, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣南庄鄉東河村16 鄰向天湖25 號) Tel: (037) 823-922 Beautiful Coffee Villa ( 南庄向天湖咖啡民宿) Add: No. 26, Xiangtian Lake, Neighborhood 16, Donghe Village, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣南庄鄉東河村16 鄰向天湖26 號) Tel: (037) 825-559

For more information on enjoying your Miaoli tribal experience, check out http://timefortaiwan. tw/en/theme/theme_201006170026_90401. Travel in Taiwan



A Day at the Flying Cow Ranch in Miaoli County Text: Joe Henley Photos: Maggie Song

Located between the busy cities of Hsinchu and Taichung, Miaoli is a charming rural county with rolling hills and a distinct slower pace of life. This is the setting for one of Taiwan’s most attractive leisure farms, an idyllic haven with grazing cows, cheeky goats, and easily excited ducks.


t might seem a bit strange to look into the wide dark-brown eyes of a bottlefeeding two-month-old Jersey calf one minute, and the next be sitting down to a meal wherein the star attraction is a plate of braised beef. But if you think that the plastic-wrapped packages of veal cutlets in the supermarket simply materialize as is on the chilled shelf, perhaps this is an experience worth having. To get a glimpse of commercial farm life and the ways in which 36

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meat and dairy products get from farm to table in Taiwan, head for the Flying Cow Ranch in Miaoli County. The Flying Cow Ranch (est. 1975 as the Central Youth Dairy Village) sits in a picturesque valley at an elevation of around 200 meters above sea level. On clear days, you can enjoy fine views of the area of rural Tongxiao Township that lies below, and the Taiwan Strait beyond.

The property is vast, comprising some 50 hectares of pristine land with rolling green grazing areas for the farm's Jersey and Holstein cattle, the boundary of the ranch marked by rocky crags. With such splendid scenery to inspire the owners, the name given to the ranch may seem a bit of a mystery. The moniker, staff explained during a recent visit to the working farm, which employs around 150 people year round, was bestowed upon the


Feeding sheep in the Sheep Area

Butterfly Area

A calf in the Dairy Cattle Area

place as an expression of the owners’ lofty philosophy – the promotion of sustainable living, organic practices, and knowledge of where our food comes from. So expansive is the farm that it has paved roads, which guests can follow either by walking or by taking a tractor-drawn wagon tour. The guided tour takes visitors past all the highlights, including barns that wouldn't look out of place on a Montana cattle ranch, grazing areas, and the warehouse, wherein a

portion of the approximately 1,000 liters of milk collected per day is made into cheese, cheesecake, pudding, and other dairy products. The tour also includes a stop at the enclosed Butterf ly Area – a meshed structure featuring various species of butterfly, some of which so closely resemble brown, dead leaves that it can come as somewhat of a shock when they take flight. The wagon tour gives you a great overview of the farm, but if you want to get a better look at the animals, take the path past the fenced-in Dairy Cattle Area, where cows feed on the lush, rolling green, to reach the barns and pens. There, ranch hands give you a chance to get up close and personal with the various animals on hand. Calves need four liters of milk per day during their first few months of life, meaning there's more than enough feeding to go around among would-be ranchers if the crowds are light. Walking past the white barn located at the end of the grazing grounds, located on a slope, it's more than likely you'll be asked if you would like to bottle-feed one of the young calves. After receiving some

Rabbit Area

instructions (be sure to have two fingers pressed firmly over the rubber seal, lest the eager calf wrenches it away, and hold the bottle at an angle of about 45 degrees), you are ready to go. Four liters seem like a lot – until you watch a calf suck down a quarter of that in just a few seconds. Next to the white barn housing the calves is the Sheep Area, which has a small pen of baby goats and an enclosure for Barbados Blackbelly sheep. There, you can gather up a handful of corn stalks and try your hand at feeding the vocal creatures, who stroll down the well-worn trails from their pens to stand up on the fence and stretch tooth and tongue out for a tasty handout. Afterward, follow the path to visit the Black Goat Area, featuring goats native to the higher elevations of Taiwan, noted for their climbing abilities. The ranch has constructed a kind of goat skyway for the animals, allowing them to ascend up and over their enclosure for a goat's-eye view of the tourists walking on the path below. The goats will eat food pellets from your hands, taking them gently. Just be sure to hold your palms flat to avoid any incidental bites.

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The farm’s ducks

A little ways further along the path is the Rabbit Area, home to New Zealand rabbits that can also be hand-fed and observed hopping about their small habitat. If you're up early enough (and it's a farm, so if you want to get into the true spirit of things, you should be), you'll get to witness the herding of the ducks. Next to the grazing grounds, between the enclosures for the Blackbelly sheep and black goats, is a fenced-in area for the farm's ducks. Listen for the 10am ringing of the bell, and watch the somewhat humorous display as scores of the birds rush toward the source of the sound through an opened gate. The ducks have a Pavlovian response to the bell, knowing it's feeding time whenever it rings. They rush between a pair of ranch hands positioned around 15 meters apart, one ringing the bell, the other spreading feed around on the ground for the birds to greedily gobble up – a performance that seems especially delightful and hilarious in the eyes of children. Watching all those animals eat is more than likely to leave guests feeling a little peckish as well. For Western-style country cuisine (and country music on the radio as well), there's the Red Barn restaurant, serving up roast chicken, steak, pork, and a variety of pasta dishes,

Making pizza

and the Ben Niu Niu Hot Pot Restaurant, featuring fresh-milk hotpot with meat. The food is moderately priced, with set meals ranging from NT$330 to NT$420. There is also the Lohas Restaurant (serving the braised beef mentioned earlier), which specializes in dishes utilizing fresh locally sourced ingredients and organically-grown vegetables. If a burger is what you are looking for, there is also a fast food restaurant, and a supermarket-style store next door selling all the dairy products the farm produces. For your dessert, the milk pudding and ice cream sold here are both excellent choices. Various DIY activities are available to guests at the farm during the day, such as cookie-, cake-, ice cream-, and pizza-making classes for the whole family, along with art classes during which prospective Picassos can try their hand at drawing a one-of-a-kind cow. Ranch life might conjure visions of sleeping rough under the stars, falling asleep to the lowing of the livestock and rising with the crow of the rooster, but here there is a warm and inviting lodge-style hotel with wooden floors and furnishings and first-rate fixtures. There are also garden- and Japanese-style cabins available for rent, with prices ranging from NT$3,300 per night for a single-bed room to NT$6,200 a night for a family suite with room for up to five

Rolling hills and green pastures


Fresh-milk hotpot

people. Whereas the days might be rustic, the nights can be spent in comparative luxury with a fast Wi-Fi connection and cable TV. There is plenty to do in the surrounding area as well, with available activities depending on the time of your arrival. In neighboring Dahu Township, there is the Dahu Strawberry Cultural Festival from December to April. From April through May, Sanyi Township hosts the Hakka Tung Blossom Festival. In Tongxiao Township itself, summer has been dubbed the Miaoli Tongxiao Music Festival & Oceanic Tourist Season, during which tourists can enjoy getting familiar with one of Taiwan's best beaches. August is Zhuolan Fruit Tourism Season in Zhuolan Township. And if you like flowers, Tongluo Township boasts the Tongluo Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival in November.

Dairy products

Getting There To get to the Flying Cow Ranch, take a direct train from Taipei to Tongxiao; the slowest train takes just over two hours. Taxis can then be taken from Tongxiao Railway Station to the ranch for approximately NT$250. The drive takes around 15 minutes. A shuttle service can also be booked in advance via the farm's website, taking up to five passengers from and to Taoyuan Int’l Airport (NT$2,900) or Taichun g Airport (NT$1,900). Flying Cow Ranch ( 飛牛牧場 ) Add: No. 166, Nanhe Borough, Tongxiao Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣通霄鎮南和里 166 號 ) Tel: (037) 782-999 Website: English and Chinese Ben Niu Niu Hot Pot Restaurant 犇牛牛火鍋餐廳 Black Goat Area 黑山羊生態區 Butterfly Area 蝴蝶生態區 Dahu Township 大湖鄉 Dahu Strawberry Cultural Festival 大湖草莓季 Dairy Cattle Area 乳牛生態區 Hakka Tung Blossom Festival 客家桐花祭 Lohas Restaurant 飛牛餐廳 Miaoli Tongxiao Music Festival & Oceanic Tourist Season 苗栗通霄音樂嘉年華暨海洋觀光季 Rabbit Area 兔寶寶生態區 Red Barn 紅穀倉 Sanyi Township 三義鄉 Sheep Area 綿羊生態區 Tongluo Chrysanthemum Cultural Festival 銅鑼杭菊季 Tongluo Township 銅鑼鄉 Tongxiao Township 通霄鎮 Zhuolan Township 卓蘭鎮 Zhuolan Fruit Tourism Season 卓蘭水果觀光季

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Let’s Go Shopping! And Remember to Get Your Tax Refund When Leaving the Country Text: Vision

Photos: Vision

For many a traveler, shopping is part of the fun when visiting a foreign country, especially in a place like Taiwan where shops sell high-quality yet affordable goods, many with distinct local flavor. Such fun is significantly heightened when receiving refunds for the value-added tax paid in the stores.


f you plan to visit this beautiful island and are intent on going on a shopping spree, or just want to buy some special gifts for yourself or for folks back home, note that you can, upon leaving the country, claim the 5% value-added tax (VAT) you will pay at time of purchase. Certain conditions apply. First, you need to buy the goods at an authorized tax refund store. You can find an extensive list of stores at www. . To be eligible for a VAT refund, you need to be a foreign traveler holding a passport from a country other than the R.O.C. (Taiwan), other travel documents, or an R.O.C. passport without a


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personal ID number attached. You have to make a purchase of at least NT$2,000 (about US$60) on the same day at the same store, and you need to collect an Application Form for VAT Refund and the invoice. Following the purchase, you have 20 days to claim the refund at the port of your departure. Go to an E-VAT Refund machine or a Foreign Passenger VAT Refund Service Counter in the airport or seaport to apply for the refund. Since the procedure can take time, arrive three hours before your departure and apply for the refund before checking in your luggage.




There are refund machines and counters at the following locations: Point of Departure


Location of Refund Counter


Taipei Songshan Airport

International Departures Hall, Terminal 1


Taiwan Taoyuan Int'l Airport, Terminal 1

Departure Hall, 1F, Customs Service Counter

Taiwan Taoyuan Int'l Airport, Terminal 2

Departure Hall, 3F, Customs Service Counter


Keelung Harbor

East 2nd Pier, West 2nd Pier


Taichung Airport

Customs Service Counter

Taichung Harbor

Customs Service Counter

Hualien Airport

1F, Customs Service Counter

Hualien Harbor

1F, Customs Service Counter

Kaohsiung Int’l Airport

3F, Customs Service Counter

Kaohsiung Harbor

3F, Passenger Terminal



If you opt to do the procedure at an E-VAT Refund machine, you need to do the following: 1. Scan your entry document (such as passport). 2. Scan the Application Form for VAT Refund. 3. Select the items available for VAT refund. 4. If an inspection is required, you need to take the inspection form to Customs before proceeding. 5. Select the method of refund (Cash, Credit Card, or Check) and collect your VAT Refund Assessment Certificate. 6. Go to a designated bank counter at the airport/seaport and present your VAT Refund Assessment Certificate to receive the tax refund. If you go to a Foreign Passenger VAT Refund Service Counter, present the Application Form for VAT Refund, your passport (or other designated travel document), your purchased goods to be taken out of the country, and an original copy of the uniform invoice to the customs officers. After verification, you will receive a VAT Refund Assessment Certificate, which you need to take to a designated bank counter to receive the refund. Note: Payment of VAT refunds is made in NT dollars. Applications for a VAT refund submitted after you have departed the country will not be accepted. Should you have any questions concerning VAT refunds, please contact (depending on your port of departure): - Directorate General of Customs Information Center at Taiwan Taoyuan Int'l Airport / Tel: 0800-311-006 or 886-3-398-2308 - Taichung Travel Section / Tel: 0800-422-022 or 886-4-2254-0809 - Tainan Travel Section / Tel: 0800-611-011 or 886-6-226-5681 - Kaohsiung Travel Section / Tel: 0800-711-765 or 886-7-281-1513 - Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport Tourist Service Center / Tel: 866-3-383-4631~2 - Kaohsiung Int’l Airport Tourist Service Center / Tel: 866-7-805-7888 - Service Center, Tourism Bureau / Tel: 0800-011-765 or 886-2-2717-3737 Happy travels – and happy shopping!

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Morning Meals in Taipei Modern and Traditional Eateries in the Big City Breakfast options in Taipei are endless, ranging from chic farm-to-table dining to more typical Taiwanese choices such as rice vermicelli, congee, and soybean milk served in a bowl. Text: Dana Ter

Photos: Maggie Song

Brunch at Ryou CafĂŠ



hile breakfast in the West often means an endless array of options, from pancakes topped with bacon to toast paired with poached eggs and accompanied by a shot – maybe two – of espresso, the typical morning meal in Taiwan, though more limited in range, is an equally delightful, albeit sinful, assortment of carbs and eggs stacked on plates that is washed down with a steaming bowl (yes, a bowl!) of soybean milk. Walk into a traditional mom-and-pop breakfast shop and you will find youtiao (deep-fried dough sticks) and danbing (fried egg in a crepe) scattered across tables. Either that, or a medley of dishes that are also served for lunch and dinner – including rice vermicelli, congee, steamed buns,

and xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings) – and consumed in voracious amounts at small eateries and roadside stalls at the crack of dawn. However, of late the healthy-eating movement which has swept restaurants and cafés around the island – think organic veggies with a side of potatoes and carrots – has also found its way to the breakfast plate. Somewhat akin to hipster Brooklyn bakeries, for example, that serve gluten-free everything, new breakfast shops decked out in modern, rustic décor cater to young people’s increasing desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. Health-conscious diners now have the option of roasted okra, for example, plucked fresh from a farm in northwest Taiwan’s Taoyuan County to start their day.

Ryou Café Said health-conscious connoisseurs can be found at eateries such as Ryou Café near National Taiwan Normal University, close to MRT Taipower Station. Established four years ago, Ryou serves hearty yet healthy Western-style meals using local ingredients and Taiwanese twists, such as an omelette burger with mashed sweet potatoes and chili sauce and toast with spinach and sautéed mushrooms. The eatery throws open its wooden-framed glass doors daily at 8:30am. It’s easy to miss the snug single-story café – the wooden deck by the entrance is shrouded in potted ferns. The interior has a chic country atmosphere, complete with teal-colored wooden tables, antique gramophones, and framed pictures of various flower species. Behind the cake-and-pastry counter is a blackboard with a hand-drawn map of Taiwan pinpointing where the ingredients in Ryou’s various food selections, which are all organic, are from. Further information, such as on farming methods, can be found in the menu, though in Chinese. I chat with one of the co-owners, Aaron Li, over a rice-branflour milk with a shot of coffee made with beans grown in Chiayi County, southwestern Taiwan. The warm drink has a grainy yet frothy texture that’s at once soothing and energizing. Li says he and the other owners love to travel, and that they wish to convey

a sense of love – for food and for the environment. These are two things that are translatable across cultures, after all. “We hope to give customers an opportunity to learn more about the importance of environmental awareness through dining with us,” Li tells me. Having traveled around Taiwan, and having visited the island’s abundance of nature reserves, Li wanted to conjure feelings of being immersed in nature and the outdoors for patrons, despite the fact that the café is smack in the middle of the city. “Farm-to-table” is an understatement with Ryou: Its social media is filled with pictures of young farmers tending fields – more so than images of the café itself. Though the healthy-eating movement has been around in the West for quite some time, the desire to eat fresh and to know about where the ingredients on a plate come from has hit Taiwan only recently. “Cafés like ours are providing an alternative to cheap nightmarket fare,” Li explains. Ryou coffees and teas are priced NT$130 to NT$180, while a meal is between NT$290 and NT$410

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– more than at your average mom-and-pop eatery, but not over the top. “Traditionally, the mentality in Taiwan is that you eat until you’re stuffed. But there are also more and more people who prefer to end their meals on a lighter, more wholesome note.”

crispy outer layer, while the inside is soft, tender, and easily digestible. Surprisingly, the pecan sprinkled on top is pleasantly complementary. I suggest finishing this dish with the plain yogurt; creamy and savory, it goes well with the sweet jam.

I order a Farmer’s Plate for breakfast. An assortment of various roasted veggies, fresh greens, sautéed potatoes, sweet potatoes, softboiled eggs, chicken patty, bagel, and a side of homemade yogurt and jam, with an edible, spicy roselle plant as the centerpiece, the Farmer’s Plate is a simple and nutritious meal. The roasted okra and carrots, which are grown on a farm in Taoyuan County, are lightly charred on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. The same can be said for the sautéed potatoes sprinkled with basil and pepper, which are sourced from Taipei’s Muzha District. The soft-boiled eggs, sourced from a free-range chicken farm in Hsinchu County, are delightful savory thanks to the runny yolks, while the sweet potatoes provides the perfect balance. Any or all of these can be paired with the plain bagel, made with wheat from Hualien. My favorites are the chicken patty and homemade yogurt with jam. The meat is lightly burnt, which gives the patty a

If you’re in need of a carbs and eggs fix, try the Ryou Bolognese Sauce with Poached Egg. The Bolognese sauce is made with red wine, and the poached egg sprinkled with alfalfa sprouts – a topping normally reserved for salads – is placed atop, the runny yolk oozing out. Bread – white and whole wheat – is provided for dipping. This warming and hearty concoction is made for those seeking something reasonably light but with an added punch. Li recommends taking your breakfast leftovers away in a doggy bag if you can’t finish the meal. The owners abhor wasted food – after all, it’s bad for the environment. “The idea is to try to reduce waste,” he says. I remember my mother telling me to not waste my food when I was a kid. She was right. Go figure. But seriously, Ryou Café is just as homey as it is hipster. All that’s missing, perhaps, is a few garden gnomes hidden amongst the potted ferns outside.

Ryou Café (Hi, 日楞 ) Add: No. 24-1, Pucheng St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區浦城街 24-1 號 ) Tel: (02) 2363-6268 Hours: 8am~7pm; Closed Tues. (Chinese)

Yonghe Soybean Milk A popular drink in northern China since the late 19th century, soybean milk was introduced to Taiwan when the Chinese Nationalists fled the mainland in 1949. Served hot and in a bowl, it become a Taiwan breakfast staple. The first soybean-milk shop was opened in 1955, in the Taipei suburb of Yonghe. Since then countless soybean-milk shops around the island have been opened with “Yonghe” in the name, even if located nowhere near the place. One well-known chain is Yonghe Soybean Milk, which has numerous branches all over Taipei and New Taipei City, including in the Shilin, Neihu, and Banqiao districts. Some are open 24 hours a day. An assortment of popular Taiwanese breakfast foods such as youtiao , danbing , and xiaolongbao is served at all the branches. Of course, be sure to wash all chosen goodies down with some thick, frothy, hot or cold soybean milk. Most of the dishes are less than NT$30.

Traditional Taiwanese breakfast


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Yonghe Soybean Milk ( 永和豆漿 ) Add: (Daan Branch) No. 102, Fuxing S. Rd., Sec. 2, Daan Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區復興南路二段 102 號 ) Open: 24h; Closed Mons.


Minle Sailfish Vermicelli & Ye Family Meat Congee For a more traditional Taiwanese breakfast, head to Dihua Street in Taipei’s historic Dadaocheng neighborhood. Breakfast remains nearly unchanged from when the area was a thriving commercial port in the late 19th century, and there are endless rice and noodle stores to choose from. Minle Sailfish Vermicelli, by Yongle Market, serves rice vermicelli and fresh sailfish soaked in a gooey, frothy soup. Also, try the deep-fried pork, fried squid, and fried oysters. Seating is minimal, and chairs and tables spill out onto the street. Be sure to get there early, because the store closes around noon, or earlier, depending on when it sells out.

Ye Family Meat Congee

Near Cisheng Temple is another inexpensive mom-and-pop shop that serves up filling fare, the 40-year-old Ye Family Meat Congee. The specialty, meat congee, is only NT$20. Its literal translation, “meat gruel,” is fitting, as the dish consists of deep-fried pieces of meat soaked in a steaming gruel, which is sprinkled with onion and chives. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the red-braised pork or fried liver, both costing NT$50. No need to arrive here at the crack of dawn, as Ye Family closes at 4pm.

Ye Family Meat Congee ( 葉家肉粥 ) Add: No. 17, Ln. 49, Bao’an St., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區保安街 49 巷 17 號 ) Hours: 9am ~ 4pm

Minle Sailfish Vermicelli ( 民樂旗魚米粉湯 ) Add: No. 3, Minle St., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區民樂街 3 號 ) Hours: 6am ~ 1pm

Minle Sailfish Vermicelli

English and Chinese Cisheng Temple 慈聖宮 Dadaocheng 大稻埕 danbing (egg crepes) 蛋餅 Dihua Street 迪化街 fried liver 炸豬肝

Muzha District 木柵區 Red braised pork 紅燒肉 xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings) 小籠包 Yonghe 永和 Yongle Market 永樂市場 youtiao (fried oil sticks) 油條


The Four Beasts of Taipei Superb Vantage Points for Stunning City Views Text: Richard Saunders Photos: Twelli, Songshan Fengtian Temple, Vision

For the most spectacular views of Taipei City, head to the observatory high up in Taipei 101. For views from a somewhat lower level, but this time including the towering skyscraper, head to the peaks of the Four Beasts Mountain. Instead of a super-fast elevator ride, you’ll be slowly climbing steep trails of stone steps – lots of them – but you will be rewarded with fresh air, a marvelous vista, and a well-deserved sense of accomplishment.


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aipei 101, the city’s highest building and perhaps its most instantly recognizable one, is one of the most photographed landmarks in the Taipei metropolis. It looks great snapped from street level, looming above the department stores of the surrounding Xinyi District, or captured from its foot, towering above. For the most iconic photo shot of Taiwan’s tallest building, however, take the MRT to Xiangshan Station, and follow the signs to the trail up Elephant Mountain. It’s a steep climb up hundreds of tree-shaded steps to the top, but after a 20-minute clamber, a cluster of huge natural boulders scattered beside the trail mark the preferred spot for countless tourists, local shutterbugs, and professional photographers alike to capture pics of the great skyscraper and the great city surrounding it.


Taipei in the early morning, seen from Four Beasts Mountain

Elephant Mountain is one of the four “beasts” of Four Beasts Mountain, a cluster of wooded peaks (nine in total, actually) on a low but scenic ridge immediately south of Taipei 101. The beasts (Elephant, Lion, Panther, and Tiger) are a quartet of compact but steep spurs emerging from the higher main ridge behind, and viewed from some angles (in front of Song Shan High School of Commerce and Home Economics, for instance), the peaks that jut out of the ridge do, with a bit of imagination, bring to mind the forms of crouching animals. The ridge behind the beasts is somewhat higher, with a sequence of peaks, including Mt. Muzhi (Thumb Mountain), 95 Peak, and Mt. Nangang, all connected by a network of mostly surfaced trails which can be strung together in a variety of ways for a whole range of hikes. Not surprisingly, the peaks are a favorite destination for local residents and hikers from all over the Taipei area, and while the opportunity to snap the famous view from Elephant Mountain

draws many foreign tourists, there are enough natural and cultural attractions to combine with this scenic draw to make a fine half-day hike that is an easy and very convenient short escape from the urban jungle. Most people’s introduction to Four Beasts Mountain is through the direct trail to the top of Elephant Mountain, but although very convenient to access (from MRT Xiangshan Station, on the Taipei Metro’s Red Line) and very popular, it’s a long, steep climb, and a sometimes hot and humid introduction to the area’s delights during the summer months. For an easier (and more interesting) introduction, take the Blue Line to MRT Houshanpi Station (two stops east of Taipei City Hall Station), leave by Exit 2, and walk south down Zhongpo South Road. If you pass this way in the morning, the street will probably be crowded with locals going about their daily business, as during the day this is a traditional market, with street vendors taking over the area. At the end of the

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street, turn left into Fude Street, another very traditional area and a wonderful contrast to the trendy, efficient ultra-modern part of the Xinyi District just a short walk northwest. Then take the second turn on the right (Lane 221), and, a short distance along this lane, pass through a large and imposing temple gate on the right, and move up the steps and into the main courtyard of Songshan Fengtian Temple. The temple, although not old, is a fine-looking structure, and worth a look before starting the climb up to the ridge. The trail starts as a rather steep-looking flight of steps at the rear right corner of the temple compound. It’s certainly a strenuous start to the hike, but after just a couple of minutes the steps emerge onto a lane next to a tiny temple that has been built inside an old air-raid shelter cut out of the solid rock on the lower slopes of Tiger Mountain. A door at the back of the little shrine connects with the other half of the shelter, which has found a new use among locals as a karaoke parlor. Take the trail that begins beside the entrance to the cave karaoke parlor, and climb steadily along the narrow ridge that is reached, stopping to admire the great views over Taipei 101 and the city beyond from a couple of flat, rocky promontories to the right of the path. From this point it’s just a short walk to the viewing platform at the top of Tiger Mountain – follow the signs – which commands the best city panorama enjoyed to this point. Keep walking straight ahead along the ridge, and in a couple of minutes the trail joins a narrow road climbing higher into the hills. Turn right and walk along this road, then in a minute or so left onto another signposted trail that climbs steeply onto the slopes of Mt. Nangang, which rises behind. After a short ascent the trail veers left and evens out, contouring the wooded hillside for some distance. Then, after a brief descent, a junction is met.

Zhongqiang Park near MRT Xiangshan Station

Songshan Fengtian Temple


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View from Elephant Mountain

Elephant Mountain Trail

Turn left here to head back down into the city, beside the lovely Tiger Mountain Stream, a cool and shady walk in the heat of summer. This path descends back to Fude Street a block or two east of Fengtian Temple. To conquer the main peaks of the ridge, on the other hand, turn right at the junction, heading up stonefaced steps that gain the wooded ridge without too much effort. The trail passes 95 Peak first, topped with a large boulder that commands a magnificent view, and a few minutes further Mt. Nangang itself, offering more great vistas. Follow the signposted trail ahead along the spine of the ridge westwards to Mt. Muzhi, a knobby formation of sandstone that’s easy to scale, and commands the finest view on the entire ridge – a 360-degree panorama north and west over the city and the Yangmingshan mountains behind, east over the towns of the Keelung River valley, and south over Muzha and forested mountains rolling into the distance beyond – a perfect place for lunch. The descent off the ridge from Mt. Muzhi is quite long and very steep (it’s definitely better going down this way than struggling up!). At the bottom, pass a temple with a large statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, to the right of the path, after which a short climb takes you to Elephant Mountain. There’s little to see at the true summit, but follow the stone path ahead downhill and in a minute or two the trees part and the famous viewpoint with its cluster of large boulders and eye-poppingly close view of Taipei 101 makes a great climax to the walk. Walking down the steps ahead, it’s less than 20 minutes to MRT Xiangshan Station. For a fascinating and scenic extension to the hike, however, take the first junction on the right just below the viewpoint, to join a quiet trail contouring the side of Elephant Mountain, which after a short distance takes you along the base


Nature walk close to the city center

of sandstone cliffs. Pass through a curious natural tunnel that pierces the cliffs at one point, and in 15 minutes the trail descends to Tianbao Temple, remarkable for the very large, colorful statue of the Earth God carved out of the face of the sandstone cliff behind the temple. Pass beneath a small waterfall, walk through the temple to a road, and turn right, picking up a trail that climbs back to the base of the cliffs, then proceeds left along the foot of the sandstone bluffs beneath Panther Mountain. A succession of smaller statues, also cut out of the rock, stand beside the trail; representing other Daoist gods, all are colorfuly painted. Finally, descending to a park below Tianbao Temple, walk down to a residential street here, turn right onto Songshan Road at the end, and follow it for 20 minutes to reach Section 5 of Zhongxiao East Road. MRT Houshanpi Station is 50 meters away, on the left.

English and Chinese 95 Peak 95 峰 Elephant Mountain 象山 Four Beasts Mountain 四獸山 Fude Street 福德街 Keelung River 基隆河 Lion Mountain 獅子山 Mt. Muzhi 拇指山 Mt. Nangang 南港山 Muzha 木柵 Panther Mountain 豹山

Alishan House has the best location of any hotel in the Alishan Forest Recreation Area, offering uninterrupted views of the best scenery Alishan has to offer, including the sea of clouds, the sunset glow, and sacred trees. The hotel itself is a mix of old and new structures. The main building (Historical House) has an old-time atmosphere and used to be the guesthouse where past ROC presidents stayed. There is also the new building (Modern House), completed in December 2012 after nine years of construction and costing NT$1.3 billion, which has modern design and novel facilities. Alishan House is definitely the best accommodation choice in the Alishan area.

Six Giant Stones 六巨石 Song Shan High School of Commerce and Home Economics 松山家商 Songshan Road 松山路 Songshan Fengtian Temple 松山奉天宮 Tianbao Temple 天寶聖道宮 Tiger Mountain 虎山 Xinyi District 信義區 Yangmingshan 陽明山 Zhongpo South Road 中坡南路 Zhongxiao East Road 忠孝東路

Staying at Alishan House allows guests to conveniently experience the five wonders Alishan is well-known for: sunrise, sea of clouds, sunset glow, forest, and mountain railway! You can also enjoy the natural forest air and appreciate clouds and mist and the lush green mountains at an elevation of more than 2,000 meters. A stay at Alishan House is like enjoying a natural spa, and is a great way of leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the city and charging one’s batteries in the embrace of nature.

16 Xianglin Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County +886-5-267-9816


Cycling Around Baihe and Houbi Villages in Rural Tainan

Text: Owain Mckimm Photos: Rich Matheson


he twin rural districts of Baihe and Houbi, on the northern border of Tainan City in southern Taiwan, seldom receive more than a passing mention in most guidebooks – and yet they cover an area of mellow beauty and unique country charm that also happens to be one of Taiwan's top cycling destinations. The districts are part of the fertile alluvial plain that spreads west from the Alishan Mountain Range all the way to the Taiwan Strait. The plain, being rather flat, is a haven for anyone looking for a leisurely day or two of cycling that won’t leave their quads on fire. Here you'll find kilometer upon kilometer of well-maintained bike paths that wind through characterful countryside hamlets, around tree-sheltered lakes, through fertile farmland, and along roads flanked with tall, pink lotus flowers and plush, pea-green rice paddies.


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Xiaonanhai Scenic Area Baihe Lotus Park


Red Cotton Tree Road

Yufeng-Zhumen Green Tunnel

Tugou Village

Baihe Shangjiadong Reservoir

Baihe Duck Noodles

Xiaonanhai Scenic Area Straddling the border between Houbi and Baihe is the Xiaonanhai Scenic Area, a place of subtle natural beauty centered on the Shangjiadong Reservoir. The 4km round-the-lake path here is both tranquil and heavily forested, the trail dappled with the shadows of towering fig trees and banyans, which provide merciful shade from the at-times unforgiving subtropical sun. The reservoir's waters teem with fish, and egrets are a common sight, wading near the banks or swooping low over the waters like white paper airplanes. Greater painted-snipes, moorhens, grebes, kingfishers, and night herons are among the other avian residents that bird enthusiasts can expect to see stalking in the shallows. On the north side of the reservoir you'll find the Putuo Zen Temple – a noble-looking place of worship, with turquoise balustrades and a maroon roof, dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. The inside of the temple is a simple affair, unlike many of the other more ostentatious temples dedicated to Daoist or local deities that populate the region, merely featuring three stately golden statues – Guanyin in the center and the two guardians of the Dharma, Guan Yu and Wei Tuo, to her left and right – in an otherwise plain and airy whitewashed room. Crossing the large suspension bridge to the west of the temple will take you to the wooded northwestern side of the lake, while taking the road out to the right will bring you down alongside the adjacent Jiangjun Reservoir, where cherry and plum trees line the paths, blooming pink and white in spring.

Putuo Zen Temple Travel in Taiwan



Tugou & Qingliao

Red Cotton Tree Road

Just south of Xiaonanhai is Tugou – an alluring little hamlet that is a blend of the traditional and modern as well as the artistic and rustic. Here you'll find traditional Taiwanese courtyard homes alongside several art deco and baroque revival-style buildings, as well as other more modern – and less aesthetically pleasing – creations clad in iron sheeting. But it's the jumble of styles that gives the place its charm. The village also hosts an arts festival between October and February each year, during which time installations by local artists can be found along the streets. And even if you pass through at other times of the year, there are still plenty of murals, mosaics, and art-enhanced micro parks to please your eye. Another old village that's worth stopping at while in the area is Jingliao, west of Houbi. The village has a vibrant Old Street, where all sorts of Taiwanese nostalgia items are sold, from retro sweets and sodas to patterned cushions and “grandfather clocks.” Just outside the village is Jingliao Catholic Church – an interesting small building resembling an armored teepee, which is maintained by a troupe of French monks – a somewhat incongruous addition to a regional landscape so heavily dominated by flamboyant dragon-topped temples.

Directly to the east of Tugou along District Road 90 is one of the area's most popular springtime tourist draws. Before the lotus flowers bloom in summer and grab all the attention, the red cotton trees here are the ones basking in the limelight. The trees bloom with clumps of five-petaled red flowers before the year's new leaves develop, and the deep-scarlet blooms, set against the bare branches, are not only visually striking to humans but also attract many of the local birds – Japanese white-eyes in particular – which like to feast on the unopened buds. The flowering season is, however, rather brief – a mere two weeks sometime in March/April – and as a result the roads here can get very crowded, with couples and families posing for pictures with red-blossom backdrops. You shouldn't be put off from coming when the flowers have fallen, though, as the light-green, newly budding leaves are a pretty sight as well, and you'll likely have the place almost to yourself.

Tugou Village

Tugou Village

Red cotton tree flowers

Baihe Lotus Park June to September is lotus season in Baihe District, and the roadside fields are then popping with tall pink flowers and large, parasol-like leaves. You're of course free to appreciate the lotus fields from the roadside; but if you want to get a little more up close and personal with the flowers, you'll probably want to visit the Baihe Lotus Park to the north of Red Cotton Tree Road. The park contains a patchwork of giant lotus ponds navigable via a network of embankments. If you have small children with you, or indeed if you're a bit of a child at heart, you can partake in one of the park's most popular activities – sitting on a floating big King Lotus leaf. These enormous leaves, resembling giant green sauté pans, can reach up to 1.8 meters in diameter and hold up to 60 kg. And for NT$50, you are allowed to sit on one.


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The park is also a prime location to get your hands on some lotus-derived produce. Far from being just pretty, the lotus produces two useful foodstuffs – lotus seeds and lotus root. Lotus seeds are large olive-sized ovules that, when cooked, have a texture somewhat like a potato. They are often added to soups, but here in the summer – not the season for hot soup – you'll find them frozen into popsicles. The lotus root, on the other hand, is a long, tuber-like rhizome that somew hat resembles a fat sausage. It can be sliced up and stewed or processed into lotus-root powder, a substance which, when mixed with hot water and few lumps of black sugar, creates a kind of sweet jelly popular as a breakfast dish. Baihe Lotus Park


Yufeng-Zhumen Green Tunnel

Baihe Duck Noodles

Heading towards Baihe town from the Lotus Park, but veering off to the east, again on District Road 90, you'll come to a particularly picturesque piece of road known as the Yufeng-Zhumen Green Tunnel. The “tunnel” in question is not one bored through a mountain or plunging below ground; rather, it is a 2.5km-long avenue of old mango trees which, when viewed from either end of the road section, seem to form the curved roof of a natural tunnel. On either side of the road you'll see lotus fields, rice paddies, golden shower trees, and banana groves, as well as several pigeon crofts (pigeon racing being a popular hobby in this part of the country), all with the Alishan Mountain Range in the distance as backdrop. On arriving in the village of Zhumen, check out the local hotspot (or “coldspot,” rather) – the Zhumen Yuxue Ice Shop – a little corner place that specializes in refreshing flavored-ice desserts. Try your giant mound of ice with such traditional toppings as sweetened taro, mung beans, or peanuts, or stay in more familiar territory with fruit (passionfruit, pineapple, or plum) or a custard pudding.

If you find your stomach grumbling for some protein and carbs, head into central Baihe to check out a 70-year-old local institution – Baihe Duck Noodles. The shop can be a little hard to find; it’s situated in an indoor market with the entrance at the back of a gardening shop on Zhongzheng Road, and in fact couldn't be more low-key if it tried, being barely bigger than a studio apartment and with only a handful of tables that, of necessity, spill out into the aisles. The menu on the wall is hardly extensive either, and would be called limited by some; however, it's perhaps this simplicity that's been the key to the longevity of this place. It does one thing – duck noodle soup – and it does it well. Dishes come with healthy helpings of duck meat, a duck egg, spring onions, Chinese chives and bean sprouts, and your choice of noodles (yi noodles, oil noodles, rice vermicelli, or cellophane noodles). A small helping will only set you back NT$40, and a small bowl will be more than sufficiently filling for most. Those with bigger appetites can get a large bowl for a mere NT$60.

Bike Rental There are several places in the area where you can rent bikes. If you're arriving by train at Houbi, the most convenient is Cozy Bike Rental, on the left as you exit the station. Cozy Bike Rental ( 台南 . 慢慢租車店 ) Tel: 0935-033-043 Hours: 9am~6pm On the Red Cotton Tree Road you'll find the No. 3 Red Cotton Tree Road Bike Rental Shop, which rents bikes for NT$50/hr; opening hours seem to be a little sporadic, especially out of season.

Yufeng-Zhumen Green Tunnel

No. 3 Red Cotton Tree Road Bike Rental Shop ( 木棉道 3 號租車店 ) Tel: 0938-619-027 Tainan’s T-Bike service (a bike-rental service akin to Taipei's YouBike) is also available, with three stations in the area: one at the Xiaonanhai Scenic Area, outside the Putuo Zen Temple; one in Baihe, outside the 7-Eleven at the Dade Street/Yunong Road intersection; and the last in Jingliao. The rate is NT$20 per hour, with a maximum charge of NT$100. You can pay by EasyCard, iPASS, or credit card.

Getting There and Around The only railway station in the area is in Houbi. Take a local train from Chiayi Railway Station (15 mins) or from Tainan Railway Station (50 mins). Houbi is about 5 km from the town of Baihe, along County Highway 172A. A couple of local bus routes also cover the area. The Yellow 10 bus takes you from Houbi up to near the Xiao -nanhai Scenic Area, down to Tugou, and then terminates in Baihe town. The Yellow 6-1 stops near the scenic area as well, and terminates at Tugou village.

Zhumen Yuxue Ice Shop ( 竹門鈺雪冰枝店 ) Add: No. 114-1, Zhumen Borough, Baihe District, Tainan City ( 台南市白河區竹門里 114-1 號 ) Tel: (06) 685-3388 Hours: 7:30am ~ 8:30pm

Baihe Duck Noodles ( 白河鴨肉麵 ) Add: No. 13-2, Zhongzheng Road, Baihe District, Tainan City ( 台南市白河區中正路 13-2 號 ) Tel: (06) 685-5829 Hours: 6:30am ~ 3pm

Baihe Lotus Park ( 白河蓮花公園 ) Add: No. 465, Sanmin Rd., Yufeng Borough, Baihe District, Tainan City ( 台南市白河區玉豐里三民路 465 號 )

Baihe Duck Noodles

Google map with info

English and Chinese Alishan Mountain Range 阿里山山脈 Baihe 白河 Dade Street 大德街 Guan Yu 關羽 Guanyin 觀音 Houbi 後壁 Jiangjun Reservoir 將軍埤 Jingliao 菁寮 Jingliao Catholic Church 菁寮天主堂 Putuo Zen Temple 普陀禪寺 Red Cotton Tree Road 木棉花道 Shangjiadong Reservoir 上茄冬埤 Tugou 土溝 Wei Tuo 韋馱 Xiaonanhai Scenic Area 小南海風景區 Yufeng-Zhumen Green Tunnel 玉豐竹門綠色隧道 Yunong Road 裕農路 Zhongzheng Road 中正路 Zhumen 竹門 Travel in Taiwan


Talk in Taiwan



Helpful Chinese When Trying to Stay in Touch Illustration: Andy Chang


ending mail nowadays is usually done the digital way, but you may on occasion find yourself looking for a post office in Taiwan, wishing to send a postcard or package the traditional way. If you don’t know where to find a post office, here’s the question to pose: Youju zai nali ? ( 郵局 在 哪 裡 / Where is the (nearest) post office?). And here, assuming you’ve been successful in finding it, are some helpful words you you might want to use inside the post office:


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Postal stamp – youpiao ( 郵票 ) Postcard – mingxingpian ( 明信片 ) Letter – xin ( 信 ) Envelope – xinfeng ( 信封 ) Package – baokuo ( 包裹 ) Express Mail – kuaijian ( 快件 ) Registered Mail – guahao xin ( 掛號信 ) While postcards and packages may entail a post-office visit, these days it is more likely you do your “mailing” via the Internet. Free Wi-Fi access is available in many locations in Taiwan; there are hotspots inside railway and MRT stations, government buildings, hotels, cafés, and many other places. If you don’t know where to find a hotspot, just ask for “WiFi”; most people understand the English term. You can also ask for w uxian shangwang ( 無 限 上 網 ; unlimited Internet access), mianfei shangwang ( 免 費 上 網 ; free Internet access), or just shangwang ( 上 網 ; going online). If you

are not sure if a password is required or you want to ask for one, mima ( 密 碼 ; password) is the term you need. Here are some more related words you might find useful: E-mail – dianzi youjian ( 電子郵件 ) Website – wangzhan ( 網站 ) Web address – wangzhi ( 網址 ) Text message – jianxun ( 簡訊 ) Mobile phone – shouji ( 手機 ) Smartphone – zhihuixing shouji ( 智 慧 型手機 ) (Wi-Fi) Hotspot – redian ( 熱點 ) SIM card – SIM ka (SIM 卡 ) Pre-paid card – yufu ka ( 預付卡 ) To enjoy free Wi-Fi access at hotspots in Taipei and around Taiwan, check out the services offered by Taipei Free Public Wi-Fi Access ( and iTaiwan Wi-Fi (

Hotels of Taiwan





Taipei 台 北

Visitors to Taiwan have a wide range of choice when it comes to accommodation. From five-star luxury hotels that meet the highest international standards, to affordable business hotels, to hot-spring and beach resort hotels, to privately-run homestays located in the countryside there is a place to stay that satisfies every

No. of Rooms: 60

No. of Rooms: 20~98

traveler’s needs. What all hotels of Taiwan — small and big, expensive and affordable — have in common is that serve and hospitality are always of the highest standards. The room rates in the following list have been checked for each hotel, but are subject to change without notice.

Room Rates: Superior Titanium Flagship VIP Presidential

Suite Suite Suite Suite Suite


3,500 - 4,300 3,800 - 4,500 5,000 - 6,000 6,000 - 7,200 8,800-12,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Chinese

Room Rates: Deluxe Room Grand Deluxe Room Premier Room Premier 9 Éclat Suite


(All rates are exclusive of 5% VAT and 10% service charge)

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Cantonese

RestauRaNts: Breakfast Buffet sPecial featuRes: Parking lot, free internet access, private bathroom with separate shower & bath tub, pool, massage chair

Room rates at the hotels apply. Yilan County, Hualien County, Taitung County, Xinzhuang (New Taipei City), Taoyuan City, Hsinchu County, Taichung City, Changhua City, Nantou County, Chiayi City, Kaohsiung City, PingtungCounty Tel: 886.5.551.5555 Fax: 886.5.551.7755

RestauRaNts: Éclat Lounge, George Bar sPecial featuRes: Member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World; strategically located in the most fashionable and prestigious district of Taipei; offers guests great convenience for business and entertainment; Wi-Fi connectivity and in-room business facilities; variety of meeting rooms providing the ideal venue for professional meetings, corporate functions, and social gatherings. 370, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Da-an District, Taipei City 106 106 台 北 市 敦 化 南 路 一 段 370 號 Tel: 02.2784.8888 Fax: 02.2784.7888 Res. Hotline: 02.2784.8118





華 泰 王子大 飯 店




Taipei 台 北

Taipei 台 北

No. of Rooms: 220

No. of Rooms: 268

No. of Rooms: 203

Room Rates: Deluxe / Single / Twin & Double NT$ 7,800-8,500 Suite NT$ 9,500-20,000

Room Rates: Superior Room Deluxe Room Deluxe Suite Executive Room San Want Suite

Room Rates: Deluxe Room Business Room Executive Deluxe Room Boss Suite Premier Suite

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: Chinese, English, Japanese RestauRaNts: L’IDIOT RESTAURANT & BAKERY (Western), Chiou Hwa (Chinese) sPecial featuRes: Coffee Shop, Fitness Center, Business Center, laundry service, meeting and banquet facilities, non-smoking floor, parking lot, airport transfer service

Single/ Twin Single/ Twin Single/ Twin Single/ Twin


6,000 / 6,800 7,000 / 7,800 8,000 / 8,800 8,800 / 9,600 16,800

Taipei 台 北

Hsinchu 新 竹

No. of Rooms: 141 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

8,000 10,000 11,000 17,000 21,000

Desk Personnel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Chinese

restaurants: French All Day Dining (Buffet), Bon Amis Steak Room, Chao Ping Ji (Cantonese & Dim-Sum), Sumie Nouvelle Japonaise Cuisine (Japanese), Sumie SHABU (Hot pot), Pozzo Bakery, Zorro Bar

RestauRaNts: Rain Forest, Garden Terrace, Lounge 81, Tic-Tac-Toe Café

sPecial Features: Two minutes walk from MRT ZhongXiao Dunhua Station. Business Center, Fitness Center, Conference Room, Banquet Room for 500 people, Free Parking for Room Guests, Free Broadband Internet Access in Guestrooms, In-Room Safe, Express/Dry Cleaning Service, Fine East and West Art Collections on Display

12,000 12,500 13,000 15,000 35,000

sPecial featuRes: Business Center, Multifunctional Room, Fitness Club, Outdoor Pool, Sauna, Spa, Aromatherapy, Car Park



6,000 7,000 8,000 9,000 12,000 20,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Chinese RestauRaNts: The Zone Bar & Restaurant sPecial featuRes: Gym, Sky Lounge, Sky Garden

369, Lin-sen (Linsen) N. Rd., Taipei City, 104 104 台 北 市 林 森 北 路 369 號 Tel: 02.2581.8111 Fax: 02.2581.5811, 2568.2924

172 ZhongXiao East Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 106 106台北市忠孝東路四段172號 Tel: 02.2772.2121 Fax: 02.2721.0302 E-mail:

83 Civic Boulevard, Sec. 3, Taipei City, 104 10 4台北市市民大道三段8 3號 Tel: 02.8772.8800 Fax: 02.8772.1010 E-mail:

111, Sec. 2, Gongdao 5th Rd., East Dist., Hsinchu City 300, Taiwan 3 0 0 新 竹 市 公 道 五 路二 段111號 Tel: 03.623.1188 Fax: 03.623.1199 E-mail:

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Taipei 台 北



Taipei 台 北

53 HOTEL 寶島53行館

No. of Rooms: 79

No. of Rooms: 160

No. of Rooms: 500 (Suites: 57)

No. of Rooms: 70

Room Rates: Superior Room Business Room Deluxe Room Executive Deluxe Room Executive Suite Sense Suite

Room Rates: Single Room Deluxe Single Room Deluxe Twin Room Suite Room

Room Rates: Single/DBL Suite

Room Rates: Standard Room Superior Room Deluxe Room Family Room Deluxe Family Room

NT$ 7,500 NT$ 8,500 NT$ 9,500 NT$ 9,000 NT$ 10,000 NT$ 15,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese sPecial featuRes: Business center, fitness center, meeting rooms, Club House with luxury furniture and advanced media facilities for private meetings and gatherings, wood-floored openair Sky Garden, parking tower, close to the MRT system near Zhongshan Elemen tary school MRT station and key commercial and entertainment districts.

477 , Linsen N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City 104 104 台 北 市 林 森 北 路 477 號


6,400 7,000 7,800 12,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese RestauRaNts: Golden Ear Restaurant (Western semi buffet); Golden Pot (Chinese Cuisine) sPecial featuRes: Business Center, meeting rooms, airport transfer service, parking lot, laundry service, free Internet access, LCD TV, DVD player, personal safety box, mini bar, private bathroom with separate shower & bath tub, hair dryer

NT$ 8,200-13,000 NT$ 18,000-30,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, French, Spanish, and Japanese RestauRaNts: Western, Cantonese, Northern China Style Dumplings, tea house, coffee shop, steak house sPecial featuRes: Grand Ballroom, conference rooms for 399 people, 10 breakout rooms, business center, fitness center, sauna, Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, billiards

186 Songjiang Rd., Taipei City,104 104 台 北 市 松 江 路 186 號

Taichung 台 中


4,000 4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese sPecial featuRes: Our guests enjoy easy access to all attractions lively Taichung City has to offer. From the hotel it’s a two-minute walk to Taichung Railway Station and a three-minute walk to the bus station, from where guests can easily reach popular tourist sites, such as Qingjing Farm, Xitou Forest Recreation Area, and Sun Moon Lake. 53 Hotel offers a wide range of services, including laundry/dry cleaning, a business center, a gym, and free wireless Internet access. 27, Zhongshan Rd., Central District, Taichung City, 40042

Tel: 02.7743.1000 Fax: 02.7743.1100 E-mail:

Tel: 02.2541.5511 Fax: 02.2531.3831 Reservation Hotline: 02.2541.6888 E-mail:

1 Chung Shan N. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 10461 10461 台 北 市 中 山 北 路 四 段 1 號 Tel: 886.2.2886.8888 Fax: 886.2.2885.2885

40042 台 中 市 中 區 中 山 路 27 號 (距離火車站 2 分鐘) Tel: 04.2220.6699 Fax: 04.2220.5899 E-mail:

3 minutes by foot from Exit 2 of MRT Zhongshan Elementary School Station

Exit 1 of MRT Xingtian Temple Station on the Luzhou Line.

Edison Travel Service specializes in Taiwan tours and offers cheaper hotel room rates and car rental services with drivers . Edison welcomes contact with other travel services around the world.


Taipei 台 北

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( two minutes from railway station)

Hualien Li-Shiuan International Hotel Sincere Hospitality and Attentive Service Li-Shiuan Will Win Your Heart

The hotel is situated in a quiet corner of the administrative, cultural, and education district of Hualien City. It has 95 exquisite suites and free WiFi is provided throughout the building. The hotel is only around 10 minutes from Hualien Railway Station, Hualien Airport, and downtown. Attractions nearby include Pine Garden, Qixingtan Scenic Area, and Tzu Chi Cultural Park, all just around 10 minutes away. The all-new hotel facilities include a Western restaurant, KTV, gym, Rooftop Garden, Spa pool, chess room, business center, and meeting hall. Hualien Li-Shiuan International Hotel is the best choice for business, meetings or vacations.

Add: 99-1, Zhongmei St., Hualien City Room Reservation: +886-3-824-6898 E-mail: Website: Fax: +886-3-824-6629

Travel in Taiwan (No.76 2016 7/8 )