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No. 74, 2016


In the North of

ALISHAN Mt. Guanyin

Bicycling Around Fulong

Snacking at the Night Market Dakeng Leisure Farm Kiwit Indigenous Village In Love with Taiwanese Tea

We offer a wide range of summer classes, including art, literature, science, culture, sport, etc., and provide opportunities for students to sample the vibrancy of Taiwanese culture at the heart of Taipei.

Off-Campus Visiting Program

Tought in Chinese!

Mandarin Training Center NTNU

2016 Summer 3 WEEKS EXPRESS PROGRAM Language class

Session 1: 2016. 7.11~7.29 Session 2: 2016. 8.8~8.26 Session 3: 2016. 8.28~9.14 Student Eligibility Adults

Professional Language Courses+ Cultural Exploration + Fun Field Trip + University Campus!

aged 18 to 75

Course Content

Small–sized classes based on students’ levels. ● Daily practical Chinese lessons (3hrs/day) by expert teachers. ● Diverse cultural classes (Chinese tea, Kungfu…etc.) and field trips (Tamsui, Shifen…etc.) are available. ● Taiwanese buddy parties are arranged every week.

How to Apply

Online applications only: http://

Cultural class

Mandarin Training Center NTNU 886-2-7734-5154 FAX: 886-2-2341-8431

Field trip

Welcome to Taiwan! Dear Traveler, The 2016 Spring Festival, aka Chinese New Year, is now a thing of the past, and a new spring has dawned. Taiwan usually only sees snow in its highest mountain reaches, so the land and people know no winter hibernation. However, with the clearly warming weather there is a fresh spring in everyone’s step – time for the adventurous international traveler to get out and see what novel experiences and sensations await on the Taiwan spring-touring menu. Spring bamboo awaits you in our Feature – the edible kind on your plate, and the tall, thickforest kind on your mountain-trail walks. And much else as well. We visit Alishan National Scenic Area’s Northwest Corridor, busy with soaring peaks, “seas of clouds,” Tsou tribe villages and artist/handicraft studios, long-ago-blazed heritage trails, crystalline-liquid waterfalls, birds and butterflies and mountain boars… Yet despite all this “busy-ness,” one key memory you’ll come away with is of intense, wonderful, rejuvenating quiet. Spring bamboo shoots also make a cameo appearance, as do all sorts of other fresh-from-thefields produce, in our Farm Fun section. We visit thriving Dakeng Leisure Farm in the rolling hills of Tainan’s rural Xinhua District, an operation transformed from a family’s chicken farm. This is a getaway idyll of eco-tours, hearty home-cooked meals, and the chance to feed and get to know more about pigs, chickens, and other farm friends. In Rail/Bus/Bike, we spend a breezy day pedaling around Fulong, a popular northeast beachresort town, on the 20km Old Caoling Circle Line Bikeway. In contrast to its bustling, sweltering summertime months, the Fulong of spring is peaceful, with genial temperatures – that means right now, so don’t miss out. Elsewhere, our Tribal Experience time is spent in Kiwit, an Amis Tribe village deep in the Hualien County coastal mountains along the Xiuguluan River, a popular whitewater-rafting destination. This issue’s Easy Hiking quest is the magnificent views on offer up Mt. Guanyin, to the northwest of Taipei City. In Where to Go Tonight and Popular Flavors, we present night-view windows into Taiwan city life, with reports on Taichung’s Fengjia area and on the island’s deliciously colorful night markets. And in Precious Gifts, the subject is Taiwan’s fine teas and teaware, with intros to a selection of our sleek modern-style tea shops. Springtime Taiwan – enjoy the bloom!

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

CONTENTS March ~ April 2016


Taiwan Slang Keelung

— Seaport City of Deep Character

PUBLISHER David W. J. Hsieh Editing Consultant 

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

Where you can pick up a copy of Travel in Taiwan

Wayne Hsi-Lin Liu

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


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台 灣 觀 光 雙 月 刊 Travel in Taiwan The Official Bimonthly English Magazine of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau (Advertisement) March/April, 2016 Tourism Bureau, MOTC First published Jan./Feb., 2004 ISSN: 18177964 GPN: 2009305475 Price: NT$200 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.

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10 Green Tunnel at Ruili, Alishan (photo by Ray Chang)

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42 1 Publisher’s Note 4 Taiwan Tourism Events

6 News & Culture 31 Talk in Taiwan


10 Alishan North

— Thrilling-Vista Mountain Trails and Tradition-Bounteous Tribal Settlements

22 High Up and Away from the World — Sleep, Eat, and Buy Options in Alishan’s North Sector


36 Tea-sing Flavors

— Experiencing Taiwan’s Tea Culture


40 Fengjia and Shizheng Shopping Districts — Places to Go in Two of Taichung’s Busiest Districts


42 A Night at the Market

— Food Adventures Await the Intrepid Gourmand


26 Dakeng Leisure Farm — A Relaxing Encounter with Nature in Tainan


32 Kiwit Community

— An Amis Village on the Banks of Xiuguluan River


46 Mt. Guanyin

— Hiking the Goddess of Mercy Mountain


50 Northeast Coast Loop

— Bicycling around the Beach Resort Village of Fulong


Spring Events 4/3 4/4

Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar website

2016 Spring Wave Music Art Festival 2016 臺北春浪音樂節

Since 2006, the Spring Wave Music & Art Festival has been held every spring around the Qingming Festival (also called Tomb Sweeping Day; April 4 in 2016) at Wuliting Airport, Hengchun Township, not far from the southern tip of the island, with other related activities taking place in and around Kending, the popular beach-resort town a bit further south from the airport. This year the festival venue is being moved to Taipei, to Dajia Riverside Park on the south bank of the Keelung River. During the two-day event a large number of performers from Taiwan and abroad, including many up-and-coming individuals and music groups, will rock the crowds in the heart of the capital, vying to win the Global Spring Wave Awards presented by the organizers each year. Exciting and passionate performances by the young and talented artists are guaranteed. Location: Dajia Riverside Park, Taipei City ( 臺北市大佳河濱公園 ) Website:

4/28 6/23

each Mon./Thur.

Penghu International Fireworks Festival 澎湖國際海上花火節


Taichung City Mazu International Festival 大甲媽祖國際觀光文化節

Photo courtesy of Tourism Department, Penghu County Government

In the evening of a pleasant early-summer day in laid-back Magong, Penghu, head down to the waterfront near the Guanyin Pavilion (a temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy), west of the city center. Sit on a low wall near the water and enjoy a splendid fireworks show (fireworks only on Mondays and Thursdays). The rockets are fired from a breakwater opposite the wall; the colorful lights of the fireworks are beautifully reflected in the water in between. To the left, you see the elegant arched Rainbow Bridge, splendidly illuminated in the evening, adding an artistic architectural touch to the fireworks art (note: a wide-angle lens is needed to get bridge and fireworks in one frame). Accompanying the show is live music presented from a small stage near the temple. Location: Guanyin Pavilion Leisure Park; Jieshou Rd., Magong City, Penghu County ( 觀音亭休閒園區 / 澎湖縣馬公市介壽路 ) Website:


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Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, is the most important deity worshipped in Taiwan, and it is therefore not surprising that her birthday, on the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month (April 29th in 2016), is celebrated in great fashion. The most important event surrounding her birthday is the annual Mazu pilgrimage that starts at Taichung’s Jenn Lann (Zhenlan) Temple and takes pilgrims all the way to Yunlin County’s Xingang Township and back. The pilgrimage can last eight or nine days, and devotees who complete the full trip will walk more than 300 kilometers and visit more than 80 temples. The pilgrimage and the many activities at the temples give visitors a great opportunity to witness the passion and religious verve of the people of Taiwan. Location (pilgrimage start/end): Dajia Jenn Lann Temple; No. 158, Shuntian Rd., Dajia District, Taichung City ( 鎮瀾宮 / 臺中市大甲鎮順天路 158 號 ) Website:

A P R I L ~ J U LY

April May

Hakka Tung Blossom Festival 客家桐花祭

Fulong International Sand July Sculpture Art Festival May


Photo courtesy of Hakka Affairs Council Photographer: Qiu Shu-mei

The tung trees of northeastern Taiwan bloom and turn white in April/May, making them look as if covered with snow. When the blossoms fall to the ground in large number they often create white-flower carpets, much to the delight of the hikers who visit the area forests at this time of year. One excellent location to go for a walk to enjoy tung-tree blossoms is the foothills of Tucheng District in New Taipei City. Further south, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu County, and Miaoli County all have forest areas with high concentrations of tung trees. The governments of almost all cities and counties in Taiwan proper stage a wide variety of activities centered around the tung-tree bloom, many also highlighting Hakka culture. For more information about the festival, visit the excellent official website, which also provides in-season updates on the tung-tree blooms around the island. Website:

6/7 Lukang Dragon Boat Festival 6/12 鹿港慶端陽系列活動

The Dragon Boat Festival is one of the three main traditional festivals in Taiwan, the others being the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Dragon-boat races on rivers around Taiwan, including on stretches of the Keelung River in Taipei City and Xindian River in New Taipei City, are the highlights of the festival. If you happen to be in central Taiwan at this time of the year, consider visiting the old town of Lugang in Changhua County, where official dragon-boat races have been staged for more than 35 years. Apart from watching the exciting contests, you can witness the traditional ceremonies conducted during the festival at the town’s old Longshan and Tianhou temples. Lugang is a place where you are presented with many facets of old Taiwan – historic buildings and narrow alleys, old shops selling traditional handicrafts, and a selection of delicious local delicacies, served unchanged for many generations. Location: Lugang Township and Zhangbin area, Changhua County ( 彰化縣鹿港鎮及彰濱地區 ) Website:

The small village of Fulong on Taiwan’s northeast coast has one of the most attractive and accessible beaches in northern Taiwan. In the early summer the beach becomes an even bigger attraction, when it is the venue for this annual sand-sculpture festival. Each year, professional and amateur sand sculptors from Taiwan and abroad create amazing (both in scale and detail) works of sand art. The festival lasts about two months, with the artworks protected against wind and weather by a special coating. Besides fun on the beach, Fulong also offers a range of other leisure-activity options, including kayaking and bicycling. You can rent bicycles right in front of the village’s railway station, for dedicated-path rides that take you along the coast and through an old railway tunnel (for more about cycling at Fulong, see article on page 50). Location: Fulong Village, Gongliao District, New Taipei City ( 新北市貢寮區福隆里 ) Website:

4/20 4/24

Creative Expo Taiwan 臺灣文博會

Organized by the Taiwan Design Center, this is Taiwan’s largest cultural and creative show. Last year, it featured 600 exhibitors from Taiwan and abroad, who showed off their latest creations and ideas at the event’s three venues. Industrial and graphic applications were showcased at Huashan 1914 Creative Park; creativity, design and lifestyle were the foci at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park; and fashion was on stage at Taipei Expo Park’s Expo Dome. This 5-day event presents visitors with a great opportunity to get an idea of what is currently going on in the cultural-creative circles of Taipei, the World Design Capital 2016, and in similar centers of cultural-creativity around the world. This year, the organizers’ aim is to further connect the three exhibition venues, while also integrating other cultural venues in between, to bring cultural-creativity further out into the streets and neighborhoods of this fascinating city.

Location: Huashan 1914 Creative Park ( 華山 1914 文化創意產業園區 ), Songshan Cultural & Creative Park ( 松山文創園區 ), and Expo Dome of Taipei Expo Park ( 花博公園會館 ) in Taipei City Website:

Travel in Taiwan


W H AT ' S U P

NEWS & Events around Taiwan

Taiwan Tourist Shuttle – Kinmen and Hsinchu Routes The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle network currently has more than 35 routes, most on the main island. The most popular, however, according to a recent study conducted by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, are the four routes on the offshore island of Kinmen. Network buses have been running on Kinmen Island since the end of 2013. There are four routes (Shuitou Zhaishan, Guningtou Battlefield, Shishan Folk Culture Village, and Banyan Park & Taihu Lake), allowing tourists to conveniently get to most of Kinmen’s main attractions. At the end of last year, a new Taiwan Tourist Shuttle route was established in the northwestern city of Hsinchu. The route has stops at places of interest in central Hsinchu, and also enables convenient access to Nanliao Fishing Harbor. It also connects to the network’s popular Lion's Head Mountain Route, with a transfer at the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) Hsinchu Station bus stop. For more info, visit

Ten Million Visitors in 2015

Nanliao Fishing Harbor

Zhudong Anime Park Opened Hsinchu County has a new attraction for anime lovers. The Zhudong Animation and Comic Creative Park, the first park of its kind in Taiwan, was opened last December. Showcasing work by comic artists from Taiwan, among its other attractions are the world’s first Pokémon-theme station and a robot-themed coffee shop. The park is conveniently located right beside Zhudong Railway Station, east of Hsinchu City, a stop on the Neiwan Branch Railway Line, popular with day-trippers. The park can also be reached by taking the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle network’s Lion’s Head Mountain Route.

Another year, another milestone for Taiwan’s tourism industry. On December 20, 2015, representatives of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau welcomed Christopher Manuele from California, who became the year’s 10 millionth international visitor, at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. The software engineer, coming to Taiwan to visit his wife’s grandmother, was showered with about 100 gifts, worth around NT$1 million in total, including round-trip business-class tickets from Taiwan to any destination in the world, a foldable bike, and a tablet computer. The rise in visitor numbers over the last 10 years for Taiwan has been impressive; thanks to the concerted efforts of the central and local governments in partnership with the private sector, international-visitor numbers have risen from 3 million in 2005 to 10 million in 2015, with staggering growth of about 1 million in each of the past few years.


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Glass Bridge in Pingtung Photo courtesy of Pingtung County Government

Last December, another amazing bridge was opened to the public in this bridge-rich country. The Shanchuan Glass Suspension Bridge, which crosses the Ailiao River at a height of about 45 meters, is at 262 meters the longest suspension bridge in Taiwan. It connects the two townships of Majia and Sandimen in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan. Since both townships have large populations of indigenous people (mainly from the Rukai and Paiwan tribes), the bridge is adorned with a variety of indigenous-theme decorative elements, including glass beads, a famous Sandimen handicraft product. For more information about the area, visit the Maolin National Scenic Area website at .

M A R C H ~ A pril

Indian Tourists Visiting Taiwan? Visitors from India are not a common sight in Taiwan, but this might change in the future. As part of tourism-promotion efforts targeting the subcontinent, late last year the Taiwan Tourism Bureau invited 15 Bollywood stars to visit Taiwan and shoot a tourism calendar that is now being distributed in India. The attractive actors and actresses from Mumbai (Bombay) posed in scenic locations around Taiwan, including Sun Moon Lake and Yangmingshan, and at bigcity attractions such as Taipei 101 and the Ximending area, both in the capital. According to the organizers of the photo shoots, the celebrities from India were especially impressed by the kindness and hospitability of the Taiwanese people and the wide variety of fresh fruit and exquisite cuisine on offer.

Zhu Dayu Culture Museum in Yilan

Nanfang’ao, in southeastern Yilan County, is an important fishing harbor in Taiwan and, surrounded by tree-covered hills, one of the most scenic as well. If you plan to visit the harbor in search of fishing boats and fresh seafood, note that there is a small museum right on one of its piers. The Zhu Dayu Culture Museum was established by the local fishermen’s association to showcase some of the seafood products available at Nanfang’ao. The museum, however, has of late also become increasingly popular for another reason – large 3D paintings depicting giant fish and other marine creatures, and, somewhat incongruously, the image of an Apache attack helicopter on a wall right by the museum. Hotel Royal Group_print ADs_EN_2015Apr.pdf 1 2015/4/7 下午 5:15 People posing in front of the life-like paintings seem to become part of the images; the illusions have made taking pictures a popular activity for visitors to the museum.

Creative Boutique Reopened at The Red House

The Red House is an iconic historic building close to the busy movie theater and shopping streets of Taipei’s popular Ximending district. A Western-style red-brick octagonal structure built in 1908, the building originally housed Taiwan’s first public market. Now a Grade 3 historic site, it was spruced up in 2007 and given a new purpose as a culturalcreative venue with a theater/performance space on the second floor and a small indie-designer boutique mall on the two floors of an annex building. This mall, named the Creative Boutique, has recently been remodeled, giving it more space and natural light. A total of 47 vendors now sell all sorts of Taiwan-style cultural-creative items, ranging from handmade soup to mini robots to tattoo stickers. For more info about The Red House, visit


CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings

Until 4/17

Until 4/17

National Theater & Concert Hall




Among the highlights of this year’s TIFA is a performance by opera superstar Anna Netrebko from Russia (3/25). Touring Asia for the first time, the diva is collaborating with the dynamic tenor Yusif Eyvazov, a much sought-after Verdi and Puccini specialist, and the Taipei Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jader Bignamini, to present arias and duets from the great Italian repertoire. Milonga (4/1~3), a joint endeavor by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, a choreographer who has taken the world by storm in recent years, and a team of Argentine dancers and musicians, re-presents the social-dancing evenings held in late-night bars in Buenos Aires. The performance is an attempt at integrating new and old tango for the 21st century, presenting tango that is touching and entertaining. Needles and Opium (4/15~17), by Robert Lepage x Ex Machina, is a multimedia and theatrical masterpiece of magic, fascination, and sadness. The play tells the story of French writer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau’s and jazz great Miles Davis’s obsession with love and drugs. See the complete festival program at .

Until 4/10

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

This is an exhibition railway enthusiasts will love. The four major railway companies of Japan have jointly put together a great collection of train models, including a superfast SCMaglev (short for super-conducting magnetic levitation) train, an EF-510 train from the popular Hokutosei service (Tokyo-Sapporo line), the all-yellow Doctor Yellow Shinkansen bullet train, and other trains beloved by railway fans. Visitors young and old have many opportunities to examine and interact with the trains on display.

Until 4/10

National Museum of History C










There is no snow in downtown Taipei, even in the deepest winter. But wait – right now there is snow in one place, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. In exhibition halls cooled down to temperatures of about -8 degrees Celsius, a winter wonderland has been created featuring scenes and characters from the 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film Frozen , produced by Walt Disney in 2013. Especially popular with kids are the 10-meter-long ice slides, giving them a taste of cold, white winter fun.


Travel in Taiwan

This is the first large-scale exhibit in Taiwan of art by the late Keith Haring (1958~1990), who was known for works expressing sociopolitical ideals. Haring’s goal was to bring art to the people. He utilized simple, thick lines and bright colors to create iconic pop-art images of such subjects as radiant babies, barking dogs, and twisted kneeling figures. These widely admired images have become part of the popular visual vocabulary.

culture scene

4/15 &

Taipei Arena

4/16 WU BAI AND CHINA BLUE 2016 伍佰 &China Blue 搖滾全經典之 雙面對決演唱會

Until 4/18

National Palace Museum


The grandfather of Taiwanese rock is still doing it, hitting the stage to rock fans with his riveting tunes. After touring internationally in 2015, Wu Bai and his band China Blue are giving two concerts on consecutive days in Taipei – but with a twist. The first will feature only Taiwanese-language songs, the second only songs in Mandarin Chinese, giving Wu Bai fans the opportunity to take in back-to-back live shows of completely different character by one of Taiwan’s best stage performers.

Photo courtesy of National Palace Museum

What are celadons? “Celadon” refers to both a type of glaze originated in China that is greenish in color, and to wares with a celadon glaze, also known as “greenware.” The National Palace Museum’s collection includes a large number of celadon porcelains from the Qing Dynasty court. On display in this exhibition are fine examples of celadon porcelain from the Song Dynasty (960~1279), which according to historical records were especially admired by the Qing emperor Qianlong. Many show beautiful patterns of cracked glaze; the reasons for this phenomenon, and the various types of cracking, are explained in a special exhibition section entitled “The Crackle of Celadon.”


Thrilling-Vista Mountain Trails and Tradition-Bounteous Tribal Settlements Text: Rick Charette


Travel in Taiwan

Photos: Ray Chang


Wild boars and alpine-train rails plus heritage trails – that’s what Alishan’s north region is made of. And indigenous arts and crafts and evening feasts and DIY experiences. And slowpaced small old villages and soaring mistcaressed peaks and warm-hearted homestays. And, as you’ll discover by reading on, much else to nourish the city-fatigued soul as well.

Longgong Waterfall

Travel in Taiwan




or most tourists, local and from overseas, the “Alishan” brand means a single place – the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area. But this captivating, oft enchanting, oft bewitching tourist-busy alpine enclave of soaring coniferous trees is merely one part, and a small portion at that, of the far-f lu ng Alishan Nat ional Scenic Area ( ). In this Feature we visit the comparatively slow-paced, tourist-quiet north section, formally called the Northwest Corridor, on a leisurely 3-day trip. This region attracts the type of traveler that likes to spend days on trails used by locals for generations and nights in local villages rather than in tourist hotels.

DAY 1 Most visitors access the NSA from the island’s western plains via Provincial Highway 18, which up among the peaks slices along mountainsides high over deep valleys, presenting the wideeyed traveler with magnificent views of distant cloud-massaged crowns and jagged, sheer rock faces. On this trip we instead accessed the area via County Route 162A, which is much quieter,

Bridge on the Zhukeng Stream Trail


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much narrower, much more twisting, with forest crowding in much closer. On the way to our first major stop, Bihushan (“Mt. Green Lake”) Tourist Tea Garden, we navigated the highway’s dramatic Taiping 36 Bends section, and then spent pleasant time ambling along Taiping Old Street. The exuberantly si nuous 36 Bend sect ion st retches from 100 to nearly 1,000 meters above sea level; each 180-degree turn has a prominent sign with the bend number and the names (in Chinese) of nearby sights. The views of the western plains from the higher turns are superb. Taiping, which means “Great Plateau,” is a teafarmer village. The slopes immediately surrounding the large flat area on which it sits are covered by dense forest. Traditional red-brick walling, woodframe windows, and bright-blue paint are prominent among the Old Street’s hoary residences and shops. Alishan is renowned for high-quality h ig h-mou nt ai n t ea , a nd Bi hushan Tourist Tea Garden is a photophile’s dream come true. The entire rounded mountain-head on which it is planted is sculpted with tight rows of Camellia sinensis, as neat as topiary, cut through with boardwalk trails. The sweeping panorama taken in from the trails or viewing platform before the open-front

Waterfall seen from Longgong Waterfall

Taiping Old Street

visitor center/restaurant is powerful. The waters of the rough river far below churn this way and that, on their short, impatient journey to the sea. Renowned Mt. Jade and Mt. Hehuan make cameos on clear days far off in the distance, as can a high slope-hugging arcade section of the gravity-defying Alishan Forest Railway. This tea-plantation mountaintop, often shrouded in cloud and mist, is a popular platform for watching Alishan’s celebrated sunrises, sunsets, and “sea of clouds” phenomenon – dense clouds roll into the abyss-like valleys like ocean tides, savored by tourists from eagle-eye vantage points. The 3.3km Zhukeng Stream Trail has a trailhead at each end on Highway 162A, west of Ruifeng village. Formerly called the “Old Charcoal Way” – early residents used it to take charcoal off the mountain to trade – it passes over 12 bridges, each of different design. There are a number of cataracts, hikers’ grand prize the 120m-high Longgong (“Dragon Palace”) Waterfall, reached via a deadend side trail about mid-way along the main trail. This is a “hanging valley waterfall,” and as it shoots out into space the waters do indeed seem to hang momentarily in mid-air before making their way to the bottom of the deep gorge here. Behind the lofty natural artwork is Water Curtain Cave, through which the side trail runs. Bihushan Tourist Tea Garden Travel in Taiwan



DAY 2 Next morning, we hit the trails right after breakfast – and stayed on them most of the day. First on our to-do list was the charming, long Green Tunnel, accessed via a short side road that begins right at sleepy Ruili village. You’re immersed in a lush forest of tall bamboo, walking along what is in fact a narrow road, not a trail (vehicles exceedingly few). Paved and gentle-graded, this spot is also popular with local folk, who come here for their daily constitutionals. In late winter/early spring you’ll also see them happily going “off-road,” digging up bamboo shoots to sell or eat. Then we launched ourselves on the challenging, visually thrilling 2km Youth Ridge Trail at the highway-side trailhead in Ruili village, across from Ruili Elementary School. In the past this was an important trade route. The 1,000-meter-long Haohan (“Hero”) Slope has an average grade of 60 degrees – yes, 60. Porters who could tackle it without stopping were praised for their “youthful bodies” – origin of the “Youth Ridge” moniker.

Yuntan Waterfall


Travel in Taiwan

Green Tunnel


Suspension bridge on Youth Ridge Trail

There is a lost world Jurassic Park-like atmosphere at the bottom of the gorge. I halfexpected to see a pterodactyl come swooping by, eyeing us as potential lunch. The countless bat-roost holes in the Bat Cave were formed over millions of years by river erosion. The deep grooves in the mesmerizingly striated Swallow Cliff are also erosion-etched, the softer sandstone levels wearing away faster than the harder shale. A few kilometers further west along highway 166 is the entrance to the steep 600-meter Yuntan Waterfall boardwalk path and, just before it, Yuantan Natural


Eco Park. The two-tiered cascade is 26.3m high; the terrain features alternating thick sandstone strata sandwiching thin shale layers, twisted in a wild jumble of folds and faults. The waters have cut their way through a weak tectonic line, and pour forth from the bottom of a “V” shape. Massive boulders that have fallen from the cliffs surround the 2m-deep plunge pool. Yuantan Visitor Center, at the eco-park entrance, has a good display on the area’s flora, fauna, geology, and other topics; the pictures-perfect park features shady landscaped grounds, short and easy trails, and a number of comely waterfalls.

Northwest Corridor Trails A splendid trail system has been set up, each track clearly signposted, with good English and with trail-and-area maps plus distances. Each outing is a rewarding foray into northern Alishan’s rich world of eco-treasure, notably encounters with Formosan macaques, colorful birds and butterflies, flying squirrels, fireflies (in season), and other forest denizens. Beyond the selections described elsewhere in this article are the popular Ruitai (Ruili-Taihe) Historic Trail, traversing tranquil bamboo forest that transports you to the fantastical swordplay scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden

Dragon ; Fenrui (Fenqihu-Ruili) Historic Trail, another heritage pathway carved by the Tsou Tribe, then Han Chinese traders, then Han settlers; and Butterfly Ginger Stream Trail, where white butterfly gingers burst into fragrant bloom in summer.

Travel in Taiwan


There is a lost world Jurassic Park-like atmosphere at the bottom of the gorge Swallow Cliff


Travel in Taiwan

Longgong Waterfall

Bat Cave


DAY 3 Third day – Laiji day. You’ll know you’ve arrived at this Tsou Tribe community, seated in the wide, boulder-strewn Alishan River valley at the foot of sacred Mt. Ta (“Tower”), when the first of many roadside boulders brightly painted to look like mountain boars appears. Residents say that the first Tsou here were hunters from Alishan’s Tefuye area chasing wild boar. The community of about 450 is divided into outer and inner sections, the latter upriver about a kilometer deeper in the valley. Part of Inner Laiji was washed away during 2009’s Typhoon Morakot, and about 50 people now live in a third segment, of small Europeanlook cottage-style homes, built even higher in the remote valley a 20-minute drive away. The majority of the Tsou, who total about 7,000, live in the Alishan region. In the tribal language, tsou simply means “human being.” It was chosen as the term for the group by Japanese scholars during Japanese rule, and thereafter gradually adopted by government and tribe members. It is believed the Tsou were originally flatlands-dwellers, living on the western plains in the Tainan region; according to oral tradition they came to Alishan centuries back either in search of game or to escape Dutch colonial persecution.

Tsou artist Yangui


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House in Laiji Village PU-U Workshop


Artist Pu-u Akuyana

Laiji is home to numerous talented artists and artisans, and DIY experiences at the village workshops are integral to the Laiji tourist experience. The Lan Hou Homestay (see accompanying Stay/Eat/Buy article) provides village tours; its manager, Afayi, is also head of the Laiji Community Development Association. Start your experience visit at the Tsou Museum, a quaint single-room thatchroof structure on the homestay grounds, learning about the tribe’s cultural, artistic, and handicraft inheritance through the variegated heritage artifacts on display. We next spent time admiring the work of warmhearted Yangui, a painter whose home/workshop/restaurant backs onto the

homestay grounds. She took up painting after a serious health scare as a form of self-therapy. Yangui prefers painting with her fingers because of the more pronounced 3D effect. Her indigenous-theme works have been sold as far away as the United States, and among her laurels was an invite to participate in a prestigious international artist gathering at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. At PU-U Workshop, paint your own wood-block wild boar with artist Pu-u Akuyana, who has been in love with this quintessential Tsou-culture symbol since her mother allowed her to raise a mountain boar as a pet when a child. Her boars have hand-carved eye-area and body striping, plus painted renderings of two other key symbols, millet stalks and Mt. Ta, where Tsou souls rest, the mountain’s crest line hand-carved. Other available ar t /ar tisan / DIY experiences include woodworking and making bamboo ware, leather goods, and aiyu fig jelly, a Taiwan-favorite snack treat. Alternativetheme choices include firefly tours, campfires, stargazing outings, and fruit-harvest picks.

English and Chinese aiyu 愛玉 Alishan Forest Railway 阿里山森林鐵路 Alishan National Forest Recreation Area 阿里山國家森林遊樂區 Alishan National Scenic Area 阿里山國家風景區 Alishan River 阿里山溪 Bat Cave 蝙蝠洞 Bihushan Tourist Tea Garden 碧湖山觀光茶園 Butterfly Ginger Stream Trail 野薑花溪步道 Fenqihu 奮起湖 Fenrui (Fenqihu-Ruili) Historical Trail 奮瑞古道 Green Tunnel 綠色隧道 Haohan Slope 好漢坡 Laiji 來吉 Longgong Waterfall 龍宮瀑布 Mt. Ta 塔山 PU-U Workshop 不舞作坊

Ruifeng 瑞峰 Ruili 瑞里 Ruitai (Ruili-Taihe) Historic Trail 瑞太古道 Shizhuo 石卓 Swallow Cliff 燕子崖 Taiping 36 Bends 太平 36 彎 Taiping Old Street 太平老街 Tefuye 特富野 Tsou Museum 鄒族文物館 Tsou tribe 鄒族 Water Curtain Cave 水簾洞 Youth Ridge Trail 青年嶺步道 Yuantan Natural Eco Park 圓潭自然生態園區 Yuantan Visitor Center 圓潭遊客中心 Yuntan Waterfall 雲潭瀑布 Zhukeng Stream Trail 竹坑溪步道

Major traditional festivals include the annual Millet Harvest Festival (Homeyaya) and Mayasvi, holiest of all Tsou religious celebrations, which involves Tsou-deity welcome and sendoff rituals, Cleaning of the Paths rites to drive out evil and maintain communication with the gods, an Adulthood Ceremony, and other vibrant practices.

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Taiping 36 Bends


Taiping Old Street


Bihushan Tourist Tea Garden


Longgong (“Dragon Palace”) Waterfall


Green Tunnel


A-Han’s Homestay 10 Yuantan Visitor Center


Youth Ridge Trail


Bat Cave


PU-U Workshop


Village Kitchen


Lan Hou Homestay




Swallow Cliff


Yuntan Waterfall

Alishan Forest Railway



N Taichung Hualien

3 Chiayi Kaohsiung

Getting There The northern part of Alishan has only very infrequent public-bus services. Twice a day buses run between Chiayi Railway Station and Ruifeng (bus No. 7315, leaving Chiayi at 09:30 and 16:30) and also twice a day between Chiayi Railway Station and Fenqihu (bus No. 7302, leaving Chiayi at 07:10 and 15:10). The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle ( ) service features two routes between Chiayi City and Alishan National Forest Recreation Area via Highway 18: from Chiayi High Speed Rail station (bus No. 7322 - Route A; departures at 10:10, 11:40, and 13:10) and from Chiayi Railway Station (bus No. 7322 – Route B; 11 departures a day between 06:10 and 14:10) with a stop at Shizhuo. From Shizhuo you can take another shuttle (Route B1) to Fenqihu (8 services a day between 10:00 and 14:20). Twice a day, there is also a bus service between the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area and Fenqihu ( Event/2013_AliTravel/indexEn.aspx ). Trains of the Alishan Forest Railway depart Chiayi at 09:00 (daily) and at 10:00 (only Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays), arriving at Fenqihu 2 hours and 20 minutes later. Many homestays/B&Bs in the Alishan area will pick customers up in Fenqihu.


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165 149A

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Fenqihu Station

Google map with info

Fenqihu & the Alishan Forest Railway Small, tourist-popular Fenqihu, just north of Highway 18, is the Northwest Corridor’s gateway hub. A town of great character, it was founded as a halfway station, timber-loading point, and repair depot on the Alishan Forest Railway, another of Alishan’s most popular attractions, one of the world’s highest and most picturesque lines. The narrow-gauge railway, a twisting, turning, incredible and improbable feat of engineering, was constructed by the Japanese in the early 1900s during their 1895-1945 period of colonial control. The Chiayi City-Fenqihu section is open [for ticket reservations, call Chiayi’s Beimen Station at (05) 276-8094 or (05) 276-2251; website: ]; the Fenqihu-Alishan Forest Recreation Area section is currently under repair (reopening in 2016 unlikely).

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Sleep, Eat, and Buy Options in Alishan’s North Sector Though isolated from the national scenic area’s main tourist corridor, and birdsong quiet, Alishan’s northern part presents many pleasant choices on where to roost at night, fill growling tummies, and hunt for gift and souvenir gems. Text: Rick Charette Photos: Photos:Ray RayChang Chang


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STAY The way to go in the hushed, serene north is the homestay/B&B. The warm and inviting A-Han’s Homestay is perched up on a mountain slope just east of Ruili village, overlooking a deep valley, forest closing in on three sides. Nearby are two key area attractions, the Youth Ridge Trail below and Green Tunnel above (see main Feature article). The complex is a little bit of Europe in Taiwan’s high mountains – at its center is a pitched-roof wood cottage, to one side is a tall chalet-style building, and on the other is a cluster of wood cabinstyle rooms and a detached cabin. Before the cabin cluster is a large partially covered deck perfect for stargazing; on the night I stayed Orion rolled slowly by just above eye level, twinkling in full glory. Directly before the cottage is a capacious wood patio, tea-drinking pavilion to one side, A-Han’s rustic restaurant on the other. A hearty, filling Chinese-dish dinner showcasing fresh local ingredients is available for NT$300 per person, and the convivial wife in the owner-couple invites diners to the tea pavilion afterward for locally grown high-mountain Oolong tea. A-Han’s provides basic-English service and set tours are offered, introducing either Alishan’s north or the main central tourist corridor. This is a peaceful place – you’ll be serenaded to sleep by a cricket chorus, and awakened by the cheerful singing of early birds. (Rooms start at NT$2,400; full breakfast included.) The Lan Hou Homestay, in the Tsoutribe village of Laiji, is a collection of large homes arranged in a rough “L” shape. The homes are compellingly eclectic, most with exteriors that look like curious European mountain-village transplants, featuring combinations of wood planking, cut stone, and/or stucco. The local Tsou men are accomplished wood- and stone-workers; the ultimate inspiration for the designs dreamed up by the owners, most members of a single clan, was the European-style cut-stone Presbyterian church next door. Reflecting the different ages of the buildings, each having numerous dedicated

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guestrooms, rooms vary from small and ultra-spartan to large, chic, and ultramodern. Within the crook of the L, from which views of the rugged Alishan River are enjoyed, is a covered open-face restaurant area with performance stage (check ahead to confirm whether Tsou-culture songand-dance shows are scheduled), grassy leisure area with patio tables, a replica of a traditional Tsou-village lookout tower, and other amenities. (Rooms start at NT$1,500; simple breakfast included.)

Note that homestay accommodations are also offered at Bihushan Tourist Tea Garden. And check out our January 2011 and March 2014 Alishan features for accommodation options in Fenqihu and elsewhere. For other ideas, visit the Alishan National Scenic Area website. 1. A-Han’s Homestay at Homestay night 4. A-Han’s Homestay 2. Guestroom at A-Han’s 5. European-style Homestay building at Lan Hou 3. Guestroom at Lan Hou Homestay

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The freshness of the local produce pretty much guarantees great tastes and a happy experience any time you sit down to a meal in Alishan’s north, but on this trip meals at two spots were outstanding. Lan Hou Homestay prepares an exceptional dinner feast for NT$350 per person. The food, the proprietors assured us, is exactly what the Tsou eat at their own festive repasts. The highlight for me was the chewy, delectable stone-grilled boar; the animals used are bred from captured wild boar. The meat is dipped in a wonderful heady horseradish powder/black pepper mix. Also especially noteworthy was the bamboo-tube rice, silky-smooth steamed bamboo shoots, and healthy, rich-flavor soup made with mushroom, spring onion, pork chunks, and other mountain produce – including daylilies! The significance of each dish in the local culture is explained (in Chinese) upon serving. The Village Kitchen is ensconced in a fabulous location, up alone in a nar row side valley overlooking the broad Alishan River valley between Inner and Outer Laiji, green all about, a pedestrian suspension bridge long used by locals strung out high above directly ahead, disappearing into the thick forest cover at both ends. This woodbuilt eatery is a kiosk-style operation fronted by a



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breezy open deck with long wooden tables and bench seating. It is run by the brightspirited Hanna, who has come here via a small village in Namibia, then South Africa’s Capetown, then Taiwan’s west coast, marrying into a local family. Her menu is a mouth-watering tour of local and Western culinary ideas, with an emphasis on Laiji-area ingredients. Be sure to try the rich, aromatic fresh-brewed Laiji coffee, home-crafted cherry and plum wines (based on local recipes Hanna has researched), and red-chili jam. All of these are also available as gift/souvenir purchases. Of the numerous robust entrees tried (we could not resist going back a second time, so we could try ever y thing), best in my books were the stew with redw i ne s au c e, Italian pizza, and homemade b r e a d s w it h cheese platter.


Girl café, part of the Lan Hou Homestay cluster, sells Tsou-cultivated Alishan Little Girl organic light-roast beans and standup pouches.

Bihushan Tourist Tea Garden has a range of packaged loose-leaf highmountain Oolong teas on display at its visitor center/restaurant. The bestsellers are the charcoal-roasted spring harvest Oolong and honey-fragrance Oolong.

Unique wild boar-theme and other native-theme a r t works a re craf ted and sold at Laiji’s PU-U Workshop. The village is also home to numerous other arts & crafts studios, selling such treasure as indigenous-theme leather goods, wood sculptures, woven baskets, and paintings.

Production of local coffee beans has exploded in Taiwan since the late 1990s, and Alishan has become a significant player, producing Arabica beans. Tsou communities are avid producers, and Laiji’s Alishan Little


A-Han’s Homestay ( 阿漢的家民宿 ) Add: No. 79, Borough 5, Youyelin, Ruili Village, Meishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣梅山鄉瑞里村幼葉林 5 鄰 79 號 ) Tel: (05) 250-1011 Website: (Chinese) Lan Hou Homestay ( 蘭后民宿 ) Add: No. 11, Borough 1, Laiji Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉來吉村 1 鄰 11 號 ) Tel: (05) 266-1172 Website: (Chinese) English and Chinese Village Kitchen 來吉部落廚房 Alishan Little Girl 阿里山小姑娘

1. Dining area at Lan Hou Homestay 2. Stone-grilled boar 3. Indigenous-style fish dish 4. Dining at Village Kitchen 5. Italian-style pizza 6. Beef stew with rice 7. Home-made bread and cheese 8. Wild boar-themed artwork 9. Alishan high-mountain tea


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Dakeng Leisure Farm A Relaxing Encounter with Nature in Tainan


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1. Dakeng Leisure Farm 2. Farm owner Tsai Cheng-wen 3. Tudor-style house 4. Feeding piglets


Nestled in the rolling hills of Tainan’s Xinhua District, Dakeng Leisure Farm offers visitors a variety of eco-tours, hearty homecooked meals made with freshlygrown produce, and a chance to feed and interact with the farm’s pigs, chickens, and other animals. Text: Dana Ter Photos: Rich Matheson


ust a 30-minute drive from the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) Tainan Station along County Route 168 is Dakeng Leisure Farm. The farm, located in the picturesque centralmountain foothills of Xinhua District, is a good example of how easy it is in Taiwan, especially in the south, to plan a short escape from the city. Although the region is better known for pineapple cultivation, the 10-hectare farm is shrouded in coconut, banana, and bamboo trees – so much so that it’s easy to miss its two-story Tudorstyle houses and mahogany cabins. As my travel group’s van pulls into the farm’s driveway, we are greeted by a “flock” of doves, ducks, and a couple of chickens, with small pigs trailing behind. Outside the main house – the exterior of which is a combination of white Tudor-

style panels and rustic mahogany-wood pillars – is an old, tan hunchback man with a straw hat feeding fresh grass to a couple of white-and-gray rabbits. A smiling woman rushes out to greet us. She introduces herself as Eva Tsai, the property’s sales manager. The old man, we learn, is her grandfather. He and her grandmother, who are both in their 80s, are also the chefs at Dakeng’s organic-food restaurant. The land, which has belonged to the Tsai family for generations, was a chicken farm before Eva’s father, Tsai Cheng-wen, converted it into a leisure farm in 1991. Back then, leisure farms were a new concept. It was a few years after the lifting of martial law, and Taiwan was riding the waves of a long economic boom. Those coming of age at the time now had other career options besides being farmers and

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fishermen. Yet Mr. Tsai, who had just returned from national service, felt it was a pity that his family’s land was just sitting there, unkept and reeking of chicken waste. Slowly, with the help of others, he began transporting the chickens to other farms around Tainan, and built Dakeng up as a leisure farm – one mahogany-wood board at a time. Tw e n t y - f i v e y e a r s l a t e r , t h e establishment is a thriving family-run business. Eva’s two sisters handle public relations and help out in the kitchen, while Mr. and Mrs. Tsai take groups of visitors on ecological tours and conduct DIY workshops like bamboo weaving and cooking, as well as activities more suited for families with young children such as collecting chicken eggs or feeding the animals. As a result of these efforts, the farm is part eco-sanctuary, part petting zoo. Eva is soon joined by her father, who has been busy picking coffee beans. We’re all surprised to see how fit he looks despite being middle-aged – a result, perhaps, of hiking in the mountains every day. Mr. Tsai is a man of few words. When he does speak, however, he is articulate and to-the-point. “I wanted to introduce the idea of farms being a relaxing environment, rather than being associated with living a tough life,” he tells us. “Nowadays, raising livestock or tending a field doesn’t have such a bad connotation as it did before.” 28

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Quickly, Mrs. Tsai rushes behind the cash register and pulls out some ointment, telling me to rub it on my bites to soothe the itching. She also hands me a large bottle of insect repellent to spray on my skin before heading out after lunch.


Eva chimes in: “No guests would want to stay here if it were just a bunch of smelly chicken coops and roosters crowing!” We decide to fuel up before embarking on an ecological tour. When we enter the restaurant in the main house, Mrs. Tsai looks at my outfit – a short but flowy skirt that exposes the dozens of mosquito bites on my legs (and I thought I had come prepared, having brought hiking boots). “We don’t usually see guests dressed in such little clothing!” she exclaims. The staff, all dressed in jeans and long-sleeve shirts, giggles. It’s 28 degrees Celsius outside, despite it being winter.

The restaurant has wooden tables and a gray-stone floor. Baskets filled with freshly collected chicken eggs line the counter. Our gracious hosts place our lunch on our table. There are baked sweet potatoes wrapped in lettuce, roasted-pork skewers with rosemary leaves, some mountain vegetables, and bowls of sticky rice. The main dish, which takes three hours to prepare, is a black chicken immersed in an herbal stew with enoki mushrooms. We are also served a pitcher of warm, marigoldinfused tea, which is pungent and tastes flowery. “Our guests like how they can see a-gong (grandpa) and a-ma (grandma) bringing the ingredients in from the mountains and cooking the food,” Eva says. “That way, they know it’s fresh.” We sojourn to the “boathouse” – a threestory structure built to look like a boat – for freshly brewed iced coffee sprinkled with rose petals. The interior is a design mish-mash – colorful golf balls, donated by a guest who is an avid golfer, hang from the ceiling over the bar, a steering wheel from a ship rests against a brick wall, and teddy bears, large and small, sit on rattan




1. Entrance of Dakeng Leisure Farm 2. A proud rooster 3. Obstacle course bridge

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4. Stir-fried wild vegetables 5. Black chicken in herbal stew 6. Fragrant latte 7. Going on an eco-tour

chairs. Behind the counter are endless rows of liquor – the boathouse turns into a bar at nightfall. Caffeinated and armed with insect repellent, we embark on our ecological tour with Mr. Tsai as our guide. The trail up into the hills is steep, and lined with bamboo trees. “I grew up climbing these hills, breathing the fresh air, and drinking the spring water,” Mr. Tsai says, oblivious to the fact that the rest of us are panting and struggling to keep up. “It’s part of who I am, and I felt like I wanted to return to it.” He points at a bamboo plant, explaining to us that its short harvest cycle makes it ideal for teaching guests how to pick and cook bamboo shoots – it’s best to choose the ones that are solid rather than in any way mushy, and have a sturdy, wide base. Once peeled, they can only be kept for one or two days. To cook, the shoots are placed in a saucepan of boiling water for 20 minutes, or until they turn tender. They can be served with vegetables and stews, and are rich in nutrients such as proteins and amino acids. Travel in Taiwan


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We walk past an obstacle course comprised of rope tunnels, blocks of wood as steps, and a couple of hoops. Mr. Tsai says that the course is popular with children and adults alike. Hidden in the forest there is also a suspension bridge built entirely out of ropes and, next to it, a rather scarylooking zip line. From an observation deck, Mr. Tsai points to the vast stretches of rolling verdant hills, explaining where Taitung is to the east and Kaohsiung to the south. On our way back down from the hills, we pass a few chicken coops and pigpens, but it’s a lush field with different types of plant and flower species that catches my eye. We are excited to find that the rosemary and marigold we had at lunch earlier are grown here. Mr. Tsai also shows us some roselle plants, which visitors can learn to cultivate themselves, and plucks 30

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a few sweet citrus mint and watercress for us to taste. The mint is saccharine and a little sharp, while the watercress tastes like wasabi, though not as spicy. The farm also has a small outdoor spa, wading pool, and swimming pool with a 20-foot-high water slide – all of which are relaxing options after a one-hour hike in the hills or an afternoon of feeding hens and petting pigs. The water comes straight from a local spring, and hot water is added when the weather is colder. Dakeng Leisure Farm can be done as either a day-trip or with an overnight stay. There are activities for everyone, whether you fancy an eco-walk, feeding the chickens, or simply kicking it back and relaxing in the spa – just remember to wear long pants and bring insect repellent.

Practicalities Entry to the farm is NT$200 per person, and includes DIY activities. Entry to the spa is an additional NT$250 per person. If you want to spend the night, the wood cabins range from NT$3,040 to $4,800 (2-4 persons), European-style cottages range from NT$4,480 to NT$6,200 (4-6 persons), and Japanese-style suites range from NT$3,840 to NT$9,600 (6 to 12 persons). Room rates are inclusive of farm activities, the spa, and breakfast. A taxi from the Tainan high-speed rail station costs approximately NT$550, and takes 30 minutes. Dakeng Leisure Farm ( 台南大坑休閒農場 ) Add: No. 82, Dakeng Village, Xinhua District, Tainan City ( 台南市新化區大坑里 82 號 ) Tel: (06) 594-1555 Website: English and Chinese a-gong 阿公 a-ma 阿媽 Eva Tsai 蔡佳玲 Tsai Cheng-wen 蔡澄文 Xinhua District 新化區

1. Feeding birds 2. Outdoor spa 3. Playground


Which Train? Essential Chinese at the Railway Station

Text: Vision


Illustration: Choc Hsu

hen traveling on your own in Taiwan, taking the train (huo che ; 火車 ) is a great option for getting around the island. The railway systems – High Speed Rail (gao tie ; 高鐵 ) and Taiwan Railways (tai tie ; 台鐵 ) – are modern, convenient, and efficient. While both systems are fully bilingual, with clear English provided, it is helpful to know certain railway-related terms in Chinese in order to make your journey even smoother and more relaxed. One thing that can be a bit confusing for first-time visitors taking a train from Taipei Railway Station are the terms “northbound” (bei shang ; 北上 ) and “southbound” (nan xia ; 南下 ). If you want to go to Hualien ( 花蓮 ) for example, which is southeast of Taipei, you have to take a northbound train, the reason being that trains bound for eastern Taiwan will first head northeast toward the coast before turning south and moving through Yilan ( 宜蘭 ) before continuing on to Hualien.

Local Train (qu jian che; 區間車 )

Tzu-Chiang Limited Express (zi qiang hao; 自強號 )

Puyuma Express (pu you ma hao; 普悠瑪號 )

But first, of course, you need to get to a station. If you don’t know where the nearest station is, you can ask for the huo che zhan (“train station”; 火車站 ). Then you have to choose a train. At a conventional-railway station on the Taiwan Railways system you have the following category options (from slowest to fastest): Local Train (qu jian che ; 區間車 ); Local Express (qu jian kuai che ; 區 間快車 ); Chu-Kuang Express (ju guang hao ; 莒光號 ), and Tzu-Chiang Limited Express (zi qiang hao ; 自強號 ). The fastest trains in the Tzu-Chiang category are the Taroko Express (tai lu ge hao ; 太魯閣號 ) and Puyuma Express (pu you ma hao ; 普悠瑪號 ). The faster the train, the fewer stations it will stop at. Some Tzu Chiang trains, for example, don’t make any stops on the way from Taipei to Hualien. Only trains in the Local Train category stop at every station. If you take one of the High Speed Rail trains, note that most of the stations between Taipei and Kaohsiung are located outside city centers. For example, Taichung’s station is in the suburb of Wuri ( 烏日 ). There are, however, convenient shuttle-bus services (jie bo che ; 接駁車 ) at each station. If you want to locate a bus stop at a High Speed Rail or Taiwan Railways station for one of the routes of the convenient-to-use Taiwan Tourist Shuttle network ( tw), ask for tai wan hao xing ( 臺灣好行 ), the name of the shuttle service. Did you know that you can use an EasyCard (you you ka ; 悠 遊 卡 ) to pay for train rides – except for Puyuma and Taroko and certain special trains – between all stations from Pingtung ( 屏東 ) in the south to Su’ao ( 蘇澳 ) in the east (i.e., excluding service east from Pingtung to the east coast, and then up to Su’ao)? Remember to swipe your card when getting on and off at smaller stations without gates, for example Shifen ( 十分 ) on the Pingxi Branch Line ( 平 溪支線 ). Hungry while taking the train? Why not try one of the popular railway lunch boxes available at certain stations. If you don’t know where to find them, ask someone to point you in the direction of tie lu bian dang (“railway lunch boxes”; 鐵路便當 ). And finally, if you want to wish someone a nice journey, you can say lü tu yu kuai ( 旅途愉快 ) – Bon Voyage!

Taroko Express (tai lu ge hao; 太魯閣號 ) Travel in Taiwan



An Amis Village on the Banks of the Xiuguluan River

Xiuguluan River near Kiwit

Text: Cheryl Robbins Photos: Maggie Song

Located deep in the mountains of Ruisui Township in Hualien County is the mostly indigenous Amis community of Kiwit, also referred to by its Chinese name of Qimei. This is a place where you can immerse yourself in traditional river-settlement culture. Flowing past Kiwit is the Xiuguluan River, at more than 100 kilometers the longest river in eastern Taiwan. It has long been a key part of the lives of the people here, providing food, water, and a transportation pathway.


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iwit lies along narrow and winding County Highway 64, which runs from central Ruisui Township to the coast. The village is best known as the halfway point on whitewater-rafting trips that start at the Ruisui Rafting Visitor Center and traverse rapids along a 23-kilometer section of the Xiuguluan River, finishing at Rainbow Bridge, close to where the river flows into the Pacific Ocean. What is not so well known is that the origins of rafting on the river are closely related to the local Amis culture. Before 1987, no road reached Kiwit. Crops grown in fields on the local mountain slopes were brought down to the river to a place under the Yuanshan Qimei Bridge that is today used as a swimming hole. There, produce would be loaded into a large wooden canoe, and it would then take a group of men a full day to pull the craft upstream to the market at Ruisui town. Kiwit possessed only one such canoe; there were a total of four canoes used to transport goods to Ruisui from various communities along the river. The villagers also had bamboo rafts, but these could not hold much weight.


A SPECIAL KIND OF RAFTING TOUR Over the last decade, the Amis residents of Kiwit have been working to revive their connection with the river and to share their culture with visitors. The focus of their efforts has been the development of rafting tours that highlight the area's geology, ecology, and history. On those tours, launched from the Ruisui Rafting Visitor Center, a community guide is on board each raft to help safely navigate the rapids, describe points of interest along the way, and share personal memories of growing up in the area. The tours include one stop where rafters are asked to disembark and collect maifan stones, to be used for cooking a meal later. Also at this stop, shrimp traps are checked and the contents collected. The traps are then baited with pieces of meatball or sweet potato before being placed back into the water. Nowadays, the traps used consist of two plastic pieces that fit together, the design based on traditional tapered traps made from bamboo. After getting back into the rafts, you will float further down the river and then make another stop. After hiking up to the top of a hill, it’s time for an indigenous-style lunch. The porous maifan stones collected earlier are heated over a fire and then placed inside a container made with the calyx of the betel-nut plant, filled with water to which salt, shrimp, crab, and vegetables are added. The hot stones boil the water, quickly cooking the food. This dish is thus also referred to as “stone hotpot.” This is a traditional dish that was developed out of necessity. During the annual fishing rites that have been performed throughout the community's history, men up to the age of 40 stay along the riverbank for four days, building a temporary shelter, fishing, and performing a variety of tasks that form part of the tribesmen’s traditional training. During this time a way to quickly and easily prepare food is needed

Stone hotpot

Maifan stones

– the birth of stone hotpot. The fishing rites coincide with the end of the growing year and the harvesting of all crops, and are usually held in July. In contrast to rafting trips organized on the Xiuguluan by other outfits, the final destination of this tour is Kiwit and not the Rainbow Bridge further down the river. In the village, facilities such as showers and changing rooms are available. The tours have a six-person minimum, but individuals can inquire if there is space available and join other groups. Reservations should be made at least three days in advance. The rafting outings are conducted year-round, but are most popular from May through October, as the weather is warmer during this period and there is more rainfall, filling the river with more water and making the ride more exciting. Kiwit provides three rafting-tour options. The first is a one-day tour from 8:30am to 3:30pm, priced NT$2,000 per person. The two other options involve staying overnight in the community, either the night before with dinner included or the night after the rafting trip with breakfast included the next day. For each of these options, the price is NT$3,000 per person.

Floating on the Xiuguluan

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OUT-OF-WATER CULTURAL EXPERIENCES If rafting is not your thing, but you would still like to enjoy a Kiwit cultural experience, there are half-day (NT$850 per adult, NT$675 per child aged 10 years or less), one-day (NT$1,500 per adult, NT$1,150 per child), and two-day (NT$2,500 per adult, NT$1,700 per child) community-tour options. All tours begin with an introduction to the community's history. The ancestors of the Amis residents lived on one of the highest mountains in Hualien’s Fengbin Township, later migrating to an area above the current location. They were eventually forced down to the current lower elevation by the Japanese during their time of occupation of Taiwan (1895~1945). Some members of the Bunun tribe also settled here later, moving from the Nantou County area to the west. In recent times, tribal members began to revive such traditional Amis ceremonies as the ilisin (harvest festival), during which the harvest of millet, a traditional staple grain, is celebrated, along with the start of a new year. Held in August, one of the characteristic features of the Kiwit Harvest Festival is the warrior dance, which represents the vigor and power of youth. In the past, Amis males were educated in the history and traditions of the community and trained in the defense of the village in a youth meeting hall. Divided into age groups of three years each, the youngest starting at about age 13, members of each group wore different clothing and had different responsibilities. One of the first stops on the community tour is a replica of the meeting hall, built in traditional style from bamboo and thatch, with a platform for sitting or sleeping. A replica of a traditional dwelling stands nearby. Traditionally, young males slept in the meeting hall, which served as a type of on-duty hut, enabling them to better respond as a group in any emergency or to provide help, such as with the harvesting of fields.

From there, a path leads down to the river. Along the way are a number of trees and plants with signs in Chinese and the Amis language. The community guide explains their features and traditional uses. For example, kiwit , also known as the Japanese climbing fern, is the plant for which this community is named. In the past, before plastic bags were readily available, kiwit containers were used to carry food, such as frogs and other animals, from the river to the village. The plant now serves as a natural decoration at Christmas time and on other important occasions. Wood from lalidet , the Chinese crapemyrtle, does not need to be dry to burn, and thus was used for making fires. As it is strong and flexible, it was also used for building snares and traps. Felos , or Chinese sumac, was burned to produce charcoal, one of the ingredients for gunpowder used in hunting rifles. Once at the river, tour participants can collect maifan stones and check shrimp traps, similar to the rafting-tour experience. A large net is also brought out, and tour participants can practice throwing it into the river to catch fish. Indigenous-cuisine meals are prepared, including stone hotpot. Other cultural activities include the making of a stone hotpot container, chopping of firewood, and learning of traditional methods for starting a fire. There are three accommodation options in Kiwit: staying in the home of a local family, staying in one of the traditional Amis structures, and camping. A campground with wooden platforms has been created near the river. There is currently one local guide who speaks English. Other local guides, who usually work elsewhere but come back to the community to help during the tourism high season, speak English as well. Thus, it is best to inquire about the availability of an English-speaking guide when making your reservation.

Xiuguluan River

Mural in Kiwit


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Traditional indigenous hut


THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN RUISUI A visit to Kiwit and whitewater rafting along the Xiuguluan River are just some of the many things to do while visiting Ruisui Township. Cycling paths have been created in and around the town of Ruisui, and bicycles are available for rent just outside Ruisui Railway Station. After a day of hiking, whitewater rafting, and/or cycling, there is also the opportunity to enjoy natural hot springs at the Ruisui Hot Springs or nearby Hongye Hot Springs. Honey-fragrance black tea is one of the main agricultural products of this township, and it is possible to stroll through the Wuhe Tea Plantations and sample the locally produced teas. The Ruisui Pasture, a working dairy farm, is a fine choice for those traveling with children. The Tropic of Cancer Marker, which marks the latitude 23.5 degrees north, is the boundary between subtropical and tropical Taiwan, and is a popular photo-taking spot.

Traditional river fishing

Information Information about the Kiwit tours offered can be found online at http://kiwit01. (Chinese only). Reservations can be made online or by calling 038-991-220, 0963-593-571, or 0912-523-026. A shuttle service is available between Kiwit and the Ruisui Rafting Visitor Center, NT$200 per person one way. If you have your own vehicle, for NT$500 your car can be driven to Kiwit from the Ruisui Rafting Visitor Center. If staying overnight in Kiwit before the rafting tour, the shuttle service is included.

Hotel Royal Group_print ADs_EN_2015Apr.pdf 1 2015/4/7 下午 5:15


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

English and Chinese Amis tribe 阿美族 Bunun tribe 布農族 Fengbin Township 豐濱鄉 Hongye Hot Springs 紅葉溫泉 maifan stone 麥飯石 Qimei 奇美 Rainbow Bridge 長虹橋 Ruisui Hot Springs 瑞穗溫泉

Ruisui Pasture 瑞穗牧場 Ruisui Rafting Visitor Center 瑞穗泛舟服務中心 Ruisui Township 瑞穗鄉 Tropic of Cancer Marker 北回歸線標 Wuhe Tea Plantations 舞鶴茶園 Xiuguluan River 秀姑巒溪 Yuanshan Qimei Bridge 原山奇美橋

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

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


Tea-sing Flavors Experiencing Taiwan’s Tea Culture Taiwanese tea, a longtime and essential part of life for many locals, can nowadays be purchased from sleek modern-style tea shops and brought home, along with delicately designed teaware, as memorable gifts. Text: Dana Ter Photos: Maggie Song


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he Taiwanese love their tea. Introduced to the island from the mainland China province of Fujian in the late 18th century, tea and its cultivation soon spread from its initial confines in present-day New Taipei City’s Ruifang and Taipei City’s Wenshan districts, and can now be found in many parts of the island. Head up into the mountains of Taiwan’s south-central Alishan and central Nantou County areas, for example, and you’ll find many sprawling tea plantations. Here, at an altitude of around 1,600 meters above sea level, “highmountain teas” are produced. These teas are among the island’s most coveted, as the colder weather, cleaner water, and constant fog and mist provide optimal conditions for the plants. It’s the scent that will often draw you to one of the many tea shops in Taiwan’s tea-growing parts. Upon entering, shop owners will proudly introduce you to their finest brews. Tables are laid, tiny ceramic teapots and cups are brought out along with a selection of tea leaves and a pitcher of boiling water, and the pouring, sniffing, and sipping ensues. As you drink your tea the proper way – sitting upright and smelling the brew before taking a sip and exhaling to feel its lingering aroma – the shop owner will explain the different varieties of tea grown in Taiwan. Unfermented ones such as green teas, and half-fermented ones such as Oolongs, are the lightest in color and mildly sweet. These teas are usually the selections the shop owner will offer you first before moving on to heavier brews. Roasted teas such as Four Seasons tea and roasted Oolongs boast a darker, caramelized aroma, while the stronger, earthier taste of fully fermented teas, including Baozhong, Oriental Beauty, and black teas, are more suited for tea drinkers with a preference for stronger tastes. Luckily, you don’t need to trek all the way up into the high mountains for a good cup of tea. There are many tea shops and teahouses right in the center of Taipei and Taiwan’s other major cities – some opened to revive the tea-drinking tradition, and others to cater to health-conscious customers. An increasing number of restaurants now also use tea as an essential ingredient in their creations, such as tea-soaked noodles, eggs, and fruit cakes. Visitors can also purchase nicely-packaged tea leaves and tea bags, and some of the finest ceramic teapots, from city-center tea shops to bring home as souvenirs.

Permanent Revolution of Tea Permanent Revolution of Tea ( ) was founded around the concept of keeping tea culture alive. Its Chinese name, Jing Sheng Yu, is explained thus: “Jing” is a quantifier, indicating a huge quantity of something. “Sheng” means both flourishing as well as a vessel to hold liquid. “Yu” refers to space, in this instance the natural environment in Taiwan, which is well-suited for growing tea. When owner Lin Yu-cheng launched the brand in 2009, his idea was to make tea cool, hip, and relevant to young people. Upon entering one of their four branches in Taipei – in the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store by Taipei Main Station, Eslite Bookstore Dunhua South Road and Xinyi District branches, and Songshan Railway Station – it’s hard not to notice the modern design of the stores. The sleek metal countertops and the beakers, test tubes, and weighing scales do not immediately make one think “tea shop.” It’s only the delicate Yixing clay teapots that hint at it. Behind the counters, young, good-looking people brew tea briskly and skillfully, pouring the cold brews into transparent flasks and hot tea into takeaway cups. I meet with Chloe Liu, the company’s marketing manager, at its Songshan store, which also happens to be its newest branch, opened in May 2015. The outlet is ideally located on the ground floor near the west exit of Songshan Railway Station, where travelers enter and exit in a constant stream. “When people are traveling, they usually grab a cup of coffee to go, not a cup of tea, right?” Liu jokes. Sensing my bewilderment, she explains that “Young people are surprised when they see our store. They’ll usually think of an old grandpa brewing tea in a traditional-style tea shop.” She explains that the founder, Lin, had grown up drinking tea with his family, and wondered why he only drank coffee and bubble tea when he was out with friends. Lin started inviting friends to his house for home-brewed tea, and the feedback was unanimous – they loved it. Lin wasn’t opposed to frequenting coffee shops. Rather, he felt it was a pity that many young people could describe the flavors of a latte or cappuccino in great detail, but knew almost

Guei Fei tea

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3 2


nothing about Taiwanese tea. Hence Permanent Revolution of Tea’s packaging, which includes a short history of tea and tea varieties found on the island, as well as preparation steps for making and drinking tea. The company’s tea shops are also among only a few that provide tea on-the-go – a concept which was, ironically, borrowed from coffee shops. But that’s where the similarities with the coffee experience end. While coffee makes you more active, tea calms you down. Although served in takeaway cups, the idea, Liu says, is to help people relax during their busy commutes. Not to mention the health benefits of drinking tea – it’s rich in antioxidants, aids digestion, and helps to regulate cholesterol levels. “It’s also surprising for a lot of customers, when they drink our tea, to realize that it can taste amazing without added sugar,” Liu says. For those with lighter palates, Liu recommends their Alishan Oolong, which boasts a delicate, floral flavor. For something heartier, try the amber-colored Roasted Sanlinsi Oolong which has sultry, caramel undertones. Those favoring a darker brew can try the Guei Fei tea, which has a rich, lychee-like aroma. Liu says that devoted tea drinkers – generally older customers – tend to favor the Oriental Beauty, which is fruity and sour at the same time. I personally enjoyed the Alishan Oolong as a hot beverage, which brings warmth and sweetness to a cold day. In terms of cold brews, I quite fancied the Taiwanese black tea. Its orangey tang and silky taste might have been difficult to digest had it been served warm, but as a cold beverage, its properties were soothing and pleasantly savory.


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Visitors wishing to take a taste of Taiwan home can purchase tea leaves, tea bags, and teaware from Permanent Revolution of Tea. A 50g box of tea leaves costs NT$280 to NT$680, depending on the type of tea – Shiji Oolong is the cheapest, while Lishan Oolong is the priciest. A 100g box is NT$380 to NT$1,180, while 150g ranges between NT$480 and NT$1,680. Packets containing three tea sachets can be bought for NT$129, while Yingxi teapots range from NT$5,800 to NT$6,800. The packaging is simple and minimalistic, with soft pastel colors indicating the types of tea – light blue for unfermented, green for roasted, and pink for fermented. The labeling is simple as well: the Chinese word for tea, 茶 (cha ), rests below two slanted lines forming a roof, and below this are the words “Taiwanese Tea House” – alluding to how Permanent Revolution of Tea conjures up warm feelings of home.

Zenique If dessert is more your cup of tea, be sure to visit Zenique ( ), founded in 2006. The flagship store, near Taipei’s MRT Zhongxiao-Fuxing Station, serves organic tea, with f lavors ranging from Osmanthus and Jasmine (unfermented) to Gardenia and Chrysanthemum (semifermented Oolong teas) and Lemongrass and Ginger (fermented black tea). In 2011, Zenique launched the three-story Le Salon






on Taipei’s busy Yongkang Street, serving tea-infused French pastries with names such as Creme Brulee au Oolong Noir , as well as a delectable selection of macaroons, to pair with their selection of organic teas. The idea was to revamp the image of Taiwanese tea as being more upmarket. Its suave packaging, which is sleek and simple in monochrome colors, won international design awards in 2010 and 2012.

Lin’s Ceramic Studio Of course, one needs a good tea set to enjoy a cup of freshlybrewed tea. Lin’s Ceramic Studio ( ) has been making teaware since 1983 using porcelain, pottery, and purion (clay and natural minerals combined using a special technique), believing that the type of teapot has an effect on the taste and aroma of the brew, and allows customers to better differentiate varying degrees of fermentation. Its motto is: “A good pot makes good tea.” Naturally, a purion teapot, which has a longer lifespan than teapots made of other material, will make the tea more flavorful. Pu’er tea, which normally tastes earthy and bitter, is more aromatic and sweet when served in purion teaware. Lin’s modern, delicately-designed teapots and tea cups are sold at 13 branches in Taiwan, including on Yongkang Street, in Taipei’s The Grand Hotel, and on the fifth floor of the Taipei 101 Mall. It also has 50 branches in mainland China, spread throughout the country.


English and Chinese Alishan Oolong 清香阿里山烏龍 Baozhong tea 包種茶 Chloe Liu 劉沐垚 Four Seasons 四季春 Guei Fei tea 蜜香貴妃茶 high-mountain tea 高山茶 Permanent Revolution of Tea (Jing Sheng Yu) 京盛宇 Lin Yu-cheng 林昱丞 Lin’s Ceramic Studio 陶作坊 Lishan Oolong 清香梨山烏龍茶 Oriental Beauty 東方美人 Pinglin District 坪林區 Pu’er tea 普洱茶 Roasted Sanlinsi Oolong 熟香杉林溪烏龍 Ruifang District 瑞芳區 Shiji Oolong 不知春 Taiwanese black tea 高山小葉種紅茶 Wenshan District 文山區 Yongkang Street 永康街 Zenique 小茶栽堂

1. Cold tea for takeaway 2. Takeaway cup 3. Zenique tea bags

4. Zenique hot tea 7. Macaroons at Le 5. Strawberry cake Salon 6. Cold drink served 8/9. Tea sets at Lin's at Le Salon Ceramic Studio

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Text and Photos: Vision


engjia Night Market is one of Taiwan’s leading night markets, as well as the place of origin for many distinctive Taiwanese nightmarket snacks. Located near Feng Chia University, this food and shopping district emanates a youthful vigor. Nearby Shizheng Road has boomed due to astute urban planning, with attractions such as Maple Garden and the Taichung National Theater, completed in 2014, attracting large numbers of locals and tourists to the area. The array of snacks and numerous bars and restaurants in the Fengjia and Shizheng commercial districts give them extra bustle by night and make them must-go destinations for visitors to Taichung.








Sec. 3, Liming Rd.

Places to Go in Two of Taichung’s Busiest Districts








Ta iw










Chaoma Bus Station

Shopping and Leisure


1. Maple Garden ( 秋紅谷廣場 ) Maple Garden is a concave-shaped public-leisure green space covering an area of over three hectares, with a lake, grassy areas, a beautiful bridge, and an open-air stage. It is a great place for leisure and relaxation. By day, you can view the leaves of the maple trees and the green lake water; by night, the lights give the landscaped garden a romantic air. Add: No. 30, Chaofu Rd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區朝富路 30 號 )

2. Taichung National Theater ( 臺中國家歌劇院 )


3. Shinkong Mitsukoshi Taichung Zhonggang Branch, Top City Department Store ( 新光三越中港店 台中大遠百 ) Located on Taiwan Boulevard, the Shinkong Mitsukoshi and Top City department stores are the main shopping centers in the Shizheng Shopping District, featuring food courts and movie theaters and offering both general goods and luxury goods. The spacious and comfortable shopping environments attract large crowds of shoppers on weekends and at holiday times.

Designed by renowned Japanese architect Toyo Ito, this state-of-the-art landmark complex, characterized by flowing curves and a feeling of expansiveness, was built using a highly innovative construction technique. It comprises the Grand Theater, Playhouse Theater, Black Box, and Outdoor Theater, and has been praised by Reuters as “the world’s 9th new landmark.”

Shinkong Mitsukoshi Taichung Zhonggang Branch Add: No. 301, Sec. 3, Taiwan Blvd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區台灣大道三段 301 號 )

Add: No. 101, Sec. 2, Huilai Rd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區惠來路二段 101 號 ) Tel: (04) 2229-2369

Top City Department Store Add: No. 251, Sec. 3, Taiwan Blvd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區台灣大道三段 251 號 )

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Nightlife 1. Beluga Restaurant & Bar Beluga, a restaurant that covers a larger area than any other restaurant in Taichung, serves southern French cuisine. There is a large selection of fine wines and other alcoholic beverages to choose from. The décor is low-key but luxurious, and the courtyard is embellished by an open-air pond. At night Beluga has a romantic ambience, and is especially suitable as a venue for a romantic date. Add: No. 36, Shang’an N. St., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區上安北街 36 號 ) Tel: (04) 2451-0668 Hours: Wed.~Mon. 11:30~02:00 (on holidays until 03:00)



Street Food


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1. Guan Zhi Lin Small Sausage in Big Sausage ( 官芝霖大腸包小腸 ) This shop’s small sausage in big sausage is one of Fengjia Night Market’s classic snack offerings. A pork sausage is placed inside a large glutinousrice “sausage,” and garlic shoots, pickled mustard, cucumber, and other toppings are then added. Spicy, wasabi, and black-pepper flavoring can also be added, according to personal taste. Be prepared to queue a while for this highly popular snack! Add: No. 16, Lane 20, Fengjia Rd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區逢甲路 20 巷 16 號 ) Tel: 0966-097-900 Hours: 15:00~01:00


2. Gekiuma Yakitori Fengjia Main Restaurant ( 激旨燒鳥逢甲總店 ) Located in an alley off Wenhua Road, Gekiuma Yakitori serves creative skewers and various kinds of alcoholic drinks. On weekends and holidays, the semi-open outdoor seating area is opened and live shows are staged. There are more than 100 skewer offerings, all reasonably priced. Ingredients and flavors change through the seasons. This place is ideal for a few friends to meet up and enjoy some tasty roast skewers and a few drinks. Add: No. 18, Lane 150, Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區文華路 150 巷 18 號 ) Tel: 0913-146-878 Hours: 17:00~00:00


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3. Half Moon Chinese Meat Pastry ( 半月燒餡餅 )


This half-moon-shaped snack was created in Taichung. Flaky yet soft crust surrounds a freshly made filling. The filling comes in more than ten flavors, including beef, chicken, and fried scallion omelet; cheese or corn can also be added. This is another of the most popular snacks at Fengjia Night Market.

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Add: No. 22, Fengjia Rd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區逢甲路 22 號 ) Tel: (04) 2452-0940 Hours: Mon.~Fri. 12:00~23:00, Sat.~Sun. 15:00~00:00

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2. Mini Mapper

3. Lobby Club

Mini Mapper is a cocktail shop where the reasonably priced colorful cocktails are poured into zip-lock bags for convenient takeaway. The rather small store’s cute Korean-style decor creates a relaxing atmosphere for those who stay for awhile to enjoy a drink.

Lobby Club is a popular nightclub in Xidun District that presents international-quality stage shows, providing Taichung locals and visitors with a fashionable space that combines music with fine food and drink. Lobby Club is one of THE places to go in the city if you’re looking for a party.

Add: No. 21, Lane 150, Wenhua Rd., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區文華路 150 巷 21 號 ) Tel: (04) 2452-1937 Hours: Wed.~Sun. 05:00 pm~11:00 pm

Add: No. 59, Qinghai S. St., Xidun Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市西屯區青海南街 59 號 ) Tel: (04) 2706-2295 Hours: Wed.~Sun. 22:00~04:00

English and Chinese Feng Chia University 逢甲大學 Fengjia Shopping District 逢甲商圈 Shizheng Shopping District 市政商圈

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A Night at the Market Food Adventures Await the Intrepid Gourmand

Text: Owain Mckimm Photos: Maggie Song

Taiwan is well known for the phenomenal foods served in its many fine upscale restaurants. It’s the simple street fare found in the island’s ubiquitous night markets, however, that attracts myriad visitors in search of gastronomic revelations. For many, the first culinary port of call is Shilin Night Market in Taipei. 42

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Enjoying a pearl milk tea


f New York is the city that never sleeps, Taiwan is surely the island that never sleeps. By the time people in other countries would be winding down after dinner, or even preparing for bed, the Taiwanese are just getting ready to eat their late-evening meals, in Chinese known as xiaoye . In a culture where office workers often do overtime until late at night, and students study until well past nine in cram schools, it’s no wonder that, for many, dinnertime has migrated from the customary early evening to nearer the witching hour. The places that draw the majority of these ravenous night owls are the island's many night markets. Often crowded, crackling with energy, and reverberating with chatter, Taiwan's night markets come in all shapes and sizes. Some, like the trendy Shida Night Market, are known as much for their fashionable boutiques opened by hip young entrepreneurs as they are for their late-night snacks; others, like the longestablished Huaxi Street Night Market, also known as Snake Alley, after the prize ingredient in some of the dishes served there, have the reputation of being especially exotic; while still others, like Miaokou Night Market in Keelung, which largely dismisses the selling of clothes and trinkets in favor of stall upon stall of top-notch grub, are a gastronomist's paradise.

As varied as the food selections at each night market may be, there are of course some constants. Stinky tofu – a pungent Taiwan signature dish – is certainly one of them, proudly announcing its presence to any passerby with its “distinctive” odor. Other dishes such as crispy-fried chicken cutlets, smallsausage-in-large-sausage (Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in a larger sticky-rice sausage), oyster omelets, various meats on a stick, barbecued squid, glazed strawberries and other fruits, shaved ice, and pearl milk tea have all become known and loved as staple night-market fare, without which a night market would not be a “real” night market. Such snacks are known in Taiwan as xiaochi (“little eats”) – the general idea being that you spend the evening wandering the market sampling these innocuous-looking tidbits until you suddenly find yourself full-to-bursting. All are cheap (usually NT$30~70 per serving), and you'll certainly be full before you spend more than NT$300. With so many night markets to choose from (there are well over twenty in Taipei alone), which one should you visit? Undoubtedly the daddy of all night markets is Shilin Night Market, in northern Taipei. Around for well over a century, this is the night market that every visitor to the city has to visit, at least once, containing as it does more good eating (and good shopping) than you can shake your meat-on-a-stick at. On a recent visit to Shilin District, primed and ready with elastic waistbands, we sampled some classics as well as some newer additions to the night-market scene. Serving both as a pre-dinner whistle-wetter and a chewy appetizer is Taiwan’s de-facto national night-market beverage, pearl milk tea. The strange, contrasting dynamic between the sweet milk tea and the chewy tapioca “pearls” (which you suck

Shilin Night Market


up through a thick straw) is something of an acquired taste, but once you're hooked, you're hooked. We get our tea from Zhen Zhu Dan – a well-respected teavendor on Dabei Road, to the north of the night market’s main area. The shop specializes in using brown sugar – a type of unrefined sugar high in molasses, common in Asian cuisine. The tapioca-starch balls that hunker down at the bottom of the cup are cooked up fresh every day and steeped before serving in a thick, sweet brown-sugar syrup. The shop also exclusively uses fresh milk from Tainan in southern Taiwan, as opposed to the powdered milk or creamers that are used by most vendors, giving the tea a richer, mouth-coating creaminess that makes for a truly "moreish" beverage. After the sweetness of the tea, we need something savory to balance the palate, so it’s off to get another night-market classic, the zha jipai – or fried-chicken cutlet – at Monga Jipai. The sign above the shop displays an image of a typical taike – a term that describes the betel-nut-chewing, blue-flipflop-wearing, Taiwan Beer-swilling gentleman that one might find strutting the streets of Monga (or Manka, or Banka – the old district of Taipei where Huaxi Street Night Market is located). The implication, of course, is that zha jipai is a nofrills, no-nonsense foodstuff, something to sate at least one of your many manly appetites. Though not a huge fan of jipai – I sometimes find them a little thin and dry – Monga Jipai's cutlet is a real surprise. The meat is juicy and plump, the cutlets sliced at least 2cm thick and marinated in honey and soy sauce – which not only gives the meat flavor but also keeps it tender – and fried twice, once on a low heat and once on a high heat, to lock in the moisture. The batter is a bombastic barrage of spices that gives my taste buds a right good kicking. Very satisfying indeed. The next dish we try is a contentious one: Taiwanese-style baked potato. Though you can get quite delicious genuine baked potatoes in many of Taiwan’s night markets, the variation on offer at Shilin's Prince Cheese Potatoes is a bizarre replica of the real thing, made of mashed potato fashioned into a ball, covered in flour, and then deep-fried. There are many toppings to choose from, though the particularly adventurous might be tempted to go for the Club & Cheese, an unholy mix of all the toppings presenting you with a crispy-skinned ovoid of mashed

Monga Jipai


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Prince Cheese Potatoes

Trying flame-grilled beef cubes

potato submerged in cheese sauce and topped with broccoli, bacon, boiled egg, pineapple, ham, tuna, and sweetcorn. Interesting? Certainly. Delicious? Not so sure, though it is difficult to be too harsh about these local takes on Western dishes. After all, one can only imagine what the mortified residents of Frankfurt must have thought when they first saw their beloved sausage slapped in a bun and drowned under mustard, ketchup, relish, onions, and/or cheese. So who knows – it may be a classic in the making. We finish off our evening meal with some flame-grilled beef cubes, a rather recent addition to Taiwan’s night-market scene, appearing only in the last couple of years or so. Put simply, they’re succulent cubes of beef steak cooked over a grill and occasionally blasted with a blowtorch to give them some extra caramelization. On the chef’s recommendation, we choose rose rock salt as our seasoning – an option that gives a subtle mineral quality to the meat – though other seasonings such as Italian spices, Xinjiang cumin, and Japanese teriyaki are also available. All in all, it’s the perfect final course, juicy and tender (the cubes are cooked to about medium), and the fat – oh the fat! – it melts in the mouth like butter. Waistbands stretched to breaking point, we wave our white flag, knowing, regretfully, that we have only sampled a tiny fraction of what Shilin has to offer. Getting There Take the MRT Tamsui-Xinyi Line to Jiantan Station, leave the station via Exit 1, and just follow the crowds for immediate arrival.

flame-grilled beef cubes


Night Markets to Try Elsewhere in Taiwan Miaokou Night Market in Keelung Miaokou Night Market, in the northern port city of Keelung, is possibly the most food-focused of Taiwan's night markets (don't expect any frivolities such as fairground-style games or cheap clothes here). Situated near the harbor, the market offers a cornucopia of seafood as well as the traditional night-market nosh. In addition, it’s located within quick walking distance of Keelung Railway Station, making it a wonderful place to spend an evening after a day of taking in the sights elsewhere in Taiwan's north or northeast coast. It's also one of the bestorganized markets around – each vendor's stall is numbered, and its purveyed dish(es) are written in both English and Chinese on the stainless-steel plate above. Be prepared to loosen your belt.

Miaokou Night Market Grilled-meat vendor at Shilin Night Market

Getting There Trains to Keelung leave regularly from Taipei. The night market begins on the intersection of Ren 3rd Road and Ai 4th Road, and is marked by three rows of yellow lanterns.

Ruifeng Night Market in Kaohsiung A more grassroots night-market experience can be found at Ruifeng Night Market in the southern city of Kaohsiung. Far less flashy than the night markets in the capital, the whole place, set up on a vacant lot under rows of green awnings, has something of a fairground feel to it. This carnival-esque atmosphere is further heightened by the many mini games that can be found here (and indeed, you'll find that the further south you go, the more the line between market and funfair is blurred). Ruifeng's offerings are simple: cheap food, cheap clothes, and games galore; a splendid time is guaranteed for all! Note: The market is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Ruifeng Night Market

Getting There Ruifeng Night Market is a short walk from MRT Kaohsiung Arena Station on the Red Line. Leave the station by Exit 1 and walk straight for about 300 meters.

English and Chinese Ai 4 th Road 愛四路 Brown sugar pearl milk tea 黑糖珍珠鮮奶 Club & Cheese 綜合起司 crispy fried chicken cutlets 脆皮炸雞排 Dabei Road 大北路 flame-grilled beef cubes 火焰骰子牛 Huaxi Street Night Market 華西街夜市 jipai 雞排

Miakou Night Market 廟口夜市 Monga Jipai 艋舺雞排 oyster omelet 蚵仔煎 pearl milk tea 珍珠奶茶 Prince Cheese Potatoes 王子起司馬鈴薯 Ren 3 rd Road 仁三路 Ruifeng Night Market 瑞豐夜市 Shida Night Market 師大夜市

Steak and noodles

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 small-sausage-in-large-sausage 大腸包小腸 stinky tofu 臭豆腐 taike 台客 xiaochi 小吃 xiaoye 宵夜 Zhen Zhu Dan 珍煮丹

Oily rice Travel in Taiwan



Mt. Guanyin Hiking the Goddess of Mercy Mountain Mt. Guanyin is one of the scenic highlights you’ll see on the way to the port town of Tamsui from central Taipei. Situated on the opposite side of the Tamsui River, the mountain resembles Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, lying down. There are numerous trails on the mountain, ranging in difficulty from easy but steep to steep and challenging. The views from the peaks are magnificent, and there is also a very special tiny temple in a narrow cave to be explored. Text: Richard Saunders Photos: Twelli, Vision


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ising above the Tamsui River estuary north of Taipei City, the shapely profile of Mt. Guanyin is an eyecatching sight from the riverside promenade in Tamsui, which sits on the east bank of the river. Viewed from the eastbank Guandu area, several kilometers upstream, it’s even more striking. From this angle its various peaks, silhouetted against the sky, form a figure reminiscent of the reclining Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy – hence the name. Seen from above, the pointy peaks of the mountain are also said to resemble the petals of a lotus flower (the Buddhist symbol of purity). Despite its associations with calm Buddhism, Mt. Guanyin is a mountain born of fire. It’s an ancient volcano, created, like the Datun Mountain Range along Taiwan’s north coast east of Tamsui (the tallest peaks of which are in Yangmingshan National Park), as a result of the eruptions of a magma chamber which still lies underneath Yangmingshan. The first eruptions, about 2.8 million years ago, created the oldest mountains of the Datun range; Mt. Guanyin was created during a later series of eruptions that began about 800,000 years ago, around the same time that Mt. Qixing (the highest peak, in Yangmingshan) was created. Over the following millennia the mountain has eroded, and the crater has worn down into the present shapely series of peaks that make Mt. Guanyin one of the most instantly recognizable natural features in the Taipei area. That fine profile is one of the main reasons why Mt. Guanyin (part of the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area) is such a popular hiking spot in the Taipei area. There are several ways to the top of the highest of its various summits, known as Yinghan (“Tough Man”) Peak because the Japanese military used the trail for fitness training during the 1895~1945 Japanese occupation period. The most popular route is the relatively easy one from the southwest, beginning at Lingyun Zen Temple, which sits in a beautiful spot, backed by the sheer cliff face of an outlying peak. Below lies the much smaller Lingyun Temple, a pretty and very photogenic place of worship. After arriving at Lingyun Temple bus stop (see “Getting There” box), walk uphill, following the signs, to the Lingyun Zen Temple complex. After exploring the temple and enjoying the magnificent view, walk past the front of the main prayer hall and through the temple grounds and car park, to reach the adjoining road. The signposted, stepped trail that leaves the road here, on the right, is the path to Mt. Guanyin’s highest summit. 1. Lingyun Temple with Mt. Guanyin as backdrop 2. Tree on trail up Mt. Guanyin

1 Travel in Taiwan




1 2

Winding up the wooded hillside, the first section of the climb is quite steep, so proceed slowly. Turn right at a “T” junction reached after about half an hour. From here the gradient becomes a bit more gradual as the trail gains the main ridgeline and follows its rolling curves, and there are views at intervals through the trees over the Taipei Basin and ahead to Yinghan Peak. After about 20 minutes of hiking from the “T” junction, you come upon a trail crossroads just below the summit. Turn right up the stone steps and walk for a couple of minutes to reach the main Mt. Guanyin summit (616m). The view from the peak is tremendous, and you can see Yangmingshan on the opposite site, the whole of Taipei City laid out far in the distance to the right, and Tamsui and the mouth of the Tamsui River to the left. To descend the mountain, you have several choices. One is to retrace your steps to the crossroads just below the summit, and then to follow the stepped trail on the right, which descends the eastern side of the mountain. After meeting a narrow lane after about 30 minutes of walking, turn left and follow the lane downhill through a cemetery and orange orchards until you reach the highway (No. 15) that follows the west bank of the Tamsui River. Cross the busy highway with care, and walk to the bicycle path that runs parallel and right beside the river. Turn left and follow the path (north) for about 20 minutes, to the Bali Ferry Pier. For a fare of just NT$23 (get your ticket at the ticket booth behind the pier before joining the queue, or swipe your EasyCard


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before boarding the ferry), you can take the little ferry across the river to Tamsui. There are services every 15 minutes or so. Don’t forget to look back at the towering bulk of Mt. Guanyin while crossing the river, or, even better, spend an hour or two exploring the promenade at Bali Left Bank before boarding the ferry in time to see the famous Tamsui sunset (weather permitting), which looks especially great from the deck of the boat. The ferry docks right in the heart of old Tamsui, 10 minutes from MRT Tamsui Station. If you don’t want to cross the river to Tamsui you can take bus R22 (Red 22) from the Ferryboats Dock bus stop on highway 15 and get off at MRT Guandu Station. Explore the magnificent nearby Guandu Temple first, then take the metro back to central Taipei. Another option for getting back down from Yinghan Peak is to retrace the route to Lingyun Zen Temple and then descend the rest of the way via Yingzai Peak and the narrow rocky ravine called Chaoyin Cave (“Tidal Sound Cave”). First, walk back through the temple past the main prayer hall, and at its end turn left up steps to the highest part of the temple complex, where a trail on the right, signposted to Zhanshan, climbs up the hillside. Turn right at the next junction (signposted “Yingzai Peak”), pass over the wooded peak (440m, with another great view just before the top), and take the dirt trail down the other side, keeping left at junctions. The trail is quite steep in parts, with fixed ropes, but is





1. Rest stop on the way Information to Yinghan Peak For more information about Mt. Guanyin, visit the North Coast and 2. Statue of Guanyin Guanyinshan National Scenic Area website ( beside the trail tw ). Before starting your hike, you might also want to visit the Mt. Guan3. Yinghan Peak yin Visitor Center, about a 15-minute walk up the road from the Lingyun 4. Bali Riverside Park 5. Tamsui River Zen Temple trailhead, where you can find lot of information about the 6. View from Yinghan area, including about local birds of prey (Mt. Guanyin is a popular birdPeak watching area). If you want to trace the trail before your hike, check out

Google Street View; the main trails were captured in October 2013. Getting There To get to the main trailhead on Mt. Guanyin, take the MRT Nanshijiao-Luzhou Line (Orange Line / Line 4B) to its northern terminus, Luzhou Station. Leave the station by Exit 1 and take bus O20 (Orange 20), which runs every 20-30 minutes, from the bus stop outside the station. Get off at Lingyun Temple; the ride takes about 30 minutes. (Please note: The Mt. Guanyin bus stop on the O20 route is quite far from the peak of the mountain, so getting off the bus there is an option only if you want to take the long route uphill.)

Mt. Guanyin


English and Chinese Bali 八里 Bali Ferry Pier 八里渡船頭 Bali Left Bank 八里左岸 Chaoyin Cave 潮音洞 Datun Mountain Range 大屯山系 Ferryboats Dock 渡船頭 Guandu 關渡 Guandu Temple 關渡宮 Lingyun Temple 凌雲寺 Lingyun Zen Temple 凌雲禪寺 Mt. Guanyin 觀音山 Mt. Qixing 七星山 Putuoshan 普陀山 Tamsui River 淡水河 Yangmingshan 陽明山 Yinghan Peak 硬漢嶺 Yingzai Peak 鷹仔尖 Zhanshan 占山

Ta i w

Ta iw


not too hard to manage; however, be careful during wet weather. At the foot of Yingzai Peak the trail joins a quiet lane. Follow this lane downhill for five minutes, and pass a small shrine beside the Mt. Guanyi road to the right. About 50 meters after the shrine, turn right down a concrete path, which winds down the steep wooded hillside to the mouth of a narrow crack in the rock face: the entrance to Chaoyin Cave. Entering the narrow, dark cleft, the walls of which close in on either side blocking out the sky, a path follows a little stream for a short distance until it widens into a “chamber” in which a small roofed shrine is housed. The stream tumbles over a little waterfall into a pool at the far end of the chamber before flowing under the metal floor of the shrine; the sound of rushing water provides one explanation for the unusual name, although (considering the mountain’s associations with Guanyin) it more likely comes from a similarly crack-like cleft of the same name on the island of Putuoshan, the place where Guanyin is said to have achieved enlightenment, not far from Shanghai in mainland China. Follow the narrow road that connects Chaoyin Cave with the outside world, downhill, to a junction. Keep left, continuing downhill, crossing a stream along the way. At another junction beside a pond, take the road on the right. In about 700 meters it joins a larger road, right next to Mt. Guanyin bus stop. From here you can take bus O20 (Orange 20) to MRT Luzhou Station, and then ride the metro to central Taipei.

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Nort hea s t C oa s t L o o p

Fulong Beach is among the most popular beach resorts in northern Taiwan; and while the hot summer months attract the most visitors, this is a place where you can enjoy the outdoors all year round. Bicycling is one of the best options for exploring the resort area, which has cultural, historical, and scenic attractions galore. Text: Owain Mckimm Photos: Maggie Song, Northeast & Yilan Coast NSA, Vision


ome summer, the consensus in northern Taiwan is that if you’re looking for a splash in the surf, or a frolic on the beach, head to Fulong Beach. Just a short train ride from Taipei, with golden sands and waves perfect for watersports, the beach resort, just outside small coastal Fulong village, simply ticks all the boxes. In summer, Fulong can get pretty crowded, off-puttingly so for some. Fulong in late spring, on the other hand, is quieter; and with temperatures more genial than in the sweltering summer months, visitors can take advantage of one of the area’s other great attributes – the Old Caoling Circle Line Bikeway, a 20km circuit of Taiwan’s rugged northeastern tip, and one of the island’s finest bike routes.

Old Caoling Tunnel

ou se iao Ca pe Lig hth Pa th ne ar Sa nd

Fulong Beach Fullon Hotel Fulong 2

Bike Rental

Shi hua dong vendor Fulong Railway Station Xiangye Biandang shop Visitor Center



Northern end of Old Caoling Tunnel

Sandiao Cape Lighthouse Lai Lai Eroded Platform

Southern end of Old Caoling Tunnel Travel in Taiwan


Old houses at Mao'ao Village

Tr yin g sh i hu a do ng

Pla tfo rm La i La i Ero de d

Sandiao Cape Lighthouse

Fulong Beach

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Visitor Center & Bike Rental The first thing to do when visiting Fulong is to check out the Fulong Visitor Center, a short walk northeast of the train station, just outside Fulong Beach. One of the most comprehensive visitor centers that I've visited in Taiwan, it has docks to charge your phone, lots of good English leaflets and maps covering the scenic spots and trails on the northeast coast, and information boards aplenty. In addition, it's worth spending a little time here browsing the Driftwood Rebirth Gallery – an exhibition of driftwood gathered after two typhoons swept a huge amount of debris onto the shores in the Fulong area back in 2001, now carved into stunningly intricate scenes of myth and nature. The next thing on the list is, of course, to get a bike. Heading back towards the train station, we rent our bikes at a shop on the main highway with the name Jiushi Baifenbai Zuche Lianmeng (“100% Bike Rental Alliance”). The shop rents singles, tandems, kids bikes, and electric bikes by the day, rather than by the hour, and the price for an adult bike is a mere NT$100. In addition, those who reach Fulong on a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus ( ) can present their ticket to get a 20% discount.

Jiushi Baifenbai Zuche Lianmeng ( 就是百分百租車聯盟 ) Add: No. 21, Xinglong St., Fulong Village, Gongliao District, New Taipei City ( 新北市貢寮區福隆里興隆街 21 號 ) Tel: (02) 2499-2206 / 0928-204-447


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Old Caoling Tunnel We retrace our path to the train station, turn left just in front of it, and then follow a narrow road along the railway tracks. Before long, we arrive at the Old Caoling Tunnel. Completed in 1924, the tunnel was used by trains traveling between Fulong and Shicheng further south on the East Coast. In 1986, a new tunnel was constructed right beside it and the old one abandoned – that is, until it was reopened in 2009 as part of a shorter bike path that is now part of the Old Caoling Circle Line Bikeway. At 5m high and 2km long, the tunnel was, at the time of its construction, the longest in Taiwan. Zipping through it with a bicycle at speed is quite a rush, taking about 10 minutes. Emerging on the other side, we stop for a while and have a bite to eat at the southern end of the tunnel. It's here that we get our first view of Turtle Island (named so because it resembles a redeared slider turtle raising its head out of the water), an islet about 10km off the coast that is in fact the top of an inactive volcano, known for its precipitous cliffs, offshore sulfurous springs, craggy peaks, and deep sea caves. Though its flora and fauna are known to be stunning, visiting the island requires an extra bit of effort, with permits having to be applied for in advance and boats chartered, so for now a glimpse is sufficient.




Lai Lai Eroded Platform

Sandiao Cape Lighthouse

A little further up the coast (i.e., northeast) from this spot is one of Taiwan’s many geological oddities. Situated as it is on a complex convergent boundary between tectonic plates; and hit often by violent typhoon winds and monsoon rains, Taiwan is as scarred and stretch-marked as they come. The Lai Lai Eroded Platform is just one of these many intriguing blemishes – a section of coastline molded by the elements into a corrugated expanse of ridges and grooves that make the area look a little like a giant washboard. Sheltered by Sandiao Cape on the north and fed by the warm Kuroshio Current, the sea surrounding the platform is something of an Eden for algae and plankton (which, in spring, coat the platform a deep vegetative green), and attracting, in turn, throngs of tropical fish. As a result, you'll see plenty of zealous anglers balancing precariously on the platform’s edge, waves crashing about them as they try to hook a prize catch.

As we follow the bikeway further north we catch a glimpse of Sandiao Cape Lighthouse, perched on a high promontory above the coastal highway. To reach it, we first pass by below, then double back along a steep and winding narrow roadway. The lighthouse, which has a range of 25 nautical miles, was built following the wrecking of two Japanese ships off the cape in the early 20th century. Inside is a small museum detailing various types of lighthouse apparatus and displaying some interesting historical nautical maps of the area. To one side of the lighthouse, down a brief flight of stone steps you come to a raised lookout with a view encompassing the mountains to the west, Bitou Cape to the north, and Turtle Island to the south. Curiously, the promontory’s name, Sandiao Cape, is a sinicized version of “San Diego Cape” – a name bestowed upon this part of the coast by passing Spaniards back in 1626.


Fulong Food Back in Fulong and needing to refuel after our bike ride, we grab one of the town’s famous Fulong lunchboxes. Now these aren’t the brightly colored plastic boxes that kids take their lunch to school in; the Taiwanese-style boxed lunch is a hearty meal (typically rice, cabbage, pork, tofu, pickled vegetables, sausage, and a hard-boiled egg) packed into a cardboard or thin-wood box about the same size as an old VHS tape. And as they’re particularly popular as lunch on long train journeys, most of the lunchbox vendors in Fulong are centered around the train station. We grab our lunchboxes at the Xiangye Biandang shop, which has been providing the good train passengers coming to Fulong with lunch since the 1950s. Its lunchboxes are top-notch; mine comes with a big slab of pork and crispy chunks of crackling to boot for just NT$60. For desser t we go a few doors down the street to try some shi hua dong , a strange aspiclike substance produced by boiling algae and then allowing the sieved liquid to cool. The jelly cubes – which are essentially flavorless – are then served with your choice of flavored syrup. A bowl will cost you just NT$40, and is pretty refreshing, if a little bit of an acquired taste.

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Google map with info


Fulong Beach Before we return our bikes there's just time for a frolic on the beach. The 3km-long stretch of sand (accessible via bridge from the “mainland”) lies on a peninsula formed by silting by the Shuangxi River as it flows into the sea at an acute angle to the coast. For those keen on sea-surface watersports, the strong steady breezes that blow through provide prime conditions for windsurfing, canoeing, bodyboarding, and surfing, while the calm waters of the river are perfect training grounds for beginners. A bit further to the east, at the mouth of the river, we see Dongxing Temple, dedicated to Mazu, Goddess of the Sea, with its many-tiered, mustardcolored roof resplendent in the late-afternoon sun. Mazu is an important deity for the local fishermen, who need all the divine help they can get negotiating the treacherous waters around Sandiao Cape and Turtle Island. The beach is also the stage for two major events in northern Taiwan's cultural calendar – the two-month long Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival (May-July), which sees the beach covered in enormous and intricate sandy sculptures, and the Ho- Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival (second weekend in July), one of the highlights of Taiwan's alternative-music scene.

(Note: Fulong Beach is operated by Fullon Hotels & Resorts; entrance fee: NT$40; hours: 8am ~ 6pm; tickets are sold until 5pm; no water activities are allowed after 6pm and all visitors are asked to leave the beach; free admission to hotel guests.)


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Fullon Hotel Hot Springs The temptation now is to find somewhere to soak our aching muscles, and the Fullon Hotel, a new hot-spring resort that recently opened near the beach, seems just the place; and partly resembling, as it does, a European castle with blue-and-white towers, the hotel is not difficult to find. Hot-spring facilities open to the public include a steam room, Jacuzzis, and hot/cold pools. The water – light yellow, semi-opaque, and odorless – contains hydrogen carbonate, and is said to have beautifying and stress-relieving effects. For non-guests use of the facilities costs NT$800 per person, with a time limit of 2 hours. Opening times are between 8am and 10pm with a two-hour break between 12 noon and 2pm. Last entry is 9 pm. Fullon Hotel Fulong ( 福容大飯店 ) Add: No. 41, Fulong St., Fulong Village, Gongliao District, New Taipei City ( 新北市貢寮區福隆里福隆街 41 號 ) Tel: (02) 2499-1188 Website:

Getting There Fulong is 60-90 minutes away from Taipei by train (depending on type of train); trains are frequent and run until late at night. You can also take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (Gold Fulong Route), which leaves from Ruifang Railway Station and terminates at the Fulong Visitor Center.

English and Chinese Bitou Cape 鼻頭角 Fulong 福隆 Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival 福隆國際沙雕藝術季 Dongxing Temple 東興宮 Driftwood Rebirth Gallery 原木再生緣木雕展示館 Ho-Hai-Yan Gongliao Rock Festival 貢寮國際海洋音樂祭 Lai Lai Eroded Platform 萊萊海蝕平臺 Old Caoling Circle Line Bikeway 舊草嶺環狀線自行車道 Old Caoling Tunnel 舊草嶺隧道 Sandiao Cape 三貂角 Sandiao Cape Lighthouse 三貂角燈塔 shi hua dong 石花凍 Shicheng 石城 Shuangxi River 雙溪河 Turtle Island 龜山島 Xiangye Biandang 鄉野便當


Hotels of Taiwan


Visitors to Taiwan have a wide range of choice when it comes to accommodation. From five-star luxury hotels that meet the highest international standards, to affordable business hotels, to hot-spring and beach resort hotels, to privately-run homestays located in the countryside there is a place to stay that satisfies every traveler’s needs. What all hotels of Taiwan — small and big, expensive and affordable — have in common is that serve and hospitality are always of the highest standards. The room rates in the following list have been checked for each hotel, but are subject to change without notice. Room rates at the hotels apply.

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


Taipei 台 北





No. of Rooms: 20~98

No. of Rooms: 203

Room Rates: Superior Titanium Flagship VIP Presidential

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

Suite Suite Suite Suite Suite


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

Taipei 台 北

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

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

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Chinese

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Chinese

RestauRaNts: Breakfast Buffet

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

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

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


sPecial featuRes: Gym, Sky Lounge, Sky Garden

Yilan County, Hualien County, Taitung County, Linkou (New Taipei City), Taoyuan City, Hsinchu County, Taichung City, Changhua City, Nantou County, Chiayi City, Tainan City, Kaohsiung City, PingtungCounty Tel: 886.5.551.5555 Fax: 886.5.551.7755

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:





華 泰 王子大 飯 店


Taipei 台 北

Taipei 台 北

No. of Rooms: 268

No. of Rooms: 220

No. of Rooms: 79

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

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

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

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

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Cantonese RestauRaNts: Éclat Lounge, George Bar sPecial featuRes: Member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World; strategically located in the most fashionable and prestigious district of Taipei; offers guests great convenience for business and entertainment; Wi-Fi connectivity and in-room business facilities; variety of meeting rooms providing the ideal venue for professional meetings, corporate functions, and social gatherings.

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

RestauRaNts: The Zone Bar & Restaurant

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

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


Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Chinese

No. of Rooms: 60 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

Hsinchu 新 竹

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


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

Desk Personnel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese restaurants: French All Day Dining (Buffet), Bon Amis Steak Room, Chao Ping Ji (Cantonese & Dim-Sum), Sumie Nouvelle Japonaise Cuisine (Japanese), Sumie SHABU (Hot pot), Pozzo Bakery, Zorro Bar sPecial Features: Two minutes walk from MRT ZhongXiao Dunhua Station. Business Center, Fitness Center, Conference Room, Banquet Room for 500 people, Free Parking for Room Guests, Free Broadband Internet Access in Guestrooms, In-Room Safe, Express/Dry Cleaning Service, Fine East and West Art Collections on Display

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

370, Sec. 1, Dunhua S. Rd., Da-an District, Taipei City 106 106 台 北 市 敦 化 南 路 一 段 370 號 Tel: 02.2784.8888 Fax: 02.2784.7888 Res. Hotline: 02.2784.8118

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

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

Taipei 台 北

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

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

477 , Linsen N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City 104 104 台 北 市 林 森 北 路 477 號 3 minutes by foot from Exit 2 of MRT Zhongshan Elementary School Station

Tel: 02.7743.1000 Fax: 02.7743.1100 E-mail:

Travel in Taiwan



Taipei 台 北


Taipei 台 北




Taipei 台 北

No. of Rooms: 160

No. of Rooms: 500 (Suites: 57)

No. of Rooms: 121

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

Room Rates: Single/DBL Suite

Room Rates:


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

Cozy Deluxe Premier Premier City View Dual Queen Premier Dual Queen Executive Suite Grand Suite

Taichung 台 中

No. of Rooms: 70 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

7,200 7,800 8,500 8,800 10,800 11,800 12,800 12,800

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Chinese, Japanese RestauRaNts: Unwind Bar & Restaurant sPecial featuRes: Located in the heart of the energetic Ximending; 1 minute on foot to MRT Ximen Station; free wireless Internet access; fitness center; business center; meeting room; laundry; express laundry service; complimentary Chinese/ Western buffet breakfast; safety deposit box; limousine service; airport pick-up. 150, Sec. 1, Zhonghua Rd., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City, 108

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


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

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

(MRT Ximen Station, Exit 6)

( two minutes from railway station)

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

108 台 北 市 中 華 路 一 段 150 號 Tel: 02.2331.3161 Fax: 02.2388.6216 Reservation Hotline: 02.2388.1889

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:

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

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



Travel in Taiwan



200 NTD

Travel in Taiwan (No.74 2016 3/4 )  
Travel in Taiwan (No.74 2016 3/4 )