Travel in Taiwan (No.90 2018 11/12 )

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2018

NOV & DEC

No.

Indigenous Culture / Forest Exploration / Bicycle Rides

Taitung County Android

RAIL TRAVEL

HIDDEN TREASURES

ISLAND FEAST

TOWN WANDERINGS

NORTHEAST COAST ADVENTURES FRUIT CUISINE

ART IN A SOUTHERN VILLAGE

DISCOVERING GUANXI TOWN

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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.


Welcome to

Taiwan! Dear Traveler, Those who seek the widest possible range of experiences on their trips will be thrilled with our excursions in this issue of Travel in Taiwan. Pursue our suggestions and you’ll find yourself happily experiencing indigenoustribal harvest festival celebrations, a giant flora expo, a village that has become a center of art, unique fruitfocused cuisine, a rural day-tour immersed in Hakka history … and much, much more. Let’s head out! Our Feature destination is the East Coast’s Taitung County. We explore Taitung City and head up along both the coast and the East Rift Valley north of the city. The mini-adventures within our big adventure are far too many to list, but highlights include an indigenous harvest festival celebration, a guided forest walk on a mountain that is sacred to the local indigenous people, and bicycle jaunts through seemingly endless rice paddies. In Rail Travel we switch to the Northeast Coast, riding the slow local trains from Fulong Railway Station to Toucheng Railway Station, hopping off to discover the most rewarding sights and experiences in the area. Swinging around to the island’s western side, in Town Wanderings we spend a day in Guanxi, a Hakka town located in Hsinchu County’s foothills country. There you can delve into such savories as the local Hakka history, heritage architecture, venerable enterprises, and iconic eats. In Family Fun the grand Taichung World Flora Exposition is introduced – the “biggest theme event in Taiwan in 2018.” It begins on November 3, and will run to April 24 next year. In Hidden Treasures and Adventures we spend time in Tainan City, in the deep southwest. In the former, the destination is Tugou, in rural Tainan. This is a centuries-old farming village that has transformed itself into a dynamic outdoor art museum. In the latter the subject is the annual Love in Tainan Marathon, a run that showcases a wonderful collection of some of Taiwan’s finest heritage tourist attractions for both runners and spectators. In Island Feast and Must See & Do we bring you on two whirlwind tours of wholly different type. In the first, see how fruits from around Taiwan are being creatively used in fine cuisine and preserves. In the second, tour the island by visiting locations where shoots for Hollywood hits Life of Pi, Silence, Lucy, and X + Y were done. Happy wanderings!

Joe Y. Chou, Ph.D. Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.


CONTENTS November ~December 2018

10 PUBLISHER Joe Y. Chou EDITING CONSULTANT

PRODUCER Vision Creative Marketing & Media Co. ADDRESS 1F, No. 5, Aly. 20, Ln. 265, Sec. 4, Xinyi Rd.,

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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, Christian Adams, Steven Crook, Han Cheung, Chris Lockwood PHOTOGRAPHERS Ray Chang, Maggie Song, Nick Chiu DESIGNERS Nick Chiu, Maggie Song, Carrie Chang, Erin Chen ADMINISTRATIVE DEPT Hui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang

ABROAD

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

台 灣 觀 光 雙 月 刊 Travel in Taiwan The Official Bimonthly English Magazine of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (Advertisement) November/December, 2018 Tourism Bureau, MOTC First published Jan./Feb., 2004 ISSN: 18177964 GPN: 2009305475 Price: NT$200 www.tit.com.tw/vision/index.htm 中華郵政台北雜字第1286號執照登記為雜誌交寄

Copyright @ 2018 Tourism Bureau. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without written permission is prohibited.

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/ 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.

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.

Members of the Amis tribe at harvest festival in Dulan (photo by Ray Chang)

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.

IN TAIWAN

ONLINE

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

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FEATURE

10 Way Down South, in the East – The Treasures of Southern Taitung County

26

TOWN WANDERINGS Old Guanxi Town

– Showcasing the Past While Chasing a Cultural-Creative Future

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ADVENTURES

The 2018 Love in Tainan Marathon

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– A Tour of Tainan Tourist Sights on the Run

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Publisher's Note Taiwan Tourism Events Convenient Travel

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7 News 8 Culture Scene 34 My Travel Log

ISLAND FEAST

Sweet and Juicy with Lots of Flavor

– Locally-Sourced Fruit Used in Fine Cuisine and Preserves

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RAIL TRAVEL

Northeast Coast Adventures

– Riding Slow Trains from Fulong to Toucheng

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MUST SEE & DO Hollywood Does Taiwan

– Where Internationally Acclaimed Directors Have Shot Movies on the Island

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HIDDEN TREASURES Let’s Go to Tugou!

– A Village Transformed into an Outdoor Art Museum

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FAMILY FUN

The 2018 Taichung Flora Expo

– The “Flower City” Throws Open Its Doors to the Wide World

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TA I WA N TO U R I S M E V E N T S

Ending 2018 on a High Note

Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar website

Events You Don’t Want to Miss in the Cooler Months

11/26 ~ 12/09

Taiwan Open of Surfing 台灣國際衝浪公開賽

In recent years, Taitung County in southeastern Taiwan has become a popular destination for wave riders from near and far. The highlight annual Taiwan event on many a surfer’s calendar is this surfing competition, staged at Jinzun Fishing Harbor in Donghe Township. Both the venue and the event have been highly praised by pro surfers in recent years, and the former has been recognized by the Asian Surfing Championship as an international surfing competition location. The event gives surfing enthusiasts a great close-up opportunity to witness world-class surfers in action, and also to learn about such exciting watersports as standup paddleboarding (SUP), longboard surfing, and kitesurfing.

Location: Jinzun Fishing Harbor, Donghe Township, Taitung County ( 臺東縣東河鄉金樽漁港 ) Websites: www.taiwanopenofsurfing.org; www.facebook.com/taiwanopenofsurfing Photo courtesy of Taiwan Open of Surfing

12/09

Taipei Marathon 臺北馬拉松

Dec.

Pingtung Wanjin Christmas Festival 屏東萬金聖誕季

Marathon running is an extremely popular spor t worldwide, and many international cities around the globe stage their own big annual run, among the most famous being the Boston, New York, London, Berlin, a n d To k y o e v e n t s . T h e Taipei Marathon is Taiwan’s top road-running event; the f u l l m a r a t h o n i s d o n e by 7,000 runners, the half marathon by 20,000. The course takes runners through downtown Taipei, along some of the city’s best-known thoroughfares and past a number of its famous landmarks. Top athletes from around the globe take part, attracted by the chance of winning big prizes (including NT$1.8 million for winning and breaking the course record).

Located in the deep countr yside of Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, Wanchin Church would not look out of place in a Mexican village. The fir st edition was built in 1863 by monks of the Dominican Order, and it was rebuilt in 1870 i n S p a n i s h f o r t r e s s architectural style af ter the original structure was destroyed in an earthquake. In the days leading up to Christmas each year, the church is colorfully illuminated and the street and plaza in front of it beautifully decorated, attracting large numbers of visitors in search of a unique Christmas atmosphere. When visiting the township where the church is located, be sure to try the famous Wanluan pig trotters, a specialty of the area.

Location: Taipei City Hall ( 臺北市政府前廣場 )

Location: No. 24, Wanxing Rd., Wanluan Township, Pingtung County

Website: www.taipeicitymarathon.com

( 屏東縣萬巒鄉萬興路 24 號 ) Website: www.pthg.gov.tw (Pingtung County Government)

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TRAVEL IN TAIWAN


N O V E M B E R-J A N U A R Y

12/14 ~ 12/23

Chiayi City International Band Festival 嘉義市國際管樂節

12/31

Taipei New Year's Eve Countdown Party 臺北最 High 新年城 - 跨年晚會

Photo courtesy of Chiayi City Government

A new world record was set during this festival last year, when 200 musicians gathered to play simultaneously on French horns. Led by Zhuang Si-yuan, known as “Taiwan’s French horn godfather,” the ensemble performed three pieces in front of a thrilled crowd. Each year the city of Chiayi, which is located in southwestern Taiwan, resounds with music created by an impressive number of musicians (48 bands from Taiwan and abroad, with more than 5,000 musicians performing last year). Highlights of the week-long event are a grand street parade with marching bands and captivating band performances on the playing field at the Chiayi City Municipal Stadium.

In Taipei, as each year winds down people start wondering, “what will the Taipei 101 fireworks show on New Year’s Eve be like this time around?” With major cities around the globe staging their own grand pyrotechnic shows to celebrate the arrival of a new year, there is certainly pressure on the Taipei organizers to create something exceptional, and rarely does the spectacle launched from the iconic Taipei 101 skyscraper disappoint. If you want to see the fireworks show up close – along with the local pop star-studded stage show that happens before it – be prepared for the huge crowd (a gathering of more than 2.5 million in total last year).

Locations: Various venues in Chiayi City

Location: Taipei City Hall ( 臺北市政府前廣場 )

Website: www.chiayiband.org

Website: english.gov.taipei (Taipei City Government)


C O N V E N I E N T T R AV E L

Taiwan Tourist Shuttle website

Theme Park Route A Convenient Shuttle Bus Service Ideal for Families with Kids

The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus-service network has routes all over the main island of Taiwan, and even has routes on two of fshore destinations (Kinmen Island and the Penghu Islands). Three of the routes are in Taoyuan City, in the northwest: the Cihu Route (bus no. 501), Xiaowulai Route (502), and Theme Park Route (503). Buses on the Cihu Route operate daily, departing from Zhongli Bus Station (at Zhongli Railway Station) and taking you to such fine tourist attractions as the Shimen Reservoir, Daxi Old Street, and Cihu (location of the Chiang Kai-shek Mausoleum). If you want to take a shuttle bus from Cihu further southeast to visit the Daxi Tea Factory, the Jiaobanshan Park (location of a Chiang Kai-shek summer residence), and the scenic Xiaowulai Waterfall area, you can take the Xiaowulai Route (buses depart from Taoyuan Bus Station; service only qavailable on weekends). The third service, named the Theme Park Route (only available on weekends; buses depart from Zhongli Bus Station), is ideal for families with kids. Stops on the route include two of Taiwan’s best-known theme parks and a few lesser-known but equally fun and educational places. A selection of these attractions are highlighted below. Laojie River Education Center Located west of Zhongli Railway Station on the east side of the Laojie River, this education center sits in the northern corner of large Xinshi Park. Children will want to walk through the colorful sections of large concrete water pipes close to the park’s entrance and then swish down one of four approximately 20m-long concrete slides, while their parents might be more interested in taking them to the red-brick education center buildings to learn about river ecology. Grape King Health and Vitality Power Center Taoyuan City is well known for its large number of manufacturing companies, some of which have tourist-factory facilities. One of these corporations is Grape King Bio Ltd., a bio-tech company known for products derived from medicinal fungus. Stop by its Grape King Health and Vitality Power Center to learn about the company’s history and products in a modern interactive exhibition hall. Lifestyle Bookstore Hidden away behind a nondescript building along a highway in rural Taoyuan, this bookstore is a little gem you might be surprised to find in this type of location. It is housed in a one-story wooden building with a lovely garden beside it. The books are mostly in Chinese, but you can also visit the store to enjoy a cup of coffee, savoring the attractive stained-wood interior and exposed-rafter ceiling.

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TRAVEL IN TAIWAN

Leofoo Village Theme Park

Longtan At the center of Longtan (lit. “dragon lake”), one of Taoyuan’s districts, is Longtan Lake. While it’s not likely that you will spot an actual dragon swimming about in the placid water (according to legend a yellow member of the species was seen here once, hence the lake’s name), you can go for a walk and check out Nantian Temple, built on a small island in the center. To get to the temple, take the Longtan Tourist Suspension Bridge or the nine-cornered Zhongyi Bridge. Window on China Theme Park This is one of the oldest theme parks in Taiwan. Well maintained, it presents you with miniature landscapes of sites in Taiwan, mainland China, and the rest of the world, with many iconic landmarks built on-site in precise 1:25 scale. Visiting the park is a highly educational experience, especially for the younger members of a family, and if something m o r e exc i ti n g th a n th e v i ewi n g of m i n i a tu r e buildings is desired, the theme park also has a section with fun rides, including a tilting spaceship and a Ferris wheel. Leofoo Village Theme Park Like Window on China, Leofoo Village has been making people happy as part of Taiwan’s theme p a r k s c e n e fo r th e p a s t th re e d e c a d e s. T h e park’s attractions include thrilling roller-coaster rides and an African Safari area featuring exotic animals. Right beside the park is the Leofoo Resort Guanshi, offering African safari-style guestrooms with balconies from which you can watch giraffes, zebras, and lemurs close by.

Theme Park Route Stops Taoyuan Bus Zhongli Station ( 桃客中壢總站 ) Laojie River Education Center ( 老街溪河川教育中心 ) Grape King Health and Vitality Power Center ( 葡 Lifestyle Bookstore ( 晴耕 萄王健康活力能量館 ) Taoyuan Bus Longtan Station ( 桃客 雨讀小書院 ) Longtan Lake Office ( 龍潭大池管理中心 ) 龍潭站 ) Window on China Theme Park ( 小人國主題樂園 ) Leofoo Village Theme Park ( 六福村主題樂園 ) Fare: The fare is calculated by distance. The full fare from Zhongli Bus Station to Leofoo Village Theme Park is NT$58 one way.

Window on China Departures: The service is only available on weekends and holidays. Departures from Zhongli Bus Station: 8am, 9am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1pm, 2pm, 3:30pm, and 4:30pm. Departures from Leofoo Village Theme Park: 9:10am, 10:10am, 11:40am, 12:40pm, 2:10pm, 3:10pm, 4:40pm, and 5:40pm. For more info about the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service, visit www.taiwantrip.com.tw.


NEWS

NEWS & Events around Taiwan

Guided Tours of the National Theater and Concert Hall

2019 Taiwan Lantern Festival The Lantern Festival ( Yuanxiao Festival) traditionally marks the end of the Lunar New Year festival period, and is one of the most important events that take place around Taiwan to celebrate the o cca sion. It is orga nize d by a different city/county government each year, with Pingtung County h a v i n g t h e h o n o r i n 2 019 . A s th e 3 0 t h e di ti o n of thi s a n nu a l ex travaganza, the event (to be staged from February 19~March 3) is expected to be particularly grand and color ful, featuring mesmerizing displays of paper lanterns in all shapes and sizes. T h e ve n u e i s t h e D a p e n g B ay N a t i o n a l S c e n i c A r e a , j u s t to the south of Donggang Fishing Harbor in southwestern Taiwan. During the festival, the organizers will take the opportunity to introduce visitors to the many tourist attractions the county has to offer. Pingtung is a tropical paradise offering a wide range of alluring travel possibilities, including exploration of the large Kenting National Park at the southernmost tip of the island. For more information, visit www.taiwan.net.tw/2019taiwanlantern/index_en.html.

The Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Taipei. Most tourists approach the hall by walking across the vast plaza in front of it, named Liberty Square, and while doing so they marvel at the two Chinese palace-style buildings on the left and right sides of the plaza. These are the National Theater and the National Concert Hall, two world-class venues for the performing arts. If intrigued by the splendid architecture and interested in learning more about these edifices, you can join a guided tour, available for groups of 10 people or more. Reservations (and requests for a foreign-language guide) must be made one week prior to the visit date, by phone (02-3393-9888) or online (npac-ntch.org/en/tour/ reservation). The 60-minute tours are available on weekdays, starting at 11am, 1pm, or 3pm. Full tickets are NT$100 each.

Brand-New Center for the Arts in Kaohsiung

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Opened in October, the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) is a new world-class venue for the performing arts located in Kaohsiung City’s Fengshan District. It has four indoor stages, namely the Opera House, the Concert Hall, the Playhouse, and the Recital Hall, and an outdoor theater. The designer was Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo, which is also currently building the new Tainan Public Library (slated for completion in 2019) and the new Kaohsiung Railway Station (2023). According to Mecanoo, the inspiration for the structure’s look came from the banyan, a tree commonly found in parks around Taiwan that is known for its wide shade-providing canopy. Like the tree, the building provides much sheltered space (the Banyan Plaza) that is freely accessible to local residents and visitors. One of the center’s eye-catching features that is immediately noticed on approach is its undulating roof, with the open-air theater actually on top of the roof in a section that slopes to the ground. Website: www.npac-weiwuying.org

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Photo courtesy of National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying)

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Like every great city, Taipei is the sum of its people: hard l as the and env magazin has free ple: hard they role and guage lanc es in take. B E working and talented, for sure, but also eager to enjoy every bite they take. A Culinary the regi ed for Taiw A Cul Y O N D P O R K Science ironmen percepti examinat tal inary ion History of Taipei is the first comprehensive English-language examination of what on of several Monitor, Sou issues as on since 199 an’s Eng particul of whaA well t ND PONLAI Taiwan’s people eat and why, as well as the role and perception of particular foods. as food 6, writ lish-langua ar food includinother mag th China ing abo ge new . His s. g Taiw azines and Morning ut STEVEN CROOK has freelanced for Taiwan’s English-language newspapers and KATY K The Bra newspap Post, and articles have travel, cult spapers and Ran: ure, busi CN N appeare ers. in-flight magazines in the region since 1996, writing about travel, culture, business, dt Trav I-WEN stories, HU PO d in ness, el Gui He’s pub Traveler D and A IHUNG and environmental issues as well as food. His articles have appeared in Christian Asia-Pa Christia lished Nl-kn Owel n four NaLpassionate is a Taip de. cific, own O boo E asY Robyn Science Monitor, South China Morning Post, and CNN Traveler Asia-Pacific, as B well as P Eck food writ advocat ei native, ks abo wel e of Taiw ut Taiw l as ers on an avid several other magazines and newspapers. He’s published four books about Taiwan, N D hard t. A an, their anese coll Taip including Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide. cuisine. ector of ei assi She has recipes gnm ents, and culi 800KATY HUI-WEN HUNG is a Taipei native, an avid collector of recipes and culinary includin assisted 4626420 www a num nary g And stories, and a passionate advocate of Taiwanese cuisine. She has assisted a number of .rowman rea Ngu ber of .com Fron t cove well-known food writers on their Taipei assignments, including Andrea Nguyen left and yen and r imag by Cove Katy Hui-w es: top Robyn Eckhardt. © r

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A Culinary History of Taipei: Beyond Pork and Ponlai is the first English-language book that attempts to answer the following questions: What do the Taiwanese eat, why do they eat these particular foods, and how do they perceive the foods around them? The book’s ten chapters cover every facet of Taiwan’s food history, from the diet of the island’s neolithic inhabitants to how eating habits have evolved since 1945. The capital’s markets and landmark restaurants, as well as the farms that keep them supplied, are given in-depth coverage. The book also examines traditional vegetarianism and food taboos, as well as the ritual and religious functions of certain food items. Detailed segments are devoted to the recent explosion of interest in organic agriculture and veganism. Coauthors Steven Crook and Katy Hui-wen Hung spent almost two years researching and writing the book, interviewing culinary heavyweights – among them Michelin-starred chef Andre Chiang and Taiwan-style banquet master Lin Ming-tsan. They also visited food artisans and tasted pretty much everything they could find. The book is available in bookstores and online.

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C U LT U R E S C E N E

CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings

11/30 ~ 12/02

Multipurpose Gymnasium, National Taiwan Sport University TAOYUAN CITY

Mamma Mia! 媽媽咪呀 ! Website: www.mamma-mia.com

“Mamma mia, here I go again....” In the 1970s, songs by the Swedish pop group ABBA were at the top of the charts around the world, hummed by millions of pop fans. Mamma Mia , released in 1975, became one of their greatest hits. In 1999, the song title was adopted as the title of this joyful musical, written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, which is based on a wide selection of ABBA’s songs. Since then, productions of the musical have had successful runs in London’s West End and New York’s Broadway, as well as in theaters around the world.

11/30 ~ 12/01

National Taichung Theater TAICHUNG CITY

Cloud Gate - 45th Anniversary Gala Program 2018 歌劇院巨人系列-雲門 45 週年林懷民舞作精選 Website: www.cloudgate.org.tw

A celebration of the 45 th anniversary of the founding of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre by Lin Hwai-min, this program features highlights from the company’s classic productions, including from Portraits of the Families , Moon Water , Cursive , and Pine Smoke . Cloud Gate is Taiwan’s – and for many, Asia’s – leading contemporary dance company.

Until 12/23

Circus tent northwest of MRT Kunyang Station TAIPEI CITY

Fuerza Bruta 極限震撼 + Website: fuerzabrutaglobal.com

Perhaps the most exciting part of the postmodern theater show Fuerza Bruta (“Brute Force”) is that there is a high level of interaction between the performers and the audience. Originated in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the show has been running in New York since 2007, with a newer version – Wayra, Fuerza Bruta – introduced in 2014, and has also been taken on tour around the world. It’s a fast-paced, wild spectacle that lasts about 50 minutes, with pulsating music, dazzling lighting effects, and acrobatic steel-wire flying acts.

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C U LT U R E S C E N E

11/16 ~ 11/18

11/29 ~ 12/01

National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying) KAOHSIUNG CITY

Robert Lepage 887

National Theater TAIPEI CITY

Website: www.npac-weiwuying.org

羅伯 ‧ 勒帕吉《887》 In this one-man show, Canadian playwright, actor, film director, and stage director Robert Lepage traces a period of major political changes and social reform in Quebec, Canada, known as the Quiet Revolution, using Quebec City of his childhood as the backdrop. Walking about on a beautiful stage designed by Ex Machina, renowned for its multidisciplinary productions, the artist muses about personal and collective memories and how they shape a person and a society.

Until

2019/02/17

National Museum of Natural Science TAICHUNG CITY

WOndering in the Solar System 漫步太陽系

Toneelgroep Amsterdam: Kings of War

Website: web3.nmns.edu.tw

阿姆斯特丹劇團 : 戰爭之王 Want to find out about the origins of the solar system? This exhibition will take you on a tour through space, giving you insight into how, where, and when matter emerged, the prerequisite for the evolution of the earth and life on it. Highly informative, the exhibition is also very artistic, presenting facts and imagery in beautiful ways with the help of the latest technology, including an 8K video clip provided by NASA.

2018/11/17 ~ 2019/03/10

Taipei Fine Arts Museum TAIPEI CITY

Taipei Biennial 2018 2018 台北雙年展

Until 10/20

Website: npac-ntch.org

This is the third time that the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, led by world-renowned Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove, is performing in Taiwan. The company presented Othello in 2014 and The Fountainhead last year. In this 4.5-hour production, the director condenses Shakespeare’s Henry V, Henry VI , and Richard III into one play, in an exploration of the leadership and charisma of world rulers.

National Palace Museum TAIPEI CITY

Scents to the Heavens: A Special Exhibition on Agarwood and the Culture of Incense

天香茄楠—香玩文化特展

Until

2019/01/01

National Museum of Taiwan History TAINAN CITY

Ino Kanori and Taiwan Special Exhibition 重返‧田野:伊能嘉矩與臺灣特展

Websites: www.taipeibiennial.org

Website: www.npm.gov.tw

Website: www.nmth.gov.tw

Under the theme Post-Nature – A Museum as an Ecosystem, ecology and the environment are the focus of this edition of the Taipei Biennial . The biennial is a happening that has been staged by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum every two years since 1992. Among the participants are creators from a wide range of disciplines, including visual and non-visual artists, film and documentary makers, architects, and activists. The common goal is to provide information, raise awareness, and ultimately help people make changes in their lives in the quest to create a better world.

The emperors at the imperial court of China took joy in pleasuring all of their senses, including the sense of smell, and only the “heavenly scents” derived from burning the most precious of woods would be good enough for the “sons of heaven.” This exhibition introduces you to agarwood, a highly sought-after scented wood from southern China and Southeast Asia, which, beginning in the Ming Dynasty, was used as a material for creating intricate art objects and was burned as incense using beautifully crafted jade and enamel utensils.

A Japanese anthropologist and folklorist, Ino Kanori (1867~1925) is known for his studies of the indigenous people of Taiwan. He came to the island in 1895, the year Taiwan came under Japanese colonial rule, and stayed until 19 06. Among the precious documents on display at this exhibition, which introduces you to the early years of Japan’s colonial endeavors, is a 344cmlong manuscript in which Ino classified the local indigenous tribes into several groups, the first scholar to do so.

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Way

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The Treasures of Southern Taitung County Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang, Maggie Song

The southern reaches of Taitung County on the East Coast is a region of high-mountain backdrops, flatlands carpeted with paddy fields, Pacific Ocean views, palm trees, and gently curving highways that are much quieter than those in the island’s more heavily populated areas. Here you can experience the cultures of indigenous peoples (including a visit to harvest festival celebrations, indigenous singing and dancing, an educational forest walk on a “sacred” mountain, and feasting on native cuisine), cycling through farmers’ fields, the local live-music scene, surfing, distinctive arts and crafts, hot-air balloon flights and much more.

Down South, in the East Paddy fields in Chishang, Taitung County

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Tiehua Music Village Seashore Park

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Beinan Cultural Park

197 Taitung 11B

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Taitung City National Museum of Prehistory

National Museum of Prehistory Kangle

Taitung City Small Taitung City is the county’s only city and its main transportation hub (rail service, domestic air service, intersection point for the region’s two major highways, and launch point for ferries to Green Island and Orchid Island). It is also the starting point for this Travel in Taiwan expedition. Its alluring natural surroundings and unique blend of laidback people, who primarily come from Han Chinese groups and the various regional native peoples, have led to comparisons with multiracial Hawaii. One in five denizens is a member of one of Taiwan’s indigenous Austronesian tribes. Taitung’s wonderful National Museum of Prehistory was built to showcase important local archeological finds. You can visit a protected section of the actual digs nearby, at the Beinan Cultural Park. The museum is one of Taiwan’s premier locations to learn about the ways and means of the island’s original peoples, from prehistoric into historic times. Highlights include a mock-up of a dig site that you descend into along glass-floor walkways, dioramas depicting prehistoric life, and a full-scale oceangoing canoe specially created by Orchid Island’s Yami tribe (also called the Tao) for the museum. The deep musical talents of the region’s indigenous peoples have brought national and international renown to numerous local musicians. Visit Tiehua Music Village for a melodious taste of Taitung’s vibrant live-music scene. Its spacious home was originally a dormitory complex for railway workers. Come in the evening for the Wednesday through Sunday shows (tickets NT$200~NT$350), and come during the day (free entry) to meander the complex and admire the public artworks. The village has a bar, two shops selling local produce and crafts, a Fri/Sat/Sun bazaar, workshops, art exhibits, and occasional theatrical performances. At the Seashore Park enjoy superlative views to the ocean horizon and southward along the mountain-backed coast, as well as a quiet spell in the Paposogan. This is a spacious rattan-domed viewing platform that is a fine place to take in the sun’s daily rise and stage romantic photos as it sets. National Museum of Prehistory ( 國立臺灣史前文化博物館 ) No. 1, Bowuguan Rd., Fengtian Borough, Taitung City ( 台東市豐田里博物館路 1 號 ) (089) 381-166 www.nmp.gov.tw

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Tiehua Music Village ( 鐵花村 ) No. 26, Ln 135, Xinsheng Rd., Taitung City ( 台東市新生路 135 巷 26 號 ) (089) 343-393 www.tiehua.com.tw (Chinese)

Fengnian Airport Taiwan

Zhe ngq i N.

Tiehua Music Village

Seashore Park

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Inn By The Village

Inn By The Village This is a handsome young boutique hotel located toward the southern edge of Taitung City's central urban area. The owner is a senior citizen who loves cycling, and he built the hotel because he wanted upscale accommodation right in the city for his extended family when using it as a base. A testament to the facility's quality and attractiveness is the fact that most balloonists from overseas taking part in the annual Taiwan International Balloon Festival stay here. The hotel towers above the other local architecture. If you stay in a southfacing room you can enjoy an unobstructed view of the ocean to the left, mountains to the right, and a meeting of the two far off in the center. Hotel amenities include Jenny's Bar & Grill (Southeast Asian/American fusion restaurant/bar with live music on weekends), a gym, gift shop/lounge, selfservice laundry room, and bike storage. Inn By The Village ( 南豐鐵花棧 ) No. 585, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd., Taitung City ( 台東市中華路一段 585 號 ) (089) 328-160 www.nf-taitung.com.tw

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Xiaoyeliu rock formations

Jialulan seaside art park

North of the City Along the Coast

Taiwan East Coast Land Arts Festival This annual festival, first held in 2015, celebrates the region's magnificent scenery and the rich cultural and artistic traditions of its tribal peoples. Artists from around Taiwan and lands around the globe are invited to create on-site installation artworks symbolizing aspects of the lives and characters of the peoples of eastern Taiwan. Each must at the same time blend in with the surrounding natural environment. Selected artists take part in the Artist-in-Residence Program, residing for months in different villages getting to know the people and the land. Other highlights include the Moonlight Sea Concert series, Open Art Studio events, Creative Art Markets, and Artist Mini Tour weekend guided tours. For more info, visit www.teclandart.tw .

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Traveling north of Taitung City along Provincial Highway 11, you’ll soon arrive at Xiaoyeliu. This is a natural scenic area right on the coast where land meets ocean. Along the shore are extensive rock formations – honeycomb rock, mushroom rock, tofu rock, and cuestas. There is a visitor center with well-crafted scale models and rock samples introducing the geological features of both Xiaoyeliu and the Coastal Mountain Range, which runs along the coast from just north of Taitung City to just south of Hualien City. Jialulan is a seaside art park that is also an eco-engineering showcase. It’s on a remediated waste-soil site created during construction of the adjoining air-force base. Artworks are spread out over the expansive grassland. Most are made of wood, notably driftwood, a favorite material with Taitung artists. Photographers love to take shots of the art pieces with Green Island in the background, the blue of the ocean and the green of the island creating a compelling contrast. The island, though about 33km from the mainland coast, is seen clearly on blue-sky days. Small Jiamuzi Bay is a place of stunning archetypal tropical scenery where the mountainside slopes dramatically right down to the surf. Coconut trees line the narrow beach, and the coral reefs just offshore pop into and out of sight as frothy waves arrive. The Water Running Upward attraction is just south of the village of Dulan. This is a long, narrow irrigation channel that runs the mountainside. Tourists view it in a small park just off the coastal highway. The gurgling waters do indeed seem to defy gravity and run uphill, the slope’s tilt juxtaposed against that of the nearby road tricking the eye.


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Members of the Amis tribe at the Dulan harvest festival

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Mural at Dulan Sugar Factory

Dulan harvest festival Jiamuzi Bay beach

Dulan village has established a reputation as a little bohemian paradise in the last decade or so. It is one of the East Coast’s largest Amis-tribe settlements and attracts many artists and surfing enthusiasts from the “outside world.” Locals say this means anywhere beyond the high central mountains that keep the East Coast so quiet, limiting the number of tourists. The coastal highway does double-duty as the main drag, home to a growing collection of small bars, cafés, eateries, and shops that cater to the surfer/artist crowd. Taiwan’s biggest surfing event, the Taiwan Open of Surfing (www. taiwanopenofsurfing.org), is staged not far to the north, at Jinzun Fishing Harbor. It attracts top-tier talent from around the globe. The sprawling, big-shouldered old Dulan Sugar Factory, at Dulan’s southern end, no longer makes sugar. This protected heritage complex is today a creative oasis for local and expatriate artists and craftspeople. There are artist workshops, a cultural-creative boutique, a café, a craft brewery, Taiwanese and Japanese restaurants, a snack-food kiosk, a driftwood

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Members of the Amis tribe taking part in the Dulan harvest festival

stage, and other attractions. The big action happens Saturday night, with free live-music sessions featuring both local (indigenous and Han Chinese) and expatriate talent. The Amis people, Taiwan’s largest tribe, are spread throughout Hualien and Taitung counties on the East Coast. Each year villages stage Amis Harvest Festival celebrations in mid/late summer, and Dulan’s are among the most elaborate, spanning three days. Taiwan’s tribal peoples have been inviting tourists to these gatherings only since the early 2000s. Visitors to Dulan are welcome on the first two days, but the proceedings are more solemn, and photography is discouraged. It is the third day that draws the big crowds, with photography welcome. 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. The street in front is lined with snack stands, a number selling tribal treats.

Luanshan Dulan Sugar Factory

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Jiamuzi Bay

Water Running Upward

Dulan Forest

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Pacific Ocean

Jialulan

Xiaoyeliu 11C

Taitung City

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Dulan harvest festival


Traditional Bunun ceremony

Greeting songs performed at Luanshan

North of the City Up the East Rift Valley Luanshan is a Bunun-tribe village perched on the lower slopes of Mt. Dulan, a peak in the Coastal Mountain Range’s southern reaches. It looks down over bluffs to the floor of the Beinan River, which flows out to sea at Taitung City, and looks across at the Luye Highland, venue for the annual Taiwan International Balloon Festival. Mt. Dulan is sacred to both the Bunun and the Amis; the west side is traditional Bunun land, and the east side, Dulan village at its base, is traditional Amis land. The Luanshan Bunun invite outsiders on guided ecology/ culture experience tours (a fee is charged) on their lands, referred to as an “open-air forest museum.” Travel in Taiwan chose the forest walk with traditional Bunun feast (9am~2pm; if no feast, the activity ends at noon). On the walk, our guide, dressed in traditional warrior garb, explained the local tribal history, medicinal, dye, and other useful plants, the village’s ongoing forest-protection efforts, and much more. We also visited a magnificent sacred grove of giant banyan trees, some 1,000-plus years young. Before sitting down to what was truly a chief’s feast we were regaled with songs of greeting, plus harvest, hunting, and courting songs, and given an archery lesson using traditional-style bows.

Luanshan forest walk

Taiwan International Balloon Festival This summertime event has become one of Taiwan’s most popular annual festivals in recent years. It’s staged on the Luye Highland, in a district also known for tea farms. The US-based Travel Channel has praised this jubilee as one of “12 Amazing Hot Air Balloon Festivals Around the World.” Visitors can take flights in the colorful works of art, and there are also outdoor evening concerts, projection-mapping spectacles, and dancing-water shows. The 2018 lineup of novelty balloons, a key festival draw, included Stuart the Minion, Noah’s Ark, Christ the Redeemer, and the house from the movie Up. Hot-air balloons are also flown at the site throughout the rest of the year, weather permitting. For more about the festival, visit balloontaiwan. taitung.gov.tw.

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The East Rift Valley’s flat terrain and painting-like scenery makes it a popular leisure-cycling destination, with many routes to choose from. Two of the most popular are at the towns of Chishang and Guanshan, located close to each other. The long loop routes, almost entirely free of 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 bike-rental outlets around the starting points, located at the edge of each respective town. Most biking needs will be satisfied, up to pedal bikes for four people and e-carts for six. Just outside of Chishang town, on the cycling loop, is one of the rift valley’s most photographed roads, Bolang Dadao (“Brown Avenue”), made famous in a Mr. Brown Coffee commercial and an EVA Air commercial starring JapaneseTaiwanese pop-idol heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro. The loop also takes you around small Dapo Lake, directly east/southeast of the town. “Chishang” literally means “on the lake.” The tree-surrounded body of water is at the end of the suggested cycle route, and is a pleasant oasis at which to cool off after all your pedaling. This lake was over twice its present size in the 19th century. Early residents caught small fish and shrimp in this natural wetland, using them with the local rice to make tasty “Chishang rice dumplings” that were sold to passing travelers. Many of today’s local biandang (see below) sellers include these treats in their offerings, though the fish and shrimp now come from elsewhere. You have two options for getting right out onto the lake, renting a pedal boat or a raft. With the rafts, which have sun-protection roofs, you do your own paddling. You’re also provided with a long bamboo pole that will enable you to

Paddy fields at Chishang

Picking lotus flowers Rafting on Dapo Lake


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Coffee and dessert

No. 9 Gourmet Coffee

push the raft, gondolier-style, into the thick forest of lotus plants on the lake’s east side. Dapo Lake was long used for lotus and water chestnut cultivation.

Papago International Resort In an online poll conducted this year by the Taiwan travel company EzTravel, this lovely Mediterranean-look resort, located just south of Chishang, was declared “Taiwan’s most beautiful hotel.” Need one say more? Here’s more. Netizens lauded the quiet surroundings, low-rise architecture that enables sweeping views up and down the lush valley, and the luxurious outdoor-pool complex in the inner courtyard of the three-sided main building, umbrellas and swaying palm trees providing ample shade. The rooms inside the main building are very spacious; some look over the inner-courtyard pools, some face outward toward the mountains, and all have comfy balconies. Beyond the main building and pool complex is a “village” of luxury villas, in Victorian, Balinese, and Mediterranean style. There are two high-quality restaurants, one serving Chinese cuisine, the other Chinese/international buffets. An upscale spa complex is located in front of the main building, alfresco in the middle with roofs covering the spa pools along the sides (different temperatures, and such options as a “roselle” mineral-water soak, “milk” soak, etc.). Two of the many other amenities/ services of special note are the hotel’s well-stocked bike-rental operation and its daily 1-hour tractor-train tours, during which your guide introduces (in Chinese) the area’s irrigation works, the Taiwan Sugar Chishang Pastoral Farm Resort, and other local spots of interest. Papago International Resort ( 日暉國際渡假村 ) No. 107, Xinxing, Chishang Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣池上鄉新興村新興 107 號 ) (089) 861-111 www.papago-resort.com

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Many Taiwanese swear that Chishang-area rice is Taiwan’s best, and around the island you’ll see signs above small eateries proclaiming Chishang Biandang. Biandang is the Mandarin Chinese rendering of the Japanese bento, or boxed lunch; the use of Chishang is a promise that Taiwan’s best rice has been used as your boxed-lunch bed. Two main reasons are given for Chishang’s rice quality: the pure, mineralrich waters from the central mountains distributed by the local irrigation-channel system, and the region’s superior soil, created via silting from two young mountain systems that have sprung up “fresh from the sea,” in geological terms, on the east and west sides. Near the aforementioned bike-rental operations is the iconic Chishang Riceball Museum, which is in fact a restaurant-cummuseum. The old blue-painted railway cars outside the large two-story wood-façade facility make finding this spot a cinch. The museum/ restaurant interior is stuffed with old-time farm-country memorabilia. Explanation for the passenger carriages parked out front: During Taiwan’s period of Japanese rule, Chishang rice was sent to the Japanese emperor as tribute. Building on this quality, Chishang bento/biandang were developed, which were sold from the local train-station platform to passengers on passing trains – a practice followed around the island. Chishang biandang is the specialty at Chishang Riceball Museum, and the carriages are “outdoor” dining spaces. Each biandang typically contains, at a minimum, a chicken leg (or pork cutlet or fish), a sausage, a soy-stewed egg and beancurd, pickled cabbage, and rice. Explanation for “riceball” in the museum name: In days past, people would often bring what was called a “riceball” to work for


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Boxed lunch

Chishang Riceball Museum

lunch. This was rice, stuffed with such goodies as meat chunks and pickled vegetables, that was usually wrapped in a banana leaf. My gourmand vote for best coffees in the rift valley goes to Chishang’s No. 9 Gourmet Coffee. The “9” comes from “Provincial Highway No. 9,” and the café is in the very first building as you enter Chishang from the north along said highway. The husband in the owner-duo is an interior designer, and he has let his creative juices flow in his pet project. Enter via a boardwalk over a miniwetland pond into a quiet oasis of red-brick walls, exposed piping, coffee roasting/grinding machinery, and global-explorer decorations. The various coffees are artworks in themselves, and tasty food treats such as fresh-made waffles and pizza are on the menu. The rooftopterrace seating gives you an invigorating valley panorama. Hualien Chishang

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Papago International Resort

Dapo Lake

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Chishang Riceball Museum ( 池上飯包文化故事館 ) No. 259, Zhongxiao Rd., Chishang Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣池上鄉忠孝路 259 號 ) (089) 862-326 www.wu-tau.com/gallery.php (Chinese)

No. 9 Gourmet Coffee ( 池上鄉九號咖啡館 ) No. 56, Neighborhood 6, Qingfeng Village, Chishang Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣池上鄉慶豐村 6 鄰 56 號 ) (089) 862-035 no9.verytop.tw

Getting To/Around Taitung There are numerous daily Taipei-Taitung flights (45 minutes one way), and regular rail service to/from Taipei, the fastest trains taking just 3.5 hours. Quality car-rental chain outlets are located outside the Taitung Railway Station, along with scooter-rental enterprises. For those not self-driving, note that the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service will get you right to, or close to, almost all of the places we've introduced (www.taiwantrip.com.tw). More Information For the Amis Harvest Festival, visit tour.taitung.gov.tw ( Taitung County G ove rnme nt) For Luanshan fore st expe rie nce details / bookings, visit forestculturemuseum.com.tw (Chinese). Other recommended websites: www. eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw (East Coast National Scenic Area), www.erv-nsa.gov.tw (East Rift Valley National Scenic Area). English and Chinese Amis tribe 阿美族 Beinan Cultural Park 卑南文化公園 Beinan River 卑南溪 Bolang Dadao 伯朗大道 Bunun tribe 布農族 Chishang 池上 Chishang Riceball Museum 池上包博物 Coastal Mountain Range 海岸山脈 Dapo Lake 大波池 Dulan 都蘭 Dulan Sugar Factory 都蘭新東糖廠

Guanshan 關山 Jialulan 加路蘭 Jiamuzi Bay 加母子灣 Jinzun Fishing Harbor 金樽漁港 Mt. Dulan 都蘭山 Luanshan 鸞山 Luye Highland 鹿野高台 Seashore Park 海濱公園 Tao tribe 達悟族 Tiehua Music Village 鐵花村 Xiaoyeliu 小野柳 Yami tribe 雅美族

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |23


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Distinctive Hotels of Taitung With high mountains, a rift valley, rivers, and ocean there is endless beautiful scenery to be enjoyed in Taitung! Choosing a characterful hotel is the best way to begin a relaxing slow-paced vacation in this wonderful part of Taiwan.

Hotel Royal Chihpen

The Zhiben Hot Springs are among the most famous hot springs in Taiwan and the Hotel Royal Chihpen, the eastern Taiwan’s first 5-star hotel, is Zhiben’s best-known hotel. All the guestrooms have recently been renovated. The sodium bicarbonate hot-spring water can be enjoyed in guestrooms as well as in outdoor pools, and there are also jacuzzis and an aromatherapy spa. The hotel offers various activities including archery, outdoor cooking, and an indigenous song and dance performance in the evening. The Zhiben Forest Recreation Area, ranging in elevation from 110-650 meters, is close to the hotel and is ideal for hiking, and bird and butterfly watching. You can stroll along forest trails breathing in the refreshing air and enjoying the tranquility and beauty of the forest.

No. 23, Ln. 113, Longquan Rd., Wenquan Village, Beinan Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣卑南鄉溫泉村龍泉路 113 巷 23 號 ) (089) 510-666 www.hotelroyal.com.tw/chihpen

The Gaya Hotel

No. 169, Xinsheng Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County ( 台東縣台東市新生路 169 號 ) (089) 611-888

Located in central Taitung City, The Gaya Hotel opened in 2017. It is only one minute on foot from Tiehua Music Village. Formerly home to the old Taitung Tax Office, the building retains the hollow patterned bricks of the old building that have a pronounced local flavor. The hotel’s facilities and services feature various Taiwanese cultural, music, and art elements, for example, there is a large amount of Makino bamboo on the lobby wall, in the coffee shop hang calligraphy paintings featuring quotes from renowned scholar Hu Shih, and brush lights decorate the restaurant bar, giving travelers an opportunity to savor Eastern cultural characteristics while vacationing.

www.gaya-hotels.com

Allur Chain Boutique Motel Taitung Branch

The design of Allur Chain Boutique Motel’s Taitung branch was inspired by the endless mountains and vast ocean of the beautiful natural scenery of coastal Taitung. The design of the space cleverly combines Taitung’s mountains, stones, water, and wood, displaying a simple but colorful and lively local spirit. Colors are used to create a leisurely feeling of vacationing under the blue skies of eastern Taiwan, providing guests a hotel stay with a pronounced fashionable style. All guestrooms have basic equipment such as air-conditioning, cable TV, showers, slippers and toiletries. The hotel is conveniently located just-5-10 minutes by car from Taitung Railway Station and the downtown area.

No. 11, Gengsheng N. Rd., Taitung City, Taitung County ( 台東縣台東市更生北路 11 號 ) (089) 230-011

www.allurmotel.com


Take Taipei Double-Decker Tour Bus to enjoy delicious food ! Taipei Double-Decker Tour Bus gives you a different elevated view of the city. From the city’s abundant culture to Michelin-starred restaurants, it offers a novel and easy way to enjoy the best of Taipei.

Take Taipei Double-Decker Tour Bus to 11 Michelin and 17 Bib Gourmand restaurants! Taipei Double-Decker Tour Bus official website

Superb Michelin and Bib Gourmand cuisine X Taipei Double-Decker Tour Bus

Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean and Thai guide service


Old

Guanxi

Town

Showcasing the While Past While Chasing aCultural-Creative Cultural-CreativeFuture Future Guanxi Old Street

Text: Rick Charette

Photos: Vision

Guanxi is an old town in Hsinchu County that looks forward into a long valley, which runs all the way to the sea, and is backed by the central mountains. A day in Guanxi is a day spent exploring the local Hakka culture and history, Japanese-built colonial architecture, cultural-creative ventures housed in renovated old Chinese shophouses, a heritage tea factory, and iconic eateries selling delicious local treats such as Hakka broad noodles, stinky tofu, and “grass jelly.”

T

he hills of northwest Taiwan’s Hsinchu and Miaoli counties are Hakka country. Between 15 and 20 percent of Taiwan’s Han Chinese population is of Hakka descent, with the highest concentration in this region. Their pioneering forefathers primarily came from coastal regions of mainland China directly across the Taiwan Strait, beginning in the early 1600s. Though for the most part indistinguishable from their Han Chinese majority brethren, the Hakka have their own distinct cultural traditions, dialect, and cuisine. Through China’s imperial centuries they almost invariably lost in the struggles for the best of the fertile lowlands, and were driven to the edge of, and up into, safer mountainous areas. The Chinese term for the Hakka literally means “guest people,” as in “outsiders.” In Taiwan much of the Hakka population ended up living between the Han Chinese 26

Travel in Taiwan

majority of the lowlands and the indigenous peoples of the central mountains, and commonly served as a cultural-economic bridge. Guanxi is a Hakka hill town to the east of coastal Hsinchu City. The town is located at the head of a long, shallow valley from which the collected waters empty into the Taiwan Strait immediately north of the city. For both Taiwan citizens and foreign expatriates and tourists, “Guanxi” almost invariably means the larger Guanxi Township, home to the Leofoo Village Theme Park (www1.leofoo. com.tw), an important tourist attraction in northern Taiwan. I regularly ply the northern Taiwan section of National Freeway 3, which shoots you through Hsinchu County, allowing you to look down at towns and into valleys, and each time I descend at the Guanxi Interchange I feel as though I am “descending” back into time.


Town wanderings GUANXI

Shidianzi 69 Organic Bookstore

Shidianzi Ye Tea 49

Dream Theatre 52

Headin’ Down Guanxi Old Street During the week the hoary settlement creaks along largely ignoring the pace of 21st-century time, but speeds up on weekends/holidays to accommodate the rushed needs of tourists. Its heart is short Guanxi Old Street (Zhongzheng Road), filled with an eclectic mix of enterprises homed in heritage buildings. More and more of these are catering to the newfangled cultural-creative needs of modern folk. The northern section, closer to the town center, features numerous two-story buildings with Western Baroquestyle façades. Look for the art-decorated porcelain tiles embedded in the façades of some, a distinctive flourish on the residences and businesses of well-to-do Hakka people. The southern section has many venerable single-story Chinese-style shophouses (shop in front, family quarters in back), a number of which now house creative dreams-made-real concerns. The façade of Shidianzi Ye Tea 49, a Zen-ambiance teahouse, is approaching invisibility behind its thick curtain of vines. It’s operated by a self-confessed eccentric ceramics artist who loves crafting teapots and other artworks (on-site) but resists selling, preferring to share their beauty with all who visit. Originally a smithy, this space was a ruin when he moved in. The “ye” in “Ye Tea” means “smelt (metal),” reference to the shop’s smithy past. Another word pronounced “ye” means “wild,” and the artist, who is also a cultivator, describes his tea as “wild.” He allows Mother Nature to handle his tea fields naturally; no pesticides, no fertilizers, only weeding. Despite their “wild” origins, his tea is as smooth and mellow as good wine. Dream Theatre 52 is in one of the classic Chinese-style shop buildings. The section of the Old Street where the building is located was once lined with them, on both sides. They’re characterized by

Shidianzi Ye Tea 49 ( 石店子之冶茶 49) No. 49, Zhongzheng Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮中正路 49) 0928-870-971

Dream Theatre 52 No. 52, Zhongzheng Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮中正路 52) www.facebook.com/dreamtheatre52

red-brick walls and ceramic-tile roofs, and have a pillared arcade out front to shade pedestrians from sun and rain. Dream Theatre 52 bills itself as a “theatre café,” a combination of performance space, café, and art gallery. Its live performances are wide-ranging, from such things as piano and saxophone recitals to Peking Opera, Taiwanese Opera, and traditional-style puppet shows, and to such creative ventures as readings of Romeo and Juliet with the setting changed to old-time Guanxi. Shidianzi 69 Organic Bookstore is housed in another of the Chinese-architecture shophouses that have been immaculately restored, all over a century old. This is a book exchange, not a retail space. The concept here is to promote the power of reading by “organically” planting seeds, giving birth to a “tree of knowledge” for the individual that will be ever-growing. The owner wants the enterprise to sink deep roots and become a quiet, intrinsic element in the town’s cultural landscape, serving as a stress-free haven where a love of reading will sprout. A few blocks directly north of Guanxi Old Street is the Guanxi Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a conspicuous local landmark. The cross atop its steeple can be seen from a long distance away as you enter the town from the Guanxi Interchange. The parish was established in 1954 by Canadian missionaries, who quickly got to work learning Hakka to bolster their message, and the church was built from 1955~1956. It is an appealing work of Gothic architecture. Visitors are welcome. Over the years, the church interior and exterior have been used as shoot locations for a number of Taiwan television drama series, making it one of Guanxi’s most popular day-tripper attractions.

Shidianzi 69 Organic Bookstore ( 石店子 69 書店 ) No. 69, Zhongzheng Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮中正路 69) 0921-743-789 69bookstore-com.webnode.tw (Chinese)

Travel in Taiwan |27


Town wanderings

GUANXI

Take Me to the River Directly east of Guanxi Old Street is King Tai Tea Company. This is a tea-processing factory, founded in 1936, that has a gift-and-souvenir retail outlet. It produces regular black tea, green tea, and tea oil, but is best-known for its specialty teas. The company emulates ancient Tang and Song dynasty baking technique using charcoal and longyan wood and infuses leaf with the aroma of honey and bamboo. (Tours in Chinese are available for groups of 20 or more; book online.)

Sacred Heart Catholic Church Guanxi Sacred Heart Catholic Church No. 126, Zhengyi Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮正義路 126) King Tai Tea Company ( 錦泰觀光茶廠 ) No. 336, Sec. 1, Zhongfeng Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮中豐路一段 336 號 ) (03) 587-2051 www.kingtaitea.com (Chinese) Guanxi Stinky Tofu ( 關西臭豆腐 ) No. 4, Guangfu Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮光復路 4 號 )

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Travel in Taiwan

The tea factory looks east over the small Niulan River, which is crossed by the Dong’an Bridge on Zhongshan East Road. This visually melodious stone-arch bridge, which dates to 1933, was built by the Japanese, who ruled Taiwan as a colony from 1895 to 1945. It replaced a Japanese wood-built bridge demolished after just six years, weakened by Taiwan’s heavy rains, humidity, typhoons, and earthquakes. The heavy-duty bridge greatly facilitated the conveyance of timber and other resources from the higher hills and mountains to the east. The bridge is the keystone attraction in pretty Niulanhe Riverside Park, which is popular with exercisers, picnicking families, and photo buffs. Art markets and live theatrical and musical performances are occasionally staged here on weekends.

What’s to Eat ? If at any time your tummy gets to rumbling, the place to head is the neighborhood northeast of the Old Street, southeast of the church. Ang Gu Noodles ( ㄤ咕麵 ) No. 35, Guangfu Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮光復路 35 號 ) (03) 587-5541 www.anggu.com.tw (Chinese)

Herbal Jelly Lane ( 仙草巷 ) 5F, No. 14, Zhongxing Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮中興路 14 號 5 樓 ) (03) 587-4090

Dong’an Bridge and Niulanhe Riverside Park


Town wanderings

118

GUANXI

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Guanxi Sacred Heart Catholic Church Ang Gu Noodles Niulanhe Riverside Park

Herbal Jelly Lane

Dream Theatre 52 Shidianzi Ye Tea 49

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Shidianzi 69 Organic Bookstore

King Tai Tea Company

Dong’an Bridge

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Guanxi Old Street

Hsinchu County

Ang Gu Noodles

Guanxi Stinky Tofu

The name Ang Gu Noodles is a long-familiar one in Guanxi. The clan in charge of this restaurant has been serving dry-noodle dishes to locals for three generations, and generation three has moved the business to these more centrally located premises. What you eat is what grandpa has been serving since the beginning, amidst a décor that is country-rustic in theme yet is stylishly contemporary in design and materials. Among the most popular dishes are the Hakka dry bantiao (a type of thick, broad noodle), “Ang Gu” dry wheat noodles, wonton noodles, and sesame-oil chicken. Stinky tofu, i.e. fermented beancurd – seems you either love it or you hate it. For the foreign tourist, you haven’t really “done Taiwan” unless you’ve tried it. What Limburger is for those who like cheese is what stinky tofu is for those who like beancurd products. Guanxi Stinky Tofu is the township destination of gourmand choice to test your senses. Operated out of a roadside metal-siding shack, patrons dine alfresco on simple folding tables and plastic stools. The beancurd-accompanying pickled vegetables and chili sauce, both house-made, are also delectable. Xiancao is a jelly-like dessert treat eaten throughout the China/Southeast Asia region. It is made from Chinese mesona, a medicinal-herb plant from the mint family. Commonly called “grass jelly” or “herbal jelly” in English, it is generally served chilled in summer and heated in winter. Guanxi earned a reputation as Taiwan’s “Hometown of Xiancao” during the Japanese colonial era, and today remains king, producing over 80% of Taiwan xiancao supply. Herbal Jelly Lane is a restaurant, not a lane. Why “lane”? You enter a long, narrow hallway right off the street that does indeed look like an alley from the outside. A small elevator then whisks you to the fifth floor. Enjoy both traditional-style xiancao treats as well as savory cultural-creative inventions, the bestsellers being chicken soup and xiancao with pork and noodles.

Ang Gu Noodles restaurant

Getting There & Around Self-Drive: The Guanxi Interchange of north-south National Freeway 3 is just northwest of the town. North-south Provincial Highway 3 passes along its east side. Bus: If traveling from Taipei, catch one of the regular bus departures from Taipei Bus Station (Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport No. 1820; NT$113 one way) In Guanxi: The sites introduced in this article are all close to each other, and easily tackled on foot in an afternoon. English and Chinese Dong’an Bridge 東安古橋 Guanxi 關西 Guanxi Old Street 關西老街 Guanxi Sacred Heart Catholic Church 關西天主堂 Hakka 客家 Leofoo Village Theme Park 六福村主題遊樂園 Niulanhe Riverside Park 牛欄河親水公園 Niulan River 牛欄河 xiancao 仙草 Zhongshan East Road 中山東路 Zhongzheng Road 中正路

Travel in Taiwan |29


ADVENTURES

MARATHON

T h e 2018 Love in T a i nan Marathon

The annual Love in Tainan Marathon is different from most marathons staged in Taiwan, in that it takes place in the hot summer month of August, and it has an unusually late starting time. The run takes participants past historic tourist attractions that are among Taiwan’s finest. Text: Steven Crook Photos: Maggie Song

30

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN

T

aipei has been Taiwan’s capital since the 1880s, and it’s where a great many visitors spend, at a minimum, their first few days on the island. However, as people in Taiwan know, Taipei is an “arriviste” city, an “upstart” metropolis. The original capital was the city of Tainan in the south, and what is now Tainan’s Anping District can be considered the cradle of Han Chinese civilization in Taiwan. It was here, in the early 17th century, that migrants from mainland China began establishing themselves


ADVENTURES MARATHON

The marathon begins and ends at Orthodox Luermen Shengmu Temple

in large number on an island that until then had been the domain of Austronesian hunter-gatherers. The new arrivals were predominantly from Fujian Province, with a solid minority from northeast Guangdong Province. Many were drawn by economic and agricultural opportunities created by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which controlled the region around Tainan from 1624 to 1662. The main Dutch base was Fort Zeelandia, the ruins of which are one of the Anping area’s most popular tourist attractions. The place name “Anping” came after

the Dutch, however; they called this place “Tayouan,” a toponym of Austronesian origin that evolved into “Taiwan” and came to be applied to the entire island. The geography of the Anping area has changed considerably since the Dutch were thrown out by Koxinga (a.k.a. Zheng Cheng-gong) and his army of Ming Dynasty loyalists. Over the years, sediment washed down from the mountains during typhoons blocked some waterways and redirected others.

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |31


ADVENTURES

MARATHON

The vast lagoon known to 17th-century seafarers as the Taijiang Inner Sea was divided into smaller bodies of water. The name, however, lives on. In 2009, 4,905 hectares of land – and nearly seven times that area of ocean – were designated the Taijiang National Park. This is in Annan District, immediately to the north of Anping. Tourists eager to see Anping District and the national park have a range of options beyond renting a car, motorcycle, or bicycle. City bus No. 99 links downtown Tainan with several sites of interest. There are also boat tours that kick off near Taijiang National Park headquarters and from Sicao Dazhong Temple. The latter is within the park. This past summer, one very special event encouraged people to see a good part of this area on foot in the space of just a few hours – provided they were willing to run at a reasonable pace. The 2018 Love in Tainan Marathon was held on August 4. The event attracted more than 5,000 participants, including some from as far away as Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. About half of those who had registered to take part ran the 9.4km route. Over 1,000 people did the half marathon, and more than 1,700 completed the full 42.195km run. The start was in front of one of Tainan’s most visited and most imposing halls of worship, the Orthodox Luermen Shengmu Temple in Annan District. As runners began to arrive and warm up, Travel in Taiwan sat down with Chiu Kun-lung, chairman of the Tainan Starlight Marathon Association.

Running past the Lin Mo-niang statue

Refreshment stand

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TRAVEL IN TAIWAN

Chiu is himself an accomplished runner of marathons, having run several full marathons in less than four hours each. Back in 2011, he ran 100km in 12 hours, 22 minutes. He explained that Tainan isn’t trying to compete with Boston, London, or Tokyo, where annual marathons attract global media attention and the world’s best longdistance runners. The event’s slogan, “Roam Taijiang and Anping,” is a clear indication that the idea behind the marathon is closer to that of the “slow travel” movement than to the hyper-competitiveness of typical 21st-century sporting events. In keeping with the emphasis on enjoyment, rather than offer enticing amounts of cash, ahead of the race the organizers announced there would be surprise prizes. Among the rewards for top finishers were sports sunglasses, special socks for marathon runners, and waterproof tops designed for long-distance running. Well aware that south Taiwan is blessed with superbly comfortable winters – between October and March, the weather is reliably sunny and dry – Travel in Taiwan asked Chiu why a summertime date was chosen for the event. The marathon, he explained, is part of the Tainan City Government’s efforts to attract more outsiders to the municipality during a time of the year when many Taiwanese prefer to travel abroad rather than go somewhere closer to home. Recalling the happy aftermath of previous Anping marathons, Chiu said he fully expected the 2018 edition of the Love in Tainan Marathon to live up to its romantic name. Each year, at least one participant has proposed marriage to their significant other right after crossing the finishing line. In Taiwan, marathons typically kick off not long after dawn, before the mercury climbs to an uncomfortable level. But like some other road races in this part of the world, the 2018 Love in Tainan Marathon was planned differently so runners wouldn’t suffer so much from the heat. Those doing the full route began running at 4pm. Those who’d signed up for shorter distances started 30 minutes or even an hour later. This is why previous Anping runs have been named “sunset” or “starlight” marathons. Some participants may have still found the temperature challenging, but none can have complained about the topography. Much of Taiwan is ruggedly mountainous, and you don’t have to leave Tainan City to find peaks more than 1,000m above sea level. Coastal Annan and Anping, by contrast, are pancake flat, and it was through a landscape dominated by fish farms that runners made their way to the route’s first point of historic interest. According to legend, Koxinga Memorial Park is the spot where Zheng Cheng-gong first landed in Taiwan. Like the Orthodox Luermen Shengmu Temple, the memorial park can be reached by city bus No. 11, which you can catch at Tainan Railway Station. Runners crossed the Luermen River, approached the ocean, headed south through the Sicao area in the national park, and then headed into Anping. You don’t have to run a marathon to enjoy sunset views from the 1,200m-long Sicao Bridge, but do be considerate of other road-users if you plan to park your bicycle or motorcycle on the bridge so you can watch the yellow orb sink into the Taiwan Strait. After passing close to Fort Zeelandia, participants crossed the Tainan Canal and worked their way toward the Lin Mo-niang Park. The name Lin Mo-niang may not mean anything to you, even if you


ADVENTURES MARATHON

Runners cross the Sicao Bridge

happen to have been reading up on Taiwan’s history and culture. This young lady is much better known as Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea and likely Taiwan’s most-worshipped deity. Marathon runners burn a lot of calories, so replenishment en route is desirable. At several of the 30 refreshment stations set up for the marathon volunteers offered local delicacies, including roasted chicken, “tea eggs” (eggs hard-boiled in a blend of soy sauce, herbs, and tea leaves), and lemon black tea. These items were free to those who’d registered to take part in the event, so runners didn’t have to carry money. The history of the Eternal Golden Castle, which the marathon route encircled, is quite different to that of Fort Zeelandia. Built in 1874~76 by China’s Qing Dynasty authorities, it was designed to help keep the island safe from foreign imperial powers. Returning to the old heart of Anping, runners caught a glimpse of another piece of defensive architecture. The oldest sections of the Anping Minor Artillery Fort dating from 1840. After extensive renovation, it has become a photogenic location ideal for picnics. Before jogging – or staggering – across the finish line, those running the full 42.195km passed two more landmark shrines. Sicao Dazhong Temple is another site connected to local military history. Right behind the temple is an ossuary containing the bones of Dutch

English and Chinese Annan District 安南區 Anping District 安平區 Anping Minor Artillery Fort 安平小砲台 Chiu Kun-lung 邱坤龍 Eternal Golden Castle 億載金城 Fort Zeelandia 安平古堡 Jinshan 金山 Koxinga Memorial Park 鄭成功紀念公園 Mazu 媽祖

soldiers who died during Koxinga’s attack in the 1660s. Luermen Tianhou Temple was established to honor an effigy of Mazu which many believe was brought to Taiwan by Koxinga himself, keeping his forces safe during their Taiwan Strait crossing. Foreign visitors interested in taking part in a road race while in Taiwan should head to www.taipeimarathon.org.tw/contest.aspx , and click on the “English” button. More than 50 events are listed for December 2018 alone, among them the 2018 Taroko Gorge Marathon and the Gaomei Wetlands Parent-Child Run. The websites for most listed events are in Chinese only, so you’ll likely need some help if you want to sign up, which of course should be done well in advance. Finding the appropriate dedicated online site and Facebook page and sending a message in English often gets results. The Chinese-only website www.eventpal.com.tw also has a comprehensive list of links to upcoming races. In Chiu’s opinion, Taiwan’s most enjoyable long-distance running events are the New Taipei City Wan-Jin-Shi Marathon and the Tianzhong Marathon. The former, usually held in March, gets its name because runners start in the town of Wanli on the North Coast, pass through the hot-spring town of Jinshan, turn around at the town of Shimen, then head back to Wanli. The 2018 edition of the latter, which takes participants through the bucolic countryside of Changhua County, will be held on November 11.

Love in Tainan Marathon 戀戀安平夜浪漫星光馬拉松 Lin Mo-niang Park 林默娘公園 Luermen River 鹿耳門溪 Luermen Shengmu Temple 正統鹿耳門聖母廟 Luermen Tianhou Temple 鹿耳門天后宮 "Roam Taijiang and Anping" 漫遊台江安平 Shimen 石門 Sicao 四草 Sicao Bridge 四草大橋

Sicao Dazhong Temple 四草大眾廟 Taijiang Inner Sea 台江內海 Taijiang National Park 台江國家公園 Tainan Starlight Marathon Association 台南市星光馬拉松協會 Tayouan 大員 Wanli 萬里 Zheng Cheng-gong 鄭成功

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |33


M Y T R AV E L LO G

Foot bath with "nibble fish"

Hot-spring pleasure in Jiaoxi

A Quick ReAlity Switch D

uring normal non-holiday periods, Sundays have one purpose for me: to leave the confines of Taipei City. A wanderer at heart, my favorite recreational activity is to roam places unfamiliar. It doesn’t really matter where – only that I haven’t been there. Hot springs are the main attraction in the town of Jiaoxi, Yilan County, but given its proximity to both the mountains and the sea, I had reckoned it would be worth a walkaround. On many of my ventures I’m not looking for anything in particular, I just want to see what’s there. Hence, one weekend not long ago, at Taipei City Hall Bus Station I boarded a pleasingly modern and well-kept bus headed for Jiaoxi (Capital Bus No. 1572; NT$92 one way), departing at 3:15pm. Beyond the maze of towering flyovers around Taipei City’s Nangang District, the bus passed through a series of mountain-piercing tunnels while traversing the rural districts of Shiding and Pinglin in New Taipei City. Above the town of Pinglin the bus entered the final tunnel on the route, Xueshan (Snow Mountain) Tunnel, the longest road tunnel in Taiwan and the ninth-longest in the world. Emerging on the Yilan County side was a metaphorically transcendent moment that didn’t necessarily feel like entering another world, instead seeming more like crossing over into an alternate reality with similar but softer features. Open horizon to

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Text: Christian Adams Photos: Vision

the east, Pacific Ocean beyond; skyward-reaching mountains to the west. After arriving at Jiaoxi’s bus station, I walked toward the town’s charming “downtown” area, passing hotels, spas, cafés, restaurants, and snack vendors. While I was tempted to soak my feet in one of the public hot-spring pools at Tangweigou Park, what caught my attention was the abundance of places to sit. There are benches throughout the park. Nothing says, “Hey, relax” like a nice wooden bench. South of the park, on a street paved with smooth stones, I cruised leisurely past a number of foot spa/pedicure places that use tiny fish (known as “doctor fish” or “nibble fish”) to remove the dead skin from your feet and legs. I saw the price (NT$60 per hour) and thought, why not? Settling randomly on a fish foot spa that doubles as a friedchicken joint, I plunked down next to a young couple and slipped my feet into the water. As the fish started to nibble on my skin, I blurted out loud, “Oh man! That’s weird!” The couple smiled knowingly in my direction. I glanced at my watch. It was now 4:30pm. In the space of little more than an hour, I’d gone from bustling urban beehive to bucolic hot-spring town, looking up at soaring, lush green mountains while getting a pedicure from a legion of tiny fish. Not bad, I thought.


Experiential Travel in

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Penghu

Travel in Penghu

Delicious Fresh Seafood at Beiliao Village Play at Beiliao’s famed attraction “Moses Parts the Sea,” follow the Grass Path up Mt. Kuibi, and view the beautiful coastal scenery and the charming fishing village from on high. Have an in-depth experience of the lives of the expert fishermen of Beiliao fishing village, learn about the traditional “longline fishing” technique, and savor the delicious tastes of fresher-than-fresh local Black Mouthed Croaker and homestyle fishing village dishes. You don’t want to miss these experiences when visiting Beiliao!

Farming at Nanliao – What’s up Peanuts? Experience the transformation that local women undergo before going to work in the fields as they cover head and body to withstand the sun and the northeast monsoon. After getting changed, follow the steps of the locals to the fields and learn traditional ploughing with an ox-drawn plough and the peanut planting technique. Then heat up sea sand and peanuts in a wok, stirring continually. The salty sand serves as a natural flavoring. Peanuts that are both sweet and salty are granny’s favorite everyday snack!

Roam through Nanliao and Beiliao Fishing and Farming Villages Go on a one-day trip to Penghu’s fishing and farming villages to get a taste of local life and scenery. In the morning, visit Beiliao fishing village and experience the traditional “longline fishing” technique, view the beautiful scenery of Mt. Kuibi and the “Moses Parts the Sea” phenomenon, and enjoy Beiliao home-style cooking and Black Mouth Croaker. In the afternoon, explore abandoned stone houses and a coral stone tree house, visit the Zhao Family Ancestral Shrine, taste peanuts traditionally fried with sea sand, and enjoy stone-ground tofu pudding, savoring old-time flavors.

Encounter the Freshest Oysters Anywhere at Caiyuan Community Go on a one-day experience tour of the experts of sea and field. The sea is the “farmland” of Caiyuan Community, the villagers making a living by oyster farming and net-cage fish farming. Take a boat trip out to sea and see an expert skillfully feed big fish, catch farmed squid, and open oysters. Enjoy the sweet ocean taste of an oyster feast, then use reconstituted ground oyster shells to make your own exclusive potted plant!

Roam Through Caiyuan Community – Create Handmade Fish Scale Flowers View the installation artwork depicting the 12 signs of the Chinese zodiac made from discarded oyster shells in Caiyuan Community. Use a special tool to open oysters and take out the meat. Experience the daily lives of the women selling oyster omelets. Finally, use skilled hands to transform fish scales into a beautiful fish scale flower, and enjoy a tasty bowl of oyster thin noodles at Caiyuan Community.

Advertisement by the Penghu National Scenic Area Administration, Taiwan Tourism Bureau (MOTC)


ISLAND FEAST

TAIPEI

Sweet and Juicy with Lots of Flavor Locally-Sourced Fruit Used in Fine Cuisine and Preserves Purists might argue that fruit should always be eaten fresh and raw, and there are certainly numerous reasons for keeping everything from apples to pineapples in an uncooked or unprocessed state before consumption. Some chefs and artisanal jam producers in Taipei, however, do such a wonderful job of using fruit in their cooked dishes and preserves that even “always eat fruit raw” advocates might find their creations irresistible. Text: Christian Adams Photos: Maggie Song

I

n the world of cuisine, many countries present definitive creations. India has curry. Japan has given us sushi. The U.S. is home of the beefsteak. When I think of France, I think of stinky cheese and red wine. Italy gives me visions of ragu alla bolognese (spaghetti bolognaise). In the same vein, Taiwan is for me the undisputed king of fruit. Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, the island’s marine climate is exceedingly conducive for agricultural abundance, while the topographical and seasonal influences create a variety of growing conditions. The result is a broad range of fruits, from the mundane to the exotic, including but not limited to:

Avocado, banana, custard apple, dragon fruit, grape, guava, jujube, kumquat, lemon, longan, loquat, lychee, mandarin orange, mango, nectarine, papaya, passion fruit, peach, pear, persimmon, pineapple, plum, pomelo, star fruit, strawberry, watermelon, and wax apple. While fruits such as bananas and muskmelons are grown year-round, 36

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with multiple harvests, peak harvest times for other fruits vary. No matter what the time of year, however, there is always some type of fruit being harvested; for example, oranges and strawberries in the winter months, pears and wax apples in spring, mangos and lychees in summer, and pomelos and papayas in autumn. Temperate-zone fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears are grown in high-mountain areas. More exotic fruits such as mangos and custard apples flourish in the tropical south. In other words, a lot of fruit is grown in Taiwan, fully justifying its reputation as the “Kingdom of Fruit.” And fruit is everywhere you go, from day markets and supermarkets to juice shops and shaved-ice stalls in night markets to roadside vendors selling their bounty from the back of flatbed trucks. While fruit is a prevalent aspect of Taiwanese daily life and food culture, it is conspicuously underrepresented at fine-dining establishments. Fortunately, a pair of innovative entities have been shaking up the way Taiwan perceives, and ultimately, consumes its fruit.


Stir-Fried Fish Fillet with Mango

Braised Chicken Leg with Pears Mansui Restaurant ( 滿穗台菜 ) 1F, No. 128, Songjiang Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中山區松江路 128 號 1 樓 ) (02) 2541-2020 11:30am ~ 9:30pm www.mansui.com.tw

MANSUI

Passion Fruit Crab Salad

Mansui is one of the more conveniently situated restaurants in Taipei, approximately 10 steps – I counted – from Exit 8 of MRT Songjiang Nanjing Station (Green and Orange lines). Exit the station, turn left, and you’re quite literally there. The name Mansui translates as “plump rice,” and symbolizes an abundant harvest. Rice stalks drooping from the weight of their grains are said to resemble the posture of a wise, courteous, and humble man. This is in line with the restaurant owner’s belief that one should remain humble even after having become successful. The restaurant was established in 2013, and Chef Lian Wu-de is the mastermind behind its fruit-forward concept. Seasonal fruits are paired with traditional ingredients in a menu emphasizing fresh seafood and Taiwanese homestyle cuisine. And before you read any further, allow me to say one thing: the results are uncommonly delicious. On a recent visit to the restaurant with three companions, I had the chance to sit down with Chef Lian and ask him a few questions. He reported that he wants to create dishes that are “less oily and healthier” while emphasizing the freshness of his chosen ingredients, which are strictly local for the most part. His creative interpretation of some fairly common dishes opens a surprising world of flavor variations. While many restaurants offer exotic culinary fusions, Chef Lian makes fruit the star, not merely the garnish.

The restaurant’s interior design is upscale casual, featuring bold red and gold hues. Five private rooms on the B1 level can accommodate up to a total of 120 people. In addition to the English on the menu, an English-speaker will almost surely be among the on-duty staff, so foreign diners need not be concerned about a language barrier. The front section of Mansui’s extensive menu is partitioned according to the four seasons and the harvest of particular fruits. For example, May~September is mango season, and mango is thus featured in the summer dishes. Page after page, you find fruitdriven flavor combinations that are truly innovative, served in a comfortable and foreigner-friendly atmosphere at reasonable prices. Mansui’s service is family-style, with dishes placed in the middle of the table, to be shared. Most dishes come in small and large sizes, perfect for couples and/or families. We tried the four most popular items from the Summer section. To be honest, however, I wanted to order about half the menu. Among the myriad enticing items are the Lobster and Fruit Tarts (NT$720/4 servings) and the Pork Ribs in Plum Sauce (NT$360 for a small order, for 2-3 people/NT$540 for a large order, for 3-4 people). I began to salivate even before the first dishes arrived. If I had not already known what I was eating, I would have guessed the Shrimp Balls with Wax Apple (NT$480/4) tasted TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |37


ISLAND FEAST

TAIPEI

Red on Tree

exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Crunchy texture, delightfully complex flavor, designed to be eaten in one bite. I marveled at Chef Lian’s ingenuity. I could also have easily gulped down all four portions of the Passion Fruit Crab Salad (NT$320/4). Served in a half-shell, this is a savory, delicately balanced miniexplosion of tangy fruit juice and soft, creamy seafood umami. The Braised Chicken Leg with Pears (NT$480/$720) features a wonderfully light flavor that is at the same time rich and earthy. This was my favorite of all the dishes. Finally, the Stir-Fried Fish Fillet with Mango (NT$480/$720) was surprisingly light yet smoky, the fish perfectly prepared. This appeared to be the favorite of my dining companions. When our meal appeared to be coming to an end, Chef Lian was kind enough to recommend what I think was the most unusual item on the menu: Fried Bananas with Curry and Bread (NT$380/$570). Let me be as direct as possible, I have never tasted anything quite so unique in my life. In conclusion, Mansui Restaurant is highly recommended for both newbie and seasoned diners looking for a fresh, unique experience in Taiwanese cuisine, and I personally can’t wait to go back.

The name Red on Tree is a translation of the Taiwanese phrase tsai-tsang-ang, describing the singular essence of fruit harvested at its ripest stage. Most of us – the hoi polloi – never get the chance to eat fruit straight from the vine, because vendors generally buy halfripe fruit so it doesn’t spoil before hitting the market. Red on Tree’s extraordinary vision is to capture that seminal ripeness of fruit and extend its lifespan as long as possible. Founded in 2008, this unique business is under the direction of Chef Danny Yang, who studied horticulture in college and earned his culinary stripes overseas. “Our primary goal,” Yang says, “is to present Taiwanese fruit in its purest form, using every available method.” The mandate is implicit; select the best fruits at the most optimal time for harvest. In step with this artisanal modus operandi, everything from the bread served in the café to the gelato is made at Red on Tree’s central kitchen. While I suppose the term “artisanal” could be interpreted as “purist,” it informs an aesthetic that supersedes a price point. Artisanal products generally aren’t cheap; however, in the case of Red on Tree the uniqueness of the products, combined with the sheer quality, more than justifies the cost to consumers.

Fried Bananas with Curry and Bread

R E D ON TR E E A two-minute walk from Exit 5 of MRT Guting Station (Red and Green lines), Red on Tree is tucked into an unassuming lane off Heping East Road. Upon first glance, it appears to be a modern, stylish, loft-style café that is not unlike countless other coffee and tea vendors in the area around National Taiwan Normal University in Daan District. Once inside, however, it quickly becomes apparent that Red on Tree is anything but common. Self-defined as a “shop,” this space verges on being an indescribable entity. It is at once a café, a patisserie, and a shop for artisan products such as jams, jellies, gelato, desserts, and pâtes de fruit. Such a place is hardly run-of-the-mill in Taipei. 38

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Arriving a few minutes before my companions for the day on a recent visit, I ordered a coffee. Although coffee trees were imported to Taiwan during the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945), a local coffee industry has only recently emerged. When it comes to the coffee beans, Red on Tree uses an artisanal approach in its preparation, and in its serving as well. Perusing the beverage menu (which also includes teas, sparkling drinks, and soy milk), I ordered the handdrip Pingtung-Stone (NT$230) coffee, made with beans from the Sandimen region in the low mountains of southern Taiwan (variety: typica; method: washed; acidity: low). Served on a platter made with a cross-section from a tree, the coffee was presented in a large bowl, accompanied by a shot glass of ice. The idea, manager Grace Huang informed me, is based on the changeability of brewed coffee. By pouring it over ice, the consumer can taste the hot coffee in its freshest-brewed state. It’s very mild, earthy flavor was not unlike a Columbian medium roast.


ISLAND FEAST TAIPEI

My companions arrived, and we began a tasting session led by Grace, an articulate young woman with an impressive knowledge of her products. She led us through the jams, jellies, pâtes de fruit, selected desserts, and gelato, all of which were exceedingly tasty. Additionally, a number of other items on the dessert menu also looked very tempting, particularly the Oolong Tiramisu (NT$150) and the Chocolate Tart with Guava Jam (NT$150), giving me a compelling reason to return! I didn’t get to taste the Lemon Tart (NT$140), but it looked incredible. The Scones with Jam (NT$100) gave us a chance to sample a number of jams from their extensive repertoire. The Sichuan Pineapple Jam was the crowd favorite, while the Grape and Fig Jam left a lasting impression. Presented in five categories – Classic, Unique, Seasonal, Perennial, and Flower – individual jars of the jams, jellies, and fruit preserves cost NT$230-$380. We also sampled the Sichuan Pineapple Jam Drink (NT$120), a sparkling beverage that looked not unlike lemonade but had a complex, smooth effervescence, with just a teeny-tiny spicy kick. It was truly enchanting, and a perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer afternoon. Like most people, I have my preferences with food. However, I’m always willing to give something previously rejected another shot. Among the handful of foods that I don’t like is lychee – it tastes like air freshener to me. So, when Grace brought out the Grape and Lychee Jam, I said (to myself, of course), “OK, show me what you’ve got. Make me like lychee.” And sure enough, I ended up thinking that it was utterly scrumptious. One of the coolest things about the jellies and jams menu is the accompanying tasting notes and pairing recommendations. For

example, the Strawberry Jam (NT$350) is said to pair nicely with beef, yogurt, dark chocolate, and champagne. In addition to soft drinks, the Sichuan Pepper-Pineapple Jam (NT$280) is said to pair well with cheese, chicken, and pork. The Peach Gelato (NT$90 per scoop) was everything you might ever want in a gelato. I could taste ridiculously fresh peach, and nothing but peach. Finally, we tasted the Pâte de Fruit (NT$350) selection, an assortment of the brightly-hued chewy treats introduced by French confiseurs. While leaning heavily to the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum, the fruit flavors were unmistakably intense and satisfying. While Red on Tree might be said to be somewhat of a highbrow experience, it’s one that comes with an educational twist and a very sweet payoff – no pun intended. Red on Tree ( 在欉紅 ) No. 3, Ln. 75, Sec. 1, Heping E. Rd., Daan Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區和平東路一段 75 巷 3 號 ) redontree.cyberbiz.co 12:30pm ~ 8pm (02) 2391-2978

English and Chinese Grace Huang 黃楨茵 Daan District 大安區 Danny Yang 楊豐旭 Heping East Road 和平東路 Lian Wu-de 連武德 tsai-tsang-ang 在欉紅

Pâte de Fruit selection

Lemon Tart

Scones with Jam

Selected jams

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Northeast Coast Adventures Riding Slow Trains from Fulong to Toucheng

Here are some of the adventures the Northeast Coast between Fulong and Toucheng has in store for you: hiking historic ridgetop trails, river kayaking, surfing and bodyboarding, cycling through an old railway tunnel, picnicking in a cuesta-formation tidal park, walking through a highland grassland, learning about the region’s people and geology in a beautiful museum; and taking a yacht tour to a defunct-volcano island. To access the area’s attractions, take the slow trains that regularly ply the coastal railway. Text: Chris Lockwood

Photos: Vision

Old Caoling Tunnel

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臺灣鐵

R A I L T R AV E L

路局

區 間

NORTHEAST COAST

石 城站 至 臺灣

鐵路

區 間 福 隆 站

大 里站 3 元 票價 2 日有效 限發售當

Fulong Stn.

Shicheng Stn.

Dali Stn.

石 城 站 票價 15 元 限發售 當日有 效

Fulong Beach Longmen Riverside Camping Resort

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Gongliao Fulong Visitor Center

Fulong Beach

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o get from Taipei City to Yilan County and further down along Taiwan’s east side, trains do not travel “as the crow flies” in a straight line. The rails first head northeasterly toward coastal Keelung City, then swing down and pierce the mountains to get to the ruggedly beautiful Northeast Coast, with the blue Pacific Ocean on one side and towering mountains on the other. Following, we’ll ride the slow trains (Local Train) that travel between Taipei City and Yilan City, stepping off at the last group of stations before the tracks spill out onto the Yilan Plain at the town of Toucheng. Our first, most northerly stop is the village of Fulong.

Fulong

As you exit the train station here, you’ll see Provincial Highway 2 – the coastal highway – directly ahead, past the station-front cluster of small eateries and bike-rental outfits. During this rail foray, wherever you alight the highway will never be more than a short walk away. Fulong Beach and Longmen Riverside Camping Resort are just across the highway, off the northern edge of the village. The golden-sand beach, northern Taiwan’s most popular, is located where the placid Shuangxi River empties into the ocean. This is a frolicker’s little paradise, very busy in summer, with lifeguards on duty and surfboards, bodyboards, kayaks, and other water fun equipment for rent. The camping resort, just upriver from the beach area, has the most comprehensive array of facilities of all campgrounds in Taiwan. There are board-camping, car-camping, and cabin areas, cycling facilities, a BB-gun shooting range, a water-activity area, and a kayaking center (with lessons and guided river outings offered). Be sure as well to visit the Fulong Visitor Center, between the beach and the highway. It’s run by the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area Administration (www.necoast-nsa.gov.tw); all sites recommended in this article are under its jurisdiction. One of Taiwan’s most comprehensive visitor centers, an ocean of information awaits you on the region’s natural, cultural, and scenic attractions. Back in the train station area, rent a bicycle and head off for the Old Caoling

Taiwan

Fulo ng

Shicheng Old Caoling Tunnel

Tunnel. This is the prime highlight on the Old Caoling Trail Circle-Line Bikeway, a 20km circuit of Taiwan’s rugged easternmost peninsular that is among northern Taiwan’s premier cycling routes. Turn right outside the station and follow the narrow road that parallels the railway tracks. The tunnel is up a verdant farm-speckled side valley. Completed in 1924 and retired in 1985, the former railway tunnel is a 2km-long piercing of the mountains between Fulong and Shicheng, the next station on our trip. Avid hikers will be interested in the Caoling Historic Trail. This is a section of an old imperial-era system of trails that connected the North Coast, the Taipei Basin, and Yilan County. Its north-end point is south of Fulong, and it ends in Dali, two stations further south. Turn left when exiting Fulong Station, walk parallel to the tracks for about 100 meters, then take the underpass you’ll come to, heading inland. Good bilingual signage will guide you along minor roads all the way to the trailhead. Give yourself about five hours to accomplish the cross-peninsula low-mountain walk, which serves up amazing coastal overviews.

Shicheng

Trains from Fulong burst out from inside the peninsula mountains above a cliff right at the rocky coast, with the coastal highway directly above the tunnel mouth. The slow trains stop mere seconds later at Shicheng. As your train emerges, look left. You’ll likely see cyclists. The Old Caoling Tunnel has been right beside you all along. Shicheng is an eyes-half-closed place with a pleasant, somnolent fishing harbor. Walk from the station back to the old tunnel’s mouth (10-minute walk on the highway) to enjoy the café and lookouts at the bikeway rest area there. You can get right up beside the new tunnel’s mouth. The view of trains from the north bursting out of the tunnel is dramatic, but train buffs will understand the description “beautiful” for trains coming from the south. When they suddenly appear they are already in a sharp turn and are running at a tilt, presenting the engine and carriages in all their kinetic glory, with the far-off coastline and mountains as video/photo-perfect backdrop. At Shicheng travelers also get their first view of Guishan Island (Turtle Island), which will be on the horizon at almost all times all the TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |41


R A I L T R AV E L

NORTHEAST COAST

Guishan Stn. 路 臺灣鐵

區 間 大 溪站 至

龜 山站 5 元 票價 1 日有效 限發售當

臺灣鐵路局

區 間 外 澳站

Daxi Stn.

頭 城站 票價 15 元 限發售當日有 效

Wushi Harbor

way to Toucheng. Floating about 10km off the coast, and indeed looking like a turtle with its head bobbing from the water, this is an extinct volcano known for its precipitous cliffs, craggy peaks, sulfurous springs, and remnants from a defunct fishing village and military presence. Tourist visits are possible, as you’ll see further down.

Dali

At Dali’s railway station, look inland and you’ll see a high ridgeline running parallel to the coastline. This is where the Caoling Historic Trail comes down to the coast at its southern end. From the train station, walk north along the highway about five minutes to the large, brilliantly painted Qingyun Temple complex. The temple – the first version built in 1836, with numerous refurbishments since – is dedicated to the Jade Emperor. The Caoling Historic Trail south-end trailhead is beside the temple. The trail takes you up to the ridgeline and Yakou, “the Pass.” Many people just do this part of the trail, because it is the most scenic. If coming from Fulong, Yakou is the first spot from which Guishan Island and the Pacific Ocean can be seen. Another popular hike is to take the branch trail that starts at Yakou and heads south across the ridgetop and descends to Daxi, the next train stop. Along the way is the captivating Taoyuan Valley, a vast grassy highland area that is home to grazing water buffalo. It is spread out along slopeland on the ridge’s inland side, with gorgeous 360-degree views. Allow oneplus hour to get from the temple to Yakou, five hours for the full templeto-Daxi traverse. The highest point on the trail is Mt. Wankengtou (616m). Old Caoling Tunnel

Fulong

Taiwan Shicheng Caoling Historic Trail

Dali Qingyun Temple 2

Toucheng Township

Taoyuan Valley

Daxi

Honeymoon Bay

Guishan

Beiguan Tidal Park

Wai’ao

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Guishan Island (Turtle Island)

Caoling Historic Trail

Honeymoon Bay

Daxi

To get from Daxi station to the south-end trailhead of the DaxiTaoyuan Valley-Dali trail, walk about 800 meters north along the highway. After crossing a small river, enter the Daxi Riverside Park. Your ascent begins here. Daxi village sits on a wide horseshoe-shaped bay called Honeymoon Bay, which has a sandy area toward the southern end. This region has northern Taiwan’s best surfing, with waves two meters and higher, and this beach attracts more hard-core surfers. The reason is that it has been left largely undeveloped, keeping crowds down, meaning more room out on the whitecaps. Surfboard and bodyboard rentals are available in the village.

Guishan

Walk about 10 minutes north along the coastal highway from this station and you’ll arrive at Beiguan Tidal Park. Those with an interest in geology will much enjoy this attraction, which features pathways through tofu rock and impressive sandstone cuesta formations that soar high above the shore. Tropical fish of beautiful color, along with other saltwater denizens, can be viewed in the rock pools at low tide.

Wai’ao

If the beach at Daxi is undeveloped, Wai’ao Beach is the opposite. There’s a pronounced party atmosphere here. The northern end of this wide, long black-sand beach is directly across the highway from the train station. The big action, however, is down toward the southern end – a breakwater just


R A I L T R AV E L NORTHEAST COAST

Wai’ao Stn. Toucheng Stn.

beyond accentuates the waves here. Surf-gear shops, cafés, guesthouses, and other outlets cater to the beach-bum crowd (besides rentals, the shops also provide surfing lessons). Beyond surfing, there’s also bodyboarding, jet-skiing, and banana-boat rides. There is a parasailing base on the hill behind the beach; check at the beach-area visitor center about instructoraccompanied tandem flights.

Toucheng

Toucheng’s big tourist attractions are just outside of town, to the north, beside the coastal highway. Walk there from the train station in about 20 minutes, or take a bus from the station (no. 131, 1766, or Red 1). The Lanyang Museum (www.lym.gov.tw) is a striking work of architecture. The grey-tone structure seems to shoot out of the ground, mimicking this coastal area’s natural sculptures of exposed stratified rock. The museum explores the heart of Yilan, telling the story of its indigenous and Han Chinese peoples from past to present, and explaining the local geology, farming and fishing traditions, as well as the biology of the local land and sea. Walk the pleasant path that encircles the lagoon behind the museum, which is busy with avian comings and goings. This was the site of the original Wushi Harbor, once Yilan County’s largest port. Opened in the early 1800s, by the latter 20th century it was ruined by sedimentation. Beyond it is the new, manmade Wushi Harbor. The north-side breakwater of the large port is in fact the breakwater mentioned in the Wai’ao section. Yacht tours to Guishan Island launch from the harbor near the museum, from March through November. For more information about trips to the island, visit en0963499016.tw.tranews.com. Finally, before boarding your next train in Toucheng for whatever your next destination is, take a stroll through the past on short, narrow Toucheng Old Street (Heping Street). Just walk two blocks straight ahead from the station exit. Imagine the hustle and bustle of days long past while viewing the Qing and Japanese imperial era architecture, when this was Toucheng’s main commercial thoroughfare.

Lanyang Museum English and Chinese Beiguan Tidal Park 北關海潮公園 Caoling Historic Trail 草嶺古道 Dali 大里 Daxi 大溪 Daxi Riverside Park 大溪河濱公園 Fulong 福隆 Fulong Beach 福隆海水浴場 Fulong Visitor Center 福隆遊客中心 Guishan Island 龜山島 Heping Street 和平街 Honeymoon Bay 蜜月灣 Longmen Riverside Camping Resort 龍門露營渡假基地 Lanyang Museum 蘭陽博物館 Local Train 區間車 Mt. Wankengtou 灣坑頭山 Old Caoling Tunnel 舊草嶺隧道 Old Caoling Trail Circle-Line Bikeway 舊草嶺環狀線自行車道 Qingyun Temple 慶雲宮 Shicheng 石城 Shuangxi River 雙溪

Taoyuan Valley 桃源谷 Toucheng Old Street 頭城老街 Wai'ao Beach 外澳海灘 Wushi Harbor 烏石港 Yakou 啞口

Wai'ao Beach and Turtle Island Wai’ao Beach

Toucheng Township

Dingpu

Guishan

Wushi Harbor

2

Toucheng

Wai’ao

Lanyang Museum

Toucheng Old Street

Taiwan

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4

Hollywood Does Taiwan

White Banyan Tree Park Baisha Bay

Where Internationally Acclaimed Directors Have Shot Movies on the Island Over the last decade, scenes were shot in Taiwan for several movies that went on to become worldwide successes. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi was filmed in large part on the island, while such other notable hits as Silence, Lucy, and X + Y have a number of key scenes showing actors in a variety of Taiwan settings. Let’s have a look at some of the locations where scenes for these films were shot.

V

isiting film locations, in Taiwan and elsewhere, can at times be difficult, if not impossible. Some sets might have been created on land that is off-limits to visitors, or is located in remote areas that are hard to get to. Constructions created for a film are sometimes dismantled shortly after the last takes have been done. It also happens that a film location looks quite different in real life from what is shown on the silver screen, thanks to special location decoration carried out or to the magical transformation of original footage in the editing rooms of film studios. Some locations where movie scenes have been shot are quite accessible, however, and look like what you might expect after watching a movie, enabling discovery tours during which you experience the environments in much the same way as when they served as sets for film stars and filmproduction teams.

Text and Photos: Vision

Niushan Xiaoyoukeng


MUST SEE & DO FILM LOCATIONS

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Life of Pi Life of Pi is a fantasy story about an Indian boy who survives a shipwreck and has an intimate lifeboat ride with a large tiger. Acclaimed Hollywood director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Hulk, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), a native of Tainan in southern Taiwan, chose the island as the main venue for shooting this award-winning film, including the ocean scenes, which were filmed in a giant wave-generating pool set up on the grounds of a defunct airport in Taichung (now transformed into the city’s new Central Park). Among the many unforgettable images of the film are the scenes showing the protagonist and his feline companion in tropical settings filmed at Baisha Bay (beach scene) and the White Banyan Tree Park (fluorescent-island scene), both located in Kenting National Park in the far south of Taiwan. Baisha Bay, located on the western coast of the Hengchun Peninsula, has a popular golden-sand beach that is ideal for sunbathing and watersport fun. While the beach is rarely as deserted as shown in the movie, and you are definitely not going to encounter a Bengal tiger there, it is a great place to visit and soak in a strong tropical-island vibe. The White Banyan Tree Park is located on the eastern coast of the same peninsula, close to the well-known raised-coral coastline at Jialeshui. If you want to enter the restricted park and have a look at the fascinating banyan trees featured in the movie, contact the Gangkou Community Development Association (0963-522-868), which can

arrange a guided tour. Many of the exotic animals used in Life of Pi were cast and filmed in Taiwan as well, at the Taipei Zoo to be exact. Not having received any prior training, these extras were amateurs in front of the camera, and had to be enticed into the correct positions with the promise of food. When visiting the Taipei Zoo, don’t be surprised to hear the monkeys chattering and the elephants trumpeting non-stop about their few minutes of fame in Life of Pi. Takeaway: Visit Kenting National Park to enjoy the tropical vibe prominent in many of the scenes in Life of Pi. Year of Release 2012 Director Ang Lee Starring Suraj Sharma Accolades 1 Golden Globe Award, 4 Oscars Film locations in Taiwan White Banyan Tree Park, Pingtung County; Baisha Bay, Pingtung County; Taipei Zoo, Taipei City; Shuinan Airport, Taichung City

2

Silence It is said that legendary director Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull) chose Taiwan to film his historical period drama Silence on the recommendation of Ang Lee. The story is set in Japan, but the director found Taiwan’s terrain and vegetation close enough to that of its northern neighbor to decide to scout for locations here. Among the places chosen for film shoots were steaming hot-spring pits in Yangmingshan National Park, the lush forested mountains between the towns of Ruifang and Shuangxi, close to the Northeast Coast, and a number of comparatively remote locations on the Pacific Coast in Hualien County. The sulfur pits at Xiaoyoukeng in Yangmingshan National Park are not the actual location used in the film’s opening scene, in which Portuguese Jesuit priests are tortured (doused with sulfurous hot-spring water), but the scenery is quite similar. This is a popular tourist spot, easily accessible by public bus, and if you want to go for a great hike to the highest peak within Taipei’s borders, a trail up Mt. Qixing starts close to the steaming sulfur pits. The verdant mountains of New Taipei City’s Ruifang and Shuangxi districts served as backdrop for scenes in which actor Andrew Garfield is seen walking through Japanese hill country. There are myriad hiking trails in this part of Taiwan, including the Diaoshan Historic Trail where you can immerse yourself in the type of environment shown in Silence. Among the film locations used in Hualien County is a place called Niushan. This is where the coastal-village scenes were shot. To get there, you either need your own means of transport or a taxi driver willing to take you

10 4

down to this wonderfully secluded location via its long, narrow, sometimes steep access road, off Provincial Highway 11 (close to the 26km marker, about 30km south of central Hualien City). There you will find a dark-sand beach, a meadow with what remains of the movie-set village that was built, grassy hills with art objects (great for photo-taking), and a café/restaurant/ homestay named Niushan Huting that is run by members of the indigenous Amis tribe. Takeaway: Head to Yangmingshan National Park, the mountainous area in the Ruifang and Shuangxi districts, and the coast of Hualien County to experience the fascinating natural scenery of the island. Year of Release 2016 Director Martin Scorsese Starring Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson Accolades 1 Academy Award nomination Film locations in Taiwan A thermal valley in Yangmingshan National Park, New Taipei City; a silvergrass-lined trail near Ruifang, New Taipei City; Shimen Cave and Niushan, two locations on the coast of Hualien County

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |45


Yongle Fabric Market

3

Lucy

While in Life of Pi and Silence the star directors took advantage of Taiwan’s distinctive natural environment, Lucy is a science-fiction thriller full of action scenes that was shot in modern Taipei City. Many of the scenes showcasing superstar actress Scarlett Johansson weaving her big-screen magic were shot in a Taipei hotel, the Regent Taipei, located on Zhongshan North Road north of Taipei Main Station. If you want to stay where her character assassinates a Korean mob boss, however, you’ll have to book one of the hotel’s exquisite suites. In the film, the actress can also be seen in a Taipei hospital, the Tri-Service General Hospital, located close to National Taiwan University. This is of course not exactly a location tourists will want to visit on a sightseeing trip. Also in the film is a place you will more readily recognize, Taipei 101, which is the city’s dominant skyscraper, as well as scenes of streets filled with motor scooters and taxis, a nightclub (Club Myst), and Yongle Fabric Market in the old neighborhood of Dadaocheng. Asked why he had chosen the city for his film, director Luc Besson stated that he was attracted by Taipei’s fast pace, a very prominent element in Lucy. Takeaway: Wander the streets of Taipei to get a feel for the vibrant pulse of this modern, international East Asia city.

Year of Release 2014 Director Luc Besson Starring Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman Film locations in Taiwan Hotel Regent, Taipei 101, Yongle Fabric Market, Taipei Railway Workshop, and TriService General Hospital, all in Taipei City

Ximending

4

X+Y

Less thrilling than Lucy, but equally captivating, is the British drama film X+Y, which tells the story of a mathematics prodigy who struggles with social interaction but is comfortable in the world of numbers. The scenes of the film shot in Taipei show the main character and fellow students visiting Taiwan for a two-week math camp, during which they learn about the exotic culture and the mathematics brilliance of local students on this island. The scenes in which the main character Nathan, played by Asa Butterfield, and his friends experience a local classroom were shot in Datong High School, located on Changchun Road, a few blocks south of the wellknown and always busy Xingtian Temple. Easy to recognize in the film is the Ximending area, a very popular leisure and entertainment district, oriented toward younger consumers, that has myriad options for dining, shopping, and movie watching. When visiting Taipei, a stop at one of the city’s numerous night markets is a must. Nathan and his companions can be seen at two of them, Huaxi Street Night Market, close to Longshan Temple, and Ningxia Night Market, on Minsheng West Road, the latter one of the best locations in the city for tasting a wide variety of Taiwan’s street snacks. Takeaway: Ximending is the place to go in Taipei to learn about the city’s youth culture; night markets are must-visits if you want to experience Taiwan’s snack-food culture.

Year of Release 2014 Director Morgan Matthews Starring Asa Butterfield Film locations in Taiwan Ximending area (incl. MRT Ximen Station and The Red House), Datong High School, and Ningxia Night Market, Huaxi Street Night Market, and King Join restaurant, all in Taipei City

English and Chinese Baisha Bay 白沙灣 Gangkou 港口 Jialeshui 佳樂水 Life of Pi 少年 Pi 的奇幻旅程 Lucy 露西

46

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN

Niushan Huting 牛山呼庭 Shimen Cave 石門洞 Silence 沉默 Shuangxi 雙溪 Shuinan Airport 水湳機場

Taipei 101 台北 101 Taipei Railway Workshop 臺北機廠 Taipei Zoo 台北動物園 The Red House 西門紅樓 Tri-Service General Hospital 三軍總醫院

White Banyan Tree Park 白榕園 X+Y X+Y 愛的方程式 Yangmingshan National Park 陽明山國家公園 Yongle Fabric Market 永樂市場



HIDDEN TREASURES

TAINAN

Let’s Go to Tugou!

A Village Transformed into an Outdoor Art Museum Text: Han Cheung Photos: Maggie Song

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HIDDEN TREASURES TAINAN

T

ugou village, located in Houbi District in northern Tainan City, doesn’t have any famous sons or daughters, nor does it have an intriguing history. Even its scenery pales in comparison to neighboring Baihe town, which boasts an expanse of lotus fields and red cotton trees that bloom in stunning deep-scarlet in March/April.

Among the hundreds of villages you will find on the fertile plains of southwestern Taiwan, Tugou stands out. While it is – like many other villages in the region – surrounded by flat farmland, consists for the most part of old houses, and has a citizenry dominated by old people and young children, the village also has an abundance of something rather unsuspected: ART!

Fun with public art at Tugou

“In the past, Tugou was just an ordinary, simple farming village,” says local resident Huang Kun-yi. “We like to say that our uniqueness comes from not being unique. We started from nothing, but we slowly created something that’s fun and also intriguing.” Before Tugou began the community development efforts that brought these changes in 2002, the village had been fading into history, with its young people leaving to find work elsewhere. Many houses had been abandoned, and much of the village had fallen into disarray. The remaining residents were mostly seniors and children.

“When we traveled elsewhere we didn’t dare say that we were from Tugou, because nobody had ever heard of it,” Huang says. “My generation wanted to do something that would inject new life into this village so we could be proud of living here.” Huang and other residents in their 40s and 50s formed the Tugou Rural Cultural Development Association (togoartmuseum.blogspot. com; Chinese) with the aim of cleaning up and beautifying the environs. By 2012, the area had morphed into a 400-hectare outdoor art museum, with installations and creative businesses sprinkled throughout. Although the art creations were primarily realized by students of the Tainan National University of the Arts, the artwork is deeply connected with the village way of life, and the local farmers and other landowners were involved in every step along the way.

Colorful mini-pavilions

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |49


HIDDEN TREASURES

TAINAN

Art and farmland

Curious-looking sink

Former pig shed Rest pavilion

Water buffalo sculpture

“It’s difficult to persuade a conservative farmer to allow you to build something completely alien on their land. After convincing them, we then had to make sure that they could relate to the artwork and feel moved by it. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have cherished it.” The initiative not only put Tugou on the map, it also attracted many creative new residents, including Hou Chia-fu, a sculptor from Chiayi who settled in the village after a stint as Tugou’s first artist-in-residence in 2006. After completing their studies, a number of former art students who had worked in the village decided to move in as well. Tugou residents like to say that it was a single water buffalo that transformed their village. Once home to more than 300 water buffalo, only one remained by the time the art students arrived in 2004. The first art project involved building a cowshed for the animal, and the water buffalo was soon adopted as the spiritual symbol of the village.

“The water buffalo is closely tied to rural life,” Huang says. “It works hard and endures, and we understood that we should learn from its persistence, adopting the same approach in efforts to develop our community.” Visitors can call in advance to book guided tours by local villagers (in Chinese or Taiwanese), and rental bicycles are also available in the village center. The Tainan government has converted the railbed of a retired 50

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN

narrow-gauge line used by a nearby Taiwan Sugar Corporation plant into a 12km bike path that cuts right through the idyllic local fields, making for a calm and pleasant way to explore Tugou and neighboring villages. The tours begin at a former pig shed that was converted into a classroom, a kitchen, and a social space, where visitors are treated to a type of traditional pork rice that family members used to bring to farmers in the fields. From the door gods holding farm tools instead of their usual weapons to the terrazzo images of pigs inlaid in the floors, the connection to the village way of life is apparent throughout the facility. Such playful design details can be found in every corner – even in the bathrooms, which have colorful, irregularly shaped walls. By way of example, Huang explains the concept behind a curious-looking sink. The faucet protrudes out of a flower-art chamber pot, which represents the past, two scooter mirrors “reflect” the present, and the water flowing from the faucet symbolizes hope for the future. The basin is made in the shape of two large hands, which serves as a reminder that water is precious and should be conserved. None of the artwork is without profound meaning. The hibiscus-flower murals on a concrete fence harken back to the old days when plants were used as barriers. A cartoonish fish “standing” at the side of a waterway symbolizes the association’s desire to clean it up so that the fish can jump back in and swim one day. Two sets of mosaic-tile chairs and tables at the edge of a rice paddy allow farmers to rest and take in the great views of the mountains to the east.


HIDDEN TREASURES TAINAN

A unique establishment opened by a former art student is Togo Graceful Farmer (www.facebook.com/togo.graceful.farmer), which helps farmers to market their products through art, design, and special events, and provides meals using locally-sourced ingredients. It also organizes familyfriendly craft workshops. The second-floor dining rooms have been entirely painted over, from floor to ceiling and even the curtains and furniture, in a bold, unbridled style by resident artist Wang Guo-ren. There’s also a large area behind the main building filled with whimsical creations, such as colorful giant chairs, that present perfect photo ops. From nearby Yong'an Elementary School you can take in some great views of the local fields and irrigation canals, but the building itself is also noteworthy. Redesigned in 2012 by Tugou-based architecture firm Atelier Buffalo, the eco-friendly, solar-powered structure exists in harmony with the surrounding landscape, making full use of its natural environment. It has an ecological pool filled with recycled rainwater that is busy with aquatic creatures. Another village attraction is Hou Chia-fu’s eccentric red-brick house, which is decorated with colorful windows. Designed and built by the art students, it is in tune with the artistic style of most of the installations in the village, and stands out amidst the paddies.

Practical Info The train station nearest to Tugou is Houbi Railway Station, from which the village is reached by cab in a few minutes. Those using the Taiwan High Speed Rail service can get off at THSR Chiayi Station and take a cab from there. Houbi Railway Station is an attraction in itself. Built in 1902, its original appearance has for the most part been retained, except for some slight alterations made after earthquake damage suffered in 1941. Nearby Attractions In addition to its iconic red cotton tree-lined pathway, the neighboring district of Baihe is also home to expansive lotus fields, rightfully earning it the nickname "Lotusville." Many restaurants here serve "lotus banquets." All parts of the plant are used in the dishes, from the roots to the seeds to the flowers. The best time to visit is June through August, when the flowers are in full bloom. About 15km from Tugou village, in the mountains to the east, is Guanziling. This village is well known for its muddy hot springs, which are said to have healing properties. Among the attractions close to Guanziling is the Water and Fire Spring. Methane and boiling-hot water pour forth from a cliff-face fissure here. The methane has ignited, and it looks as if the water is on fire. You'll also want to visit the ornate Huoshan Biyun Temple, go for a walk in the Red Leaf Park, and drive/ride on the scenic Dongshan Coffee Highway (County Route 175), along which roadside cafés serve locally produced coffee.

Colorful room

Vegetable garden English and Chinese Atelier Buffalo 水牛建築師事務所 Baihe 白河 Dongshan Coffee Highway 東山咖啡公路 Guanziling 關子嶺 Hou Chia-fu 侯加福 Houbi District 後壁區 Huang Kun-yi 黃坤益 Huoshan Biyun Temple 火山碧雲寺 Red Leaf Park 紅葉公園 Wang Guo-ren 王國仁 Togo Graceful Farmer 優雅農夫藝術工廠 Tugou Rural Cultural Development Association 土溝農村文化營造協會 Tugou 土溝 Water and Fire Spring 水火同源 Yong'an Elementary School 永安國小

Dining room at Togo Graceful Farmer TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |51


F A M I LY F U N

TAICHUNG FLORA EXPO

The 2018 Taichung Flora Expo The “Flower City” Throws Open Its Doors to the Wide World “People have long placed value on economic benefits, while neglecting the damage caused to the environment. The 2018 Taichung Flora Expo invites people to reflect on the close relationship between man and nature, and redefine the cold numbers that make up ‘GNP.’ In three exhibition areas, this expo offers reflections on the beauty of harmonious development between green production, natural ecology, and human life.” – Taichung Flora Expo Organizing Committee

Text: Rick Charette

Photos: Taichung City Government

T

he 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition was a stupendous international success, attracting almost 9 million visitors over its multi-month run, including a jet stream of tourists from overseas. Though “9 million” is a breathtaking number for a land of 23.7 million people, it is also the declared attendance target for the 2018 Taichung Flora Expo, more formally called the Taichung World Flora Exposition, which is set to burst forth in glorious bloom onto the world stage on November 3. In its bullhorn proclamations over the past months, the organizer has cheerfully billed the expo as the “biggest theme event in Taiwan in 2018.” It will run until April 24, 2019. Said organizer is the Taichung City Government; the Agriculture and Food Agency of the central government’s Council of Agriculture is the co-organizer. As with the 2010 Taipei celebration, this is a major AIPH-approved event. The AIPH, or International Association of Horticultural Producers, defines itself as “The world’s champion for the power of plants.”

Taichung – Taiwan’s Most Livable City The city government proudly declares that “CNN once introduced Taichung as the most livable city in Taiwan.” Its topographical blessings have made it a place of unusually abundant sunshine, and it has a reputation throughout Taiwan as perhaps having its most pleasant weather. A concomitant blessing is a thriving cash-crop production, including flowers and ornamental plants. 52

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The city is the main urban area in the country’s west-central region. It is reached in less than two hours from Taiwan’s main gateway area, the Taipei City/Taoyuan International Airport region, at the island’s north end. The city government has two overarching goals in hosting this event of grand ambition: enhancing Taichung’s international visibility and proactively making its landscape more visually compelling. The spirit of sustainability has been made an intrinsic element in site planning, in keeping with the goal of building a “sustainable and people-centered flower city,” and site usability beyond the expo period is a special focus. The three expo sites are the Houli Horse Ranch Area & Forest Park Area (30.04ha), the Waipu Park Area (14.32ha), and the Fengyuan Huludun Park (16.52ha), where a redefinition of “GNP” is being offered – “Green, Nature, and People.” “Green” is the guiding theme at the Waipu site, “Nature” at the Houli site, and “People” at the Fengyuan site.

Fun Galore for Visitors

Now, on to the “fun stuff” you’ve been patiently waiting to learn about. The menu of attractions in all ways earns the descriptor “kaleidoscopic,” so overused in travel & culture articles. We can thus only offer you a “sampler bouquet” here, to put you in the mood.


Blossom Pavilion Bamboo Pavilion

Luanpizi River

The Houli Site

The Fengyuan Site

“Horse Ranch and Flower Paradise /

“Floral Metropolis by the Water / Life – People – Mutual Good”

Ecosystems – Nature – Coexistence”

Huludun Park is an elongated, landscaped park that follows the two sides of a local river. It is divided into five areas. Areas 1 through 4 are focused on iconic characteristics that help to define Taichung, which is striving to create a “green land, nature, and people” symbiosis. Visitors can take long strolls through a rich world of flowers and decorative plants. Area 5 is centered on a scenic lake with a flower-covered waterfront, where improvements have been carried out to enrich the diversity of Taichung’s eco-habitats. A unique group of 10 floral-landscape features demonstrate a new perspective on what a Taiwan urban-area waterfront environment can look like: an island at the lake’s center, a lakeview platform, ecological pavement, an art wall, a “vanilla maze,” a vine tunnel, riverbank grassy areas, a “citizens’ lawn,” and a music plaza. These are collectively called the Flora Ks Gem, the “K” standing for “karat,” as in gold quality eco-friendly gems.

To accommodate the great streams of visitors expected during the expo, the 1.2km pedestrian-only Flower Horse Path has been created, connecting the Houli Railway Station with the Houli Horse Ranch. After the expo closes, it will become an extension of the extremely popular Dongfeng Bikeway. Horse-riding and cycling are prominent cultural elements in the Houli area. The popular 4.5km Houfeng Bikeway will take you from the horse ranch to and through an old railway tunnel, then over a long steel bridge that leaps the Dajia River. You can complete the circuit, or jump on the longer Dongfeng Bikeway if desired, for an easy-grade saunter totaling 18km. The emphasis is on slow-paced enjoyment of pastoral scenery and railway history. The three expo sites are the Houli Horse Ranch Area & Forest Park Area (30.04ha), the Waipu Park Area (14.32ha), and the Fengyuan Huludun Park (16.52ha), where a redefinition of “GNP” is being offered – “Green, Nature, and People.” “Green” is the guiding theme at the Waipu site, “Nature” at the Houli site, and “People” at the Fengyuan site.

The Waipu Site “The Flower and Fruit Village / Production – Green – Sharing”

The Waipu area is blessed with unique topographical and climate advantages that have given rise to thriving fruit-growing and flowercultivation industries, with their high-quality products exported around

TRAVEL IN TAIWAN |53


F A M I LY F U N

TAICHUNG FLORA EXPO

the globe. Major fruits include ponkans, honey tangerines, lychees, dragon fruits; major flower types include dancing-doll orchids, flamingo flowers, and lilies. Each of the park areas is home to exhibition halls that showcase the newest ideas and technologies related to that area’s themes. In the Waipu area, the Nature House and Green Pavilion are dedicated to agriculture 4.0 technologies for the development of smart agriculture in keeping with the concepts of “slow food and slow living.” The design of the Waipu park area as a whole has a strong focus on 3R (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) and 3G (Green building, Green energy, and Green transportation). Beyond the exhibition halls, two notable attractions where these concepts are seen in action are the Aqueduct Hydroponics Area and Water Recycling Bamboo Dome.

The Calligraphy Greenway is a green belt adorned with public artworks that stretches from the science museum to the large Civic Square and then on to the city’s museum of fine arts (below). It then continues on a few blocks further, now officially the Art Museum Parkway. The belt runs through trendy neighborhoods defined by upscale retail outlets, restaurants, cafés, cultural-creative boutiques, and art galleries. The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (www.ntmofa.gov.tw) underwent five years of renovations after the great 921 Earthquake in 1999, emerging larger and with an even more visually dynamic interior and exterior. The focus here is on works by Taiwanese artists, and especially on modern Taiwanese visual arts. The facility stands amidst a well-manicured grassy park dotted with striking public artworks.

Cultural Arts Performances

Outside the urban core, just north of the flora expo’s Houli site is hill-country Sanyi, one of Taiwan’s Top Ten Tourist Towns. Known as the “Taiwan Kingdom of Woodcarving,” it is home to hundreds of wood-sculpture shops as well as a dedicated museum explaining Taiwan’s woodcarving past and present. Not far from the town are Shengxing Railway Station and the Remains of Longteng Bridge. The cottage-style station was built by the Japanese early last century, and was once Taiwan’s highest main-line station, at 402m elevation. The ruins are what is left of a red-brick viaduct railway bridge also built by the Japanese in the early 20th century, which was destroyed in 1935 in a colossal earthquake.

A spectacular array of live cultural-arts performances will be offered during the festival, with a focus on Taichung’s culture and history. There will be over 1,200 theatrical performances, and 14,000 shows by street artists.

Other Prime Attractions in the Expo Area The expo’s three sites are located just outside Taichung’s urban core, to the east/northeast. The core itself is known for its roominess, with park space aplenty, big museums, spacious restaurants, and capacious teahouses. In a number of locations,broad, tree-shaded road sections, some with landscaped park-like islands running down the middle, are lined with restaurants, cafés, boutiques, and galleries. Taichung was founded in 1721 by immigrants from mainland China. Tranquil 20ha Taichung Park, designed and opened in 1903 by the Japanese, occupies the hillock and surrounding area upon which the original settlement was built. Its best-known structure is the Lake Heart Pavilion, which overlooks Sun Moon Pond. Other draws are Taiwan’s only remaining Chinese watchtower, built in the 1880s, classical-style arch bridges, magnificent old Japanese-planted banyan trees, and rowboating. The National Museum of Natural Science (www.nmns.edu.tw) was Taiwan’s first science museum. The world-class facility has exhibits on space, science, the life sciences, human cultures, and the global environment. Most popular with foreign visitors is the Human Cultures Hall, with sections on Chinese culture, agriculture, spiritual life, and grand scientific achievements, as well as on Taiwan’s indigenous people. Beside the museum is a botanical garden showcasing the vegetation of Taiwan’s different regions that is also home to a compelling glass-and-steel work of architecture inhabited by a simulated tropical rainforest, complete with rainfalls.

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Expo Tickets/Transportation A regular adult one-day entry ticket is NT$350. Among the other options available: a 3-day ticket for NT$650, a ticket for unlimited entry over the full expo period for NT$2,500, and one-day entry for each individual in groups of 20 or more for NT$230. Railway stations and major highways are located close to each park area, and access using public transportation is strongly recommended. For more information on all expo matters, including on shuttle-bus services, visit 2018floraexpo.tw.

English and Chinese Aqueduct Hydroponics Area 露天水耕花園 Calligraphy Greenway 草悟道 Dongfeng Bikeway 東豐鐵馬道 Fengyuan Huludun Park 豐原葫蘆墩公園 Flower Horse Path 花馬道 Green Pavilion 智農館 Houfeng Bikeway 后豐鐵馬道 Houli Horse Ranch & Forest Park Area 后里馬場森林園區 Nature House 樂農館 Remains of Longteng Bridge 龍騰斷橋 Sanyi 三義

Shengxing Railway Station 勝興車站 Taichung Park 臺中公園 Taipei International Flora Exposition 臺北國際花卉博覽會 Waipu Park Area 外埔園區 Water Recycling Bamboo Dome 竹穹惜水


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.

Tainan City Kaohsiung City

Taitung County

Northern Taiwan

East

Central Taiwan

CAESAR PARK TAIPEI

53 HOTEL

TAIPEI GALA HOTEL Pintung County

Eastern Taiwan

GLORIA PRINCE HOTEL TAIPEI

CHIHPEN CENTURY HOTEL

THE GRAND HOTEL

FORMOSAN NARUWAN HOTEL & RESORT TAITUNG

MIRAMAR GARDEN TAIPEI

South

* 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 Twin Room Suite Room

Room Rates: Single / Deluxe / Executive NT$ Suite NT$

Room Rates: Single/DBL Suite

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

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

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

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

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese RestauRaNts: L’IDIOT RESTAURANT & BAKERY (Western), CHIOU HWA RESTAURANT (Chinese) sPecial featuRes: Coffee Shop, Fitness Center, Business Center, Meeting and Banquet Facilities,Laundry Service, Non-smoking Floor, Parking Lot, Airport Transfer Service

Taipei 台 北

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

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

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: galahtl@ms18.hinet.net

No. 369, Lin-sen (Linsen) N. Rd., 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 Travel in Taiwan |55


MIRAMAR GARDEN TAIPEI

53 HOTEL

美麗信花園酒店

寶島53行館

Taipei 台 北

Taichung 台 中

CHIHPEN CENTURY HOTEL

FORMOSAN NARUWAN HOTEL & RESORT TAITUNG

知本金聯世紀酒店

娜路彎大酒店

No. of Rooms: 203

No. of Rooms: 70

No. of Rooms: 262

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

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

Room Rates:

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

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

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

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

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Mandarin

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese

RestauRaNts: Rain Forest Buffet Restaurant, Tic-Tac-Toe Bakery, Light Café, JIU BAR

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

sPecial featuRes: Business Center, Pyramid Club, Sauna, Fitness Club, Outdoor Swimming Pool, Multifunction Room, Car Park

Standard Suite Japanese Luxury Suite Landscape Superior Suite Landscape Luxury Suite Grand View Japanese Suite Century Luxury Suite Royal Luxury Suite Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Chinese

Taitung 台 東

Taitung 台 東

No. of Rooms: 278 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

8,200 8,200 9,200 12,800 12,800 16,800 16,800

sPecial featuRes: Four Seasons Beauty Hot-Spring Pool, Jin Massage, Fitness Center, Chess Room, Business Center, Library and Entertainment Room, Century Fine Products, VIP Meeting Room, Archery Field, Mountain Bike Rental

Room Rates: Deluxe Single/Twin Room Superior Double Twin Room Superior Family Room Deluxe Starlight Single Room Deluxe Family Room Superior Group Room Deluxe Starlight Suite Executive Suite Naruwan Suite Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese

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

8,200 9,600 11,000 11,000 12,000 14,800 15,000 18,000 45,000

RestauRaNts: Four Season Restaurant-Breakfast Buffet, Lobby Café-Lunch, Afternoon and Dinner Buffet, Jade Garden-Chinese Cuisine, Na Café, Texas Bar sPecial featuRes: Ballroom and Convention Facilities, Wireless Internet, Indoor Parking, Laundry Service, Train Station /Airport Transportation Service, Car/Scooter/Bicycle Rental Service, Tourist Information Center

No. 27, Zhongshan Rd., Central District, Taichung City 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

台 中 市 中 區 中 山 路 27 號 (距離火車站 2 分鐘) Tel: +886-4-2220-6699 Fax: +886-4-2220-5899 E-mail: service@53hotel.com.tw

No. 30 , Longquan Rd., Beinan Township, Taitung County 台東縣卑南鄉龍泉路30號 Tel: +886-89-515-688 Fax: +886-89-511-234 Email: service@centuryhotel.com.tw

No. 66 , Lien Hang Rord , Taitung County 台東市連航路66號 Tel: +886-89-239-666 Fax: +886-89-239-777 Email: service@naruwan-hotel.com.tw

www.miramargarden.com.tw

www.53hotel.com.tw

centuryhotel.com.tw

www.naruwan-hotel.com.tw

( two minutes from railway station)

NT$1,300 NT$1,500

NT$1,500

3-Day Southern Taiwan Tour

NT$1,500

(Tainan, Kaohsiung, Kenting) (Taiwan High-Speed Rail – Bullet Train Ride) 三天二夜 台南 ‧ 高雄 ‧ 墾丁深度之旅 ( 含台灣高鐵體驗 )

NT$4,200 NT$1,200

NT$1,500

NT$1,300

(Stay at Sun Moon Lake)

(Stay at QingJing)

(Sun Moon Lake, Kaohsiung, Kenting) 四天三夜 台灣中南部觀光 ( 日月潭、高雄、墾丁 )

4-Day Eastern Taiwan Tour NT$6,600

NT$6,900

(Yilan, Hualien, Taitung) (Taiwan Railway Train Ride) 四天三夜 海岸、縱谷豐富之旅 ( 宜蘭、花蓮、台東 ) ( 含臺灣鐵路體驗 )

5-Day Round Taiwan Island Excursion NT$12,500

(All hotels are 5-star hotels) 五天四夜 台灣環島巴士之旅 ( 全程五星級旅館 )

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

56

Travel in Taiwan

台北市松江路 190 號 4F

4-Day Central & Southern Taiwan Tour

NT$1,500

NT$1,300

NT$14,500

NT$ 14,000

NT$ 15,500

NT$ 16,900


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 ER 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

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