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2017

MAR & APR

No.

80

The Three Southern Villages of

ALISHAN ADVENTURES

Rock Climbing in Beitou

5 THINGS TO DO

Old Harbor Town Lugang

THEME PARK

Taichung’s Lihpao Land

FOOD/DRINK

Taipei’s Craft Beer Scene

RAIL TRAVEL Miaoli Coast

Android

iOS


Shandori Hotel Shandori Hotel, located in Yilan’s Jiaoxi Township, is the first wood-themed leisure and vacation hotel in the county. Throughout the hotel, various kinds of top-grade wood are used as design elements. The décor is simple, but elegant and exquisite. A 1,000-year old wood log in the lobby quietly emanates its fragrance, filling the air with invigorating phytoncides as soon as you enter. This has a relaxing effect and allows you to leave the hustle and bustle of the city and any troubles behind. The hotel has 90 scenic double, triple, and quadruple guestrooms. Each room features a large amount of original wood, creating a warm and comfortable ambience. The unique Shandori Taiwan Cypress rooms offer a distinctive elegant fragrance of cypress as soon as you enter. The all-wood decoration makes being in the room like actually being amidst the mountain forest and has a naturally calming effect. The beauty of Shandori is its depth and understatedness. Every corner and every view is charmingly intoxicating. Stay at the Shandori Hotel for a truly memorable travel experience! Add: 1, Ln. 291, Xingnong Rd., Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣礁溪鄉興農路 291 巷 1 號 ) Tel: +886-3-988-8288 Website: www.shandori.com.tw


Welcome to

Taiwan! Dear Traveler, Spring is on the doorstep – in fact, half-way in – putting a spring in everyone’s step. Warmth from the south is, you might say, causing a bloom in people’s hearts and sparking an urge to step out the door to explore. In this issue we present a spring-bloom basketful of ideas on where to go and what to get up to. Our Feature article takes you to the southern part of the wonder-filled Alishan National Scenic Area. Quiet in comparison to this area’s central corridor, this is a deep-valley region of myriad allures, notably “Big blue skies + deep green valleys + small indigenous villages + Tsou Tribe culture + easy mountain trails + organic farming + twisting, rugged rivers and streams.” In Theme Park Joy, we visit central Taiwan’s Lihpao Land, a wonderland for fun-seekers old and young, offering thrill rides, go-kart racing, a water park, and much more. In Hidden Treasures , get to know Taichung’s Wufeng District and visit Guangfu New Village, the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan, and Wufeng’s Lin Family Mansion & Garden. Still in the west-central area, in 5 Things to Do explore Lugang, one of Taiwan’s top tourist towns, a “treasure-house of old-time architecture, temple life, handicrafts, and snack delicacies” where you “step back into a time when emperors still ruled.” Our destination in Railway Travel is the sleepy, rural coastal area of Miaoli County in the northwest of the island, and in A Day in the Big City we introduce you to “historic sites, old streets, eclectic eateries, shops, and accommodation” in Tainan, Taiwan’s first and long-time capital. In Adventures , we go rock-climbing in Beitou, on Taipei’s northwest side, where everyone from beginners to experienced climbers can find thrills and enjoy great views on a challenging rock face. Beer anyone? All this adventuring no doubt has made you thirsty. These days Taiwan’s microbrewery scene is brimming over with creativity, and in Island Feast we serve up insight on how local producers are matching beer and unique local flavors. Developed a thirst for Taiwan adventure? Enjoy your time with us! Joe Y. Chou, Ph.D. Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.


CONTENTS March ~ April 2017

10 PUBLISHER Joe Y. Chou Editing Consultant 

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

Where you can pick up a copy of Travel in Taiwan

Wayne Hsi-Lin Liu

Taipei City 10681, Taiwan TEL: 886-2-2325-2323 Fax: 886-2-2701-5531 E-MAIL: editor@v-media.com.tw General Manager Frank K. Yen Editor in Chief Johannes Twellmann English Editor Rick Charette DIRECTOR OF PLANNING & EDITING DEPT Joe Lee MANAGING EDITOR Krista Yang EDITORS Ming-Jing Yin, Chloe Chu, Nickey Liu CONTRIBUTORS Rick Charette, Nick Kembel, Steven Crook, Owain Mckimm, Joe Henley, Quyen Tran PHOTOGRAPHERS Ray Chang, Maggie Song, James Yang DESIGNERS Andy Chang, Maggie Song, Carrie Chang, Erin Chen ui-chun Tsai, Nai-jen Liu, Xiou Mieng Jiang, Administrative Dept H Chen Wen-ling, Sandy Yeh

Abroad

Publishing Organization

Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications CONTACT

International Division, Taiwan Tourism Bureau Add: 9F, 290 Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei City, 10694, Taiwan Tel: 886-2-2717-3737   Fax: 886-2-2771-7036 E-mail: tbroc@tbroc.gov.tw Website: http://taiwan.net.tw

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Danayigu Suspension Bridge (photo by Ray Chang)

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FEATURE

10 Alishan’s South Corridor – A Highland Valley Region Where Native and Modern Ways Mesh

30

THEME PARK JOY

24 Adventure Awaits at Lihpao Land – A Child-Friendly Theme Park in Central Taiwan

30

ISLAND FEAST When Tea Meets Beer – Amazing New Flavors Created by Local Micro-Brewers

1 4 6

Publisher's Note Taiwan Tourism Events Convenient Travel

7 News 8 Culture Scene 29 My Travel Log

38

ADVENTURES

34 Up and Down the Rock Face – Rock Climbing the Rehai Cliff in Beitou

HIDDEN TREASURES

38 Wufeng’s Guangfu New Village – Part of Taiwan’s Past, Part of Taiwan’s Future

44

FIVE THINGS TO DO Lugang – An Old-Time Place that’s One of Taiwan’s Top Tourist Towns

48

A DAY IN THE BIG CITY A Day in a Proud Old City – Tainan – Historic Sites, Old Streets, and Eclectic Eateries, Shops, and Accommodation

50

RAIL TRAVEL Chugging along the Coast – Visiting Miaoli County's Coastal Areas

34


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

Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar website

Culture, Fireworks, and Flowers in the Spring and Early Summer 04/01 05/27

Baosheng Cultural Festival 保生文化祭

Dalongdong Bao’an Temple, located close to Taipei Confucius Temple and within walking distance of the MRT Yuanshan Station, is a must-visit spot for tourists interested in traditional culture and fine temple art. In 2003, the temple received an Honourable Mention in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation, the conservation project being praised for having “taken a balanced approach between using modern scientific conservation methods and traditional architectural and decorative materials and skills, in order to recover as much of the historic building fabric as possible.” The main deity worshipped at the temple is Baosheng Dadi (literally “Life Protection Emperor’’), and the Baosheng Cultural Festival comprises a series of events and activities, including a street parade, martialarts performances, folk opera, birthday rituals honoring the god and, most exciting of all, a fire-walking ritual during which an effigy of Baosheng Dadi is carried over smoldering coals by barefooted men.

Location: Dalongdong Bao’an Temple; No. 61, Hami St., Datong District, Taipei City ( 大龍峒保安宮 / 臺北市大同區哈密街 61 號 ) Website: www.baoan.org.tw/english/baosheng.html

April May

Hakka Tung Blossom Festival 客家桐花祭

If you take a look at the Blooming status map on this festival’s website, you can tell that the majority of cities and counties of Taiwan are home to a significant number of tung trees, though most of them are to be found in the northwest of the island. The map also shows that the blooming of the trees is monitored closely (resembling the approach taking by the Japanese during sakura season). The blooming tung trees are a good reason to go for a hike, and there are a large number of mountain areas, especially in the greater Taipei area, city of Taoyuan, and Hsinchu and Miaoli counties, where you can walk on forest paths passing by the blooming trees. Wind and rain often make the blossoms fall in large number, creating snow-white “carpets” on the ground, to the delight of photographers. The tung tree is an intrinsic part of the Hakka people’s traditional culture, and this festival is also a great time to visit Hakka towns and villages, learning a bit about Hakka culture, tasting local specialties, and taking home a variety of unique Hakka-theme gift items.

Location: Mountain areas in northern, central, and eastern Taiwan Website: tung.hakka.gov.tw

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Travel in Taiwan


M ar c h ~ M A y

03/24 04/23

The Festival of the Calla Lily 竹子湖海芋季

Zhuzihu, in Yangmingshan National Park, is a small farm area surrounded by towering mountains, Mt. Qixing to the east and Mt. Datun to the northwest. It is best known for its beautiful fields of calla lilies, the main blooming season of which is March to May. During this time, large numbers of visitors will come to pick the flowers and use the flower fields as scenic backdrops for memorable photos. During the festival there are a number of flower-related events and activities, such as a calla-lily landscape design exhibit, eco- and culturethemed guided tours, and eco-agriculture experience activities. Due to the large crowds during the festival, self-driving to Zhuzihu is not recommended; extra bus services from/to central Taipei will be available.

Locations: Zhuzihu; Zhuzihu Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City ( 竹子湖 / 臺北市北投區竹子湖路 ) Website: www.callalily.com.tw

04/20 06/22

Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival 澎湖海上花火節

04/01

Yilan Green Expo

05/14

宜蘭綠色博覽會

4/1 5/14 六

活動地點 生態綠舟與冬山火車站周邊

Island scenery, water sports, old villages, sandy beaches, historic sites, fresh seafood… The islands of Penghu, located west of Taiwan proper, have all the ingredients of a premier summer vacation destination. If you visit in the early summer, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a special bonus, a splendid fireworks display, staged twice a week at the harbor of Magong, the only city in the archipelago. The fireworks, a Penghu summer highlight since 2003, attract large crowds of visitors, who watch the show from a harborside park, marveling at the bright lights in the sky and reflections on the water, with the colorful Rainbow Bridge to the left adding to the marvelous tableaux.

Yilan County, in Taiwan’s northeast, is an important center of agriculture. It is therefore fitting that an exposition centered on agriculture and food production is staged here every year. In 2016, the Yilan Green Expo’s main theme was “Food Ethic,” highlighting ethical and sustainable agriculture in Yilan and educating visitors about matters such as organic farming and eco-friendly food choices. The Expo, held in the Wulaokeng Scenic Area west of the ocean-port town of Su’ao, attracts visitors with many unique art objects made of natural materials, exhibitions dealing with environmental issues, stalls where you can buy local produce, a cultural-performance area, and much more.

Location: Guanyin Pavilion Leisure Park; No. 7, Jieshou Rd., Magong City, Penghu County ( 觀音亭休閒園區 / 澎湖縣馬公市介壽路 7 號 ) Website: www.facebook.com/phfireworks

Location: Wulaokeng Scenic Area; No. 75, Wulaokeng Rd., Su’ao Township, Yilan County ( 武荖坑風景區 / 宜蘭縣蘇澳鎮武荖坑路 75 號 ) Website: www.greenexpo.e-land.gov.tw

Travel in Taiwan

5


Convenient T rave l

Taiwan Tourist Shuttle website

BUS TRIP Tourist Shuttle to Alishan

The Alishan National Scenic Area is one of the top tourist attractions in Taiwan. It is known for its refreshing coniferous forests, high-mountain tea plantations, beautiful sunrises, cherry blossoms, and alpine railway. Thanks to the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service (en.taiwantrip.com.tw ), getting to this area in southern Taiwan is convenient and straightforward. Buses depart from the Taiwan High Speed Rail (TSHR) Chiayi Station (Alishan Route A) and Chiayi Railway Station (Alishan Route B). The trip from these stations to the last stop, in the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, takes about 2.5 hours, and it is a scenic ride indeed. While most visitors are interested in the renowned sights of the forest recreation area, there are also other stops along the bus routes you might want to get off at, if time permits. Before the buses on the two routes leave the western plains and climb up into the high mountains, you have the chance to visit Wufeng Temple, drop into the Alishan NSA Visitor Center, and explore the settlement of Chukou, where two photogenic suspension bridges and a colorful old temple are the main attractions. Get off at Longmei village if you are going to visit the southern villages of Alishan along County Highway 129 (see Feature article on pages 10~21). Your only public-transportation option to get to these villages, however, is a shuttle bus serving the local communities. Xiding is an excellent stop if you want to have a cup of fresh high-mountain tea while taking in the stunning mountain and tea plantation scenery (recommended tea farm: Sheng Le Farm; www. sheng-le.com ). At Shizhuo village, the main highway (Route 18) connects to minor roads leading to Fenqihu and other villages in northern Alishan, such as Ruili and Laiji, as well as indigenous villages to the south, such as Dabang and Tefuye. Note that the buses leaving Chiayi Railway Station at 9:40am, TSHR Chiayi Station at 11am, and Alishan at 10:10am and 2:40pm make the detour to Fenqihu, which is a major stop on the Alishan Forest Railway (another great transportation option to get from Chiayi City into the Alishan area, but at present only running between Chiayi and Fenqihu). The last bus stop on the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle’s Alishan routes is at the main car park of the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area, just below the railway station, from where you can take a narrow-gauge train in the early morning to watch the sunrise over Mt. Jade (Yushan). From the forest recreation area you have the option to continue on another scenic bus ride, taking you all the way to famous Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, via Tataka and Shuili. There are two services a day, leaving Alishan at 1pm and 2pm (Sun Moon Lake departures: 8am and 9pm). Wufeng Temple

Alishan Forest Recreation Area

Tea plantation at Xiding

Bus route: THSR Chiayi Station ( 高鐵嘉義站 ; Route A) / Chiayi Railway Station ( 臺 鐵嘉義站 ; Route B) – Dingliu Elementary School ( 頂六國小 ) – Wufeng Temple ( 吳鳳廟 ) – Chukou Visitor Center ( 觸口遊客中心 ) – Chukou ( 觸口 ) – Longmei ( 龍美 ) – Xiding ( 隙頂 ) – Longtou ( 巃頭 ) – Shizhuo ( 石棹 ) – Shizi Community ( 十字村 ) – Youth Activity Center ( 青年活動中心 ) – Alishan Forest Recreation Area ( 阿里山森林遊樂區 ) Fare: NT$230 one way (EasyCard and iPASS card accepted)

Departures: Alishan Route A : Four services a day between THSR Chiayi Station and Alishan Alishan Route B : About one service per hour from Chiayi Railway Station (first service 6:10pm, last service 14:10); about once an hour from Alishan (first service 9:10am, last service 17:10). Buses serve the same route as Alishan Route A except for the first stop, Chiayi Railway Station. Find the exact times for each bus stop at en.taiwantrip.com.tw .

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Travel in Taiwan


NEWS

NEWS & Events around Taiwan

Indigenous-Culture Postboxes Around Taiwan

Announcement of venue for the next Taiwan Lantern Festival; right: Joe Y. Chou, Director-General, Taiwan Tourism Bureau; left: Chin-Yung Lee, Magistrate, Yunlin County; second from left: Hua-Kuan Chang, Magistrate, Chiayi County

Venues for Next Taiwan Lantern Festivals Announced With the 2017 Taiwan Lantern Festival, held in Yunlin this year, still fresh in festival visitors’ memories, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has announced the venues for this grand annual extravaganza for the coming two years. The festival will be staged in Chiayi County in 2018 and in Pingtung County in 2019. These will be the 29th and 30 th editions of this hugely popular and successful festival. The venues for the Chiayi event will include the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum. The festival organizers plan to incorporate the museum's cultural attractions and take advantage of its enchanting landscaped grounds. One stage for the Pingtung event is to be the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, with the aim of highlighting this attractive recreational area in southwestern Taiwan.

Recently, Chunghwa Post invited indigenous artist Lavuras.matilin to paint 16 postboxes with indigenousculture themes, featuring tribal symbols, totem imagery, and scenic features celebrating Taiwan’s 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes. These postboxes have now been installed in indigenous villages in the home areas of each of the tribes around Taiwan. The postboxes will not only serve a practical purpose, but hopefully will become tourist attractions as well. In order to encourage tourists to visit the villages, Chunghwa Post now rewards visitors who manage to find all of the boxes and collect stamps at each location. Collect all stamps on a special stamped letter sheet (can be downloaded from website below), mail the sheet to Chunghwa Post Co., Ltd., Department of Public Affairs, Integrated Marketing Section before November 30, 2017, and you’ll be entered in a lucky draw with the chance to win a gift certificate for the PostMall (www.postmall. com.tw ) worth up to NT$20,000. For more information about this activity, including the locations of the postboxes, go to https://goo.gl/KEOi2w and download the PDF file Aboriginal Culture Postbox Circuit Rules and the stamped letter sheet.


C U LT U R E S C E N E

CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings

05/11 05/13

04/08

4/3 National Theater

Rosas: Vortex Temporum & Fase 羅莎舞團 : 時間的漩渦

National Concert Hall

Fubon Night – Lang Lang Piano Recital 富邦巨星之夜 - 郎朗鋼琴獨奏會

Website: tifa.npac-ntch.org

Website: www.mna.com.tw

This is the third visit to Taiwan by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and her company Rosas. In Fase , the choreographer’s first creation, she will perform herself, together with another female dancer, wearing simple outfits and engaging in simple dance movements. In Vortex Temporum , seven dancers will share the stage with seven musicians, movements and sounds closely linked together.

Chinese pianist Lang Lang is nothing short of a superstar. He has played with the world’s leading orchestras, has entertained the US President at the White House, performed at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2008, and was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2009. His recital in Taipei will include works by Debussy, Liszt, and Albeniz.

Until 04/26

04/19 Huashan 1914 Creative Park

04/23

Various Venues in Taipei

04/09

Wei Chuan Pushin Ranch

Looptopia Music Festival 樂托邦國際音樂季 Website: looptopia.cc

This 2-day electronic dance music festival will feature over 50 local and foreign DJs and entertainers. There will be three colorful performance areas created by renowned international stage designers along with interactive-art installations and facilities such as a camping site and barbecue area. The venue is the Wei Chuan Pushin Ranch in Taoyuan; shuttle buses to the farm will be available from Taipei during the festival.

Until 05/30

Chimei Museum

Creative Expo Taiwan Bologna Illustrators Exhibition in Taiwan 波隆納世界插畫大展在臺灣 Website: www.huashan1914.com

If you love illustration art, you don’t want to miss this exhibition showcasing 385 works from 77 artists who have won awards at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, a major event that has been held annually since 1967 in northern Italy. The exhibition also includes a special section looking back at the 50year history of the Bologna fair, also known as the “Oscars of Illustration.”

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Travel in Taiwan

臺灣文博會

Website: creativexpo.tw

The Creative Expo Taiwan (CET), promoted as “An Accelerator of Creative Industries in Taiwan,” will be staged for the seventh time this year. CET has become the largest and most reputational creative fair in Taiwan. Since its first edition in 2010 the fair has attracted an ever increasing number of exhibitors and visitors. There were 360 exhibitors and 65,000 visitors at the inaugural event, while last year 700 exhibitors and 213,000 visitors came to show off and marvel at innovative creations. There will be three venues this year, with a focus on three aspects of creative industries: Huashan 1914 Creative Park (Craft), Songshan Cultural & Creative Park (Design), and Taipei Expo Park’s EXPO Dome (Licensing).

Origami Universe 紙上奇蹟 Website: www.chimeimuseum.org

Origami, lit. “folding paper,” is a popular art form that originated in Japan. From simple cranes that fiveyear olds manage to create to large, complicated sculptures, the art form offers a wide spectrum of possibilities. This exhibition displays almost 400 works of origami art, the world’s largest exhibition of its kind, with creations by 60 artists, designers, scientists, and researchers from over 20 countries.


C U LT U R E S C E N E

Until 07/23

Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum

Until 06/18

05/04 National Palace Museum

KIMONO: 18th – 20th Century Japanese Apparel Special Exhibition

Staying Industrious and Shunning Luxury: The Qing Emperor Jiaqing and the Art of His Time

Website: south.npm.gov.tw/en-US

Website: www.npm.edu.tw

This exhibition introduces you to the traditional attire most often associated with Japan, the kimono. The fine examples on display give visitors a good idea of the variety of patterns, colors, and materials used over the last few centuries to make kimonos of the highest quality and aesthetic value. The exhibition also explains how kimono-making changed due to Western influences, and the rise of modern industries.

The 5th emperor who ruled over China during the Qing Dynasty (1644~1912), Jiaqing was secretly chosen by his father Qianlong as successor in 1772. His reign lasted from 1796 to 1820. This exhibition presents historical documents and cultural artifacts, shedding light on Jiaqing as an individual and helping visitors to acquire a better understanding of the art of his period of reign and its characteristics.

KIMONO: 18~20 世紀日本服飾特展

勤修無逸─嘉慶皇帝文物特展

05/07

National Theater

U Theatre: Dào 優人神鼓 : 墨具五色

Website: www.utheatre.org.tw

Founded in 1988, U Theatre is a leading drum ensemble based in Taipei, known for captivating performances based on disciplined study and the practice of meditation that feature drumming, martial arts, dance, and acting. Dào , the ensemble’s latest production, combines the sound of drums with the colorful splash paintings of artist LingKo.


FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

Alishan’s South Corridor Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang

Fumei Suspension Bridge

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Travel in Taiwan


FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

A Highland Valley Region Where Native and Modern Ways Mesh Big blue skies + deep green valleys + small indigenous villages + Tsou Tribe culture + easy mountain trails + organic farming + twisting, rugged rivers, and streams = the Alishan National Scenic Area’s “hidden-away” south region

Travel in Taiwan

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FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

Painted doors in Shanmei

floor. High on the valley sides are small farming villages. Most residents here are from the Tsou Tribe, which calls Alishan home, along with members of the Bunun Tribe and Han Chinese.

Shanmei

T

he beauty of the exceedingly popular Alishan National Scenic Area, one of Taiwan’s most iconic tourist destinations, lies in its timelessness. The foundation elements that attract lovers of things natural and pure and nonmaterialistic have been in place long before tourists began to arrive, long before any settlements took shape, long before any member of the human race set foot on this upward-thrusting mountainous island. Visitors can see that all of the humancreated modern elements enjoyed here are built on this base.

Most travelers explore the national scenic area’s central corridor, stretching from the western plains by the foot of the mountains near Chiayi City to the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area along Provincial Highway 18. The famous Alishan Forest Railway, which starts in Chiayi City, ends in the forest area. We most recently explored this region in our March 2014 issue. Travel in Taiwan has also explored Alishan’s quieter northern region, in our March 2016 issue, most easily reached from the central corridor via County Highway 169, which passes through the town of Fenqihu, half-way station on the touristpopular narrow-gauge alpine railway. In this issue we explore Alishan’s southern region, which is quieter still. You turn onto County Highway 129 from Provincial Highway 18 at Longmei village, long before reaching the great heights of the Fenqihu area and, higher still, the forest recreation area. You are traveling down into a long, twisting valley area that debouches at the western plains at the lovely Zengwen Reservoir. The rugged Zengwen River snakes along the valley 12

Travel in Taiwan

On a recent 3-day self-drive outing to Alishan’s southern villages we (me and three companions) reached the Highway 18/129 junction about four hours after leaving Taipei. We spent the remainder of our first day exploring the Shanmei community, from the mountain-ridgeline junction down to the Zengwen River, almost always in view far down below. Shanmei is spread out in a number of clusters along the highway, and beside the Zengwen is its most famous attraction, Danayigu Ecological Park. We met up with our guide for the afternoon – Mr. Zhuang Xin-ran, from the Tsou Tribe (contact the Shanmei Community Development Association; (05) 258-6994/258-6621 to arrange guided tours of Shanmei), sporting the long locks traditionally worn by native braves, and had lunch at Yupasü Tsou Tribe Restaurant. This is an inviting timber-built eatery beside the highway about ten minutes from Longmei, in the first neighborhood cluster of Shanmei. The valley and mountain vista out beyond the dining-area deck is deliciously appetizing. “Yupasü” is a Tsou term meaning “to grow wealth,” chosen to invite fortune by the owner. The food is hearty, well-prepared, and well-presented; this is the only place in the southern villages with anything like a chef in the kitchen. I have a hopeless “sweet tooth” for indigenous-style boar (wood-grilled here, not the common stone-grilled), but to be honest, the most unusual item on the menu was also the most satisfying – marinaded charcoal-grilled turtledove. The price per adult is NT$250; you’re presented with a banquet-style set meal according to group size; smallest of which is for 2~3 people, consisting of five dishes. Yupasü Tsou Tribe Restaurant ( 游芭絲鄒族料理 ) Add: No. 1~8, Neighborhood 1, Shanmei Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉山美村 1 鄰 1 之 8 號 ) Tel: 0919-318-959

Yupasü Tsou Tribe Restaurant


FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

to Alishan Forest Recreation Area

to Chiayi City

Taiwan

Longmei

to Chiayi City

Xinmei Zengwen Reservoir

Chashan

Scenery around Shanmei

Helpful Hint: Don’t bypass the expansive Alishan NSA Chukou Visitor Center before you begin your mountain ascent. On the outskirts of Chukou town, where Highway 18 leaves the plains to begin its skyward climb, the extensive English-language display, video, and brochure information will greatly enrich your time at Alishan.

Shanmei Bridge

Indigenous specialties

Yupasü Tsou Tribe Restaurant

Travel in Taiwan

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FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

Danayigu Ecological Park Painted house in Shanmei

Indigenous cultural performance at Danayigu Ecological Park

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Travel in Taiwan


FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

After our meal, Mr. Zhuang brought us around Shanmei’s sections and the eco-park. Shanmei’s elevation ranges from 500 to 1,200 meters (by way of reference, Alishan National Forest Recreation Area sits at about 2,200 meters). Almost 100% of Shanmei residents are Tsou. The nanshancun or “south mountain villages” area was originally a hunting ground for Tsou from the tribal villages of Lijia and Dabang to the northeast. Shanmei had about 30 households before 1929, but was formally established in that year, during the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945). Han Chinese had also been moving in, to log the local camphor trees. Today you’ll see bamboo forest all around; though there have been other sources of income, such as ginger, taro, corn, jelly fig, etc., and in recent decades high-mountain tea, it has been bamboo, for both culinary and other uses, that has been the main source of income. Since the eco-park’s establishment, the area’s commerce has been slowly shifting toward tourism and recreation. Danayigu Ecological Park is just a young sapling compared to Alishan’s other major tourist attractions. Visitors here are proffered a feast of music and dance performances by native Tsou singers and dancers, a historical photo exhibit educating visitors on life in the south villages region, and a delicious harvest of native culinary delectables and souvenir buys at a collection of native-theme eateries and handicraft shops. The main attraction, however, lies beyond the entrance area. A forest walk of just a few hundred meters brings you by the Zengwen River and Danayigu Stream intersection. The new very long and very camera-friendly, dramatically situated Danayigu Suspension Bridge shoots the latter at its base. The Zengwen gorge here is breathtakingly narrow, that of the Danayigu even more so. Mr. Zhuang and other locals repeatedly told us how the valley resembled a Garden of Eden before the devastating and allchanging Typhoon Morakot in 2009; photos in the photo-exhibit hall prove this true. Today’s boulder-block valley, however, is a place with images perhaps even more powerful. Danayigu Suspension Bridge Feeding shoveljaw carp

Butterfly Heaven

The eco-park’s many different types of nectar-source plants also make it a veritable butterfly heaven. A total of 71 types have been identified locally. The community makes the park’s habitat even more welcoming for these flying works of art by cultivating nutritious plants with lovely pastel-color flowers throughout.

The Tsou

The majority of the Tsou, who number about 7,000, live in Alishan Township. The tribal word tsou , which means “human being,” was in fact chosen as the group’s name by Japanese anthropologists, and thereafter gradually adopted by tribal members and government. The tribe’s original home area was on the western plains, in the Tainan region. In tribal lore the Alishan move was either made after warriors found ample game here or to escape Dutch colonial persecution in the 1600s. 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 symbolically rich traditions.

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FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

overlooking the bridges on a large open-air clifftop deck. The restaurant primarily caters to tour-bus groups but has singlediner options. Savor fare such as grilled salted range chicken and mountain-boar sausage, fresh mountain vegetables and fruits, plus Alishan Oolong tea (chicken set menu NT$280, pork NT$250).

Another Helpful Hint: If not with a guided tour-bus group, use of local guides is strongly recommended – in my opinion, requisite. The cost for a local guide (Chinese-speaking) is NT$1,000~$2,500 for 2~4 hours, itinerary custom-tailored to time/fee. Contact information is provided in each village section.

Xinmei

Map on a wall in Xinmei, showing indigenous villages in Alishan

The eco-park is a precious habitat for the rare shoveljaw carp, an endemic species almost hunted to extinction just a few decades ago. We were politely told “outsiders” used poison and electrocution without restriction, which also threatened the local fresh-water supply. Tribal elders convinced fellow members to contribute their traditional lands to the establishment of the eco-preserve in the 1990s, and since then locals have organized patrols, and the carp have thrived. Valley tourism has concomitantly thrived, and Shanmei has become a model for regional eco- and tribal traditionfriendly, tourism-savvy development. Now, let’s move back in time a bit. As you navigate the highway downhill from the last Shanmei neighborhood toward the ecopark, just before crossing the river you encounter a scene stirringly dramatic. Far off beyond you see the Danayigu Suspension Bridge, below you see two side-by-side bridges jumping the Zengwen; the earlier bridge, though not old, was closed after a typhoon weakened it; the newer one is handsome white-colored Shanmei Bridge. To your right is lofty Fumei Suspension Bridge. You can park your car by the viewing pavilion on the far side and enjoy the changing views from along the highway bridge. Then walk along the main road up to one end of Fumei Suspension Bridge. Fumei Suspension Bridge is Taiwan’s longest hammock-style suspension bridge. Stretched 175 meters and soaring 80 meters above the river, it sports the iconic colors of the Tsou – red, blue, and black. Mr. Zhuang informed us that during Typhoon Morakot the river water came up to the height of the cables hanging under the bridge. Crossing the bridge, you come to the “Mountain Beauty” restaurant. There we enjoyed a hearty indigenous-theme meal Mountain Beauty ( 山之美 ) Add: No. 106, Neighborhood 6, Shanmei Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉山美村 6 鄰 106 號 ) Tel: (05) 258-6655

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The Xinmei community sits at an elevation of 400-800 meters. Following Shanmei’s lead, sightseeing attractions are being systematically developed to showcase the distinctive local character. What has emerged as the foremost attraction is Xinmei’s organic agriculture. During the Japanese era, the riverside flatland areas below present-day Xinmei village were developed for, primarily, paddyrice agriculture, the farmwork handled by Han Chinese. After WWII and the Japanese departure from Taiwan, Tsou members from Dabang and Lijia were encouraged to move in, engaging in small-farm agriculture and raising cattle. The processing facilities of the collectively-run Daso Ci Cou Organic Agriculture Development Association sit on a highwayside plateau overlooking the Zengwen just past the main Xinmei village cluster. Local farming families began turning to organic cultivation in 2005, after coming to understand the harm that standard practices had been causing to their living environment. Our Xinmei guide, Ms. Yang Pei-zhen, explained the cooperative’s philosophy and its cultivation and marketing methods while giving us a tour of the fields behind, processing facilities, and sales area. Daso Ci Cou Organic Agriculture Development Association ( 打手機鄒有機農業發展協會 ) Add: No. 51, Neighborhood 3, Xinmei Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉新美村 3 鄰 51 號 ) Tel: 0929-296-561 (Ms. Yang)

Drying seeds on organic farm in Xinmei


FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

Camellia tree fruit

Xinmei guide Yang Pei-zhen

Scenery seen from Camphorwood Forest Trail

to Chiayi City

Old church in Xinmei

to Alishan Forest Recreation Area

Longmei Taiwan

Shanmei to Chiayi City

Zengwen Reservoir

Chashan

At Xinmei Elementary School

Xinmei produce

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FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

Looking at Xinmei Village from a distance Chun Ye Yuan homestay

Chashan Village seen from Tun’abana Trail

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FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

Among the tasty items I brought home were the chili paste (NT$150/jar), marinaded mountain-bamboo chunks with peanuts (NT$150/jar), and dried bamboo chunks dusted with ginger powder (NT$100/bag). You can enjoy self-picking and other DIY experiences, and will soon be able to picnic at the facility, with either self-picked or ordered items cooked for you on-site. Ms. Yang next took us on a pleasant tour of the Camphorwood Forest Trail, which begins at the highway just above the farm, takes you up and over a ridge, and drops you off back on the main road right beside Xinmei village. This rebuilt 2.4km trail was originally blazed by Tsou hunters headed up-mountain; you’ll see an example of the traditional mini-huts they would hide in by the trailside, along with the occasional elaborate traditional-style bird snare. In the trail’s central section is an oil-tree camellia plantation, cultivated since the Japanese era, and higher still a highly aromatic camphor-tree plantation. After our descent Yang introduced the village, showing us, among other things, the eclectic old village church – the majority of Taiwan’s tribal members are Christians – and the oldest momand-pop general store in the south villages region (by the way, there is no chain-franchise businesses of any sort in this area), today run by the third generation, where the tribal-elder owner enthusiastically pulled out every English word accumulated over his lifetime to talk with us. Though he came up well short of 50, we had a great conversation nonetheless. Sculpture in Xinmei

Traditional pavilion in Chashan

Mural in Chashan

Chashan In Chashan village, our first stop was the cultural-activity ground diagonally across from the Chashan Development Association office, where a bus-tour group was being edutained with indigenous song and dance, shooting a wild-boar cartoon figure with bow and arrow, making indigenous-style mochi with mortar and pestle, sampling bamboo-tube rice and fresh-grilled meats, etc. After trying out some of the fun for ourselves our designated guide, a young and impressively knowledgeable Tsou maiden named Ms. Chen Xiao-lin, took us on a tour of Chashan. Chashan Community Development Association ( 茶山社區發展協會 ) Add: No. 77, Neighborhood 4, Chashan Village, Alishan Township, Chiayi County ( 嘉義縣阿里山鄉茶山村四鄰 77 號 ) Tel: 0921-242-185 (guide service: Mr. Fang)

First up was the activity ground’s Alishan-theme gift and souvenir shop, where she introduced Alishan specialty items. I came away with a half-pound of Alishan black tea leaf (NT$800), bitter-tea oil (NT$1,200/bottle), and high-mountain cane sugar (NT$200/jar). Chashan, Alishan’s most southerly village, ranges from 260 to 1,600 meters in elevation. The unusually high number on the back end is explained by the fact that the main village cluster is on the lower reaches of Mt. Zhuowu, but the village’s area in fact reaches right up to the mountain’s top.

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FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

The village’s original Tsou name means “plain on the mountain mid-slope.” The Japanese once raised horses and cattle here; today the village sits on the plain, inhabited by Tsou, Bunun, and Han Chinese, in a rough 60/30/10 mix. Large woodcarvings line the streets, each explaining elements of the Tsou culture. It also seems that everywhere you look you see a timberframe rest pavilion with thatch roof, each with its own distinctive character. Each of the three groups builds them, but their origin is with the Tsou. Called hufu in the Tsou language, in days past meat obtained in hunts would be placed inside to share among village families. They are built today to celebrate the traditional indigenous sharing culture, and the practice now is to hang locally grown plantains instead of meat. Tourists are welcome to take one each. Note that some hufu are private, identified as such by the wildboar skulls and jawbones hung up; you’re welcome to enter, but ask permission first. Coffee-lovers cannot get past the On This Mountain Studio/Guesthouse/Café, a short walk along the road behind the activity center, overlooking neat farm fields. Run by an artist couple, husband Tsou, wife Hakka, artworks pervade the premises – your coffee is served in the wife’s handmade mugs, each unique and right from a Lord of the Rings scene.

Farm Homestay and Coffee Farm High above Chashan’s main settlement are two places worth mentioning. Both can be reached by taking minor roads up the steep side of Mt. Zhuowu. At Chun Ye Yuan homestay (tea-hill. ho.net.tw ; Chinese), enjoy a unique farmstay experience with a family that cleared their land over 50 years ago and lives in a traditional three-sided cour tyard-style farmhouse. The friendly owners serve a hearty traditional dinner and break fast made with fresh vegetables, fish, and other items produced on the farm. A shor t walk uphill from the farmhouse is a great lookout spot from where you can enjoy a breathtaking 270-degree panoramic view over Chashan and the surrounding mountains. Further uphill from the farm homestay, and just below the mountain’s top, is the awardwinning, tourist-inviting Zhuo-Wu Mountain Café Grange coffee farm. Here you can walk amongst cof fee trees, learn about organic coffee cultivation, and sample award-winning Tai wan cof f e e s of t h e hi gh e s t qu ali t y. I f interested in trying the coffees without visiting this faraway spot, note that the owner-family operates a café in Chiayi City. (Zhuo-Wu Café; No. 194, Minsheng N. Rd., Chiayi City / 嘉 義 市民生北路 194 號 ; tel.: [05] 222-5896; www. facebook.com/ZhuoWuCafe )

The Tun’abana Trail, shaped like a figure 8, is 2.3km long. At its start and end it directly overlooks Chashan village. The key attractions along the way are the Jiayama Fall and Fire and Water Spring. The former shoots out from thick forest but, dramatically, immediately disappears below the pool at its base. Ms. Chen informed us that the original channel is still followed, but it’s below a thick cover of earth and rock washed down by Typhoon Morakot, the waters reappearing out of sight beyond. At the latter, natural gas and water well up through crevices, igniting naturally despite the water’s presence. Chen taught us the traditional call given by returning hunters when emerging from the forest high above the settlement, and to our delight all the kids we spotted in town immediately looked up and hollered the traditional welcome.

Handmade mug at On This Mountain Studio/Guesthouse/Café

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From Chashan, highly recommended is making the short drive down along Zengwen River to the picture-perfect Zengwen Reservoir, then heading north along Provincial Highway 3 to its connection with Highway 18. Whereas much of Highway 3 features substantial and sometimes heavy roadside development, this stretch is one of pristine and oft thrilling mountain views, along with arrestive, commanding looks over the western plains as you get closer to Highway 18. Happy trails.


FEATURE ALISHAN SOUTH

to Chiayi City

to Alishan Forest Recreation Area

Longmei Shanmei to Chiayi City

Taiwan

Xinmei Zhuo Wu Mountain Coffee Farm

East District

Zengwen Reservoir

Google map with info Getting There & Around The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle ser vice (taiwantrip. com.tw ) runs two routes into the Alishan National Scenic Area (see our previous Alishan articles). However, public transpor tation is not an option in the A lishan souther n region. For groups, a bus tour with an English-speaking guide customtailored by a local Taiwan Tourism Bureau-vetted travel firm is recommended. Visit the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website (taiwan.net.tw ; Taiwan Tour Bus section) for more information. For DIY travelers, car rental is the best option; service desks are found in the THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) Chiayi Station, and rental offices are located right outside the Chiayi Railway Station.

Fire and Water Spring Unroasted coffee beans at Zhuo-Wu Mountain Café Grange

Brewing high-quality coffee at Zhuo-Wu farm

English and Chinese Alishan Forest Railway 阿里山森林鐵路 Bunun Tribe 布農族 Camphorwood Forest Trail 香樟林步道 Chashan 茶山 Chen Xiao-lin 陳曉琳 Chun Ye Yuan 淳液園 Danayigu Stream 達娜伊谷溪 Danayigu Ecological Park 達娜伊谷自然生態保育公園 Fenqihu 奮起湖 Fire and Water Spring 水火同源 Fumei Suspension Bridge 福美吊橋 Jiayama Falls 珈雅瑪瀑布 Longmei 龍美 Mt. Zhuowu 卓武山 nanshancun 南山村 On This Mountain Studio/Guesthouse/Café 只在此山中陶藝民宿咖啡 Shanmei 山美 Shanmei Community Development Association 山美社區發展協會 魚 shoveljaw carp Tsou Tribe 鄒族 Tun’abana Trail 屯阿巴娜步道 Xinmei 新美 Zhuang Xin-ran 莊信然 Yang Pei-zhen 楊佩珍 Zengwen Reservoir 曾文水庫 Zengwen River 曾文溪 Zhuo Wu Mountain Coffee Farm 卓武山咖啡農場

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NEWS YILAN

National Center for Traditional Arts Reopened New Management, More Attractions, Better Accommodation Text: Vision Photos: Sunmake Cultures Foundation

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A

fter three months of renovation, one of the main tourist attractions of Yilan County in northeastern Taiwan, the National Center for Traditional Arts, was reopened in late January. Since last year, the center has been operated by the non-prof it Sunmake Cultures Foundation, which has plans to invest heavily over the next six years to improve the facilities and host two major events each year – a Lantern Festival event early in the year and a “Magic Game Arts Festival” during the summer months. During the recent renovation, the main entrance was moved further to the south and the visiting route was changed, directing visitors to the Crafts Education Center

where they learn about crafts and creativity from cultural-creative enterprises such as tittot (glass art), Yung Shing Furniture (woodworks), and Eilong (ceramics). Another new feature is management of the center’s guest-accommodation operation by the Hotel Royal Group, and its renaming as The Place Yilan. The goal behind having such a facility inside the center is to develop a space for artistic and cultural heritage tourism where guests can immerse themselves in traditional culture and experience arts and crafts firsthand through a variety of activities and events. For more info about the National Center for Traditional Arts, visit www.pxsunmake.org.tw.


Dublin Teppanyaki

嘟柏林鐵板燒 Get carried away

For more than 20 years, Dublin Teppanyaki has been preparing terrific set meals using only the best first-rate beef and seafood. Take a seat and witness how our highly trained and experienced Teppanyaki chefs skillfully prepare mouthwatering delicacies right in front of you. A truly unforgettable dining experience!

Experience ience the Bea eauty & Sensa ensation of Pek eking Op pera, Acrobatics, and mo more…

Tuesdays 14:00~16:00 Thursdays 10:00~12:00 http://b008.tcpa.edu.tw (02) 2796-2666 ext. 1631~1634 E-mail: pac88888@gmail.com No. 177, Sec. 2, Neihu Rd., Neihu District, Taipei City

(台北市內湖區內湖路二段177號)

ADD: 137 Xinyi Rd., Sec. 4, Taipei (Free Parking service) TEL: (02)2704-7798 Business Hours: 12:00-14:30 17:00-22:30

Ambassador Hotel Taipei

Zhanghua Rd. Sec. 1

Hanzhong St.

Wannian Building Chengdu Rd.,

Ximen Station Exit 6

Canton Court Eight Exclusive New Dim Sum Dishes Available Now

Canton Court’s open kitchen offers diners a chance to watch the head chef work his culinary magic while also looking out over beautiful tree-lined Zhongshan North Road. This quiet and modern dining space is ideal for small get-togethers. Private rooms that can seat 40 guests are also available. Dim sum has an important position in Eastern culture. Good-quality Chinese tea is ideally accompanied by bite-sized, tasty dim sum dishes. To ensure the exquisite appearance and unique taste and texture of Canton Court’s dim sum, the Ambassador has recruited Executive Head Chef Zhong Gui-zhao from the Hong Kong Jockey Club to bring his dim sum expertise into play in Taipei. Using local ingredients, eight original dim sum dishes have been created by this master dim sum chef. Ambassador Hotel – Canton Court ( 台北國賓大飯店粵菜廳 ) Dim Sum Serving Time: 11:00~14:00 Reservation Hotline: (02) 2100-2100 ext. 2370, 2376 Canton Court Add: 2F, No. 63, Sec. 2, Zhongshan N. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市中山北路二段 63 號 2 樓 ) Website: www.ambassador-hotels.com/en/taipei


THEME PARK JOY TAICHUNG

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THEME PARK JOY TAICHUNG

Lihpao Land theme park

Adventure Awaits at

Lihpao

Land A Child-Friendly Theme Park in Central Taiwan Text: Nick Kembel Photos: Maggie Song

If you are looking for a theme park in Taiwan that caters to all your family’s leisure and fun activity needs, consider visiting Lihpao Land in Taichung. The park offers everything from facilities for little kiddies to thrill rides and go-kart racing for older kids and those young at heart, a water park for cooling down during the hot months, a mall for shopping sprees, and even a five-star hotel for those who think that just one day in this entertainment park is simply not enough.

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THEME PARK JOY TAICHUNG

L

ihpao Land is a comprehensive resort that encompasses a full range of entertainment, recreation, accommodation, dining, and shopping facilities. With a long list of new amenities slated to be made available around the time you are reading this, it is making a strong bid for the title of best theme park in Taiwan.

With nearly 20 theme/amusement parks across Taiwan, one of the highest concentrations in the world, competition is understandably fierce. The parks are engaged in a battle to go ever bigger and higher, adding facilities to a point that many of these dedicated wonderlands are transforming into otherworldly mini-cities. Lihpao Land in Taichung is one. Located in the northern Taichung City district of Houli, Lihpao Land is on land that was originally the site of a ranch owned by the Taiwan Sugar Corporation. Yamay Discovery World, established on the site in 1998, was renamed Lihpao Land in 2012. Today, at 25 hectares and continuously growing, management claims this is the largest “land & water” amusement park in Taiwan. The park also features more childfriendly facilities than many other parks, making it particularly suitable for families with young kids. Included on the long list of new facilities just opened or soon to be opened are a state-of-the-art go-kart course, a multilevel outlet mall, a "highway rest-stop" area, and the tallest Ferris wheel in Taiwan. There’s no doubt that the already popular resort is about to become one of Taichung’s biggest attractions. On a recent trip to central Taiwan, after disembarking at the Taiwan High Speed Rail Taichung Station, a few friends and I caught one of the park’s dedicated shuttle buses (free), and arrived at the park in just under half an hour. We stopped first at the sparkling new Lihpao International Circuit on the east side of the resort, to have a look. The circuit, 1.4 kilometers long practically large enough for actual racecars, will likely be open by the time you read this; it will initially cater to groups only, with advance reservation required.

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Travel in Taiwan

An international-standard Formula 3 motor raceway is also under construction on site, set to open in 2018. Next was the resort proper. We entered Discovery Land, the “land” amusementpark portion (other parts of Lihpao Land are Mala Bay water park, the Room Escape building, Fullon Hotel Lihpao Land, Lihpao Outlet Mall, and Lihpao International Circuit). Discovery Land is divided into three major sections: Exciting Paradise features the more daring rides, and occupies the right half of the park (seen from the entrance), Magic Forest at the center and rear-left includes some moderately less “terrifying” rides, while POPA Kingdom, named after the park’s family of cute mascots and catering to younger children, is found to the left. We visited in a counterclockwise direction. Right off the bat, I went for what looked like the scariest ride in Exciting Paradise: Gravity Max, a “broken rail tilt” roller coaster, unique in the world. I was seated right at the front, and off we zipped for a 100-second white-knuckle ride. The roller coaster ascended, came to a complete stop at the edge of a platform, then tilted forward to a 90-degree angle, hovering while facing downward for several seconds – most of the blood in my body rushed to my face – before connecting to the downward track. We then plummeted, and I had hardly a second to recover from the shock before we entered a 360-degree vertical loop. If interested in forever recalling your bloodcurdling screams and expressions of terror, take home a memory card with a GoPro video clip of yourself during the ride for only NT$200. Other rides that stood out in Exciting Paradise include the high-speed spinning Sonic Circle, elevated-swing Stinger, and top-spin Galactic Spin. If you want to make a big splash, go for Volcano Adventure in the rear-right corner, a classic log flume. After passing the large Botanical Cactus Garden, we reached Magic Forest, which includes Tango, a ride that gently turns around, simulating the movement of dancing, and Jungle Boating, a wild-river joyride on which you’re guaranteed to get wet. Here you’ll also find Moon Bay, where

Jungle Boating


THEME PARK JOY TAICHUNG

Mine Express

The Hook

Gravity Max

Crown Swinger

Fullon Hotel Lihpao Land

Lihpao International Circuit Elf's Lodge

Lihpao mascot

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THEME PARK JOY TAICHUNG

pastel-colored houses facing the sea. Here you’ll find over 100 brand-name shops in the two-floor Garden Mall and connected threefloor Grand Mall. The lovely promenade between the two sides of the Garden Mall features five olive trees imported from Italy, one of which is 500 years old.

Lihpao Outlet Mall

there are nightly fireworks and light shows on weekends and holidays at 7 pm. Last but not least, we explored POPA Kingdom, a dedicated young children’s area, with playgrounds, “f lying cars” that kids can control, merry-go-rounds, swings, a roller coaster, and an interactive animation center. There is a lively parade every day (except Mondays), at 1:30pm on weekdays and 3pm on weekends. Other live performances in the park include a mascot show at 11:30am and a stunt show at 4:30pm, both taking place daily except Mondays at Welcome Avenue in the park’s center. Exiting Discovery Land, we stepped into Room Escape, a virtual-reality room escape complex. There are three themes to choose from, detective work, pirates and the sea, and ancient China, with three different escape rooms for each. Teams of two or more are allotted 60 minutes per theme to put their heads together and solve a variety of riddles and puzzles and, ultimately, crack the code to escape. A costume and setting area is also provided for those much-needed selfies after you finish. The Lihpao Land central square serves as a brand-theme rest and leisure area, with a tourist info center, shops, eateries, farmers’ market, and even a park for pets. It is also the site of Fullon Hotel Lihpao Land, the park’s very own five-star hotel. What better way to access Lihpao Land’s numerous facilities than from your own room in this colorful, luxurious resort? The hotel includes a spa, outdoor pool, kids play center, and elegant, spacious rooms, most of which offer expansive views over the park. On the west side of the central square, we took a stroll through the brand-new Lihpao Outlet Mall, with Sky Dream Ferris Wheel attached. The mall and promenade are modeled on the colorful fishing village of Portofino in northern Italy, famed for its

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If you want to go for a ride on the 120-meter Sky Dream Ferris Wheel, tallest in Taiwan and second-tallest in Asia, head to the Grand Mall’s second floor. The wheel has 60 cars, and takes a full 30 minutes to do a single circuit. It is so tall that there have been (unverified) claims that you can see as far away as the city of Hsinchu, two counties away, on a clear day. For Lihpao Land’s most diverse dining options, head to the Grand Mall’s third floor. Peering right into the immense structure of the Ferris wheel from the outdoor patio of the food court was one of the highlights of my visit to Lihpao Land. Finally, if you’re visiting between May and October, you may want to spend a few hours at Mala Bay, the resort’s renowned water park, home to Big Tsunami, its huge outdoor wave pool boasting 2.4-meter waves, and to many water slides, including Chute Slide, on which 1,800 liters of water (and you) rush down the slope of a natural hill in intervals. As you can see, there is more than you could possibly do in a single day at Lihpao Land, so the resort offers various price packages. Weekends and holidays are busiest, while Mondays are quietest – an attractive option so long as you don’t mind missing out on the performances in Discovery Land. Also consider staying into the evening, when the whole park is lit up with multicolored LED lights. Whenever you choose to visit, it’ll be a day (or more) you won’t soon forget!

Sky Dream Ferris Wheel

Taiwan Getting There

Bus: Ubus bus 1617 departs hourly from Taipei Bus Station; the ride takes about three hours. Rail: Take a Taiwan High Speed Rail train to the THSR Taichung Station, then catch the free Lihpao Land shuttle bus from Platform 10, with departures at 9:50am, 11:50am, and 1:50pm, taking about 25 minutes. To reserve a seat on the shuttle bus, call the park at (04) 2558-2459. You can also take bus no. 155, which departs from Platform 21, but this service takes up to an hour. There are also local buses available from the Fengyuan, Houli, and Taichung railway stations.

Hours

Weekends/holidays/summer 9am~9pm; weekdays 9am~5:30 pm

Tickets (Adults)

Discovery Land NT$800; Mala Bay NT$800; Multi-Park Ticket (Discovery Land and Mala Bay) NT$1,300; for other prices, including Ferris wheel ride, go-karting, and all-inclusive packages, please refer to the park’s website.

Lihpao Land ( 麗寶樂園 )

Fullon Hotel Lihpao Land

Add: No. 8, Furong Rd., Houli Dist., Taichung City ( 台中市后里區福容路 8 號 ) Tel: (04) 2558-2459 Website: www.lihpaoland.com.tw


M Y T R AV E L LO G

W

henever I have the chance, I like to leave Taipei metropolis and head into the mountains. To me, this is where Taiwan’s true charms exist. One spot that has left an especially strong impression on me is Wulu Gorge in Taitung County’s Haiduan Township. This is a little-known scenic area located along the Southern Cross-Island Highway, about 65 kilometers or an easy 1.5-hour drive from Taitung City. I visited the gorge the second time I journeyed around the island with a few adventurous friends. We made the decision to go there spontaneously, and a little too late in the day, when driving through Taitung County. The result was a drive well into the night along the winding mountain highway, to a destination we knew almost nothing about. Though I don’t recommend driving along rocky cliffs after sunset, Wulu is one of those under-appreciated Taiwan gems worth going that extra mile for. Much like Taroko Gorge to the north in Hualien County, only smaller and quieter and with far fewer tourists, Wulu resonates with a stillness that any nature lover would yearn for. Its remoteness, however, means that there is not much in the way of accommodation choice. We stayed at the 4-star Chief Spa Hotel. Though a bit luxurious for travelers on a budget, it was well worth the money. For dinner we had a hearty biandang (lunch box), and we spent most of our night soaking in the resident hot-spring pools and

chatting with the cheerful locals, who were extremely amused at our inability to handle the cold pool. "You're not thick-skinned enough!" the granny next to me chuckled. Well rested and energized from the hot soak, we rose early the next day to hike the nearby Tianlong Historic Trail. Just behind the hotel is the 110-meter-long Tianlong Suspension Bridge, and the views of the gorge, created over centuries by the eroding forces of the Xinwulu River, were affirmation that our spontaneous decision to come here had been a good one. The panoramas of crags and water sun-kissed at dawn were simply breathtaking. As if the area could not possibly offer more, there are also the amazing Lisong Hot Springs. Wild and hidden amongst striking colorful limestone, the odorless springs are probably Taiwan's most idyllic. Gloves and a little gusto are required for the hour-long-hike, which includes rope work, at the end of which you'll need to cross the Xinwulu to reach the springs. As magical as it all was, we soon left Wulu to go back to Taitung City and from there continue our road trip southwards to Kenting National Park, on the island’s tip. On the way we stopped at multiple fruit stands to try the local produce. I ate sweet white corn that knocked my socks off. This was yet another simple pleasure this region had to offer on this trip, and I still remember it fondly five years on.

A Gem in

Southeastern Taiwan Text and Photos: Quyen Tran

Getting There

Quyen Tran Quyen is a traveler and writer from Australia who has spent almost two years in Taiwan. Her preferred mode of travel on the island is cycling. She likes exploring Taiwan's natural beauty, and enjoys talking to the locals to find out more about this fascinating land.

Wulu Gorge

There is no public transpor t to Wulu Gorge. If you are driving, follow Provincial Highway No. 9 to the town of Chishang, then take the Southern Cross-Island Highway (No. 20) into the mountains.

English and Chinese Haiduan Township 海端鄉 biandang (lunchbox) 便當 Lisong Hot Springs 栗松溫泉 Southern Cross-Island Highway 南橫公路 Tianlong Historic Trail 天龍古道 Tianlong Suspension Bridge 天龍吊橋 Wulu Gorge 霧鹿峽谷 Xinwulu River 新武呂溪

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ISLAND FEAST CRAFT BEER

When Tea

Meets Beer Amazing New Flavors Created by Local Micro-Brewers

Text: Owain Mckimm Photos: James Yang

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Travel in Taiwan

24 Solar Terms beers of Taiwan Head Brewers


ISLAND FEAST CRAFT BEER

T

o those from countries with a long, proud history of beermaking, it may come as a shock to learn that Taiwanese brewers have only been allowed to make craft beer since 2002. Before then, alcohol production was a government monopoly under the control of the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation, the organization that produces the still ubiquitous Taiwan Beer, Taiwan's domestic beer brand – and only brand – up until 2002. After the monopoly was dismantled, a handful of small breweries began making their own beer, but for many years these remained too small and inexperienced, and their beers too pricey from the perspective of a population used to drinking very cheap lagers, to make any kind of impact. Over the last couple of years, however, things have changed – drastically. A second generation of microbreweries has emerged, some run by beer-loving foreigners, others by the disciples of those original Taiwanese pioneers: Jim and Dad's, 23 Brewing Co., Redpoint, Sambar, 55th Street, Hardcore … the list is ever growing. And what's more, the Taiwanese consumer, too – as a result of more foreign travel, working holidays, and studyabroad programmes – is becoming more and more enthused about embracing the craft beer scene. The most decorated of this new guard – with a World's Best Experimental Beer award from the 2016 World Beer Awards under their belts – is the trio of young beer lovers that run Taiwan Head Brewers, who are putting a Taiwanese stamp on their creations by incorporating local ingredients and flavors into their brews. The brewers, Leo Yeh, Ray Sung, and Jay Duan, met through their mutual love of home-brewing – though Duan is also head

For a very long time, Taiwan Beer was the only domestic beer brand on this island. Things have changed significantly over the last decade. Entrepreneurial Taiwanese micro-brewers are now making intriguing excursions into uncharted gustatory territory, matching beer with flavors that are quite familiar to locals, but exotic to the foreign visitor. Let’s find out what one of Taiwan’s best-known small-scale brewers is concocting these days. brewer at one of Taiwan's first microbreweries, North Taiwan Brewing – and decided to create a series of beers that appeals to a local Taiwanese audience; one that, for the most part, is still fairly new to craft beer. Quite the task, then. To talk about how they've managed it, we meet at the newly opened branch of Mikkeller (a Danish beer bar and craft brewery brand, and one of the first Western microbrewery enterprises to make a serious foray into Asia) in Taipei's historic Dadaocheng district. Actually, Dadaocheng, known for its rich history of tea trading, is the perfect place to showcase the trio's beers, as the special ingredient in their most celebrated beers is in fact Taiwanese tea. From left: Leo Yeh, Ray Sung, and Jay Duan of Taiwan Head Brewers and Yuhang Lin of Mikkeller Taiwan

Reminder: Excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to your health. Travel in Taiwan

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ISLAND FEAST CRAFT BEER

"Taiwan doesn't have hops, but it does have world-class tea," says Sung. "Tea is something that we've experienced since childhood, that we know the nuances of, so we felt confident that we could integrate it successfully into a beer's flavor profile." But while their ingredients may be unconventional, their approach is still careful and tentative. "When we experiment with flavors, we do our best not to stray too far from beer-making tradition," Sung says. "We want to make beers in traditional styles, but use Taiwanese ingredients to achieve that effect." This has been a wise move, as many experimental beers I've tried in Taiwan – e.g., waxy rice ale, sweet potato ale – have simply not worked, the flavors fighting with the beer rather than complementing it. The key is to know which flavors work well in beer, and that, says Duan, who has been in the brewing game for over a decade and is the most practised of the three, comes with experience. The trio's Taiwan Tea Ale 2, for instance, features Oriental Beauty tea, which has honey and fruity notes completely at home with that particular style of beer – a crisp English pale ale. Their Taiwan Tea Ale 4, on the other hand, is a Scotch ale, a style known for its buttery toffee flavors. Tea Ale 4 has this character, but it does not come as per tradition from the malt. It is from the tea – a Jin Xuan oolong. Familiar beer, then, but from a Taiwanese perspective. However, while the Taiwanese flavors in their tea ales may be subtle, once you – the drinker – emboldened, start to explore the rest of their alcoholic oeuvre, the sense of Taiwanese identity becomes bolder, too. The majority of the trio's beers – including the tea ales – are selections from a series called 24 Solar Terms. The name comes from the Chinese lunisolar farming calendar, which divides the year into 24 mini seasons – Grain Rain, Start of Autumn, Rain Water, Major Heat, and Minor Heat, to pick a few. Each beer they brew is

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named after a season – the one they think best describes the flavors or spirit of that beer. Little Snow, for instance, is an effervescent snowy weizenbock – a strong wheat beer made with local wheat from Taichung – while Major Heat is a sweltering India pale ale with rich notes of Taiwanese jasmine. "The idea behind the 24 Solar Terms series," Sung says, "comes from the fact that for Taiwanese people, drinking beer in summer is common, but no one really drinks beer in winter. In Europe and America, though, you have beers for all seasons: amber autumn ales, hearty winter stouts. We wanted to introduce this concept to Taiwanese drinkers, too." It's a shame, though, that the whole idea of the 24 solar terms and the philosophy behind it will be lost on most foreigners. However, as Sung reminds me, it's not for foreigners that they're creating these beers. Indeed, the labels on their beer bottles have a vastly different aesthetic compared to Western bottled brews, with their bold cartoonish colors and logos. Those of Taiwan Head Brewers are much simpler: two calligraphic Chinese characters on a mild-mannered background of grassy green, warm orange, smudged charcoal, or baby blue flecked with lambent dew droplets. The only English on each label is the beer style. Not even the names of the beers – poetic as they are in Chinese – are translated. "We've always loved calligraphy," Sung says. "For us, the characters themselves are the artwork." Their intention, Duan makes clear, is not just to make beer, but to create a local craft beer culture: beers with significance, with deeper meaning. But is there (indeed, can there be?) a beer that encapsulates all of this – culture, national identity, local ingredients – and still stand up as a beer? Sung thinks so, and points me to Clear and Bright, the trio's take on a German rauchbier, or smoked beer. Normally, a rauchbier gets its smoky flavor from smoked malt. The trio, however, have replaced smoked malt with – of all things – Chinese mugwort. "In Taiwanese tradition," Sung says, "burning Beer tasting at bEERu


ISLAND FEAST CRAFT BEER

Zhangmen beer bar

mugwort gets rid of evil spirits. For our rauchbier, we wanted to use something local to create the smoky flavor; because it's so deeply rooted in the culture, mugwort ash seemed to fit the bill perfectly." That's not the end of it. "Adding ash to the beer is also reflective of another tradition common in Taiwanese temples," Duan adds, "which is drinking blessed water. If a child has a fright or is sick, you can go to a temple and a priest will burn a piece of paper with a blessing on it, adding the ashes to a cup of water. Drinking the water drives away harm." The cultural aspect, then, certainly isn’t lacking. But is it a good beer? Well, yes, as it happens – smoky with hints of molasses, dry, toasty, and despite being a light beer, quite meaty, with a distinct essence of smoked ham. The mugwort comes through as a mildly ashy aftertaste that, again, doesn't overpower or make the drink taste like anything other than good beer. The brew that surprises me the most, however, is Grain Full – a winter-melon ale that should, for all intents and purposes, fail, but may, in fact, be something of a work of genius. The beer, which at its heart is a heady, cloudy, golden-orange Belgian pale ale, is flavored with winter-melon punch – a popular folk beverage made by boiling down winter melon with brown sugar, and offered free at many Taiwanese eateries. The sweet notes of this beer would usually come from adding Belgian candi sugar. Here, it has been replaced with the winter-melon punch, which imparts a grassy, vegetative

undertone that's balanced beautifully by a creamy, bubble-gum mellifluousness. It's lovely, has a distinct cultural connection, and has a flavor which I recognize as being completely Taiwanese. For me, at least, it ticks all the boxes. To date, Taiwan Head Brewers has finished 12 out of the trio’s goal of 24 solar term beers. Twelve more to go, then, and I'm looking forward to every single one of them. Two other places in Taipei where you can try local micro-brewery beer are Zhangmen and bEEru. Zhangmen is located in the heart of Yongkang Street Commercial District, an area with many restaurants, cafés, ice parlors, and boutiques. This small beer bar has 16 beer taps, with most of the beers produced by the Zhangmen brewery, and serves no other alcohols. It’s basically a tasting room for the brewery (which is located outside Taipei City), where beer lovers can indulge in their passion for great beer. bEEru is one of an increasing number of restaurants and beerhouses lining busy Civic Boulevard. Three beers from their one brewery operation are available on tap, alongside other craft beers. The stylishly designed bar/restaurant also has a range of cocktails and wines, and also serves up meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes that complement the craft beer experience perfectly.

Taiwan Head Brewers ( 啤酒頭 ) Website: headbrewers.com.tw Note: Taiwan Head Brewers beers can be found in most bars and beer cafés selling craft beer in Taipei and New Taipei City. A list of those in Taipei City can be found on the company website. Mikkeller Taipei ( 米凱樂啤酒吧 ) Add: No. 241, Nanjing W. Rd., Datong Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大同區南京西路 241 號 ) Hours: Mon, Wed, Thu, Sun 16:00~00:00; Fri-Sat 16:00~02:00 Tel: (02) 2558-6978 Website: mikkeller.dk/location/mikkeller-bar/

Note: Mikkeller is one of the few places in Taipei where you can get Taiwan Head Brewers beer on draft. Zhangmen ( 掌門精釀啤酒 ) Add: No. 10, Lane 4, Yongkang St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市大安區永康街 4 巷 10 號 ) Hours: Mon-Thu 13:00~00:00; Fri-Sat 13:00~01:00; Sun 13:00~00:00 Tel: (02) 2395-2366 bEERu (bEEru 啤調客精釀啤酒屋 ) Add: No. 129, Sec. 4, Civic Blvd., Songshan Dist., Taipei City ( 台北市松山區市民大道四段 129 號 ) Hours: 18:00~02:00 Tel: (02) 2577-1815 Website: www.facebook.com/craftbeeru English and Chinese Clear and Bright 清明 Dadaocheng 大稻埕 Grain Full 小滿 Jin Xuan oolong 金萱烏龍 Little Snow 小雪 Major Heat 大暑

Reminder: Excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to your health. Travel in Taiwan

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A D V E N T U R E S TAIPEI

Up and Down Text: Joe Henley

Photos: Maggie Song

Despite its many mountains, Taiwan has only a few sites suitable for rock climbing. Surprisingly then, one of those sites is within the city limits of the capital, within walking distance from a metro station. The Rehai Cliff in Beitou District is not only conveniently reached but also a great place for your first rock-climbing experience, as you will find out in this article.

Rock-climbing at Beitou

34 Travel in Taiwan


ROCK-CLIMBING

the Rock Face

TAIPEI

Rock Climbing the Rehai Cliff in Beitou

Travel in Taiwan

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A D V E N T U R E S ROCK CLIMBING

Shark Sha of Shawa Canyoning

I Struggling up the cliff face

On the path to Rehai Cliff

'm clinging to a high-angle andesite face on the side of Mt. Danfeng. A cool winter breeze bends the branches of a shrub clinging, it seems, as precariously as I to the cold, unforgiving rock. My fingers are dug into a horizontal crevice. Below, I edge my feet along the side of a thin slab jutting out no more than a few centimeters from the alternating red and black bands of stone. One false move and I'll ... fall harmlessly backward into my harness and dangle sheepishly from my secured rope for a few moments, grinning in embarrassment at my instructor, who is belaying me from below. Then, perhaps, I'll even descend the few meters to the mountain path below for a breather. This isn't a scene from the films Cliffhanger or Vertical Limit . This is a beginner's rock-climbing class in Beitou, a partly mountainous district in the northern part of Taipei City. Though the main island of Taiwan is covered to the tune of approximately 70 percent by mountains, and has over 260 peaks rising above the 3,000-meter mark, there are only a handful of places in the country where one can partake of the sport of rock climbing. Premier among those few sites is Longdong, or the Dragon's Cave, located on the Northeast Coast. There, climbers can pick and choose from dozens of routes on rough sandstone faces that are ideal for the all-important maintenance of a firm grip. At Longdong, climbers, from beginners to experts, simultaneously enjoy the thrill of adventure and a tremendous view of the East China Sea. In southern Taiwan, climbers favor Guanziling in the northeastern corner of Tainan, though reviews of the rock walls there, not far from beautiful Biyun Temple, are mixed. And in Kaohsiung there are limestone walls near Qianguang Temple on Shoushan (Mt. Shou), a well-known tourist destination. There, climbers will find varied terrain offering overhangs, pockets, cone pillars, and underclings. (For the uninitiated, an undercling is “a handhold facing down the rock face, gripped with the palm of the hand upwards.") In the north, for those who don't wish to venture beyond the confines of Taipei City,

36 Travel in Taiwan

the place to go for climbers is Beitou's Rehai Cliff. The site can be reached by walking up Zhongshan Road from MRT Xinbeitou Station. After passing the Spa Spring Resort, turn left onto Wenquan Road and then follow Wenquan Road’s Yinguang Lane up along the forested slopes of Mt. Danfeng. Look out for a lane-side fish-eye mirror on the right at an acute switchback. Just behind the mirror is an unmarked trailhead, the start of the Rehai trail. Follow the trail up until you come to the various andesite faces that emerge from the dense forest along the trail, with bolts for rope leads already set in place. Rehai offers the only chance for outdoor lead climbing, using ropes fixed from bolts in the rock face, in Taipei City. But according to Shark Sha of Shawa Canyoning (a Taipeibased rock climbing and river tracing outfit), who takes climbers of varying skill levels, from beginners on up, to Rehai several times a month, the place remains relatively undisturbed. At the trailhead, he grins wryly as he says, "Generally, normal people don't come here." Indeed, on this early January day (the site is climbable year-round, on days when it doesn't rain), three climbers and Sha as our instructor are the only people traversing the vertical inclines. The view, from an elevation of approximately 500 meters, spans the valley below and north all the way to the port town of Tamsui. Sha takes me and my accompanying friends to a wall suitable for beginners – a face that starts out easy, with a gradual incline rife with natural foot- and handholds, before it levels out above, nearing a point where it becomes sheer. Sha first acquaints us with our helmets and harnesses, before scrambling up a path beside the face leading to a cliff above. From there he affixes our ropes to the bolts, doing so with speed and expertise acquired over his ten years of climbing and river tracing throughout Taiwan. The 39-year-old then explains the basics of belaying – one climber below keeping the rope taut for the climber above in case that climber slips or loses his or her grip, ensuring that he or she doesn't fall, then gradually letting the rope out as the climber descends. With the basic tutorial over, it's then learn-as-you-go. Sha watches from below as


ADVENTURES ROCK CLIMBING

we, in turns, venture somewhat tentatively up the face, with him belaying each climber. As we try to figure out what movements will be required further up, Sha provides us with tips on technique, using a green-laser pointer whenever we seem stuck to show where the next grasping point might be. Climbing one at a time, we learn from each others' mistakes, at times from our deliberate or inadvertent triumphs. All three of us, with no prior climbing experience, successfully best the beginner's slab. Our confidence bolstered, we move on to another section, which features a small overhang. To successfully navigate the formation involves a maneuver comprised of bracing the left forearm in a crimp above the overhang, pushing out from the face with the right foot while lifting the left quickly up and over the jutting rock, then pushing upward to the next level. Only two of us attempt it. One of us makes it. The other, sadly, is me. Try as I might, and in spite of Sha's expert instruction, my arms and legs are soon spent. Briefly, in the depths of my disillusion, I consider making a better-late-than-never New Year's resolution to work on my core strength. Still, in spite of my failure, the trying itself – the challenge of it – and even the sense of danger, though it is a completely safe experience thanks to the ropes, have made this an exhilarating outing thus far. We're not done yet, however. Our beginner's class also involves abseiling from the side of a sheer face just beside those which we've practiced our nascent climbing skills upon. We follow a path up to the cliff from which Sha had previously affixed our ropes. At the top, we enjoy the panoramic view of the city and the surrounding mountains for a while as Sha prepares our ropes and other equipment for the descent. Then he explains the technique for letting out the rope gradually as we make our way down, approximately 25 meters, to the path below. Those squeamish about heights might find the next bit slightly disconcerting, as it involves leaning back over the cliff edge, putting your trust entirely in your rope, the person belaying you from above and, most frighteningly in my case, yourself. All those fears are chased away by a rush of adrenaline once those first small steps are

made, however. From there on, it's a jolt of pure excitement – the thrill of conquering a primordial fear. Shawa Canyoning offers a variety of climbing and river-tracing excursion options for climbers and tracers of all skill levels, within Taipei City and elsewhere in Taiwan. More advanced climbers may wish to book a trip with Shawa to Longdong, where more technical and challenging routes are available. For foreigners, Shawa accepts reservations for groups of as few as two persons, and Sha can pick you up at the exit of MRT Xinbeitou Station should you wish to climb at Rehai. The excursions to Rehai last from 8am to 12noon and from 1pm to 5pm (weather permitting). The outfit provides all necessary equipment, including helmets, harnesses, ropes, carabiners, climbing shoes, etc., but guests must dress in appropriate athletic/ climbing wear. For more information on Shawa Canyoning pricing and booking, visit www.shawatw. com (Chinese). For info on all things related to climbing at Longdong, check out www. climbstone.com .

Taiwan Preparing to descend

Learning how to abseil

Note: At least a moderate level of physical fitness is recommended for those who wish to give rock climbing a try. Though it probably goes without saying, pushing and pulling oneself up a rock face is not the easiest thing in the world to do. However, in terms of reward, there are few physical activities that can rival the mix of adrenaline, endorphins, and majestic views.

English and Chinese Beitou District 北投區 Biyun Temple 碧雲寺 Guanziling 關子嶺 Longdong 龍洞 Mt. Danfeng 丹鳳山 Qianguang Temple 千光寺 Rehai Cliff 熱海岩 Shoushan 壽山

Feeling proud

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HIDDEN TREASURES TAICHUNG

Wufeng’s Guangfu New Village

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Maggie Song

Part of Taiwan’s Past, Part of Taiwan’s Future

For most travelers Taichung City’s Wufeng District, tucked up against the base of the central mountains southeast of the city center, has long been a place to pass through or by on the way to tourist attractions better known. Now no more. Within a short distance of one another is a triple crown of rewarding destinations collectively well worth a full day of a culture explorer’s precious time. Let’s start with the newest, Guangfu New Village.

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At Guangfu New Village Travel in Taiwan


HIDDEN TREASURES TAICHUNG

Painted bench

Guangfu New Village Handicraft shop

I

’ll bet you haven’t been in a “military dependents’ village” before. I’ll also wager that most readers of this article will have only the foggiest notion of what such a place might be. I had certainly never heard of the term before coming to Taiwan. These are “public housing” villages that were specially built to house military-service personnel and their families. They were not built on bases, and the homes eventually came to be privately owned. Taiwan’s military dependents villages arose 1949~1960. About 1.2 million people came across from mainland China in the late 1940s Nationalist government exodus, and a total of 886 villages were constructed. Today, the older generation is passing on and younger residents keep moving out, desiring larger and/or more luxurious, modern abodes. Complexes all around Taiwan are now being converted into cultural-creative hubs, and becoming new-style tourist attractions. Two well-known and successful rebirths have been Taipei’s Treasure Hill Artist Village (www.artistvillage.org ) and 44 South Village, both busy with visitors on weekends/holidays. Guangfu New Village The new Guangfu New Village cultural-creative hub is quickly staking a claim to tourist attraction status. Whereas in most dependents’ villages small, cramped, quickly built bare-cement-wall homes and narrow lanes predominate, Guangfu New Village would not look out of place in North America. Laid out in a neat grid, roads are spacious and the detached bungalows and rows of attached bungalow-style structures have small front/back yards. Clearly, the model here was the US military residential complexes built in Taiwan in the same era. Clearly as well, this was a place built

Taiwan

for higher-level officials. In the mid-1950s the decision was made to move the provincial government to this area, away from the sea, for protection against Communist Chinese attack. This village was established in 1956. “Guangfu” means “Restoration,” reference to the so-called restoration of Taiwan to China after WWII. Artists and other cultural-creative types have been invited to move in, the renovated bungalows now housing studios and sales rooms. Adding to the distinctive village character is that original residents still inhabit the outer sections. The standard image for a cultural-creative hub is a minicommunity of indie designers concocting fashionable non-mainstream works such as jewelry, leather items, and woven goods. There is that here, by the score, but there are also ventures that will redefine one’s ken, including a noodle house, craft brewery, and more. Mode Yang has vivid ceramic, glass, and other works with Taiwan-culture themes, the religious works most sublime. Mr. Wuller, a fine example of Taiwan’s burgeoning craft-brewery scene, serves a series of fine brews. 2 Fish Café is most fetching of the village’s café trio, its raised-window service portal making it look like the street-vendor trucks common in the West, its umbrella frontyard seating perfect for watching the village world stream by. Throughout the village you’ll find eclectic village-theme installation artworks. Many are visitor-friendly chairs and benches. My favorite: a bench painted as the Republic of China national flag, the bold colors dominating the local mini-tableau. Others have been painted to resemble a piano, a book, and so on. Mode Yang’s outer wall is decorated with solid-block stone and wood owls. In one village corner is a trio of bandaged blue-colored statues, a reminder of the 921 Earthquake’s insult. Travel in Taiwan

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HIDDEN TREASURES TAICHUNG

921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan

921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan On September 21, 1999, the people on the island of Taiwan were shocked awake in the middle of the night when their home, which sits atop two tectonic plates locked in Herculean battle, went into terrifying convulsions – the brutal assault called the 921 Earthquake. The damage was mind-numbing – thousands killed, tens of thousands left homeless. Many of the children of Guangfu New Village attended Guangfu Junior High School, located right next door, and the ruins of this devastated complex are today the centerpieces of the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan (www.921emt.edu.tw ; NT$50 adults), an architecturally dynamic facility with extensive English. What would it have been like to live through the massive 921 Earthquake? This museum provides real sensory understanding, putting a little shake into your knees. The temblor, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale, was centered on the long Chelungpu Fault, running along the mountain base in the west-central region – and right through Wufeng’s heart. It is on glorious, chilling display – you stand right atop it – on the former school track, now grotesquely deformed with a two-meter-high vertical displacement (displacements elsewhere measure up to 8m). Most compelling here are of course the crushing ruins, but be sure you test your mettle in the Quake Experience Theater, where time is reversed and you are taken back to just before the attack from below, and take in the 3D Theater, where international educational videos on the wonderful world of nature are run. 40

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Tip: Visit on the weekend or a holiday, when all enterprises are open, crowds pour in, and there is an air just short of festive. Studios put on demos and hold DIY sessions, places like the craft brewer give out samples, and street performers and musicians are often booked. During the week the studios have staggered opening times, leaving things much quieter, and though sales rooms are open the artists/crafts workers are often hidden away in their studios, out of sight, concentrating on creativity.

Wufeng Lin Family Mansion & Garden In its imperial-era pioneer days from the 17th through 19th centuries, when Han Chinese settlers came across the dangerous Taiwan Strait from mainland China, there was little government presence on the island of Taiwan. Much local authority and social responsibility hence fell by default into the hands of the richest local clans, their large and increasingly elaborate and luxurious walled residential compounds visual testaments to their power, status, and authority. Four clans stood above the rest, and one clan above those – Wufeng’s Lin clan. Want to know what it was like to live in their privileged world?


HIDDEN TREASURES TAICHUNG

Wufeng Lin Family Gongbaodi Park

Door gods at Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden

Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden

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HIDDEN TREASURES TAICHUNG

Wufeng Lin Family Gongbaodi Park

The Wufeng Lin Family Mansion and Garden is a vast complex of walled compounds covering an area of almost 11,000 square meters. The courtyard-style residential complex is the largest, most complete, and most elaborate of its kind in Taiwan. This architectural treasure-trove was devastated in the 921 Earthquake, but is being systematically revivified in a dedicated government/academia/Lin family cooperative effort, in which intricate, faithful reconstruction has been undertaken. Clan members still live here, their areas off-limits to visitors. Two restored areas are open to the public: the middle section of what is called the Lower House, in the Wufeng Lin Family Gongbaodi Park (wufenglins. com.tw ; Chinese; NT$250 adults), and the Wufeng Lin Family Garden, on the grounds of nearby Ming Tai High School, founded by the Lins (free entry; guard at gate may request ID). The Gongbaodi section was built in 1858. Note the swallow-tail roofs; in

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imperial days these were only permitted on temples and the private residences of high officials. There is also a stand-alone theater, unique in Taiwan. Note the large ceramic jars below stage; filled with water, they helped project the stage sound. Important clans also organized militias to fight against rebels, bandits, etc., and the collection of beautiful arquebuses is a treat. In the garden, opera troupes played on an island theater before the family’s grand lady, seated within a purpose-built grand building. Quintessential Wufeng Culinary Goodbye In the roundabout by the Guangfu New Village entrance, note the many food stalls. This becomes the local night market each evening, with many of the permanent eateries and street-vendor stalls operated by village residents current and former. What better way to end your Wufeng day than with some hearty “restorative” fare from “Restoration” village folk?

Tip: English tours can be arranged, with advance notice; call (04) 2331-7985. An English audio guide is also available on the regular group tours. Getting There Self-drive: If self-driving, exit National Freeway 3 at the Wufeng Interchange, which brings you to Highway 3 almost immediately. Turn left to reach central Wufeng where Wufeng Lin Family Mansion & Garden is located, turn right to reach Guangfu New Village/921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan. Public transport: From Taichung Railway Station you can take bus No. 50 to central Wufeng, where Wufeng Lin Family Mansion & Garden is located and also to Guangfu New Village/921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan, about 2km further south along Zhongzheng Road ( 中正路 ). English and Chinese 44 South Village 四四南村 Guangfu New Village 光復新村 Wufeng Lin Mansion and Garden 霧峰林家宅園 Wufeng Lin Family Garden 霧峰林家萊園 Wufeng Lin Family Gongbaodi Park 霧峰林家宮保第園區 Ming Tai High School 明台中學


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FIVE THINGS TO DO LUGANG

Osmanthus Flower Alley Art Village

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Travel in Taiwan

Exploring Lugang’s old streets


FIVE THINGS TO DO LUGANG

Lugang

An Old-Time Place that’s One of Taiwan’s Top Tourist Towns Text: Rick Charette

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Photos: Maggie Song

tep into Lugang, treasure-house of old-time architecture, temple life, handicrafts, and snack delicacies, and you step back into a time when emperors still ruled. The town, in Changhua County, is Taiwan’s second-oldest urban center and was one of its three great ports through much of the Qing Dynasty. Much of the imperial-era architecture still survives, along with the narrow streets and timeless traditions. A thriving handicraft industry also took root in the early 20th century. Below are five places and things to experience, check out, and enjoy while visiting Lugang. Wenwu Temple

1. Heritage Site Walkabout: Longshan Temple & Wenwu Temple A series of important Taiwan historic sites are all within easy walking distance of each other in the central heritage district. Lugang’s Longshan Temple, which dates to 1786, is the most important among the town’s numerous classical-style old temples. One of Taiwan’s best-preserved and most exquisite imperial-era structures, it is charmingly dubbed “Taiwan’s Forbidden City.” Grandiose Wenwu Temple was established in 1812 as a site for the learning of martial arts by youth pledging loyalty to the imperial government. “Wen” and Wu” mean “civil” and “military,” respectively, with halls and gods dedicated to each.

Rouyuan

Longshan Temple Taro ball

2. Traditional Specialty Snack Foods Lugang’s long-time role as central Taiwan’s economic and transport hub, and the town’s broad immigrant mix, led in turn to many signature local snack foods. Tourists eagerly seek out the best-known vendors. Following are three snack foods you should definitely try. This region is the birthplace of rouyuan , a large meatball of lean minced pork containing mushroom and other goodies in a translucent flour-made skin, topped with a sweet/savory sauce. The handmade local taro balls are made of thin taro strips compacted into a ball, with minced pork inside, and served steamed to preserve the original taste, fried to crunchiness, or in soup. The pig-blood soup with thin rice-flour noodles is made with handmade noodles, dried pig-blood, pig intestine, red onion, and pickled greens.

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FIVE THINGS TO DO LUGANG

Xishi Book and Tea

Phoenix-eye cake

Yu Jen Jai Bakery

Xishi Book and Tea

3. Gifts & Souvenirs: Yu Jen Jai Bakery Lugang’s fabulous fresh-made street foods must, of course, be eaten on the spot. But if you’re hankering to take the tastes of Lugang home in gift/souvenir form, there is good a answer. The Yu Jen Jai bakery (www.1877.com.tw ; Chinese), well known around Taiwan, was opened in 1877. Still in its original location, in an official heritage building, the bakery produces aromatic goodies that are constantly slid out of the ovens. Don’t leave without a box of phoenix-eye cakes, Yu Jen Jai’s signature treat, along with winter-melon cakes, mung-bean cakes, and kousu cookies, which are flaky and melt in your mouth. All are Lugang “famous foods,” and all come in attractive gift-box packaging.

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4. Leisurely Bohemian Hours at Xishi Book and Tea This quaint, homey, relaxed – and very popular – second-hand bookstore and teahouse (www.facebook.com/xishibookandtea ) is in a fixed-up, narrow-front, multi-floor former shophouse built over 80 years ago. The house is located along one of the central area’s old, quiet, narrow residential lanes, near Longshan Temple. A lovely spot for afternoon tea, it has an eclectic yet harmonious Japanese, Western, and Chinese architectural mix. Defining the interior is the central building atrium, making all floors visible. The décor is also a three-culture fusion.


FIVE THINGS TO DO LUGANG

Osmanthus Flower Alley Art Village

Lugang Old Streets renovated house

Old gift shop

5. Lugang’s Old Streets & Osmanthus Flower Alley Art Village Take time to meander the narrow, twisting streets, notably the famed Nine-Turns Lane, built this way to slow down pirate/bandit attacks. On three shophouse-lined cobblestoned pedestrian streets, watch master craftsmen at lantern-painting, tinsmithing, incense-making, and other old-time trades. The art-village enclave was, in the past, a place of osmanthus-flower cultivation. Today the renovated Japanese-style buildings are studios, the artists in residence practicing different art forms including the crafting of lion heads, calligraphy, and leather sculptures.

Getting there: Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) service: From THSR Taichung Station, take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (Lukang Route / Route 6936 / taiwantrip.com.tw ). Regular rail (Taiwan Railways Administration [TRA]) service: From Changhua Railway Station, take a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (Lukang Route / Route 6936).

English and Chinese Longshan Temple 龍山寺 Lugang 鹿港 Lugang Old Streets 鹿港老街 kousu cookies 口酥餅 Osmanthus Flower Alley Art Village 桂花巷藝術村 phoenix-eye cakes 鳳眼糕

pig-blood soup with thin rice-flour noodles 豬血湯麵線 rouyuan 肉圓 taro balls 芋丸 Wenwu Temple 文武廟 Xi Shi Book and Tea 書集喜室 Yu Jen Jai 玉珍齋

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A DAY IN THE BIG CITY TAINAN

Over 300 years old, this street is so narrow that rebuilding the houses lining it is difficult. As a result, it has become the best-preserved old street in Tainan. Many old buildings here retain their Qing dynasty and Japanese colonial period facades. The street is also home to various historic sites, temples, and stores where goods are handmade the traditional way. Shennong Street is especially beautiful just after dusk, when it is illuminated by old-fashioned street lights. Location: Shennong St., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區神農街 ) Website: bcp.culture.tainan.gov.tw (Chinese)

Shennong Street

Wa gui (Taiwanese pronunciation), a savory rice pudding, is a true-blue authentic food of the common people in Taiwan. In the agricultural society of the past, it was often eaten as a between-meals snack by hungry workers. Wa gui is pleasantly chewy and, when cut open, reveals a hearty filling of shiitake mushroom, shrimp, soy-braised pork, and egg yolk. This hot snack is usually eaten with thick fish soup. Add: No. 8, Ln. 333, Sec. 2, Ximen Rd., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區西門路 2 段 333 巷 8 號 ) Tel: (06) 227-4101 Hours: 7am ~ 5pm (closed on Thu)

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Jia-Jia-at West Market Hotel The forerunner of this hotel was the Jiajia Hotel, designed by Taiwan’s first female architect, Wang Xiu-lian. It was left in a run-down condition for some time, but after being renovated through the joint effort of designers, architects, and a hotel operator, it has come back to life in style. Rooms are being re-themed and re-styled periodically by artists and designers so guests can have a new experience when they stay in the same room again after some time has passed. Add: No. 11, Zhengxing St., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區正興街 11 號 ) Tel: (06) 220-9866 Website: www.jj-whotel.com.tw

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Chin Men Theater The Chin Men Theater was opened for business in 1950. Apart from the architecture of the 60-year-old Baroque-style building, the theater’s most striking features are the old-style hand-painted movie billboards that are still used, the nostalgia-inducing concession stand, and the old-time tickets. Internationally acclaimed film director Ang Lee once said, “I grew up watching films at the Chin Men Theater.” This heritage attraction is an intrinsic part of the collective memory of the people of Tainan. Add: No. 187, Sec. 2, Yongfu Rd., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區永福路二段 187 號 ) Tel: (06) 222-4726 Open: Mon ~ Fri 12:30pm ~ 11pm, Sat & Sun 10:30am ~ 11pm Website: www.cm-movie.com.tw (Chinese)

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A DAY IN THE BIG CITY TAINAN

A Day in a Proud Old City

Tainan

Historic Sites, Old Streets, and Eclectic Eateries, Shops, and Accommodation

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ocated on the Jianan Plain in southwestern Taiwan, Tainan was the island’s first city. The tradition, history, and deep-rooted culture found along the lanes and alleys of this proud old city give it a unique charm. Below, we present some of Tainan’s most famous historic sites and old-time tastes to help you in planning a one-day trip of pleasant eating, drinking, and other fun, ensuring you have a great time in Taiwan’s former capital.

Text & Photos: Vision Using Tour Taiwan App in Tainan

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Using the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s Tour Taiwan App makes travel more convenient. The app provides real-time Tainan city bus status, as well as information about accommodation, shopping, restaurants, and tourist info centers near various attractions, ensuring that visitors have a good time in Tainan as they travel with ease and comfort!

The Chinese imperial-style towers on this site were built over the ruins of a fort constructed by the Dutch in 1652, Fort Provintia. In the 350-plus years since the fort was built – it was destroyed in an earthquake in the 19th century – this has always been an iconic Tainan location. In front of the towers you can see nine stone turtles, imperial steles on their backs, which were originally located beside the city’s Great South Gate. They were presented by Emperor Qianlong in 1788 in recognition of the meritorious service of imperial officials involved in the suppression of the great Lin Shuang-wen rebellion.

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Add: No. 212, Sec. 2, Minzu Rd., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 臺南市中西區民族路二段 212 號 ) Tel: (06) 220-5647 Hours: Sun ~ Fri 8:30am ~ 5:30pm (Sat until 9:30pm)

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Add: No. 16, Zhongzheng Rd., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區中正路 16 號 ) Tel: (06) 223-1744 Hours: 11am ~ 12midnight Website: noodle1895.com (Chinese)

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Tainan Railway Station

Du Hsiao Yueh Restaurant Established in 1895, this eatery is renowned for its danzai noodles, a famous local dish. In the Qing dynasty, during the slack season fishermen would carry noodles on poles (danzai ) to temple squares. The noodle dish they sold thus came to be called danzai noodles. The noodles are served with a broth made with boiled sweet shrimp heads, together with bean sprouts, coriander, lean soy-braised pork, garlic paste, black vinegar, and shrimp. The relatively small portion makes danzai noodles ideal for a snack or light dinner.

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Established by a Japanese merchant surnamed Hayashi in 1932, this is the oldest surviving department store in Taiwan. It also was the first to have an elevator. The design theme of the department store today is “Tainan Life,” each floor taking the charm of Tainan as its inspiration and giving visitors a feeling of life and culture in the city more than 80 years ago.

Add: No. 63, Sec. 2, Zhongyi Rd., Zhongxi Dist., Tainan City ( 台南市中西區忠義路二段 63 號 ) Tel: (06) 221-3000 Hours: 11am ~ 10pm Website: www.hayashi.com.tw

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RAIL TRAVEL MIAOLI

Visiting Miaoli County’s Coastal Areas Text: Steven Crook Photos: Maggie Song, Twelli

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aiwan is an island, but it’s easy to ignore the sea which surrounds it. Many visitors fly into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and head first for Taipei. Then, if they travel down the western side of the island, visiting major tourist draws such as Sun Moon Lake, Alishan, and Tainan, they may not even get a glimpse of the sea before they reach the city of Kaohsiung’s Qijin Island. A good number make sure their itinerary includes Kenting National Park at the island’s southern tip, and/or Taiwan’s gorgeous east coast, but most will skip the west coast altogether. Visiting the west coast is easily done, however, and thanks to the trains of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), there’s no need to rent a car or scooter. For over 100 years, the TRA has provided essential and inexpensive transportation throughout the island. The High Speed Rail (HSR) service, launched in 2007, now handles a lot of the north-south traffic, but tourists often use TRA services to get

50 Travel in Taiwan

to smaller places in between the major cities on the west side. Not all of the TRA trains that zip north to south follow the same route; just outside the town of Zhunan in Miaoli County – an hour and a half down-island from Taipei – the main line bifurcates. The main set of tracks takes a more direct southward route, through the center of the booming metropolis of Taichung. Another, lesstraveled, railroad follows Miaoli County’s coastline – before it reaches the Taichung coastal area and then rejoins the main line southwest of the city center – and it’s to this area I was sent recently by Travel in Taiwan . Whether you tour coastal Miaoli from north to south or the other way around may depend on what you have planned for the end of the day. In this article, we’re going south to north – from the town of Yuanli to Zhunan – because we like to begin with a full stomach.


RAIL TRAVEL MIAOLI

Miaoli, a somewhat sleepy county with a distinct rural character, situated between two quickly developing urban centers – Hsinchu and Taichung – is often overlooked by travelers zipping between the north and central/southern areas of Taiwan. The coastal part of the county, especially, is unknown to many tourists. Let’s find out more by taking the coastal railway line!

Shinto shrine

YUANLI Yuanli is an excellent place to enjoy the morning markets which are still a key feature in urban areas on this island. Less than 100m from Yuanli Railway Station, the block bordered by Weigong, Tianxia, Datong, and Jianguo roads is crammed full of vendors. Some sell vegetables, others fabrics, others prepared food. The range of hot and cold snacks is enticing. One especially popular option is the glutinous pork-filled disks at Jinguang Meatballs. Jinguang Meatballs ( 金光肉圓 )

Add: No. 80, Tianxia Rd., Yuanli Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣苑裡鎮天下路 80 號 )

In days of yore, triangle-rush weaving underpinned Yuanli’s economy. The industry is celebrated at the Triangle Rush Exhibition Hall, 5.5km southeast of the railway station (take a taxi from the station).

TONGXIAO

A train on the coastal railway line in Miaoli County (photo by Yan Zan-cheng)

War memorial

Meat ball

One stop and six minutes north of Yuanli is Tongxiao. Stopping here is recommended, as both fresh-air lovers and history buffs can indulge their passions at Hutoushan Park. Hutoushan isn’t the only place in Taiwan literally called “tiger’s head mountain.” There are others in Taoyuan City, Nantou County, and Tainan City – perhaps surprising when you consider that the sabertoothed tigers which once roamed Taiwan were extinct long before humans settled the island, though of course the tiger is a familiar image in traditional Chinese culture. The reward/exertion ratio at the park is very much in your favor. The top is just 700m from the railway station, and even if the weather isn’t absolutely clear, you’ll be able to see up and down the coast, and inland across foothills as far as the majestic peaks of SheiPa National Park. First, you’ll come to the remains of a Shinto shrine built in 1937 by the Japanese authorities then ruling Taiwan. After World War II it was preserved by the Chinese Nationalist government, which had reclaimed Taiwan in 1945, but rededicated to heroes of the Republic of China (ROC). Despite post-earthquake modifications since carried out, which reflect postwar political correctness (among them a Nationalist “white sun” emblem on the roof), the site retains considerable elegance. A little further up, what was once a military lookout post is now shaded by an immense concrete lotus. The lotus flower is a Buddhist symbol of purity, so this is perhaps an attempt to counter the site’s military atmosphere with peaceful sentiments. At the very top of the hill is a monument that since 1945 has served as a celebration of Taiwan’s return to the Chinese fold, but which was originally erected by the Japanese to mark a crucial moment in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. Travel in Taiwan

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RAIL TRAVEL

Xinpu Station

MIAOLI

BAISHATUN

Hakka Roundhouse

Continuing northward, the next stop is Baishatun. This village is divided about equally between families which sort fish and cultivate vegetables in their front yard and long-abandoned dwellings that are in semi-ruined yet intensely picturesque condition. The latter are primarily made of mud brick, bamboo, and other traditional building materials. Baishatun enjoys island-wide fame of sorts, thanks to Gongtian Temple and the annual pilgrimage that begins and ends here. Like the better-known festival that kicks off down the coast at Dajia Zhenlan Temple, it’s an expression of the Taiwanese people’s adoration of Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea. In 2011, this pilgrimage was declared a national intangible cultural asset by the central government. The popularity of Mazu, and the language usually heard in Baishatun, highlight something many people don’t know about Miaoli County. The county is usually thought of as a bedrock of Hakka culture, and while it’s true that the majority of residents are Hakka, the coastal strip is dominated by Hoklo/Holo folk who speak the tongue variously known as Hoklo/Holo, Taiwanese, or Minnanhua (“Minnanhua” literally means “language from south of the Min River,” i.e., China’s south Fujian Province area.) Gongtian Temple is very much the focal point of Baishatun, and the street right in front is your best bet for food this side of Houlong (11 minutes’ further north; there’s no compelling reason to stop at the next station, Longgang).

Crab on the Miaoli coast

HOULONG

XINPU Some might think there’s nothing to see at Xinpu but the station itself, a quaint 1922 wooden structure. But they’d be wrong. Known to rail enthusiasts on the island as the location of one of the stations closest to the sea, Xinpu is a splendid place to stop if you want to feel sea breezes. Here, as at several other spots along Miaoli’s coastline, there are boardwalks and bicycle paths. There’s also a rather odd park called Qiumao Garden, 350m south of the station. Its garish yet cutesy statues – among them are representations of ROC founder Dr. Sun Yat-sen, Daoist deity Guan Gong, and the entire cast of Journey to the West – are clearly visible from passing trains. Kids will enjoy the slides and concrete animals. Renting bicycles isn’t easy hereabouts, which is a great shame as the area’s flat and generally empty roads call out to be explored by bike. As in other parts of the country, finding sustenance or refreshment is never difficult, whether it’s a bowl of noodles or a hot latte you crave. If this region does have a disadvantage as far as cyclists are concerned – beyond the dearth of bicycle rentals, of course – it’s the wind. There’s a good reason so many electricity-generating wind turbines have been situated along the Miaoli coast.

52 Travel in Taiwan

If you decide to skip Zhunan, the last stop on my trip, you can take a taxi from Houlong (there are not many tourist attractions in the town itself) to THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) Miaoli Station (about NT$200). If time allows, en route you can pop in to the Yingcai Academy (admission NT$50) and/or the Hakka Roundhouse (admission NT$30). Both are recreations of buildings which existed in the China of old, and in some parts of Fujian still exist, and both are open Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm. The former, also known as the Academy of Excellence, houses shrines to both Confucius and Wenchang Dijun, a specialist deity whose blessing is often sought by students ahead of important examinations. Yingcai Academy ( 英才書院 )

Add: No. 700, Xingang 3 rd Rd., Houlong Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣後龍鎮新港三路 700 號 ) Tel: 037-727-072

The latter is in the shape of the famous Hakka tulou (lit. “earthen buildings,” made of rammed-earth walls) in mainland China’s Fujian Province. Displays inside illustrate Hakka agricultural practices and cuisine. If you can read Chinese, you can learn how to make fucai , the pickled mustard greens which are a distinctive feature of Hakka dishes in Taiwan. Hakka Roundhouse ( 客家圓樓 )

Add: No. 295, Xingang 3 rd Rd., Houlong Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣後龍鎮新港三路 295 號 ) Tel: (037) 732-940 Website: hakkaroundhouse.mlc.gov.tw


RAIL TRAVEL MIAOLI

Yingcai Academy

Xiang Xiang Noodles

Qiumao Garden

Gongtian Temple

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RAIL TRAVEL MIAOLI

DASHAN/TANWEN If you liked small and old Xinpu Railway Station, consider breaking your rail journey north of Houlong at either the Dashan or Tanwen stations. Like the Xinpu station, both are relics from the Japanese colonial period, much loved by photographers, and occasionally used as film sets.

Wugu Temple

ZHUNAN Zhunan has grown in recent years thanks to the high-tech firms clustered around Hsinchu, just north of Miaoli. It now has around 85,000 inhabitants, and may well overtake the county’s capital (also called Miaoli) within a few years. The authorities have positioned some major public facilities in Zhunan, such as the Northern Miaoli Art Center. The center often hosts concerts and dance performances, and has exhibitions on local crafts and arts. If you’re traveling with kids who need to let off some steam, take them to Zhunan Sports Park, just across the street from the art center. Northern Miaoli Art Center ( 苗北藝文中心 )

Add: No. 206, Gongyuan Rd., Zhunan Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣竹南鎮公園路 206 號 ) Website: www.nmac.com.tw (Chinese)

To reach the art center and the park, leave Zhunan Railway Station by its east exit. If you want to pick up some maps or have questions about local attractions, drop by the helpful Visitor Information Center (open daily 8:30am to 5pm) in the station’s ticketing hall. Between the station and the art center, it’s impossible not to notice the immense statue of a stern-looking, burgundy-skinned man, naked from the waist up. His head is 156m above street level, making this representation of Shennong, the Chinese God of Agriculture and putative inventor of herbal medicine, the largest religious icon in the region. The statue sits atop Wugu Temple, inside which you’ll find other effigies of Shennong. He’s easy to recognize, because he’s invariably depicted holding sprigs of millet in his right hand. Another of his names, Wugushen, means God of the Five Grains. If you’re looking for good food, leave the station by its west exit. Within 200m of the station are several enticing options, among them Xiang Xiang Noodles (open daily 5:30am to 2pm). Xiang Xiang Noodles ( 香香意麵 )

Add: No. 90, Minzu St., Zhunan Township, Miaoli County ( 苗栗縣竹南鎮民族街 90 號 )

There’s another reason you may want to wind up your tour at Zhunan: The town can serve as a launch pad for excursions into the interior. Taiwan Tourist Shuttle (en.taiwantrip.com.tw) bus services to Nanzhuang can be boarded near the railway station’s east exit, and from Nanzhuang it’s possible to proceed by bus to Xiangtian Lake. Whether Miaoli’s mountainous eastern half is more interesting than its coast is moot. Make time for both, and decide for yourself. 54 Travel in Taiwan

Getting There: Taking a train from Taichung Railway Station to Yuanli takes about 70 minutes (NT$79); from Yuanli to Zhunan takes about 45 minutes (NT$61). If you want to get from Zhunan to Miaoli THSR Station, take a train to Fengfu Railway Station (10 min.; NT$16), which is next to the THSR station. The stations between Yuanli and Zhunan are not far apart from each other, but as the gap between services on this stretch of railroad often exceeds an hour, do carry a schedule of train times. This information can be found on the TRA’s bilingual website, www.railway.gov.tw .

English and Chinese fucai 福菜 Dajia Zhenlan Temple 大甲鎮瀾宮 Dashan 大山 Datong Road 大同路 Gongtian Temple 拱天宮 Houlong 後龍 Hutoushan Park 虎頭山公園 Jianguo Road 建國路 Longgang 龍港 Nanzhuang 南庄 Qijin Island 旗津島 Qiumao Garden 秋茂園 Shei-Pa National Park 雪霸國家公園

Shennong 神農 Tanwen 談文 Tianxia Road 天下路 Tongxiao 通霄 Triangle Rush Exhibition Hall 藺草文化館 tulou 土樓 Weigong Road 為公路 Wugu Temple 五穀宮 Wugushen 五谷神 Xiangtian Lake 向天湖 Xinpu 新埔 Yuanli 苑裡 Zhunan 竹南 Zhunan Sports Park 竹南運動公園


HOTEL ÉCLAT TAIPEI

Hotels of Taiwan

Taipei 台 北

台北怡亨酒店

TAIPEI GALA HOTEL

Taipei 台 北

慶泰大飯店

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

No. of Rooms: 60 Room Rates: Deluxe Room Grand Deluxe Room Premier Room Premier 9 Éclat Suite

traveler’s needs. What all hotels of Taiwan — small and big, expensive and affordable — have in common is that

No. of Rooms: 160 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

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

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

serve and hospitality are always of the highest standards.

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Cantonese

The room rates in the following list have been checked

RestauRaNts: Éclat Lounge 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.

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

GLORIA PRINCE HOTEL TAIPEI 華 泰 王子大 飯 店

Taipei 台 北

K HOTELS - TAIPEI TIANJIN

柯 達 大 飯 店 - 台 北 天 津 Taipei 台 北

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

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: sPecial featuRes: Business center, K lounge, free parking, free self-service laundry, free Wi-Fi, 24 hours free coffee for guests

186 Songjiang Rd., Taipei City,104 104 台 北 市 松 江 路 186 號 Tel: 02.2541.5511 Fax: 02.2531.3831 Reservation Hotline: 02.2541.6888 E-mail: galahtl@ms18.hinet.net

MIRAMAR HOTEL HSINCHU

美麗信花園酒店

新竹美麗信酒店

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

English, Japanese, Chinese

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

MIRAMAR GARDEN TAIPEI

No. of Rooms: 203

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese

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

www.galahotel.com.tw

Room Rates: 6,000- 8,500 9,500-20,000

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese

www.eclathotels.com/taipei

No. of Rooms: 57 4,400 4,700 5,200

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

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

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

NT$ NT$ NT$

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

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

No. of Rooms: 220

Superior Room Executive Room K Suite

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

Taipei 台 北

Hsinchu 新 竹

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

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

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

Room Rates: CORNER 8 COMFY ZONE D ROOM QUEENS KINGS STUDIO M

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

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

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

22, Ln. 53 Sec. 1, Zhongshan N. Rd., Taipei City, 104 (Exit M2, MRT Taipei Main Station; 7 min. by foot)

104 台 北 市 中 山 北 路 一 段 53 巷 22 號 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: info@miramargarden.com.tw

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: info@miramar-hsinchu.com

www.miramargarden.com.tw

www.miramar-hsinchu.com

(捷運台北車站M2出口,步行7分鐘)

369, Lin-sen (Linsen) N. Rd., Taipei City, 104 10 4台北市林森北路3 6 9 號 Tel: 02.2581.8111 Fax: 02.2581.5811

www.gloriahotel.com

Tel: 02.2581.2222, 0800.020.222 Fax: 02.2581.1900 Email: tianjin@khotels.com.tw

www.khotels.com.tw

Travel in Taiwan

55


HOTEL SENSE

Taipei 台 北

伸適商旅

THE GRAND HOTEL 圓山大飯店

Taipei 台 北

53 HOTEL

No. of Rooms: 79

No. of Rooms: 500 (Suites: 57)

No. of Rooms: 70

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

Room Rates: Single/DBL Suite

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

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.

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

477 , Linsen N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City 104 104 台 北 市 林 森 北 路 477 號

TAI-YI RED MAPLE RESORT 楓樺台一渡假村

Nantou 南 投

No. of Rooms: 105 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

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

Room Rates: Maple Room Classic room Essential Suite Treasure Suite Deluxe Family Room

NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$

6,800 8,200 8,800 9,900 13,140

Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese

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.

sPecial featuRes: LCD TV, Bathrobes, Adjustable Air-conditioning System, Fast- boiled Kettle, Hair dryer, Hot spring bathtub(hot and cold pools for each), Clothes Hanger, Safe Box, Wireless Internet, Environmental- friendly Refrigerator, Hair dryer, 110-volt power outlet, Hot spring bathtub(hot and cold pools for each), Independent Balcony with view

27, Zhongshan Rd., Central District, Taichung City, 40042

Tel: 02.7743.1000 Fax: 02.7743.1100 E-mail: info@hotelsense.com.tw

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

40042 台 中 市 中 區 中 山 路 27 號 (距離火車站 2 分鐘) Tel: 04.2220.6699 Fax: 04.2220.5899 E-mail: service@53hotel.com.tw

176, Sec 1st, Zhoungshan Rd., Puli Township, Nantou County 54560 54560 南 投 縣 埔 里 鎮 中 山 路 一 段 176號 Tel: 049.299.7848 Fax: 049.290.0037

www.hotelsense.com.tw

www.grand-hotel.org

www.53hotel.com.tw

www.taiifarm.com

3 minutes by foot from Exit 2 of MRT Zhongshan Elementary School Station

NT$1,100

Taipei City Tour 台北市區觀光

Pingxi Sky Lantern Experience & Old Street Walk

( two minutes from railway station)

NT$1,500

3-Day Southern Taiwan Tour

NT$1,500

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

平溪天燈體驗、老街漫步

NT$1,500

Wulai Aboriginal Village Tour 烏來高砂族部落觀光

Taipei Night Tour

NT$1,500

臺北夜景觀光

NT$1,200

基隆港、野柳、北海岸公園觀光

Folk Arts Tour (Sanxia & Yingge)

NT$1,300

民俗藝術觀光 ( 三峽、鶯歌 )

Yangmingshan National Park & Hot-Spring Tour

花蓮太魯閣 ( 大理石 ) 峽谷觀光

Jiufen Village & Northeast Coast Tour

NT$1,500

NT$1,300

(Stay at QingJing) 2 天 1 夜 南投清境 世外桃源採果趣 ( 住清境 )

3-Day Tour to Sun Moon Lake & Alishan 3 天 2 夜 日月潭、阿里山觀光

TOUR TAIWAN! Our package tours include daily coach services

Travel in Taiwan

NT$4,200

2-Day Sun Moon Lake, Puli & Lukang Tour (Stay at Sun Moon Lake) 2 天 1 夜 日月潭、埔裡鎮、及鹿港觀光 ( 住日月潭 )

NT$14,500

台北市松江路 190 號 4F

4-Day Central & Southern Taiwan Tour

千島湖、坪林自然美景 茶飄香

2-Day QingJing & Fruit Picking Tour

陽明山國家公園及溫泉觀光國家公園 及溫泉觀光

九份、東北角海岸觀光

"Thousand Island Lake" & Pinglin Tea Plantation 1-Day Taroko (Marble) Gorge Tour

Northern Coast Tour

56

Taichung 台 中

寶島53行館

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

4-Day Eastern Taiwan Tour NT$6,600

NT$6,900

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

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

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

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

NT$ 14,000

NT$ 15,500

4F, 190 Song Jiang Rd., Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. TEL: +886-2-2563-5313 +886-2-2563-4621 +886-2-2541-6785 FAX: +886-2-2563-4803 +886-2-2531-1353

NT$ 16,900

E-mail: edisonts@ms6.hinet.net http://www.edison.com.tw


The Future,

CHASE Now! Chase Walker Hotel Offers an Innovative and Smart Experience

Baggage storage service considerately provided by a robot

Simple digital room reservation system, check in requires just two minutes

Fengjia Night Market is right next door. Good food and shopping close by

24-hour Internet call for personal service available

20% OFF Foreigner only Please take a picture of this coupon and send a message via Facebook to reserve a room.

Chase Walker Hotel (鵲絲旅店) No. 230, Fuxing Rd., Xitun Dist., Taichung City (台中市西屯區福星路230號)


WELCOME TO

HUALIEN LI S H I UA N HOTEL Add: 99-1, Zhongmei St., Hualien City Room Reservation: +886-3-824-6898 E-mail: lishiuan970@hotmail.com.tw Website: www.lishiuan.com Fax: +886-3-824-6629

ISSN:18177964

GPN:2009305475

200 NTD

Travel in Taiwan (No.80 2017 03/04 )  
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