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2019

MAR & APR

No.

ISLAND FOODS

DELICIOUS HOT-SPRING CUISINE IN JIAOXI

RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE A PEACEFUL ZEN RETREAT IN BEITOU

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SCENIC ROUTES

THROUGH THE HILLY COUNTRYSIDE OF MIAOLI

FAMILY FUN

POTTERY DIY FUN IN NANZHUANG

Android

iOS


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.

HUALIEN LI-SHIUAN I N T E R NAT IONA L HOT EL Sincere Hospitality and Attentive Service Li-Shiuan Will Win Your Heart

Add:99-1, Zhongmei St., Hualien City ( 花蓮市中美街 99-1 號 ) Room Reservation: +886-3-824-6898 E-mail: lishiuan970@hotmail.com.tw Website: www.lishiuan.com

Facebook

Website


PUBL ISHER 'S NOTE

Welcome to Taiwan!

Dear Traveler, Welcome! The people of Taiwan have just packed away the festive spirit of the Lunar New Year (Spring Festival) holiday period, and are now moving forward to see what auspicious things the Year of the Pig has in store. For the international traveler, time spent in Taiwan means more of the auspicious things visitors have always experienced – continuous smiles, pleasant discoveries, and suitcases packed full of happy memories on your return home.

JOE Y. CHOU PH.D. DIRECTOR GENERAL TOURISM BUREAU, MOTC, R.O.C.

In our Feature we explore the East Coast region, a verdant area affectionately called “Taiwan’s backyard garden.” This issue’s section has two articles. The first is spent in Ruisui and Yuli townships, the heart of the East Rift Valley, a place where you can visit farms and tea plantations, go on bicycle rides, and do some exciting whitewater rafting. The second presents a classic East Coast multi-day road trip: in and around the slow-living small city of Hualien, at the north end, then down the deeply fertile East Rift Valley, in and around the easy-living small city of Taitung at the south end, and back up the Hawaii-like coast. Our Delightful Folk Experience and Small-Town Charm files focus on recommended outings in the Taipei region. In the former, immerse yourself in a one-day Zen retreat in the mountains on Taipei’s north side, at a tranquil monastery called Chan Grove. The latter introduces small towns of great charm in the greater Taipei region being showcased in the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s 2019 Taiwan Small Town Ramble promotion campaign. The hot-spring resort town of Jiaoxi is just outside the greater Taipei region, in the Northeast Coast county of Yilan. In Treasure Island Foods we serve up an introduction on how two of Jiaoxi’s premier establishments are contributing to Taiwan’s hearty hot-spring hotel cuisine. Elsewhere, over in Miaoli County, in Scenic Routes it’s off on a ramble between the tourist-popular Hakka towns of Sanyi and Beipu, and in Family Fun enjoy a DIY pottery experience and get a taste of the region’s “take-it-slow” way of life. Finally, in Harbors & Beyond it’s a spell in the southwest, with a glimpse into the history of Taiwan’s old capital, Tainan, and its Anping Harbor area. Time to find out what Taiwan in the Year of the Pig has in store for you. Enjoy!

TR AVEL I N TAIWAN

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Travel in

Taiwan 2019 MAR. / APR.

PUBLISHER Joe Y. Chou EDITING CONSULTANT Urna S. H. Chen 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: 886-2-2349-1500 Fax: 886-2-2771-7036 E-mail: tbroc@tbroc.gov.tw Website: http://taiwan.net.tw 台 灣 觀 光 雙 月刊 Travel in Taiwan The Official Bimonthly English Magazine of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (Advertisement) March/April, 2019 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

Copyright @ 2019 Tourism Bureau. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without written permission is prohibited.

ON THE COVER Rapeseed field in the East Rift Valley (photo by Chen Cheng-kuo)

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PUBLISHER Joe Y. Chou EDITING CONSULTANT Urna S. H. Chen 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: tbroc@tbroc.gov.tw Website: http://taiwan.net.tw PRODUCER Vision Creative Marketing & Media Co. ADDRESS 1F, No. 5, Aly. 20, Ln. 265, Sec. 4, Xinyi Rd., Taipei City 10681, Taiwan TEL: 886-2-2325-2323 Fax: 886-2-2701-5531 E-MAIL: editor@v-media.com.tw GENERAL MANAGER David Hu EDITOR IN CHIEF Johannes Twellmann ENGLISH EDITOR Rick Charette DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & EDITING DEPT Joe Lee MANAGING EDITOR Krista Yang EDITORS Nickey Liu, Jenny Chung CONTRIBUTORS Rick Charette, Joe Henley, Christian Adams, Steven Crook, Nick Kembel, Han Cheung PHOTOGRAPHERS Chen Cheng-kuo, Maggie Song DESIGNERS Ian Tsai , Maggie Song, Nell Huang ADMINISTRATIVE DEPT Lily Wan, Hui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang

This magazine is printed on FSC TM COC certified paper. Any product with the FSC TM logo on it comes from a forest that has been responsibly maintained and harvested in a sustainable manner.

MAGAZINE IS SOLD AT: 1. Wu-Nan Culture Plaza, No. 6, Zhongshan Rd., Central Dist., Taichung City 40043 886-4-2226-0330 http://www.wunanbooks.com.tw/ 2. National Bookstore, 1F., No. 209, Songjiang Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 10485 886-2-2518-0207 http://www.govbooks.com.tw/ WHERE YOU CAN PICK UP A COPY OF TRAVEL IN TAIWAN ABROAD Offices of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Frankfurt. Taiwan Representative Offices; Overseas Offices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Overseas Offices of the Central News Agency; onboard China Airlines, EVA Air, and other selected international airways; selected travel agencies in Asia, North America, and Europe; and other organizations. IN TAIWAN Tourism Bureau Visitor Center; Tourism Bureau; Taiwan Visitors Association; foreign representative offices in Taiwan; Tourism Bureau service counters at Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport and Kaohsiung Int’l Airport; major tourist hotels; Taipei World Trade Center; VIP lounges of international airlines; major tourist spots in Taipei; visitor centers of cities and counties around Taiwan; offices of national scenic area administrations; public libraries ONLINE Read Travel in Taiwan online at https://issuu.com/ travelintaiwan. You can also download the Travel in Taiwan app for iOS and Android mobile devices at https://tosto.re/ travelintaiwan.

ONLINE EDITION Scan the above QR code to read Travel in Taiwan online (https://issuu.com/ travelintaiwan). 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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Contents 42

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FEATURE

TREASURE ISLAND FOODS

WONDERFUL EASTERN TAIWAN - Ruisui and Yuli — In the Heart of the East Rift Valley - Slow Touring Through the East Coast Region

FINEST INGREDIENTS, FRESHEST SEAFOOD Hot-Spring Cuisine in Yilan's Jiaoxi Township

28

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

SCENIC ROUTES

34

04

A MIAOLI TRAVERSE

SWALLOW CERAMICS

Driving and RailBiking Through the Taiwan Hakka Heartland

DIY Pottery in Miaoli County’s Nanzhuang Township

28

01

TAIWAN TOURISM EVENTS

06

CONVENIENT TRAVEL

FAMILY FUN

38

07

DELIGHTFUL FOLK EXPERIENCES

TRAVEL NEWS

THE ART OF EATING AND WALKING Experiencing a One-Day Zen Retreat on Yangmingshan

08

CULTURE AND ART

38

42

48

50

SMALL & “SLOW” TOWNS

TAINAN / ANPING

VZ TAIWAN

The 2019 Taiwan Small Town Ramble

A Glimpse into the History of Taiwan’s Old Capital

A Helpful Digital Companion on Your Next Trip to the Islandi

SMALL-TOWN CHARM

HARBORS AND BEYOND

TRAVEL SMART

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TA I WA N TOUR ISM E V ENTS

SPRING TIME, FLOWER TIME!

Apr. | Jun.

Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar Website

Trees and Flowers Blooming All About

FLOWERS Mar. 9 ~ Apr. 15

Mar. 20 ~ Apr. 30

Alishan Sakura Season

Calla Lily Festival

During February to April the Alishan Forest Recreation Area, a popular tourist attraction throughout the year, becomes even more attractive despite high-mountain winter weather that can be quite cold. The area boasts different types of cherry trees with slightly differing blooming times, including Formosan, Yoshino, Fuji, and Yaebenishidare cherry. The Yoshino cherry trees are the most numerous, and their large pink-petal blossoms are especially photogenic. Another treat for photographers is the old steam locomotives of the Alishan Forest Railway that can be seen running during this time of the year.

This festival takes place at Zhuzihu, a cash-crop farm area in the Yangmingshan National Park, located in the mountains on the northern side of Taipei City. Nestled between the towering Datun and Qixing mountains around an altitude of 670 meters, the area is ideal for growing flowers, and visitors flock to the picturesque fields to pick the blooming beauties (a fee is charged), snap photos, or just simply go for a walk along the area’s numerous paths. There are also a number of restaurants in Zhuzihu, where you can indulge in dishes made with fresh vegetables grown in the locality.

2 0 18 阿里山花 季 音 樂 會

www.ali-nsa.net

April ~ May

竹子湖 海 芋 季

www.callalily.com.tw

EXPO

Mar. 30 ~ May 12

Hakka Tung Blossom Festival

Yilan Green Expo

The celebration of the tung tree blossom season used to be an affair exclusive to the Hakka communities of Taiwan’s northwest, but in recent years related activities have been organized by local governments in almost all parts of the island. Each year the snow-white blossoms entice people to head to the hills for a walk in the forest, and they have inspired many artists and artisans to incorporate flower motifs in their creations. For all you need to know about the festival, including the latest updates on the state of the blooms in various areas and many suggestions on trail walks and places to eat, drink, and shop, visit the very informative official website of the festival.

This year marks the 20 th anniversary of the Yilan Green Expo, a fair that is focused on preservation of the natural environment, green energy, green industries, and eco-education. While being highly educational, there is also fun to be had at the expo, which is staged at the Dongshan River Ecoark Park and around the Dongshan Railway Station in Yilan County. In addition to the informative exhibitions, visitors can also visit interesting buildings, join DIY sessions, enjoy a rich program of cultural stage performances, and even go on a riverboat cruise.

客家桐 花 祭

tung.hakka.gov.tw

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宜蘭 綠色博覽 會

www.greenexpo.e-land.gov.tw (Chinese)


A PRIL- J UNE

RELIGION

Apr. 7~16

Apr. 1 ~ June 30

Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage Procession

Baosheng Cultural Festival

大甲媽 祖國 際 觀 光 文化 節

保生 文化 祭

If you are interested in and want to learn more about local traditional culture and religious practices, witnessing the annual Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage is a very good start. You will see devout believers who walk for days carrying and accompanying the icon of Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, from Taichung City’s Dajia Jenn Lann Temple on a long inspection tour of temples in central and southern Taiwan. At each temple, especially in the towns of Dajia and Xingang, the arrival of Mazu is celebrated with raucous activities, including martial-arts performances, firecracker blasts, ancient ceremonies, and musical performances.

This festival is staged to celebrate the birthday of Emperor Bao Sheng (also known as the God of Medicine). The venue is Bao’an Temple, a beautifully restored temple that was constructed in the 18th century and is located in the old Taipei neighborhood of Dadaocheng. The temple is one of the city’s must-visit sites of religious worship for tourists interested in traditional temple architecture and ancient practices and ceremonies. The cultural festival includes a series of religious and folkloric cultural activities and events. The most anticipated of these is the fire-walking ritual, featuring daring barefooted lads carrying sedan chairs with effigies of the temple’s deities across a bed of burning coal.

www.dajiamazu.org.tw

www.baoan.org.tw

FIREWORKS Apr. 18 ~ June 27 Penghu Fireworks Festival 澎 湖 海上花火 節

Before Taiwan’s schoolchildren are released into the summer vacation season and the sunny islands of the Penghu archipelago enter the year’s hot high season, this festival treats early-bird visitors to a special display of visual beauty. There are numerous factors that make the fireworks of this festival (which can be seen twice a week at Magong City’s harborside Guanyin Pavilion Park) special and highly enjoyable. Crowds are small and getting a front-row spot with unobstructed views is easy. The fireworks are released in relatively close proximity to the spectators, the brilliant lights are reflected on the water, and there is even a colorfully illuminated bridge just to the left of the exploding fireworks, creating a marvelous scene. The venue can be conveniently reached on foot from central Magong, and the chances for a balmy evening are high. phfirework.okgo.tw


CON V ENIENT TR AV EL

TAICHUNG FLORA EXPO BUS TOURS

Taiwan Tour Bus website

TE X T & PHOTOS V I S ION

Quick Visits to the Floriculture Extravaganza and other Tourist Attractions in Central Taiwan

The Taichung World Flora Exhibition, also formally called the Taichung Flora Expo, will last until April 24. If you haven’t been to the event yet and are looking for a convenient way to both visit the expo sites and tour other tourist attractions in greater Taichung City and/or Nantou County, consider signing up for one of the following bus tours.

B

oth tour offers can be found on the Taiwan Tour Bus website (www.taiwantourbus.com.tw), a platform on which bus tours provided by different local tour operators are gathered for easy access. All are vetted by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. The two tours (available until April 24) are two-day trips providing a wide variety of highlights, including cultural and scenic attractions.

Taichung Flora Expo, Tai’an 2-Day Tour 台中花博‧泰安二日遊

Taichung Flora Expo, Sun-Link-Sea 2-Day Tour 台中花博‧愛上杉林溪二日遊

This tour, provided by the Hwafu Tourism Group, takes you to the Houli Forest Expo Site on the first day and the Waipu Park Area on the second. You will also stop at a number of interesting tourist attractions elsewhere in Taichung. Here is the itinerary:

This tour, also provided by Hwafu Tourism Group, combines a visit to the Taichung Flora Expo with a trip into the mountains of Nantou County, including stops at scenic natural attractions such as the Wangyou Forest and the Songlong Rock Waterfall.

Day 1 Pick-up (from Taichung Railway Station/hotel/Taichung High Speed Houli Forest Expo Site (2.5 hrs) Chang Lien Rail Station) Gaomei Wetlands (1 hr) Cheng Saxophone Museum (1 hr) back to central Taichung City

Day 1 Pick-up (from Taichung Railway Station/hotel/Taichung High Speed Waipu Park Area (2 hrs) Houli Forest Expo Rail Station) Fengyuan Huludun Park (2 hrs) back to central Site (2.5 hrs) Taichung City

Day 2

Day 2

Pick-up in central Taichung City Waipu Park Area (2 hrs) Lihpao Outlet Mall (1.5 hrs) Dajia Jenn Lann Temple (1.5 hrs) Tai'an Railway Cultural Park (0.5 hr) Rainbow Village (0.5 hr) back to central Taichung City

Pick-up in central Taichung City Monster Village (0.5 hr) signs of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac (pass by) Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort Wangyou Forest (1 hr) back to central Taichung City (2 hrs)

Included in the price of this tour, which for adults is NT$3,999 on weekdays and NT$4,299 on weekends and holidays, is the bus fare, a 1-night stay in a Taichung business hotel (double room, including breakfast), tickets for the Taichung Flora Expo and the saxophone museum, and insurance. Reservations have to be made at least two days in advance. Taichung Flora Expo

HWAFU TOURISM GROUP ( 華府旅行社 ) www.go100tour.com (Chinese) (04) 3502-7888

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Gaomei Wetlands

Included in the price of this tour (NT$3,999 for adults on weekdays and NT$4,299 on weekends and holidays), is the bus fare, a 1-night stay in a Taichung business hotel (double room, incl. breakfast), tickets for the Taichung Flora Expo and Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort, the Wangyou Forest shuttle-bus fare, and insurance. Reservations have to be made at least two days in advance. Monster Village

RELATED WEBSITES Taichung Flora Expo: 2018floraexpo.tw Lihpao Outlet Mall: www.lihpaooutlet.com.tw Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort: www.goto307.com.tw

Sun-Link-Sea


TR AV EL NE WS

NEWS & Events around Taiwan

ELECTRIC SHUTTLE BUSES AT SUN-LINK-SEA As part of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s efforts to promote green tourism, environment-friendly means of transportation have recently been introduced in tourist places such as theme parks and recreational areas. One example is the Sun-Link-Sea Forest and Nature Resort in central Taiwan's Nantou County, known for its pristine forest and refreshing waterfalls. Electric shuttle buses introduced last December now take visitors from the Sun-Link-Sea Hotel to the Songlong Waterfall with minimal impact on the environment. Learn more about Sun-Link-Sea at www.goto307.com.tw.

BADOUZI RAIL BIKING Around Taiwan are numerous examples of how decommissioned railway lines have been given a new purpose in recent times. The low gradients of the beds make them suitable for building bike paths, which sometimes run through old railway tunnels. A new trend in Taiwan is using the actual rails of the old lines. A good example is the (motorized) rail bike operation in Miaoli’s Sanyi Township (see our Scenic Routes article on page 28). Rail bike fun can now also be had on the Northeast Coast. From the seaside Badouzi Station, self-pedaled rail carriages can be taken along a 1.3km section of a former railway line that runs along the rugged coast to the Shen’ao Station. One of the highlights of the ride is traversing a tunnel that is colorfully illuminated with LED lights.

GREEN DESTINATIONS IN TAIWAN BILINGUAL MENUS IN TAINAN NIGHT MARKETS Enjoying the local food is one of the most popular activities for tourists visiting Taiwan, and doing so in one of the many night markets around the island is a must-experience for many. To help international visitors cross the language barrier and order food more easily, the government of Tainan City in southwestern Taiwan has introduced bilingual menus to be provided by food vendors in eight night markets. Tainan is known for its delicious snack foods, including danzai noodles and milkfish soup. For more info about visiting the city, see www.twtainan.net.

If you look at the main island of Taiwan (and its numerous offshore islands) from an airplane or via Google’s satellite view, you’ll find that green is the dominant color. After all, this is a sub-tropical/ tropical land roughly two-thirds of which is tree-covered hills and mountains. This beautiful island, however, is also “green” in another sense, at least in select locations. In its 2018 Sustainable Destinations Top 100 list published in December last year, Green Destinations (greendestinations.org), a Dutch nonprofit organization focused on efforts to create sustainable tourism, included three scenic areas in Taiwan: the tea-growing district of Pinglin in New Taipei City; the scenic Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area; and the Nanliao fishing community on the Penghu archipelago’s main island. All three areas were recognized for the efforts of their residents and local administrations to protect the environment and promote sustainable tourism. Taiwan tied with the Philippines for the highest number of green destinations in an Asian country in the list.

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CULT URE A ND A R T

CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings

Until Apr. 21

Until Apr. 14

Taiwan International Festival of Arts 台灣 國 際 藝 術 節日

Each year, this festival presents a rich mix of uplifting music, theatre, dance, and other types of stage performances featuring outstanding talent from Taiwan and abroad. Among the performers this year will be acclaimed indigenous singer Sangpuy from Taiwan, radical theatre director Milo Rau from Switzerland, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman, the 4 Chairs Theatre company from Chicago, and the Cloud Gate 2 dance ensemble from Taipei, among many others. National Theater & Concert Hall [Taipei City] National Taichung Theater [Taichung City] npac-ntch.org (venue); tifa.npac-ntch.org (official festival website)

Until May 26

Andy Warhol Pop Art 安 迪 • 沃荷 - 普普狂 想 特展

Probably the most iconic work of American pop artist Andy Warhol (19 28~19 87) is Marilyn Diptych, a silkscreen painting depicting Marilyn Monroe. These and many other iconic works (more than 100 in total) by the influential artist can be seen in this exhibition, including self-portraits, presenting visitors with a comprehensive overview of his life and work. National Chiang Kai-chek Memorial Hall [Taipei City] www.cksmh.gov.tw

Apr. 29

The Early Earth – Precambrian 早 期 的地 球 - 前寒武 時 期

If you have no idea what “Precambrian” means, visiting this exhibition will f ill thi s li t tl e g a p in yo u r k nowle dg e. In s ho r t, the Precambrian is the earliest of the geologic ages, ac c ountin g fo r 8 8% of Earth’s history (the vast span of time from 4.6 billion to 540 billion years ago). You will learn about the formation o f t h e s o l a r s y s te m , t h e origin of life, and the formation of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere. To make it easier and more enjoyable for visitors to understand the subject, the exhibition includes high-resolution films and hands-on interactive displays. National Museum of Natural Science [Taichung City] www.nmns.edu.tw

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Troye Sivan The Bloom Tour 2019 Live in Taipei 特 洛 伊 2 0 19 台北演唱會

Currently one of the hottest young pop stars in the world, South African-born Australian Troye Sivan first came to the attention of a larger audience when he sang a duet with Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian. Since then his popularity, especially on social media platforms such as YouTube, has skyrocketed. One of his biggest hits to date has been Dance to This, featuring Ariana Grande. On his current tour he presents works from his second studio album, Bloom. Taipei International Convention Center [Taipei City] www.ticc.com.tw


CULTURE A ND A R T

Apr. 20/21

The Modern-Day Flavours of Namyin and Naamyam 南音味自慢 - 現代古韻

This performance brings together two styles of traditional music from two different regions in China, with the help of modern electronic synthesizing. Electronic musician Dickson Dee and nanyin artist Cai Yayi have been collaborating for years, integrating and blending modern synthesizer creations with traditional nanyin (“southern tone”), which originated in Fujian Province’s Quanzhou area. Apart from nanyin, the performance also includes the more melodic naamyam style of music from Guangdong Province, Quanzhou’s neighbor on the south, performed by Chan Chi-kong. Other performers in this highly experimental act are pipa musician Chen Silai, multimedia artist Milosh Luczynski, poet Chris Song, and dancer Terry Tsang. National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) [Kaohsiung City]

Until May 1

Floral Art for Pleasure – Appreciation of Flower Vessels and Lifestyle 花事 • 閑 情 ─ 品味花器 與生 活 特展

Appreciating flowers has been a pastime for humans since ancient times. Whether an arrangement of floral beauty in a peasant’s humble home or in a royal palace, some kind of vessel or container is requisite, and the more treasured the flowers (and the more affluent the flower lover) the more elaborate, refined, and elegant a vase or flower pot is most likely to be. This exhibition introduces you to some fine examples of flower vessels used in China over the centuries, from archaic vessels evoking classical memories of the ancestors to highly sophisticated floral containers catering to more fashionable or luxurious tastes to bonsai tree vessels common in Taiwan during the early 20 th century. Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum [Chiayi County] south.npm.gov.tw

P

erfect Hot Springs with Unique Features

Hotel Valletta is situated in the heart of Jiaoxi town, a renowned hot-spring area in Yilan County. The 13-kilometer-long Xueshan Tunnel(snow-mountain) links the bustle and prosperity of Taipei with the tranquility, the serene and highly spiritual atmosphere, and the charming cultural air of Jiaoxi. Hotel Valletta combines architectural aesthetics and an artistic ambience. Its superb natural location and its coordinated lines and simple but elegant colors create a subtle layered feeling. Exquisite stone carvings and water features can be seen all around the hotel, every corner emanating a classical European charm.

Add: No.1, Jiankang 1st St., Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣礁溪鄉健康一街 1 號 ) Tel: (03) 910-0111 Website: http://www.hotel-valletta.com/en/

The hotel has 165 guestrooms of various types, all equipped with private hot-spring pools. The hot-spring water is being channeled directly from Jiaoxi’s famed “Beautiful-Lady Hot Spring.” Combining the advantages of superb location, resources, and following the tradition of the warm hospitality of indigenous communities, we provide guests with a stay that is characterized by refinement and attentive service. Enter Hotel Valletta and immediately leave the clamor and stress of the city and your fatigue behind.


FE AT U R E / HUA L IEN/ TA IT UNG

d e r ful n o W

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FE AT U R E / HUA LIEN/ TA ITUNG

The Hualien/Taitung County region in eastern Taiwan has everything needed for an idyllic subtropical island getaway. In a small island country blessed with an impressively fruitful garden of beauteous regions, this is amongst the most lovely and pristinely natural. Very roughly geographically speaking, the region is divided north-south by – starting furthest inland – a section of the Central Mountain Range, the East Rift Valley, the Coastal Mountain Range, and a series of narrow flatland areas between the latter range and the mighty blue Pacific. In the Feature pages that follow we present the region in two files with distinct themes. In the first we head into the heart of the East Rift Valley to visit spots of interest to the international traveler in the townships of Ruisui and Yuli. In the second we’re off on a whirlwind multi-day traverse down the rift valley and then back up along the wave-washed coast.

Twin railway bridges south of Yuli town

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FE AT U R E / HUA L IEN/ TA IT UNG

In the Heart of the East Rift Valley

Ruisui and Yuli Farm Visits Tea Plantations Bicycle Rides TE X T JOE HE NLE Y

PHOTOS CHE N CHE NG - KUO

Taiwan’s East Rift Valley – the Emerald Paradise. Extending from Hualien City in the north to Taitung City in the south, this valley is a place of pristine rivers and flat, fertile farmland where fields of rice, beans, and rapeseed transform the flatland vista into a rich tapestry of color.

R

uisui and Yuli, two neighboring townships around the belt line of the East Rift Valley, are worlds apart from Taiwan's urban centers along the north and west coasts of the island. Here the pace is slow and the sound volumes are low. By day the sun beams down on the valley floor, and by night this rural region is covered by a blanket of twinkling stars. Experiencing the joys of nature and the outdoors, it's no surprise, is the top attraction here. Visitors are drawn to the rafting excursions through the whitecap waters of the Xiuguluan River, cycling trips along the various routes criss-crossing the lowlands, forays to local dairy farms and rice fields nestled up against the mountain ranges that flank the valley, and relaxing baths in hot-spring resorts.

Ruisui A low-key introduction to the valley way of life can be found at the Rareseed Ranch (also known as Ruisui Ranch and Ruisui Pasture), a 10-min. drive south of the center of Ruisui town, off Provincial Highway 9. Established in 1969 as a papaya plantation, today the ranch is operated as a dairy farm, home to some 300 head of Holstein Friesian cattle – and a lone ostrich left to roam its own private pasture. The ranch sits by the nourishing waters of One ostrich and many cows can be seen at Rareseed Ranch

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the Xiuguluan River near the point where the river enters and slices through the Coastal Mountain Range, the herd spending its days alternating between grazing and providing milk that goes into the making of ice-cream, cheese, nougat, custard, and bread products sold on-site, though much of the farm's dairy output is distributed throughout the island by a major food conglomerate. On average, it's said, each cow at the farm can produce about 20 liters of milk each day. Visitors to the farm are encouraged to feed the cows that wander to the pasture edge, nudging up against the fence to ask guests for a handful of grass. The jade-hue carpet of the pasture is kept to the consistency of a golf course fairway by these gentle beasts. It's a beautiful, relaxing setting in which you get to witness how some of the people of Ruisui quite literally put food on the table.

RARESEED RANCH ( 瑞穗牧場 ) (03) 887-6611 8am ~ 6pm; free admission No. 157, Neighborhood 6, Wuhe Village, Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉舞鶴村 6 鄰 157 號 )

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Ji Lin Tea Plantation

A short drive south from Rareseed Ranch is the Ji Lin Tea Plantation, accessed via a small road off Highway 9. This operation has been run by the Peng family for four generations. During the Japanese colonial era, the fifty years prior to the end of WWII, one of the things the Ruisui region was known for was coffee plantations. Local farmers later turned to tea cultivation and other crops when Taiwan’s coffee exports became economically noncompetitive in the international market. Today, the specialty of Ji Lin and other farms in the area is a variety of black tea known for its notes of honey. The sweetness of the leaves derives from some “outside help.” When leafhoppers feed on the plant the leaves stop growing, causing a certain dulcet flavor extant at that early stage, which would otherwise disappear with age, to be locked inside. Visitors to Ji Lin can take part in tastings of the local varieties, including a special tea known as White Tea, a type unknown even to many Taiwanese tea connoisseurs. All of the products cultivated here, from the tea leaves to two varieties of coffee still grown, plucked, and roasted on-site, are 100% organic. There are DIY activities to be enjoyed as well. At the farm’s café, located right by the highway, visitors can learn how to make a type of Hakka-style tea wherein black tea leaves are stuffed inside a hollowed-out lemon, pomelo, or passion fruit. The filled Learning how to make fruit-flavored Hakka-style tea

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A lemon filled with tea leaves

fruit is bound in twine and then sent through a multi-step process of steaming and baking that leaves the fruit shell hardened and preserved. The leaves are locked within, and the only way to free them is by smashing the container with a hammer. What comes out are leaves infused with the sweet and sour notes of the fruit. Also on offer at Ji Lin is a class on how to make the pearls (tapioca-starch balls) that go into pearl milk tea, or boba tea, as it is commonly known outside Taiwan. All classes require a reservation. Instructions in English are available for each. Otherwise, the farm is open seven days a week, and guests are encouraged to simply drop in.

JI LIN TEA PLANTATION ( 吉林茶園 ) (03) 887-1463 www.jilin.com.tw (Chinese) No. 169, Jianana 2nd Rd., Neighborhood 7, Wuhe Village, Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉舞鶴村七鄰迦納納二路 169 號 )

At Ji Lin you can try a variety of tea leaves

Grand Cosmos Resort Ruisui, Hualien Across the river from the Rareseed Ranch stands the brand-new, stately Grand Cosmos Resort Ruisui, Hualien, an ambitious NT$6 billion undertaking that is officially opening this March. The grounds of the resort are sprawling, with a size six times the area of Taipei Main Station. There are two main buildings, the Mansion and the Castle, which contain the guestrooms, restaurants, and other facilities, an area with standalone Grand Villas, each with its own private back yard and swimming pool, and an area with pet-friendly Family Villas. All in all, there are 198 guestrooms and villa suites, each with its own private hot-spring spa bathroom, the mineral-rich waters piped in from sources in the nearby Ruisui hot-spring area. The quality of the water is said to be on par with that of the famed Arima Onsen in Kobe, Japan. The resort also has a spacious water park area, with indoor water-jet massage pools and a large water slide on the ground floor and a 25-meter, seven-lane lap pool on the basement level. Outside, there are water playgrounds and fountains in which children can frolic, along with relaxing hot-spring pools with temperatures ranging from 22 to 42 degrees Celsius and hot-stone plate beds on which to relax. For further family-friendly entertainment, a set of stairs close to the Family Villas leads below ground to an electric-kart track. In the basement of the Castle building (so named for the main bailey protruding from the roof), there is a game room with classic and modern arcade games, foosball, and air hockey. There is also a gym, a pool-table room, karaoke rooms, and banquet rooms for weddings and corporate events. The on-site spa is top notch as well, the only one in Taiwan operated in cooperation with the well-regarded Banyan Tree international hotels and resorts brand. The amenities are luxurious, and the prices match. At time of writing the lowest special-offer rate was NT$9,000 for a standard room with two meals, which can be enjoyed at the Prime One Steak House inside the Mansion Building and the Fontaine Cuisine restaurant inside the Castle building.

GRAND COSMOS RESORT RUISUI, HUALIEN ( 瑞穗春天國際觀光酒店 ) (03) 887-6000 www.grandcosmos.com.tw/en No. 368, Sec. 2, Wenquan Rd., Ruisui Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣瑞穗鄉溫泉路二段 368 號 )

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Express train running through the East Rift Valley

Yuli From Ruisui it's a short drive south on Provincial Highway 9 or County Road 193 to Yuli Township. The latter is favored by seasoned cyclists doing round-the-island or just East Rift Valley rides who prefer to take a more scenic and quieter road. It also offers more shade, thanks to the many roadside trees. In addition, the road has numerous vantage points from which you can take in the marvelous scenery of bright green and yellow fields and the majestic views of the central mountains on the opposite side of the valley. Shortly before reaching the Yuli Bridge, which traverses the Xiuguluan River and connects to Highway 9 and central Yuli, you come to the Dongfeng Leisure Agricultural Area, a multipurpose farm where visitors can try their hand at such fun as making scones and brewing wheat beer using ingredients grown on the farm’s fields. Creating the small-sized scones, made with eggs, butter, and flour from the area, takes about an hour under the staff's expert tutelage, and making the beer, a crisp, pleasing wheat ale, takes around three. The farm was started as a rice operation 20 years ago, with pomelos also grown, but today the focus is mostly on wheat, four varieties of rice, two different kinds of beans, and a small fertilizer factory catering to local farmers looking to further enrich the already fertile soil. The factory and the fields can be toured; the wheat fields are a rare sight in subtropical Taiwan.

DONGFENG LEISURE AGRICULTURAL AREA ( 東豐拾穗農場 ) (03) 888-0181 No. 71-3, Difen, Dongfeng Borough, Yuli Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣玉里鎮東豐里棣芬 71-3 號 ) Making small-sized scones 16

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The East Rift Valley is well known for its fantastic cycling paths, one of the most popular being the Yufu Bikeway

The East Rift Valley is well known for its fantastic cycling paths, one of the most popular being the Yufu Bikeway. Close to Yuli Railway Station are a number of bike-rental operations which rent bicycles for NT$100/4hrs, and e-bikes for NT$300 for the same amount of time. The roughly 10-kilometer stretch of paved pathway runs from Yuli Railway Station to the old railway station at the village of Dongli, following an abandoned railway line, winding among rice paddies, fields, and irrigation ponds. About two kilometers into the ride the bikeway crosses the Xiuguluan River and the fault line dividing the Eurasian and Philippine Sea plates, traversing a railway bridge that had to be retired because of the slowly shifting land below, the work of primal tectonic forces churning many kilometers underground. Stop at the midpoint of the bridge and place your feet at a clearly marked spot that allows you to, approximately, stand with one foot on the first tectonic plate and the other on the second. Riding along the bikeway is a great way to take in the land that is eastern Taiwan's largest rice granary, much of the crop grown here bound for export to Japan. During the seasons of the year the views are markedly different, ranging from seas of golden rice ears to fields of bright-yellow rapeseed. Along the pathway you will pass the platforms of two old railway stations, at Antong and Dongli, the latter marking the southern end of the bikeway. Adjacent to Dongli’s old platform, a very popular Instagram spot, is a small café where you can stop and relax, have a cup of coffee, and perhaps pick up a small locally-made souvenir before heading back to Yuli. If you have worked up an appetite on your return to central Yuli, consider dining at Yuli Noodles, a popular no-frills eatery serving generous portions of noodles, either dry or in soup, topped with slices of pork, celery, and bean sprouts. YULI NOODLES ( 玉里麵 ) (03) 888-1613 No. 94, Sec. 2, Zhongshan Rd., Yuli Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣玉里鎮中山路二段 94 號 )

Yuli Noodles

Riding the Yufu Bikeway

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Slow Touring Through the East Coast Region Down the East Rift Valley, Then Back Up Along the Pacific Coast TE X T RICK CH A RE T TE

PHOTOS V I S ION

Looking to rid yourself of your urban trappings for a bit and leave your life stresses behind? Make the idyllic East Coast region your playground for a few days, filling your itinerary with such treats as cycling through farmland, whitewater rafting, exploring the local indigenous cultures, traversing deep gorges, and hot-spring soaking.

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he East Rift Valley and the coastal region have strikingly different personalities. The floor of the first is a blanket of rich silt washed down from the bracketing central and coastal mountain ranges, from which has sprouted a bucolic world of neat farm fields with a diversity of ripening-crop colors that give painters thrills. The second is a Hawaii-like world of verdant greens, swaying palm trees, rocky coast and sandy beaches, and cresting waves that attract surfers from around the globe. Tourists for the most part keep to the very limited flatland areas in this ruggedly mountainous region. Check the satellite view on

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Google, and find the long, thin mountain range running northsouth right along the East Coast. This is the Coastal Mountain Range. The East Rift Valley runs parallel along its western side, and you’ll see a series of slender north-south flat areas along the coast itself where the mountains don’t fall off right into the sea. Off both the northern and southern tip of this range is a wide flatland area through which a river flows out of the rift valley to debouche into the Pacific. On these sit the region’s only two cities, both sleepily small, Hualien in the north and Taitung in the south. These are the main regional bases for tourists, and each supplies both railway and domestic air service. Cruise ships visit Hualien, and ferries to popular Green Island and Lanyu (Orchid Island) launch/return just outside Taitung. A circuit around the outside of the Coastal Mountain Range thus brings rewards of grand diversity, and is highly recommended if time allows. The region’s mountains themselves also beckon with compelling side-trip entertainment both nature- and man-made. Most notable of the almost countless attractions is the wonder-filled Taroko Gorge, just north of Hualien City, one of Taiwan’s top tourist draws. In the pages that follow I give a quick and unashamedly subjective rundown of places that must be visited should you choose to do “le grand circuit.”


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logging operation, with 2,000 residents at its height. Many buildings here, built with extracted Chinese cypress, have been beautifully restored. There is a history center, remnants of the extensive railway and cableway systems that ran into the hills, and train, machinery, and other displays. Ruisui Township, blessed with natural resources, is the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area’s (www.erv-nsa.gov.tw) biggest draw. Its two great attractions are whitewater rafting and hotsprings soaking. In the first part of this Feature article (see page 12) we highlight two of its other draws, a popular dairy ranch and one of its tea plantations. The Xiuguluan River performs the neat trick of rushing from the central mountains, moving across the rift valley, and slicing right into and through the coastal mountains to the Pacific. The whitewater rafting on the river is in the coastal-mountain section, through rugged gorge scenery and through 20 sets of rapids. The Ruisui Hot Springs, on the western side of Ruisui town, were developed as a resort destination by the Japanese in the 1910s. Mt. Liushidan (Sixty Stone Mountain), about 30 kilometers south of Ruisui, overlooks the bright-hued checkerboard of farm fields on the floor of the East Rift Valley. Each year, during the August/September bloom season of the daylilies cultivated on the slopes, the mountainsides are painted orange, creating some of the most enchanting scenes found in a region renowned for bucolic visual pleasures. The peak of Sixty Stone Mountain is about 800 meters above sea level, and a 300-plus-hectare rolling tableland of daylilies carpets its farm-populated top. Qixingtan bikeway

Taroko Gorge

Hualien City and Further North If you have time for just one exploratory foray in Hualien City, make it to Qixingtan, off the city’s northern end. The name means “Seven Star Lake,” but this is in fact a lovely arcing Pacific coast bay, dotted with small fishing craft. The northern end is the northern terminus of a breezy seaside bike path stretching 21km to Nanbin Park on Hualien City’s southern side (rentals available). Other facilities include a stonesculpture park, a star-watching plaza, a sunrise-viewing building (Qixingtan’s sunrises are renowned), and a seaside botanical garden. Taroko Gorge, though smaller in scale than the Grand Canyon, in my humble estimation rivals it in grandeur. The centerpiece of Taroko National Park (www.taroko.gov.tw), it is a magisterial river-cut slice right through solid mountain that starts far inland and opens directly onto the Pacific – 19km of unremitting wonder. Visitors move along just above its floor along the Central Cross-Island Highway, and a network of trails facilitate closer inspection of both the main gorge and tributary gorges to marvel at the towering cliffs thickly laced with marble.

The East Rift Valley The Lintian Mountain Forestry Center, about 35 kilometers south of central Hualien City, is a former timber-industry village established by the Japanese. This was once Taiwan’s fourth-largest TR AVEL I N TAIWAN

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At Lintian Mountain Forestry Center

The floor of the East Rift Valley is a blanket of rich silt washed down from the bracketing mountain ranges, from which has sprouted a bucolic world of neat farm fields with a diversity of ripening-crop colors that give painters thrills

Outside Chishang town in Taitung County 20

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Taitung City and Further South One of Taiwan’s finest cultural treasures is the city of Taitung’s National Museum of Prehistory (en.nmp.gov.tw), dedicated to increasing understanding of the island’s original peoples. Highquality displays present both Taiwan’s prehistoric cultures and present-day indigenous peoples. Three highlights are a full-scale 8-man oceangoing canoe specially created by members of Orchid Island’s Yami tribe (also known as the Tao people) for the museum, exquisite Beinan Culture jadeware unearthed in local burial sites that defined social status, and a mock-up of a dig that you walk down into. There is also a regular schedule of indigenous cultural performances. Not far south of Taitung City is the Zhiben Hot Springs resort area, with the breezy 110-hectare Zhiben National Forest Recreation Area (recreation.forest.gov.tw) located right beside it. The Japanese developed the area as a healing resort during their 1895~1945 period of colonial rule, after systematically mapping the island’s natural resources upon takeover, at the same time introducing Taiwanese folk to hot-spring culture. The scores of hot-spring inns and hotels are strung out along the Zhiben River, high hills on both sides. Immediately inland from the resort, where the hills soar higher, is the forest recreation area, which has a visitor center with displays on the local geology and flora/fauna and a fine web of mountain-slope trails.

Cycling in the Valley The East Rift Valley’s flat terrain and perfect paintinglike s ce ne r y make s it a p opula r le i sure - cycling destination, with many routes to choose from. Two of the busiest are at the towns of Chishang and Guanshan in Taitung County, located close to each other. The long loop routes, almost entirely free of motor vehicle traffic, bring you into picturesque paddy-field tapestries interlaced with networks of gurgling-water irrigation channels, and to many sites of historical and/or cultural interest. There are numerous quality bike-rental outlets around the starting points.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF PREHISTORY ( 國立��史����物� ) (089) 381-166 www.nmp.gov.tw No.1 Bowuguan Rd., Fengtian Borough, Taitung City ( �東市豐田里博物館路 1 號 )

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Sanxiantai

The Pacific Coast Heading north from Taitung City, Xiaoyeliu is the first stop inside the East Coast National Scenic Area (www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw), which stretches from just north of Taitung City to just south of Hualien City. Beyond its sheer beauty, Xiaoyeliu, a natural stone-sculpture scenic area, is highly info-taining for those types, like myself, who get excited about matters geology-related. Along the shore you’ll find large rock formations – honeycomb rock, mushroom rock, tofu rock, cuestas – and in the visitor center are well-crafted models and rock samples introducing the geological features of the coast.

The sprawling, big-shouldered old Dulan Sugar Factory, in Dulan village, about 12 kilometers north of Xiaoyeliu, makes sugar no more. The heritage complex, now protected, is today a creativity oasis for local and expat artists and craftspeople. There are artist workshops, a culturalcreative boutique, a café, a craft brewery, Taiwanese and Japanese restaurants, a quick-food kiosk, a driftwood stage, and other attractions. The big action is on Saturday nights, when there is free live music, with both local and expatriate talent performing.

Indigenous Harvest Festival Celebrations Members of various indigenous tribes in Taiwan make up a large percentage of the region’s population, and many of their communities invite tourists to watch their annual harvest festival activities – and even join in on some of the dancing. Dulan is home to one of the region’s largest Amis-tribe communities. The Amis, Taiwan’s largest tribe, are spread throughout the Hualien and Taitung counties. Each year villages stage Amis Harvest Festival celebrations in mid/ late summer, and Dulan’s are among the most elaborate, spanning three days. The third is the key day for tourists. The colorful three-hour extravaganza kicks off with a grand march into the village recreational ground by members in full traditional regalia, followed by exuberant ritual singing and dancing by male s and females from all traditional Amis age groups. Amis harvest festival in Dulan

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Sanxiantai, the Platform of the Three Immortals, is one of the East Coast’s most iconic tourist sites. Located northeast of Chenggong town, this is a small volcanic-rock island of massive black-tinged bluffs said to resemble three Daoist deities, in petrified form, who visited here on an immortal cross-ocean flying journey long ago. You reach it on foot via a long dragon-back-shaped arch bridge. It takes about 90 minutes to traipse along the bridge and the island’s easy loop trail. Note that a pleasant bike path to nearby Jihui Fishing Harbor starts at the Sanxiantai parking lot, with rentals available. Before you reach Hualien County on the coastal highway, you’ll pass the Baxian Caves (Caves of the Eight Immortals), a key Taiwan archeological site containing evidence of prehistoric inhabitation. Carved out by wave action and now pushed high above sea level by tectonic activity, the numerous massive holes are linked by paths and stairs. A nearby visitor center that, internally, resembles a cave itself presents geological info, enlightening archeological finds, and mockups of what life was possibly like for the original landlords. Finally, the Hualien Fengbin Sky Trail, about 35 kilometers south of central Hualien City, is a double-thrill attraction. The “sky trail” is a 150m cliff-clinging skywalk that hangs you right out over the ocean, breakers and shore fishermen at your feet. A 20m section is transparent. It follows a narrow old trail connecting local villages hacked from the face during the Japanese period. The second thrill is that your access walk is along a retired cliff-edge section of Highway 11; your skywalk return is through an old highway tunnel today filled with gift and snack stands.

Hualien Fengbin Sky Trail

Taroko Gorge

HUALIEN COUNTY

Qixingtan

Hualien County

Hualien City

Lintian Mountain Forestry Center Hualien Fengbin Sky Trail

Ruisui Hot Springs

Sky Trail

Grand Cosmos Resort Ruisui, Hualien

Ruisui Township Xiuguluan River

Rareseed Ranch Ji Lin Tea Plantation

Yuli Noodles

Baxian Caves

Yuli Noodles

Dongfeng Leisure Agricultural Area

Yuli Railway Station

TAITUNG COUNTY

Yufu Bikeway

Former Dongli Railway Station

Mt. Liushidan Sanxiantai

Guanshan

Taitung County National Museum of Prehistory

Chishang

PACIFIC Pacific OCEAN Dulan Sugar Factory Xiaoyeliu

Zhiben National Forest Recreation Area

Taitung City Zhiben Hot Springs

Taiwan

GETTING THERE AND AROUND There are numerous daily flights to Hualien and Taitung cities from Taipei, and regular rail service to/from Taipei (service through Hualien on way to/from Taitung). Book seats on Puyuma Express trains, the fastest service, well in advance. There are car-rental locations outside both train stations and airports; the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website (www.taiwan.net.tw) provides information on vetted car-rental groups. Scooter rentals are also available outside the railway stations. For those not self-driving, note that the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service will get you right to, or very close to, many of the places we've introduced (www.taiwantrip.com.tw). ENGLISH AND CHINESE Amis tribe 阿美族 Baxian Caves 八仙洞 Chishang 池上 Coastal Mountain Range 海岸山脈 Dulan Sugar Factory 都蘭糖廠 East Rift Valley 花東縱谷 Guanshan 關山 Hualien Fengbin Sky Trail 花蓮豐濱天空步道 Lintian Mountain Forestry Center 林田山林業文化園區 Mt. Liushidan 六十石山 Peng family 彭家 Qixingtan 七星潭 Ruisui Township 瑞穗鄉 Sanxiantai 三仙台 Taroko Gorge 太魯閣 White Tea 白茶 Xiaoyeliu 小野柳 Xiuguluan River 秀姑巒溪 Yami tribe 雅美族 Yufu Bikeway 玉富自行車道 Yuli 玉里 Yuli Bridge 玉里大橋 Zhiben Hot Springs 知本溫泉

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F

inest Ingredients, Freshest Seafood

TE X T CHRI STI A N A DA M S PHOTOS M AGG IE SONG

Hot-Spring Resort Cuisine in Yilan’s Jiaoxi Township

Taiwan is naturally blessed with various types of mineral springs, including hot springs, mud hot springs, cold springs, and oceanside saltwater springs. It is a world-renowned mecca for mineral-spring lovers, with many distinctive resort enclaves that have been developed around natural-spring sources. Quite a few of these getaway havens have restaurants and hotels offering delicious, hearty local hot-spring cuisine created with the idea of eating local and seasonal produce.

Hot-spring bathing at Hotel Royal Chiaohsi

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A

01

fter over a decade on the island, I’ve never heard anyone say, “There’s nothing to eat in Taiwan.” Quite the contrary. Most visitors come away with a genuinely food-centric impression and a bellyful of fond memories of time spent savoring local delicacies. An hour by bus from downtown Taipei, Jiaoxi is a hot-spring town in Yilan County, on the northeast coast. From Jiaoxi's bus or railway station it’s a short walk to Tangweigou Hot Spring Park, where you’ll find public hot-spring bath facilities, including pavilions with hot-spring foot-soak pools. Also within the town center you’ll find a delightful pedestrian street, which is lined with foot-soak pools and snack vendors. Jiaoxi used to be something of an undiscovered paradise, especially for foreign visitors. Though the hot springs there have been renowned since the 1895~1945 Japanese colonial era, it wasn’t until 2006, when National Highway 5 and its magnificently long Xueshan (Snow Mountain) Tunnel was opened and the traveling time and distance from Taipei was shortened significantly, that Jiaoxi became a more appealing option for day-trips and weekend getaways from the capital. Since then, the town and eponymous township have become an exceedingly popular destination, especially for the town’s hot springs and township’s bucolic and coast-area charms. The water of Jiaoxi's hot springs is crystal-clear and odorless, and has considerable mineral content, including iron, magnesium, and sodium bicarbonate. In addition to its convenient transportation links and abundant natural beauty, the township as a whole offers a visitor-friendly environment with high-quality tourism attractions, services, and facilities. A commitment to tourism has further raised the area’s profile as one of Taiwan's favorite hot-spring destinations. But before we go any further, discerning readers may notice that three different spellings of the township’s name will be seen as you continue: Jiaoxi, Chiaohsi, and Jiaosi. I wish there was more time to explain the discrepancy – it has to do with different methods of Romanization – but for this article you just need to know that all three refer to the exact same place. Given the Taiwanese passion for hot springs and food, it’s no surprise that a number of Jiaoxi’s hot-spring resorts have endeavored to introduce fine cuisine to the overall hot-spring experience. Of course, after a few hours of simmering in a hot bath of soothing bicarbonate water, you’re very likely to be hungry. At the forefront of this hot spring-slash-fine cuisine movement are two of Jiaoxi’s most prominent and upscale resort hotels: the Hotel Royal Chiaohsi and the Evergreen Resort Hotel (Jiaosi). Let’s talk about what both the Hotel Royal and the Evergreen have in common, aside from being located in Jiaoxi. Both properties were designed by well-known architects, and feature minimalist designs. Both feature a fantastic array of facilities and amenities you’d need more than a weekend to explore and exhaust. And finally, both offer award-winning cuisine in their restaurants, headed by chefs eager to highlight local ingredients and culinary innovation.

Dishes from the Grand Banquet Room menu

Hotel Royal Chiaohsi Located just a five-minute drive from the Jiaoxi Bus Station, the Hotel Royal Chiaohsi is a modestly sprawling property designed by famed Japanese architect Toyo Ito that, despite its pronounced corners and angles, blends calmly into the natural landscape. The most aesthetically pleasing character of the building is its spacious elegance: hallways are wide and airy, and guestrooms are luxuriously fitted yet uncluttered. The entire resort is modern without ostentation, contemporary but still family-friendly. Its open-air spa features four hot springs, an herbal pool, and an infinity pool looking across the Yilan Plain to the ocean. Even the guestrooms have spring-fed bathtubs. The family-friendly resort also has a children’s pool, an outdoor play area, a recreation center with billiards, table tennis, and computer facilities, as well as an extensive library. Buffet and à la carte meals are served in the hotel’s two restaurants: the View Western Restaurant, highlighting Japanese, Chinese, Western, and Taiwanese offerings, and the Zen Garden Fusion Cuisine restaurant, where Japanese flavors meet Taiwanese innovation. On a recent visit, after a tour of the main guest facilities I sampled dishes at the elegant first-floor Grand Banquet Room, headed by Chef Wu Chuan-yuan. The kitchen puts out a number of unique creations, combining the best of Western and Asian culinary selections and gastronomic methods, combining the best of local ingredients. Perhaps the most outstanding feature of every dish is – again – simplicity.

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A simple format seems to be followed for each dish: main ingredient > variable preparation > additional flavor combination(s). The Pork Rib Soup with Bamboo is a perfect example: zero garnish, not really making an artistic statement, but rather simply saying “Eat me, now.” I also loved the Abalone in Chili Sauce, which was much sweeter than expected, with just the right amount of seafood unami. It would have paired perfectly with a glass of Prosecco or sparkling Riesling. Although every dish I sampled was tasty and satisfying, the standouts were the Prawn Balls with Pop Rocks – yes, the delightful candy treat that “explodes” on contact with the palate – and the Sweet and Spicy Mud Crab in Chili Sauce. All of the mouthwatering dishes were featured as part of a set menu generated for the Hotel Luxury Award competition and are now available throughout the year. HOTEL ROYAL CHIAOHSI ( 礁溪老爺酒店 ) (03) 988-6288 No. 69, Wufeng Road, Dazhong Village, Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣礁溪鄉大忠村五峰路 69 號 )

Prawn Balls with Pop Rocks

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Seafood and meat platter

02 Evergreen Resort Hotel (Jiaosi) While somewhat more utilitarian in presentation than the Hotel Royal, the Evergreen Resort Hotel (Jiaosi) is equally equipped to pamper well-heeled recreation seekers. A leisurely five-minute stroll from the Jiaoxi Bus Station, the Evergreen, with its familiar green logo, is likely to be one of the first landmarks a visitor to Jiaoxi will spot on arrival. The resort welcomes guests with modern design concepts: an open waterfront garden at the entrance, large floor-to-ceiling windows, solid-mahogany sculptures, natural stone, and soft backlighting. The opulent hotspring suites are available in a number of different styles. The resort offers three dining options: the Phoenix Abalone Restaurant and the Riverbank and Laurel Buffet restaurants.

Giant fried prawn

Led by Chef Chiu Lung-chun, the Phoenix Abalone Restaurant serves a range of Chinese dishes inspired by the Cantonese, Beijing, and Shanghai cuisines – using mostly local ingredients. The interior’s minimalist design features large French-style windows that look out into a Japanese bamboo garden. I sampled items from a pair of the Phoenix Abalone’s specia l set menus. Standout dishes included the Lemongrass Braised Chicken with Hot Spring Tomatoes and Steamed Crab with Sanxing Scallions in Szechuan Pepper Sauce. My favorite dish was the Roasted Pork Ribs with Kavalan Whiskey Marinade. It’s savory and earthy flavor would be a perfect complement to any number of accompanying dishes. Though the items on the set menus were featured as part of the 2018 season, we were assured that the dishes would remain available in the future. I would certainly like to have another go at the Phoenix Roasted Cherry Duck and the Giant Fried Prawns, the latter featuring the biggest prawns I’ve ever seen. In addition, the Phoenix Abalone features a beguiling number of dishes that just look so appetizing, I’m somewhat disappointed I didn’t get to try them, including the Fresh Scallops with Egg and Truffle Stir-Fry and the Thai-style Squid in Honey Sauce. All that being said, I was not at all disheartened by the delicious offerings presented by the chef.

Nanao Mackerel Phoenix Rice GETTING THERE From the Taipei City Hall Bus Station it's a remarkably easy 45-minute journey on the No. 1572 bus operated by Capital Bus (www.capital-bus.com.tw) to Jiaoxi. Once there, you can walk to the Evergreen, and the Hotel Royal has its own shuttle-bus terminal directly in front of the Jiaoxi Bus Station. ENGLISH AND CHINESE Chiu Lung-chun 邱龍俊 Grand Banquet Room 明月宴會廳 Huang Chin-chou 黃欽洲 Jiaoxi 礁溪 Phoenix Abalone Restaurant 鳳凰鮑魚館 Tangweigou Hot Spring Park 湯圍溝溫泉公園 Wu Chuan-yuan 吳川源 Xueshan Tunnel 雪山隧道 Yilan Plain 宜蘭平原

EVERGREEN RESORT HOTEL (JIAOSI) ( 長榮鳳凰酒店 [ 礁溪 ]) jiaosi.evergreen-hotels.com (03) 910-9988 No. 77, Jiankang Road, Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣礁溪鄉健康路 77 號 )

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A MIAOLI TRAVERSE

Driving and Rail-Biking Through the Taiwan Hakka Heartland TE X T STE V E N CROOK PHOTOS M AGG IE SONG

Between the highly developed Keelung-Taipei-Hsinchu corridor, and the rapidly growing metropolis of Taichung – now Taiwan’s second most populous municipality – lies Miaoli County. The population density of Miaoli is just one quarter that of Taichung. Whether you approach from north or south, your first impression is likely to be of rustic splendor. In this area, the official statistic that 58 percent of Taiwan is covered by trees or bamboo seems an underestimate.

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ecause it lacks sizable cities, some regard Miaoli as a backwater, yet the county is both quick and easy to reach from the aforementioned urban areas. Self-driving tourists can use either of Taiwan’s north-south freeways, Provincial Highway 61 (West Coast Expressway) along the coast being a somewhat slower alternative. Provincial Highway 13 is useful for accessing the Miaoli township of Sanyi, but those on two wheels may prefer the more scenic Provincial Highway 3. Since Miaoli is a hilly region on a mountainous island, however, ambitious cyclists should know that the latter roadway is seldom straight or flat. If you plan to get around by train, a suggested starting point for information is my article in the March/April 2017 issue of Travel in Taiwan (find back issues of the magazine online at tosto.re/ travelintaiwan). This time around, my research journey also began with a Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) ride to Miaoli. At the THSR station I met up with my travel companions, and together we drove south to Shengxing Railway Station in Sanyi, a township renowned for its talented woodcarvers and the Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum (wood.mlc.gov.tw). The picturesque village of Shengxing has one of Taiwan’s best-known train stations, which is surprising considering regular passenger services on the railroad that passes through here ceased more than 20 years ago. Between 1903 and 1998, what’s called the Old Mountain Line carried local, express, and freight trains across the Da’an River into the greater Taichung area. At an altitude of 402.36m, Shengxing Railway Station was the highest station above sea level on Taiwan's conventional railway network. The station, a quaint wooden cottage-style building built in 1930, is a highly photogenic structure. After the completion of a shorter, straighter alternative to the Old Mountain Line, 15.9km of track, along with eight tunnels and three bridges, were decommissioned. The Shengxing station was closed, but never forgotten – and since last year tourists have had a new reason to come here.

Passing the ruins of Longteng Bridge while on an Old Mountain Line Rail Bike outing

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Sanyi Rail Bike Fun The Old Mountain Line Rail Bike attraction offers an unusual 90-minute experience, a railway journey amid gorgeous scenery at the speed of a bicycle, but with no pedaling required. Booking ahead through www.oml-railbike.com is necessary, because participants set off in groups four times a day. What’s more, you need to arrive at least 45 minutes before departure to collect your tickets (NT$280 per person), and then report at the platform 20 minutes prior to boarding. When you’re taking pictures of the station and its surroundings, however, time goes quickly. “Rail bike” is something of a misnomer. Each vehicle is about the size of a golf cart, has four train-type wheels, and runs on unmodified rail tracks. A canopy protects the passengers (there are four seats) from sunshine and rain. I was impressed by the number of staff on duty, and their diligence. Safety belts must be fastened, and before starting the 6km-long ride from the train station to Tunnel No. 6, each “driver” – I was the one on our “locomotive” – is shown how to start the electric motor, release the hand brake, and accelerate. If you’ve ridden one of the scooters that are ubiquitous in Taiwan, you can do this. If anything, it’s far easier: There’s no need to steer, and the vehicle has been rigged to never exceed 12 km/h. We were instructed to pull away from the station at intervals. Having a good bit of space between each rail bike is a good idea, as drivers often get distracted by the scenery and slow right down. Almost immediately, we were heading through the 725m-long tunnel south of the station, disturbing the bats that roost within. It’s far from pitch black inside, because images of station-area buildings and other notable sights associated with the Old Mountain Line are projected on the tunnel’s walls. Back out into the winter sunshine, we passed betel-nut plantations, a strawberry farm, and groves of tung trees. The tung tree has become a symbol of the Hakka people who inhabit this part of Taiwan. Its wood is favored by the woodcarvers of Sanyi town, and the oil made from its seeds has multiple uses. The Hakka Tung Blossom Festival, held each spring, is a major event in the northwest and other parts of the island where tung trees grow. Tunnel with light show

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Old Mountain Line Rail Bike "locomotive"

Much of the route is single-track, and soon we were traversing a narrow bridge far above a mountain creek. Looking left, we enjoyed excellent views of one of Miaoli’s most-adored sights: the Longteng Bridge, a.k.a. Yutengping Bridge. When the deadliest tectonic disaster in Taiwan’s history struck on April 21, 1935, killing 3,422 people, every one of the bridge’s masonry arches collapsed, as did the central made-of-steel truss. Rather than clear the ruins and rebuild from scratch, the authorities decided to shift the railroad a short distance to the west. The columnar ruins of the wrecked bridge that remain standing serve as an impressive monument to the power of nature. We were instructed to park our rail bikes at the point on the track where riders look down onto Liyu Elementary School. Glancing toward the west, we could see rugged Mt. Huoyan, located by the Taiwan Strait coast. Its bare, sandy ridges are highly unusual in lush, tropical Taiwan. Everyone then proceeded on foot through Tunnel No. 6 to the Neishechuan Iron Bridge. The bridge itself is off-limits, but from its north end it’s possible to enjoy views up and down the waterway that drains the Liyutan Reservoir. After learning about this spot and the history of the railway line, we rode back to Shengxing. If you’d like to take a look at this part of the Old Mountain Line without signing up for the rail bike experience, you can reach the iron bridge via Township Road 52. Steps connect the road with the southern end of the tunnel. There’s nothing to stop you walking north through the tunnel, but a flashlight is advised.


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Dapu Reservoir and Nature Loving Wonderland

Between Shengxing and Beipu all the way around the reservoir (take County Road 126 to get to the reservoir from Highway 3). As you’d expect, there are coffee shops and lookout spots from which you can enjoy the view before resuming your journey further north. If bodies of water really float your boat, leave Highway 3 about 11km before Beipu and head for the Dapu Reservoir in Hsinchu County’s Emei Township. The immense buildings on a peninsula here belong to Nature Loving Wonderland (www.naturelovingwonderland.org), a Buddhist complex that boasts the world’s tallest bronze statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Visiting rules are convoluted, so check online ahead of time if you hope to look inside. For a lengthier detour, take Highway 3 to the tiny town of Shitan, hub of Shitan Township, The Mingde Reservoir in Touwu Township, then turn onto County Road 124. The latter about 28km north of Dahu, is a scenic manmade will take you through hilly terrain inhabited lake covering 170 hectares. It’s possible to drive by Hakka, Hoklo, and indigenous people, past Shengxing is perhaps the quintessential Hakka hill village, and Beipu in neighboring Hsinchu County is the quintessential Hakka town. It takes at least an hour and a half to drive from one to the other, but it’s a journey through beguiling landscapes that can be broken at places such as the town of Dahu and the Mingde Reservoir. To get to Dahu from Sanyi Township, take the scenic and winding County Road 130, which connects to Provincial Highway 3. Ask a Taiwanese person what Dahu is famous for, and he/she will almost certainly answer “strawberries.” There are pick-your-own operations along and close to the highway, and town shops sell jams, wines, and other products made using the township’s signature fruit.

ecological attractions including the Penglai Creek Nature Park, and into the village of Nanzhuang. For the type of tourist who’s keen to avoid the hassle of driving, Nanzhuang’s appeal is twofold. One is that it is recognized by Cittaslow International, the Italy-based alliance of “slow towns/cities,” as a place that is (in the words of the group’s website, www.cittaslow.org), “respectful of citizens’ health, the authenticity of products and good food, (and) fascinating craft traditions.” The other is that it has good bus connections. Hsinchu City-Nanzhuang services take a little over an hour, and a one-day pass (NT$150) for the area’s Taiwan Tourist Shuttle services provides access to such points of interest as the indigenous village at Xiangtian Lake and the religious sites of Lion’s Head Mountain. For detailed bus information, see www.taiwantrip.com.tw.

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The Old Hakka Town of Beipu On this outing, we didn’t have much time to linger at any of the places between Dahu and Beipu. If you want to explore the area at a slower pace, set aside two or more days to do what we did in one. But we did make it to Beipu, one of my favorite places in Taiwan. A former frontier settlement full of 19th-century character, the town is a charming place that rewards those willing to wander at random down narrow alleyways. It’s possible to park just off Highway 3 a stone’s throw away from Beipu Old Street. Walking southward into the historic quarter, we stopped to admire the graceful exterior of the exquisite Tianshuitang, a single-story mansion done in classical style that, unfortunately, isn’t open to the public. Our objective was down the lane to the left of Tianshuitang. So named because the property has its own water-hole – a not uncommon feature in the Taiwan of yore – The Well Teahouse is a building dating to the 1930s where visitors can enjoy teas, coffees, and snacks. Like many tourists, we were there to try our hand at making leicha (“pounded tea,” NT$100 per person), a Hakka culinary treat. The owner brought us a large bowl filled with tea leaves, seeds, nuts, and other dried ingredients, plus a pestle with which to grind it all up. Once we’d reduced everything to a fine paste, the blend was divided among smaller bowls containing puffed rice and mung beans. With the addition of piping-hot water, it became a concoction that looked more like soup than tea. Because it has a mild and pleasant cereal taste, I’d classify leicha as a comfort drink rather than a stimulant. Beipu Old Street has several stores and other vendors of interest. If you pass through the town during persimmon season, you can expect to see – and be invited to sample – the fruit in both its fresh and dried forms. Another local product you’re sure to see is meigan cai, the pickled mustard greens that appear in several signature Hakka dishes. The greenish version is made using salt only, whereas darker meigan cai gets its color from soy sauce. Camphor oil, a popular insect repellent and a key commodity in Taiwan in the 18th and 19th centuries, is sold at one shop on the old street as well. Even if you’ve no interest in buying some oil, do take a look at the shop’s electric-powered camphor-oil still. Our final stop was Lung Yuan Pastry Store, a sleek-design bakery filled with tasty goodies, several of which are labeled in English as well as Chinese. The shop sells cakes flavored with taro and sweet potato, candied citrus, and various types of nian gao – a treat made of glutinous rice pounded into a paste – but I opted for Lung Yuan’s version of a top tourist favorite. After hearing another customer receive confirmation that the pineapple cakes here have a 100%-pineapple filling (some recipes use wax gourd in varying percentages), I purchased a thick, disk-shaped fengli su. (The shop also sells pineapple cakes in the form of small bite-sized rectangles, which is the most common purchase nowadays.) It was delicious, and lasted less than half an hour after I got home. Writing this now, I can say that memories of time spent exploring Miaoli are just as delectable, yet far more durable!

Hakka-style pork

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Dried persimmons

Preparing leicha


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Beipu Old Street Dapu Reservoir

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The Well Teahouse Lion’s Head Mountain

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Mingde Reservoir

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Sanyi Wood 13 Sculpture Museum

Mt. Huoyan

Xiangtian Lake

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Nanzhuang

Penglai Creek Nature Park

Hsinchu County

Miaoli County 3

Shengxing Railway Station Old Mountain Line Rail Bike

Longteng Bridge

Neishechuan Iron Bridge

ENGLISH AND CHINESE Beipu 北埔 Beipu Old Street 北埔老街 Da'an River 大安溪 Dahu 大湖 Dapu Reservoir 大埔水庫 fengli su 鳳梨酥 leicha 擂茶 Lion's Head Mountain 獅頭山 Liyu Elementary School 鯉魚國小 Liyutan Reservoir 鯉魚潭水庫 Longteng Bridge 龍騰斷橋 Lung Yuan Pastry Store 隆源餅行 meigan cai 梅干菜 Mingde Reservoir 明德水庫 Mt. Huoyan 火炎山

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Nanzhuang 南庄 Nature Loving Wonderland 大自然文化世界 Neishechuan Iron Bridge 內社川鐵橋 nian gao 年糕 Old Mountain Line 舊山線 Old Mountain Line Rail Bike 舊山線鐵道自行車 Penglai Creek Nature Park 蓬萊溪自然生態園區 Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum 三義木雕博物館 Shengxing Railway Station 勝興車站 Shitan 獅潭 The Well Teahouse 水井茶堂 Tianshuitang 天水堂 Tunnel No. 6 六號隧道 Xiangtian Lake 向天湖 Yutengping Bridge 魚藤坪斷橋

At The Well Teahouse in Beipu

Hotel rêve Taichung is located in the center of Taichung City’s Daya District, close to Central Taiwan Science Park and Fengjia Commercial Area. The hotel has 125 guestrooms with an attractive interior design that combines fashion and cultural elements. Business and leisure travelers alike feel at home in the comfortable rooms affording splendid views of the city. The hotel stands out for its elegance and relaxing ambience. It has infused an old neighborhood with fresh new elements while at the same time keeping a subtle and simple style. 威汀城市酒店 Hotel rêve Taichung ADD │ No. 100, Sec. 1, Minsheng Rd., Daya Dist., Taichung City 428, Taiwan TEL │ +886-4-2568-0558 FAX │ +886-4-2567-7134 Website │ www.hotel-reve.com.tw

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Pottery class with teacher Chang Yan-feng

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FA MILY FU N / N A NZHUA NG

Swallow Ceramics DIY Pottery in Miaoli County’s Nanzhuang Township TE X T NICK K E MBE L PHOTOS M AGG IE SONG

In this article Travel in Taiwan heads to Yanzitao Pottery Coffee B&B in the township of Nanzhuang, Miaoli County, to enjoy a DIY pottery experience and get a taste of the region’s “take-it-slow” way of life.

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here are numerous ways to reach Nanzhuang Township from Taipei. On this occasion we’ve opted for a bus ride (see end of article for transport info). After a hop-off, hop-on transfer at the nondescript bus station in Toufen, a town just south of Miaoli County’s border with Hsinchu City, we find ourselves on a rather fast local bus ride across the Miaoli countryside. The intoxicatingly quaint rural scenes and hamlets seem to have little influence on the driver’s sense of urgency. As we zip through Sanwan Township and enter Nanzhuang Township, the roads become more winding and the views whizzing past lovelier. Miaoli is known for its hardworking yet laidback folk, the majority of whom, especially in the countryside, are Hakka, with pockets of Atayal and Saisiyat indigenous settlements found in the hilly and mountainous parts

Garden at Yanzitao Pottery Coffee B&B

of the county as well. Days start early in Miaoli, but afternoons often give way to prolonged naps or leisurely pursuits. Miaoli residents rightfully boast about their excellent weather. In the winter months, if it’s raining in Taipei, there’s a high chance of blue skies in Miaoli. The favorable weather also allows farmers to grow the county’s signature crops, which include strawberries, pears, persimmons, Chinese radishes, and tea. Local food experts in Miaoli will tell you that the leafy greens here are noticeably crunchier and more flavorful than those grown elsewhere in Taiwan. Nanzhuang perfectly encapsulates Miaoli ’s rura l charm. The township’s characteristic serenity is no secret. You will pass many houses that serve as B&Bs (called a minsu or homestay in Taiwan), the preferred choice of holidaymakers who come from cities around the island in search of solitude.

As our bus approaches Nanzhuang town, we pass one of the entrances to the Lion’s Head Mountain Scenic Area, which is part of the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area (www. trimt-nsa.gov.tw). Here trails lead hikers past many old temples built on, and into, the mountainside. This section of the national scenic area straddles the border between Miaoli County and Hsinchu County. The main entrance area, on the Miaoli side, is home to the densest and most popular collection of religious edifices, including Quanhua Temple, a Daoist temple dedicated to the Jade Emperor that was built in 1897. After arrival in Nanzhuang town, we go on a short stroll along Nanzhuang Old Street and Sweet Osmanthus Alley, the latter a narrow lane that attracts many tourists on weekends, eager to sample its regional Hakka specialties, in particular teas, shaved ice, and other delicacies flavored with the alley’s namesake flower.

Ceramic artworks

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Enjoying good coffee and taking in the mountain views

Yanzitao Pottery Coffee B&B Our destination for the day, the Yanzitao Potter y Cof fee B&B, is about 3.5k m southwest of Nanzhuang town. As there is infrequent bus service on County Road 124 (see box at end of article), taking a taxi from the town is recommended. We are lucky that the owner of Yanzitao has agreed to pick us up, however, and after a short wait in the town a small olive-colored car pulls up. We are greeted by Momo, the owner’s daughter, who goes by this Japanese name after having majored in Japanese and spending a year working in coffee shops in Japan. Momo’s working holiday was partially motivated by her desire to contribute to the realization of her parents’ business goal: establishing a pottery-focused guesthouse in their retirement home in Nanzhuang Township. Momo describes her role in the project as she drives. “Coffee is an important part of the leisure industry here,” she states. “It is a conductor of relaxation.”

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On t h at note, we a r r ive at Ya n z it ao Pottery Coffee B&B, a modern three-story countryside home with a commanding view of the surrounding hills. A pair of large white ducks welcomes us with quacks. The ducks, Momo shares, are known to fly over the yard fence and down the hill and then waddle their way back up the driveway, for some reason unable or unwilling to fly in an upward direction. We are greeted warmly by Chang Yanfeng, Momo’s mother, and are invited to enter her home. Chang and her husband Chan Hsun-wen’s artwork fills the living room – shelf upon shelf of vases, jars, statues, and ornamental pieces. Each potter has a distinctive style. Chang’s pieces are decorative, and revolve around figures and faces. Her familiarity with form goes back to her former profession as a hairstylist. Chan, by contrast, leans towards functional ware like teapots and lamps, with his favorite motif being the swallow. Yan, the Mandarin word for swallow, is part of both his wife’s given name and of their guesthouse. While pottery is most often practiced

by men in Taiwan, it was Chang who initiated the couple’s shared interest in the craft, and it is her work that has received the most praise. Chang recounts a childhood of poverty, working hard from a young age. After she married Chan she would take their kids to free courses at a cultural center in Miaoli, and began to develop an appreciation for art. After her kids had grown older she took courses herself, trying everything from calligraphy to painting, but it was pottery that made the deepest impression on her. “Pottery was always in my nature; I just had to discover it,” Chang recollects. “Pottery was my calling.” As her obsession with pottery grew, her husband followed suit. He was constantly driving her around as she sought to learn from different pottery masters, and would sit beside her in class. According to Chang, her husband mostly does the “manly” work, like carrying the heavy sacks of clay, so that she can focus on her art. “He has been as supportive as a husband could be, physically, emotionally, and financially.”


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While we chat, we sip on roselle tea and water infused with Mt. Lemmon Marigold, giving it a taste and aroma virtually identical to passion fruit. This is one of the numerous f lowers a nd herbs grow n a nd sold at Yanzitao. Next we go outside to tour the garden. Momo’s coffee shrubs are in their third year, and just beginning to produce fruit suitable for har vesting and brewing. We learn that Arabica typica coffee grown at lower altitudes such as here in Nanzhuang has a flowery, jasmine scent. We also admire dawn redwoods, sweet osmanthus trees, Chinese lantern f lowers (they indeed resemble hanging lanterns), olive trees, and tung trees. In April and May, visitors are rewarded with scenes of white blossoms falling from the tung trees like snow. As an added incentive to visit at that time, fireflies can also be seen in the evening. Our tour of the premises ends at two large pottery kilns, one electric and one woodfired, guarded in nonchalant manner by a family of cats. The traditional wood-fired one, Momo explains, produces the best results but with a lower success rate, so the

DIY works are usually fired in the more reliable electric kiln. With that, it is time for us to make some pottery. In the studio attached to the house, Chang goes into teacher and I into student mode. “I can only show you so much, then you need to let your inner nature take over and produce a work of your own,” she instructs as she hands me a hunk of clay. Clay sourced from Miaoli is highly suitable for the crafting of pottery due to its mineral content, and while the town of Yingge in New Taipei City is the undisputed capital of ceramics in Taiwan, pottery making as a pastime is catching on in Miaoli. My inner nature tells me to make a cat. I mold a resting feline that is surprisingly passable (considering my artistic inability). My cat will dry for several days before it will be baked at 1,230°C, and shortly after that mailed to my home. The fee for a onehour DIY pottery experience for kids (age three or above is recommended) is NT$400, and families with babies can have fun doing footprints or handprints in clay for NT$600. Adults pay NT$500 for creating whatever they desire.

GETTING THERE By Public Transport 1. From Taipei Bus Station (north of Taipei Main Station) take Kuo Kuang Motor Co. bus no. 1823 (Taipei-Zhunan) to Toufen. From Toufen, take Miaoli Bus no. 5804, 5805, or 5806 to Nanzhuang town. From there take Miaoli Bus no. 5822 and get off at the Nanjiang Recreational Agricultural District ( 南 江休閒農業區 ) or Funan ( 福南 ) bus stop. From there it's a 10-min. walk to Yanzitao. 2. Take a train to Zhunan Railway Station. Transfer to a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle (www.taiwantrip.com.tw) Nanzhuang Route bus. From Nanzhuang town take bus no. 5822 (see above). Self Drive Take National Freeway No. 1 to the Toufen Interchange. Follow County Road 124A east, take the 124 further east, take Provincial Highway 3 south, then the 124 again east/south to Nanzhuang town, and from there follow the 124 about 3.5km further southwest; turn right after passing the 31km marker.

I feel accomplished, but can’t leave just yet, for a Yanzitao Pottery Coffee B&B visit is incomplete without trying some of Momo’s coffee. She specializes in the slow-drip method, matching the guesthouse’s slow-life approach. Momo’s coffee menu features a range of single-origin coffees from Ethiopia and the New World, but many visitors opt for brews from the Yunlin, Alishan, or Miaoli areas in Taiwan. Three coffees with unique flavorings also grace the menu: home-planted turmeric, osmanthus honey, and maqaw (also known as May Chang and litsea). I can’t resist the last, maqaw being a peppercorn-like seed with the taste of lemon and ginger that is common in Taiwanese indigenous cuisine. The maqaw f lavor sits pleasantly on the tongue – a perfect accompaniment for the roselle fruit cake served. As we leave, Momo’s parting words sum up our experience: “We invite visitors to touch and taste the foods we grow in our garden, and take part in our slow life.”

Guestroom at the B&B

YANZITAO POTTERY COFFEE B&B ( 燕子陶 ) 0919-703-015 www.yanzitao1995.com No. 6-3, Nanjiang, Neighborhood 19, Nanjiang Village, Nanzhuang Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣南庄鄉南江村 19 鄰南江 6-3 號 ) ENGLISH AND CHINESE Atayal tribe 泰雅族 Chan Hsun-wen 詹勳文 Chang Yan-feng 張燕鳳 Lion's Head Mountain Scenic Area 獅頭山風景區 maqaw 馬告 Nanzhuang Old Street 南庄老街 Nanzhuang Township 南庄鄉 Quanhua Temple 勸化堂

Toufen 頭份 Saisiyat tribe 賽夏族 Sanwan Township 三灣鄉 Sweet Osmanthus Alley 桂花巷 Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area 參山國家風景區 Yan 燕 Yingge 鶯歌 A hearty meal made with local produce

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The Art of Eating and Walking Experiencing a One-Day Zen Retreat on Yangmingshan

TE X T H A N CHEUNG PHOTOS M AGG IE SONG

Put away your cellphone, clear your mind, and focus on the task at hand, no matter how mundane, at Chan Grove’s “Living Zen” retreats.

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Buddhist statue in the garden

eing someone who usually scarfs down meals while chatting, reading, or looking at my phone, it was an almost trance-like experience to focus on each bite, analyzing the complex textures and flavors in my mouth and being fully aware of the veggies and rice turning to mush as I chewed. I didn’t say a word to anyone, and when distracting thoughts arose – such as how I would structure this article, or where I was to meet my friend later – I managed to refocus on the food. Luckily, I did have prior experience meditating, but it still required considerable effort to stay focused. By the time I finally cleaned my bowl and looked around, most people in our group had already moved on to the next activity. I’m usually the first one to finish during group meals. Who knew that the simple act of eating could be so mesmerizing? Such mundane, everyday activities make up the core of typical Zen-living retreats, where a program can include such things as eating, walking, sipping tea, listening to music, and sweeping leaves. The point is that when you perform each task, down to the simple act of folding a towel, your mind is focused on the action of the moment. In Taiwan you don’t have to go to some hidden place in a remote mountain area to experience this. Chan Grove, a tranquil monastery founded by Zen Master Guoru, is just a short bus ride from the MRT Beitou Station in the northwest section of Taipei City. 38

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Meditation session

CHAN GROVE ( 祖師禪林 ) (02) 2891-5205 www.changrove.org No. 198, Fuxing 3rd Rd., Beitou Dist., Taipei City (台北市北投區復興三路198 號 )


DELIGHTFU L FOLK E X PER IENCE / ZEN BU DDHISM

Master Guoru was the first disciple of the late Master Sheng Yen, who founded Dharma Drum Mountain (www.dharmadrum.org), one of the most inf luential organizations in Chinese Buddhism, with aff iliated temples and centers in 14 countries. Dharma Drum, with its headquarters located on the North Coast in the Jinshan District of New Taipei City, is one of the “Four Great Mountains” of Buddhism in Taiwan, along with Fo Guang Shan (www.fgs.org.tw), Tzu Chi Foundation (www.tzuchi.org), and Chung Tai Shan Monastery (www. ctworld.org.tw). While Buddhism was brought to Taiwan by Chinese immigrants in the 1600s, key inf luential figures such as Sheng Yen fled to Taiwan in 1949 after the Communist takeover of China.

Government statistics show that about 35 percent of Taiwanese self-identify as Buddhists. But this number is probably much higher if considering people who practice a blend of Daoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism along with a smattering of elements from other folk traditions. It’s not uncommon to see temples around the island in which both Daoist and Buddhist deities are worshipped. The presence of Buddhism has also made Taiwan one of the most vegan- or vegetarian-friendly destinations in Asia. As a result, it’s pretty easy to get a cursory view of Buddhism just by strolling along the streets of cities in Taiwan. But for those who wish to delve deeper, it’s definitely a good idea to spend some time at one of the “Four Great Mountains,” or a smaller operation such as Chan Grove. TR AVEL I N TAIWAN

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DELIGHTFU L FOLK E X PER IENCE / ZEN BU DDHISM

After Master Sheng Yen died in 2009, Master Guoru started building Chan Grove in the foothills of Yangmingshan, the mountain massif on the northern side of Taipei City. Chan Buddhism arose in China during the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907AD), and later spread to Japan, where it became known as Zen Buddhism, which is the term Westerners today are more familiar with. According to Dharma Drum’s website, Chan refers to a “direct awakening to interconnectedness and impermanence, and the consequent arising of Buddhist wisdom and compassion. This awakening experience is inexpressible in words.” The site continues: “The teaching starts with knowing one’s self, but the process of practice leads to a discovery of our interconnectedness with others. Direct personal experience of Chan brings about the actualization of wisdom and compassion, which leads to peace and understanding in the world.” In addition to meditation, Chan should be practiced at all times as part of life, and should not be separated from everyday living. The Zen-living retreat fits right in with this concept, where practitioners learn to be mindful in conducting daily tasks so that they can easily apply the technique in their life after the retreat. The Zen-living retreat I took part in was a one-day version of the usual multiple-day workshop focused on reducing stress. The religious aspect was not emphasized, with most of the activities and discussions revolving solely around mindfulness. Also available are ten-, seven-, and three-day Zen retreats, which can include a variety of activities such as children’s events, specialized workshops such as flower arranging and paper cutting, as well as regular study groups and talks on Buddhism. More formal religious events such as Dharma assemblies also take place throughout the year. On the Chan Grove website (www.changrove.org; Chinese) the retreat I experienced is described as a way to “help busy entrepreneurs and office workers to experience the benefits of Zen in limited time and learn how to calm their body and spirit.” The monastery’s shuttle bus picked me up, along with two travel companions, at the MRT Beitou Station on a Saturday at 8:30am. I had made sure that I had replied to all my e-mails and taken care of all important personal tasks beforehand, as the use of mobile devices such as smartphones is not permitted during the time of the retreat. Worrying about such things felt slightly ridiculous, for I was only going to be without my phone for the next eight hours, as opposed to someone who signs up for a multi-day retreat. I have to admit, I’m a slave to my phone. Apart from leaving your electronic devices at home, you also have to deal with the fact that talking is not permitted unless it’s absolutely necessary, or when there is a group discussion. Reading newspapers or magazines is also not an option. I noticed, however, that the no-talking rule wasn’t strictly enforced during my retreat, though it’s no doubt best to follow it if you want to get the most out of the experience. It goes without saying that smoking, drinking, using drugs, and eating meat is strictly prohibited. Since it can get chilly in the mountains during the cooler months of the year, visitors are advised to bring some extra layers of clothing and a sleeping bag (if signing up for a multi-day retreat), as you will be sleeping on wooden floors. We were cheerfully greeted by Master Chang Zhen, who led us up the stone steps to the Zen hall of the complex, a minimalistic but

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Simple meal

ENGLISH AND CHINESE Chen Wu-hsiung 陳武雄 Chung Tai Chan Monastery 中台禪寺 Dharma Drum Mountain 法鼓山 Fo Guang Shan 佛光山 Jinshan District 金山區 Master Chang Zhen 常真法師 Master Guoru 果如法師 Master Sheng Yen 聖嚴法師 Tzu Chi Foundation 慈濟基金會 Yangmingshan 陽明山 Zen living 生活禪


DELIGHTFU L FOLK E X PER IENCE / ZEN BU DDHISM

PRACTICALITIES T h e r e t r e a t s h ave n o f i xe d p r i c e , b u t a s is common with Buddhist organizations, participants can (and are expected to) give some amount in donation, depending on the type of retreat and the participant's abilities. Simple (no garish colors) and comfor table (suitable for long meditation sessions) clothing is recommended. For a multi-day session, bring your own toiletry. The staff will inform you beforehand about any other requirements (which can vary according to the type of retreat). GETTING THERE Chan Grove can arrange pick-up from the MRT Beitou Station. You can also take bus no. S6 from the station, and get off at either the Baigong Shanzhuang ( 白宮山莊 ) or Chan Grove ( 祖師禪林 ) bus stop. A taxi ride from the station to Chan Grove takes about 10 minutes.

expansive wood, glass, and stone structure that is in line with Beitou’s heritage Japanese-style architecture. The environment had an immediate calming effect, and all one could hear was the sound of water flowing from a pond, birds chirping, and the occasional sounds of a set of large wind chimes. It was drizzling, but so lightly that the tiny raindrops seemed to dance in the air, adding to the air of mysticism. The person leading our retreat was Chen Wu-hsiung, who is an expert in designing this type of Zen-living activity. The other participants were already deep in meditation as we entered the hall. It was a bit chilly, but towels were supplied which we could use to cover ourselves. Chang Zhen and Chen explained the basics of what we were going to do that day. First up were some slow-motion stretching exercises to get into the swing of things, and we were then asked to take our meditation cushion and towels outside to the long corridors that surround the main hall. Chen reminded us to be mindful, even when folding the towels. I had already lost track of time by that point, and we then spent the next while walking clockwise around the hall. We started very slowly, putting all our energy into each step, and the pace gradually picked up. Back inside, tea drinking was next. We concentrated all our senses – watching the dried tea leaves expand and the water change color, feeling the heat and texture of the cup in our hands, taking in the aroma of the tea, and finally taking a sip and noticing how the flavor changed, from first contact to aftertaste. Between sips, I looked at the lush greenery and Buddha statues through a window, and my ears were also attuned to the music playing from another room as well as the sound of the flowing water and chimes outside. We repeated the slow, deliberate motions of the tea drinking and taking in of the surrounding environment several times before Chen announced that it was time for lunch. As mentioned earlier, I was so taken in by the “mindful eating” experience that I was late to the following activity, which for myself and a few others was sweeping leaves. Other participants were assigned different tasks, such as washing dishes. At this point, we didn’t need to be reminded to focus on the task at hand any more.

Preparing tea Sweeping leaves

Practicing Zen Main hall of Chan Grove

The day concluded with a showing of the film Peaceful Warrior, a semi-autobiographical account of how Dan Millman, a once arrogant and egotistic gymnast at UC Berkeley university in the US, was able to recover from shattering his leg and learn the art of being fully in the present to win a national championship. True to the nature of this workshop, at first glance this movie had nothing at all to do with Buddhism. But the exercises that Millman undertook under the guidance of his mysterious mentor resonated perfectly with what we had been doing that day. A lively discussion followed, and I left feeling completely calm, free of the usual excessive and scattered thoughts that assault my brain. At the moment of writing this, I don’t know how long I can maintain this state, as I am now once again immersed in the chaos of my regular life in Taipei. But I know that my daily tasks such as eating and walking will never be experienced in the same way again.

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Small & “

Slow

Towns

The 2019 Taiwan Small Town Ramble Last year the Taiwan Tourism Bureau promoted travel to Taiwan’s offshore islands with the 2018 Year of Bay Tourism campaign. This year the focus is on the charms of Taiwan’s small towns with the 2019 Taiwan Small Town Ramble. TE X T RICK CH A RE T TE

PHOTOS V I S ION

Beitou Museum

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n Small Town Story, one of her many mega-hit songs, the beloved Taiwan singer Teresa Teng told how “Small towns have many stories; they are filled with happiness and joy. If you come to a small town, you will surely find much to harvest.” Recorded in the late 1970s, the tune today remains a favorite in the Chinese-speaking world. This year, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is seeking to create a distinctive “local town”

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tourism brand for Taiwan by showcasing the rich and diverse cultural landscapes, ecologic a l la ndsc apes, a nd recreationa l re s ou rc e s of s p e c i a l ly s e le c t e d tow n s . According to the Bureau these include “classic towns of va rious counties a nd cities in Taiwan, as well as theme towns recommended by various ministries in Taiwan, such as Hakka towns, indigenous tribal villages, and towns certif ied as slow-paced cities by Cittaslow International.” Signif icant

weighting was also given to polling of the public conducted online. In this issue we present five towns chosen from the greater Taipei area. Note that the definition of “town” is expansive. Some are former towns now absorbed as districts in cities and some are neighborhoods or “old streets” long part of a larger town or city district. Other selections will be introduced in coming issues.


SM A LL-TOW N CH A R M / GRE ATER TA IPEI A RE A

01 Beitou District

Sulfur Pools, Museums in Heritage Buildings, and Rustic Old Japanese Hot-Spring Inns

Taipei City The tourism focus for this enclave in the northwest of Taipei City, at the foot of the mighty Yangmingshan mountain massif, is the hot-spring resort area of Xinbeitou. The Beitou hot-spring resort area was the first such area in Taiwan. Developed by the Japanese starting in the late 1890s, it was once reached from central Taipei by a special railway. The original terminus station, a charming wood-built structure created in 1916, is on display outside the Taipei Metro’s Xinbeitou Station. Today the expanding city presses in on the long, narrow valley at the base of the Yangmingshan massif where the key resort area is located. A steamy sulfur spring runs through its lower half, emerging from a main attraction, Thermal Valley (also called Hell Valley), which is a large rock-lined depression filled with sulfurous water that bubbles, boils, and mists over. Beyond the many resorts, which provide accommodations and temporary-use hot-spring bathing facilities in all price ranges, there are numerous historical attractions. The Beitou Hot Spring Museum is housed in a structure purpose-built in 1913 by the Japanese as Taiwan’s first public baths, and was once visited by future Emperor Hirohito. It is focused on the flourishing of the unique Beitou hot-spring culture.

The comely Beitou Museum, which has exhibits on early Taiwan life and culture with a Beitou focus, is housed in a former Japanese hot-spring inn built in Chinese Tang Dynasty style in 1921 where kamikaze pilots once spent their last days. BEITOU MUSEUM ( 北投文物館 ) (02) 2891-2318 www.beitoumuseum.org.tw No. 32, Youya Rd., Beitou Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市北投區幽雅路 32 號 )

BEITOU HOT SPRING MUSEUM ( 北投溫泉博物館 ) (02) 2893-9981 hotspringmuseum.taipei No. 2, Zhongshan Rd., Beitou Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市北投區中山路 2 號 )

Next door is another beautifully restored complex, the Marshal Zen Garden, which now is a teahouse/restaurant/hot-spring bathing complex. In the Japanese era it did service as a hot-spring inn, officers’ club, and short-stay R&R retreat for kamikaze pilots. MARSHAL ZEN GARDEN ( 少帥禪園 ) (02) 2893-5336 www.sgarden.com.tw No. 34, Youya Rd., Beitou Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市北投區幽雅路 34 號 )

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Beitou District, SM A LL-TOW N CH A R M / GRE ATER TA IPEI A RE A

02

Dadaocheng Taipei City

Taipei City

Old Shopping Streets, Venerable Temples, Museums in Heritage Buildings

The focus for this vibrant, heritage-rich neighborhood in Taipei City is Taipei history. Dadaocheng is known for its dense cluster of traditional Chinese shophouse retail and wholesale outlets, selling regional specialty items from around Taiwan and further afield, notably Chinese medicines, traditional fabrics, and food treats. The community, founded as a Tamsui River riverport in the 1850s, is today home to what is the bestpreserved and most complete “lived-in” architectural museum in Taiwan. Dihua Street is the community’s heart and main tourist destination. It was long the most important traditional-goods wholesale market on the island, and is still thriving after well over 100 years. The street becomes joyfully, uproariously busy in the run-up to the Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year and Spring Festival) period as locals stock up on New Year celebration necessities. The community’s religious heart is the small ornate Xiahai City God Temple, built in 1859, home to a breathtaking number

of godly icons, with the main deity the City God and the Old Man Under the Moon, the Chinese Cupid, as an extremely popular secondary deity. In the Chinese world each settled urban area in China has a City God, who registers and, upon death, judges the behavior of mortals in his district. At museum207, housed in what was originally a pharmacy built in 1962, the exhibits showcase the Taiwan of the past, such as the widespread use of terrazzo f looring and the complex art of Taiwanese gift-giving, with items ranging from lucky red envelopes to mirrors adorned with auspicious messages on display. Learn about Dadaocheng’s prowess in the tea trade at the Sin Hong Choon Tea Shop, a shop-cum-museum. Its home is a 1934-built building that was originally home to the community’s largest tea-processing workshop. The museum presents the tea trade of yesteryear, antique tea-processing machines, and the original ownerfamily’s living quarters.

museum207

Xiahai City God Temple

Dihua Street

Sin Hong Choon Tea Shop

MUSEUM207 (207 博物館 ) (02) 2557-3680 www.museum207.org No. 207, Sec. 1, Dihua St., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區迪化街一段 207 號 )

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SIN HONG CHOON TEA SHOP ( 新芳春行 ) 0923-613-316 goo.gl/2i6Xai No. 309, Minsheng W. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區民生西路 309 號 )


SM A LL-TOW N CH A R M / GRE ATER TA IPEI A RE A

03 Ruifang District

Mining History and Quaint Mountainside Teahouses

New Taipei City The focus for this mountain-area district on the northeast coast is old mining towns. This area has a rich cluster of small, old mining settlements, among which the most picturesque and celebrated is Jiufen, which from a distance seems to cling dramatically to a mountainside overlooking the ocean. The mining-boom times are now long gone, replaced with a renaissance through tourism in the past few decades. The towns’ glory days go back to the late 1800s, and many buildings date to the early 20th century. Jiufen Old Street, barely wide enough for more than five people to pass by each other, is lined with stalls and eateries selling specialty food treats, craft shops, and rustic teahouses with grand ocean views. Must-sample signature treats include taro balls, fish balls, pork jerky, and tea eggs. Jiufen’s next-door neighbor is Jing ua shi. Spread out throughout its valley is a cluster of heritage attractions that constitute the Gold Museum. These include the Benshan Fifth Tunnel, an old mineshaft open for tours, and the Crown Prince Chalet, built in 1922 for an anticipated visit by the future Emperor Hirohito. This valley was the site of the infamous WW II Kinkaseki POW Camp, where Allied prisoners were forced to work the mines. The village of Houtong, further inland, is one of a number of ex-mining villages in Ruifang District. Taiwan folk have fondly dubbed it “Houtong Cat Village” after the hundreds of wellcared-for abandoned felines, a very friendly crowd, that freely roam a traffic-free area close to the Houtong Railway Station. GOLD MUSEUM ( 黃金博物館 ) (02) 2496-2800 www.gep.ntpc.gov.tw No. 8, Jinguang Rd., Jinguashi, Ruifang Dist., Taipei City ( 新北市瑞芳區金瓜石金光路 8 號 )

Houtong cat

Jiufen

Gold Museum

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04 Pinglin District

Tea Farms, a Museum of Tea, and Tea Cuisine

New Taipei City The tourism theme for this area, in the mountains southeast of Taipei, is tea production and Taiwan’s tea culture. The Pinglin District has a powerful brand image – tea production. The area’s main type is Wenshan Baozhong, an Oolong. This is Taiwan’s main area for Baozhong, and said Baozhong is, most agree, Taiwan’s best. The local mountain slopes are neatly sculpted with tiered tea farms. Pinglin Village percolates with shops selling the local tea leaf and restaurants serving such “tea cuisine” creations as chicken fried in tea oil, tea-f lavored vermicelli, tea eggs, tea jelly, deep-fried tea leaves, and tea-flavored ice cream. At its heart is narrow Pinglin Old Street, busy with sellers of tea-related products, a place beautified by the stone used to craft many of the traditional Minnan (south Fujian)style residences, quarried from the bed of the waterway that courses by the village. The genteel Pinglin Tea Museum sits on a hillside slope opposite the village. Architecturally, it evokes the design of the traditional four-sided courtyard-residence complexes of China’s south Fujian gentry in imperial days. The ancestors of most Taiwanese came from this region, with a large immigration occuring from the mid1600s through the early 1800s. Many brought tea plants for transplantation. The museum houses displays on tea production from the Tang Dynasty to the present, and on Taiwan’s cherished tea-drinking culture.

Pinglin Tea Museum

Key to the quality local produce, which also includes other signature items such as handmade noodles and dried osmanthus flowers, is the pristine waters. The area’s long, serpentine, Feicui Reservoir, inaugurated in 1987, is the source of the majority of Taipei/New Taipei City treated water. To ensure water quality, rice-paddy farms, pig farms, and other polluting industries in the heavily forested region were shut down. The picturesque location is popularly called the “Thousand Island Lake.” PINGLIN TEA MUSEUM ( 新北市坪林茶葉博物館 ) (02) 2665-6035 www.tea.ntpc.gov.tw No. 19-1, Shuisongqi Keng, Shuide Borough, Pinglin Dist., Taipei City ( 新北市坪林區水德里水聳淒坑 19 -1 號 )

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Exhibition inside the museum

Feicui Reservoir


SM A LL-TOW N CH A R M / GRE ATER TA IPEI A RE A

05 Zhongzheng District

Grand Sea Views, Fishing Ports, and a First-Rate Maritime Museum

Keelung City A “Sea Bay” theme has been chosen as the Small Town Ramble theme for this Keelung City area. Keelung, northeast of central Taipei on the coast, is a busy international-port city that in recent decades has been working hard to create a more tourist-friendly side and attract visitors. The Zhongzheng District is perhaps its most appealing makeover story. Heping Island is connected to the mainland by a small bridge over a narrow channel. Its main attraction is its seawardside park, an area of sandstone cliffs eroded into fantastical formations. In the 1600s the Dutch garrisoned the island for a time after expelling the Spanish, and inside the Cave of Foreign Words cryptic Dutch wording is found on the wall. On the island’s land-facing side is a popular cluster of seafood eateries where fishing boats unload fresh catch each morning. The Badouzi fishing port is renowned for its mesmerizing annual Ghost Month activities, held on the night of the 14th day of the 7th lunar month. Just before midnight, large, intricately

crafted lanterns are floated toward the open sea and set alight, the light guiding the spirits of the drowned to come ashore to feast on offerings presented by the living to appease them. The young, impressive National Museum of Marine Science and Technology stands right on the coast. It is a showcase facility for marine science, technology, ecology, culture, and man’s relationship with the ocean. The huge boiler room of a retired 1930s-built powerstation building, cleverly incorporated into the complex, today houses the Deep Sea Theater. The museum is also home to Taiwan’s largest IMAX theater. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MARINE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ( 國立海洋科技博物館 ) (02) 2469-6000 www.nmmst.gov.tw No. 367, Beining Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Keelung City ( 基隆市中正區北寧路 367 號 )

Heping Island

Zhongzheng District Ruifang District

Beitou District Dadaocheng

TAIPEI KEELUNG CITY CITY NEW TAIPEI CITY

Pinglin District

National Museum of Marine Science and Technology

ENGLISH AND CHINESE 2019 Taiwan Small Town Ramble 2019 台灣小鎮漫遊年 Badouzi 八斗子 Beitou District 北投區 Dadaocheng 大稻埕 Dihua Street 迪化街 Feicui Reservoir 翡翠水庫 Heping Island 和平島 Houtong 猴硐

Jinguashi 金瓜石 Jiufen 九份 Pinglin 坪林 Ruifang 瑞芳 Thermal Valley 地熱谷 Xiahai City God Temple 霞海城隍廟 Xinbeitou 新北投 Yangmingshan 陽明山 Zhongzheng District 中正區

MORE INFORMATION For more background information on the attractions presented above, along with transportation and other practical information, your best place to start is the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website, at taiwan. net.tw (Travel in Taiwan – Attractions section).

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H A R BOR S A N D BE YON D / TA IN A N

to Qigu Salt Mountain

Tainan /

Sicao Green Tunnel 市3

Anping

A Glimpse into the History of Taiwan’s Old Capital Tainan’s Anping Harbor is not often a port of call for international cruise liners, but it has all that is needed to be a harbor area beloved by international cruise tourists who ply the seas of East Asia. TE X T & PHOTOS V I S ION

O

n arriving in the city’s Anping District, either by ship or other means of transport (the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle network’s 88 Anping Route [www.taiwantrip.com. tw] and the Tainan Sightseeing Bus [tainansightseeing.com.tw; Chinese] service are good options), you’ll find yourself in a history-rich area of Taiwan’s old capital. Explore the heart of Anping on foot, then take a cab or bus to numerous other places of interest not far away. Below are some of the key Tainan tourist attractions you don’t want to miss.

Anping Fort

Anping Canal

Anping Fort, Anping Tree House, and Anping Old Street

Anping Canal Cruise and South of the Harbor

If your time in Anping is limited, make sure to at least visit the Anping Fort, about 10 min. by foot north of the northeast arm of the harbor. Here you can learn about the city’s tumultuous history, and take in a 360-degree view of Anping from an observation tower. Two other popular historic sites, located a few minutes north from Anping Fort, are the Old Tait & Co. Merchant House and the adjacent Anping Tree House, both great locations for taking pictures. The latter is a cluster of the old trading firm’s warehouse structures that has been “reclaimed” by a massive banyan tree. For refreshments, get a taste of Tainan’s celebrated snack food culture at eateries in the district and go souvenir hunting at Anping Old Street.

An interesting way to see Anping from a different angle is taking an A nping Cana l sightseeing cruise, which launch from the aforementioned northeast arm. You’ll get to see the harbor happenings up close, and pass under a number of low-slung bridges (watch your head!). For more history, head just southeast of the canal cruise pier to the Eternal Golden Castle, which is actually a fort, built in the 1870s. On the way, you’ll pass a towering statue of Lin Mo-niang located in a park facing the harbor. Lin Mo-niang was the name of a mortal maiden before she became the immortal Mazu, Goddess of the Sea, who is revered in Taiwan.

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ENGLISH AND CHINESE Anping 安平 Anping Canal 安平運河 Anping Fort 安平古堡 Anping Old Street 安平老街 Anping Tree House 安平樹屋 Blueprint Culture and Creative Park 藍晒圖文創園區 Chikan Tower 赤崁樓 Eternal Golden Castle 億載金城 Lin Mo-niang Park 林默娘公園 Old Tait & Co. Merchant House 德記洋行 Qigu Salt Mountain 七股鹽山 Sicao Green Tunnel 四草綠色隧道 Tainan Confucius Temple 台南孔廟

Anping Tree House

H A R BOR S A N D BE YON D / TA IN A N

17甲

17

Old Tait & Co. Merchant House

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Anping Old Street 市8

17甲

Anping Canal

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Chikan Tower

Lin Mo-niang Park

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17甲

Tainan Confucius Temple

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Eternal Golden Castle

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17

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Blueprint Culture and Creative Park 17甲

17甲

Taiwan Sicao Green Tunnel

Tainan Confucius Temple

North of Anping/Green Tunnel

Downtown Tainan

If time allows, head north to neighboring Annan District to explore a coastal area with a very different personality. Two tourist magnets here are the Qigu Salt Mountain and the Sicao Green Tunnel raft experience. The “mountain” is a giant white pile of salt you can scale on a stepped pathway (this region was once known for seawater salt production). The raft tour takes you on a scenic canal where the branches of mangrove trees lining the banks meet above the water, forming a very photogenic “green tunnel.”

From Anping you can get to downtown Tainan in no time by taxi or local bus. There are plenty of attractions to check off on your list of old-city must-sees, including historic and/or religious sites such as the Tainan Confucius Temple and the Chikan Tower. Perhaps more interesting to younger travelers is the Blueprint Culture and Creative Park, a narrow-lane heritage complex with artisanal shops and restaurants as well as large murals perfect as backdrop for taking selfies.

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SM A R T TR AV EL

TE X T & PHOTOS V I S ION

VZ Taiwan A Helpful Digital Companion on Your Next Trip to the Island

Y

ou’ve decided to pay Taiwan a visit, but are not sure which sights to put on your itinerary? You’ve just visited a tourist attraction, and now want to know what eateries and shops are in the vicinity? You have arrived in a city late in the evening, and need to find a place to stay? There are a number of smart tools and services that are helpful when traveling in Taiwan. One of these is called VZ Taiwan, a service that is available as a website and as an app (iOS and Android, in Chinese and English). On the bilingual website you’ll find places of interest under four categories: See, Eat, Stay, and Shops. You are presented with a variety of methods available to search for entries and sort the results. Search by name and narrow your search by choosing Theme, Location, or Price Range. Sort the results by choosing Rating, Views, or Discussion. Each entry comes with visual images and a host of information bites, including a star rating, number of people (on the website) who have visited, price info (admission, etc.), suggested duration of stay, website address (if available), and a short description. You’ll also see the location on a Google map, as well as address, phone number, and opening hours (if available). Below each entry you’ll also find reviews by people who have visited the location. If you have downloaded the app and allowed the app to use your position, you will be able to see places of interest close to your current location. If you click on the menu item Nearby AR tour, you’ll have two options, Map Tour and AR Tour. Tap on the first and you’ll see a map with your current position and places of interest close by, including restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions. Tap on one of the recommended places, for example a restaurant, and you’ll see information such as telephone number and address, hours of operation, and a short description. (Note: Some of the info might appear in Chinese only, and some might have been translated inaccurately by automatic translation.) If you tap on AR Tour, you’ll see a screen with the view provided by your phone’s camera, with information placed directly on the screen in accordance with the direction in which you hold your phone. The current distance to places of interest will be displayed as well, giving you an idea of how far you have to go to get to a nearby restaurant, for example. This is a neat and fun function, but keep in mind that in order to use it you have to allow the app access to your phone’s camera. VZ Taiwan is a helpful tool for traveling in Taiwan the smart way. Visit the website at www.vztaiwan.com.

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Hotels of Taiwan North Taoyuan City

Taipei City

Keelung City

Visitors to Taiwan have a wide range of choice when it comes to

New Taipei City

Hsinchu City Hsinchu County

accommodation. From five-star luxury hotels that meet the highest international standards, to affordable business hotels, to hot-spring

Yilan County

Miaoli County

and beach resort hotels, to privately-run homestays located in the countryside there is a place to stay that satisfies every traveler’s needs.

Taichung City

What all hotels of Taiwan — small and big, expensive and affordable —

Central Changhua County

Nantou County

Yunlin County

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

Hualien County

each hotel, but are subject to change without notice. Room rates at the

Chiayi City Chiayi County

hotels apply. Northern Taiwan

Tainan City Kaohsiung City

Taitung County

Central Taiwan

CAESAR PARK TAIPEI

East

HOTEL RÊVE TAICHUNG

TAIPEI GAL A HOTEL GLORIA PRINCE HOTEL TAIPEI THE GRAND HOTEL

Pintung County

K HOTEL TAIPEI CHANG-AN MADISON TAIPEI HOTEL

South

MIRAMAR GARDEN TAIPEI

* Hotel list in alphabetical order from Northern to Southern Taiwan.

CAESAR PARK TAIPEI 台北凱撒大飯店

Taipei 台 北

NO. OF ROOMS: 478 ROOM RATES: Superior Room Deluxe Room Superior Double Double Metro Room Metropolis Room Station Suite

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

8,500 9,500 11,000 13,000 14,000 18,000

(All rates are subject to 10% service charge.)

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, Chinese

RESTAURANTS:

2F Checkers, 3F Dynasty Restaurant

SPECIAL FEATURES:

e-Lounge, Banquet, Meeting Room, GYM, SPA, Roof Garden, Free Wi-Fi,Room Service, Laundry, Luggage Storage, Valet parking service

TAIPEI GALA HOTEL 慶泰大飯店

Taipei 台 北

GLORIA PRINCE HOTEL Taipei

THE GRAND HOTEL

華 泰 王子大 飯 店

圓山大飯店

Taipei 台 北

NO. OF ROOMS: 160

NO. OF ROOMS: 220

NO. OF ROOMS: 500 (Suites: 57)

ROOM RATES: Single Room Deluxe Single Room Deluxe Triple Room Suite Room

ROOM RATES: Single / Deluxe / Executive NT$ Suite NT$

ROOM RATES: Single/DBL Suite

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

6,400 7,000 9,000 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, LED TV, DVD player, personal safety box, mini bar, private bathroom with separate shower & bath tub, hair dryer

6,000- 8,500 9,500-20,000

Taipei 台 北

NT$ 8,800-15,800 NT$ 22,000-36,000

(All rates are subject to 10% service charge.)

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, Chinese

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, French, Spanish, and Japanese

RESTAURANTS: L’IDIOT RESTAURANT & BAKERY (Western), CHIOU HWA RESTAURANT (Chinese)

RESTAURANTS: Western, Cantonese, Northern China Style Dumplings, tea house, coffee shop, steak house

SPECIAL FEATURES: Coffee Shop, Fitness Center, Business Center, Meeting and Banquet Facilities,Laundry Service, Non-smoking Floor, Parking Lot, Airport Transfer Service

SPECIAL FEATURES: Grand Ballroom, conference rooms for 399 people, 10 breakout rooms, business center, fitness center, sauna, Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, billiards

No. 186, Songjiang Rd., Taipei City 台 北 市 松 江 路 186 號 No. 38, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao W. Rd., Taipei City 台 北 市 忠 孝 西 路 一 段 38號 Tel: +886 -2-2311-5151 Fax: +886 -2-2331-9944 E-mail: info_tpe@caesarpark.com

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

Tel: +886-2-2541-5511 Fax: +886-2-2531-3831 Reservation Hotline: +886-2-2541-6888 E-mail: reservation@galahotel.com.tw

No. 369, Linsen N. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City 台北市林森北路3 6 9 號 Tel: +886-2-2581-8111 Fax: +886-2-2581-5811

No. 1, Chung Shan N. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City 台 北 市 中 山 北 路 4 段1號 Tel: +886-2-2886-8888 Fax: +886-2-2885-2885

taipei.caesarpark.com.tw

www.galahotel.com.tw

www.gloriahotel.com

www.grand-hotel.org

TR AVEL I N TAIWAN

51


K HOTEL - TAIPEI CHANG-AN

柯 達 大 飯 店 - 台 北 長 安 Taipei 台 北

MADISON TAIPEI HOTEL 慕軒飯店

Taipei 台 北

MIRAMAR GARDEN TAIPEI

HOTEL RÊVE TAICHUNG

美麗信花園酒店

威汀城市酒店

NO. OF ROOMS: 103

NO. OF ROOMS: 124

NO. OF ROOMS: 203

ROOM RATES: Standard Room Superior Double Room Superior Twin Room Deluxe Family Room K Suite

ROOM RATES: Classic Room Deluxe Room Oasis Room Madison Room Skyline Suite Madison Suite

ROOM RATES: Deluxe Room Business Room Executive Deluxe Room Boss Suite Premier Suite

NT$ 5,800 NT$ 6,100 NT$ 6,300 NT$ 7,600 NT$ 10,000

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, Chinese SPECIAL FEATURES: Business Center, Breakfast Hall, 24H Free Supply of Coffee, Free WI-FI, Self-help Laundry, NESPRESSO Coffee Machine

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

14,800 16,800 18,800 20,800 60,000 90,000

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Chinese SPECIAL FEATURES: Workout Room, VIP Rooms, Underground Parking, Italian Restaurant, Whisky Bar

Taipei 台 北

NO. OF ROOMS: 125 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

9,000 11,000 13,000 17,000 21,000

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, and Mandarin RESTAURANTS: Rain Forest Buffet Restaurant, Tic-Tac-Toe Bakery, Light Café, JIU BAR SPECIAL FEATURES: Business Center, Pyramid Club, Sauna, Fitness Club, Outdoor Swimming Pool, Multifunction Room, Car Park

- Recommended by Michelin Guide Taipei - Luxury City Hotel by World Luxury Hotel Awards - Top 10 Popular Hotels for Business Travelers by Hotels.com No. 61-1, Songjiang Rd., Taipei City (Exit M4, MRT Songjian Nanjing Station; 5 min. by foot)

台 北 市 松 江 路 61 -1 號 (捷運松江南京站M4出口,步行5分鐘)

Tel: +886-2-2516-9999, 0800-020-222 Fax: +886-2-2516-8799 Email: chang-an@khotels.com.tw

www.khotels.com.tw

52

TR AVEL IN TAIWAN

Taichung 台 中

ROOM RATES: Standard Double Room Business Double Room Family Queen Room Deluxe Family Suite Family Suite Executive Suite

NT$ 5,200 NT$ 7,000 NT$ 8,000 NT$ 9,000 NT$ 10,000 NT$ 10,000

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, Chinese RESTAURANTS: RÊVE Kitchen (6:30-10:30 Daily Breakfast) SPECIAL FEATURES: Business Center, Conference Room, Fitness Gym, Parking Lot, Laundry, Bike Renting, Free Wifi, Personal Electronic Safety Box

No. 331, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Taipei City 台 北 市 敦 化 南 路1 段 3 31 號 (8 minutes by foot from Exit 2 of MRT Xinyi Anhe Station or Exit 4 of MRT Da’an Station) CHM Central Reservations: +886-2-7706-3600 Tel: +886-2-7726-6699 Fax: +886-2-7726-9070 E-mail: guestservice@madisontaipei.com

No. 83, Sec. 3, Civic Boulevard, Taipei City 台北市 市民大 道3段83號 Tel: +886-2-8772-8800 Fax: +886-2-8772-1010 E-mail: info@miramargarden.com.tw

No. 100, Sec. 1, Minsheng Rd.,Daya Dist., Taichung City 台 中 市 大 雅 區 民 生 路1 段1 0 0 號 Tel: +886-4-2568-0558 Fax: +886-4-2567-7134 E-mail: service@reve.com.tw

www.madisontaipei.com

www.miramargarden.com.tw

www.hotel-reve.com.tw


View Beitou from the Side of Beitou Creek Imposing Atami Hotel Taipei Onsen stands tall on Guangming Road at the side of Beitou Creek, the gushing water of which has flowed unceasingly since time immemorial. Amidst unchanging scenery, the Atami Hotel has faithfully served its guests for over 40 years. Open the window of your room and hear the sound of the flowing water while breathing in the sulfur-scented air, creating a memorable Beitou moment you will remember fondly. 北投熱海溫泉大飯店 Atami Hotel Tel: (02) 2891-5161 Fax: (02) 2891-6741 Email: info@atamihotel.com.tw Add: No. 258, Guangming Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City (台北市北投區光明路258號) Website: www.atamihotel.com.tw Taipei City Hotel No. 014-1 (台北市旅館014-1號)

Guestrooms and Hot-Spring Water Compose a Sweet Song Enter the Atami Hotel and you will be greeted by a grand spacious lobby, the opulence reflecting our guest-first approach. The sunlight shining into the guestrooms tells of the attentive care we extend to each and every guest. In the hot-spring bathhouse, built using natural construction methods, where the sulfur scented air has been unchanged since ancient times, you can wash away the noise and hassle of the city, recharge your tired spirit, the guestrooms and the hot-spring water composing the uniquely and moving song of the Atami Hotel.


新東 陽 H S I N TUNG YAN G

TAIWAN SPECIALITY ONE-STOP SHOP

Bubble Milk Tea Cake

Chocolate Tart with Mango Hsin Tung Yang Jiufen Store ( 新東陽 九份店 ) Tel: (02) 2496-0158

九份派出所

Police station

Open: 10:00~19:00 ISSN:18177964

Add: 1F, No. 133, Jishan St., Ruifang Dist., New Taipei City ( 新北市瑞芳區基山街 133 號 1 樓 )

GPN:2009305475

200 NTD

For other store locations, visit:

www.hty.com.tw

昇平戲院

Shengping Cinema 郵局 Post office

全家

Family mart 7-11


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