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No. 78, 2016


Northern Cross-Island Highway and Taipingshan

Mountains and Forests


Songhe Indigenous Village




Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort


Along the Keelung River

Welcome to Taiwan! Dear Traveler, Welcome! In September I was appointed director-general of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, and I’m now delighted to have the opportunity to share the beauty of Taiwan with travelers from around the world through Travel in Taiwan magazine. I sincerely hope you will enjoy your stay on our beautiful island! In this magazine you’ll find a wide range of travel suggestions that will help in your exploration of the many wonders Taiwan has to offer. A grand driving tour west-east through Taiwan’s wondrously beautiful mountains is the special treat in our Feature . The Northern Cross-Island Highway is one of three crossTaiwan arteries that leap the island’s thick mountain spine, each an impressive feat of engineering, each serving up spectacular scenery. Meander through deep-cut river valleys, high up mountainsides amongst fruit orchards, and higher still to stands of ancient “sacred trees” in protected forest recreation areas. Taiwan’s northern mountains are home to the Atayal tribe, Taiwan’s largest by area. In our Feature article you’ll pass through a number of Atayal villages, and in Tribal Experience you’ll spend a full day in Songhe Village, on the Central Cross-Island Highway. Not far south from there, in the Puli Basin on the New Cross-Central Island Highway, we visit Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort for our Farm Fun article. This is a leisure getaway offering green architecture, alluring natural attractions, field-fresh dining, and high-quality lodgings. And in Easy Hiking it’s a jaunt to the western plains and Changhua County, for a leisurely exploration of the modest heights of the scenic Baguashan area. We’ve mapped out a special mix of Taipei full- and half-day explorations for those of you who will be spending a good deal of your Taiwan time in the capital. It’s a day of biking in Rail/Bus/Bike , rambling the pleasant parklands along the Keelung River and dipping into the adjoining city neighborhoods. In Precious Gifts we introduce three boutique firms at the forefront of Taiwan’s burgeoning cultural-creative industry, showcasing award-winning Black Tailors, which designs elegant marble-look personal adornments. Rice is the subject for this issue’s Popular Flavors section, with time spent at Rice Moment, a young Taipei eatery on a mission to “revive Taiwan’s rice culture” with creative Western-style food and drink built on premium Taiwan-grown grain. And we fill your head with ideas on how to spend your Taipei nights with Where To Go Tonight coverage of Taipei’s Gongguan District. So come on over and make yourself right at home in beautiful Taiwan!

Yung-Hui Chou Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.

CONTENTS November ~ December 2016

10 PUBLISHER Yung-Hui Chou Editing Consultant 

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

Where you can pick up a copy of Travel in Taiwan

Wayne Hsi-Lin Liu

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


Publishing Organization

Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications CONTACT

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

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

Copyright @ 2016 Tourism Bureau. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without written permission is prohibited.


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

Offices of the Tourism Bureau in Tokyo, Osaka, Seoul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Frankfurt; Taiwan Representative Offices; Overseas Offices of the Ministry of Economic Affairs; Overseas Offices of the Central News Agency; onboard China Airlines, EVA Air, and other selected international airways; selected travel agencies in Asia, North America, and Europe; and other organizations.

Cuifeng Lake (photo by Ray Chang)

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

In Taiwan


Tourism Bureau Visitor Center; Tourism Bureau; Taiwan Visitors Association; foreign representative offices in Taiwan; Tourism Bureau service counters at Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport and Kaohsiung Int’l Airport; major tourist hotels; Taipei World Trade Center; VIP lounges of international airlines; major tourist spots in Taipei; visitor centers of cities and counties around Taiwan; offices of national scenic area administrations; public libraries

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46 1 Publisher’s Note 4 Taiwan Tourism Events 8 Culture

6 News 58 Talk in Taiwan


10 The Northern Cross-Island Highway


36 Gongguan Commercial District – Experience the Charm of Taipei by Night


38 New Trends for an Old Staple – Taking a Moment to Appreciate Rice

– A Driving Tour Through Splendid Mountains and Forests

22 Mountain Bests – Where to Sleep, What to Eat, and What to Buy


42 The Marble-ous Creations of Black Tailors Innovative Design – Cultural-Creative Products Made in Taiwan


26 Village of Pines

– A Visit to the Atayal Settlement of Songhe


32 Relaxing in Pristine Puli – The Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort in Nantou County


46 Touring Taipei on Two Wheels – From MRT Yuanshan Station to Songshan Station Along the Keelung


52 The Great Buddha and Baguashan – Hiking in the Modest Mountains of Changhua County


Winter Events Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar website

11/12 11/15

Art Taipei


This art fair is a must-visit event for art dealers and art lovers interested in Asian contemporary art. The fair, staged annually by the Taiwan Art Gallery Association since 1992, featured 168 galleries presenting more than 3,000 artworks last year. A total of 47,000 visitors from all over the world attended. For emerging artists from Asia, this is a great opportunity to present both their creations and themselves, attracting buyers and art-industry professionals. Among Art Taipei’s highlights are feature exhibitions, art symposiums, art charity projects, docent programs, and onsite cultural-arts performances. Location: Hall 1 of Taipei World Trade Center; No. 5, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City ( 台北世貿一館 ; 臺北市信義區信義路五段五號 ) Website:

11/19 01/02

Christmasland in New Taipei City 新北市歡樂耶誕城

Taiwan is not known for the Christmas markets that are usually popular in Western countries during the holiday season, but if you want to get into the festive spirit, there are indeed places to go here as well. Christmasland is one. Set up in the sleekly modern Xinban Special District in New Taipei City’s Banqiao area, the central attraction of this extravaganza is a towering artificial Christmas tree illuminated in colorful ways, and displaying Christmas-related images. The large crowds are entertained with a rich stage-performance program and, to the delight of very young visitors, there are also merry-go-rounds. While in the area, check out some of Banqiao’s other attractions, including The Lin Family Mansion & Garden, 435 Art Zone, Huangshi Market, Fuzhong Shopping District, and Nanya Night Market. Location: Xinban Special District, Banqiao District, New Taipei City ( 新北市板橋區新板特區 ) Website:


Travel in Taiwan

Dec. Mar

Purple Butterfly Valley – Two Year Butterfly Viewing Event 雙年賞蝶

If you like butterflies, you definitely want to visit the Maolin National Scenic Area during the winter months. At this time Euploea butterflies migrate en masse (at least a million) to this mountainous area in southern Taiwan, to stay for the colder months. They hide in the dense forests of secluded valleys (dubbed “purple butterfly valleys”), enjoying a climate that is milder than in northern Taiwan. Four purple-crow butterfly species are common in the Maolin area – Euploea tulliolus koxinga Fruhstorfer, Euploea mulciber barsine Fruhstorfer, Euploea Eunice hobsoni (Butler) , and Euploea Sylvester swinhoei Wallace & Moore – and can often be seen even without going into the deep woods. The butterflies might not be the most attractive in terms of color or pattern, but watching thousands of them gathering tight together on trees is a sight to behold. Location: Maolin District, Kaohsiung City ( 高雄市茂林區 ) Websites:


12/10 12/25

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

They march again! Each year the streets of Chiayi City are filled with the beat of drums and the sound of brass instruments. Spectators in the thousands cheer on the marching bands filing past, one after another, from around Taiwan and abroad. From its humble beginnings in the early 1990s, the Chiayi City International Band Festival has grown into a grand event that has transformed Chiayi into a band-music city known internationally. Apart from a great marching parade on December 17, there will also be a wide range of concerts and happenings in various indoor and outdoor venues around the city. Locations: Cultural Affairs Bureau Performing Arts Hall ( 嘉義市政府文化局 音樂廳 ), Cultural Park ( 文化公園 ), Zhongzheng Park ( 中正公園 ), Cultural Affairs Bureau Square ( 文化局廣場 ) in Chiayi City Website:

Until 2/28/17

Taiwan Hot Spring Fine-Cuisine Carnival 臺灣好湯 - 溫泉美食嘉年華

Hot springs are not only for winter anymore. If you visit the website , dedicated to promoting hot-spring bathing in Taiwan, you’ll see a section titled Summer Hot Springs, showing that every day is hot-spring time in Taiwan. On the other hand, winter remains the prime-time season, of course, and the reason why the annual Taiwan Hot Spring & Fine-Cuisine Carnival takes place during the year’s coolest months. There are fine hot-spring resort areas all around Taiwan, and many hotels, restaurants, and other businesses in these areas promote attractive special offers and packages, including hot-spring soaking, fine-cuisine dining, accommodation, and sightseeing during the carnival. Be sure to check out the package deals before deciding on where to go for your next – or maybe first – soothing Taiwan hot-spring vacation! Location: Hot-spring areas around Taiwan, including Jinshan ( 金山 ), Yangmingshan ( 陽明山 ), Beitou ( 北投 ), Wulai ( 烏來 ), Qingquan ( 清泉 ), Tai’an ( 泰安 ), Guguan ( 谷關 ), Beigang River ( 北港溪 ), Dongpu ( 東埔 ), Guanziling ( 關子嶺 ), Baolai ( 寶來 ), Sichong River ( 四重溪 ), Zhiben ( 知 本 ), Antong ( 安通 ), Ruisui ( 瑞穗 ), and Jiaoxi ( 礁溪 ) Website:

12/31 01/01

Taipei New Year’s Eve Countdown Party 臺北最 HIGH 新年城 - 跨年晚會

At the end of 2016 everyone will once again be counting down to welcome in a new year. While grand fireworks shows involving tall skyscrapers are no longer a novelty, the one at Taipei 101, the city’s iconic landmark, is one of the best in the world. Come December 31, in the afternoon the streets surrounding the tower will fill up quickly, and when the clock strikes midnight more than a million revelers will have gathered to watch the skyscraper “explode.” For those who like the idea of revelry in the close company of thousands of others this is a memorable event. To get the crowds in the right party mood, a who’s who of Taiwan pop stardom is brought together to perform on stage. Location: Civic Plaza; No. 1, City Hall Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City ( 市民廣場 ; 臺北市信義區市府路 1 號 ) Website:


Taipei Marathon 臺北馬拉松

Nowadays, there is no lack of distance-running events in Taiwan. The website lists a staggering 591 events for 2016, with runs organized in virtually every corner of Taiwan, including its high mountains and offshore islands. There are a lot of event categories, such as ultra-marathons (+100k), triathlons (swimming, biking, running), shorter fun runs (less than 10k), night runs, relay runs, charity runs, and many more. This proves that the people of Taiwan really LOVE running! While new breeds of runs gain in popularity each year, the standard, or full distance, marathon (42.195k to be exact), is still the king of local road-run challenges, and the annual Taipei Marathon remains the biggest road-running event. A total of 27,000 runners took part last year, either running the full or half marathon or the 10k run. They take place in downtown Taipei, with start and finish line at Taipei City Hall. Location: Taipei City Hall Civic Plaza; No. 1, City Hall Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City ( 臺北市市民廣場 ; 臺北市信義區市府路 1 號 ) Website: Travel in Taiwan


W H AT ' S U P

NEWS & Events around Taiwan

New Head of Taiwan Tourism Bureau

Postal Stamp Wall in Nantou

This September the former director-general of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), Mr. Chou Yung-hui (on the right in photo), took over as directorgeneral of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau. During his inauguration, the new director-general stated as one of his immediate goals the increase of visitor numbers from Japan to above 2 million per year within the next two years. Mr. Chou also emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of tourists from other markets where Taiwan tourism is being promoted, such as South Korea and India, stressing that tourism promotion should be based on sincerity, with the aim of building lasting friendships.

10 Best Hotel Pools in Taiwan

Two years ago, the annual Taiwan Lantern Festival was held in Nantou County’s Zhongxing New Village. The colorful lanterns are now long gone, but a large wall specially created for the festival still stands, covered with images of postal stamps. The wall has made the Zhongxing Post Office, located beside the grounds where the festival was staged, a local tourist attraction. A total of 300 stamps are spread over the wall display, issued over a span of 60 years by Chunghwa Post Co. Among them is a commemorative NT$2 stamp released on June 18, 1960 to mark a visit to Taiwan by then U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.

Relaxed Visa Application Rules for ASEAN Countries Your choice of hotel in Taiwan is surely not based on the quality of the pool facilities, but knowing that you can go for a refreshing swim at the end of the day and take in some splendid scenery while doing so might help you with your booking decision. In a recent poll by local website , online users cast their votes for the best hotel pools in Taiwan. The top 3 chosen, at the Regent Taipei, Humble House Taipei, and W Taipei, are all open-air pools offering great views over Taipei. According to the pollees, the best pool by the sea is the one at the Chateau Beach Resort in southern Taiwan’s Kenting National Park. Rounding out the top 5 was the rooftop pool at the Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in Taipei.


Travel in Taiwan

Travelers from Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos now find it easier to apply for Taiwan visas. The government of Taiwan has relaxed visa application rules for passport holders from these countries who meet certain conditions, and they can now apply online for an R.O.C. Travel Authorization Certificate (TAC) which entitles them to stay in Taiwan for up to 30 days and allows for multiple re-entries over its 90-day validity period. This certificate was previously only available to nationals of India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, while nationals of other ASEAN members, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Brunei, enjoy visa-free entry. For more information about the conditions and for online visa applications, visit www.


KPP Taiwan Pass The KPP Taiwan Pass (KPP is short for “Kaohsiung, Pingtung, and Penghu”), introduced last year, allows visitors to these three counties – the first two in southern Taiwan, the third offshore in the Taiwan Strait – to enjoy special offers, including for transportation, dining, lodging, shopping, and enjoyment of leisure facilities. A total of 12 pass options are available on the website through which it can be purchased (http:// ). One option, the “Earth Water Sky Fun Card,” includes the KPP Taiwan Pass, a stored value of NT$60 (for rides on the Kaohsiung MRT and light-rail lines), a solar-powered-boat cruise on the Love River, a ride on the new Kaohsiung double-decker tour-bus service, and a ride on the rooftop Ferris wheel at the Dream Mall.

Smart Travel in Taiwan Daily life without a smartphone is nowadays unthinkable for countless people, and traveling with the help of phone apps has become as common as the use of printed maps and guidebooks was in the past. This new technology also possesses quite a few advantages. “Tour Taiwan,” an app released by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, is a good example. Downloading is free, the app is available for iOS and Android devices in Chinese and English versions, and it comes with a huge database. You will find more than 16,000 location-based entries, with information provided on visitor sites, accommodations, dining, travel-service centers, police stations, hospitals, parking lots, gas stations, and train/bus stations. Working in unison with the GPS function of smartphones, users can easily find information about places of interest near their current locations as well. To download the app, simply search for “Tour Taiwan” in Apple’s app store or Android’s Google Play Store.

Gaomei Scenic Bridge

The Gaomei Wetland Preservation Area is a popular seaside destination for people living and traveling in central Taiwan. It is located northwest of central Taichung City in Qingshui District. The area attracts visitors with seaside scenery (including a wind-power park), aquatic wildlife (migratory birds and crabs), and marvelous sunsets. A new 265m bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists has become the latest attraction, snaking beautifully over a canal and allowing you to take in the seaside scenery from higher up. In the evening, the bridge is colorfully illuminated with LED lights.


CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings


Until 12/31


Various venues in Taichung

Taichung Arts Festival

National Palace Museum

Photo courtesy of National Palace Museum

台中花都藝術季 The wish of the Taichung Arts Festival organizers is to present Taichung as a “City of Flowers.” Festival attractions, including theater and dance performances, installation art, and street parades, all have a strong flower theme. Among the highlights this year is a drum performance by the well-known Taichung-based group Chio-Tian Folk Drums and Arts Troupe, Taiwanese opera performed by Ming Hwa Yuan Arts and Culture Group and other outstanding troupes, traditional Chinese and Western classicalmusic concerts, as well as a number of children’s-theater shows. For more information, please visit the festival website at: (in Chinese only).

Until 2/5/17

Taipei Fine Arts Museum

Taipei Biennial 2016 2016 台北雙年展

Photo courtesy of National Palace Museum

Limpid Radiance: A Special Exhibition of Glass Artifacts from the NPM Collection

若水澄華 - 院藏玻璃文物特展

In China, early forms of glass can be traced back to the Western Zhou period (1046~771 BC). Glass was valued through the dynasties for its translucency and its resemblance to precious stones such as polished jade and gemstones. The National Palace Museum has a wide variety of objects made of glass or featuring glass in its collection, and in this exhibition visitors can marvel at beautiful glass beads from the Warring States period (475~221 BC), a variety of containers, vases, and accessories made of glass from the Qing Dynasty (1368~1911), and items used for more practical and scientific purposes, such as magnifying lenses and telescopes, also from the Qing Dynasty. For more information, please visit the museum website at: .

Until 2/12/17

National Museum of History

Pixar : 30 Years of Animation

皮克斯 30 周年特展







The Taipei Biennial is one of the highlights of Taipei’s cultural calendar. The theme of this year’s edition, curated by Corinne Diserens of France, is “Gestures and Archives of the Present, Genealogies of the Future.” On offer are visual arts, dance, music, film, editorial platforms, symposiums, and workshops. More than 80 artists are contributing to the artistic program, which lasts five months. One event to specially look out for – starting on December 9 and lasting four weeks – is the exhibition/performance Retrospective by French dancer and choreographer Xavier Le Roy, featuring 15 performers from Taiwan. For more information, please visit the museum website at: .


Travel in Taiwan


This year marks the 30th anniversary of Pixar Animation Studios, the famed computer-animation film company founded in California in 1986. The studio has been extremely successful over the years, creating such blockbuster movies as Toy Story and Finding Nemo . The core of this exhibition took shape as a 20thanniversary celebration assembled by the Museum of Modern Art in New York back in 2005, which has since traveled around the world. In celebration of the 30th anniversary, new and never-before-seen pieces have been included in the approximately 400 artworks on display at For more information, please visit the museum website at: .


cu lture scene

Until 4/30/17

Until National Museum of Taiwan History

An Impression of Taiwan – Travel Souvenirs


Huashan 1914 Creative Park

Joan Cornellà : A Solo Exhibition


During the Japanese colonial era (1895~1945), Taiwan became a travel destination for Japanese tourists, encouraged by the Japanese government and facilitated by the island’s increasingly well-developed infrastructure. Like tourists today, visitors from Nippon were keen on buying souvenirs to take back home. This exhibition displays a variety of items created for Japanese tourists during that period, including local specialty food products, handicrafts, memorabilia, and postcards, with explanations provided on their design and production. Fascinating insight is also presented on what tourism in Taiwan looked like in the first half of the last century. For more information, please visit the museum website at: .

If intrigued by unsettling cartoons of surreal and black humor, you don’t want to miss this display of works by Spanish artist Joan Cornellà. The cartoonist and illustrator is known for telling short stories comic-book style in sets of six images, depicting everyday scenes with a twist – sometimes funny, often disturbing and graphic, always thought-provoking. For more information, please visit the park website at:


The Northern Cross-Island Highway A Driving Tour Through Splendid Mountains and Forests


Travel in Taiwan


Three glorious days along one of Taiwan's three breathtaking east-west mountain routes – the Northern Cross-Island Highway – and further on to two of the island’s most popular forest recreation areas – Qilan and Taipingshan.

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang

Cuifeng Lake

Travel in Taiwan



Little Wulai Skywalk



t was the best of times.

I’d received the call a week earlier. Our Travel in Taiwan feature article mission this time – Provincial Highway 7 (the Northern CrossIsland Highway), plus Qilan and Taipingshan. Our targets – six major tourist draws. Though I’ve been in Taiwan most of my adult life, and travel outside Taipei constantly, five were terra incognita. Three days of pure joy in high-mountain forests! But enough about little ole me. Let’s go see what we saw. Deep-cut river valleys leapt by bright-painted bridges. High, misty waterfalls. Dramatically located villas-now-museums once graced by the presence of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Soong Mei-ling. Patchwork-quilt farmsteads seemingly stapled at impossible angles onto high-mountain slopes. Old Atayal-tribe villages, and roadside stands with honey peaches, apples, pears, and other juicy beauties on pastel-bright display. Deep-mountain forest recreation areas capped with ancient “sacred tree” stands. Taiwan’s largest alpine lake. And beautiful mountainside trails showcasing the rugged, industrious logging of the Japanese era.

Day 1 – Jiaobanshan & Little Wulai

Jiaobanshan Resort

Little Wulai suspension bridge


Travel in Taiwan

Highway 7, which stretches about 130km, begins at history-rich Daxi town in the west, follows the Dahan River to its upper reaches, and jumps the Xueshan (Snow Mountain) Range, ending by the coast on Yilan County’s Lanyang Plain. Our first stop was Jiaobanshan Park. Clear signage (with English) along Highway 7 points you down County Highway 117, to “Central Fuxing.” The park entrance is on the right of the main road, down a short alley, just as you enter Fuxing, a cluster of a fewscore buildings. The quiet, pretty landscaped grounds (free entry) take up a wide plateau right behind the settlement, high over the exaggeratedly serpentine Dahan River, twisting like a giant dragon forcing a mountain egress. The central attraction in the park is a villa – the Jiaobanshan Resort – once used by Chiang Kai-shek, now a museum filled with photos of events past. Visit the underground command-post bunker complex – the War Preparedness Tunnel. It’s located inside the plateau beneath the villa, dug out should the Generalissimo come under attack from


War Preparedness Tunnel

Mao Zedong’s red forces. Take the well-maintained plateau-escape trail down to a graceful suspension bridge on the river, where back then a speedboat always stood ready to whisk CKS downriver to the Daxi command base should the main highway be cut off. Other plateau-top buildings house displays on the region’s logging and camphor-production days. Before early 1900s synthetic-camphor production began, Taiwan was a key naturalcamphor producer. Beyond trading, first contact between Han Chinese and island mountain tribes often came with Han camphorextraction incursions. Further along Highway 7, a left turn takes you uphill along County Highway 115 to the Little Wulai Scenic Area. The turnoff is just before the 7 jumps the Dahan to its south (left bank) side. A short way up a tributary, the scenic area is centered on a picturesquely rugged gorge and the loud, hurtling waterfall that exclaims its end. From the parking lot (NT$100 per vehicle), a gorge-side walkway takes you a few hundred meters to the glass-bottom Little Wulai Skywalk (NT$50 adults; closed noon-1pm), boldly extended directly over the 50m-high falls. This is a hanging-valley waterfall; the cliffs directly below you are an active fault line. For more exercise than that offered along the short above-falls pathway, the steep, 750m Fall Base walk is highly recommended. Clearly signposted in English, it starts not far from the skywalk and takes you to a scenic spot from where you can see the waterfall in all its glory from below.

Luofu Bridge

The Northern Cross-Island Highway This is one of three stunningly scenic highways that snake their way east-west over Taiwan’s thick north-south mountain spine. The names of the other two begin with “Central” and “Southern,” respectively. All were major projects undertaken by the Nationalist government, worried about the Communist China threat, to facilitate cross-island military movement, especially should round-island coastal-area movement be cut off. This route initially was just a narrow garrison road hacked out by the Japanese during their 1895-1945 suzerainty, augmenting Atayal-tribe control. The Nationalist government widened, smoothed, and paved it 1963~1966.

Little Wulai Waterfall

Travel in Taiwan



Taiwan’s “Sacred Trees” During the Japanese era, Taiwan’s natural resources were systematically mapped and exploited. Narrow-gauge railways were built up into the rugged mountains in many places for extraction of its highgrade wood resources, and today a number remain – notably the Alishan Forest Railway – all popular tourist attractions. Fortunately, in numerous remote locations small stands of great trees escaped the axe, and these have also become popular tourist attractions, invariably either called shenmu (“sacred/divine trees”) or jumu (“giant trees”).

Lalashan Forest Reserve


Travel in Taiwan


Day 2 – Lalashan & Mingchi Forest Recreation Area The route up Lalashan (Mt. Lala), County Highway 116, starts just past (east of) the village of Lower Baling, and ends far up on the mountain at the Lalashan Forest Reserve, on the way passing Upper Baling, an Atayal village. In the Upper Baling area you’ll travel along a sharp ridge, with deep mountain valleys visible on both sides in spots. “lala” and “baling” are both Atayal terms; the first means “beautiful,” the second “giant trees.” On the way up, stop at the attractive stone-facade Lalashan Visitor Center, not far above Lower Baling, where there is text and video information (with English) on the area’s flora, fauna, and geography. Also visit the small nature center just before the forest reserve, which offers information on the reserve’s trails, biology, and geology. An entirely different world awaits in the reserve, where a marked boardwalk trail meanders 3.7km up and down the mountainside past 22 sacred trees. In this magical ancient-cypress cluster all are least 500 years young; the most senior sprouted 2,800 years ago, and the tallest soars 55m high. [Note: At time of writing the boardwalk was being rebuilt, with the main part of the area closed; phone (03) 3912761 for enquiries about the latest status of the reserve.]

Trees at Mingchi

Japanese-style garden

Don’t leave Lalashan without hiking the first-rate Baling Ancient Trail, which starts at the visitor center. Dotted with imaginative micro-museums explaining the local butterflies, insects, trees, and geology, this is also a prime example of native peoples’ preference for ridge-top over valley-bottom trails. As a local guide once explained to me, these trails have fewer flora obstacles, straighter lines, and better views of game and enemies. The trail ends close to the main highway by the comely old Baling Suspension Bridge, where the former highway-approach tunnel is now a cool, long Atayal-culture art gallery.

Mingchi Lake

After Lalashan, an hour-plus of highway twisting through temperate forest brings you up, over, and down on the other side of the Xueshan Range. The first developed area you’ll come to is Mingchi Forest Recreation Area. This, along with Qilan Forest Recreation Area and the Divine Trees Garden (the next two sites we visited), make up Ma-Kau Ecological Park – “Ma -Kau” is the Atayal name for an iconic wild-gathered food ingredient, mountain litsea (see Stay/Eat/Buy article). Mingchi’s main attraction is an eponymous lake – “Mingchi” means “Shining Pool” – that looks right out of a shanshui painting (entrance fee: NT$95 adults weekdays, NT$120 weekends/holidays). It can get quite busy lakeside on holidays and weekends, so take advantage of the short trails that shoot off into the forest, taking you along raised boardwalks under a canopy of secondary-growth tall trees, through a grove of fallen tree giants, to a Japanese rock garden, and higher up the forested mountain to a fine lookout spot. Travel in Taiwan



Wood display inside Taipingshan Villa

Narrow-gauge trains at Taipingshan Villa Chiang Kai-shek Chateau

Jiuzhize Hot Springs

Day 3 – Qilan and Taipingshan Forest Recreation Areas East of Mingchi, Highway 7 descends down to the Lanyang River valley where it meets Highway 7A. Qilan Forest Recreation Area (entrance fee: NT$80 adults) is just a few kilometers upriver on that highway. The main draw here is another former Chiang Kai-shek villa, presented as though the first couple was expected any moment. There are scores of one-time CKS villas around Taiwan; a classic shanshui -painting panoramic foreground is guaranteed at each. An agreeable long loop trail up the mountainside behind is sprinkled with forestry-era relics and Chinese-style viewing pavilions. A free Chinese-language guided tour of the main area starts daily at 2:30pm at the reception center. Immediately south of the Qilan entrance, the 7A jumps the Lanyang River. The long road up into the magnificent, sprawling 16

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Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area, marked “Mount Taiping,” starts at the bridge’s south end. After a short distance you’ll see a large roadside display of logging-railway equipment and facilities, including a small wood-built transshipment station. Through the 20th century Taipingshan was one of Taiwan’s three largest logging areas; the Japanese built narrow-gauge lines throughout the region to facilitate extraction. The drive up to Taipingshan Villa, the center of the forest recreation area, takes about an hour. On the way, you will first come to the toll station (adults NT$150; Mon~Fri, NT$200 weekends/ holidays) and then, about 15 minutes later, the visitor center, which has info boards and multimedia displays and provides maps of hiking trails in the Taipingshan area. About 20 minutes beyond this is the roadside Jianqing Historic Trail trailhead. This was


Divine Trees Garden This fabulous, fairytale-like gem is in the high region between the Mingchi and Qilan areas, reached from Highway 7 via a long forestry road. Public entry is limited to guided shuttle-bus tours from the two areas; register for the tours at the respective reception counters. Along the trails are hundreds of giant cypress and fir trees over a millennia old; 51 of them have been named after famous Chinesehistory figures, such as Confucius and Genghis Khan, that share their birth years. [Tours are about 4.5 hours; NT$570 adults staying at Mingchi/Qilan, NT$770 non-guests; pre-arrival registry strongly recommended: (02) 2515-2128, ext. 3310 (Chinese)]

Fern Garden at Mingchi Travel in Taiwan



Jianqing Historic Trail

my favorite hike on this trip, along a misty mountainside-hugging pathway of lyrical beauty lifted straight from a poem, over old sections of Japanese-built tracks and past creaky moss-covered trestles. The Taipingshan Villa area is pierced through its center by a long, wide staircase that lifts you up to what was originally a Shinto shrine, which faces Japan. Directly behind is the short sacred-tree Primeval Forest Trail. From Taipingshan Villa, the road through the forest recreation area continues, now very narrow in sections, for about 16km to the exquisite Cuifeng Lake, Taiwan’s largest alpine lake. There, the premium-quality 3.7km Cuifeng Lake Circle Trail takes you high above and around the barrier lake, to lookouts and past more intriguing logging-era relics. Before heading back to Taipei, we capped off our highway expedition in style and comfort with a hot-spring soak at the busy Jiuzhize (Renze) Hot Springs far downmountain, located just above the toll station. There are both private and public baths (nude and clothed; public pools NT$150 Apr-Sept), and the setting is striking, cliffs behind, rugged river before, great bursts of sulfurous steam rising from the Earth’s depths. The perfect ending.


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Ancient cypress tree Logging railway display


Beauty Cave trail

Cuifeng Lake Lake-view deck

Primeval Forest Trail

Getting There & Getting Around Self-drive: From Taipei the fastest way to the sights covered in this article is to take Freeway 3 to Daxi and then follow the signs to Highway 7. In Yilan County, the 7 connects to Freeway 5, the fastest way back to Taipei via the almost 13km long Xueshan Tunnel.

Bus options: Take a bus on the Little Wulai Route of the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service (www. ), which runs between Taoyuan Station and Little Wulai on weekends (see website for times). There are two Taoyuan Bus Co. (www.tybus. ; Chinese) services to Little Wulai each day from Daxi (No. 5105; 8:15am and 12:10pm; fare NT$85); two services to Lalashan each day from Taoyuan Station (No. 5090; 6:50am; fare NT$225) and Zhongli Station (10:35am; NT$223) respectively. From Daxi there are three buses a day to Lower Baling (1:10pm, 5:20pm; NT$159). There is no public transport to Mingchi, but you can make use of the shuttle service operated by the Ma-Kau Ecological Park/LeaLea Hotels ( ) if you plan to stay at Mingchi for the night or only spend one hour in the park area. The service is once a day (9am from Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei; 10am, Yilan Railway Station, 11am, Qilan; 12noon Mingchi); departure from Mingchi at 1:15pm. (Fare from Taipei NT$600 one way; make reservation at [02] 2515-2128). Once a day there is a Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport ( ) between Yilan and Taipingshan (No. 1750; 8:30am from Yilan; 3:30pm from Taipingshan; NT$226) The bus also stops at Qilan. Other Kuo-Kuang buses from Yilan to Qilan are No. 1744 (7:20 am), 1745 (3:15pm), and 1751 (7:30am and 12:40pm).

English and Chinese Atayal tribe 泰雅族 Baling Ancient Trail 巴陵古道 Cuifeng Lake 翠峰湖 Cuifeng Lake Circle Trail 翠峰湖環山步道 Dahan River 大漢溪 Daxi 大溪 Divine Trees Garden 神木園 Fall Base 瀑布底 Fuxing 復興 Jianqing Historic Trail 見晴懷古步道 Jiaobanshan Park 角板山公園 Jiaobanshan Resort 角板山行館 Jiuzhize (Renze) Hot Springs 鳩之澤溫泉 jumu 巨木 Lalashan 拉拉山 Lalashan Forest Reserve 拉拉山自然保護區 Little Wulai Scenic Area 小烏來風景區 Little Wulai Skywalk 小烏來天空步道 Lower Baling 下巴陵 Ma-Kau Ecological Park 馬告生態公園 Mingchi 明池 Mingchi Forest Recreation Area 明池森林遊樂區 Northern Cross-Island Highway 北部橫貫公路 Primeval Forest Trail 原始林步道 Qilan Forest Recreation Area 棲蘭森林遊樂區 shenmu 神木 Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area 太平山國家森林遊樂區 Taipingshan Villa 太平山莊 Upper Baling 上巴陵 War Preparedness Tunnel 戰備隧道 Xueshan Range 雪山山脈

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High way



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1. Jiaobanshan Resort 2. Little Wulai Scenic Area


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3. Baling Ancient Trail 4. HeFong Villa 5. Lalashan Forest Reserve 6. Mingchi Forest Recreation Area 7. Ying Shih Guest House 8. Qilan Forest Recreation Area 9. Jiuzhize (Renze) Hot Springs 10. Jianqing Historic Trail 11. Taipingshan Villa 12. Cuifeng Lake

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Mountain Bests Where to Sleep, What to Eat, and What to Buy The Northern Cross-Island Highway and the Taipingshan area provide the most refreshing mountain views and the freshest mountain produce, the views served up through the room windows where you’ll stay, the mountain produce at your table, and in packaged form to take home. Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang


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HeFong Villa


STAY HeFong Villa is a B&B perched high on the Lalashan ridge above Upper Baling, Lalashan’s largest settlement, with an unobstructed view over the mountains to the west. The sunsets here are spectacular. The villa’s exterior reminds me of the big, rambling clapboard-siding farmhouses back in my home area, eastern North America. The high-ceilinged, spacious, simply furnished rooms are done in wood, chalet-style. Each has a small private fenced-in porch out front with a picnic table that has a barbecue grill fitted in the center; all needed equipment/utensils are supplied. Across the courtyard garden, stretched out along a slope with the owner-couple’s honey-peach orchard below, is a lovely wood-built viewing deck with picnic tables – a grand choice for enjoying your complimentary breakfast and a fresh-brewed coffee (NT$100) from the cute coffee/juice bar. (Rooms start at NT$2,500; Chinese breakfast included; bring your own towels.)

HeFong Villa

The “Guest House” in Ying Shih Guest House is misleading. This is a large complex with two restaurants in the main reception building, a separate building with hotel-style rooms, and two “streets”

Ying Shih Guest House

of wood cabins. A few kilometers north of the Highway 7 and 7A intersection, it is shoehorned between the 7 and the farm field-carpeted bed of the generally almost dry Lanyang River. Guestrooms are large, and Western in styling. The hotel-style rooms have white-painted walls and wood floors; the cabins are allwood. Each of the latter has a private parking space. Ying Shih hosts a regular schedule of fun activities (fee for each), including indigenous-theme mochimaking and leather-crafts DIY sessions, tractor-pulled riverbed tours, and ecotheme walking tours. (Rooms start at NT$2,200; breakfast included.) Quality villa and cabin accommodations are available in the Mingchi and Qilan forest recreation areas, run by the Lea Lea Hotels group (www.lealeahotel. com). Villa accommodations are offered at both the main recreation area and at Cuifeng Lake in Taipingshan ( Note that the extremely popular facilities of Taipingshan are often fully booked as early as six months in advance.

Ying Shih Guest House

HeFong Villa ( 和風山莊 ) Add: No. 160, Zhongxin Rd., Upper Baling, Hualing Village, Fuxing District, Taoyuan City ( 桃園市復興區華陵村上巴陵中心路 160 號 ) Tel: (03) 391-2757 / 0978-050-927 Website:

Ying Shih Guest House ( 英仕山莊 ) Add: No. 1, Ln. 21, Sec. 3, Taiya Rd., Yingshi Village, Datong Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣大同鄉英士村泰雅路三段 21 巷 1 號 ) Tel: (03) 980-1701 Website:

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EAT Our best meal on this northern cross-mountain peregrination was enjoyed at the Ying Shih Guest House Revolving Restaurant, located atop the main building. Western décor, roomy and airy, it presents diners with tremendous views up and down the mountainbracketed Lanyang River valley. The eco-friendly facility is Taiwan’s first and sole water-powered revolving restaurant. Dinner is served 5-7pm; coffee, other drinks, and desserts are served at other times (operating hours 11am-9pm). The evening set meals, served Western-style, primarily feature Chinese dishes, with such tasty and hearty entrees as sweet-and-sour chicken, soy-braised pork, and salt-baked or fried trout (NT$280~330). There’s also a vegetarian option. Your meal comes with all-you-can-eat rice and savory pork-ball with onion soup.

Ying Shih Guest House Revolving Restaurant

Soy-braised pork

Shan Zhen (“Mountain Treasures”) Restaurant is on the road to Lalashan’s sacred trees in Upper Baling (No. 131-2). My wife’s clan makes an annual Lalashan pilgrimage during the late-summer honey-peach harvest, overnighting on the mountain, and we consider this the best local eatery. Simple and clean, run by an Atayal-tribe family, it has a fine mountain prospect out the open front. The menu features six set-meal banquet-style options, for different numbers of people; on this trip we chose the four-diner option (NT$1,000), which proved very filling, bursting with just-from-the-mountain-farm freshness and flavor. The dishes: wok-fried trout, trout soup with beancurd, range chicken, stir-fried Chinese cabbage, and stir-fried bamboo shoot with shallot and mushroom. The Mingchi, Qilan, and Taipingshan areas all have good restaurants serving Chinese fare banquet-style. The latter two also have large and very attractive cafés, the first offering alfresco terrace seating just above the Lanyang River, the second a comfy glass-enclosed section with a superlative wideangle high-mountain vista. Shan Zhen (“Mountain Treasures”) Restaurant


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TIP: Though you’ll see many remote farmsteads clinging determinedly to lofty, precipitous slopes across the valley


Lalashan peaches

way, between Lalashan and the Mingchi area you’ll come across nary a building on the Highway 7 side. This means no food or drink availability. So stock up before heading out. ANOTHER TIP: While in the Lalashan area, every chance you see for a honeypeach smoothie, take it. A seasonal treat made fresh-on-order, it’s a true pleasure, especially after some hiking. The best I’ve had is from a snack kiosk run by friendly Atayal ladies on the riverside pathway to the Little Wulai Sky Bridge, given a little “boost” with cane sugar.

BUY L a l a s h a n’s h o n e y p e a c h e s h ave a deservedly delicious reputation. The steep slopes are covered in orchards, and people from all around north Taiwan make special trips to the mountain to buy the red-andgold treasures during the annual harvest, mid-July to mid-August. Buy from the Atayal natives, if possible, to be sure you’re supporting the local economy. Once the harvest is done the last of the juicy softballsized treats is quickly sold. Check the orchards to see if anything is still on the

Gift options at Ying Shih Guest House

trees; if not, you’re most likely buying honey peaches from elsewhere, such as the highermountain Lishan region, where the harvest is a bit later – also very good, but believe me when I say nothing can match the Lalashan product.

Honey-peach smoothie

Ying Shih Guest House showcases a splendid range of gift-buy options in its reception hall, the most intriguing of which are goods created by the local Atayal-tribe population. These include decorated leather crafts such as belts and bracelets, traditionalstyle millet wine, pickled cabbage with mountain litsea, and marinated sebastan plum cordia. I opted for two snack treats – crisps and egg rolls made with mountain litsea. The fruit of the May Chang tree, mountain litsea is called shan hujiao or “mountain pepper” in Mandarin Chinese, and maqaw in Atayal. It has a strong taste, reminding me of a lemongrass/ginger mix.

English and Chinese Lishan 梨山 shan hujiao 山胡椒 Shan Zhen Restaurant 山珍小吃店 Ying Shih Guest House Revolving Restaurant 英仕山莊旋轉餐廳

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Village of Pines A Visit to the Atayal Settlement of Songhe Text: Joe Henley

Photos: Maggie Song

On the way to the popular hot-spring town of Guguan in central Taiwan, the small Atayal-tribe settlement of Songhe is most often passed by unnoticed by travelers. Undeservedly so, because this village has a rich history and culture.

Dajia River valley at Songhe Village


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here was a time before the ubiquity of highways and roads crisscrossing mountainous central Taiwan when its rivers, trails, and minor railway lines used for logging were by turns its veins and arteries. This was an era when the country's small settlements would converse about what they were, rather than about what they used to be, and a time when industries now long gone brought jobs and at least some economic prosperity even to isolated regions.

Central Cross-Island Highway) to get here from central Taichung – an eternity in a land where anything more than 30 minutes away is often considered “far.” Herein, however, lies a new advantage. Songhe is remote enough to remain largely untouched by the modernity and relatively cosmopolitan nature of the big city. And yet it is close enough for tourists who wish to make the trip to experience tribal traditions, learn about the region's past, and see how the Atayal villages along the Dajia are looking to shape their future in their own way, balancing future and past, the rugged and the modern.

Songhe Village, in sprawling Taichung City's large, high-mountain Heping District, is one of those places where residents are trying to shift the talk from what used to be to what will be without taking their eye off the revered traditions of the past. The small settlement, along the at times tempestuous Dajia River, which is fed by the towering mountains of the Snow Mountain and Central Mountain ranges, has become even smaller in recent years. The river's narrow width by the settlement, with mountains closing in on both sides, means it is threatened by flooding and landslides whenever a typhoon makes its way over the island's central regions. Some grew tired of cleaning up and rebuilding again and again in the aftermath of such natural disasters, even after the riverbed was widened in recent years to remedy the problem. The population, which once topped out at around 700, now sits somewhere close to 300. The cedar logging industry started up during the 1895-1945 Japanese era dried up decades ago. A paved road now runs where a logging-industry railway line once cut through the village, used to haul timber down to the coastal plains in the west. The village's location, not far from the Taichung/Nantou County border, once meant advantage because the local rail line took highprized wood to points elsewhere on the island. Now, however, the village is remote, at least by Taiwanese standards. It's a twohour bus ride, following Provincial Highway 8 (part of the original

Songhe's history with landslides in the years following the infamous 921 Earthquake (so named for the date on which it shook the country, September 21, 1999), means that many of its historic Japanese-era buildings have been lost. Yet, luckily, some have survived. Walking along the narrow roads through the village, visitors see towering mountains in the background, covered with such tree species as Taiwan white pine and Taiwan incense cedar. The imposing beauty of the river valley in which the village sits makes it easy to imagine that the Atayal, and later Japanese, Han Chinese, and Hakka people, might have thought of this location as a perfect place for a settlement. Today's residents are quick to point out that though the village is still home to different ethnicities with differing tongues and spiritual beliefs, they accept each other's ways, and have even learned to speak at least a few words of one another's languages. Venturing into the settlement's upper reaches, one can see the remnants of the old colonial-era loggers’ dorms, some today inhabited by local residents. The dorms, once occupied by lumberjacks, crew chiefs, and foremen, go back to a time when forestry in the area was booming, at times to the detriment of the environment.

Indigenous mural in Songhe Village

Popaw Yasu, playing a bamboo jew's harp Travel in Taiwan


Guguan Hot-Spring Park

Guguan Suspension Bridge Bamboo jew's harps 3


Old colonial-era loggers’ dorms

Those days – along with much of the island's red cypress – are now long gone. Songhe's forestry operations were among the first on the island to be shut down for good, in 1947. But much of interest remains to be seen. “Songhe” translates as “Pine Crane,” and while there are no cranes to be seen – just egrets gliding effortlessly on the swirling air currents pushing down the valley – white pine trees are still prevalent throughout and surrounding the village. Toward autumn the pine needles turn red and fall, carpeting the ground in a picturesque scene. Another of Songhe's treasures is Kuyas, a restaurant with outdoor seating that overlooks the river valley, where guests can enjoy Atayal specialties. The highlights of the menu are definitely the ma-kau pork, sliced sausages prepared the traditional Atayal way, and the white-pine juice, cool and refreshing, flavored with honey and lemon. The restaurant is also home to an open-air performance space, where in the summer and fall tribal members host classes in traditional practices such as archery. Wild boar and deer trails still line the surrounding hills, and hunting the old way, with bow and arrow, is still considered a vital skill for the tribe's men today – a skill they are happy to impart to visitors. However, due to 28

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hunting legalities, non-indigenous people have to settle for target practice only. A short drive down Highway 8 from Songhe is Lileng Village, another Atayal settlement. This is the home of a unique workshop, where elder Popaw Yasu has dedicated 26 years of his life to the preservation of the key instrument in the tribe's musical heritage – the bamboo jew's harp, or lubuw. The harp's materials are simple – bamboo and sheets of copper, with a string running out from one end that is pulled to manipulate the pitch. The body is placed in the mouth, the player blows through the bamboo reeds, which range from one reed for the tribe's common members to multiple reeds in instruments reserved for tribal leaders or shamans. While blowing you pull on the string, shaking the reeds, resulting in a simple yet mesmerizing, and by turns musical and percussive, ululation. Though playing the instrument may seem easy from an outsider's point of view, doing it skillfully is in fact a lifelong pursuit, with purposes far beyond mere entertainment. According to tribal lore, harps with two or more reeds can be used to communicate with the spirits of nature and those of ancestors. In the past, the harp was also used by hunters traveling through the forest to identify themselves when passing through another tribe's territory.


During the Japanese era, playing of the harp was banned because the Atayal would use it to signal one another when imperial troops encroached on their sacred lands. Today, however, thanks to the likes of Popaw Yasu, playing of the harp and other traditional instruments is enjoying a resurgence. Drive east from Songhe Village on Highway 8 and you will soon arrive at Guguan. This scenic town is well known in Taiwan for its hot-spring hotels; its hot springs have been famed since the Japanese era. In fact, it is claimed that Japanese Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) once bathed in one of Guguan's springs, and that after doing so he and his wife conceived a male heir. As a result, to this day the Guguan hot springs have been popular with couples seeking their own “little emperor.” A number of hot-spring hotels with open-air pools overlook the Dajia River and the rocky cliffs on the opposite side. Some, such as the Bali Nature Spa (, offer luxurious rooms equipped with private hot-spring baths. For those looking to merely dip their feet in the mineral-rich local waters, the Guguan Hot Spring Park has a number of hot-spring pools, next to the town's hot-spring education center. The area is rife with other activity options as well. The Seven Heroes of Guguan hiking trails providing ample opportunity for nature lovers and fitness fans to get outside and experience the region's flora and fauna on foot. There is also the Guguan Suspension Bridge, spanning the river and providing an excellent view up and down the river’s gorge. The area is rife with other activity options as well. The Seven Heroes of Guguan hiking trails providing ample opportunity for nature lovers and fitness fans to get outside and experience the region's flora and fauna on foot. There is also the Guguan Suspension Bridge, spanning the river and providing an excellent view up and down the river’s gorge.

Indigenous specialties of Kuyas restaurant in Songherps

Getting There From Taipei: Take a Taiwan High Speed Rail train to THSR Taichung Station, and from there take bus No. 153 bound for Songhe and Guguan. The rail trip takes around an hour depending on the number of stops, and the bus journey takes two hours. For more information on Songhe, Guguan, and other places in Heping District, visit . Bali Nature Spa Resort ( 惠來谷關溫泉會館 ) Add: No. 10, Wenquan Lane, Sec. 1, Dongguan Rd., Heping Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市和平區東關路一段溫泉巷 10 號 ) Tel: (04) 2595-1998 Website: Kuyas Restaurant ( 古拉斯泰雅餐廳 ) Add: No. 100-3, Songhe 3 rd Lane, Sec. 1, Bo'ai Borough, Dongguan Rd., Heping Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市和平區博愛里東關路一段松鶴三巷 100 之 3 號 ) Tel: (04) 2594-1948

Bali Nature Spa Resort

English and Chinese Atayal tribe 泰雅族 Dajia River 大甲溪 Guguan 谷關 Guguan Hot Spring Park 谷關溫泉公園

Guguan Suspension Bridge 谷關吊橋 Lileng Village 裡冷村 Seven Heroes of Guguan 谷關七雄 Songhe Village 松鶴村

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Relaxing in Pristine Puli The Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort in Nantou County Text: Joe Henley

Photos: Maggie Song

The township of Puli in central Taiwan is well known for its agricultural produce, and is therefore an ideal place to visit a fine leisure farm. One such is Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort, offering green architecture, natural attractions, fine dining, and quality accommodation. Walking through the Rainforest Garden


uli Township in Nantou County is at the geographical center of Taiwan. The county is home to such national scenic treasures as Sun Moon Lake, Qingjing Farm, and Mt. Hehuan, the most accessible of Taiwan’s many 3,000m-plus mountains. The area is characterized by mountain, forest, and agriculture. In the Puli Basin, the floor is a patchwork of fruit, flower, betelnut, and rice farms, the fertile ground fed by clear, rushing mountain streams. This is where you will find the Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort, a 13-hectare estate, which began as a seedling enterprise 25 years ago. It is now a leisure farm where tourists can experience the agricultural side of Taiwanese life, far removed from the rush of the cities along the island's western side. 32

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The farm, dotted with buildings featuring such green-architecture design elements as green roofs, rainwater-catchment systems, and floor-to-ceiling windows that make use of natural light and heat, is broken into seven separate sections, each with its own unique theme. A typical tour of the farm begins with the Flora Temple, a tribute to the Roman goddess of flowers and spring. The temple was erected following the 921 Earthquake of 1999 – a temblor that caused destruction in many parts of Taiwan, but was particularly severe in this part of Nantou County. The farm's old flower garden was swallowed up in a chasm that opened up in the quake. According to farm lore, when flowers suddenly started blooming again over the old site, the temple was


Picking fruit at Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort

erected in a show of respect to the divine power of Mother Nature both to take away and to give back. From there you can move on past the displays of bougainvillea, where perhaps you might catch sight of some of the 250 butterfly species found in Nantou. The number of butterfly species has gone down in recent years due to ecological exploitation, but places such as Tai-Yi are trying to encourage people to respect the environment, living a greener lifestyle in the hope that the land and its fauna might recover. Next is the Rainforest Garden, an enclosed area where from season to season visitors can see up to 200 different plant species, including many local varieties of fern. Near the Rainforest Garden is a statue of the departed matriarch of the farm, still reverentially

referred to simply as Mrs. Chang. The shrine erected in her honor reminds visitors that mothers are like the water that nourishes the earth, with all life that springs forth owed to their care and kindness. Sumptuous meals prepared using ingredients grown on site are also available at the farm’s spacious and airy South Garden Banquet Hall – another green building that in many ways resembles a large greenhouse, complete with varieties of fern hanging from the ceiling in order to cycle any impurities from the air. The set meal on offer at time of writing, which was more than filling, featured chicken with a honey rose glaze, roasted fish with a honey osmanthus glaze, a salad garnished with rose petals, for dessert a begonia-flower panna cotta, and to drink a tangy fruit vinegar concoction. The

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On a guided tour of the farm Chicken with honey rose glaze

Restaurant with private rooms

Self-designed T-shirt

meal, which varies from season to season, must be booked one day in advance, and costs NT$580, a very reasonable price given the extremely generous portions. Should that repast somehow fail to fill you up, check out the Honey Garden, where the farm's bees are always busy. Bees, it goes without saying, are vital to every type of agriculture which requires the spreading of pollen, and here guests are educated about their importance. You can sample the honey made on site, as well as vitamin-rich bee pollen, said to aid in liver recovery and the alleviation of allergies. There are also numerous DIY activities on offer at the farm. Coffee beans are grown on site, and would-be farmhands can see how the beans go from tree to cup by picking and processing them themselves. In order to familiarize yourself with the farm's many varieties of flora and exercise your sense of artistry, you can also 34

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take part in a T-shirt design activity wherein you are invited to pluck a few leaves from plants lining the farm's green conference rooms. You then paint the leaves and apply them to a white shirt in creative ways, coming away with a one-of-a-kind design. Many tourists also flock to the farm for fruit picking. Nantou is famed for its strawberry crop and guests can head into one of the numerous greenhouses at Tai-Yi to pick their own. Those who prefer fruit with an even tarter flavor can pick passion fruit; 90 percent of those grown in Taiwan come from Puli. Puli, and Nantou in general, are known for “Four Ws,” according to locals: attractive Women, fine Weather, good Wine, and pure Water. Of those four, pristine water does indeed flow freely from the region’s natural springs, bubbling up from below the earth's surface on the farm itself, feeding its crops and fish ponds. Hot-spring


waters are also diverted to the farm's four-star Red Maple Boutique Hotel. There, you can enjoy a night in luxurious surroundings, the rooms outfitted with private hot-spring baths, some with expansive views of the farm and the basin at large. Prices range from NT$3,600 per night for a “Classic Room” to NT$13,140 per night for the Honeymoon Suite. European villa-style accommodations are available too, in the Floral Lodge, which do not feature hot-spring baths. The farm boasts 104 rooms in all. Visiting the farm can be done on one's own, at one's own pace. Tours for groups of 30 or more can be arranged, with a reservation one day in advance required, with the entry fee NT$200 per person (English guide available).

Getting There To get to Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort, take a Taiwan High Speed Rail train to central Taichung, then transfer to a bus headed to Puli on the lower concourse of the station. Free shuttles run between Puli Bus Station and the farm, but seats must be reserved in advance through the resort. Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort ( 台一生態休閒農場 ) Add: No. 176, Sec. 1, Zhongshan Rd., Puli Township, Nantou County ( 南投縣埔里鎮中山路一段 176 號 ) Tel: (049) 299-7848 Website:

English & Chinese Flora Temple 花神廟 Honey Garden 蜜蜜花園 Puli Township 埔里鎮 Mrs. Chang 張太太

Banquet Hall at Tai-Yi Red Maple Resort

Mt. Hehuan 合歡山 Qingjing Farm 清境農場 Rainforest Garden 雨林風情館 Sun Moon Lake 日月潭

Red Maple Boutique Hotel

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Xi ns he ng S. Rd .

Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd.



Ti n g z h o , 3 . c e S

6 u Rd .

Sightseeing 1. Treasure Hill Artist Village ( 寶藏巖國際藝術村 )



Music and Art 2. Museum of Drinking Water ( 自來水博物館 )

Treasure Hill is a historic settlement spread out over a hill slope in the rear of the main Gongguan area adjacent to the Xindian River. It is now home to artists as well as ordinary residents. At present, the artists-in-residence village has 14 artist studios, a rehearsal room, exhibition rooms, and an outdoor performance space.

Originally a waterworks pumping facility, built in 1908, this museum displays pumps, electric gauges, and other equipment. The building’s exterior features a mix of ancient Greek, Roman, and Baroque architectural in�uences. An air of romance is added to the exterior when it is illuminated at night, making the place popular with avid photographers.

Add: No. 2, Aly. 14, Ln. 230, Sec. 3, Tingzhou Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中正區汀州路三段 230 巷 14 弄 2 號 ) Tel: (02) 2364-5313 Hours: 11am ~ 9pm; 1F Village Café 11am~11pm (closed Mon.)

Add: No. 1, Siyuan St., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中正區思源街 1 號 ) Tel: (02) 8369-5104 Hours: June to August, 9am ~ 8pm, September to May, 9am ~ 6pm (closed Mon.)

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MRT Gongguan Station

Siyu an St.


aipei’s bustling Gongguan Commercial District is close to the campuses of National Taiwan University and National Taiwan Normal University. The area offers fun, arts, music, and food all-in-one, the vibrant atmosphere of this part of the city attracting many young people and foreign visitors. Here, the coming together of an old Taipei settlement and modern art can be witnessed, and live performances of jazz, rock, punk, house, and other music styles can be enjoyed at various venues. Lazy evenings can be spent in the cafés and eateries, where excellent, reasonably priced food is served. Vigorous and vibrant Gongguan Commercial District is one of the best places to experience the charm of Taipei by night.


Text and Photos: Vision


Experience the Charm of Taipei by Night


Gongguan Commercial District

3. The Wall Music Located in the basement of a building on the periphery of the Gongguan Commercial District, this indie-music live house has a performance space, rehearsal room for bands, record shop, and bar. Besides being a venue for international bands, it also plays an important role in the nurturing of Taiwanese bands and in promoting live music. Add: B1, No. 200, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中正區羅斯福路四段 200 號 B1) Tel: (02) 2930-0162 Hours: 3pm ~ 11pm Website:


National Taiwan University

Keelung Rd.






Restaurants & Cafés Ro


6. Light Café



tR d.

This café’s meals are all highly creative, as well as substantial. A great example is the whopping 38cmlong Streetlight 38 Hotdog Burger. As for coffee, selected fresh beans are expertly roasted on-site. Have a sip and you will appreciate the seriousness with which the proprietors regard the food and drink they serve. Add: No. 19, Aly. 10, Ln. 244, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中正區羅斯福路三段 244 巷 10 弄 19 號 ) Tel: (02) 2367-7272 Hours: 11am ~ 11pm

7. AGCT Apartment AGCT is a clothes brand created by two designers. After jointly staging events with many friends in the food-service business and arts community, they decided to set aside part of their studio to share with others. Snacks and drinks are served. In the evenings, the Taipei alley night scene can be viewed through the single-pane windows.


Add: 3F, No. 2-2, Ln. 49, Wenzhou St., Da’an District, Taipei City ( 台北市大安區溫州街 49 巷 2-2 號 3 樓 ) Tel: (02) 2369-6659 Hours: Sun. ~ Thur. 12noon ~ 8pm, Fri. ~ Sat. 12 noon ~ 10pm (closed Tue.)

4. Riverside Music Café

5. Kafka by the Sea

This is the godfather of live music performance venues in Taipei. Located between the Taipei Metro’s Gongguan and Taipower stations, this café has been the venue for over 8,000 live performances by local and foreign bands. Besides music performances, art lectures are also staged here. This is a great place to relax, enjoy live music, and learn about the arts.

Coffee, snacks, and drinks can be enjoyed here, and there is also an independent bookshop and independent-label record shop. Arts events, unplugged music performances, and free exhibitions are regularly held. Travelers can soak up the artistic atmosphere while enjoying relaxing music.

Add: B1, No. 2, Ln. 244, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中正區羅斯福路三段 244 巷 2 號 B1) Tel: (02) 2368-7310 Hours: 7pm ~ 0:30am Website:

Add: 2F, No. 2, Ln. 244, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist.,Taipei City

( 台北市中正區羅斯福路三段 244 巷 2 號 2 樓 )

Tel: (02) 2364-1996 Hours: Mon. ~ Thu. 11:30am ~ 10:30pm, Fri. ~ Sun. 12 noon ~ 12 midnight

8. Picnic Café Hidden down along an alley, with a white main door and simple interior design, Picnic is a suitable place to hide away alone in a corner and relax. Italian coffee, tea, and fresh-squeezed juice are served; as for food, handmade quiche, scones, salads, and other snacks and desserts are offered. Add: No. 75, Wenzhou St., Da’an District, Taipei City ( 台北市大安區溫州街 75 號 ) Tel: (02) 2368-7798 Hours: Mon. ~ Fri. 1pm ~ 11:30pm, Sat. ~ Sun. 12 noon ~ 11:30pm

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Old Stap l e

Burgundy beef with mochi cakes


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A young restaurant in Taipei is on a mission to revive Taiwan’s rice culture by creatively introducing quality home-grown rice to Westernstyle foods and beverages. Text: Quyen Tran

Photos: Maggie Song



t’s easy to overlook humble rice. After all, it’s easy to find, and fairly cheap to buy. Like many commodities in the grain category, rice seems ordinary. However, the simple rice grain is in fact one of the oldest and most important of crop species, its cultivation key in propelling humankind into the agriculture age. The ancient Chinese were able to domesticate rice around 10,000 years ago. No doubt this singular achievement was central in fueling the incredible advancement and far-reaching inf luence of China. If you travel around Taiwan, you will find that many rural areas are dominated by rice fields. Rice, or fan in Mandarin Chinese, is featured in many traditional dishes; it’s almost impossible to find a menu without it. Even the Mandarin terms for cooking and eating, zhu fan and chi fan , include the character for rice, though it doesn’t necessarily mean that rice is being cooked or eaten. Much to the surprise of most Western visitors to Taiwan, the locals often eat rice and rice variations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Today, rice is consumed well beyond Asia. Over half of the world’s population regards it as a staple. Whether in the Americas, the Caribbean, or Europe, rice is now a common denominator in

many different cuisines. It has become synonymous with simple dishes prepared at home and in modest eateries all over the world. However, eating habits in Taiwan have been changing in recent times. The younger generation, especially, seems to be more interested in modern Western-style foods, notably fast food, and is eating less and less rice. One person who feels that it’s time to reverse this trend, and that rice should return to its glory days, is Gabriel Chang, owner and executive chef of the restaurant Rice Moment. Witnessing the declining appreciation of rice in Taiwan, he has set out on a mission to raise its profile by reimagining it for the modernminded diner. To Gabriel, in Taiwan rice possesses special historical and cultural significance, and should also be recognized as a source for quality consumption.

“As with other agricultural products, Taiwan’s rice is exceptional. However, as it’s not well-known internationally, coupled with the fact that Taiwan’s diet is increasingly Westernized (and thus local people are eating less and less of it), I am hoping that Rice Moment can promote Taiwan's rice culture, and with it, help local rice farmers.”

Rice Moment Rice Moment, located in Taipei’s Dazhi neighborhood, just to the north of the Keelung River, has only been in business since 2014, but Gabriel began his journey with food at the tender age of ten, learning to make desserts before he went on to study baking as a major during his three years of senior high school. At nineteen, he began venturing into Western cuisine. Now 30 years of age, Gabriel is the one teaching others. He encourages his chefs to experiment with rice, and to incorporate it in dishes not previously known to include it. For instance, in Rice Moment’s burgundy beef with mochi cakes he teams the French classic boeuf bourguignon with traditional glutinous-rice cakes. Though crispy on the outside, the mochi is chewy on the inside, and eating it stimulates comparisons with cheese. The result is not only an interesting texture mix, but also a perfect complement to the strong taste of the red wine-infused beef. By creatively combining rice with Western cuisine he hopes to entice his diners, especially young people and those visiting Taiwan, to better appreciate and more enthusiastically and consciously consume home-grown rice. Gabriel is very serious when it comes to the quality of his main attraction. His research on rice began a few years ago, and he consults Taiwan’s China Grain Products Research & Development Institute on rice-processing technologies. He buys first-grade rice from Miaoli and Taitung counties, regions known for their quality grain production. He also uses quality 10-grain rice, a healthful mix of rice and wheat with sorghum, oats, millet, and even lotus seeds and Job’s tears.

“I have kept trying different types of rice. That’s the only way to know what I should cook with. I eat and eat until I understand the product!” The effort he takes to ensure the quality of his foods can be observed and tasted in his simple bread appetizer. The ground rice grains sourced from the township of Chishang in Taitung County are mixed with plain flour, allowing the bread to keep its elastic quality and to carry a light rice flavor at the same time. Gabriel stresses that he doesn’t add artificial preservatives to his bread. As it has a chewier consistency than most, it is served with a dipping sauce made with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, much like how it’s done in Italy. To complement this with another flavor/texture dimension, Gabriel adds another sauce made with porcini mushroom to the set. Travel in Taiwan



Rice Moment Rice bread appetizer

Beyond his lunch and dinner offerings, Gabriel invites diners to also try his set brunch menus, or simply enjoy a light snack of waffles and drinks – all of which incorporate rice. And in a further effort to provide the widest possible range of culinary experiences for his visitors, he changes his menu seasonally. Complementing this cosmopolitan approach is Rice Moment’s European-inspired interior, which sets the ambience for diners looking to have a comfortable and enjoyable meal with friends and family. Rice Moment’s signature rice-flavored coffee is something guests should definitely try. Brewed using a combination of coffee, rice milk and, interestingly, peanut paste, the drink comes topped with milk foam and popped rice. Appreciators will discover a subtle yet lingering fragrance of rice as they enjoy their coffee. Despite Gabriel’s ambition to enhance rice appreciation amongst his younger and foreign patrons, he hasn’t forgotten the time-honored food of his homeland. The menu also features traditional Taiwanese rice-based dishes, including old-style lunchbox sets called bian dang . His restaurant has a delivery service, and does not charge for extra servings of rice. It is clear that his comprehensive menu is drawing in a varied customer demographic, for on any visit you’ll see younger, older, local, and tourist-visitor diners alike. Rice Moment ( 米時 ) Add: No. 5, Lane 397, Mingshui Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City ( 台北市中山區明水路 397 巷 5 號 ) Tel: (02) 2533-1215 Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm; weekend brunch 11am-2pm; dinner Fri-Sun 5pm-8:30pm Website: (Chinese)

Traditional Ricebased Dishes Zongzi – Glutinous-Rice Tamales

Of all the rice-based delicacies available in Taiwan, zongzi , or rouzong , perhaps hold the greatest cultural significance for those of Chinese heritage. Zongzi are made of glutinous rice and filled with an assortment of meat, vegetables, the occasional salted egg yolk, and other goodies. The materials are wrapped in large oiled leaves before being steamed or boiled. Zongzi are best known as a traditional must-eat during the Dragon Boat Festival, one of the most important annual festivals in the Chinese-speaking world. If you happen to travel along Taiwan’s north coast, make sure to stop at Liu Family’s Rou Zong, a shop well known for delicious zongzi .

Liu Family’s Rou Zong ( 劉家肉粽 ) Add: No. 58-18, Kanzijiao, Shimen District, New Taipei City ( 新北市石門區崁子腳 58-18 號 ) Tel: (02) 2638-0888 Hours: 10am-7pm Website: (Chinese)


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Liu Family’s Rou Zong


Fu Sheng Hao Rice Cake

Rice bowl cake by Fu Sheng Hao

English and Chinese bian dang 便當 chi fan 吃飯 China Grain Products Research & Development Institute 華穀類食品工業技術研究所 Chishang 池上 Dazhi 大直 Dragon Boat Festival 端午節 fan 飯 Gabriel Chang 張傳卿 Keelung River 基隆河 lu rou fan 魯肉飯 migao 米糕 Nanjichang Night Market 南機場夜市 rouzong 肉粽 wange 碗粿 zongzi 粽子 zhu fan 煮飯 zhu xie gao 豬血糕

Wange – Rice Bowl Cake

Akin to rice pudding, only savory, wange is a simple mixture of rice flour and water steamed and served with salty condiments such as onion gravy, meat, and shiitake mushroom. Though the texture draws comparisons with that of local radish cake, it is served steamed, not fried. Though a little difficult to find, this very traditional and homely light snack is well worth trying.

Fu Sheng Hao Rice Cake ( 富盛號碗粿 ) Add: No. 8, Lane 333, Sec. 3, Ximen Rd., Zhongxi District, Tainan City ( 台南市中西區西門路 3 段 333 巷 8 號 ) Tel: (06) 227-4101 Hours: 7am-5:30pm (closed Mon)

The city of Tainan in southern Taiwan is a great place to indulge in traditional snack-food dishes. A well-known eatery selling wange is Fu Sheng Hao Rice Cake. Migao – Rice Cake

Migao seems to be a random selection of all favorite Taiwanese foods combined together. Layered with meat, soy-braised minced pork, mushrooms, sometimes dried shrimp, and sticky glutinous rice, it can be served with pork floss, cucumber slices, or coriander and drizzled with sesame sauce, or a delicious red sauce with ingredients no one seems to be sure of. Hearty, rich, gooey, and filling, the mysterious spices and ingredients in migao make it a tantalizing treat.

Xiao Di Tongzi Migao ( 曉迪筒仔米糕 ) Add: Lane 307, Sec. 2, Zhonghua Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City ( 台北市中正區中華路二段 307 巷 ) Tel: (02) 0935-287-168 Hours: 11:30am-10:30pm

One of Taipei’s best-known migao shops can be found in Taipei’s Nanjichang Night Market – Xiao Di Tongzi Migao. Lu Rou Fan – Taiwanese Braised Meat Rice

No matter where you go in Taiwan, you will find yourself in places where you’ll see people eating bowls of white rice topped with a glistening gravy of pork-belly mince. This is the epitome of Taiwanese home-style street food, eaten as a meal or as a snack. Despite its simple appearance, locals here are fussy when it comes to the seasonings used in the mix. One of the most famous places for it in Taipei is Jin Feng Braised Meat Rice, near Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall.

Jin Feng Braised Meat Rice ( 金峰魯肉飯 ) Add: No. 10, Sec. 1, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市中正區羅斯福路 1 段 10 號 ) Hours: 8am-1am daily

Lu Rou Fan by Jin Feng

Zhu Xie Gao – Pig’s Blood Cake

For many visitors, the idea of eating rice mixed with pig’s blood and molded into a cake is nothing short of off-putting. However, the pig’s blood is more for texture, and has no offending flavor. The cake is great for those who enjoy chewy, mochi-like consistency. For taste, zhu xie gao is seasoned in a soy-sauce stew and, when served, slathered in more sauce topped with finely crushed peanuts and coriander. Served steamed or fried and placed on a stick, it makes a filling street snack. You can find it in virtually every night market. Travel in Taiwan



The Marble-ous Creations of Black Tailors Innovative Design – Cultural-Creative Products Made in Taiwan


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Fashionable products by Black Tailors


aiwan’s cultural-creative design industry has exploded over the last decade. Many factors have been involved. The country’s younger generation is today less willing to join large and mid-sized enterprises, fearful of losing their identity to corporate regimentation, with many opting to open boutique ventures, from cafés to design studios, where they can be their own boss and both explore and express their personalities to the full. There has also been a systematic campaign by local government to renovate heritage sites, with the policy to have such assets become fully or at least partially financially self-sustaining by having forprofit businesses on site. This has created much new space for culturalcreative boutiques and markets. The burgeoning sector was declared one of Taiwan’s “emerging industries” in 2009, with central government seed-money funding created. More and more design-theme markets, exhibitions, and trade fairs, large and small, are being staged. And e-commerce promotion & purchase platforms have emerged. Local cultural-creative designers are now winning ever more recognition on the global stage, including regular iF, red dot, and other design awards. We here present three names we think you should know about – design enterprises that have earned a bright cachet among both design-world sophisticates and cultured shoppers. Black Tailors

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Maggie Song, Black Tailors, Balance Wu Design

Since time immemorial, marble has been seen as the epitome of elegance. Now you can carry about “slabs” of marble as personaladornment fashion statements, which at the same time capture the essence of Taiwan’s character.

The Black Tailors ( studio is just a short walk from MRT Nanshijiao Station in New Taipei City’s Zhonghe District. It is in the same building complex that one of the co-founders, Tom Cheng, grew up in, and family remain all about. Cheng and Salem Hung, his business partner, create chic, minimalist marble-look items that have quickly garnered solid attention domestically and internationally since their design boutique was launched, just last year. The team takes practical everyday items and recasts them as elegant, sophisticated fashion accessories; members of their ever-expanding repertoire include bags, purses, passport holders, notebook cases, wallets, card holders and albums, and cellphone cases. The studio’s Marble Pouch series has been recognized with a prestigious Cultural and Creative Excellence Award – Special Trends this year. Tom Cheng and Salem Hung

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Why “Black Tailors,” and why marble?

Hakka Blue

“It’s easiest to answer the two questions at the same time,” says Tom. “We were both enjoying successful design-industry careers before starting Black Tailors, but we were working for others, bringing their ideas and dreams to fruition. We found that the yearning to break free, so that we could express ourselves unfettered, stamping our own identity, eventually grew overpowering.” “We wanted to create contemporary accessories that at the same time possess a quintessentially Taiwanese character,” says Salem, “and after various false starts, we quite serendipitously hit upon our marble look. Taiwan’s Hualien area, where the famed Taroko Gorge is located, is one of the world’s major producers of marble. [The gorge’s walls are lined with it, and Hualien City is thus nicknamed the ‘City of Marble,’ as well as the ‘Homeland of Stone’ because it also produces jade and rose stone.] Though not used quite so pervasively today, for many Taiwanese Hualien marble has been a ubiquitous presence in their lives – used in the floors and walls of schools and other public buildings, in homes, in household decorations … everywhere.” Tom adds that there’s also another angle. “In big modern cities we’re immersed in neutral colors, or monotones. Lots of grays, lots of blacks. We’ve brought in the neutral colors of marble – which has a lot of blacks, in both seams and bases – which helps our personal accessories blend into your urban environment seamlessly as gracefully understated yet boldly confident fashion statements. There’s the ‘black’ in ‘Black Tailors.’” “As for ‘Tailors,” says Salem, “there are two angles. All our products are created by our own hands, just as a tailor brings pride and craftsmanship to his own work. And our wide array of products and marble patterns allows our customers to freely mix and match, thus ‘custom-tailoring’ their selections to declare their unique individual personalities.”

Hakka Blue ( ; Chinese), which has its studio in Miaoli County’s Gongguan Township, is a ceramics producer with a dedicated sales outlet located in Taipei’s heritage-rich Dadaocheng community, in the old city section by the Tamsui River. It is in ArtYard 67, a renovated building erected in 1923 as home for Taiwan’s first Western-style pharmacy, a Watson’s pharmacy outlet (with “A.S.Watson & Co.” still on the façade). The brand name “Hakka Blue” was inspired by the indigo-blue color so closely identified with the traditional attire of the Hakka people, a Han Chinese minority. Indigo dye is in fact used in the glazes of many of its pieces. The designs evoke traditional Chinese themes, not solely Hakka, with elements also adopted from elsewhere in East Asia and further afield – deliberately so, says Hakka Blue, to celebrate the welcoming openness that defines Taiwan’s culture. Hakka Blue creators then bring modern aesthetic flourishes to their inspirations. Pieces range from teaware to cups/mugs to lighting to jewelry cases.

Black Tailors creates its one-of-a-kind marble look using a unique, and quite ingenious, technique. A producer in Hualien grinds waste marble into a rough granular powder, which is then mixed with a special adhesive and pressurized to create a lightweight, pliable marble-pattern fabric. This is cut and sewn onto the felt and leather accessory bodies. The exterior of the finished products is richly textured, with both the look and feel of finely cut stone. Four marble patterns are currently offered, with plans to add more: Valakas (white), Protopo (black), Travertine (gray), and Serpentine (green). The duo targets the market segment of consumers aged 25-35, but says there is significant interest from other segments as well. Says Tom: “We’ve noted that, as you’d expect, women opt for the lighter-color patterns, men for the darker. Yet less expectedly, our customers don’t automatically choose the same color/pattern for all items purchased. Each type of item fits into their life in a different manner, and carries different meaning, thus ‘demanding’ its own color/pattern as decided by the buyer.” Says Salem: “We’ve also noticed that many Taiwan customers specifically choose our products for their nostalgia-inducing effect, saying how they enjoy the flashbacks of youthful days experienced by having our accessories about. And we’ve found especially keen interest from Japanese customers, who strongly associate marble with Taiwan. Westerners, on the other hand, seem fascinated with our unique aesthetics/technique combination.” 44

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One Hakka Blue item that graces this writer’s own home is the Dumplings Set, a set of delicate white-porcelain condiment containers shaped like the renowned traditional Chinese steamed dumplings called xiaolongbao . They are fired at 1,250 degrees Celsius, ensuring perfect sealing; Hakka Blue guarantees no chemical leakage. The glaze features fine cracking, like cracked eggshells or ice, a classic Chinese technique. Balance Wu Design Another award-winning young cultural-creative enterprise is Balance Wu Design ( ), based in Taipei. “Balance Wu” is the name of one of the co-founders – family name Wu, self-chosen English name Balance. This is a multi-talented, multi-domain outfit, engaged in product design, product/company branding services, and exhibition services. In product design, the firm concentrates on aesthetically pleasing daily-use items, seeking “balance between design and life,” emphasizing 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recyle) design and manufacture, and showcasing “Made in Taiwan” manufacturing as assurance of the highest quality. Its product range leaps from wall stickers and erasers to wallets, playing cards, notebook cases, speakers, and much else. The firm’s unique, award-winning SOWOOD Bluetooth Speakers feature an eco-friendly casing of cork instead of plastic. Cork is a renewable, harvested every nine years without harm to the tree. The attractive doughnut-shaped MP3 speakers are USB-rechargeable, and despite being ultra-light produce strong sound volume with superior fidelity.


SOWOOD by Balance Wu Design

Bluetooth speaker by Balance Wu Design

White-porcelain condiment containers by Hakka Blue Retail Locations Here are key, easy-to-visit locations where you can browse and buy Black Tailors, Hakka Blue, and Balance Wu Design offerings. Information on other locations is available on the design firms’ respective websites.

Black Tailors MOCArt Shop of Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei (MOCA 藝術商店 ) Add: No. 39, Chang’an W. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區長安西路 39 號 ) Tel: (02) 2552-3721 Website: Goods of Desire (G.O.D. 住好啲 ) Add: No. 33, 181 Ln., Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Da'an Dist.,Taipei City ( 台北市大安區忠孝東路四段 181 巷 33 號 ) Tel: (02) 2711-3686 Website:

Marais ( 瑪黑家居選物 ) Add: No. 24, 9 Ln., Songlong Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市信義區松隆路 9 巷 24 號 ) Tel: (02) 8787-8868 Website: (Chinese)

Balance Wu Design ( 吳協衡設計 ) Au.Dot Art and Design Shop (Flagship Store) Add: 1F, No. 9, Aly. 2, Ln. 345, Sec. 4, Ren’ai Rd., Da'an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區仁愛路四段 345 巷 2 弄 9 號 1 樓 ) Tel: (02) 8773-7724 Website:

Hakka Blue ( 台客藍 ) ArtYard 67 ( 民藝埕 ) Add: No. 67, Sec. 1, Dihua St., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區迪化街一段 67 號 ; 小藝埕 ) Tel: (02) 2552-1338 Website: English and Chinese ArtYard 67 小藝埕 Dumplings Set 小籠包調味組 Gongguan 公館 Marble Pouch 大理石收納袋 Salem Hung 洪天彧 Taroko Gorge 太魯閣峽谷 Tom Cheng 鄭洪 xiaolongbao 小籠包

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Yuanshan Park Area

Fine Arts Park Area

Dajia Riverside Park


Lin An-Tai Historical House & Museum


Rainbow Bridge Raohe Street Tourist Night Market


t takes no more than an hour to cycle this YuanshanSongshan route. But if you factor in the stops we recommend here, you could easily make this into a pleasant half-day or even full-day trip. As a half-day trip, we recommend starting in the afternoon so that you can enjoy the sunset from the Rainbow Bridge and then eat at Raohe Street Night Market. You also want to avoid doing this trip on a Monday, when several of the en route attractions are closed. Arriving at MRT Yuanshan Station, you can grab a bicycle from the YouBike rental station about 50 meters down Kulun Street from Exit 2. Start your tour by visiting two of Taipei’s most interesting temples, which happen to be right next to each other. To get to the Taipei Confucius Temple, follow Kulun Street and turn right when you reach Dalong Street; the entrance is on the right. This temple is unlike the average Taiwanese temple in that it features a simple, uncluttered design. Neighboring Bao’an Temple is a classic example of traditional Chinese temple architecture, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship in the intricate details displayed on every surface. 46

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At Dajia Riverside Park in Taipei


Are you interested in taking advantage of Taipei’s extensive YouBike system, but don’t know where to begin? If you’ve been in downtown Taipei for more than an hour, you’ll surely have seen cyclists casually pedaling by on chic, Giantmanufactured yellow-and-orange bikes. In this article we’ve mapped out a simple beginner’s route that takes in some of the best scenery, culture, and eating options this metropolis has to offer, connecting great parks, temples, and museums around MRT Yuanshan Station, the riverside parks along the Keelung River, and the area around MRT Songshan Station, including Ciyou Temple and Raohe Street Night Market.

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Yuanshan Park Area East of MRT Yuanshan Station lie three large parks worthy of exploration, together referred to as Taipei Expo Park since they (along with one other adjacent park) served as venue for the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition. Many of the flower gardens and buildings created for the expo remain, and can still be enjoyed. Right beside the met ro station is the Yuanshan Park Area. If you are visiting on the weekend, you can start by perusing local agricultural produce and specialty goods at the open-air farmers’ market (Sat/Sun 10am-6pm) set up next to the EXPO Dome. There you can also visit Maji Maji (also known as Maji2 or Maji Square), which in recent times has

Fine Arts Park Area Continuing beyond Maji Maji, you’ll pass the Pavilion of New Fashion, also called the FE EcoARK, an imposing structure constructed of bamboo and PET bottles. Regular exhibitions are held in the building, which is naturally lit and air-conditioned. Crossing Zhongshan North Road will then take you into the Fine Arts Park Area. Head left to visit the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (admission NT$30, Tue-Fri 9:30am5:30pm; weekends/holidays 9:30am-8:30pm; free admission after 5pm Sat), one of the city’s best museums. Beside its entrance area you’ll also find the Taipei Story House (NT$50; Tue-Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mon.), a restored British Tudorstyle mansion in which various exhibits on “the Taipei story” are staged. In the Fine Arts Park Area there’s also a free indigenoustheme museum called the Indigenous Cultural Center, flower displays, and ponds. To complete your tour of Taipei Expo Park, cycle through the fairytale-like Floral Tunnel and over the eco-friendly Solar Bridge, then cross Xinsheng North Road to reach the third section, the Xinsheng Park Area. Here you’ll encounter wide-open spaces, more flower displays, a botanical garden, and the Pavilion of Dreams, home to a café that is a fine spot to stop for a drink.


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become one of Taipei’s hippest hangouts. The airy covered square includes an upscale grocery (Maji Food & Deli; daily 11am-9:30pm), a bagel shop, an “international food street” (Mon-Thu 11:30am8:30pm; Fri 11:30am-9:30pm; weekends/holidays 10:30am9:30pm), featuring French, Mexica n, I ndia n, Korea n, Japanese, Thai and, of course, Taiwa nese snack foods, a me r r y-go -rou nd (r u n n i ng weekend afternoons only), the Triangle nightclub, a craft beer shop, a creative market (MonThu 2pm-9pm; Fri 2pm-10pm; Sat/holidays noon-10pm; Sun noon-9pm), and restaurantp u b s (s e r v i n g E n g l i s h , Argentinean, and indigenous Taiwanese foods).


Lin An Tai Historical House & Museum North of the Pavilion of Dreams, cross Binjiang Street to reach the Lin An Tai Historical House & Museum (free admission, Tue-Sun 9am to 5pm, closed Mon), a gorgeously restored traditional south Fujian courtyard-style residence. If the complex seems oddly situated, that’s because decades ago it was saved from destruction in its original location on Siwei Road, and rebuilt here.

Dajia Riverside Park Next, follow Lane 5 beside the complex to reach the Lin An Tai Evacuation Gate (No. 10 Water Gate), through which you can access Dajia Riverside Park. This lovely green expanse on the southern bank of the Keelung River between Zhongshan and Dazhi bridges is renowned as the venue for the annual Spring Wave Music and Art Festival and Taipei’s Dragon Boat Festival races. If lucky, you’ll get to see dragon-boat paddlers practicing near Dazhi Bridge. This park also features a 75-meterhigh water fountain which, when running, is a sight to behold, with the iconic Grand Hotel in the background across the river.

Along the river, moving east, south, and then east again, Dajia connects to Yingfeng and then Guanshan riverside parks. The sheer size of the open green spaces, created in part to give floodwaters a place to go, almost makes you forget you are in the middle of Taipei, except for the impressive wall of buildings of the Dazhi and Neihu areas bordering the opposite bank. Keep an eye out for the 70-meter-high Ferris wheel across the way, atop Miramar Entertainment Park. The loveliest stretch of river here spans the border of the Dajia and Yingfeng parks, where the bicycle path is right beside the river.

Rainbow Bridge The path is flat for most of this journey, so you’ll barely break into a sweat before reaching the Rainbow Bridge and nearby Raohe Night Street Market, close to MRT Songshan Station. Pedestrianonly Rainbow Bridge is not in fact rainbow-colored; it is red, featuring a steel arch that is likened to the shape of a dragon leaping the river. This is a pretty spot to watch the sunset, and couples might have trouble resisting the temptation to take a romantic selfie beside the large steel sculpture of the word “LOVE” by the riverside path, with the illuminated bridge in the background. It’s now time to return your bike and reward yourself for your cycling effort by gorging on local delicacies at Raohe Street Tourist Night Market, which is a two-minute walk down Lane 221 from Rainbow Bridge. The nearest YouBike station is on the eastbound section of Civic Boulevard just south of Songshan Railway Station, about two blocks away.

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Songshan Ciyou Temple Before entering the 600-meter-long street in which the market is set up in the evening, you’ll want to first pop into Songshan Ciyou Temple, Taipei’s most renowned temple devoted to Mazu, Goddess of the Sea. The premises feature over a hundred deity statues, spread over six floors, with the ones at the top being the most impressive. The temple was recently restored, with a colorful new frieze added to the sides and back of the main Mazu shrine on the first floor. Rainbow Bridge, mentioned above, offers an interesting view of the back of the temple.

Renting a YouBike Find the nearest YouBike rental station at taipei. (or download the free YouBike app for your smartphone). You can rent a bike using a credit card (Visa/MasterCard/JCB) or an EasyCard. If using a credit card, choose a bike at the kiosk of a bike-rental station and then pull your bike from the parking dock within 90 seconds (green indicator light will be blinking). You don’t need to swipe the card after returning the bike (indicator light will switch from blue to green). If you want to use an EasyCard, register the card at the kiosk or online to become a member (you’ll need a local phone number for validation). Then swipe the card over a parking dock’s sensor before pulling out the bike (wait for green light to blink), as well as after pushing it back in after your ride (light will switch from blue to green after process is completed). The first four hours the rate is NT$10 per 30 minutes, between 4 and 8 hours it’s NT$20, and after 8 hours it’s NT$40.

English & Chinese Bao’an Temple 保安宮 Chen Dong Ribs Stewed in Medicinal Herbs 陳董藥燉排骨 Dajia Riverside Park 大佳河濱公園 Fuzhou Shizu Black Pepper Buns 福州世祖胡椒餅 Keelung River 基隆河 Kulun Street 庫倫街 Lin An Tai Historical House & Museum 林安泰古厝 Rainbow Bridge 彩虹橋 Raohe Street Tourist Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市 Songshan Ciyou Temple 松山慈祐宮 Taipei Confucius Temple 台北孔廟 Taipei Expo Park 花博公園

Raohe Street Tourist Night Market This night market is one of Taipei’s most famous, and many visitors say that it feels more authentic and less touristy than some of the bigger ones. The market’s most famous stall, evidenced by the long lineup even before the rest of the market really gets going, is Fuzhou Shi zu Black Pepper Buns, right at the east-


Travel in Taiwan

end entrance near the temple. At the center, another popular choice is Chen Dong Ribs Stewed in Medicinal Herbs. The best time to visit Raohe is just after sunset, before it gets too crowded. Then, with your legs sore and belly full, it’s only a two-minute walk to exit 1, 2, or 5 of MRT Songshan Station.

Google Map with info


Discovering Taiwan

Without Leaving the Airport A Tour of Taiwan Taoyuan International If you walk through Taiwan’s largest airport you will find that the terminals are a convenient, intellectually stimulating, cultural-tour microcosm of Taiwan, allowing you to truly enjoy your stay at the island’s most important gateway.


f you spend any time at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on your next trip to Taiwan, Ever Rich Duty Free guarantees that you will have zero down time while there. It has designed an expansive duty-free space, which encompasses Terminals 1 and 2 and the long corridors connecting the two, as a giant square gallery of cultural edu-tainment for your exploration. This is a sparkling showcase of the world’s most prestigious brands and a microcosm of Taiwan’s traditional culture and modern culturalcreative dynamism.

Passageways Ever Rich maintains the interconnecting passageways, beautifying all in accordance with iconic Taiwan-culture themes. Make sure to take a look at the Wall of Literature, in Terminal 1, where calligraphy-covered walls have been created by a renowned Taiwan calligrapher and award-winning music lyricist. Elsewhere, you’ll see walls teeming with foliage; look closely and you’ll see thousands of individually tended pots.

Waiting Lounges Each lounge has been made an aesthetic showcase of a single iconic element in Taiwan’s cultural mosaic. A dynamic marquee wall greets you on entry, boldly announcing the theme, and inside is specially commissioned artwork, accompanied by a kiosk with

explanatory video and printed Chinese/English background info. Among the most compelling is the Taiwan Aboriginal Arts lounge (A6), where indigenous artist Siki Sufin has used three classic native mediums, driftwood, rattan, and bamboo, in a powerful wall-art display of traditional artistic motifs.

“Taiwan Famous Products” Shops What better way to experience Taiwan than to buy an iconic culture sample to take home as souvenir? At Taiwan Image (C6) you’ll see a large map-poster showing Taiwan’s score upon score of “famous products” made in each locality – pineapple cakes, nougat candy, Hakka-style floral fabrics, etc. Almost all, purchasable in souvenir form, are available in the duty-free area.

Eating Taiwan’s Traditional Food Culture Ever Rich’s homee Kitchen restaurant serves a delicious menu of Taiwan-classic culinary creations. The chef’s special is gourmet beef noodles. Among the hot-snack dishes beloved by locals are Tainan danzai (“carrying-pole”) noodles, braised pork rice, wonton soup, and other delicious specialties. As well, keep an eye out along the corridors for the old-style street-vendor carts, where samples of other fresh-made classic treats are “hawked,” such as pork crisps, pineapple cakes, and egg rolls.


Baguashan's Great Buddha

Text: Richard Saunders Photos: Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area Administration, Vision


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hanghua, the smallest county on the main island of Taiwan, has a rich history, boasting two of the island’s oldest urban settlements, Changhua and Lugang. The low-lying, sunbaked plains around the history-deep town of Lugang, once one of Taiwan’s most important ports, feature a mosaic of large manmade salt-extraction pools, reminders of an industry that once flourished here. Some of Taiwan’s finest Qing- and Japanese-era buildings can be found in the town. Changhua City and its surrounding area are easily accessible from other parts of Taiwan by the conventional railway and intercity bus services. A Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) station is a few miles to the south of the city, near the town of Tianzhong. Getting around this largely flat county by bike is a pleasure, thanks to an excellent network of bike routes, and scooters can be hired from opposite Changhua Railway Station.

Stone lion

Elevated walkway

Though it may at first seem a flat, scenically uneventful region, there’s some fine hiking here, courtesy of an interesting anomaly: a narrow 32km-long ridge, known as Baguashan (Mt. Bagua), that stretches the length of the county from Changhua City in the north to the border with neighboring Nantou and Yunlin counties in the south. The ridge forms one-third of the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area ( ), established in 2001 to protect the cultural, scenic, and ecological assets of three regions in central Taiwan: Baguashan in Changhua County, Lion’s Head Mountain in Miaoli County, and the rural Lishan and Guguan areas in eastern Taichung City. It’s just a 20-minute walk from central Changhua City to the northernmost point of the ridge, where you can visit one of the region’s most famous tourist sights: the Great Buddha, an enormous, gleaming-black, sitting Shakyamuni Buddha, which can be seen from miles away and announces the city long before you reach its streets. Start at the Changhua Confucius Temple in the center of the city (the second-oldest temple dedicated to the Great Sage in Taiwan), head east, walk through a large ornamental gate beside the city library into Dongmin Street, and then turn left onto

Baguashan Skywalk

Guashan Road, which climbs uphill. Take the steps on the left at the first bend, passing the exit of the air-raid shelter complex housing the fascinating 1895 Baguashan Anti-Japanese Martyrs’ Museum, which documents the biggest battle fought during the 1895 Japanese occupation of Taiwan. Stone paths climb through the woods past the attractive arched, stone-built Silver Bridge and an artificial waterfall to join a road beside a large installation artwork made of metal called the Poetry Wall, just below the Great Buddha. Standing 22m tall from the base of the lotus throne to the top of the head, the Great Buddha is Changhua’s most famous tourist draw. Finished in 1962 (after nearly a decade of work), it’s made of reinforced concrete and is hollow, with six floors inside, the first three containing exhibits detailing the life and work of the Buddha. Guarding the enormous statue is a pair of huge stone lions, and in front of them is a wide staircase that leads down to the attractive Nine Dragon Fountain and to an elevated walkway that traces a semi-circle and offers commanding 180-degree views over Changhua City and beyond. For a closer view over Baguashan itself, try Changhua’s newest attraction, the Baguashan Skywalk, which opened in July. It starts near the Great Buddha and winds eastwards for a kilometer, first over parkland and buildings, then over natural woodland beyond, to finish at the National Changhua Living Art Center. Gray-faced buzzards stop in this area for a few days every spring (around the spring equinox in March), at which time a large birdwatching event is held. There’s a visitor center on Guashan Travel in Taiwan



Qingjing Farm

Tea plantation Qingshuiyan Temple

Road, a 10-minute walk east of the Great Buddha, located just after the plaque announcing the humble Mt. Bagua summit (97m). The center has a section with info (in English) on the buzzards and their annual migration through the area, along with a couple of impressive overhead models of the beautiful birds. Next to the Mt. Bagua summit plaque, an ornamental white gate marks the entrance to the 1895 Anti-Japanese Martyrs’ Memorial Park. Inside are two Qing-dynasty cannons, the only remaining elements from a fort that once stood here. The biggest battle during the 1895 Japanese occupation of Taiwan – and the biggest battle ever fought on Taiwanese soil – took place here in August 1895, when the Japanese attacked local forces dug in on the slopes of the ridge,


Travel in Taiwan

Mt. Heng trail

killing over a thousand defenders. In 1965 a total of 679 human skeletons were unearthed nearby, believed to be the remains of locals who died here during the fierce battle against the occupying army. The battle is recounted in the earlier-mentioned 1895 Baguashan Anti-Japanese Martyrs’ Museum, passed on the left during the stroll up to the Great Buddha. The museum (free admission; closed Mondays) provides an introduction to the event, and although in Chinese only, there are lots of photos and audio-visuals which make it a vivid experience even for non-Chinese-speakers. The museum is laid out in part of the network of air-raid shelters and tunnels that riddle the hillside; the museum exit is beside the start of the steps up to the Great Buddha.



Great Buddha Biking in Baguashan

From the Great Buddha, the narrow, wooded Baguashan ridge stretches south for about 30km, and is best explored on a bike, along one of the excellent bike routes that crisscross the low-lying hills and total about 100km in length. Public bikes (from Changhua’s YouBike system) can be rented in several places around Changhua City, and at numerous spots around the national scenic area southeast of the city. While cyclists could cover almost the entire ridge in a day’s peddling, visitors preferring to explore its gentle beauty on foot should head to the area around Mt. Heng. About 20km south of the Great Buddha, Mt. Heng (442m) is the highest point of the Baguashan ridge. It’s just a short walk to the summit from County Road 139 (the road that runs along the entire length of the ridge), but that walk can be extended to a pleasant ramble of several hours by connecting together several other trails that also lead onto the ridge from Qingshuiyan Temple, a kilometer or two to the west at the foot of the hills. 56

Travel in Taiwan

One path climbs up through the woods to the summit of Mt. Heng directly, while another, the Shibawan Historic Trail, takes a different route up onto the ridge further to the south. From the top, return along the Zhongyangling Trail to complete an attractive and easy loop hike of about 4km. Mt. Heng is one of two summits along the Baguashan ridge included on Taiwan’s “Little Hundred Peaks” list. This humbler counterpart to the more famous Hundred Peaks (which include Yushan or Mt. Jade, the highest peak in northeast Asia; all of these are over 3,000m) was drawn up by the Executive Yuan Sports Commission in 2003, listing a hundred distinctive summits that are climbable in a day. The second peak on the list, Mt. Songbokeng, at the southern tip of the Baguashan ridge, stands above an important tea-growing area famous for its Oolong tea. A network of signposted paths can be explored here, including the short, easy walk to the 430m-high summit itself, or past rows of neatly clipped camellia bushes along the quiet roads of the Fragrant Tea Trail.

English and Chinese 1895 Anti-Japanese Martyrs’ Memorial Park 1895 抗日烈士紀念公園 1895 Baguashan Anti-Japanese Martyrs’ Museum 1895 八卦山抗日 保台史蹟館 Baguashan 八卦山 Great Buddha 大佛 Changhua Confucius Temple 彰化孔廟 National Changhua Living Art Center 國立彰化生活美學館 Dongmin Street 東民街 Fragrant Tea Trail 茶香步道 Gongyuan Road 公園路 Guashan Road 卦山路 Guguan 谷關 Lion’s Head Mountain 獅頭山 Lishan 梨山 “Little Hundred Peaks” 小百岳 Lugang 鹿港 Mt. Heng 橫山 Mt. Songbokeng 松柏坑山 Qingshuiyan Temple 清水岩寺 Shibawan Historic Trail 十八彎步道 Tianzhong 田中 Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area 參山國家風景區 Zhongyangling Trail 中央嶺步道

Thank you, Taiwan Panorama, for the light you have shone upon this land for so many years. (Jullian Chu, New Taipei City)

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40 years, I have a particular fondness for Taiwan Panorama because it offers content like National Geographic, writing like Time, and a layout like Fortune. (Kent Wang, USA)

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劃撥帳號: 01281065 戶名: 外交部光華畫報雜誌 訂閱價: 一年期 NT$1500 訂購專線: 02-2397-0655 電郵地址: 網址:

Thank you for accompanying us on Taiwan Panorama’s 40-year journalistic odyssey. The heartfelt letters we have received have encouraged us to be bold in launching the magazine onto the next leg of its journey, and we look forward to traveling with you for years to come....

Talk in Taiwan

多少錢? Helpful Chinese for Shopping in Taiwan Illustration: Andy Chang


et's get right to it. You most certainly want to know the price of items you are interested in buying, before taking out your wallet. For this info, in Taiwan you need to ask the vendor duoshao qian ? ( 多少錢 ?; lit.: how much money?). To understand the answer, you need to know your numbers in Chinese, of course. A typical answer for a cheap item could be yibai kuai ( 一百塊 ; one hundred kuai ), or yibai yuan ( 一百元 ; one hundred yuan ), with both kuai and yuan referring to the New Taiwan Dollar (NT$). If looking for bargains, the Chinese character you want to keep an eye out for in shop windows, at department-store bargain racks, or at night-market trinket stands and shops is zhe ( 折 ; lit.: to break, to snap), which is short for da zhe ( 打折 ; to give a discount). The character is usually preceded by a number, for example 5 折 , which means a discount of 50%. Now, what if a sign says 7 折 ? A discount of 70%? No, the answer is 30% (off); the number you see is the percentage of the original price you still have to pay. With 5 折 , you are being told you have to pay half of the original price. So, since the number 5 is already spoken for, how is 5% off expressed? The answer: 95 折 . And since no vendor is ever going to offer you a 95% discount, we’ll save you the trouble of learning how that would be expressed. Apart from discounts, you also want to look out for other special offers. Mai yi song yi ( 買一送一 ) means “buy 1, get 1 free,” and di er jian ban jia ( 第二件半價 ) means that if you buy


Travel in Taiwan

two you get the second item for halfprice. If you come across the characters 免費 (mian fei ; lit.: exempt from cost/ fee), something is available gratis, such as mianfei fuwu ( 免費服務 ; free service) or mianfei kafei ( 免費咖啡 ; free coffee). Bargaining or haggling, called shajia ( 殺價 ; lit.: to kill the price), is not common in Taiwan, even in night markets, but you can certainly give it a try when buying a bunch of cheap items in certain smaller shops, or expensive items for which the value might be difficult to determine, such as precious stones at a jade market. If you want a lower price, ask Keyi pianyi yidian ma ? ( 可以便宜一點嗎 ?; can it be a bit cheaper?). If you want to pay with a credit card, called a xinyongka ( 信用卡 ), you can ask the vendor Keyi yong xinyongka ma ? ( 可以用信用卡嗎 ?; can I use a credit card?). Another way to pay is using an EasyCard ( 悠遊卡 ; youyouka), a popular stored-value card that is most commonly used for rides on the Taipei Metro system. A large list of designated retailers accept payments using the EasyCard, including major convenience-store chains, major department stores, bookshops, cafés, and so on. If in doubt, just ask the staff behind the counter: Keyi yong youyouka ma ? ( 可以用 悠遊卡嗎 ?; can I use an EasyCard?).

Hotels of Taiwan North Taoyuan City

Taipei City

Keelung City

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

New Taipei City

Hsinchu City Hsinchu County

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

Yilan County

Miaoli County

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

Taichung City

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

Central Changhua County Yunlin County

Nantou County

have in common is that serve and hospitality are always of the highest standards. The room rates in the following list have been checked for

Hualien County

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

Chiayi City Chiayi County

hotels apply.

Tainan City Kaohsiung City

Taitung County





Pintung County

Central Taiwan





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





華 泰 王子大 飯 店




Taipei 台 北

Taipei 台 北

No. of Rooms: 220

No. of Rooms: 81

No. of Rooms: 203

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

Room Rates: Studio Room Single/ Twin NT$ 8,000 / 9,000 Park View Room Single/ Twin NT$ 8,800 / 9,800 Studio Suite Single/ Twin NT$ 12,600 / 13,600 Park View Suite Double NT$ 20,000 / 21,000 Penthouse Double NT$ 50,000

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

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

Desk Personnel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese restaurants: Dining Lounge (Buffet Breakfast, Free Beverage and Light Snack for Room Guests) sPecial Features: A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Showcase of contemporary Taiwanese art collections, Personal secretarial assistance, Fitness center, Free wireless internet, Free rental of cell phone, Complimentary shoeshine service, 37” LCD TV, Pants presser& Suit rack, Multi-Functional Printer, Sunken Bathtub

Taipei 台 北

Hsinchu 新 竹

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

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

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Chinese RestauRaNts: Rain Forest, Garden Terrace, Lounge 81, Tic-Tac-Toe Café sPecial featuRes: Business Center, Multifunctional Room, Fitness Club, Outdoor Pool, Sauna, Spa, Aromatherapy, Car Park



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

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

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

128 Nanjing East Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei City, 104 104台北市南京東路一段128號 Tel: 02.2511.5185 Fax: 02.2511.1585 E-mail:

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

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

Travel in Taiwan






Taipei 台 北


Taipei 台 北

53 HOTEL 寶島53行館

No. of Rooms: 81

No. of Rooms: 160

No. of Rooms: 500 (Suites: 57)

No. of Rooms: 70

Room Rates: Studio Room Single/ Twin NT$ 8,000 / 9,000 Park View Room Single/ Twin NT$ 8,800 / 9,800 Studio Suite Single/ Twin NT$ 12,600 / 13,600 Park View Suite Double NT$ 20,000 / 21,000 Penthouse Double NT$ 50,000

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

Room Rates: Single/DBL Suite

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

Desk Personnel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese restaurants: Dining Lounge (Buffet Breakfast, Free Beverage and Light Snack for Room Guests) sPecial Features: A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Showcase of contemporary Taiwanese art collections, Personal secretarial assistance, Fitness center, Free wireless internet, Free rental of cell phone, Complimentary shoeshine service, 37” LCD TV, Pants presser& Suit rack, Multi-Functional Printer, Sunken Bathtub


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

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

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

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

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

Taichung 台 中


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

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

128 Nanjing East Rd., Sec. 1, Taipei City, 104 104台北市南京東路一段128號 Tel: 02.2511.5185 Fax: 02.2511.1585 E-mail:

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

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

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

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

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


Taipei 台 北

Travel in Taiwan

( two minutes from railway station)

Let's experience some exciting traditional Taiwan stage performances!

Not valid with any other offers Offer ends Dec 31, 2016

主辦單位: 贊助指導單位:

Jinzhou St.

g W. Rd. Minshen

Xinsheng N. Rd. Sec. 2



Tel: +886-2-2568-2677 E-Mail: Add: Cement Hall at Taiwan Cement Building, 113, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., Taipei City(Jinzhou St. entrance)


Linsen N. Rd.

Performances: Mon., Wed., Fri., & Sat. at 20:00 On holiday during Chinese New Year Period from Jan. 15 to Feb. 10, 2017

MinQuan E. Rd. Sec. 1

Jinxi St. Zhongshan N. Rd. Sec. 2

for anyone interested in the amazing performing arts of Taiwan.

MRT Zhongshan Elementary School Station

Minquan W. Rd.

Chengde Rd. Sec. 2

TaipeiEYE stages shows for tourists visiting Taiwan, including folk music, aboriginal dance and music, Peking opera improved by new scenes of dances and martial arts, and much more. English subtitles are provided so that foreign visitors can easily follow the action. The performances at TaipeiEYE are a must-see

MRT Minquan W. Rd. Station

Minsheng E. Rd. MRT Sec. 1 Shuanglian Station

Getting there: Take the MRT to Zhongshan Elementary School Station, then follow Minquan E. Rd. to Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd. (5-min. walk). Or take the MRT to Minquan W. Rd. Station, then follow Minquan E. Rd. to Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd. (8 -min. walk). Or take the MRT to Shuanglian Station, then follow Minsheng E. Rd. to Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd. (8-min. walk) ISSN:18177964


200 NTD

Travel in Taiwan (No.78 2016 11/12 )  
Travel in Taiwan (No.78 2016 11/12 )