Travel in Taiwan (No.99 2020 5/6 )

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2020

MAY & JUN

No.

99

EASY SCENIC TRAILS SIXTY STONE MOUNTAIN IN HUALIEN COUNTY

FUN TRIP PLAN

INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT IN NORTHERN HSINCHU COUNTY

QUICK CITY TOUR

EXPLORING AREAS AROUND TAIPEI MAIN STATION

Tea in Taiwan ALISHAN TEA PLANTATIONS TEAHOUSES AND TEA SHOPS POPULAR COLD TEA DRINKS Android

iOS


<Yu nli n Cou n t y Ad ve r tis e m e n t>

Agricultural Travel and the Taste of the Sea – Jinshui County Road 164

Y

u n lin C ou nt y is loc ated in c ent ra l Ta iwa n. It is a n a rea of traditional belief with a long development history. It has the highest agricultural output value in Taiwan. Yunlin is characterized by a practical approach to farming and the true spirit, good nature, and beautiful character of traditional culture. County Road 164 traverses Beigang Township, an important religious center; Shuilin Township, producing an abundance of sweet potatoes; and Kouhu Township, known for its many aquatic products. These areas combine humanistic and natural features and display the unique facets of this agricultural heartland, allowing visitors to go on in-depth local-culture experience tours.

An Important Religious Center – Beigang Township

Sweet Potatoes in Abundance – Shuilin Township

Protected by the goddess Mazu, worshipped for more t ha n 40 0 yea rs in Chaotia n Temple, Beiga ng ha s a unique religious belief sphere and is known for its Old Street commercia l district. Tast y ca kes and pastries and fragrant sesame oil are popular local products. If you get tired, why not pop into Yunlin Jinshui 164 Sea Production Pavilion and check out Yunlin County’s local gifts. Everyone is welcome to eat tasty food, tour historic sites, and experience the long-established belief culture.

When Han Chinese Yan Si-qi landed in Taiwan in the 1600s, the first place he settled was Shuilin. Crop growing techniques were introduced and it was found that the area was especially suited to growing sweet potatoes; this crop continues to be cultivated over a large area to this day. The local Tainong No. 57 Golden Sweet Potato is famed far and wide, and Shuilin is known as “the home of sweet potatoes.” Showing a beautiful golden color in the sunshine and having a fragrant and delicious taste, the sweet potatoes produced here are the result of perfect natural conditions. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy all the good things about this beautiful rural land.

Rich in Aquatic Products – Kouhu Township The setting sun ref lecting on the rippling water of the wetlands and the fish and shrimp under the water forming an ecosphere ideal for leisure, this is Kouhu Township, an area with old fishing villages where an abundance of aquatic products is produced. In winter, mullets, a gift from nature, come to the ocean waters close to Taiwan with the Kuroshio Current. Only traditional techniques are used to process the mullet roe locally. Apart from the large amount of mullet roe produced in Kouhu, there are also numerous production cooperatives producing shrimp, eel, and other aquatic products. The fresh, sweet taste of the sea is the truest f lavor here. Everyone is invited to come and savor the mouthwatering tastes of Kouhu.

For information about local foods and special product gifts and travel services, please visit the following Facebook page: https://reurl.cc/VaOYo6.


PUBL ISHER 'S NOTE

Welcome to Taiwan!

Dear Traveler, Greetings! The comforting warmth of the early Taiwan summer welcomes you. With a quick look at our Contents page, you’ll immediately realize you shall be drinking a lot of tea this issue. This is the Year of Mountain Tourism in Taiwan, and in our feature article we’re headed up into the central mountains to the Alishan National Scenic Area, where some of the best of the island’s iconic High Mountain Oolong tea is produced. While up amongst the equally famed Alishan mist-and-cloud tableaux, we’ll also be taking you out on its majestically scenic trails, examining the area’s burgeoning coffee production, and exploring the culture of the resident Tsou tribe. In a special report on teashops and teahouses, we wander through the streets of Taipei targeting trendy, stylish establishments where your palate will be entertained with teas of excellence and tea cuisine of inspired creativity. A different take on tea is served up in another special report, this time delving into the island’s craze for cold “hand-shake” tea drinks, with Taipei again our base for hunting for trendy design-centric shops. Elsewhere, in our Easy Scenic Trails department our quest is the delectable daylilies of Sixty Stone Mountain in the East Rift Valley. The annual orange bloom on its rolling farm-carpeted top is a visual spectacular, and part of any visit is the daylily-theme cuisine. We also roll out the web of easy scenic trails on the tableland, and head down to the valley floor for a long Yufu Bikeway ride and the renowned “Yuli noodles” in Yuli town. In our Fun Trip Plan section we’re spending time in hilly northern Hsinchu County in one of the heartlands of Taiwan’s Hakka population, visiting settlements along a curvaceous, marvelously scenic highway that has been dubbed Romantic Route 3. In this issue’s Quick City Tour unit we’re back in Taipei, with suggestions on places to go and things to do in the old heart of Taiwan’s capital, inside and around Taipei Main Station. We’ll be taking in – among other things – old neighborhoods, a heritage park, and a historical winery complex that’s now a cultural-creative park. In closing, we at the Tourism Bureau would like to thank one and all for your conscientious efforts as we all work together to overcome the current COVID-19 situation. Safe travels, happy travels!

TAIWAN TOURISM BUREAU MOTC, R.O.C.

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Travel in

Taiwan 2020 MAY/JUNE

台 灣 觀 光 雙 月刊 Travel in Taiwan The Official Bimonthly English Magazine of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (Advertisement) MAY/JUNE, 2020 Tourism Bureau, MOTC First published Jan./Feb. 2004 ISSN: 18177964 GPN: 2009305475 Price: NT$200

中華郵政台北雜字第1286號執照登記為雜誌交寄

Copyright @ 2020 Tourism Bureau. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without written permission is prohibited.

ON THE COVER Alishan tea plantation at Shizhuo (photo by Ray Chang)

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PUBLISHER Taiwan Tourism Bureau EDITING CONSULTANT T. C. Chou PUBLISHING ORGANIZATION TAIWAN TOURISM BUREAU, MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS CONTACT International Division, Taiwan Tourism Bureau Add: 9F, 290 Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 10694, TAIWAN Tel: 886-2-2349-1500 Fax: 886-2-2771-7036 E-mail: tbroc@tbroc.gov.tw Website: http://taiwan.net.tw PRODUCER Vision Creative Marketing & Media Co. ADDRESS 1F, No. 5, Aly. 20, Ln. 265, Sec. 4, Xinyi Rd., Taipei City 10681, Taiwan TEL: 886-2-2325-2323 Fax: 886-2-2701-5531 E-MAIL: editor@v-media.com.tw GENERAL MANAGER David Hu EDITOR IN CHIEF Johannes Twellmann ENGLISH EDITOR Rick Charette DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & EDITING DEPT Joe Lee MANAGING EDITOR Regina Chuang EDITORS Masako Takada, Yvette Chan CONTRIBUTORS Rick Charette, Han Cheung, Dana Ter, Kim Weiners PHOTOGRAPHERS Chen Cheng-kuo, Ray Chang, Aska Chi DESIGNERS Ian Tsai , Nell Huang, Hsieh Yun-jhen ADMINISTRATIVE DEPT Lily Wan, Hui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang, Sophie Chen

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Contents 32 26

04

TAIWAN YEAR OF MOUNTAIN TOURISM HIKING IN TAIWAN Mountains to Visit Around the Island

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12

TEA THE ALISHAN REALM OF TEA AND COFFEE Things to Get Up to in the Mid-Altitude Range Along Highway 18

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TEA

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

STYLISH AND TRENDY TEA PLACES

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Where to Drink Excellent Tea and Indulge in Creative Tea Cuisine

TAIWAN TOURISM EVENTS

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TEA

TRAVEL NEWS

TRENDY AND TASTY

10

Popular “Hand-Shake” Tea Drinks

CULTURE AND ART

40

FUN TRIP PLAN

37

CONVENIENT TRAVEL

HAKKA HEARTLAND Places to Visit in Northern Hsinchu County

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EASY SCENIC TRAILS DAYLILY MOUNTAIN Exploring the East Rift Valley’s Sixty Stone Mountain and the Valley Bottom It Overlooks

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QUICK CITY TOUR TAIPEI MAIN STATION Exploring Old Neighborhoods in the Capital

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TA I WA N Y E A R OF M O U NTA IN TO U R ISM

Hiking in Taiw Mountains to Visit Around the Island

D

uring 2020, the Year of Mountain Tourism in Taiwan, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau is promoting areas around the island that are popular with hiking enthusiasts. Exploring Taiwan’s mountains allows you to experience incredibly scenic vistas, immerse yourself in rich natural habitats, visit indigenous communities, and also learn a thing or two about local history. The following mountain areas are highly recommended for unforgettable hiking and trekking adventures.

Sanyi and Guanwu The topography of most of the counties on Taiwan’s main island (i.e., the island of “Taiwan”) includes sea-level coastal areas, high-mountain areas, and hilly countryside areas in between. Miaoli is no exception. Bordering the Taiwan Strait in the west, in the east it includes part of the Shei-pa National Park, home to a number of 3,000m peaks, including Taiwan’s second-highest, Mt. Snow. One interesting town to visit in the lower-lying areas of Miaoli is the Hakka town Sanyi,

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TE X T & PHOTOS V I S ION

known as Taiwan’s center of woodcarving. This is a great place to marvel at outstanding works of art, beautifully presented in the Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum. In the high-mountain part of the county is the Shei-pa National Park’s Guanwu Recreation Area, accessible from Hsinchu County by following a minor road deep into the mountains. There are several easy-to-follow hiking routes in the area, through pristine forest to waterfalls and vantage points from where you can spot the national park’s towering mountains. Guanwu is also the starting point for a more challenging hike to one of the most iconic of Taiwan’s mountains, Mt. Dabajian, known for its distinctive barrel shape. For info on a bus tour to Guanwu, see page 37.

Alishan and Mt. Jade In this issue of Travel in Taiwan (page 12) you will find a feature article about tea plantations within the Alishan National Scenic Area (www.ali-nsa.net). Visiting these scenic plantations can be easily combined with shorter or longer hikes in the area, bringing you past tea fields, through bamboo groves, and into refreshing coniferous-tree


Alishan Forest Railway

Guanwu Forest Recreation Area

Guanwu Forest Recreation Area Sanyi Alishan

wan Mt. Jade

Matai'an Wetland

Sixty Stone Mountain

Yushan (Mt. Jade) Matai'an Wetland

forests. The best-known and most easily accessible section of the scenic area is the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, known for its spectacular sunrises, cherry-tree blooms, and the iconic Alishan Forest Railway line. From the forest recreation area to the trailhead for hikes up Mt. Jade (Yushan; main peak 3,952m), Taiwan’s highest mountain, it’s just about 20km on Provincial Highway 18. While Alishan’s main tourist area is known for relaxed walks through coniferous forest, hiking up Mt. Jade is for dedicated trekkers with some experience. The hike is not highly technical, but it is not a walk in the park either. Yushan National Park website: www.ysnp.gov.tw.

Matai’an + Sixty Stone Mountain The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area (www.erv-nsa.gov.tw) in eastern Taiwan’s Hualien County, though not known as a prime location for hiking outings, is a region of scenic and natural beauty indeed. Among the many attractions to visit here is the Matai’an Wetland (also known as the Fata'an Wetlands Ecological Park). This is a place to learn about local ecology and the traditional way

of life of the indigenous Amis Tribe, including fish and shrimp fishing using bamboo culms and tree branches. Further south in the rift valley, close to the town of Yuli, you gain access to the rolling mountaintop slopes of Sixty Stone Mountain. This is an area of immense scenic beauty with short paths leading to lookout pavilions from where you can take in the mountain’s orange daylily fields (bloom in late summer), the East Rift Valley, and the mountains of the Central Mountain Range beyond. For more about Sixty Stone Mountain, see page 46. ENGLISH AND CHINESE Alishan 阿里山 Amis Tribe 阿美族 Central Mountain Range 中央山脈 East Rift Valley 花東縱谷 Guanwu Forest Recreation Area 觀霧森林遊樂區 Matai'an Wetland 馬太鞍濕地 Sanyi 三義 Sixty Stone Mountain 六十石山 Yuli 玉里 Yushan 玉山

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TA I WA N TOUR ISM E V ENTS

May | July

Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar Website

EVENTS IN THE EARLY SUMMER Traditional Culture, Art and Music, and Fun in the Sun

CHANGHUA COUNTY May 30, June 23~25

LUGANG DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL 鹿 港慶 端 陽系列活動

One of the big three annual traditional festivals in Taiwan, the Dragon Boat Festival is best known for dragon-boat races. These are staged on rivers and lakes in various locations around the island, including Taipei’s Keelung River and Kaohsiung’s Love River. In recent years the competition at Lugang, a historic town in central Taiwan, has emerged as perhaps the most attractive dragon-boat race event. Making it special is the fact that the races take place in the late afternoon and evening with boats, bridges, and riverbanks colorfully illuminated. Many streets are also lavishly decorated for the occasion. Lugang is a history-rich old town, once a thriving port, that is great for nostalgia trips for those who want to experience the Taiwan of old. www.chcg.gov.tw/eng

TAITUNG COUNTY June ~ October

TEC LAND ARTS FESTIVAL 東 海岸大地 藝 術 節暨月光 • 音 樂 會

The Taiwan East Coast (TEC) Land Arts Festival combines the beauty of Taiwan’s East Coast with the beauty of outdoor installation art and music. Each year, the organizer invites artists from Taiwan and abroad to create installation artworks that blend nicely with the natural environment of the East Coast National Scenic Area. Onsite creation and local participation are emphasized, with the aim of creating dialogues around art, nature, and culture. A central element of the festival is the romantic Moonlight Sea Concert series, featuring wellknown musicians from around Taiwan. As the concerts are timed to coincide with days around the full moon, spectators can (weather permitting) see the moon rise and the moonlight's reflection on the waters of the Pacific Ocean. www.teclandart.tw, www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw

Photo courtesy of the East Coast National Scenic Area Administration

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NEW TAIPEI CITY May ~ August

FULONG INTERNATIONAL SAND SCULPTURE ART FESTIVAL 福隆國際沙雕藝術季

This is a very popular happening on a very popular beach in Taiwan’s northeast corner. The fine sand found at Fulong Beach is said to be perfect for creating sand castles, and that might explain why during each year’s festival incredible large, life-like, intricate, and highly creative sand sculptures wow the crowds. The themes this time around will be in line with 2020 being the Year of Mountain Tourism and 2021 being the Year of Cycling in Taiwan. Expect to see large sculptures featuring high mountains and creations showing people exploring Taiwan on two wheels. Those concerned about strong sun exposure during daytime will be delighted to know that the sand sculptures can also be enjoyed in the evening, colorfully illuminated. www.necoast-nsa.gov.tw


M AY- J ULY

YILAN COUNTY July ~ August

YILAN INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FOLKLORE AND FOLKGAME FESTIVAL 宜蘭 國 際 童 玩 藝 術 節

Each year, when the summer gets intensely hot, this festival helps everyone, especially children, to cool down and have fun in a large pool-facility area. This event, however, provides more than just refreshing water, water slides, and water cannon to play with. It is an international happening with many exciting stage per formances by troupes from Taiwan and abroad presenting entertaining and educational shows. There is also a wide range of classes and DIY sessions available, giving children myriad opportunities to gain knowledge. Side activities include dragon-boat paddling, sailing, and kayaking on the Dongshan River, adjacent to the festival venue. In the evening you can watch a mesmerizing water and light show.

TAITUNG COUNTY July 11 ~ August 30

TAIWAN INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL 臺灣 國 際 熱氣 球嘉 年華 Luye Highland in southeast Taiwan’s Taitung County used to be a place known mostly to paragliding enthusiasts. This has changed significantly since this hot-air balloon festival was first held in 2011. Images of colorful balloons hovering over the highland have now become representative of Taitung’s beautiful scenery. One reason why this festival enjoys high popularity is its duration, a whopping seven weeks. This allows the organizer to invite a large number of balloonists, from Taiwan and overseas, who fly their giant balloons during different stages of the event. Repeat visitors can thus enjoy different balloons each time they come. Note that most festival activities take place during the early morning and evening hours. balloontaiwan.taitung.gov.tw

www.yicfff.tw

Photo courtesy of the Taitung County Government

NEW TAIPEI CITY July

HO-HAI-YAN GONGLIAO ROCK FESTIVAL 新 北市 貢寮 國 際 海洋音 樂 祭

The second large summer event on Fulong Beach each year (for the first, see the Fulong Int’l Sand Sculpture Art Festival entry), this threeday music event allows you to sit in soft golden sand and listen to tunes by leading Taiwanese indie rock bands, pop bands, and DJs, as well as international acts. Last year there were more than 80 performances on three stages. Fulong can be easily reached by taking an eastbound train from Taipei. Apart from visiting the sand-sculpture and music festivals, many visitors will also go on bicycle rides through the old Caoling railway tunnel. Visiting Fulong can also be combined with exploration tours along the Nor theast Coast, including visits to Bitou Cape and Nanya’s strange rock formations. tour.ntpc.gov.tw

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NEWS & Events around Taiwan

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Cement

Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Government

TAIWAN CEMENT’S DAKA PARK

PINGTUNG CRAFTSMAN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT

If you have ever traveled by car or train from Yilan to Hualien along Taiwan's East Coast, chances are that you did not stop at Heping Village, about half-way between the two cities. But you might have seen a large industrial complex as you passed through Taiwan Cement Corporation's (TCC) Hoping facility, which includes a power plant and cement operation. The corporation has recently created a recreational area adjacent to the Hoping facility and named it DAKA Park. Guided tours of the cement facilities are now offered as well, giving visitors insight into a key industry in eastern Taiwan. Conveniently located next to coastal Provincial Highway 9 and Heping Railway Station, the Hoping facility has become an ideal stopping point for travelers on the way up or down the northern part of the East Coast. The recreational area includes a convenience store, a café, and a market where indigenous handicrafts and cement-themed souvenirs are sold.

Located about 1km northeast of Pingtung Railway Station in Pingtung City, the Pingtung Craftsman Residential District is yet another example of how in recent years old neighborhoods around Taiwan have been revitalized through extensive renovation projects. What sets this "district" – a group of three 3-story residential buildings – apart from other such projects is the unique way in which the houses have been painted and given a playful, quirky appearance. One building's second floor, for example, has been given the look of a gingerbread house façade, and another building has a large mural depicting a fairytale tree house. Since its opening in March, the district has become a favorite spot for Instagram photo sessions. Apart from snapping selfies, this is also a great place to sit down for a coffee or tea, have a meal, and browse the shops and boutiques selling handicrafts, toys, and other unique items. On weekends, an arts and crafts market is held in the space between the buildings, with street performers entertaining visitors.

www.tccdaka.com (Chinese)

www.facebook.com/propingtung

THE SPRING TAINAN Built on the site of Tainan Chinatown, a shopping mall and entertainment complex demolished in 2016, The Spring Tainan is the latest urban-development showcase project of southern Taiwan's Tainan City. Located below road level (originally the underground car park of the mall), this is a cool (refreshing as well as good-looking) new water park area. It was stylishly designed by the Dutch architecture and urbanism firm MVRDV. The idea for the park was to create an urban lagoon that reconnects the city with nature and its waterfront. The park is close to the city's Anping Harbor. The ingenious design of the park, according to its creators, guarantees that the space is pleasant no matter the weather or time of day. www.mvrdv.nl/projects/272/tainan-spring Photo courtesy of Tainan City Government

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CALLA LILY & HYDRANGEA FESTIVAL The blooming calla lilies of the Zhuzihu area in Taipei's Yangmingshan National Park have been delighting flower lovers each spring for many years now. Before cultivation of the flowers was introduced in 1969, the land had been used, in succession, to grow Moso bamboo, tea, Penglai rice, and cabbage. The calla lilies gained in popularity in 1988 when large numbers of them were used in the funeral arrangements for late Republic of China President Chiang Ching-kuo. During the blooming season, Zhuzihu becomes an especially popular day-trip destination. Visitors come to enjoy leisurely walks along paths through the fields of flowers, picking flowers (for a fee) and eating healthy meals made from local produce in the area's simple eateries. In order to extend the flower-gazing fun in Zhuzihu, in recent years resourceful local farmers have started to grow blue, purple, and pink hydrangeas as well. The blooming period for these flowers lasts until late June, giving antophiles even more reason to visit. Note: The festival organizer emphasizes that, in response to the ongoing worldwide coronavirus crisis, special care is being taken to keep flower fields and facilities in the area clean and disinfected. www.callalily.com.tw

SHUEIJIAOSHE CULTURAL PARK IN TAINAN If you are interested in the history of Taiwan in general and its military history in particular, a good place to find out more is one of the numerous military dependents'villages around the island that have, in recent years, been restored and transformed into attractive centers of culture. These villages were established to house the family members of soldiers belonging to the Nationalist forces that arrived in Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War. Opened at the end of last year, Shueijiaoshe Cultural Park in Tainan City is one of these former villages. The houses of the complex actually date from the time of Japanese colonial rule, and were initially used as dormitories for military personnel of the Tainan Navy Air Squadron. After the Japanese had left and the Nationalists had arrived the village became the base for 443rd Tactical Fighter Wing personnel and their dependents. Shueijiaoshe was listed by Tainan City as a cultural heritage site in 2004. The recently established cultural park on the site has eight exhibit spaces with interesting exhibitions about the military presence here, including not just the history of Japanese and Chinese navy/air force personnel, but also regarding the legacy of US soldiers in Taiwan. One of the most popular exhibit features is a VR goggle experience, allowing you to get an idea of what it's like to fly in an old fighter jet. shueijiaoshe.tainan.gov.tw

Photo courtesy of Tainan City Government

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CULT URE A ND A R T

CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings Because of the COVID-19 situation, performance schedules are in a state of flux; please check official websites for confirmation.

Until June 6

Until May 30 Photo courtesy of National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

DRAWING NATURE 繪自然

SENSORY YOGA 感官瑜珈

This interactive exhibition showcases artworks related to perceptual experiences, sensory exploration, consciousness, and awareness. The objective is to use art to guide visitors in experiencing feelings similar to those gained from practicing yoga, and to engage in inner reflections through observation of their perceptions and awareness. Some of the artworks include performative and interactive elements, with performances presented or members of the audience invited to interact with the artworks. National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts [Taichung City] www.ntmofa.gov.tw

Until July 19

HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON: CHINA, 1948-1949 / 1958 布列 松在中國 :19 4 8 -19 4 9 /19 5 8

French photojournalist Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908~2004) spent ten months in China during a very tumultuous period. In 1948/49, while the Chinese Civil War between Communist and Nationalist forces was going on, instead of destruction and bloodshed the photographer decided to focus on the everyday life of the people. He returned to China in 1958 to capture how the Communists, now in charge, were transforming Chinese society on a grand scale. Around 170 original black and white photos are on display in this exhibition, ranging from simple back-alley scenes to mass rallies in huge public squares. Taipei Fine Arts Museum [Taipei City] www.tfam.museum

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Photo courtesy of National Taiwan Museum

National Taiwan Museum [Taipei City] www.ntm.gov.tw

May 16 & 17 Photo courtesy of Taipei Fine Arts Museum

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For the people of today, it is hard to imagine a world without digital images, let alone a world without photographs. Before the widespread use of cameras the most common methods of visually depicting the world was painting and drawing. When it comes to understanding nature, especially in fields such as natural science, drawing was a very important tool. This exhibition introduces you to the history and development of scientific drawings in Taiwan, presenting beautiful and intricate depictions of Taiwan’s natural world.

Photo courtesy of National Taichung Theater

WANG LIEN-CHENG: THE SCENERY OF LITTLE LIGHT 王 連 晟《無光 風 景》 Wang Lien-cheng, digital artist and currently artist-in-residence at the National Taichung Theater, is known as a master of interactive installations and computer-generated images and sounds. Seeking to address the struggles of humans in a world that is increasingly dominated by machines, Wang has both a human and a robot perform on stage. The play tells the story of a blind and mute woman who spends time at home with her housekeeping computer and a lamp that is moving around. How do people interact with intelligent machines, and what is the role of women in society? These are two key questions that Wang explores within this intriguing performance. National Taichung Theater [Taichung City] en.npac-ntt.org


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Tamsui

Taipei Metro Tamsui-Xinyi Line Among all lines of the Taipei Metro (MRT), the TamsuiXinyi Line passes the most popular places of interest for tourists. If you want to experience the old flavors of this modern city, visit the Old Street in Tamsui and the hot-spring district of Beitou; if you want to indulge in delicious night market snack food cuisine head to the Ningxia Night Market, close to MRT Shuanglian Station; and for window shopping, real shopping, and tasting fine cuisine, step off the MRT at Zhongshan, Dongmen, and in the Xinyi District and satisfy all your cravings!

Xinbeitou Beitou

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Fullon Hotel Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf ( 福容大飯店 淡水漁人碼頭 )

Shilin

Fullon Hotel Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf is located in the Fisherman’s Wharf scenic area in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District, just 30 minutes by car from downtown Taipei. Easily accessible by taking the MRT Tamsui Line, this is the vacation resort closest to the city of Taipei. The hotel has a striking cruiseship-style exterior, offering stunning mountain and sea views. The sunset view is reputed to be one of the top 10 sunsets in the world. Next to the hotel is one of the best-known landmarks in New Taipei City, the 100-meter, 360-degree revolving observation tower, the only one of its kind in Taiwan. (02) 2628-7777 www.fullon-hotels.com.tw No. 83, Guanhai Rd., Tamsui Dist., New Taipei City ( 新北市淡水區觀海路 83 號 )

Shuanglian

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Zhongshan

(02) 2546-1777 www.yesginseng.com

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YES! GINSENG ( 夜市人蔘 )

Ningxia Night Market, located close to MRT Shuanglian Station, is known for its many snack food specialties and is a great place to learn about the local food culture. In order to allow more people to find out about Taiwan’s amazing night market culture the YES! Ginseng company has created two new card games with a night market theme. The games allow you to have fun playing cards and at the same time learn about typical dishes and sweet treats sold on night markets in Taiwan. They also make for unique Taiwan-style gift options.

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i-Ride TAIPEI

As one of Taipei's latest attractions, i-Ride TAIPEI is powered by world-class motion-based technology. Riders will hang suspended with their feet dangling in front of a 360-degree panoramic screen while special effects such as wind, sound, light, mist, and scents amplify this simulated experience, and fly over more than 20 magnificent landscapes in Taiwan, such as vast blue seas, rich valleys, towering mountains without having to go outdoors. Don’t miss the chance to try the flight during your stay in Taiwan!

Taipei Main Station

(02) 2723-8098 http://www.iridetaipei.com/ 6F, No. 17, Songzhi Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City (6F of Breeze NanShan Plaza) 台北市信義區松智路 17 號 6 樓 ( 微風南山百貨 )

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Taipei 101/ World Trade Center Xiangshan

Dongmen

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KaoChi ( 高記 )

Established in 1949, KaoChi is a well-known restaurant specializing in Shanghai cuisine. Located on busy Yongkang Street, the restaurant is easily recognized by its bright red signboards. When passing by you can see the chefs through the windows preparing food. The restaurant’s signature dish Shanghai-style Fried Pork Buns are made with a filling of fresh pork and stock; the buns are fried until their skin is crispy. Another popular dish is Braised Pork Belly, which is half fat, half lean pork belly wrapped in a steamed bun, a very delicious treat.

(02) 2341-9984 www.kao-chi.com No. 1, Yongkang St., Da'an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區永康街 1 號 )


TE A / A LISH A N

The

lishan Realm

of Tea and C offee

TE X T RICK CH A RE T TE

PHOTOS R AY CH A NG

Things to Get Up to in the Mid-Altitude Range Along Highway 18

Alishan tea plantation

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The sprawling Alishan National Scenic Area, one of Taiwan’s best-loved and most iconic tourist attractions, is spread out in the central mountains just below the island’s mid-section. In this article we spend time slowly savoring three key elements in the Alishan brand mosaic: its high-mountain tea production, its burgeoning coffee production, and the cultural lives past and present of the resident Tsou tribal people. We’ll also hit some of the trails in the superb Alishan trail system.

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Bamboo grove

Photo courtesy of Alishan National Scenic Area Administration

The Ascent The main access road to Alishan is Provincial Highway 18, which starts near Chiayi City, on the southwest plains. The Highway 18 transition point where plains suddenly meet the central mountains is dramatic, to say the least. At the mountain-base village of Chukou is a deep gorge overlooked by a large temple of intricate artistry backdropped by a high-flying gorge-shooting pedestrian bridge. From here your vehicle’s nose tips upward and, after 40-plus minutes of skyward-thrusting twisting and turning, you switch from rugged views requiring craning of necks to ethereal eye-level vistas in a mountaintop world of sculpted narrow terraces lined with tea and coffee bushes. The main settlement on the highway in this region, which encompasses farm plots from about 1,000m to 1,500m above sea level, is Shizhuo (also spelled “Shizhao” in local signage). Far beyond along Highway 18 is the most celebrated jewel in the Alishan pantheon of tourist treasures, the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, at about 2,200m. Commercial tea production was launched in the Alishan region in the mid-1970s. Commercial coffee production was introduced in 2008 by the founder of YuYuPas (see below), who had previous experience in Taiwan’s well-known Gukeng coffee-farm district. The Alishan Tsou tribal people, whose ancestors migrated up from the plains, settled this region sometime before the 1600s.

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Mist Trail tea plantation


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The Shizhuo Trails A good way to get to know the Shizhuo area is by tackling all five members of the Shizhuo Trails system, a network of comparatively short footpaths, each of distinctive character, laid out on the steep slopes above Highway 18 (1,400m~1,700m in elevation). All have good signage, with English, and there is a small information center beside one, the Sakura Trail. The easiest way to reach the trails is by heading up the narrow road located at the 63.6km mark of Highway 18. This takes you first past the Mist Trail trailhead, then up to the Shizhuo Information Station and Sakura Trail entrance. We’ll tackle three of the hikes here. The steep, stepped Mist Tra il, which heads straight uphill through terraced tea fields, is 800m long. This was originally opened by local farm folk as a pathway, in pre-motor vehicle and pre-tea cultivation days, to transport sweet potato, Chinese

fa n pa lm, ba mboo shoot s, a nd ot her crops down to Shizhuo. The vista to the east is unfettered, with a long stretch of the Yushan Mountain Range in awesome view. The tea fields on the lower section are dotted with farmhouses, a number of which are homestays; Alishan’s homestays are almost invariably run by local denizens. The tableaux on sunny and wet days are a world apart, with thick mists often rolling in. The trail’s upper section is through dense bamboo, along a farm road and then wood-plank stairs, offering cool shade and rich bird and insect music. The Mist Trail ends in tall secondar y coniferous forest and connects directly with the Tea Trail, which continues up the mountainside. Here you are beyond the highest-placed farmhouses. The first section is through dense bamboo forest, with the wide dirt pathway soft-carpeted with fallen bamboo leaves. You then emerge among

tea fields that are close-surrounded on three sides by either walls of bamboo or, higher, coniferous trees. The fourth side is open, the mountainside here falling away to the northeast, with views down to the highway area beyond Shizhuo and to the close mountains beyond. The Mist/ Tea trail combo takes about an hour to conquer, one way. Taiwan’s coveted gaoshan oolong cha, or high-mountain oolong tea, was developed i n t h e A l i s h a n r e g i on , w h i c h w h e n experimentation commenced was colder and higher than the island’s established tea-cultivation areas. Today the term High Mountain Tea refers to leaf grown at 1,000m or higher. Such altitudes produce hardier teas that possess a greater concentration of flavor-producing elements. The Sakura Trail, which moves along the lower slopes just above the highway, starts right beside the Shizhuo Information

Mist Trail cherry trees

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Station. The trail is 905m long, is of moderate grade, and will take a leisurely 15 minutes or so to complete. It is lined with Showa Cherry and Taiwan Cherry trees, which when in bloom rival the prettiness of the sakura gardens of Japan. It was the Japanese, lonely for their homeland while stationed here during their 1895-1945 period of colonial rule, who introduced the aesthetic planting of cherry trees in Alishan. The trail traverses a firefly-habitat restoration area, and each year as spring turns to summer many an evening here is filled with twinkling, darting lights. Another recommended area trail, not part of the Shizhuo group, is the Eryanping Trail, which is informally called the Tea Fragrance Trail. It starts beside Highway 18 at the 53.5km mark in the Xiding village area, a few kilometers below Shizhuo. “Xiding” means “top of the crevice,” indicating the pass/crevice used by early settlers when heading to Mt. Eryanping. The trail is a 1,500m jaunt up the side of the mountain, and takes about 45 minutes one way. There are steep grades in sections, with many rail-tie steps and wood-built staircases to ensure good footing. The pathway winds through bamboo stands and tea fields, with viewing decks along the way. The tea-terrace walls are made of stones dug from the fields; have a close look and you’ll spot shellfish and other fossils.

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The multiple adjoining viewing decks at the very top of the trail are busy most every day, assuming good weather, because of the terrific views of the Jianan Plain far off to the west, the often riveting sunsets, and the prime positioning over a deep valley for viewing of two other natural phenomena that are intrinsic elements in the Alishan brand mosaic, “seas of clouds” and “cloud falls.” Note that both of these are more prevalent on winter mornings and evenings, dependent on propitious combinations of cool nights and bright, clear days (or vice versa).

Sakura Trail

Photo courtesy of Alishan National Scenic Area Administration

Cherry blossoms

Lookout spot at the end of the Eryanping Trail

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YuYuPas YuYuPas is a cultural park, opened in 2010, dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Tsou Tribe culture. On the slopes of spread-out Leye village below Shizhuo, it seems to hover above deep, magnificent Rainbow Valley, which is oft adorned with rainbows on misty days and after rains. It’s easy to spend a whole day here, taking in the stupendous mountain landscape while: enjoying a Tsou song-and-dance show; exploring the Tsou-culture museum; sitting down to café and teahouse experiences mulling YuYuPas self-produced coffees and teas; dining on traditional indigenous fare and dishes inspired by traditional Alishan foods and ingredients; and joining group DIY coffee-production fun. The park is set up like a tribal village, with a central cluster of large thatched-roof buildings running downhill, surrounded by walkways lined with richly flowering plants that attract butterflies of exquisite design. Plots of coffee bushes are found between some, and running up the slope above the cluster is a large swathe of neat tiered-row tea bushes. The thatched-roof buildings are modern interpretations of traditional Tsou meeting h a l l s , w it h s t e e l-pi l l a r Yuyupas coffee frames and glass walls.

Members of the Tsou Tribe

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Indigenous specialties

Yuyupas coffee berries


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Indigenous song-and-dance performance

The two main structures in the central cluster are an attractive café and teahouse. At the café, which has a breezy outdoor deck with seating that directly overlooks coffee bushes, staff explain the different methods used in YuYuPas coffee production. Many different selections are also on rack display for sale. Groups can advance-book guided DIY-experience sessions at the coffeeprocessing facility directly behind the café, introducing the process from bean-sorting to roasting to packaging. At the teahouse, staff also explain the different YuYuPas Oolong teas available and how they are produced. Visitors can sample four different types of tea for just NT$50, helping them decide which leaf products to take home. The song-and-dance program is staged in a wood-built complex that overlooks the central cluster. It has one high open side, which faces Rainbow Valley and the Yushan Mountain Range off in the distance. Shows are put on daily, featuring traditional Tsou songs and dances as well as modern pop songs with indigenous themes. Taiwan’s indigenous peoples are famed for their melodic singing,

and have had a big impact on the modern pop scene. One of the park founder’s goals is to give young Tsou good employment opportunities and a reason not to move to flatland cities; all the warriors and maidens you’ll see in the program, and almost all other staff, are from the Alishan Tsou community. Among the many delectable gems that are rolled out of the large dining hall’s kitchen are tea-oil chicken, an Alishan specialty, roast mountain boar, boar smoked with black tea, bamboo-tube rice (rice dipped traditional-style in homemade honey), and fiddleheads with coffee sauce.

YUYUPAS ( 優遊巴斯鄒族文化部落 ) (05) 256-2788 yuyupas.com (Chinese) No. 127-2, Neighborhood 4, Leye Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉樂野村 4 鄰 127-2 號 )

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Alishan Tea Experiences – Ruei Ming Shiang In recent yea rs the A lisha n Nationa l Scenic A rea Administration has been working closely with local enterprises to develop eco-tourism and sustainable tourism experiences that bring visitors even deeper into the local culture. One of the best of these awaits at the Ruei Ming Shiang tea farm, in the national scenic area’s north sector (the Highway 18 corridor is the central sector). The north region is the original place of High Mountain Oolong cultivation. In the Ruei Ming Shiang tea-picking and bamboo forest tea-ceremony experience, you first hit the fields in traditional tea-picker garb – protective bright-color clothing, conical woven hat, and woven storage basket. Your guide teaches you all about the leaf, and how to pick. Then it’s back to the tea-processing factory to learn about sorting, kneading, roasting, and so on, with DIY opportunity. After this comes a walk into dense bamboo forest, and a dreamy sit-down on stone stools at a low-slung table for a tea ceremony session with a tea master, who’ll teach you the intricacies of properly savoring Alishan oolong and black tea (Alishan’s black is made from oolong rather than Assam leaf ). Advance booking for these outings, which are conducted in Chinese, is requisite. Website: alishan.welcometw.com (Chinese)

Indigenous meal at FKUO Tea

Ruei Ming Shiang tea experience

Preparing tea in the forest Photos on this page courtesy of Alishan National Scenic Area Administration

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FKUO Tea This welcoming tea-retail and indigenous-cuisine operation is just before the Highway 18 65.5km mark, a little beyond Shizhuo. It’s the pride and joy of a Tsou Tribe warrior on a mission – to demonstrate to young Tsou members that they can succeed if they believe in themselves and show entrepreneurial spirit; that they can be the masters of their own destiny. Directly across the highway from the open-front facility is his tea farm, spread out on high slopes. His, he proudly proclaims, is the only Tsou-owned tea farm/business operation along Highway 18. The Tsou have a special affinity for hibiscus flowers, he says, which bloom in abundance in this area, so he used the Tsou word for hibiscus – “fkuo” – as his enterprise name. He loves to lead tea samplings in the retail area. The restaurant is run by his wife, a member of the Paiwan Tribe, most of whom live in the southern central mountains. The menu thus features a delicious Alishan/Paiwan mix. The entrée stars in the two set-meal options, which are the most popular selections, are Alishan tea-oil chicken and indigenous-cuisine roast mountain boar. The featured Paiwan classic is jinafu, a type of tamale/ dumpling made with fermented millet and pork wrapped in edible leaf. FKUO TEA ( 山芙蓉茶業 ) (05) 256-1483 www.facebook.com/fkuoo No. 280, Neighborhood 9, Leye Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉樂野村 9 鄰 280 號 )

The owner of FKUO Tea tasting his tea

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ZENGIN Café This business, beside Highway 18 before Shizhuo just past the 61km mark, has the look of a big-city operation somehow mistakenly plunked down in highland country. Whereas most enterprises selling tea and/or coffee in the Alishan region have a rustic décor, the façade and interior design here is industrial chic. The façade walls on the two floors are almost all glass, the panes framed by steel girders. Inside on the main level, concrete walls dominate the senses, the ceiling is exposed, and the stylish coffee bar area is defined by cool blonde-wood slats and a girder-frame overhang decorated with visually soothing leafy plants. The young owner is a local fellow, an aesthete at heart who is a refugee from the Taipei world of finance. The premises were, until not long ago – ZENGIN opened in May 2019 – the tearetail outlet and home for his parents, who have been growing tea for 40 years now and took up coffee cultivation in the past decade. Their fields are further along the highway, past Shizhuo, near Honey Scented Black Tea Saint Honoré FKUO Tea. The coffees and teas brewed and sold at ZENGIN all come from the family farm. The owner created ZENGIN for his parents to operate in their senior years, giving them a new path, then decided he wanted Alishan living again full-time for himself. Parents and son run the enterprise as a trio. The ZENGIN design was decided on after a family “café exploration” trip to the western United States.

Two types of hand-drip coffees are on the menu: Natural Process and Washed Process. The former has a clear hint of tea, because the beans are grown in terroir long used for tea cultivation. The latter has a distinctive silky, wine-like taste and texture. The owner also has a passion for things culinary, expressed in sweet form with ZENGIN’s pastel-color array of confection treats, all made in-house. Most delectable among the many ambrosial artworks is the Alishan Oolong Mousse Cake, the Tie Guanyin Tea Opera Cake, a tiramisu featuring Taiwan Tieguanyin tea and sesame paste, and the Matcha Planet, made with premium-quality Japanese matcha.

ZENGIN CAFÉ ( 然井茗露 ) (05) 256-2257 zengin.mmweb.tw (Chinese) No. 123-18, Neighborhood 4, Leye Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉樂野村 4 鄰 123-18 號 )

The owner of ZENGIN Café

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Matcha Planet


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One of Ajang Home's buildings

Ajang Home This magical “village” is on the slopes directly below YuYuPas. On entry through the archway portal, to the Western eye it looks like a Hobbit House village. But no – this is the realized dream of Ajang, a member of the Tsou Tribe who wanted to recreate the look of the traditionalarchitecture Tsou village of his childhood. The buildings and other structures are made of a combination of stone, wood, and thatch. It’s quite likely that calm, congenial Ajang himself will greet you as you pass through the gate. Visitors are immediately struck by his features – he very much looks like a transplanted European, and has a red tint to his hair. In the 1600s the Tsou had extensive contact with the colonial Dutch, who ruled over much of Taiwan between 1624 and 1662. When the Dutch were driven from Taiwan in 1662, a group evaded the attacking Ming Dynasty forces by escaping to Alishan. A number of YuYuPas staff members also clearly have Dutch blood in them. This is a family-run business, and Ajang, a man good with his hands who worked in the shipbuilding industry in the Taipei area for decades, has crafted everything himself, from buildings to chair and table sets to the whimsical industrial-parts robot-statue artworks that adorn the complex. His self-declared masterworks are the Tsou “warrior prince” and “princess” that stand outside the 23 Coffee house. Ajang’s wife serves up superb hand-drip coffee, using Alishan beans she sources and roasts on-site herself. The “23” in “23 Coffee” refers to the year Ajang finished the coffee-bar mini-house – the 23rd year of their marriage. His wife fell in love with coffee over three decades ago, long before hand-made coffee became a Taiwan craze, teaching herself about beans, roasting, etc.

Ajang's wife preparig fresh coffee

Fine bread fresh from the oven

She also makes dense, toothsome oven-baked breads, in a large European-style stone oven Ajang built for her. Her most unusual selection features magao (“mountain pepper,” a traditional indigenous spice) and Tsoustyle roast pork chunks. Bread-sampling platters are served, and whole loaves sold. DIY experiences are also available, with advance notice, including sessions on making mochi and glutinous-rice muffins. AJANG HOME ( 阿將的家 ) (05) 256-1930 facebook.com/ajanghome (Chinese) No. 129-6, Neighborhood 4, Leye Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 阿里山鄉樂野村四鄰一二九號之 6)

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SunSweetHouse Does the idea of overnighting in a tea factory strike your fancy? SunSweetHouse awaits. Well, maybe not quite. W hat is today an at t rac t ive f a m i ly-r u n i n n /home st ay wa s until not ver y long ago the same family’s tea-processing facility. It has undergone a thorough do-over, reemerging as a haciendastyle abode with a shining white exterior and bright-red roofing. It’s run by a gracious and exceptionally hospitable sister team (along with the husband of one) that so much resemble each other that most every visitor initially believes they are twins. The homestay is just off Highway 18, immediately before the 54km mark. It sits atop a small mountain spur, looking across a valley at the village of Xiding, which straddles the highway. The Yushan Mountain Range is in clear and glorious view off to the east – the SunSweetHouse sunrises are a spirit-soaring thrill. The family’s tea fields are down on one side of the spur.

SunSweetHouse

Rooms are simply elegant, and spartan clean. Most have a small, comfy outdoor deck with views of Xiding and the Yushan range. The sisters have added lovely artistic touches everywhere, public and private, that lend great personality. The largest and most unusual of the guestrooms is the VIP room. This room is in the octagonal tower, which is at the front of the building and is the building’s most conspicuous architectural element. In tea-factory days this housed a leaf-sorting area on the first level and a worker dorm room on the second, replaced by today’s guest-dining area on the first, off the lobby area, and the VIP room on the second, which has a delightful, sweeping mountain view spanning over 180 degrees. Room rates start at NT$3,180. A complimentary breakfast is served, either Western or Chinese. The former features items such as croissant sandwiches and yogurt with fresh fruit, while the latter includes a fried egg, tofu, and congee. SUNSWEETHOUSE ( 十方山水民宿 ) 0911-562-295 sunsweethouse.com (Chinese) No. 66-10, Xiding, Fanlu Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣番路鄉隙頂 66-10 號 )

Simply elegant guestroom

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Tea and melon seeds


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Tea Garden Homestay This homestay/inn is located a short distance up a steep side road just before the 58km mark of Highway 18. This is another fine accommodation option with a tea-family background. The two interconnected buildings were originally the courtyardstyle home and tea factory of the young owner-operator’s grandparents. Their tea fields are on the hillside behind. A s with SunSweetHouse, there has been a complete transformation, with a bright-colored destination emerging that has the look of a California mission-style home. The roof is covered with terracotta tiles. Interior floors are surfaced with clay tiling, as is the large outdoor terrace, where breakfast is taken on friendly days. At one end of the terrace is a white steelframe portal in the shape of a church door, leading to a short downhill pathway, from which hangs a small church bell. Far down at the other end, the reading/leisure section of the complex has a tall gable roof, a façade dominated by large window panes, and a chimney deliberately made to look like a steeple, giving it the distinctive look of a mission church. Inside this section, the wood-framing décor and mountainview windows give it more the character of a Swiss ski chalet. This is accentuated by the cozy faux fireplace in one corner – once a real fireplace, hence the chimney. TEA GARDEN HOMESTAY ( 茶香花園民宿 ) 0988-514-789 alishan-home.com.tw (Chinese) No. 9, Longtou, Gongtian Village, Fanlu Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣番路鄉公田村龍頭 9 號 )

The owner grew up watching his grandparents host ever more Alishan visitors here, a friendliness that over time gave rise to a modest homestay. While working in Taipei the mountains kept calling him home, and he decided to return to maintain his grandparents’ legacy of hospitality, celebrating their beloved Alishan homeland and helping both homestay and area flourish. In online reviews, happy customers consistently applaud the Tea Garden Homestay sunrises. A short 5-minute walk up the hillside behind brings you above all building, power line, and other obstructions for a heavenly unfettered view of the great golden orb appearing over the Yushan range. Rates for the immaculate rooms start at NT$2,800. A complimentary breakfast is served either on the terrace or in the lobby dining area, and features sausage, scrambled eggs with bacon, and garden-fresh salad. Ruei Ming Shiang 162甲

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Sakura Trail

Taiwan

Tea Trail FKUO Tea

Shizhuo

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Mist Trail Zengin Cafe

Tea Garden Homestay Terrace

YuYuPas

Tea Garden Homestay Chukou

Ajang Home 169

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Eryanping Trail

ENGLISH AND CHINESE Chukou 出口 Eryanping Trail 二延平步道 gaoshan oolong cha 高山烏龍茶 Gukeng 古坑 jinafu 吉拿富 magao 馬告 Mist Trail 霧之道 Paiwan Tribe 排灣族

SunSweetHouse

Ruei Ming Shiang 瑞明祥 Sakura Trail 櫻之道步道 Shizhuo 石棹 Shizhuo Trails 石棹步道群 Tea Trail 茶之道 Tsou Tribe 鄒族 Xiding 隙頂

MORE INFO / GETTING THERE For more information, visit the main Alishan National Scenic Area website (ali-nsa.net) and the Alishan EASY GO website (alishan. welcometw.com). Taiwan Tourist Shuttle (www.taiwantrip.com.tw) buses depart from both Chiayi's high-speed rail station and regularrail station. All ply Highway 18, and stop at Shizhuo as well as other highway locations, with the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area the terminus. Guestroom sleeping three

Complimentary breakfast

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tylish and Trendy Tea Places Where to Drink Excellent Tea and Indulge in Creative Tea Cuisine TE X T K IM WE INE RS PHOTOS R AY CH A NG , V I S ION

Cafés and cof fee shops have become a prominent part of the street scene in Taipei and other major cities of Taiwan in recent years, but drinking tea remains an important part of daily life for many locals, especially the older generation. There is a great mix of tea shops and teahouses in Taipei, some long-established, others new and run by young and innovative proprietors. Tea lovers are spoilt for choice. 26

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hile coffee has taken center stage in most of the world, in Taiwan tea still reigns supreme. More than 20,000 tons of tea are produced on the island annually, and much of Taiwan’s modern history and culture is closely connected to the tea trade and the traditions, customs, and rituals that go along with tea consumption. Oolong produced here, the quintessential Taiwanese tea, is considered among the best in the world. For the Taiwanese, the drinking of tea is socially ingrained – sharing a cup or two between friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, and even strangers just met is often an important bonding experience. Tea is also considered beneficial to one’s health – many elderly in Taiwan will swear by their daily cup. It is thought of as good for both the body and the soul. The act of preparing tea can be a process that makes you slow down and calms your mind, leaving you relaxed and refreshed. In modern times, tea culture – like Taiwan itself – is constantly changing. Tea is brewed and consumed in simple ways, but also in elaborate traditional ceremonies. To experience tea drinking at its finest, there is no better way than visiting one of the many trendy teahouses you will find in Taiwan, serving a range of tea and tea-cuisine delights, such as afternoon tea sets, tea desserts, tea cocktails, and even beef noodles made with tea. It seems that Taiwan is turning its traditional tea-drinking culture upside down.


TE A / TE A SHOPS & TE A HOUSES

Guen Lung Tuan

Sparkling tea with millet wine

Tea is a family affair at Guen Lung Tuan, a modern spin on the traditional tea shop/teahouse. Adorning the walls of this establishment are photographs of the owner’s family, which has been growing tea in central Taiwan’s Nantou County for several generations. Now, with the younger generation at the helm, Guen Lung Tuan is evolving. The teas served, light and refreshing, take on new character with the help of a carbonation machine. Originally used in the beer-brewing process, the machine adds sparkling fizz in a series of delectable teas reminiscent of champagne called Sparkling Chi Tea. Other Guen Lung Tuan offerings ref lect the proprietor’s belief in the importance of respecting Mother Nature in the process of growing, processing, and serving tea. While the teas of the Sparkling Chi Tea series represents chi/qi, or air/vital energy, teas of the Essence Tea series represent water. These teas have a pure, invigorating taste due to the high quality of the water used. Teas of the Concentrated Tea series represent wine. They don’t contain alcohol, but have a rich, full-bodied taste that goes perfectly with the shop’s various cakes and desserts, creating an excellent afternoon tea experience. Guen Lung Tuan’s wide tea selection, which includes traditional favorites such as Oriental Beauty, black tea, and oolong, are freshly prepared with water boiled on a hot plate right in front of guests – and poured with care. The staff is vastly knowledgeable, experts in choosing the correct temperature for each type of tea brewed. They create an experience that’s part artistic expression and part science. Note: If you want to drink tea inside the teashop, you need to make a reservation. Tea utensils

SIN HONG CHOON ( 新芳春茶行 ) (02) 2550-4141 No. 309, Minsheng W. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區民生西路 309 號 )

Making Sparkling Chi Tea

Old tea-processing equipments

Guen Lung Tuan GUEN LUNG TUAN ( 丨龍團 ) (02) 2727-2292 www.guenlungtuan.com 2F, No. 9, Ln. 50, Sec. 3, Nangang Rd., Nangang Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市南�區南�路三段 50 巷 9 號 2 樓 )

Sin Hong Choon L o c a t e d i n Ta ip e i C it y's old D a d a o c he n g neighborhood north of Taipei Main Station, Sin Hong Choon stands as a reminder of the bustling tea trade at the Taipei riverside port once located here. This tea shop’s three-story Japanese-style building was first used for the tea business in 1934. After later falling into disrepair, it was listed as a historic site in 2009, and after extensive renovations was reopened in 2015. Sin Hong Choon’s mission today is to bring tea to the citizens of Taipei, this time in a role as shop, museum, and cultural-education center. Visitors can learn about the history of the tea trade in Taiwan, purchase tea leaf in a traditional shop, and imagine the tea-packing process in the preserved assembly-line rooms. Exhibitions are held here in addition to the permanent collection of tea memorabilia, packing, and processing equipment, and all the accoutrements of a 1930s tea merchant.

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Qing Tian Teahouse Taipei’s Yongkang Street area, near the Taipei Metro’s MRT Dongmen Station, has become a popular go-to spot for foodies. A stop at Qing Tian Teahouse is a must when visiting this area. Located on Qingtian Street, the teahouse is in an old building, part of a historic block that was originally used as housing for Japanese professors. The former residence was renovated and converted into an art gallery and teahouse in 2011. Visitors can take a step back in time to imagine what life was like for the former residents. Many art objects and relics line the walls, all well-preserved and immaculately displayed. Inside the teahouse you can try excellent teas from mainly two tea-growing areas in Taiwan, Lu g u in Na ntou C ou nt y (Dongd ing Oolong Tea) and Jiuhuashan in Miaoli County (Oriental Beauty Tea). The tea is served with delicious sweets, including mung bean cake and date walnut cake. Hermit's Hut

Qing Tian Teahouse

Hermit's Hut

Hermit's Hut

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This small, minimalist-design tea shop located in the Xinyi District invites you to take a deep breath and relax. Started by a tea collector, Hermit's Hut is a paradise for lovers of rare teas, brewed the traditional way. The focus here is on the experience and enjoyment of tea, hence the modest and simple décor of the shop. Visitors to Hermit's Hut are instructed in the delicate steps of the tea ceremony and offered advice on the best type of tea to choose, based on taste preferences. There are 36 teas to choose from, handselected by a team of tea enthusiasts. Many of the choices – such as tea made from a single, hundred-year-old tree – are the true definition of “limited edition.” Teas are seasonally selected, and the ever-changing lineup makes Hermit's Hut a fantastic place for a repeat visit, while the uniqueness of the teas makes for a one-of-a-kind tea experience as well. For those looking to gift tea to family and friends, Hermit's Hut also sells tea online.


TE A / TE A SHOPS & TE A HOUSES

Qing Tian Teahouse

U Cha

Old-tea jelly (U Cha)

In the center of Taipei’s old Dadaocheng neighborhood lies Taipei's historic Dihua Street. In recent years this street, best known for long-established shops selling tea, fabrics, Chinese medicines, and sun-dried goods, has taken on new character as home to boutiques, restaurants, and teahouses – one of which is U Cha. This teahouse is well known for a one-of-a-kind fusion tea, which the proprietor blends by hand. It is a perfect companion to the tea-infused cuisine served. Oolong tea beef noodles, a twist on a traditional favorite, is a spicy dish enjoyed alongside an oolong/coffeeblend drink. The oolong tea used in the sauce is a great complement to the spiciness, creating a taste that’s both familiar and novel. After noshing on noodles, make sure to order the shop’s specialty: oldtea jelly. Lighter than pudding but just as tasty, the jelly can be eaten with or without a unique sugar and tea mixture poured on top. The mixture itself, with a honey-like sweetness, enhances the flavor of the tea, taking it to another level of taste. U Cha prides itself on offering exclusively Taiwanese tea in its family-run shop, believing homegrown to be the top of the crop. If you like what you've tasted, their Alishan-grown tea leaf choices are available for purchase right in the shop. QING TIAN TEAHOUSE ( 青田茶館 ) (02) 2391-6676 www.facebook.com/aota812teahouse/ No. 12, Ln. 8, Qingtian St., Da'an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區青田街 8 巷 12 號 ) HERMIT'S HUT ( 三徑就荒 ) (02) 2746-6929 www.hermits-hut.com No. 15, Aly. 46, Ln. 553, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市信義區忠孝東路四段 553 巷 46 弄 15 號 ) U CHA ( 遊茶 ) 0931-124-888 tinyurl.com/rjcoagz No. 276, Sec. 1, Dihua St, Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區迪化街一段 276 號 )

Oolong tea beef noodles (U Cha)

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TE A / TE A SHOPS & TE A HOUSES

Chun Shui Tang Taiwanese bubble tea has taken over the world, and it all started with one business, Chun Shui Tang. This Taichung-based tea seller, now an ever-growing chain operation with branches in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan, claims to have invented the drink back in the 1980s – and has spent the decades since perfecting it. Smooth, rich milk tea and light, bubbly pearls make up the shop’s signature tea – a formula that has been copied many times over but never as impeccably as here. The store’s décor, modeled after traditional Song Dynasty motifs, sets the scene for enjoyment of such classic Taiwanese fare as dried tofu, braised foods, beef noodles and, of course, tea. A must-try dish is the tea-flavored spicy hotpot – only available at their Central Taiwan Science Park Yongfu Branch and the Fengyuan Branch – combining two of Taiwan’s best-loved cuisine items. Chun Shui Tang makes for a great introduction to both Taiwanese tea and snacks, and a good place to spend an afternoon enjoying both while chatting away with friends.

Tea Dessert House (TDH) Tea Dessert House’s bold green exterior invites curious tea lovers into a new world of fusion – the shop specializes in tea-based desserts, ranging from cakes to cookies to chocolate. Chocolate flakes, one of the shop’s most popular confections, feature Taiwanese teas from Sun Moon Lake Assam to Muzha Tieguanyin packed into tasty bite-sized pieces. Hungry for more? Tea Dessert House also sells tea embedded in tiramisu, puffs, mochi, cheesecake, cookies, pineapple cakes, and even ice cream. Gifts for tea lovers abound, as you can also buy tea leaf separately or in one of several gift sets. Tea Dessert House has two locations in Taipei, and also has an outlet in Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport, and its items are also available for purchase online, so be sure to grab some treats for friends and family back home.

Tea-flavored spicy hotpot (Chun Shui Tang)

Tea chocolate flakes (Tea Dessert House)

Jinxuan Oolung chicken soup (Chun Shui Tang)

Maokong Café Alley The Maokong area, located in Taipei City’s Wenshan District just south of the Taipei Zoo, has long been famous for the multitudes of teahouses and tea restaurants that dot the mountainside. Setting itself apart, Maokong Café Alley has taken to inventing new desserts for visitors to enjoy. After a day of exploring the area, choosing from among the number of hiking trails, settle in to relax with one of their sweet treats – Baozhong or Tieguanyin tea ice cream, cheesecake, sundaes, and smoothies – for a delicious dessert experience.

Tea ice cream (Maokong Café Alley)

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TE A / TE A SHOPS & TE A HOUSES

Ateliea Tea Nankang Tea Bistro

Smith & Hsu The best example of a contemporary, trendy teahouse in Taipei may be Smith & Hsu. Here you can choose from a wide selection of teas in a laid-back setting. Afternoon tea is popular, with an abundance of options for those dining with friends or alone. Visitors are invited to choose a tea based on its aroma, selecting one that’s most pleasant to the drinker. After 6pm, you can enjoy the shop’s tea cocktails, including a delightful lightly alcoholic concoction made with lychee and oolong tea. The fruity, refreshing cocktails come in several other variations, including lychee and mint, Assam with Bailey's Irish Cream, and black tea with orange liqueur.

Ateliea Tea Nankang Tea Bistro With a look that combines retro and modern, and a convenient location on the first floor of The Place Taipei hotel in Nangang District, the Ateliea Tea Nankang Tea Bistro is quickly becoming a destination of choice among locals and travelers alike. Here, diners can choose from a revitalizing tea with wine and several varieties of Taiwanese tea and other tea-based drinks. Try the osmanthus red oolong tea, one of the shop's best, or the distinctive, rich, and decidedly one-of-a-kind black tea beer.

Golden Bai Hao Lychee drink (Smith & Hsu)

Smith & Hsu CHUN SHUI TANG ( 春水堂 ) (04) 2461-8651 chunshuitang.com.tw No. 141, Yongfu Rd., Xitun Dist., Taichung City (Central Taiwan Science Park Yongfu Branch) ( 台中市西屯區永福路 141 號 ) ( 中科永福店 ) TEA DESSERT HOUSE ( 貓茶町 ) (02) 2712-9900 www.tdh.com.tw No. 27, Ln. 113, Sec. 3, Minsheng E. Rd., Songshan Dist., Taipei City (Minsheng Branch) ( 台北市松山區民生東路三段 113 巷 27 號 ( 民生店 ) MAOKONG CAFÉ ALLEY ( 貓空 CAFÉ 巷 ) (02) 2234-8637 www.facebook.com/maokongcafealley No. 35-5, Ln. 38, Sec. 3, Zhinan Rd., Wenshan Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市文山區指南路三段 38 巷 33-5 號 ) SMITH & HSU (02) 2562-5565 www.smithandhsu.com (Chinese) No. 36, Sec. 1, Nanjing E. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中山區南京東路 1 段 36 號 ) ATELIEA TEA NANKANG TEA BISTRO ( 不二堂南港老爺店 / 少爺請坐 ) (02) 7709-2069 www.ateliea-teashop.com No. 196, Jingmao 2nd Rd., Nangang Dist., Taipei City (inside The Place Taipei) (台北市南港區經貿二路196 號 1樓 ( 南港老爺行旅 )) ENGLISH AND CHINESE Baozhong 包種 chi/qi 氣 Concentrated Tea 濃淬茶 Dadaocheng 大稻埕 Dihua Street 迪化街 Essence Tea 菁淬茶 Maokong 貓空 Nangang District 南港區

Nantou County 南投縣 Sparkling Chi Tea 氣淬茶 Taipei Zoo 台北動物園 The Place Taipei 南港老爺行旅 Tieguanyin 鐵觀音 Wenshan District 文山區 Xinyi District 信義區 Yongkang Street 永康街

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Trendy and Tasty Popular “Hand-Shake” Tea Drinks TE X T DA N A TE R

PHOTOS R AY CH A NG , CHE N CHE NG - KUO

A tea-growing island, the practice of drinking tea in Taiwan is ingrained. Whether this is done over hours in traditional wisteriafringed teahouses or ordered to go from modern minimalistdesigned takeout joints, one thing remains clear: The people of Taiwan love their tea.

A

popular variation is cold teas infused with other beverages, such as milk, or fruits; sometimes jelly or tapioca pearls are added too. The tea is then shaken up in a mixer and poured into a large takeout cup. In more creative drinks, such items as ice cream or liquor may be added. Takeout tea counters have existed in Taipei since the late 1990s, though most have specialized in that classic, pearl milk tea – known around the world as bubble or boba tea – and aesthetics-wise, they have mostly been barebones grab-and-go outlets catering to pedestrians and people on scooters passing by. These days, tea businesses are going through an evolution, and across Taipei and other cities around the island design-centric shopfronts are opening in droves. Partly spurred on by the healthy eating movement and partly catering to consumers always on the lookout for something new, these modern tea stores sell a dizzying array of drinks. Flavors range from sugarcane green tea to roselle floral golden tea to a sinful bubble tea sundae. Following are a couple of cold-tea places to visit on your next trip to Taipei. 32

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TE A / COL D TE A DRINKS

Hand-drip tea

Teabag gift package

Jiate

Jiate

Jiate is a breezy shop on a lane in Taipei’s busy East District with an entrance that remains open on warm days, attracting shoppers who want to cool off. The décor is pretty and chic, consisting of a blue, white, and gold color scheme. Order at the white marble-top counter and observe adept tea-makers hand-drip tea in stacked pots. There are only three small tables inside, but there’s also a sizable wooden bench fringed with plants that’s perfect for lounging on. Many customers also choose to order tea to go and then browse the nearby eyeglass shops and clothing boutiques, cold brew in hand. Jiate is a rendering of the Taiwanese pronunciation of “eat tea,” meaning of course “drink tea.” Despite its modern appearance, the idea for the store was born out of nostalgia. Look for a small concrete bench with patterned glass tiles next to the counter. Jiate’s logo emulates the flower-shaped patterned glass tiles that were common in homes, schools and sanheyuan-type buildings (U-shaped courtyard homes) in Taiwan up until the ’80s. The English-spelling “Jiate” is printed several times within the f lower-shaped space to create what looks like an intricate insignia stamped on a mooncake. Some of the drinks have whimsy-sounding names, for instance, the Xiaoshihou. This means “as a child,” and the mixture of black tea and cassia seed transport Taiwanese back to their childhood by recalling smells of black tea wafting in night markets. Another drink to try is the Luye red oolong tea, a warm honey-accented brew made with leaves from Taitung’s Luye area that is hand-poured and brewed for five minutes, then sipped in little teacups. Then there are the immensely refreshing cold teas, such as the oolong tea made with tea leaf from the Bagua Plateau in central Taiwan. Also the sugarcane juice with Alishan green tea, the sweetness of which derives from sugarcane harvested in Nantou County’s Puli area. The sugar level and amount of ice for each serving can be adjusted according to preference, and the cold drinks are served in takeout cups with prints that look like old terrazzo tiles. For souvenirs, opt for a package of 10 teabags presented in a simple white box with Jiate’s gold insignia, which is placed in a small teal-and-gold bag. JIATE (DUNHUA) (02) 2741-9458 www.jiatetea.tw No. 37, Ln. 187, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Da'an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區敦化南路一段 187 巷 37 號 ) TR AVEL I N TAIWAN

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TE A / COL D TE A DR INKS

SOMA

SOMA One of the local pioneers of hand-cranked cold tea, this pint-sized shop on a lane off the main tourist drag of Yongkang Street appears more like a third-wave coffee shop than a tea store. Undoubtedly, it’s the rows of gold-and-black Nespresso capsules on the wall behind the counter that give this impression. But notice the tiny lettering underneath the name “Soma” on the gold-plated sign affixed to a royalblue wood-board wall outside: “Tea & Mocktail.” With just two raised seats by the window, this is not a place to linger. Primarily operating as a takeout joint, Soma lures customers who stumble across the shop while wandering the area in search of dining options, such as beef-noodle soup, or perusing the many craft shops. The ordering system is factory-like – take a number from a machine and wait your turn. The name Soma evokes sleek sophistication, and makes some think of San Francisco’s warehouse-chic district SoMa, or “South of Market.” The tea store is exactly that, sporting stylish gray-concrete walls and overhanging lamps. Colorful cards the size of business cards are cleverly arranged on tiny shelves on one wall, detailing flavors and prices for numerous types of cold beverages. The first row consists of mocktails, the second row of classic cold teas, including fruit teas, and the third of milk teas, some of which are made with the Nespresso capsules. Fittingly, the color of each card corresponds to the hue the liquid takes on. The drinks are served in large takeout cups. Among the mocktails, there’s a wonderful candied taro and barley milk tea. Most of the drinks from the second row are made with Taiwan high-mountain tea, the standouts being a gold/ yellow-hued passionfruit tea and a striking red-colored roselle floral tea which is just slightly sweet and comes with refreshing bits of basil seed that float to the top. Of course, the luscious milk teas are not to be missed – try the frothy milk tea made with high-mountain tea or the zingy Nespresso milk tea. Besides this adorable Yongkang store, Soma also has outlets on Dunhua South Road in Taipei, two stores in Singapore, and one in Los Angeles.

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TE A / COL D TE A DRINKS

Dear Tea One of Ta ipei ’s olde st neig hb orho o d s, Dadaocheng, was a center for trade in the late 19 th century, with many shops exporting tea, camphor, and dried goods overseas. S ome of t he te a op er at ion s a re r u n by fourth- or fifth-generation tea-sellers today, and newer tea-theme businesses have also moved into the old shophouses sporting Ba roque a nd ot her Japa nese-introduced architectural influences. O p e n e d i n 2 019, D e a r Te a i s o n e such tea shop. It sits in a quiet section of Dihua Street – a street perhaps best-known for its Lunar New Year market – with a characterf ul gin bar, cra f t brewer y, a nd stationery and craft stores as its neighbors. The shop has an airy interior space with redtile f loors as the visual foundation. There are a few seats around the sleek counter, and behind the counter large aluminum canisters containing tea leaf are proudly displayed. T he g i a nt v a n i l l a ic e - c r e a m s t a t u e outside the narrow gray-concrete building gives a clue to their specialty, the bubble tea sundae. It’s as sinful as it sounds. A towering sundae overflowing with syrup and luscious tapioca pearls, it’s absolutely delightful. Other favorites include the honey-f lavor black tea, guanyin oolong, jinxuan tea, and four seasons tea.

Dear Tea

Tea to Tea This homely green-walled tea store on a lane off Yongkang Street might serve some nontraditional concoctions, such as a gin-based bubble tea, but this is a shop that’s steeped in history. The middle character, jing ( 敬 ), means “respect” and is sandwiched between two “teas” or cha ( 茶 ), implying the importance of upholding respect for teamaking traditions as well as passing those traditions down from one generation to another. In fact, Tea to Tea is owned by a third-generation teamaker who grew up on a tea farm in Nantou County, where Taiwan’s highly praised high-mountain teas are harvested. On the menu are taro milk tea and matcha latte, but it’s the alcoholic bubble tea that most people come for. For many, pearl milk tea is a comfort drink, a treat during childhood, and Tea to Tea conjures these very flavors but makes it more divine by adding a dash of gin. Souvenir-wise, high-mountain tea leaves come in gorgeous black packaging, though without the liquor.

Tea to Tea

SOMA (YONGKANG) (02) 2396-8662 soma-drinks.com No. 3, Ln. 7, Yongkang St., Da'an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區永康街 7 巷 3 號 ) TEA TO TEA ( 茶敬茶 ) (02) 2395-8652 www.teatotea.com.tw No. 16, Ln. 4, Yongkang St., Da'an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區永康街 4 巷 16 號 )

Yu-Lo Happiness Dear Tea

DEAR TEA ( 迪茶 ) (02) 2549-0188 www.thedeartea.com No. 10, Sec. 1, Dihua St., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區迪化街一段 10 號 )

Boba Sundae (Dear Tea)

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Strawberry green tea jelly (Macu)

TE A / COL D TE A DR INKS

Macu T h is cute t a keout shop w it h a red signboa rd is conveniently located just steps away from MRT Daan Station. There are no seats, so customers simply grab and go. The logo has a little sprout shooting out from the letter “c” in “Macu,” and as this suggests, the drinks a re incred ibly fresh. T he d raw here is t he fr uit tea concoctions, with many seasonal f lavors and all made w it h berrie s a nd citr u s f r u it s sou rced f rom a rou nd Taiwan, with generous amounts of blended fruit mixed with tea rather than diluted with water. During winter, strawberry green tea jelly is served in a mountain of a cupful. At the bottom are scoopfuls of exquisite green tea jelly, the large middle part is entirely crushed strawberry and at the top is a nice dollop of cream cheese. There’s no need to mix, as you’ll be able to taste all the different parts in a single sip, and the resulting flavor is like having strawberry cheesecake in liquid form, mellowed with green tea jelly that dissolves in the mouth. Another seasonal special is the orange and granadilla green tea and a few thirst-quenching classics include a grapefruit green tea. For something inventive, go for the longan red date tea latte. TenRen

KEBUKE

KEBUKE This takeout shop operation specializing in pearl milk tea and black tea started in Taichung in 2008, but has since expanded and now has many branches in Taipei. Try the handmade winter melon with black tea. It’s the chewy pinkish-hue pearls that make the drink superb. www.kebuke.com (Chinese)

TenRen With restaurants around the world, TenRen hardly needs an introduction. Customers love its noodles and dumplings, cooked with tea. It originated as a store selling pearl milk tea, and this classic drink is still its most stellar. TenRen has achieved the perfect milk-tea-pearl ratio, neither watery nor overpoweringly sweet, just divine. www.tenren.com

50 Lan The teas here are quite special – they come with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream floating on top, should you opt for that. The black tea ice cream is wonderfully refreshing during summer, the bold, nuttyflavored tea surprisingly complementing the creaminess of the vanilla. www.50lan.com (Chinese)

TP Tea You might have heard of matcha latte, but TP Tea’s Tieguanyin latte, a pale-brown beverage with light froth on top, could be even more revolutionary. The mild flowery aroma of Tieguanyin, or Iron Goddess tea, a light oolong variety, is sublime when mixed with milk and made into a latte. tw.tp-tea.com MACU ( 麻古茶坊 ) (02) 2755-7655 www.maculife.com.tw No. 190, Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd., Da'an Dist., Taipei City (Da'an Xinyi Shop) ( 台北市大安區信義路三段 190 號 )

50 Lan

KEBUKE

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ENGLISH AND CHINESE 50 Lan 50 嵐 Alishan 阿里山 Bagua Plateau 八卦台地 Dadaocheng 大稻埕 Dihua Street 迪化街 Dunhua South Road 敦化南路 East District 東區 guanyin 觀音 jinxuan 金萱

Kebuke 可不可 Luye 鹿野 Puli 埔里 sanheyuan 三合院 TenRen 天仁 Tieguanyin 鐵觀音 TP Tea 茶湯會 Xiaoshihou 小時候 Yongkang Street 永康街


CON V ENIENT TR AV EL

Mist-Shrouded Mountains

Taiwan Tour Bus website

Visiting the Shei-Pa National Park by Tour Bus Te x t & photos V I S ION

The Shei-Pa National Park covers a large mountainous area in north-central Taiwan. For the most part, the park is accessible only to experienced hikers going on long hikes to such beautiful mountains as Snow Mountain and Mt. Dabajian. The Sheipa Leisure Farm and Guanwu Recreation Area, however, are two locations in the park suitable for the average tourist as well. To get there you can take advantage of the following bus tour.

O

n the Shei-Pa National Park/Guanwu Scenic Area (Two-Day Tour) guided bus tour, detailed on the Taiwan Tour Bus website (www.taiwantourbus.com.tw), you will be taken from the low-lying area of Hsinchu County to the mistshrouded forests of Guanwu, in the far northeast of Miaoli County, more than 2,000m above sea level. Guanwu literally translates as “gazing at the clouds/fog,” and chances are that on a visit you will indeed be seeing clouds rolling in and covering everything in fluffy gray and white.

ZHUDONG

Zhudong is a town in the center of Hsinchu County. It has a predominantly Hakka population. Among the places of interest here are the Zhudong Culture Creative Art Village, the Xiao Ru-song Art Park, and the sprawling Zhudong Market. The market is the largest Hakka market in Taiwan. Here, the warmth of the Hakka people can be felt and various traditional Hakka foods enjoyed. SHEIPA LEISURE FARM

This high-mountain recreational farm is laid out in three tiers on an east-facing mountainside. Along the middle are the reception building, cabin/lodge-style accommodations, and another building housing the farm’s café, two restaurants, and DIYexperience facilities. On the upper tier are landscaped gardens and small greenhouses. On the lower are organic orchards and farm plots. GUANWU RECREATION AREA

In the recreation area is the spacious Guanwu Visitor Center, bursting with information on park and region with first-rate English. Learn how in days gone by this was a hard-to-access Atayal hunting area; how the Japanese built a high-mountain police outpost on this site in the 1910s to control rebellious holdout native warriors; and how until 1964 ropeways and pushcarts on narrow rails were used to bring logs down-mountain. FOREST TRAIL

On this bus trip you will be going on a guided tour of the Yemakanshan Forest Trail, starting at the Sheipa Leisure Farm. This is an easy-grade, loop-trail forest walk, which takes about one hour. You’ll enjoy great views, including the farm in the distance and, if lucky, Taiwan’s high-mountain “sea of clouds” phenomenon. QINGQUAN

On the way to/from Guanwu you will pass the hot-spring village of Qingquan. There, you will be visiting the reconstructed Former Residence of Zhang Xueliang. Zhang was a notable figure in modern Chinese history – in the pivotal 1936 Xi’an Incident the Manchurian warlord kidnapped Generalissimo Chang Kai-shek, seeking to force him to fight the invading Japanese.

Yemakanshan Forest Trail

Guanwu Visitor Center

Shei-Pa National Park/Guanwu Scenic Area (Two-Day Tour) ( 雪霸國家公園觀霧自然風情二日遊 ) www.taiwantourbus.com.tw/C/tour/us/shei-pa-national-park ITINERARY DAY 1

pick-up from Taipei City hotel/Taipei Main station/songshan Airport → hsR hsinchu station ( 新竹高鐵站 ) → Zhudong ( 竹東 ) (20min.) → sheipa Leisure Farm lunch ( 雪霸休閒農場午餐 ) (1hr) → shei-pa National park, Guanwu Recreation Area ( 雪霸國家公園觀霧遊憩區 ) (2hr) → Yunhai Café afternoon tea ( 雲 海咖啡廳下午茶 ) (1hr) → dinner (1hr) → guided tour of sheipa Leisure Farm (1hr) → stargazing (depending on weather) → overnight at sheipa Leisure Farm DAY 2 Breakfast (1hr) → guided tour on Yemakanshan Forest Trail ( 野馬瞰山森林步 道導覽 ) (1.5hrs) → lunch at sheipa Leisure Farm (1hr) → Former Residence of Zhang xueliang in Qingquan ( 清泉張學良故居 ) (40min.) → hsR hsinchu station → Taipei Main station FEE: NT$4,299 (double); NT$4,199 (three people in one room);

NT$3,999 (four people in one room)

BEST TRAVEL ( 怡容國際旅行社 ) www.besttravel.com.tw (02) 8973-2973 No. 192, Longmen Rd., sanchong District, New Taipei City ( 新北市三重區龍門路 192 號 )

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Penghu Cultural Travel Year Encounter History in the Modern Era Penghu has had an important position on sea navigation routes since ancient times. Landings by the Dutch, French, Japanese, and Chinese in succession and the mix of these four influences bestowed the Penghu archipelago its rich history and culture. Among the historic sites on the islands are exotic-feel Yuweng Island Lighthouse, a mysterious ammunition depot with copper-lined walls, the pure white Xiyu Dongtai Fort, the lofty Xiyu Xitai Fort, the monuments to fallen generals looking out over the sea on Shetou Mountain, the tomb of French admiral Anatole-Amédée-Prosper Courbet hidden in the city, and Magong City’s Old Street. In all these places the beauty and sadness of the Penghu archipelago can be experienced. Penghu is famed for its sea, with azure being the color synonymous with the islands in many people’s eyes. However, apart from sky blue, it also has colors of a mottled past. Very different to the sea and sky, there is the color left behind over 1,000 years of history. Every brick on the city walls of old Magong has this color; from Shuncheng Gate, Tianhou Temple, Zhongyang Old Street, and Shigong Temple to Four-eyed Well, Chenghuang Temple, Jinguitou Fort Cultural Park, and Duxingshi Village. All over the island’s you can see how Penghu has moved slowly forward from imperial to modern times. Penghu’s Tianhou Temple is the oldest Mazu temple in all of Taiwan. Located on Zhongyang Old Street in central Magong, this is a mustgo spot for visitors to Penghu. It is said that the temple existed prior to 1604. Its main architectural feature is the use of local coral stone to build the outer walls. Precious cultural relics are housed within, such as ornate golden-powder paintings and the Gong Pi Si Wen (Blessings upon all Intellectuals) plaque. The temple was made a national historic site in 1983. Shuncheng Gate was the “Little West Gate” of Magong’s walled city built after the Sino-French War in 1886. On top of the gate is a plain and modest watch platform; and there is a horse track beside the gate. The wall was built using local basalt and there are battlements made from coral stone on top. Magong Harbor can be viewed from atop the wall. At the side is Duxingshi Village Cultural Park, which has attracted many visitors in recent years. Zhongyang Old Street, called “Big Well Street” during the Qing Dynast y, was at the center of Penghu’s commercia l activities at the time. After the government established the “Zhongyang Street Historic Site Preservation Area” in 1984 and the street became tourism oriented. Today, the Old Street is home to various guesthouses, coffee shops, and handicraft stores. Many classic souvenirs of Penghu can be found here. Visitors soak up the old-time atmosphere of the lanes and alley all year round. Located in downtown Magong, Magong Chenghuang Temple is a national historic site. Enshrined within is Chenghuang Ye (the City God). It is a classic example of Taiwanese temple culture. When the Sino-French War affected Penghu in 1885, it was said that the deity appeared to protect the people; Chenghuang Temple and Tianhou Temple were later awarded plaques by the emperor, the former bearing the words Ling Ying Hou (“God Who Will Show its Spirit to Answer You”). The temple is surrounded by eateries serving locals dishes. After enjoying good food, be sure to visit the temple and see the characteristics of an old Penghu temple.


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French forces landed at Shili 135 years ago and, led by Admiral Anatole-Amédée-Prosper Courbet, occupied Magong in only three days. Highly ambitious, Courbet intended to use Penghu as the base for controlling sea power in East Asia, however, he died of cholera unexpectedly three months later. If you have free time, why not visit the tomb of the French admiral in Magong next to Zhongzheng Elementary School and see the traces of history left behind. Away from the old cit y area, Penghu has many more mysterious stories to offer. Apart from the Qing Dynasty, the Japanese, French and Dutch successively left their own legends on the islands. The biggest impacts came from the MingDutch War, the Ming-Qing War, the Sino-French War, and the First Sino-Japanese War. Crushed by the wheel of history and scorched by the flames of war, the Penghu archipelago gained its own distinctive look, with various historic sites, full of stories and bearing memories of time past, that have witnessed the islands’ transformation. Xiyu East Fort is an old pure white fort on a cape at the southeastern tip of Nei’an Village in Xiyu Township. In contrast to Xiyu West Fort, few visitors come here, making the fort suited to people who like to explore in seclusion. Xiyu East Fort was once used to defend the Penghu Inner Bay together with Xiyu West Fort, Fengguiwei Fort, Sijiaoyu Fort, and Magong Jinguitou Fort and has been important for the defense of the sea area of the southwest side of Penghu Island since the Ming-Zheng era. Xiyu West Fort is located at a high point close to the sea between Nei’an and Wai’an villages. Since the Ming-Zheng era, together with Xiyu East Fort, Xiyu West Fort was used to defend the sea area of the west and southwest sides of Penghu Island. It was still important for the defense of Penghu Island until the end of the Pacific War in the Japanese Colonial Era. The four characters “Xi Yu Xi Tai” on the wall were written by Qing Dynasty governor of Taiwan Liu Ming-chuan. The fort is one of the most popular attractions of Xiyu. The ammunition depot with copper-lined walls was constructed in caves during the Japanese colonial era. The walls were lined with copper plate to maintain constant temperature and humidity inside. The decoration is extremely ornate and has a stunning effect. The depot is currently being renovated by the Penghu County Government and it is expected to open to the public in 2020, with admission on an advance application basis. Yuweng Island Lighthouse, also called Xiyu Lighthouse, is located in Wai’an Village in Xiyu Township. It has for a long time guided ships sailing between Xiamen and Taiwan. It was the first lighthouse in the Taiwan/Penghu. The flat and spacious grassy area next to the cliff on the cape to the north of the lighthouse is the best place to view the sunset at Xiyu Lighthouse. In 1874, British engineer David M. Henderson designed this Western-style lighthouse and a British lighthouse keeper was employed to man it. The grave of the lighthouse keeper’s daughter can still be seen on the west side of the lighthouse outer wall next to the cape with a cross-shaped gravestone and the name Nelly O’Driscoll carved on it. Penghu Travel Website

http://penghutravel.com/English/aspx


HAKKA HEARTLAND

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Places to Visit in Northern Hsinchu County TE X T H A N CHEUNG

PHOTOS CHE N CHE NG - KUO, V I S ION

There’s a lot to see and do on a day-trip in northern Hsinchu County. Visit settlements along Provincial Highway 3, known as the Inner-Mountain Highway, with the section running through Hsinchu also called Romantic Route 3; learn about dried persimmons in Xinpu; discover how traditional culture is preserved in fast-growing Zhubei; and wander down the Old Street of Hukou.

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omantic Route 3 refers to a 150km stretch of Provincial Highway 3 that cuts through the heartland of Hakka country, connecting 16 Hakka townships in northern and central Taiwan. This route winds through idyllic farmland and close-to-the-earth settlements, providing a comprehensive introduction to the unique customs and history of Taiwan’s Hakka people. While seemingly a world away from the bustle and rapid development of Hsinchu City, traditional culture has nonetheless eroded significantly over the years in the towns and villages of northern Hsinchu County. At the same time, however, many young entrepreneurs have been returning from life in the big city to carry the heritage-preservation mantle by fusing tradition with modern ideas, making for some surprising finds while cruising through the area.


GUANXI Located close to the northern edge of Hsinchu County, the town of Guanxi is usually associated with the nearby Leofoo Village safari and amusement park (www1.leofoo.com.tw), one of the most popular theme parks in Taiwan. It is also known as a prototypical Hakka town. Hakka settlers began crossing the treacherous Taiwan Strait from mainland China in the early 1600s, and today make up about 15 percent of Taiwan’s population. Their hillside settlements were typically located between the lands of the Hakka majority on the plains and the villages of the indigenous peoples in the higher hills and mountains; Guanxi is no different. Time is frozen on weekdays along the banks of the narrow Niulan River, as locals hang out on benches while occasional groups of visitors stroll through the town’s waterfront park. The star attraction here is the Dong’an Bridge, a handsome stone structure with five arches, built in 1933. A popular spot for Instagrammers, this place comes to life on weekends, when an arts market and cultural performances are held. Ang Gu Noodles, which draws its name from the “anggu” sound Hakka people make when teasing babies, is a recommended option for grabbing lunch in town. The founder would make that sound whenever children visited what started out as a nameless noodle stand, and people began referring to the operation as such. Now run by the clan’s third generation in a centrally-located modern building, the joint continues to offer the original signature dry wheat noodles of yore. Get the set meal that comes with three different types of meatball – the one embedded with chunks of taro is especially tasty. Guanxi Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Shidianzi 69 Organic Bookstore

Ang Gu Noodles

Guanxi Old Street is known for a collection of red-brick shophouses, built in the 1800s during the Qing imperial era, which have been converted into hip businesses. A notable example is Shidianzi 69 Organic Bookstore, a book exchange. As well, don’t miss the 83-yearold King Tai Tea Company, just east of the Old Street, which employs ancient Chinese charcoal tea-baking methods in its production process. Try its famous Hakka-style fruit tea, made with a variety of citruses and herbs through a complicated process. Guanxi Sacred Heart Catholic Church is also worth checking out. This place of worship, built in 1956, has a Gothic steeple that can be seen from far away.

Dong'an Bridge

ANG GU NOODLES ( ㄤ咕麵 ) (03) 587-5541 www.anggu.com.tw (Chinese) No. 35, Guangfu Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮光復路 35 號 )

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

King Tai Tea Company

KING TAI TEA COMPANY ( 錦泰茶業 ) (03) 587-2051 www.kingtaitea.com (Chinese) No. 336, Sec. 1, Zhongfeng Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮中豐路一段 336 號 ) GUANXI SACRED HEART CATHOLIC CHURCH ( 關西天主堂 ) No. 126, Zhengyi Rd., Guanxi Dist., Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣關西鎮正義路 126 號 )

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ZHUDONG In days gone by, Zhudong was the final frontier for Han Chinese settlers up the valley directly east of Hsinchu City – further east was indigenous-tribe territory. The township today is overwhelmingly Hakka and boasts Taiwan’s largest Hakka traditional market. With nearly 500 stalls, the market has been in operation for over 60 years. Foodies can sample specialties such as deep-fried sweet potato-starch balls filled with sweet adzuki-bean sauce; stir-fried f lat noodles (bantiao); and a variety of handmade glutinous-rice snacks, some stuffed with salted pickled vegetables. A local favorite is Ye Mama’s squid thick soup, which is only perfected with a dash of the housespecial black vinegar. Neglected for over a decade after the artist’s death in 1992, the Japanese-style former residence of watercolor painter Xiao Ru-song has been restored and converted into an atmospheric exhibition and performing arts space. Xiao was inspired by a number of modern Western art styles, such as Fauvism, Impressionism, and Cubism, and he melded them with Eastern calligraphy to create a signature style. The place’s teahouse is now open for dinner, serving up creative light fare such as spare ribs in fermented rice and beef heart noodle soup. Zhudong Cultural and Creative Art Village

Former residence of watercolor painter Xiao Ru-song

The Zhudong Cultural & Creative Art Village is housed in a cluster of former Taiwan Railway Administration dormitories, located right next to Zhudong Railway Station. Like many small towns in Taiwan, Zhudong has suffered from population loss with young people moving to the cities for work. The art village is part of the government’s bid to attract young entrepreneurs back to the area and support their forwardthinking endeavors. The grounds contain a neat mix of old and new concrete buildings featuring both Hakka and indigenous businesses, with a grassy area for performances and events. Funky decorations and colorful murals adorn many of the walls, making it yet another popular selfie spot. Check out Old & Crazy for modern fare inspired by the owner’s Hakka grandmother’s home cooking, or pick out some indigenousstyle hand-made clothing at Musasu Boutique, which also doubles as a chic coffee shop. YE MAMA ( 葉媽媽魷魚羹 ) (03) 594-8099 No. 103, Datong Rd., Zhudong Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣竹東鎮大同路 103 號 )

XIAO RU-SONG ART PARK ( 蕭如松藝術園區 ) (03) 595-6009 No. 60, Sanmin St., Zhudong Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣竹東鎮三民街 60 號 ) OLD & CRAZY ( 舊事生活 ) (03) 510-0940 www.oldncrazy2017.business.site (Chinese) No. 8, Ln. 194, Donglin Rd., Zhudong Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣竹東鎮東林路 194 巷 8 號 )

Ye Mama's squid thick soup

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MUSASU BOUTIQUE ( 姆莎樹工坊 ) 0926-267-325 www.musasu.business.site (Chinese) 2F, Bldg. C, No. 8, Ln. 194, Donglin Rd., Zhudong Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣竹東鎮東林路 194 巷 8 號 C 棟 2 樓 )


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JIN HAN DRIED PERSIMMON FARM ( 金漢柿餅教育農園 ) (03) 589-2680 www.facebook.com/JinHanDriedPersimmon.TW/ No. 501, Sec. 1, Zaokeng Rd., Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣新埔鎮旱坑路一段 501 號 ) DIANE'S GARDEN ( 黛安莊園 ) (03) 588-8989 dianegarden.com No. 9, Aly 1, Ln. 1102, Yundong Section, Guanpu Rd., Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣新埔鎮關埔路雲東段 1102 巷 1 弄 9 號 ) BAOZHONG YIMIN TEMPLE ( 褒忠亭義民廟 ) No. 360, Sec. 3, Yimin Rd., Xialiao Borough, Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣新埔鎮下寮里義民路三段 360 號 )

Persimmon drying in the sun in Xinpu

XINPU Sleepy Xinpu, where most of the action lies along the main road through the settlement, lies to the northwest of Guanxi and is practically synonymous with dried persimmons. Take a tour of the Jin Han Dried Persimmon Farm to witness the process by which these delicious morsels are created. Visitors can try various types of persimmons, drink persimmon tea, and learn crafts such as persimmon dyeing. The best time to visit is from September through December, when endless rows of drying fruit in large baskets propped up above human height make for colorful photo opportunities. Every October, the local farmers’ association puts on a dried-persimmon festival to showcase local products; visitors can enjoy good food, games, performances, and a parade.

Dried persimmon

Diane's Garden

Tucked away down a narrow tree-shaded lane in a rural area southeast of Xinpu town, Diane’s Garden is a slice of southern France transported smack into the middle of the local landscape. Its charming wood terrace overlooks lush fields of rice. A stylish gate opens up to a rustic Frenchstyle villa with an expansive lawn often used for events and weddings. The villa’s namesake owner employs natural, eco-friendly landscaping techniques, with a pretty ecological pond and a stone path leading up the hill behind the villa lined with orange jasmine shrubs and other local flora that Diane personally planted and can tell you all about. In addition to the resident cats, and the dog conspicuously decked out in an argyle sweater, butterflies flutter through the garden and the chirping of birds and crickets punctuate the babble of a close-by river. The grounds make for a pleasant afternoon stroll after enjoying a meal or coffee in the painstakingly designed dining room, fitted out with decorations made from repurposed materials. Enamored with the architecture during a trip to southern France when she was young, Diane spent two years building this place from scratch, and unlike many faux-European inns that can be quite tacky and over-the-top, her place is tasteful and authentic. In contrast to the serenity and elegance of Diane’s Garden, nearby is one of the two major local centers of Hakka yimin (“righteous people”) religious worship, paying tribute to members of local militias who sacrificed their lives when the militias rose up during the imperial era to defend home areas against rebel forces, and were honored by the Qing emperor. The Baozhong Yimin Temple, about a 10-minute drive from downtown Xinpu, began as a modest shrine in 1791 after the Lin Shuang-wen Rebellion, and has been greatly expanded since. It is the venue for an annual Yimin festival during the summer.

Guestroom in Diane's Garden

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New Tile House Hakka Cultural District

ZHUBEI Houshi Village "cave"

Enjoying juice at the village

Zhubei was the fastest-growing city in Taiwan in 2019, benefitting from being home to Hsinchu’s High Speed Rail station and its proximity to the Hsinchu Science Park. Amidst the sprawling development is a haven of good old Hakka hospitality and tradition, presented through modern ideas of sustainability, local sourcing, and community building. Hidden just off a major road, the Houshi Village is a funky, industrial-chic co-op of several natural food businesses with a lush courtyard perfect for a brief refuge from the concrete jungle. If you really want to hide from it all, grab your coffee and enter a cave-like structure made with dirt, bamboo, and other natural materials that is attached to the open-air market. There’s a Western-style pastry shop run by a young man who carries on his family’s bakery legacy by including his version of his father’s traditional Chinese mung-bean pastries among the offerings. The co-op has a shop selling various plant-based oils, a family-run fermented goodies store, and a kitchen offering healthy plant-based foods. Just a few blocks from Houshi Village is the New Tile House Hakka Cultural District, a walled village compound built by the prominent Lin clan in 1805. Although the Lins no longer live here, clan members return regularly to worship their ancestors at the Zhongxiao Shrine, contributing to the preservation of Hakka culture in the city. This settlement was set to be demolished to make way for High Speed Rail facilities, and was only saved through an effort by preservationists and cultural workers. It was granted protected status, and opened to the public in 2011. Today, in addition to serving as a popular Instagram spot, visitors can buy books, designer goods, fresh local produce, and traditional handicrafts. There is also space for performances and events, and a small piece of rice paddy has been restored and used for educational purposes.

Shop selling fermented goodies HOUSHI VILLAGE ( 厚食聚落 ) (03) 550-6289 www.facebook.com/hohmarket No. 95-5, Sec. East 2, Guangming 6th Rd., Zhubei City, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣竹北市光明六路東二段 95-5 號 )

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NEW TILE HOUSE HAKKA CULTURAL DISTRICT ( 新瓦屋客家文化保存區 ) (03) 658-0651 No. 123, Sec. 1, Wenxing Rd., Zhubei City, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣竹北市文興路一段 123 號 )


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HUKOU Our final stop is Hukou Old Street, which is actually about 3km away from modern downtown Hukou. When Hukou’s center of commerce shifted toward the northwest with the construction of the current Hukou Railway Station in 1929, the fortunes of the present-day Old Street fell – but it has still managed to retain some of its former prosperity as a result of being close to a major throughway. This situation has led to the street’s uniform rows of two-story red-brick buildings with Baroque façades being extremely well preserved. In recent times the street has also undergone a facelift, with granite slabs used on the ground and façades cleaned up and repaired. Toward the western end of the street is the Italian-style Old Hukou Catholic Church, which was built by Jesuit priest Guerrino Marsecano in the 1960s on the site of the original railway station. It was abandoned in 1993 and later turned into a museum and multipurpose space. Marsecano’s 627-page Hakka-English dictionary and other relics are on display, part of an exhibit that tells of the rise and fall of Catholicism in the area. Anchoring the eastern end of the street is the Sanyuan Temple, which pays tribute to the Daoist Three Great Emperor-Officials and a smattering of other deities.

Soyaway

Unlike many of Taiwan’s old streets that are full of souvenir shops or cultural-creative boutiques, people still live here and can be seen hanging out and chatting on the street. The businesses mostly consist of Hakka restaurants, traditional grocery stores, and snack shops. Soyaway is known for using non-GMO organic beans in its various tofu products, ranging from sweet tofu pudding to savory fried beancurd. If you do happen to be here on a weekend, don’t miss the shop called Bicycle Taro Paste, at which the signature treat is, indeed, served from a bicycle cart. The vendor’s menu consists of two things: taro paste and taro paste with ice.

Bicycle Taro Paste

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Hukou Old Street SOYAWAY ( 豆之味豆腐坊 ) (03) 569-5605 www.soyaway.com No. 226, Hukou Old St., Hukou Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣湖口鄉湖口老街 226 號 )

BICYCLE TARO PASTE ( 腳踏車芋泥 ) (03) 569-6856 biketaro2008.business.site No. 207, Hukou Old St., Hukou Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣湖口鄉湖口老街 207 號 )

ENGLISH AND CHINESE bantiao 粄條 Dong'an Bridge 東安古橋 Guanxi 關西 Guanxi Old Street 關西老街 Hukou Old Street 湖口老街 Inner-Mountain Highway 內山公路 Leofoo Village 六福村 Lin Shuang-wen Rebellion 林爽文事件

Niulan River 牛欄河 Old Hukou Catholic Church 老湖口天主堂 Romantic Route 3 浪漫台三線 Sanyuan Temple 三元宮 Xiao Ru-song 蕭如松 yimin 義民 Zhongxiao Shrine 忠孝堂

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Daylily Mountain Exploring the East Rift Valley’s Sixty Stone Mountain and the Valley Bottom It Overlooks TE X T RICK CH A RE T TE

PHOTOS V I S ION

Happy days exploring the top and the bottom of a great rift valley, meandering foot trails and cycling trails among a bloom of farm fields of deep greens, pastel greens, and bright oranges, golds, and yellows, and digging into the culinary fruits of its earth.

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I

n a recent informal survey conducted on myself, this writer found that his favorite travel destinations in Taiwan are as follows, in no particular order: Alishan (see Feature article in this issue), the Matsu Islands, Taroko Gorge, and the East Rift Valley. Though Taiwan is not by any means the biggest of places, these destinations are planets apart from each other in terms of look and character. A bonus with the latter two is that they are “neighbors” and can be easily combined in a single multi-day trip. The mesmerizing gorge, a sublime natural sculpture, is just above Hualien City. The East Rift Valley, equal in beauty in softer pastoral canvases, runs from south of Hualien City all the way to just above Taitung City. One of the rift valley’s loftiest tourist destinations is the upper reaches of Sixty Stone Mountain, part of the Coastal Mountain Range, famed for its brilliant daylily blooms. This is our main trip objective in this article. While up on the mountain we enjoy the daylily season, the Shangri-la views of the walking trails, and the uncommon daylilytheme fare offered at the rustic farmer-operated eateries. Down off the mountain, we ply the pleasureful Yufu Bikeway and go food-exploring again in the main local valley town, Yuli.

Sixty Stone Mountain Sixty Stone Mountain is just northeast of the town of Fuli, a little further southeast of the major town of Yuli. Both have railway stations. The mountain’s f lattish top is about 800m above sea level, and offers direct views over the rift valley floor, with the central mountains seen on the other side. The scenery is pretty much perfect for photos and videos, with unfettered views far up and down the valley.

Farmer drying daiylily buds

Cloudbanks often roll in over the peaks of the central mountains, striking me as giant cotton balls snagged on the jagged peaks. Each time the view of the valley floor, square-patched with neatly tended fields of widely differing color depending on crop type, reminds me of the vivid-color patchwork quilts my grandmother used to knit. The mountaintop is carpeted with an approximately 300ha tableland of daylily plants, which bloom in an orange-gold spectacular each August~September. After devastating flooding on the western plains in 1959, farmers were moved here. They soon began planting cash-crop daylilies, finding the edible flowers/buds preserved well; back then, poor weather often delayed crop-delivery down the mountain. Chike Mountain, located northeast of Yuli town, is the region’s second key daylily area. It is also known for lovely floral-enhanced vistas. The East Rift Valley National Scenic Area Administration has built an appealing network of short trails and walkways on the rolling tableland. These are well-maintained, have explanation boards with good English, and you’ll experience few if any steepgrade moments. Ten large rest pavilions have also been built, great for picnics, with picnic tables available at some. Washroom facilities are also available. Don’t cheat yourself of visiting the highestaltitude pavilion, which rewards you with the widest panorama. It clearly announces itself, standing prominent on the tableland’s east side. A small store stands at its pathway base; reward yourself with one of its savory fresh-made tea eggs.


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Food, Glorious Rift Valley Food! Something else you won’t want to miss is the local daylily cuisine. A number of small, homey restaurants are run out of the mountaintop farmsteads. The daylily is rich in nutrients, notably iron, and its various elements are very much edible – f lowers, flower buds, young stalks, and root tubers. In traditional Chinese cuisine these have primarily been used as a garnish, spice, or preservative, and parts have also been used in traditional Chinese medicines and in rice paper. Among the tasty daylily offerings to be enjoyed at the Sixty Stone Mountain eateries – and eateries down in the valley – are chicken soup with daylily and mushroom, fried daylily, daylily cold noodles, and daylily buns. As well, note that at these eateries, at many of the other farmsteads, and at the small store mentioned in the previous section, different-size bags of dried daylily parts, mostly buds and flowers, are sold. The fine nutrient-rich earth of the rift valley floor, built up over eons by the silt-generating erosion of the valley-framing peaks, paired with the pristine waters that flow down, have created some of Taiwan’s best farmland. Not far south of the mountain is Chishang, a town famed for its superlative rice and eateries serving the “Chishang lunchbox,” originally developed for rail travelers. To the north is Yuli, the closest major town to the mountain. Its culinary claim to Taiwan-wide fame is noodles. “Yuli noodles” are springy and chewy, and the Yuli style has given rise to the nickname “Taiwan-style Japanese ramen.” The No. 1 place to go is Chuantong Meishi (“Traditional Fine Food”) Yuli Noodles, a 5-minute walk from Yuli’s railway station. A simple-décor, familyrun spot in business over six decades, you’ll almost invariably find tourists lining up outside. Your bowl of noodles – either dry or with broth – will set you back just NT$45 – even less than at local competitors, where a whopping NT$50 is the norm. Accompanying the noodles, made fresh daily, are thick slices of pork, bean sprouts, celery, onion, and other goodies. Chuantong Meishi’s culinary “secret” is a healthy dose of fresh-crafted chicken oil.

Yufu Bikeway Yuli noodles

Daylily dishes

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CHUANTONG MEISHI YULI NOODLES ( 傳統美食玉里麵 ) (03) 888-1613 No. 94, Sec. 2, Zhongshan Rd., Yuli Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣玉里鎮中山路二段 94 號 )


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East Rift Valley scenery

Yufu Bikeway The level-grade rift valley is immensely popular with cyclists. Local roads are comparatively quiet, and in many places special bike lanes have been marked out. There’s also a number of closed-loop circuits open only to cyclists, notably at the towns of Guanshan – Taiwan’s first such, which helped to launch its ongoing cycling craze – and Chishang.

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ENGLISH AND CHINESE Antong 安通 Chike Mountain 赤柯山 Chishang 池上 "Chishang lunchbox" 池上便當 Coastal Mountain Range 海岸山脈 Dongli 東里 East Rift Valley 花東縱谷

Fuli 富里 Guanshan 關山 Sixty Stone Mountain 六十石山 "Taiwan-style Japanese ramen" 台式日本拉麵 Yufu Bikeway 玉富自行車道 Yuli 玉里 "Yuli noodles" 玉里麵

Equally popular is the Yufu Bikeway, which runs about 10km from Yuli’s railway station south to the tiny, now disused station near the village of Dongli, following an abandoned railway stretch that wends its way among paddies of rice, fields of other colorful crops – notably brilliant-yellow rapeseed – and irrigation ponds. The Eurasian and Philippine Sea tectonic plates meet below your feet in this valley, and one engineering-headache consequence has been shifting at either end of railway bridges. Lines have been straightened out, making the creation of the Yufu Bikeway possible. After leaving the Yuli station area, in a short while a river is encountered. Near the midway point of the retired waterway-spanning railway bridge is a handsome plate-junction marker built of different stones; this is proclaimed to be the “world’s only junction-spanning bikeway.” Later on you’ll pass by remnant facilities at two retired railway stations, the first by the settlement of Antong, the second by Dongli, the turnaround point of your ride. Take a break here, posing first with the various artworks on display, which include old brightly-painted bicycles, oxen sculptures made of rice-straw rope, and a steel-frame outline of a church (the valley’s indigenous population is mostly Christian, and steeples identify their villages from afar). Then head to the rustic, cozy little wood-theme café adjacent, to reward yourself for all your hard work with a reinvigorating round or two of freshbrewed java, seated at one of the umbrella-shaded picnic tables. Heaven indeed, this valley setting. GETTING THERE / MORE INFO Traveling using your own wheels is recommended. Car and scooter rentals are available outside Taitung Railway Station (Taitung City is closer to Sixty Stone Mountain than Hualien City). If not self-driving, travel by train to Fuli Railway Station (in Fuli Township), and take a taxi to the mountaintop (about 15km, 30min). During the daylily bloom in late summer, a shuttle bus service from the railway station might be available. There are a number of quality bike-rental outfits located by Yuli Railway Station. A standard bicycle is NT$100 for 4hrs, NT$300 for e-bikes. For more info, visit the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area website (erv-nsa.gov.tw).

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49


QU ICK CIT Y TOU R / TA IPEI M A IN S TATION

Taipei Main Station and Places Close By Exploring Old Neighborhoods in the Capital

TE X T & PHOTOS V I S I ON

As a tourist visiting Taiwan you are most likely to arrive by airplane and enter the country through Taoyuan International Airport. There is then a good chance you will take the Taoyuan Airport MRT line to its eastern terminal station, Taipei Main Station, bringing you straight into the old heart of Taiwan’s capital. Here are a few things to do and see in this part of the city. Second floor of Taipei Main Station

T

he area around Taipei Main Station is very busy indeed. The station is framed by four major roads, Zhongxiao West Road, Chongqing North Road, Civic Boulevard, and Zhongshan North Road, and there are shops, restaurants, and hotels galore in this part of town. Places to explore include the areas immediately north and south of the station, and three areas that are each one Taipei Metro stop away.

1

1. Taipei Main Station Taipei’s main railway station is a very interesting place in its own right. The present building was completed 30 years ago as part of the Taipei Railway Underground Project, under which a 4km stretch of railway line was eventually moved underground. While the railway platforms are underground (incl. tracks for the High Speed Rail, conventional railway, and Taipei Metro systems), there are ticketing services as well as shops, info desks, etc. on the ground floor. On the second are more stores (Breeze Taipei Station) and a food court with a wide variety of dining options.

Taipei Main Station

2. Beimen (North Gate) and Dihua Street

2

Dihua Street

The North Gate 50

TR AVEL IN TAIWAN

Just a 5-min. walk west of Taipei Main Station, you come to one of the city’s famed historic sites, Beimen (the North Gate). Built in 1884, this was one of five gates used in the imperial era to enter the city through the former city walls (completed in the same year as the gate, and destroyed in the early years of Japanese colonial rule, which began in 1895). The outer walls of the gate are made of red brick. This is a rare surviving example of a south Fujian-style blockhouse city gate. Head north from the Nor t h Gate a nd i n about 15 minutes you will reach heritage-rich Dihua Street. This is a very popular narrow st reet in t he Dad aocheng nei g hb orho o d k now n for its many traditional shops, selling Chinese medicines, tea, fabrics, and handicrafts. It ’s a g r e a t a r e a t o le a r n about Taipei’s past and buy unique souvenirs.


QU ICK CIT Y TO U R / TA IPEI M A IN S TATION

3. 228 Peace Park and National Taiwan Museum

3

Walking south from Taipei Main Station, you will first enter what has long been known as Taipei’s cram school district. Apart from the long-established “exam factories,” there are also many restaurants and shops in the narrow and busy streets of this commercial area. Head further south and you’ll arrive at one of the oldest parks in the city, the 228 Peace Park (MRT NTU Hospital Station). Apart from walking alongside ponds teeming with koi carp and relaxing in imperial-style rest pavilions, you can also learn about the unfortunate events of February 28, 1947, a dark chapter in the history of Taiwan. Located in the northern part of the park is the excellent National Taiwan Museum (www.ntm.gov.tw), Taiwan’s oldest museum. It has permanent and temporary exhibitions focused on anthropology, the earth sciences, zoology, and botany.

National Taiwan Museum

www.ntm.gov.tw No. 2, Xiangyang Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City ( 台北市中正區襄陽路 2 號 )

4

4. Ximending Taking the subway (Bannan Line) one stop southwest from Taipei Main Station brings you to the popular Ximending shopping and entertainment district. This is one of Taipei’s hotspots for young people to gather, catch a flick in one of the many movie theaters, shop for fashion items and knick-knacks in the many small shops, and dine in one of the numerous young-vibe eateries. Among the myriad other attractions are tattoo parlors and public-area walls colorfully decorated with graffiti, great as picture backdrops. Ximending

5

5. Huashan 1914 Creative Park Take the Bannan Line in the other direction, get off at MRT Shandao Temple Station or MRT Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station, and you are just a short walk away from one of the main culturalcreative centers in the city. The buildings of Huashan 1914 Creative Park, dating from 1914, once formed a winery complex. In the early 2000s the site was transformed into this cultural center, which has since become known as a leading venue for staging exhibitions, concerts, and happenings of all kind. Onsite are also a number of quality restaurants, cafés, and shops. www.huashan1914.com No. 1, Sec. 1, Bade Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City ( 台北市中正區八德路一段 1 號 )

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

ENGLISH AND CHINESE 228 Peace Park 二二八和平公園 Beimen 北門 Breeze Taipei Station 微風台北車站 Dihua Street 迪化街 Huashan 1914 Creative Park 華山 1914 文化創意產業園區 National Taiwan Museum 國立台灣博物館 Ximending 西門町

Taipei MRT

Beimen

02 Taipei Main Station

Zhongxiao Xinsheng

01

04 Ximen

National 03 Taiwan University Hospital Station

05

1hr

01 Start

2hrs Walk 10min

02

2hrs Walk 30min

03

2hrs Walk

15min

04

2hrs MRT 10min

05

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51


THE GRAND HOTEL 圓山大飯店

Visitors to Taiwan have a wide range of choice when it comes to accommodation. From fivestar luxury hotels that meet the highest international standards, to affordable business hotels, to hot-spring and beach r e s o r t h o te l s , to p r i v a te l y run homestays located in the countr yside there is a place to st ay that s atisf i es eve r y traveler’s needs. What all hotels of Taiwan — small and big, expensive and affordable — have in common is that serve and hospitality are always of the highest standards. T he room rates in the follow ing list have b e e n c h e c ke d fo r each hotel, but are subject to change without notice. Room rates at the hotels apply.

Taipei 台 北

TAIPEI GALA HOTEL 慶泰大飯店

NO. OF ROOMS: 160

ROOM RATES: Single/DBL Suite

ROOM RATES: Standard Single Deluxe Single Deluxe Triple Elegant Suite

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

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

LEMIDI HOTEL CHITOU 溪頭米堤大飯店

NT$ 6,600 NT$ 7,200 NT$ 9,800 NT$ 13,000

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, Chinese

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

RESTAURANTS: Golden Ear Restaurant (Western semi buffet); Golden Pot (Chinese Cuisine)

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

SPECIAL FEATURES: Business center, meeting rooms, airport transfer service, parking lot, laundry service, free Internet access, LED TV, DVD player, personal safety box, mini bar, private bathroom with separate shower & bath tub, hair dryer

No. 186, Songjiang Rd., Taipei City 台 北 市 松 江 路 186 號

11,000 13,000 15,000 16,000 28,000 32,000 42,000

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

DESK PERSONNEL SPEAK: English, Japanese, Chinese RESTAURANTS: Lobby Bar, Tea House, Miller Western Restaurant, Qingyuan Chinese Restaurant SPECIAL FEATURES: Foot Health Massage Center,Karaoke Room,Spring Water Sauna,Parent-child Play Room,Spring Water Private Baths,Fitness Center,Spring Water Swimming pool, Conference Room, Banquet Halls, Underground Car Park

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

No. 1, Miti St., Lugu Township, Nantou County 南投縣鹿谷 鄉內湖村米 堤街1號 Tel: +886-49-261-2222 Fax: +886-49-261-2000

www.grand-hotel.org

www.galahotel.com.tw

www.lemidi-hotel.com.tw

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$14,500

台北市松江路 190 號 4F

4-Day Central & Southern Taiwan Tour

NT$1,500 NT$4,200 NT$1,200

NT$1,300

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

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

NT$1,500

NT$1,500

ROOM RATES: Classic Double/Twin Room Classic Triple Room Classic Quad Room Deluxe Quad Room Media Suite Miro Suite Midi suite

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

NT$1,300

NT$1,300

Nantou 南 投

NO. OF ROOMS: 243

NO. OF ROOMS: 500 (Suites: 57) NT$ 8,800-15,800 NT$ 22,000-36,000

Taipei 台 北

(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.

NT$ 14,000

NT$ 15,500

NT$ 16,900 本廣告受交通部觀光局補助



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