JUL & AUG
The FAR South of Taiwan
KENTING SUMMER ADVENTURES
First-Time Diving Experience
Taitungâ€™s Charming Countryside
THEME PARK JOY Window On China
HIDDEN TREASURES 321 Art Alley Settlement
Pingtung County, situated in the very south of Taiwan, is blessed with beautiful natural scenery and abundant culture. In particular, the indigenous peoples who have long made this place their home have a fascinating culture and are one of the main reasons why Pingtung has become a first-choice destination for both domestic and international visitors. Members of the Paiwan and Rukai tribes are the main residents of northern Pingtung and their villages are well known in Taiwan for the diverse attractions they have in store, including distinctive food, traditional crafts, song and dance performances, classic architecture, and experiential activities. In addition to these attractions, this year six routes have been designed that utilize special local village elements and are inspired by the challenges that people encounter in their daily lives. The aim is to give visitors an all-new experience. The routes are: “Where is the Boss?” “Letting off Steam Feels So Good,” “Refuse to Have a Hard Life,” “Let Me Just Do Nothing,” “Wilderness Survival Adventure,” and “Adventure King.” Old Tjavatjavang Suspension Bridge
Wudai Kudrengere Bridge
Rinari 1n1 Creative Space
Taiwan! Dear Traveler, It’s the height of summer, Taiwan is bursting with sunshine, the summer holiday season is here, and it seems everyone is on the road looking for new experiences. We’ve got a sparkling line-up of travel options for you to mull over on the pages to follow, so without further ado, let’s hit the road ourselves. In our Feature the showcase destination is wonder-filled Kenting National Park. On Taiwan’s far-south tip, this is a leisure and recreation idyll that evokes strong images of Hawaii and California’s Big Sur. Learn all about the almost endless forms of play you can dive into, a shortlist including swimming, jet-skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, bicycle and scooter jaunts, and history/nature walks. Much of the action also happens in the various resorts and many cafés, bars, and eateries, and we present you with the best of the best. Kenting’s scuba diving is among the region’s finest, and you don’t need a formal diving license to enjoy the kaleidoscope of marine-life art. We spend our full Adventures file exploring the Kenting diving experience, providing information on certified dive outfits experienced in handling international tourists plus options from half-day beginners’ “experience” dives to multi-day accreditation courses, and taking you on a sample dive. After feasting on nature’s artworks, how about a feast of man-made art? In Hidden Treasures visit a unique artist enclave called the 321 Art Alley Settlement in Tainan, where a heritage Japanese-built military-residence cluster has been given new purpose. In Island Feast we feast literally on the delicious local buffet of vegetarian cuisine while exploring the food art at Taipei’s trendy cosmopolitan-themed meat-free restaurants. In A Day in the Big City we’re in Hsinchu City, Taiwan’s high-tech center, on a one-day tour highlighting its rich trove of historical treasures and tantalizing traditional food treats. In 5 Things to Do it’s a day in Taoyuan’s Daxi District, a history hotspot in northern Taiwan known as “Tofu Town.” For two altogether different undertakings, delve into our Theme Park Joy and Rail Travel sections. The first celebrates the many joys that await you in the beloved Window On China, Taiwan’s oldest theme park. The second takes you on a meander through Taitung County, through one of Taiwan’s most endearing countryside areas. Sunny Taiwan memories. They’re pretty much guaranteed. Time now to get out there and start racking them up!
Joe Y. Chou, Ph.D. Director General Tourism Bureau, MOTC, R.O.C.
CONTENTS July ~ August 2017
10 PUBLISHER Joe Y. Chou Editing Consultant
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Swimming pool of Chateau Beach Resort (photo by Ray Chang)
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10 Rollin’ On Down that Kenting Highway – Fun in the Sun in Tropical Hawaii-esque Kenting National Park
SPECIAL REPORT 24 Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade 26 2018 Taichung World Flora Exposition
THEME PARK JOY
28 Gulliver’s View
– A Day at the Window On China Theme Park
1 4 6
Publisher's Note Taiwan Tourism Events Convenient Travel
7 News 8 Culture Scene 54 My Travel Log
32 Ever Taken a Dive?
– Do It in Kenting's Underwater Paradise!
36 Tainan’s 321 Art Alley Settlement – Hanging with Artists in Japanese-Era Homes
ISLAND FEAST Vegetarian Delights – Meat-Free International Dining in Taipei
FIVE THINGS TO DO
44 Daxi: Tofu Town, History Hotspot – Things to Do and Places to Visit in One of Taoyuan’s Premier Tourist Areas
A DAY IN THE BIG CITY
48 Historic Hsinchu
– Exploring a Windy City with a Turbulent Past
RAIL TRAVEL Taitung by Train – Exploring One of Taiwan’s Most Endearing Countryside Areas
TA I WA N TO U R I S M E V E N T S
Taiwan Tourism Events Calendar website
Late-Summer Events Ghost Month Activities, Cross-Lake Swim, Flower Fields
Toucheng "Qianggu" - Grappling with the Ghost Pole-climbing Competition & Hengchun Pole Climb Festival 頭城搶孤民俗文化活動 & 恆春古城國際豎孤棚觀光文化活動
Taking place at the end of the Ghost Festival period, the Toucheng “Qianggu” grappling competition is a fun event to watch – and to participate in (if you are one of the brave local lads). Groups of men compete against each other climbing up greasy poles, soaring 11 meters high, to reach a platform from which they climb even higher, up bamboo trestlework, to snatch the winner’s flag. The event at Toucheng in Yilan County is the largest such event in Taiwan. A similar pole-climbing competition is held in Hengchun, Pingtung County, close to a section of the town’s well-known old protective wall (see Feature article on pages 10~22). Both events include many other cultural activities, such as religious ceremonies, cultural performances, and food markets.
Locations: Wenxiaoyi Cultural Park (Qianggu ﬁeld), estuary of Zhu’an River, Toucheng Township, Yilan County ( 宜蘭縣頭城鎮文小一文化園區 ( 搶孤場區 ); intersection of Hengbei Road and Hengdong Road, Shugupeng Grounds, East Gate, Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮東門豎孤棚會場恆北路及恒東路交叉口 ) Websites: toucheng.e-land.gov.tw (Toucheng Township Ofﬁce); www.hengchuen.gov.tw (Hengchun Township Ofﬁce)
National Yimin Festival 全國義民祭
The ceremonies and other rituals of this Hakka festival take place during the seventh month of the lunar calendar in 15 village districts located in Taoyuan and Hsinchu, northwestern Taiwan. The festival, which is organized along with Ghost Festival traditions, commemorates the bravery of over 200 men who sacrificed their lives fighting against rebels in the late Qing dynasty. The brave men are revered as Yimin Ye in the temples of Hakka communities, the most important of which is Xinpu Yimin Temple. For visitors, the festival is a great occasion to see Hakka culture at its liveliest, with many exciting cultural performances taking place on the plaza in front of the temple in Xinpu. Location: Xinpu Township, Hsinchu County ( 新竹縣新埔鎮 ) Website: www.hsinchu.gov.tw (Hsinchu County Government)
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Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival 雞籠中元祭
The seventh month of the lunar calendar (Aug. 22 ~ Sept. 19 this year) is known as Ghost Month in Taiwan and countries around Asia. It is believed that during this time of the year ghosts and spirits of deceased ancestors will return to earth. In order to “feed” and appease these visitors from the underworld, elaborate ritualistic food offerings are prepared and colorful ceremonies are staged at many temples. The port city of Keelung in northern Taiwan is known for its especially wide and intriguing range of Ghost Month activities, mainly held at Laodagong Temple and Zhupu Altar. The highlight of the Keelung festival is a grand street parade through the city on the eve of the lunar month’s 15th day (full moon), ending with the release of spirit-guiding floating lanterns onto the sea at Badouzi. Location: Laodagong Temple; No. 37, Ln. 76, Le 1st Rd., Anle Dist., Keelung City ( 老大公廟 / 基隆市安樂區樂一路 76 巷 37 號 ) Website: www.klccab.gov.tw (Cultural Affairs Bureau, Keelung City Government)
J U LY ~ S E p tem b er
Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival 日月潭萬人泳渡
Once a year Sun Moon Lake, the largest body of fresh water in Taiwan and one of its biggest tourist attractions, is turned into a giant swimming pool. First held in 1983, this annual cross-lake swim from Zhaowu Pier to Ita Thao Pier attracted more than 20,000 participants last year, among them people from all walks of life and age groups, including former ROC President Ma Ying-jeou. In order to guarantee entrants’ safety, all swimmers are provided with a floating device, and lifeguards in boats and on floating platforms along the 3.3km course keep a close eye on everyone. Location: Sun Moon Lake, Yuchi Township, Nantou County ( 南投縣魚池鄉日月潭 ) Website: www.pulifourswim.tw (Puli Four-season Swimming Association)
Hualien Orange Daylily Season 花蓮金針花季
Among the most enchanting scenes of the East Rift Valley in eastern Taiwan are the flower-painted slopes of Mt. Liushidan (Sixty Stone Mountain) and Mt. Chike. During the blooming season of the orange daylily in August and September, the faces of both mountains virtually turn orange and large numbers of tourists head to the best mountainside vantage points to take in this natural spectacle. Blooming daylilies are not just pretty – they are also delicious, served deep-fried for example, and also used in soup or to make tea. Location: Mt. Liushidan in Fuli Township and Mt. Chike in Yuli Township, Hualien County ( 花蓮縣富里鄉六十石山 / 花蓮縣玉里鎮赤科山 ) Website: lam.hl.gov.tw/hadd/index.aspx (Bureau of Agriculture, Hualien County)
C onvenient O N V E N I E N T T ravel R AV E L
Shuttling to the Beach
Taiwan Tourist Shuttle website
From Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park
Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
During the summer, the beaches in the southernmost part of Taiwan proper, the Hengchun Peninsula, with Kending town at its center, are in high demand. However, since this part of the island – a large chunk of it belonging to Kenting National Park – has a tropical climate, it is in fact a great vacation destination throughout the year, as we found out on a recent trip in April (see our Feature article on pages 10~22). Getting from Taipei in the north to Taiwan’s secondlargest city, Kaohsiung, in the south, which is the gateway city to Kending, is fast and convenient. The fastest Taiwan High Speed Rail trains reach THSR Zuoying Station in just over 90 minutes (www.thsrc.com.tw ; full fare NT$1,490 one way). After arriving there, you still have to get from Kaohsiung to Kending, which takes about two hours by vehicle. One option is renting a car. That’s what we did on our April trip (we rented a Toyota Yaris for four days; total NT$6,000; local or international driver’s license required). There is a number of car-rental agency desks right in the hall of the THSR station. If you opt for public transport, your best bet is the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle’s (en.taiwantrip.com.tw ) Kenting Express Line. The bus stop is on the southeast side of Zuoying Station (Exit 3; Gaotie Rd.), close to the entrance to Kaohsiung’s metro system. After departing from Zuoying, the shuttle bus travels down the west coast all the way to the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area (www.dbnsa.gov.tw ), east of the fishing-harbor town of Donggang. Dapeng Bay is a popular watersports playground in southern Taiwan. The next stop on the shuttle bus route is Fangliao. If you prefer using the conventional railway system (TRA) over the faster but more expensive THSR service, you have the option to take a train all the way to Fangliao Railway Station and get on the shuttle bus here instead of Zuoying. Soon after Fangliao you’ll spot the sea, with the highway following the coastline closely for a long stretch before the next stops, Checheng and Nanbaoli. At the latter you can get off to visit the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (www.nmmba.gov.tw/En/ ). Next up is Hengchun town, best known for its wellpreserved city gates and wall sections. Finally, you will reach the southernmost beaches of Taiwan, your bus stopping at Nanwan (“South Bay”) and Xiaowan (“Small Bay”) at the edge of Kending town. To get to other spots along the coast, hire a cab or rent bicycles or electric scooters (some homestays/hotels provide both free of cost). For more info about the Hengchun Peninsula, read the Feature article in this issue, and also visit the official Kenting National Park website at www.ktnp.gov.tw/en . Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Kenting Express Line Route: THSR Zuoying Station ( 高鐵左營站 ) => Dapeng Bay ( 大鵬灣 ) => Fangliao Station ( 臺鐵枋寮站 ) => Checheng ( 車城 ) => Nanbaoli ( 南保力 ) => Hengchun Bus Station ( 恆春轉運站 ) => Nanwan ( 南灣 ) => Xiaowan (Kending) ( 小灣 / 墾丁 ) Fare: NT$393 one way; NT$600 round trip (cash, EasyCard, and iPASS card accepted)
Departures: Buses every 15 minutes in the morning (every 30 minutes in the afternoon) between 8:30am and 7:10pm (Zuoying) and 8am and 7:15pm (Kending). Note: Not all buses stop at Dapeng Bay (if you want to get off at Dapeng Bay, confirm with the driver upon boarding).
Travel in Taiwan
NEWS & Events around Taiwan
Lonely Planet Taiwan and Pocket Taipei
Cruise Tourism on the Rise
This May, Lonely Planet released the 10th edition of its Taiwan travel guide, a must-have for first-time visitors to the island. The guidebook is packed with concise, practical information about all places you might want to visit. Some sections, notably those on Kaohsiung and Tainan, have been expanded significantly, and there is now also a detachable folding map covering central Taipei at the end of the book. LP has also published a new Pocket Taipei guide, which contains essential information about the city’s best tourist attractions. For more info, visit www.lonelyplanet.com .
These days, if you visit Keelung in northern Taiwan, chances are that you will see a giant cruise ship docked in the city’s narrow harbor – possibly even a second. Cruise-ship travel to Taiwan is on the rise, and with its ideal geographic location between Japan to the north and the Philippines to the south the island is a great stopping point for cruise liners plying the East China Sea and South China Sea. Costa Cruises (www.costacruisesasia.com ), for example, takes tourists on trips between Keelung and southern Japan. Princess Cruises (www.princess.com ) will be making 42 trips this year with stops in Keelung and Kaohsiung. The number of tourists arriving in Taiwan by cruise liner is expected to grow to well over 800,000 this year, from about 750,000 in 2016.
How does Taiwan compare to its peers in the world of travel and tourism? According to the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which looks at 2016, Taiwan is ranked a solid 30th out of 136 countries (7th among Asian countries). This is a jump of two spots from the 2015 rankings. Taiwan rated especially high in ground and port infrastructure (16th), human resources and labor market (19th), international openness (23rd), cultural resources and business travel (26th), and business environment (27th). Find the complete report at www.weforum.org .
Good news for Muslim travelers planning a trip to Taiwan! Finding a Halalcertified restaurant is becoming increasingly easy these days. According to the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, there are now more than 100 restaurants, including hotel restaurants, around the island that have received official Halal certification. Encouraging restaurants to provide halal food is part of the bureau’s efforts to attract more visitors from countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, by making Taiwan’s travel environment more Muslim-friendly and catering to these visitors’ special needs. For a list of Halal restaurants in Taiwan, visit: taiwanhalal.com .
Travel in Taiwan
C U LT U R E S C E N E
CULTURE Concerts, Exhibitions, and Happenings
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
The Art of the Brick
Pleasingly Pure and Lustrous Porcelains from the Yongle Reign (1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty
produced by the Danish LEGO Group since the late 1940s. On display in the exhibition are creations by American-based artist Nathan Sawaya consisting of standard LEGO bricks. Among the exhibits are incredibly lifelike sculptures, perhaps the most striking of which is a yellow man ripping his own chest wide open.
National Taiwan Museum
Exquisite Stones of Formosa
Pleasingly Pure and Lustrous: Porcelains from the Yongle Reign (1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty 適於心—明代永樂皇帝的瓷器 Website: www.npm.gov.tw
What c ould be interesting about a b r i c k ? We ll, i f C N N r ate s t hi s exhibition a “must-see,” it’s probably wor th checking out. The “bricks” in question are LEGO bricks, those interlocking pieces of plastic
National Palace Museum
Yongle was the third emperor of the Ming dynasty, reigning 1402~1424. Considered one of the greatest Chinese emperors,
11143臺北市士林區至善路二段221號 No. 221, Section 2, Zhishan Road, Shilin District, Taipei City 11143, Taiwan (R.O.C.) ｜ http://www.npm.gov.tw Tel: +886-2-6610-3600｜Fax: +886-2-2882-1440
陳 列 室 Gallery 203
he moved the capital from Nanjing in the south to Beijing in the north, directed the construction of the Forbidden City, and enabled the great exploratory sea voyages of Zheng He. This emperor loved porcelain, and the wares produced during his reign represent the highest achievements in imperial arts and crafts for his era. This exhibiton features a hundred of the finest examples of porcelain from the Yongle period from the National Palace Museum collection.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Hello, My Name Is Paul Smith
英國設計鬼才 PAUL SMITH 世界巡迴特展
It’s quite a difficult task to find precious stones in the rivers and on the beaches of Hualien County in eastern Taiwan, where most of Taiwan’s precious stones originate. It’s much easier to get a closer look at the beautiful works created by mighty tectonic forces over the millenia in this exhibition, featuring 400 precious stones and art objects. The exhibition is divided into two sections, the first introducing you to the types, distribution, and formation of precious stones in Taiwan, the second presenting you with fine examples of stone-sculpting art.
Enter the inspiring world of British designer and businessman Sir Paul Smith, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 for his contributions to fashion in the UK. This exhibition, currently on world tour, reveals Smith’s intuitive take on design, and tells his story from humble beginnings (one tiny shop) to international prominence (300 posh shops worldwide). Among the highlights of the exhibition is a wall covered with 70,000 buttons, a room filled with all sorts of items collected by Smith, and a collection of some of the best dresses he has designed.
Travel in Taiwan
C U LT U R E S C E N E
National Museum of Taiwan History
National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts
The New Tai-ker: Southeast Asian Immigrants and Migrant Workers in Taiwan 東南亞移民工在臺灣特展 Website: www.nmth.gov.tw
Time Machine: “Moment, Light, Camera” 時。光。機—從古典到當代攝影藝術教育展
From an outside perspective, the population of Taiwan might look like a fairly homogenous people. Upon closer inspection, however, one soon finds that this country has an astonishingly diverse make-up of people, with a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Waves of immigration over the centuries have brought new arrivals from distant shores. This exhibition presents a fascinating look at the latest waves over the last 50 years, predominantly from Southeast Asia, including ethnic Chinese, migrant workers, and those coming for marriage, study, or simply pursuit of their dreams.
Today, about 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook daily, 60 million to Instagram. This exhibition takes you back to a time when photography was a domain for scientists and artists, not universal. How did it all start? What is a camera obscura? What happens in a darkroom? What is the essence of photographic art? These and more questions are answered, and visitors are presented with an amazing variety of contemporary works by photographic artists from Taiwan.
R ol li n â€™ On Dow n th a t Ken t i n g High w a y
Fun i n t he S u n i n Tro pical Ha w a i i - e s q ue
Kenting National Park 10
Travel in Taiwan
Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang
Kenting National Park is one of Taiwanâ€™s premier internationaltourist attractions. Taking up island Taiwanâ€™s southern tip, it is a vast sun-drenched playground. Nobody visits for just a day; to do it justice, three are recommended. Your play-options list for outdoor fun is almost ocean-wide.
Lifeguards at Chateau Beach Resort
Travel in Taiwan
y the sea, on the sea, and in the sea, it’s swimming, jet-skiing, bananaboating, beach volleyball, coastalzone eco-tours, snorkeling, scuba diving… Inland, it’s bicycle and scooter jaunts, visits to peninsula-edge lookouts and a historic lighthouse, history and nature walks (guided if desired), night-market browsing, go-karting… Nicely rounding out the Kenting* experience are also such indoor pleasures as seaside café/restaurant/bar trawling, resort fun with large fitness centers, game rooms, and massage/spa services, a fully indoor family-theme water-fun park, and even a beer museum/craft-beer brewery. The area’s key road is Provincial Highway 26, which on the peninsula’s west, south, and east sides provides splendid views of coast and sea. Almost all visitors enter the region along the west side via the city of Kaohsiung. In the pages to follow we roll out Kenting destinations explored and experiences chalked up on our most recent Travel in Taiwan Feature tour. Time’s a-wastin’. Let’s hit that coastal highway!
West Coast and Maobitou Peninsula On the coast in the park’s northwest corner, along County Highway 153 not far off Highway 26, is the renowned National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (www.nmmba.gov.tw ). Directly to its north, lookouts cap a large hill that strikingly soars up amidst flatlands all around. This is gentle-slope Mt. Gui (“Turtle Mountain”), shaped like a giant turtle shell. The Mt. Gui Trail snakes up to the 72m-high crest, from which grand inland panoramas of farmland, towns, and backdrop mountains fill the eye. The hill’s upper reaches are dotted with military ruins; the Japanese landed a punitive expedition on local shores in 1874, after area natives massacred shipwrecked Japanese sailors, and fortified the mountain after taking over Taiwan in 1895. Directly south of the museum is Houwan (Back Bay), fronted by an eponymous somnolent fishing village. The village’s short water-facing street is home to a diving/ snorkeling enterprise, attractive café/ guesthouse, and a few other tourist-targeted
* In this article “Kenting” refers to Kenting National Park, plus Hengchun (which lies just outside the boundary of the park), following the official Romanization used by the park administration. “Kending” (Hanyu Pinyin Romanization) refers to the beach-resort town where most of the area’s hotels and businesses are located.
Mt. Gui National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
City God Temple
Hengchun 3000 Brewseum Wanlitong Café 1918
Hengchun city wall
Kenting National Park and Its Hengchun Peninsula Home Kenting is one of Taiwan’s six national parks. It was the nation’s first, officially opened in January 1984. On the southern tip of the tobacco-leaf-shaped island, it takes up much of the Hengchun Peninsula. The park today encompasses about 20,000 hectares of land and about 16,000 of ocean. This precious ecological/recreational area is best known for its exposed coral reefs (uplifted through tectonic activity), oceanic natural resources, and coastal tropical rainforest.
Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium seen from Houwan
Travel in Taiwan
City God Temple
Old shop sign Hengchun East Gate
Hengchun city wall
Door gods at City God Temple
Travel in Taiwan
Chicken curry with dark chocolate Baisha Bay
Travel in Taiwan
Mug/stein wall at Hengchun 3000 Brewseum CafÃ© 1918
businesses. Between the village and the bay’s placid waters, framed by upraised coral reefs, is a wide wood-built sun terrace with info boards; from here, a long boardwalk follows the shoreline. The combination of open sea and museum complex, Mt. Gui, and soaring southern mountains beyond ensures pretty take-home photo memories. Further south along the national park’s west-coast side is Wanlitong and, near its southernmost tip, Baisha Bay. Compact Wanlitong village, markedly quieter than most other local tourist hotspots on the Hengchun Peninsula, is perched up above the raised-coral coastline. The tiny, shallow bay here is a first-rate snorkeling spot and there is just one on-site snorkeling outfit, resulting in a notably relaxed feel to the fun akin to a party atmosphere, with waves of groups wading out into the waters behind instructors. Baisha (“White Sand”) Bay has a long white-sand beach with a cluster of beach bars and simple eateries at its northern end, and waterfun rental facilities at different points. There is paid parking at the northern end, and free parking about halfway down its length, the latter leading to a stretch somewhat quieter on busy weekends/holidays.
the sea from Hengchun Peninsula’s southwest corner. Maobitou offers superb scenery at its southern tip, giant boulders strewn at the foot of its cliffs, viewed from a breezy plateau-top park which has food and drink facilities. High up its eastern side is Houbihu Fishing Harbor, from which many area diving/snorkeling enterprises launch boat expeditions. Snorkelers at Wanlitong
Tip: The dockside Houbihu tourist center has busy seafood eateries with fresh-off-the-boat selections, and many Kenting specialties. Sashimi at just NT$100 a plate – an unbeatable deal. Baisha Bay is on the Maobitou peninsula, which projects south into
Hengchun 3000 Brewseum Reminder: Excessive consumption of alcohol is harmful to your health. Don’t drink and drive
Note: Adding to Baisha Bay’s popularity is the fact that it was a shoot location for Hollywood director and Taiwan native Ang Lee’s huge hit Life of Pi. When Pi finally drifts ashore on a beautiful deserted white-sand beach in tropical Mexico, it was actually here. Café 1918 ( 恆春信用組合 ) Café 1918 is close by Hengchun’s South Gate, in a heritage building originally built in 1918 to house a credit union and last housing a farmers’ cooperative. One of the original safes is now part of the décor. Café by day and bar by night, the quest here is to be a welcoming LOHAS space, sharing space with artists and craftspeople – currently, metalwork-jewelry classes are held on weekends, and local crafts and specialty-food products are displayed for sale. The highlight menu offering is a distinctive chicken curry made with dark chocolate. Café 1918 ( 恆春信用組合 ) Add: No. 155, Wenhua Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮文化路 155 號 ) Tel: (08) 888-3700 Website: zh-tw.facebook.com/Cafe1918/
Now, back to Highway 26. Hengchun is Hengchun Peninsula’s largest settlement, and the national park’s gateway town. The key attractions in this slow-paced old place, which labels itself an “Ancient Town,” are the remnants of the brick-façade city wall built by China’s Qing Dynasty government in the late 19th century, for protection against anticipated attacks by the world’s colonial powers and to intimidate the region’s rebellious indigenous population. A total of 2.7km of the wall and gates has been preserved. The best-known site is Nanmen (South Gate), in a small traffic circle in today’s town center, famously featured in Cape No. 7 (2008), the top-grossing movie in Taiwan film history. Close by is Hengchun’s bright, floral-color City God Temple, first built in 1892, razed by the Japanese, and rebuilt in 2014 to house the City God icon, which was hidden away from the Japanese. Taiwan’s only beer museum, off Highway 26 on Hengchun’s west side, is also home to a craft-beer brewery. At Hengchun 3000 Brewseum visitors are met with one soaring wall lined with 3,000 beer mugs/steins sourced from around the globe, and another with a giant Mona Lisa made of beer-bottle labels. Sit down to try the brewery’s numerous creations on tap, all named after Hengchunarea places, or buy them in cans to take home. The upstairs museum covers the history of beer, the highlight a rendition of an ancient Mesopotamian beer-drinking song. Hengchun 3000 Brewseum ( 恆春 3000 啤酒博物館 ) Add: No. 29-1, Caopu Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮草埔路 29-1 號 ) Tel: (08) 888-1002 Website: zh-tw.facebook.com/3000Brewseum/
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Open kitchen at Piccolo Polpo Piccolo Polpo ( 迷路小章魚 ) Piccolo Polpo has a superb location on Highway 26 at Nanwan, with an unfettered beach-action view through its large windows. The dishes crafted in the bistro’s central-area open kitchen are oriented toward continental European selections. Most impressive among the numerous first-rate experiences are the seafood carpaccio and the wild mushroom and truffle risotto with duck confit (the latter the most popular entrée), and for dessert the affrogato with crème brulee. The menu is changed with the seasons, in keeping with the changing regional ingredients available. Add: No. 68, Nanwan Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮南灣路 60 號 ) Tel: (08) 888-2822 Website: piccolopolpo.com (Chinese)
South Coast Between the Maobitou peninsula on the west and Eluanbi peninsula on the east, this is Kenting’s most popular tourist area, with a high concentration of beaches and resorts as well as restaurants, bars, cafés, and boutiques. Nanwan (South Bay), is in the crook where Maobitou and the main body of the Hengchun Peninsula meet. This is the best and most popular locale for inshore frolicking – swimming, windsurfing, jetskiing, kayaking, banana-boating, skindiving, snorkeling, what have you. There are changing rooms, showers, and shops renting all necessary gear/toys. Adding to Nanwan’s allure is the fact it is second only to nearby Kending town, which we visit next, for restaurants and watering holes.
Kending is fun-central in the park. This is where all the action happens at night. Highway 26 acts as the town’s main street, and as the sun retires over the western horizon each day local residents don vendors’ hats and line both sides of the road with food stalls. Backing them are scores of bricks-andmortar enticements, with everything from cafés, bars, and restaurants to indie-designer jewelry and craft shops. On the town’s eastern edge are some especially entertaining sights – small lorries which, once the shutters on the back cabins are lowered, magically become bars and pizzerias. Owners set up seating alongside. The former are stocked to “the rafters” with famous spirits brands, and the latter have flatbed-mounted brick pizza ovens.
Kenting National Park Nanwan
Smokey Joe's Kenting Dawan
Houbihu Fishing Harbor
Chateau Beach Resort
Nanwan (South Bay) beachMaobitou
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Seafood salad at Piccolo Polpo
Kending town Ocean Blue
Chateau Beach Resort Beach Training lifeguards
Family Room Chateau Beach Resort
This famed facility stands between Highway 26 and the coast on the western edge of Kending town. First and foremost, it is known for the quality of its beachfront. It sits on Dawan (“Big Bay”) – as opposed to the “Small Bay” on Kending’s eastern side – which has a 2.8km beach, privately leased for exclusive Chateau use. This soft-sand beach is considered by many to be the national park’s finest. The resort’s 295 rooms are divided among three buildings, the Provence, Marbella, and Positano halls, which have façades painted in bright colors “a la Mediterranean.” All guestrooms on floors above ground have small balconies with seating for 2/3 people. Groundfloor rooms with an ocean view are most popular, featuring wood-plank decks, umbrella seating, and direct beach access. The range of fun-time options at the resort seems just short of endless. Naturally, the big focus is on water fun. Lifeguards watch as you swim in the sea and in the resort’s pools; there’s an adult sea-view pool, three kids’ pools, a “moon pool,” and a SPA hydrotherapy pool. Marine activities include Hobie sailboating, kayaking, and bodyboarding (instructors provided for each). On-site landlubber fun includes a gym (with ocean view), archery ground (on-site instructor), beach volleyball, a “wood ball” ground (akin to croquet), game room, and DIY classes. Those with a food focus will also go away mighty happy. There are numerous F&B outlets, including a poolside beach bar, beach-view café, and beachside dining/BBQ area (summer). (Rooms start at NT$7,800; Western/Chinese breakfast buffet included.)
Chateau Beach Resort ( 墾丁夏都沙灘酒店 ) Add: No. 451, Kending Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮墾丁路 451 號 ) Tel: (08) 886-2345 Website: www.ktchateau.com.tw
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Smokey Joe’s ( 冒煙的喬 ) Smokey Joe’s is a south Taiwan restaurant chain that has expanded into boutique hotels, one on Kending town’s main drag. Restaurants have a retro U.S. of A. 1950s style, decorated with iconic old-times food-brand cans, old license plates, etc. The food matches the décor – burgers, BBQ ribs, pizza, and so on. At the new Kending town 3-floor Dawan Street branch, the special focus is on Tex-Mex, at the maindrag hotel restaurant, just steps away, pizza and pasta. Add: No. 188, Dawan Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County Tel: (08) 886-1185 Website: www.smokeyjoes.com.tw
Off Kending’s eastern end, in a pretty sheltered cove, is the Xiaowan (“Small Bay”) beach, directly across Highway 26 from two of the park’s major resort hotels, one of these the Howard Beach Resort (see Box). During the day, a wide range of watersports equipment is available for rent at the beach. At night, after the water-focused fun ceases, the wide-deck wood-theme café/ eatery here transforms into a mellow open-air bar, ’70s rock complementing the soothing music of arriving waves. East of Kending is Banana Bay, site of a miniscule fishing harbor. On either side of its cement breakwater walls is easily accessible
Ocean Blue ( 海餐廳 ) Ocean Blue is right on Kending town’s main drag, making it prime real estate for people-watching, especially when the daily night market gets rolling. The restaurant has been in place for 20 years. The menu sees continual transformation – today’s foci are Thai, Japanese, and Italian dishes, with selected local specialties. Another emphasis is fresh, healthy, natural ingredients, with no use of MSG. Plans are to introduce ever more local Hengchun produce. Specially recommended are the Italian-style smoked salmon salad, Bloody Mary beef stew, French-style lamb chops with mint, and Japanese-style baked potato with cod roe. Add: No. 111, Kending Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮墾丁路 111 號 ) Tel: (08) 886-2600 Website: www.ocean-blue-kenting.com
Coral rocks at Banana Bay
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Guestroom with sea view
Howard Beach Resort Kenting
This landmark resort has 405 rooms, plus private-access villas with themed décor – Greek, Spanish, Balinese, Indian, and Zen. Indigenous artwork crafted by members of the region’s Paiwan tribe brightens the lobby and other public spaces, and Paiwan colors and motifs appear throughout. All rooms have fine views, of the sea before or mountains behind, the former slightly costlier. All are spacious, and many top-floor rooms have high, slanted ceilings. Balconies are large enough to fit comfy outdoor seating, and the large bathrooms have both tubs and showers. The hotel has an unusually wide range of options on its leisure and recreation menu. There is a large outdoor swimming pool; at the same facility is a kids’ wading pool and a Jacuzzi/whirlpool section. Also found on the ground-floor outdoor area are a croquet lawn and sika deer feeding site. Indoor facilities include a gym, aerobics classroom, squash court (fee), game room, children’s play center, massage center (fee), mini mart and, soon, a retail mall. The hotel also has a special relationship with adjoining
Water Space (www.waterspaceinn.com ), hotel guests enjoying a special entrance-fee discount. This thrill-packed indoor water park is a wondrous place, located in a massive underground bunker-like complex. The hotel has three on-site restaurants serving Chinese and Western cuisine. During the summer high season barbecue fare is prepared right outside the floor-to-ceiling windows at one, the Champs Elysees. (Rooms start at NT$7,500; Western/Chinese breakfast buffet included.) Tip: A tunnel connects the hotel complex with Xiaowan beach, passing under the highway. The Xiaowan exit is at the beach’s east end, fronted by tall upraised-coral “walls.”
Howard Beach Resort Kenting ( 墾丁福華渡假飯店 ) Add: No. 2, Kending Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮墾丁路 2 號 ) Tel: (08) 886-2323 Website: www.howard-kenting.com.tw
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Southernmost Point of Taiwan
Longkeng Ecological Protection Area
White Banyan Tree Park Guided tour at Gangkou
Kenting National Park Nanwan Chateau Beach Resort
Houbihu Fishing Harbour
Kending town Howard Beach Resort Kenting
Sail Rock Banana Bay
White Banyan Tree Park
Pacific Longpan Park Longkeng Ecological Protection Area
Eluanbi Lighthouse Southernmost Point of Taiwan
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upraised-coral shoreline, beyond which is an underwater world popular with divers. Nearby iconic park attractions are Shadao and Sail Rock. The first is a magnificent 300m stretch of protected beach that actually shines. In the on-site exhibition hall, explanatory signs say that this is Taiwan’s purest shell-sand; the coast makes a dramatic 90-degree turn here, meaning materials are washed in and churned but not easily washed out. Sail Rock is a towering 18m-high slab of exposed coral offshore said either to resemble a Chinese imperial war junk or US President Richard Nixon’s profile. But what I see is a Kenting angelfish. Sail Rock
East Coast and Eluanbi Peninsula Like its Maobitou sibling across the bay, the Eluanbi peninsula juts from its Hengchun Peninsula anchor pointing south. Its southernmost point is also the Southernmost Point of Taiwan, reached on foot in about 15 minutes from the Highway 26-side parking lot (fee), the last 500 meters along a wide, pleasant path shaded by thick tropical growth, notably various cactus species. You emerge, quite suddenly, right on the jagged, wave-pounded rocky shore, at a lookout deck with an artistic geo-point marker. Neighboring-area sightseeing spots are the historic Eluanbi Lighthouse and pristine Longkeng Ecological Protection Area. Spread out alongside Highway 26, Longpan Park is not much more than a selfie-stop for most – move beyond the roadside parking lots to the most popular lookout points, however, and you’ll be rewarded with what to your writer are Kenting’s most magnificent visuals, save perhaps for the circus of colors witnessed on its snorkeling/diving excursions. The eagle-vantage views from the coastal clifftops, with their disintegrating cliff sections (off limits), wave-pounded reefs below, mountain after mountain falling into the sea beyond that, are stunning. Watch for water buffalo and sika deer grazing in the cliff-base grassy areas.
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Gangkou Suspension Bridge
North of Longpan, Highway 26 reaches a T-intersection. Turn right for almost immediate entry into Jialeshui (entry fee). This isolated, cliff-backed 2.5km stretch of coastline is one of Taiwan’s premier geological classrooms. Tours are given on open-sided golf-cart-style buses, drivers explaining (in Chinese) the three different geological layers clearly discernable, most notably pointing out the nature-carved outcroppings of the sandstone stratum, once on the sea bottom, resembling such familiar figures as the hare, frog, and seahorse. Back at the T-intersection, inexpensive eateries line the periphery of a large parking lot. Beside this lot is a ticket booth, at the head of the picture-perfect Gangkou Supension Bridge that shoots across the river mouth here. Purchase a ticket to access the eco-park across. Better yet, call the Gangkou Community Development Association (0963-522-868) three days in advance for a guided tour of the park (fee), learning among other precious things where/how/why the many local crab species dig “secret” homes, and also visiting the restricted White Banyan Tree Park. The magnificent old Japanese-planted banyans here are featured in Life of Pi , with special-effects help, when Pi comes across a magical floating “island,” exposed roots everywhere.
Coast at Jialeshui
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From here, most visitors choose to head back along Highway 26. However, you can also consider heading inland from the T-Intersection along County Highway 200, which will give you an up-close look at farm life on the Hengchun Peninsula while taking you back to Hengchun town. Either way, pretty scenery will be your companion. English and Chinese Baisha Bay 白沙灣 Banana Bay 香蕉灣 City God Temple 城隍廟 Dawan 大灣 Eluanbi (Lighthouse) 鵝鑾鼻 ( 燈塔 ) Gangkou Supension Bridge 港口吊橋 Hengchun Peninsula 恆春半島 Houbihu Fishing Harbor 後壁湖漁港 Houwan 後灣 Jialeshui 佳樂水 Kenting/Kending 墾丁 Kenting National Park 墾丁國家公園 Longkeng Ecological Protection Area 龍坑生態保護區
Longpan Park 龍磐公園 Maobitou 貓鼻頭 Mt. Gui (Trail) 龜山 ( 步道 ) Nanmen 南門 Nanwan 南灣 National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium 國立海洋生物博物館 Paiwan tribe 排灣族 Sail Rock 船帆石 Shadao 砂島 Southernmost Point of Taiwan 台灣最南點 Wanlitong 萬里桐 White Banyan Tree Park 白榕園 Xiaowan 小灣
Taiping Ladder (photo by Chen Quan-rui)
Put a tea basket on your back and a straw hat on your head like a tea-picker and enjoy the special experience of picking tea leaves
Experience making herbal tea in a herbal garden. Enjoy various exquisite combinations of tea and herbs
Savor different teas with your five senses and enjoy the sweet taste of tea that ranges in color from golden to bright red
Alishan’s Taiping Ladder 阿里山．太平雲梯 Taiwan’s longest scenic suspension bridge, Taiping Ladder, will open this September. It is located in the Alishan National Scenic Area at Taiping Village, Meishan Township, Chiayi County. The bridge is 281 meters long and 2.1 meters wide and, at an elevation of 1,000 meters, it offer stunning views. From the bridge you can see the Taiping 36 Bends (a winding stretch of County Road 162a), the JiaNan Plain, and, beyond the plain, the Taiwan Strait in the distance. When clouds gather, you can literally walk through the clouds or take in a “sea of clouds” below. Viewed from a distance, the bridge itself, sometimes hidden in the clouds, sometimes visible, presents a breathtaking scene. Follow County Road 162a from Meishan uphill, passing the Taiping 36 Bends, and you come to the mountain village of Taiping. Cross Taiping Ladder and enjoy the spectacular views, then stroll along Taiping Old Street and soak up the old-time charm. Taiping was once a distribution center for mountain produce and to this day the village
Tea can be enjoyed with a few friends anywhere on the tea plantation and along wild streams
Drink fine tea sitting near a wild stream in the cool of the forest soothed by the gushing crystal clear stream water
Alishan New Impressions Website: www.ali-nsa.net
retains many old buildings. In recent years, the Alishan National Scenic Area Administration has provided guidance to help owners of old stores to give the street a new look, bringing the village back to life. Bihu Village is famed for its sunrise, sea of clouds, and tea plantations. The sprawling green carpet-like tea plantations and the lush mountains compose a beautiful scene. The scenery is especially enchanting when the dew drops on the tea leaves sparkle under the first rays of sun in the morning. Longyan Village is the birthplace of high-mountain tea and, in recent years, award-winning coffee beans have been grown here as well, giving the mountain village a distinctive aroma of tea and coffee. From the area’s ridge trail, the plantations spread out over the hills like green carpets and join with the distant mountains. Occasionally, cloud and mist swirls all around, and you will feel like you are walking in the clouds looking out over the picturesque scenery.
Let grandma show you how to make exclusive sweet and savory chewy herbal rice cakes
Drink prize-winning coffee and hear stories about Longyan Village sitting in the courtyard of an old house
Alishan National Scenic Area Administration, Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transport and Communications Advertisement
SPECIAL REPORT TAIPEI UNIVERSIADE
Taipei Arena Jade Mountain
Taipei Summer Universiade Get to Know Taipei and Taiwan on Universiade City Tours While here for the big games, all honored international guests, from athletes to officials, to judges/referees, to members of the media, to you the spectator, are invited to take advantage of the specially offered Universiade City Tours, which have been designed to showcase this “vibrantly modern, increasingly multicultural and exceptionally fun metropolis.” Text: Rick Charette Photos: Department of Information and Tourism, Taipei City Government, Vision
or this article, Travel in Taiwan has arranged an extra-special treat. The games’ mascot Bravo, a Formosan Black Bear that symbolizes Taiwan’s strength, courage, and persistence – in turn honoring that of the Universiade athletes – has taken time out from a very busy promotional schedule to explain what the Universiade is all about and what fun lies in store for those taking the dedicated City Tours. Bravo, take it away!
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Greetings everyone! It’s really “bear”-ific to be chatting with you today! Great to take a break from my “fur”-ry demanding schedule to chat with you – but of course, Formosan Black Bears never “hibernate” from hard work. “Bear-ific!” “Fur-ry!” “Hibernate!” Get it?! Us Formosan Black Bears love a good joke. First, you may be wondering exactly what the “Universiade” is. Here are the “bear” essentials. The full formal name is World University Games, the unofficial nickname is the “little Olympics.” During the games the world’s best university athletes compete in many different sports.
This year Taipei is the proud Summer Universiade host city, the games happening August 19 to 30. Why so proud? Well, this is the highest-level large-scale international sporting competition ever staged in Taipei, and Taiwan’s largest-ever integrated international sporting competition. Bravo! Now, what’s the fun on the Universiade City Tours? The un-“bear”-ievable range of our city’s sights, activities, and experiences – and the range around beautiful Taiwan, because despite the “City” in the name you can travel all around the island. The tours are tailored for different interests and activity levels, all immersive and fully interactive. Sounds like a sweet deal, right – like honey to a bear!
SPECIAL REPORT TAIPEI UNIVERSIADE
National Palace Museum Longshan Temple
The Fam Tours are complimentary tours introducing Taipei City for individuals here specifically for the Universiade, including accredited VIPs, members of the media, ITOs (International Technical Officials), and members of national delegations.
There are two categories, City Tours and Fam Tours. Themes range from art and architecture to culture and cuisine, nature and nightlife to shopping and sightseeing. All tours are run by professional tour agencies experienced in handling foreign travelers. The City Tours are open to all comers. For each, there is a fee per person, and each group has a trained guide fluent in English. Choose from Half-Day Trips, One-Day Trips, Multi-Day Trips, and a Culture & Eco Trip. You can stay in and around Taipei, or even travel as far as Hawaii-like Kenting National Park on Taiwan’s south tip.
Which trips am I “paw”-ticularly fond of, you ask? There are too many great outings to mention, but here’s a “paw”-tial list: From the City Tours section, naturally I specially recommend the 2-day Jade Mountain Formosa Bear Tour, which brings you up into the mountains to my home turf. Your guide will be a ranger expert in botany, conservation, and wildlife protection. For a quick yet in-depth introduction to Taipei City, a great choice is the Taipei Highlight 1-Day Tour, in which all sites visited have been awarded three Michelin stars. Visit iconic attractions like the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, and Longshan Temple.
From the Fam Trips section, I specially recommend the Evening at the Opera outing, designed for delegation members, featuring a stage show at a heritage-site theater specially designed for foreign tourists, introducing Chinese opera and other traditional stage arts. You get to go backstage pre-show to talk to performers, see how classical makeup is applied, and try on opera costumes. Look for me when you’re in Taipei, and if you don’t see me when you’re up on Jade Mountain, say hello to my family and friends! For more information, visit the Universiade City Tour website at www.travels-en.2017. taipei/. The site includes a special Around the Stadiums section with DIY-tour info on Universiade competition venues (plus the athletes’ village) and immediate-area sightseeing attractions, with map help. English and Chinese Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall 中正紀念堂 Jade Mountain 玉山 Kenting National Park 墾丁國家公園 Longshan Temple 龍山寺 National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院 Taipei 101 台北 101
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SPECIAL REPORT TAICHUNG
he 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition was a huge international success, attracting almost 9 million visitors over its multimonth run, including a great number of tourists from overseas. Taichung will be the next city in Taiwan to host a major garden festival on the international stage, the 2018 Taichung Flora Expo, also called the Taichung World Flora Exposition. Working with the Taichung City Government as co-organizers is the Agriculture and Food Agency of the central government’s Council of Agriculture. Plan to be in Taiwan sometime between November next year and April the following year, when a special world of floral beauty will be in full bloom. The Where and When The location – Taichung City, in central Taiwan, quickly reached in less than two hours from Taipei in the north and Kaohsiung in the south. The Time November 3, 2018 ~ April 24, 2019 The “Why” of the Big Show Like the Taipei extravaganza, this is a major AIPH-approved event. The AIPH, or International Association of Horticultural Producers, bills itself as “The world’s champion for the power of plants.”
The Whole World Is Invited to Visit Taichung, the “Flower City” Roses are red, Violets are blue, The grand 2018 Taichung Flora Expo Is beckoning you …. Text: Rick Charette Photos: Tourism and Travel Bureau Taichung City Government
In hosting the expo, the city of Taichung is seeking to enhance its international visibility and to proactively make its landscape more visually compelling. The spirit of sustainability is being emphasized, with site usability beyond the expo incorporated into the planning, helping to build a “sustainable and people-centered flower city.” The target is 8 million visitors. The city’s guiding concept for the expo is “Discover GNP: Green, Nature, and People.” The expo site will cover 60.88 hectares, divided into four themed park areas: Houli Horse Ranch Area, Forest Park Area, Waipu Yongfeng Park Area, and Fongyuan Huludun Park Area. There will also be four subthemes: Productivity, Life, Ecology, and Biotechnology. With railway stations or major highways located close to each park area, easy access is guaranteed. “The Sound of Blooming” This is the expo’s slogan. Modern folk, facing the pressures of making a living, are physically busy and mentally blinded. Through the Taichung Flora Expo, says the organizer, “we hope people can open and quieten their hearts to listen to the intricate sounds of blooming, and enjoy this happy feast of flowers.” Mark your calendar, and keep your eye out for updates in Travel in Taiwan down the road!
Locally Regarded as the
Secret Recipes Creating the Taiwan Flavor â€“ Highly Popular Gift Choices
Received national GSP certificate from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2003
Three-Time Champion (Pineapple Rhapsody Contest once and Pineapple Master Category at the Taipei Pineapple Cake Culture Festival twice)
Winner of the Gold Medal for Excellence in Quality Product in 2009
Winner of the Taipei City Gift Shop Award in 2010. 2012
THEME PARK JOY TAOYUAN
Gulliver’s View A Day at the Window On China Theme Park
Window On China, Taiwan’s oldest theme park, presents you with a delightful view of Taiwan, mainland China, and the rest of the world from above. Apart from its first-rate miniatures of famous local and global landmarks, the park also offers plenty of other amusements in terms of rides and, during the summer, water park fun. Text: Joe Henley
had seen the name many a time before, on signs when zipping past on countless trips along National Freeway 3. Passing through Taoyuan in northwestern Taiwan, it seemed somewhat out of place among the district and scenic-area place names – Window On China. “What is it?” I often wondered. “A kind of cross-Taiwan Strait observatory? Some sort of propaganda relic from the early post-WWII era of Communist PRC/Nationalist ROC tension?” Well, not quite. The Window On China Theme Park is a unique amusement attraction in Taoyuan's Longtan District, a place where the usual fare of roller coasters, Ferris wheel, and bumper cars sits alongside intricately crafted miniatures of the architectural marvels of Taiwan, Europe, Asia, the United States and, of course, mainland China. The place is proud of its status as Taiwan's oldest theme park, with a history going back to 1984. The owner, Chu Chunghung, was inspired by a miniature park he had happened upon in the Netherlands, and decided to found his own in his home country. In the beginning the park’s sole attraction was the models, each miniature built on-site in precise 1:25 scale. Chu added the amusement rides later, cementing the park as a must-
Photos: Maggie Song
go destination for the nation's youth and a staple of many fond childhood memories. Entering the park, visitors first pass through the Rhinoceros Beetle Eco Zone, a protected habitat for one of the island of Taiwan’s biological curiosities, the rhinoceros beetle. From May through August, these sizable and heavily armored insects, boasting intimidating cranial protuberances that inspired the “rhinoceros” in their name, emerge among the park's foliage. Park employees take steps to ensure minimal disturbance while educating guests on the beetles’ importance to the local ecosystem. The insect habitat opens up onto a miniature shipping yard complete with seagoing vessels of all kinds, plying the still waters of a port not unlike those you might see at the city of Keelung in Taiwan’s north or Kaohsiung in the south. Trains prattle around on tracks in the shipping yard, taking containers to the end of the line and back again. On the water a frigate that seems to be in some distress emits artificial smoke and is doused by a floating fire brigade. A gray gunship sits at a state of rest, the rotors of a helicopter at the stern whirling as it prepares for takeoff. It is a scene, the first of many, that is alive with detail and artistry. Miniature world at Window On China
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THEME PARK JOY
From the shipyard, visitors can walk along a path that leads through Mini Taiwan, featuring replicas of some of the island's best-known architectural and natural wonders, as well as some that may ring less familiar to the traveler from overseas. In some cases, the exhibits “preserve” historic landmarks both natural and manmade that, for various reasons, no longer exist. The recreation of the Alishan Forest Railway, for example, comes complete with a faithful doppelganger of the mountain's Sacred Tree, a 3,000-year-old red cypress which had been ever so gradually toppling after a 1956 lightning strike, forcing workers to finally lay it on its side in 1998. Here in Mini Taiwan, though, the tree still stands tall (or should that be small?) for all to see. Taoyuan City Longtan District
Window On China Guanxi Township
Leofoo Village Theme Park
Jumbo Wave Wipeout
Window On China also “opens up” places that are usually offlimits to the public. One example is the re-creation of the Lin Family Mansion and Garden, which is in New Taipei City’s Banqiao District. At the actual heritage estate, there are some areas from which visitors are barred entry. At the amusement park, however, guests can take in the entire sprawling compound from one end to the other, with information on the place's history, architectural style, and more, presented in well-translated English. In each of the works displayed, it's the little details (no pun intended) that are perhaps most striking. Take a close look at the top of the stairs leading to the entrance of the miniature Presidential Office Building. There, overlooking a military parade of moving artillery making its way down a tiny version of Chongqing South Road, is the sitting president, Tsai Ing-wen. The park, it seems, is as interested in keeping things current as it is in preserving the past. At the re-creation of Lugang's oldest place of worship, Longshan Temple, pause for a moment and watch as saffron-robed monks actually move to prostrate themselves before the gods.
THEME PARK JOY TAOYUAN
The Taiwan portion of the park's array of miniature worlds also does well in exhibiting the various architectural styles found throughout the country's cities and towns, from the neoRenaissance, neo-Classical, and neo-Baroque styles favored during the Japanese colonial era, to the traditional Chinese styles of the long period of Qing Dynasty rule before it. Again, no detail is too small. To wit, the intricacies of the entablatures at the corners of the gable pediments on Hsinchu County's Cheng Family Ancestral Shrine are painstakingly faithful to the original. In all aspects, little, to the curious eye, has been overlooked. In Mini China, visitors can stroll past sites from the imperial past on a walking tour through the country's storied centuries of antiquity. The main highlight is the full replica of Beijing's Forbidden City, complete with explanations of the compound's various complexes and their different functions when it was home to the emperor and his court. Mini Europe is also replete with sites that will be familiar even to the occasional traveler or travel enthusiast. There at the entrance is a replica of England's Stonehenge, a canal running past on which visitors can sit in a covered vessel to float past some of the attractions. There too is the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and overlooking this portion of the park is the Acropolis, looking just as it does in its godly position above the storied city of Athens. Each miniature offers visitors the rare chance to take in a site in its entirety, giving them a bird's-eye view of places that would otherwise be impossible to take in all at once. Mini America is somewhat more modestly appointed in comparison to the other quarters, though no less impressive. Here there are technological as well as architectural and artistic highlights, such as the Space Shuttle, Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, and the Lincoln Memorial. The Mini Asia section is smaller still, with but a handful of works. Most prominently featured is Japan’s Seven-Storied Pagoda of Nara, presented in all its ornate and dignified beauty. This modest corner of the park also features replicas of fortresses and castles found in South Korea and Nepal. Of course, this couldn’t be called an amusement park if it didn't have any amusements, and there is indeed plenty here to keep kids of all ages well occupied. In July and August the Jumbo Wave Water Park is open. Kids can go for a swim and splash around in a large wave pool, slip down some slides and, if they are brave, take a ride on the Jumbo Wave, a quick roller-coaster jaunt that takes riders high above the park and then splashes them down into a shallow pool, launching waves tens of meters into the air on either side. If for whatever reason you can't find it, just follow the screams. There are many other rides to be found as well, both indoor and outdoor, such as bumper cars, multiple Ferris wheels, small roller coasters, and a circulating, tilting spaceship called the “Wipeout,” among others. The indoor portion of the amusement park, which like the rest of the grounds is accessible via a minitrain that runs from the entrance area into the park’s heart, is like
a giant airplane hangar. The park gets thousands of visitors per day, to the tune of 3~4,000 on weekdays, 7~8,000 on weekends, and 10,000-plus on national holidays. So, on particularly busy days when the trains tend to fill up quickly, visitors are allowed to walk along beside the short expanse of track to save time. If you find walking around the park’s different sections (for parents, read: chasing after your kids) makes you work up an appetite, there are various restaurants and snack shops scattered throughout the park, supplying everything from amusement-park mainstays such as hot dogs and hamburgers to more upscale fare such as that featured at Zhejiang Cuisine, a restaurant helmed by a former chef of Taipei's Grand Hotel with a menu matching that he once prepared for visiting heads of state and other dignitaries. Or, if you're in need of a bit of a sit-down, park the kids at the Performance Theater where they might take in a live show featuring Taiwanese folk art or other entertainment. There are two other stages on the grounds, one nearest Mini-Europe, the other closest to the largest of the Ferris wheels, which feature magic shows, clowns, and other quirky performances. Getting to the park is relatively easy whether traveling by car, train, or bus. Driving from Taipei, or approaching from the south, take Freeway 3 to the Longtan Interchange and follow the signs, which have clear English. If taking the train, get a ticket for Zhongli Railway Station, and on arrival catch a Hsinchu Transportation Co. bus (www.hcbus.com.tw ; Chinese), just across from the station's main entrance, directly to Window On China. There is also an E-Go bus service (www.e-go.com.tw; Chinese) directly to the park from Taipei, a trip taking around 1.5 hours, depending on traffic. The park's hours are 9am~4:30pm on weekdays, 9:30am~5pm on weekends and holidays. For the entirety of 2017, the entrance fee for adults, students, and school children has been reduced from NT$799 to NT$499 (NT$399 for kids). Most areas in the park are wheelchair accessible, and there are medical stations scattered throughout the grounds in case of an emergency. Window On China Theme Park ( 小人國主題樂園 ) Add: No. 891, Gaoyuan Rd., Longtan Dist., Taoyuan City Tel: (03) 471-7211 Website: www.woc.com.tw English and Chinese Alishan Forest Railway 阿里山森林鐵路 Banqiao District 板橋區 Cheng Family Ancestral Shrine 鄭氏大宗祠 Chu Chung-hung 朱鍾宏 Forbidden City 紫禁城 Lin Family Mansion and Garden 林本源園邸 Longshan Temple 龍山寺 Longtan District 龍潭區 Presidential Ofﬁce Building 總統府 Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 Zhejiang Cuisine 蔣府宴
Travel in Taiwan
Ever Taken a Dive? Do It in
Kenting's Underwater Paradise! 32 Travel in Taiwan
Taiwan – What’s So Special? Taiwan’s first and foremost advantage for the diving tourist has nothing to do with its waters. It’s the Taiwan economy, a First World economy with quality guaranteed every step of the way, from your journey here to your journey home, and every swim stroke and fin kick while here. World-class airline and airport facilities bring you to and from the country, and the world-class publictransportation network, with interlinked domestic air, High Speed Rail, regular rail, metro, public bus, intercity coach, and Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus services, get you quickly, comfortably, and inexpensively to your chosen destinations, on Taiwan proper and on its offshore islands. Accommodations are also first-rate; visit the Taiwan Tourism Bureau website (www.taiwan.net.tw ) for information on everything from 5-star international tourist hotels to cozy B&Bs/homestays and hostels. Finally, Taiwan’s culinary world also has a welldeserved international reputation for being among the most varied and interesting in the world, whatever your price range.
Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang, Taiwan Dive Center
Sun-drenched Kenting National Park is a veritable giant nature-built health and fitness center, serving up swimming and surfing and biking and much beyond … and perhaps most precious in terms of rare-catch memories, easy access to scubadiving experiences. Regionally, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia are perhaps better known for diving/ snorkeling tourism, but a quick online search clearly shows that Taiwan competes toe-to-toe in all ways, not least in terms of holidaying peace of mind.
Note: Key to being able to make this claim to a global-caliber tourist-friendly environment is the solid foundation of English-language service you’ll find, from your first moments of Tourism Bureau website research to the various sectors delineated above to the local tour agencies and dive outfits you may choose to use. You’ll be given one of Taiwan’s premier examples of the last of these in just a moment.
Travel in Taiwan
A D V E N T U R E S DIVING
Ready to take the dive Blue giant clam
The Lay of the Land – and Sea Surrounding It
A Kenting CoralKingdom Adventure
Taiwan’s saltwater realm is a grand underwater pleasure garden for divers and snorkelers. With over 1,500 kilometers of coastline, its shores range from sandy beaches to coral reefs to rugged cliffs that drop straight into the sea to hulking green mountains that roll into it. Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, the island is primarily subtropical with a tropical region in the far south; summertime is prime time for underwater excursions on both the main and offshore islands. The waters are clear and comparatively warm, even in winter, and sites are pristine. Divesite choices are nigh limitless, though of course it’s always best to ask those with authoritative knowledge of each locale’s conditions. Visibility is generally about 20 meters, sometimes double this in Kenting, where there is year-round diving/snorkeling. Visibility best in winter.
One fine recent day – rare indeed is the Kenting day that is not fine – an intrepid Travel in Taiwan research crew slipped under Taiwan’s south-tip waves on your behalf. The adventure started inland, at the Taiwan Dive Center facility located on the plateau above Kenting’s Houbihu Fishing Harbor. The center has one of the strongest brands in the country, and is without a doubt the benchmark choice for Kenting dive outings. It has provided PADI-certification instruction for 4,500 students since 2000, and has deep experience handling international visitors with English and Japanese service. On this day the bright and friendly Calvin was our designated English speaker. The outfit offers many different types of experiences, from Fun Dive outings for everyone from beginners to experienced, certified divers to formal certification programs for divers and instructors. Among the Fun Dive options are shore dives, boat dives, and night dives. The price for a dive includes full scubaequipment rental plus insurance. Note that the Taiwan Dive Center also handles dives at other Taiwan locations, not just Kenting.
Posing for a memorable photo
Underwater world at Houbihu
34 Travel in Taiwan
With two of four Travel in Taiwan team members having snorkeled but never having scuba’d before, we went for the Discovery Scuba Diving experience. This is a specially designed single-day outing with instructors for tourists without dive certification, taking you offshore to visit coral reefs 6~8 meters down. Sessions last about 3 hours and include verbal training at the dive center, a drive to (and back from) the dive site, final instructions/practice with full equipment on in waist-deep water, and the dive, which lasts about 30 minutes. Ours was the first session of the day, starting at 8am (register on the official website or call). Calvin sat our quartet down for the dive-center training component, while another instructor, Alan, handled another quartet. There is a minimum of 1 instructor per 4 people, and as it happened on this day the ratio was 3/8. Calvin showed us all equipment to be used, explained how the air tanks and weights work underwater, gave us the chance to test the breathing apparatus and putting on masks, taught us safety rules, hand signals for directions, stop-start, equipment indications, etc., and finished with a description of the environment we would be immersing ourselves
in and eco-protection instructions to ensure no damage to the reefs. We finished with each person reading a form asking about health conditions and containing a short test to demonstrate understanding of the session’s concepts/instructions. On passing, we could sign and Taiwan Dive Center would accept taking us out. After the short drive to the dive site in the center’s trucks, just south of Houbihu Fishing Harbor, we donned all gear with the help of our instructors and entered waist-deep water between upraised reef-coral. A 10-minute session followed; each person was asked to go down on his/her knees individually and test their equipment and technique in shallow water, instructors checking closely. Then – launch! We headed out to a spot about 30 meters offshore. Weaker swimmers who find the surface waves strong can ask the instructors to help, using a rope tow. The full group then descended in unison, one meter at a time, stopping each meter to pinch noses as pressure increased, allowing bodies to adjust. As we did so, our world changed, with a never-ending panoply of marine-stage actors sallying forth to entertain us from stage-left and stage-right, as well as stagebelow, -above, and deep beyond. I felt like I was inside a kaleidoscope. Our 30 minutes underwater felt time-disconnected, yet at the same time flashed by in the blink of – dare I say, oh yes I do – a fish-eye. Kenting is home to over 40 species of stony (reef-building) coral, over 40 of soft coral, and over 1,100 types of reef fish. On this day we saw clown fish, angel fish, parrot fish, surgeon fish, knife fish, hiding
eels (no threat), urchins – and best of all for me, seahorses. And much, much more that landlubber I am still checking out in my reference books.A great day. Want to add some color to your life? A Kenting dive is just the canvas, in the most literal and figurative sense. See you under the Taiwan waves.
A Final Note Taiwan is among the most inexpensive places in Asia to obtain PADI certification, which involves a multi-day program. Taiwan Dive Center’s Discovery Scuba Diving session costs NT$2,500 per person (private and group rates available); if afterwards you’d like to take the PADI Open Water Class, it offers an NT$1,000 discount. Here are two other premier Taiwan dive outfits also experienced with handling international visitors, from beginners up: Green Island Adventures ( www. greenislandadventures.com) and Liquid Sports (www.liquidsportpenghu.com). English and Chinese Green Island 綠島 Houbihu Fishing Harbor 後壁湖漁港 Lanyu 蘭嶼 Longdong Bay 龍洞灣 Penghu Islands 澎湖群島
Taiwan Dive Center ( 台灣潛水有限公司 ) Add: No. 118-5, Daguang Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County ( 屏東縣恆春鎮大光路 118-5 號 ) Tel: (08) 886-7082 Website: www.taiwan-dive.com
Other Diving Destinations On the northeast coast, Longdong (Dragon Hole) Bay is one of northern Taiwan’s most popular swimming spots and its best diving location, with a stirring array of marine life in its clear, deep-blue subtropical waters. The powerful Kuroshio Current courses close to shore here, bringing in a magicalcircus natural aquarium of pretty-painted and wondrously shaped saltwater denizens. The northeast is rich in soft-coral patches along coastal underwater walls, as well as colonies of resplendent sea fans, especially in strong-current locations. Green Island rides the waves 33 kilometers off the main island’s southeast coast. There is year-round diving/snorkeling here, with visibility clearest in winter. Nutrients from the renowned saltwater hot spring on the south tip, developed as a tourist draw, nourish stunning coral and over 600 types of fish. A special attraction for divers is the wintertime schools of visiting hammerhead sharks. Lanyu (Orchid Island), south of Green Island, has good dive sites off its east, where both shallow- and deep-water coral reefs are found. In the 1500s Portuguese mariners christened the Penghu Islands archipelago the Pescadores, inspired by the tremendous abundance of fish found there. The islands are located between Taiwan and mainland China in the Taiwan Strait, through which a branch of the fecund and forceful Kuroshio Current flows. Scuba outings here are more suited to experienced divers and divers in groups led by experienced guides. The benefit of the stronger Penghu Island currents is the bigger “catch” of fartraveling marine creatures.
HIDDEN TREASURES TAINAN
Tainanâ€™s 321 A rt A lley Settlement Text: Nick Kembel Photos: Maggie Song
Hanging with Artists in Japanese-Era Homes The 321 Art Alley Settlement is one of the most recent additions to the growing list of refurbished architectural relics across Taiwan serving as artist enclaves open to the general public. Half of the 18 Japanese-era residential units at this site have been magnificently restored by their caretakers, artists and performance groups. Come here to mingle with local artists, snap fetching photos, and appreciate the elegance of these historical treasures. 36
Travel in Taiwan
HIDDEN TREASURES TAINAN
magine it is the mid-1930s and you live in Tainan, southern Taiwan’s most cosmopolitan city. You are a high-ranking Japanese officer in the occupying army. You live in a house virtually identical to one from back home. On your days off you go shopping at the upscale Hayashi Department Store, in the tallest building on the island and the first with an elevator. It is located at the heart of Suehirocho, an upmarket district that is THE place to be seen for the city’s wealthy elite, and is only a 15-minute walk from your home. If you’re having trouble imagining all this, maybe it would be easier from inside one of these homes, which is exactly what you can do at the 321 Art Alley Settlement today.
regiment of the Japanese infantry. After the Japanese departed in 1945, the Chinese Nationalist military built a top-secret factory on the site for the manufacture of military-vehicle parts that remained until 1992. Most of the Japanese-built residences were given to professors from National Cheng Kung University, who occupied them until 1995, when the Ministry of Defense took full control. However, after the houses were left to be reclaimed by nature, the Ministry of Culture intervened and made major renovations. On March 23, 2013, seven groups of artists moved in, assuming responsibility as the official caretakers of the buildings, and the 321 Art Alley Settlement was born. Besides maintaining
One House residence
These houses were built in the ’20s and early ’30s, in the latter half of Japan’s 50-year occupation of Taiwan. The colonial administration was at the time focused on developing Taiwan’s infrastructure, seeking to make it a model colony to showcase to the world. In 1935, Tainan City had more than 100,000 residents, and while the capital had already been moved to Taipei just prior to the Japanese arrival, Tainan remained the capital of a large prefecture that encompassed modern-day Chiayi and Yunlin counties. The land occupied by the houses had been part of a military base going well back into the Qing Dynasty. The houses were constructed as dormitories for high-ranking officials in the second
the structures, the occupants use the space to display their artwork, some of which spills out into the lanes or is integrated into the lane walls and structures themselves, and to host exhibitions and other events. Let’s check out the community a bit closer. From Tainan Railway Station, itself a Japanese-era relic, I walk with a couple of friends along the southern and then western border of refreshingly lush Tainan Park, worth an hour or two of your time, admiring its lily ponds, pagodas, and Zhongdao Chongwen Archway, moved here from a location near Tainan Confucius Temple by the Japanese.
Travel in Taiwan
HIDDEN TREASURES TAINAN
The park dates to the late 1600s, and during Japanese rule it was used as a testing ground for tropical plant species. The 321 Art Alley Settlement is sandwiched between Gongyuan North and South roads in Tainan City’s North District, a short walk from the cluster of historical attractions in West Central District for which the city is today best known. The mini-village is spread over four lanes running east to west, including Lane 321. We approach the settlement via Lane 295, which angles off from Tainan Park. Before entering, we pop into Café Ichi on the settlement’s eastern periphery. Passion-fruit vines hang from the three-story café’s exterior, forming a canopy over the narrow entrance area. We enjoy breakfast seated on tatami mats in a lovely alcove on the second floor, through windows overlooking the settlement.
Old Residence of Kuo Po-Chuan
Next, we step through an opening in the red-brick wall that separates the alley from the settlement, and begin our explorations. All of the houses in the settlement are numbered, and around 10 are usually open for public visit on weekends from 10am to 6pm, with a smaller number open on weekdays. If wondering what makes traditional Japanese houses different from Taiwanese ones, this is a great place to see for yourself. First, note that the roof tiles are black, not red or orange. Second, wood is the material of choice. Third, all the doors, and even some of the interior wall-sections, are sliding. Fourth, nothing resembling the traditional Chinese-style three-sided courtyard house design is used. Besides these major differences, the houses at 321 are also distinctive in that they are raised a few feet off the ground (as protection against flooding), and most of them come in connected pairs.
White window-bar art installation
Film, 321 Action
Yet another unique feature here is that the homes of officials with higher rank were indicated by multi-layered roofs, which can best be seen at the Old Residence of Kuo Po-Chuan (#27). Cheng Kung University Professor Kuo was one of the most prominent figures in the art world in southern Taiwan. When you’re inside his former residence, check out the ingenious floor-level screen windows that help to cool the home. In the lane behind the Kuo residence, we come upon a buildingsized art installation, a skeletal structure consisting of white bars that typically cover windows and balconies in Taiwan.
Travel in Taiwan
At #19, we walk amid the ruins of a structure that was too decayed to renovate (with evidence of fire as well) – perhaps for the better, because it makes for an awe-inspiring experience today. The artists of 321SSUE, at #38, which is at the opposite end of the settlement, have set up a display of pre-renovation photos of the settlement that show the scale of the restoration work undertaken. #19-2 is home to Film, 321 Action, a charming café where you can make your own salad using locally sourced veggies; you can also choose from a variety of ready-made seasonings stored in vials, perfect for picnics.
HIDDEN TREASURES TAINAN
A group of art-loving professors runs South Pottery House (#40), which features an enormous banyan tree in its yard. The main room is well lit by sliding panels of south-facing windows, and is painted in aquamarine, giving it a 1970s retro feel. An exquisite collection of pottery is on display here. Together Workshop (#33) boasts a gorgeous interior and an antique toy display. On sale are postcards, jewelry, miniature sculpted models, and T-shirts emblazoned with the Chinese character for “pure,” once displayed outside the barbershop found here to indicate that none of the naughty services available in another type of enterprise euphemistically also called a “barbershop” were on offer. After touring the area, we stop in to have a chat with Hsieh HsinYe, interior designer and main caretaker of One House (#35). He shares the story of how he first put together a team to apply to run a settlement enterprise, inviting all of his friends to go camping and then secretly scrutinizing them to determine which would be the most responsible candidates. The One House team of six, which originally included a chemist and an architect, was surprised when it actually got the gig. With his team now down to just four, Hsieh admits that it’s no easy task to maintain the venerable structure. The house was mostly empty when the members took over, but with their shared love of antiques they have decorated the site with an array of intriguing collectibles, including an old-time postbox and bicycle vending cart. It is their hope that One House will be a place where artists and visitors can hang out and make new friends. Some paintings currently on display were created by a young woman who used to come around every day to work on her art. Hsieh also recalls how two years ago a neighborhood cat scratched a hole in one of the house’s window screens, ultimately leading to him finding an unusual artifact under the floorboards – the head from a statue of Kodama Gentaro, the 4th Japanese governor-general of Taiwan. Dating to 1907, it is now a recognized historical relic.
Taking a break from exploring the settlement
As Hsieh talks, Lucky, an aptly named cat that Hsieh found nearly dead last year which is now the only full-time inhabitant of this heritage residence, plops down on my notepad and starts purring. The artists at 321 have clearly taken note of the large number of cats that seem to enjoy lounging on and around the houses, for you’ll find at least a few pieces of art on display featuring cats. It’s easy to see why they like it here, and while the occupants of these buildings may come and go, the cats don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Daqiao i Rd.
321 Art Alley Settlement d.
an R gyu Gon
Chikan Towers Confucius Temple
English and Chinese 321 Art Alley Settlement 321 巷藝術聚落 Café Ichi 是吉咖啡 Gongyuan North/South Road 公園北 / 南路 Hayashi Department Store 林百貨 Hsieh Hsin-Ye 謝欣瞱 Kodama Gentaro 兒玉源太郎 North District 北區 At Ciji Temple Old Residence of Kuo Po-Chuan 郭柏川故居
One House 萬屋砌室 South Pottery House 南陶坊 Suehirocho 末廣町 Tainan Park 台南公園 Together Workshop 聚作 West Central District 中西區 Zhongdao Chongwen Archway 重道崇文坊
Travel in Taiwan
ISLAND FEAST VEGETARIAN CUISINE
The Green Room
Ve g e t a r i a n Delights Text: Nick Kembel Photos: Maggie Song, Carrie Chang
Travel in Taiwan
ISLAND FEAST VEGETARIAN CUISINE
Meat-Free International Dining in Taipei Whether you are a full-on vegan, meat lover, or somewhere in between, you’ll find happiness in the vegetarian food of Taiwan, which is as varied as regular Taiwanese cuisine. While traditional vegetarian restaurants are tofu and faux-meat heavy, vegetables are the stars of the show in a new wave of cosmopolitan-themed meatless restaurants in Taipei.
aipei is one of the easiest places in Asia to be vegetarian. I speak from personal experience, a vegetarian who has lived in and traveled around Asia for over a decade. With a little bit of research, and knowing what to look for, you will have no difficulty seeking out a few of Taiwan’s numerous vegetarian restaurants and food stalls (many vegetarian restaurants display Buddhist imagery in their signage, including the Buddhist swastika, or prominently display the Mandarin character for vegetarian: 素 ). Many vegetarians in Taiwan are elderly Buddhists, so don’t be surprised to find yourself sharing a table with monks or nuns in one of the standard buffet-style, pay-by-weight eateries, where you can expect to pay about NT$100 for a fully loaded plate of pan-fried veggies and mock meats. Vegans will also be happy to note that most Buddhist or “pure” vegetarian food is actually vegan. If eggs or dairy products are present they will be made clearly visible. Vegetarianism is now catching on among the younger generation, many members of which see eschewing meat, fully or just occasionally, as a means of keeping fit or detoxing from “meat overload.” Due to these diners’ more wide-ranging and demanding palates, in the last few years Taipei and other major urban centers have seen a rise in vegetarian restaurants serving up a range of international culinary adventures to a primarily younger clientele.
Cucina Pura In early 2016, Chef Chuck Yeh did the unthinkable in the eyes of many of his industry peers. After rising through the ranks to the position of head chef at two big-name hotels, and then heading a
cooking school, he decided to cut meat almost entirely from his diet and opened a casual, budget-friendly meat-free diner. Yeh has found great pleasure in working with some of his former students crafting one-of-a-kind dishes centered on modern Italian cuisine prepared with local Taiwanese ingredients. According to Yeh, the ingredients are 70% local and 30% foreign, because a few necessary items such as olive oil and ParmigianoReggiano cheese must be imported. However, the cooking style is 70% Italian and 30% Taiwanese, so come expecting fusion rather than true-to-form Italian cuisine. Meat is meat, no matter what the season is, and meat-centered restaurants tend to offer predictable menus that change little. But when vegetables become the main attraction, due attention must be paid to which ingredients are best at what time of year. That’s why Yeh redesigns his menu and introduces new dishes seasonally, in the same way that Taiwanese home-cooked meals vary according to what is freshest at any specific time of year. Cucina Pura is nestled between a tattoo shop and an organic grocery store a few blocks south of Zhongxiao East Road in eastern Taipei. The area is famous for a high concentration of eateries along its alleyways catering to the after-work and prenight-on-the-town crowds. The restaurant’s glass front reveals a bright, inviting interior. On a pleasant day not long ago, I pay the restaurant a visit with a couple of friends. We step into a modestly sized dining area with minimal decorations, wooden floors and tables, black and olivegreen chairs, and an open kitchen at the back. The atmosphere is Dining room at Cucina Pura
Travel in Taiwan
ISLAND FEAST VEGETARIAN CUISINE
Hoshing gift box
down-to-earth and relaxed, the kind of place where you can dine dressed up but nobody would look twice if you were sporting shorts and sandals. Rather than plain water, a glass of black-bean water is poured for each of us as we are seated. Locally produced beans are roasted in the same manner as coffee to make them more fragrant, and then steeped like tea. The result is mildly sweet, and surprisingly refreshing. Taiwan enjoys a great abundance of agricultural produce, and one of Yeh’s key aims is to zone in on the pure flavor of individual raw ingredients – hence the name Cucina Pura, Italian for “pure cuisine.” To this end, every meal here begins with a gratis amusebouche, a selection of hors-d’oeuvres showcasing raw fruits and veggies. The six bite-sized treats poke out from a section of a tree branch. According to Yeh, all branches used have fallen from trees naturally, and not been cut down. Our amuse-bouche servings feature pineapple with chili powder, sugared raw mango, tomato with plum cake, pickled radish and carrot, baby corn with popcorn, and beetroot with nut shavings. As I pop each one into my mouth, it tastes exactly like what it’s supposed to, which of course is the whole philosophy here. Each amuse-bouche comes with olive focaccia and two servings of flavored butter: one with garlic and fermented black soybean, the other with cranberry. The bread adds some substance to the vegetable bites and rounds off this unique welcome course, leaving me salivating for more.
Our next appetizer is a medley of garlic-fried mushrooms: abalone, oyster, button, and shiitake, served in an iron skillet and topped with padano cheese and pine nuts (NT$220). The dish also comes with an onsen tamago , or hot-spring egg, which when broken open ignites a sizzling eruption in the hot skillet. Yeh recommends this and other umami-heavy dishes for those who normally prefer, or who are trying to shake their love for, meat. Finally comes my main: handmade linguini with tomato-based amatriciana sauce (NT$300). This light pasta dish comes with more vegetables than you might be used to, with hunks of mushroom, broccoli, baby corn, and a heaping pile of raw arugula on top. After the meal I feel full but not stuffed, mentally satisfied and physically nourished, reminding me why I love vegetarian food. The restaurant serves sugarcane-based sodas, and charges an NT$200 corkage fee for wine. The set meal for two is a popular choice that includes an appetizer, salad, two soups, two mains, and two desserts or drinks for NT$699 per person. Salad
Cucina Pura ( 璞食 ) Add: No. 15, Aly. 33, Ln. 216, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市忠孝東路 4 段 216 巷 33 弄 15 號 ) Tel: (02) 8771-8198 Website: www.cucinapura.com.tw
Next up, the restaurant’s second signature, and equally photogenic, dish: the salad (NT$380). Striving to make this everyday starter something special, one day Yeh got the idea, when walking through the cosmetics section of a department store, of offering a selection of vinaigrettes and creamy dressings in perfume spray bottles. The beauty of this is that the salad can be shared, but each person can try a variety of dressings. I start with a champagne vinaigrette, and then move on to a creamy honey mustard creation. The salad is made up of too many ingredients to list, but I find pieces of starfruit, beetroot, sweet potato, macadamia nuts, and popcorn, just to name a few. 42 Travel insoup Taiwan Adzuki-bean
Enjoying a vegetarian feast at Cucina Pura
ISLAND FEAST VEGETARIAN CUISINE
The Green Room While many Buddhist vegetarians prefer to avoid spicy foods and alcohol, if you have a fondness for these indulgences, check out The Green Room. The owner and her father are descendants of ethnic Chinese from mainland China’s Yunnan province who fled to northern Thailand during WWII and then made their way to Taiwan. They cook up all-vegan Thai fare in a comfortable venue a few streets south of Ren’ai Road. There is a small selection of craft beers and wines suitable for pairing with the Thai flavors, and from 6pm to midnight the basement cocktail bar is open. I recommend the tempeh strips as an appetizer. The curries are loaded with veggies, just spicy enough, and come with turmeric rice. Come at lunch for discounted red, green, or yellow curry or pad thai.
Yang Shin Vegetar ian Restaurant
The Green Room
Yang Shin Vegetarian Restaurant
Nothing is more thrilling for a vegetarian than finding out that a whole type of cuisine you’ve neglected because it is mostly meat-centered is available in allvegetarian format. Yang Shin is the first and only meatfree Hong Kong-style dim sum house in Taipei. Located at Exit 8 of MRT Songjiang Nanjing Station, this modern, fashionable eatery features a long list of à la carte vegetarian versions of dim sum classics. Like any dim sum place, you’ll want to come with at least a few people so you can try more dishes. Here a vegetarian can finally enjoy xiaolongbao (steamed dumplings), barbecued “pork” pastries, noodle rolls, and so on. Some creative innovations include taro patties with citrus sauce, pine nut and vegetable cheese rolls, and steamed pumpkin dumplings with porcini. Dim sum is NT$98128 per plate, and mains are NT$220-380. The Green Room Add: No. 3, Aly. 25, Ln. 300, Sec. 4, Ren’ai Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市仁愛路四段 300 巷 25 弄 3 號 ) Tel: (02) 2704-5208 Website: thegreenroomtaipei.com Yang Shin Vegetarian Restaurant ( 養心茶樓 ) Add: 2F, No. 128, Songjiang Rd., Taipei City ( 台北市松江路 128 號 2 樓 ) Tel: (02) 2542-8828 Website: www.ysvege.com English and Chinese Chuck Yeh 葉承欽 Ren’ai Road 仁愛路 xiaolongbao 小籠包 Zhongxiao East Road 忠孝東路
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FIVE THINGS TO DO
Dax i Tofu Town, History Hotspot Things to Do and Places to Visit in One of Taoyuan’s Premier Tourist Areas Text and Photos: Vision
axi literally means “Big River,” and there is indeed a waterway flowing through this district in Taoyuan City, the Dahan River. Whether it qualifies as “big” depends on the time of year; generally the water flow leaves most of the rocks and boulders strewn across the riverbed exposed, but this can change – and dramatically so – during typhoon season. Daxi District can be easily explored by bus from Zhongli Railway Station (Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Cihu Route; en.taiwantrip.com.tw ). The wide variety of attractions, historic, scenic, and culinary, makes the area an excellent choice for a day trip from Taipei. Daxi Old Street
FIVE THINGS TO DO DAXI
Shimen Reservoir dam
Building façade in Daxi
1. Shimen Reservoir
2. Daxi Old Street
Before you reach central Daxi on a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus you’ll pass over a long bridge, to the right of which is a massive concrete structure. This is the Shimen Dam, at the head of the Shimen Reservoir, created to store the waters of the Dahan River. Get off at the parking lot beyond the bridge and walk up to the dam (about 15 min.) for great views of the reservoir (there is a small platform with a Chinese-style hilltop pavilion reached after crossing the dam, from where you can take in the reservoir and the lower-lying areas of Daxi District in the distance. The construction of the reservoir took eight years, and was completed in 1964. More than 7,000 people worked on the project, which cost about US$100 million. The reservoir, 16.5 km in length, is used for irrigation, power generation, flood prevention, and drinking-water supply purposes, and is a popular tourist site as well. During seasons with heavy rainfall the gates of the dam are opened to release excess water, the powerful discharge creating a spectacular picture.
From the reservoir it’s just a short bus ride to the next stop, Daxi Old Street. Head to the street and find out why it is such a tourist magnet. In days past Daxi was a thriving center of trade thanks to the Dahan River. This waterway connects to the Tamsui River at Taipei further north, which in turn connects to the sea, facilitating trade with the Taipei area and further on to mainland China (river transport was eventually abandoned due to silting). During the Japanese colonial era (1895~1945), a passion developed among rich Daxi merchants for building shophouses sporting splendid façades along the main streets, especially today’s Heping and Zhongshan roads. Many of these are still in existence, some beautifully restored. They feature a mix of Western-inspired Baroque-style and traditional southern Fujianese architectural elements. While strolling through the Old Street area, take the time to look for and marvel at the intricate façade carvings, including birds and bats, along with the occasional shop name in English. Travel in Taiwan
FIVE THINGS TO DO DAXI
3. Tasty Tofu
4. Cihu Mausoleum
After exploring the Daxi Old Street area, you might want to sit down for a snack or a proper lunch. Rest assured, there is no shortage of eateries in this town. The specialty here is dried tofu, or dried beancurd. Daxi tofu is darker than the tofu you find in other parts of Taiwan (in Chinese it’s called “black dried beancurd”), and it’s also firmer than your regular dried beancurd. The dried-tofu industry was started in Daxi in the 1920s when a man named Huang Wu gave tofu production a try. He refined his product over many years of experimentation, developing a unique way of preserving the tofu and making it more fragrant (“fiveflavors beancurd”). Today the Huang clan continues to produce its distinctive product, under the brand name Hwang Dah Mu. Visit the shop of the same name at No. 39, Heping Road in Daxi.
Next, hop on the next Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus and get off at the last stop, Cihu. This is the site of a park with more than 200 statues of Chiang Kai-shek (and 27 of Dr. Sun Yat-sen), gathered from around Taiwan, among them busts as well as full-sized statues of the Generalissimo sitting, standing, riding a horse, and so on. From the park it’s a walk of about 15 minutes to the Chiang Kaishek mausoleum. Cihu – this place name refers to the enchanting local lake surrounded by lush mountains – was once the site of one of the president’s numerous residences, today used as the mausoleum. Inside, you can have a look at the black sarcophagus – a bow in respect is customary – and outside you’ll have the chance to witness the changing of the guard, staged at regular intervals during the day.
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Tea containers at Daxi Tea Factory
FIVE THINGS TO DO DAXI
Cihu Memorial Sculpture Park
5. Daxi Tea Factory The Taiwan Tourist Shuttle’s Cihu Route ends at Cihu, but if you come on a weekend you can take a bus on the Xiaowulai Route further east along the Northern Cross-Island Highway. Before reaching Fuxing Township, home to the Little Wulai Scenic Area, the last stop of the shuttle service, get off at the Daxi Tea Factory bus stop. The Daxi Tea Factory (www.daxitea.com ), established in 1926, was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1956. It was rebuilt after a decree was issued by Chiang Kai-shek, who had noticed the destruction when passing the site on his way to his residence at Jiaobanshan further to the east. Today, tea-lovers can visit this beautifully restored center of tea culture to learn about tea cultivation and the process of tea-making, visit the tea factory’s museum, sample-taste and buy all sorts of tea, and eat simple meals at the on-site restaurant.
Tea tasting at Daxi Tea Factory
English and Chinese black dried beancurd 烏 ( 黑 ) 豆干 Cihu 慈湖 Dahan River 大漢溪 Daxi (Old Street) 大溪 ( 老街 ) Daxi Tea Factory 大溪老茶廠 Five Flavors 五香 Heping Road 和平路
Huang Wu 黃屋 Hwang Dah Mu 黃大目 Jiaobanshan 角板山 Little Wulai Scenic Area 小烏來風景區 Northern Cross-island Highway 北部橫貫公路 Tamsui River 淡水河 Zhongshan Road 中山路
A DAY IN THE BIG CITY HSINCHU
R da ng Do
The Coffee Letsure 儷舍咖啡館 This café has moved several times since it was established in 1987. Inside, there are several dozen paintings by British artists, decorative porcelain plates, and various other artworks on display, along with antique hanging lights and desks, creating an elegant air. The coffee is made using the traditional siphon method, which gives it a rich taste. The two proprietors believe that “coffee beans are the lifeblood of a coffee shop,” and insist on preserving their original flavor. This dedication to fine coffee has won The Coffee Letsure many loyal customers, from Hsinchu and from further afield.
fu in M . t S
Add: No. 188, Minfu St., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市民富街 188 號 ) Tel: (03) 526-7805 Hours: 7am ~ 10pm
Hsinchu Chenghuang Temple Dongmen St.
Hsinchu Chenghuang Temple 新竹城隍廟 This Chenghuang (City God) Temple was founded in 1748. The intricate carvings, which have substantial artistic and historic value, were created by eminent local craftsmen. A gold plaque that hangs from the ceiling, presented by the Qing Dynasty Guangxu emperor, has Chinese characters stating “Protector of the Golden Gate.” During each year’s Lantern Festival period, various kinds of colored lanterns are hung in the temple. The entire city bustles from the beginning of Ghost Month, the 7th lunar-calendar month, to the Ghost Festival on the 15th day, with the temple’s main deity, Chenghuang Ye (the City God), going on parade, the processions stretching for several kilometers.
The Coffee Letsure
Huchenghe Riverside Park
Add: No. 75, Zhongshan Rd., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市中山路 75 號 ) Hours: 4:30am ~ 10pm
Historic Hsinchu Exploring a Windy City with a Turbulent Past Text and Photos: Visionn
sinchu is best known as the high-tech center of Taiwan. However, as a result of its richly textured history, with Han Chinese coming to the region in large numbers starting in the early 1700s and the fortunes of different groups having ebbed and flowed, it is also known as a city with a rich cultural tapestry and humanistic air with deep traditions. Let’s have an up-close look at its humanistic side, along with this city’s historical beauties, on a one-day tour that takes in both splendid sights and exotic, tantalizing traditional food treats!
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Temple Entrance Snack Foods 廟口小吃 The snacks sold in the area around the front of Chenghuang Temple are must-eats. Hsinchu is famous for rice noodles and meatball soup. There are also many other traditional-style snack foods available here, such as oyster omelets, braised pork rice, steamed rolls, and a famous local treat called Zhuqian Cakes (“Zhuqian” is an old name for Hsinchu). All are delicious taste adventures that should not be missed when visiting Hsinchu.
A DAY IN THE BIG CITY HSINCHU
u ch s i n tion H ta h rt y S N o ilwa Ra
Residence of Hsin Chih-Ping ng Do . Rd da
u n ch io in Stat s H ay ilw a R
rk hu Pa Hsinc
Lakeside Liao Pavilion
Tour Taiwan App in Hsinchu Using the Taiwan Tourism Bureau’s Tour Taiwan app makes traveling easier. The app provides real-time transportation updates, information on nearby accommodation, shopping, and dining options, and visitor service center locations. This will allow you to tour Hsinchu without a hitch.
Huchenghe Riverside Park 護城河親水公園 Huchenghe is a moat 600 meters long and 56 meters wide (the word “Huchenghe” in fact means “moat,” literally “protect city watercourse”). It was constructed in the 1830s to protect the old walled city of Hsinchu. There are four water gates, each having a suspension bridge used for transportation as well as defense. Eventually, Huchenghe lost its defensive function. Rectification began in 1991, with the water area increased and greenery planted. In recent years the parkland surrounding Huchenghe, the only surviving city moat in Taiwan, has become a popular waterside leisure and sports area. Add: Zhongyang Rd., East Dist., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市東區中央路 ) Hours: 24H
Residence of Hsin Chih-Ping 辛志平故居 This heritage residence is a quiet Japanese-style wooden building that was built by the first principal of Hsinchu Middle School in 1922. It served as the home of successive principals over the years following. The building, surrounded by a garden, is characterized by its halfJapanese, half-Western architectural style. The interior includes a study, a maidservant’s room, a tea room, and a bathroom. Hsin Chih-Ping (1912~1985) was one of the most influential educators in Hsinchu over the past century. His former residence is now a city-designated historic site, and has become an arts center with an old-time aura. Add: No. 32, Dongmen St., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市東門街 32 號 ) Tel: (03) 522-0352 Hours: Tue. ~ Fri. 11am ~ 5:30pm; Sat. 10am ~ 5:30pm; closed Mon.
Glass Museum of Hsinchu City 新竹市玻璃工藝博物館 The Hsinchu area has an abundant supply of silica sand and natural gas, making it an ideal place for glass production, and the island’s glass industry was given great importance during the Japanese colonial period (1895~1945). The building in which this museum is housed was constructed in 1936, and first served as a guesthouse for members of the Japanese royal family, then as a military police station. It was transformed into today’s European-style glass museum in 1999. Works by domestic and international glass artists are exhibited. Note: The museum is currently under renovation and will reopen this November. Add: No. 2, Sec. 1, Dongda Rd., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市東大路 1 段 2 號 ) Tel: (03) 562-6091 Hours: Wed. ~ Sun., 9am ~ 5pm
Lakeside Liao Pavilion 湖畔料亭 Comprising several Japanese-style buildings beside Lichi Pond at the end of Jiuqu Bridge in Hsinchu Park, Lakeside Liao Pavilion is also called Air Force 11th Village. It was built in 1931 as a socializing venue for high-level civil officials and military officers, and later became an air force dependents’ village. During a recent renovation project carried out by the city government, its original Japanesegarden appearance was restored. Add: No. 2, Sec. 1, Dongda Rd., Hsinchu City ( 新竹市東大路 1 段 2 號 ; inside Hsinchu Park) Tel: (03) 522-2050 Hours: Tue. ~ Sun. 9am ~ 5pm; closed Mon.
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RAIL TRAVEL TAITUNG
TRAIN Text: Steven Crook
Sheltered from the busy, populous parts of Taiwan by massive mountain ranges, Taitung County is a charming rural part of the island where life is slower, the fields seem greener, the air fresher. This is a region where you want to slow down, rewind, take a deep breath, and regain your energy.
At Mr. Brown Avenue
RAIL TRAVEL TAITUNG
Exploring One of Taiwan’s Most Endearing Countryside Areas
he East Rift Valley is one of Taiwan’s most important geographical features. Squeezed between the island’s mighty Central Mountain Range and the lower, yet still impressive, Coastal Mountain Range, the valley is also known as the Longitudinal Valley, or – because it sprawls across parts of Hualien and Taitung counties – the Huatung Valley. It’s around 150km long, but in places the hills on either side are no more than 4km apart. Three rivers drain the valley. The Hualien River flows northward into the Pacific below the city of Hualien. To the south the Xiuguluan, Taiwan’s No. 1 whitewater-rafting venue, cuts eastward through the coastal mountains. The southward-flowing Beinan emerges from the Central Mountain Range and flows into the ocean on the north side of Taitung City. Thanks to plentiful water, agriculture thrives throughout this thinly-populated region and a great deal of rice is grown. Because the only railroad between Hualien and Taitung is in the East Rift Valley (there’s no coastal line), the valley’s main attractions are accessible even to those who’ve no wish to rent a car or a motorcycle or take local buses. Careful planning is advisable, Train traversing the East Rift Valley (photo by Lin Zhi-hao)
Chishang Since the Japanese colonial period, the township of Chishang has been renowned for the quality of its rice. If you stumble off the train feeling famished, within minutes you can be enjoying a meal including the flavorful local rice at Chishang Riceball Museum. The museum lacks an English-language sign, but finding it is a cinch. Walk straight ahead from the front of the railway station for 260m to Chishang town’s busy Zhongxiao Road. Turn right here and you’ll see old blue-painted railway cars, which now function as dining spaces. Just before reaching the intersection, you’ll pass a bicycle-rental business on your left. As at many similar places in the region, the range of vehicles available includes side-by-side tandems and electric carts that can carry up to six people. You may want to come back here to get a bike after visiting the museum, so you can explore the town’s hinterland. The riceball museum celebrates a time-honored foodway. In the days of yore, men and women working some distance from home tended to carry lunch with them in the form of a riceball. Usually wrapped in a banana leaf, it was stuffed with whatever Chishang Riceball Museum ( 池上飯包故事館 ) Add: No. 259, Zhongxiao Rd., Chishang Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣池上鄉忠孝路 259 號 ) Tel: (089) 862-326 Website: www.wu-tau.com/gallery.php
Police History and Culture Museum ( 關山警史蹟文物館 ) Add: No. 27, Zhongzheng Rd., Guanshan Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣關山鎮中正路 27 號 ) Tel: (089) 811-001
however, because Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) services are not so frequent here as in the crowded western half of Taiwan. The TRA’s bilingual website (www.railway.gov.tw ) is a good place to start. You can not only ascertain departure and journey times, destinations, and fare prices, but also pull up a complete list of trains stopping at a particular station. A willingness to ride a bicycle will greatly expand your horizons – and there’s often no need to hire a set of wheels, because many hotels and B&Bs loan bikes to their guests. In this article, we’ll look at attractions around six stations in the southern part of the East Rift Valley and further down to Taitung City and beyond, starting at Chishang, the most northerly station in Taitung County, and ending with Zhiben, which faces the Pacific Ocean. Zipping back and forth by train won’t cost you much; a one-way ticket between Chishang and Zhiben is never more than NT$122. Oftentimes it’s necessary to change trains in Taitung City, however, which is between 39 and 75 minutes from Chishang, and about 12 minutes from Zhiben.
Pork chop rice lunchbox
meat and pickled vegetables were available. There’s nothing austere about the meals served at the museum, however, hearty bento boxes priced NT$75~95. Choose pork, chicken, or fish, and help yourself to soup. Even if you’re not hungry, do take a look at the photogenic collection of memorabilia inside the museum. Before taking a look at the fields where Chishang Township farmers cultivate rice, it makes sense to visit the body of water which gives Chishang (literally “on the pond”) its name. These days, Dapo Pond covers about 20 hectares, less than half its size in the 19thcentury. Designated a wetland of national importance, it’s protected on account of its biodiversity as well as its beauty. You’ll need a bicycle to get to and around what’s widely known as Mr. Brown Avenue. Its fame stems from a TV commercial filmed here some years back, starring TaiwaneseJapanese heartthrob Takeshi Kaneshiro. An area of dazzlingly green rice paddies crisscrossed by irrigation channels, with a backdrop of foliage-covered mountains, it’s a little too spread out to explore on foot, but is ideal for biking. Travel in Taiwan
Hot-air balloons at Luye
At Longtian At Chishang Rice Ball Museum
A-Do ( 阿度的店 ) Add: No. 232, Guangrong Road, Longtian Village, Luye Township, Taitung County ( 台東縣鹿野鄉龍田村光榮路 232 號 ) Tel: (089) 550-706 Website: www.facebook.com/AdoBike/
Handicraft Community ( 原味工藝聚落 ) Add: No. 191, Sec. 2, Zhongxing Rd., Taichung City ( 台東市中興路二段 191 號 ) Tel: (089) 228-107
Guanshan Moving south from Chishang, the next worthwhile stop is Guanshan, not to be missed on account of its 12.5km-long bicycle trail. This purpose-built 4m-wide bikeway goes by various English names, of which Guanshan Town Encircling Bike Trail is probably the most descriptive. Bike-rental businesses can be found on Longsheng Road between the station and Guanshan Waterside Park. The trail makes the most of Guanshan’s uneven topography, and takes cyclists past fields of millet and mahogany trees. Right in Guanshan you’ll find the Police History and Culture Museum. Enter through the police station on Zhongzheng Road. There’s very little English inside, but the riot gear and cells need no explanation, and the garden is a pleasant place to take a midride breather. Keen cyclists looking for added adventure can consider a jaunt to Wan’an Elementary School Zhenxing Branch Campus, located between Guanshan and Chishang (much closer to the former) on County Highway 197 at the 11km marker. The campus features indigenous-themed murals and a row of highly photogenic banyan trees. Whether you approach from the north or the south, getting here means a little hill climbing, but there’s almost no traffic on this road. 52 Travel in Taiwan
Luye Luye Township deserves at least half a day; but none of the sights are within walking distance of the local railway station, so consider the following options. The first is taking a Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus (en.taiwantrip.com.tw ; No. 8168 / East Rift Valley Line), which can be boarded at the train station – note that the route starts at Taitung City’s bus station, stops at its train station, and heads to Luye Gaotai. This is a plateau where tea is grown and where tourists take in spectacular views over the Beinan River, and occasionally take to the sky. Yes, this is a paragliding hotspot, and venue for the hugely popular annual Taiwan International Balloon Fiesta (www.facebook.com/ balloontaiwan/ ). Other parts of Luye cry out to be explored by bicycle, your second option to get around. Almost a century ago, the village now called Longtian was home to scores of Japanese immigrants, and it retains a distinctive Japanese character. The highlight of the 7.2km-long Longtian Bikeway is a “green tunnel” of Indian Almond trees. Choose your wheels at A-Do, a few doors down the road from the village’s elementary school. Yong’an, a village on the other side of Luye Gaotai, also deserves some of your time. Note that the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle bus also stops at Yong’an.
Chishang Rice Ball Museum Mr Brown Avenue Dapo Pond
Police History and Culture Museum Guanshan
civilizations which rose and fell here thousands of years ago. There are also displays about the elephants, horses, rhinos, and tigers which roamed Taiwan before humanity appeared.
tal Mou nta in
East Rift Valley
Guanshan Waterside Park
Zhiben The Zhiben district is one of Taiwan’s oldest tourist attractions, thanks to the local hot springs, which have been drawing visitors since the Japanese colonial era. The railway station is over 5km from the main cluster of hot-spring hotels, however, and even further from Zhiben National Forest Recreation Area. Fortunately, bus No. 8129 runs 15 times per day between Taitung City’s bus station and the forest area via the hot-spring hotel area, and can be boarded at Zhiben’s railway station. Even if you’ve no time for a mineral soak, do try to spend an hour or two enjoying the forest area’s giant trees, butterflies, and macaques.
National Museum of Prehistory
Handicraft Community Seashore Park
Zhiben National Forest Recreation Area
Taitung City Taitung’s railway station is some way from its downtown core, but there are regular buses into the city center, as well as a Giant Bicycles rental store right outside the station. The station’s Visitor Information Center can help with maps and directions. If you have time and energy, visit the Seashore Park. In addition to offering fine views of the ocean and the scenic coast, the park has Paposogan – a viewing platform that’s an attraction in its own right. A spacious rattan dome, it provides shade on hot afternoons and makes for romantic photo opportunities once the sun has gone down. Nor far from Seashore Park, in the city, is the Handicraft Community. Located inside what used to be a sugar-processing plant, it contains several shops, studios, and boutiques, within which you’re certain to find take-home treasure – perhaps a glassbead necklace you can fit in your backpack, or an immense carvedwood table that’s ideal for your mansion! Kangle Kangle Railway Station is served by just five trains per day, but it has the advantage of being a short walk from the National Museum of Prehistory. For anyone interested in the Taiwan of long ago, this museum provides an excellent introduction to the various neolithic
Getting There Whether you approach from the north or the south, in terms of scenery, you’re in for a treat. Between Taipei and the town of Su’ao, you’ll enjoy stirring Paciﬁc Ocean views. South of Hualien City you’ll see the beautiful bucolic scenery of the East Rift Valley passing by. The South-Link Railway is equally impressive. Over the 98km between Fangliao town on the southwest coast and Zhiben, the tracks cross 158 bridges and go through 36 tunnels, the longest of which is 8.1km. Look left and right for glimpses of uninhabited valleys, waterfalls, and boulder-ﬁlled riverbeds. After the 17th tunnel, the Paciﬁc Ocean comes into view. On weekends and around national holidays, getting rail tickets can be difﬁcult. Book several days ahead, or travel mid-week. Alternatively, consider traveling by bus from Taipei to Yilan City; services are ultra-frequent, with no need to book ahead. In Yilan, board one of the 13 or so local trains each day that head to Hualien. The going is a bit slower, of course, but it’s an interesting ride. There are also four bus services per day from Kaohsiung to Taitung (bus No. 1778). The journey time is 3.5 hours; compared to the train, the bus ride offers more human interest, in the form of indigenousvillage passages. English and Chinese Beinan River 卑南溪 Central Mountain Range 中央山脈 Chishang 池上 Coastal Mountain Range 海岸山脈 Dapo Pond 大坡池 East Rift Valley 花東縱谷 Fangliao 枋寮 Guanshan (Town Encircling Bike Trail) 關山 ( 環鎮自行車道 ) Guanshan Waterside Park 關山親水公園 Hualien River 花蓮溪 Handicraft Community 原味工藝聚落 Kangle 康樂 Longsheng Road 隆盛路 Longtian (Bikeway) 龍田 ( 自行車道 ) Luye 鹿野
Mr. Brown Avenue 伯朗大道 Police History and Culture Museum 關山警史蹟文物館 Seashore Park 海濱公園 South-Link Railway 南迴線 Taiwan Balloon Fiesta 臺灣熱氣球嘉年華 Takeshi Kaneshiro 金城武 Wan’an Elementary School Zhenxing Branch Campus 萬安國小振興分校 Xiuguluan River 秀姑巒溪 Yong’an 永安 Zhiben (National Forest Recreation Area) 知本 ( 森林遊樂區 ) Zhongxiao Road 忠孝路 Zhongzheng Road 中正路
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MY TRAVEL LOG
Experiencing Taiwan Culture
A Land Where Different Sub-cultures and Lifestyles Coexist in Harmony Text and Photos: Peter Freestone
rom an early age, I yearned to pack up and fly away from the Midwest plains of the United States to go anywhere with better weather than my hometown of Minneapolis – that city of lakes and frigid winters. As a teen I studied Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese, all the while looking for opportunities to live abroad. By my early twenties I had found a way. I was presented with a chance to study and travel in Japan, mainland China, Korea, and Taiwan for three-odd years. My travels in Taiwan began after a summer program studying Mandarin in Taipei. Like some pseudo-bohemian backpacker, I took off south on the whim of the winds. I had heard it was easy to do backpacking trips and couch-surf, so that’s what I did, sleeping on the couches or floors of more than 40 homes. I also shared tents with friends on several camping trips. In between, I stayed in a dozen different hostels. Over the course of my travels I have been lucky to meet many great people who have shared food, shelter, and their ideas on life with me, in turn helping me to grow as a person. I have learned how to be a humble guest, receptive to others’ needs, and have started to understand how rich life can be when one is open to cultural diversity.
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Now, reflecting on those early days, I can’t help but compare my experiences in Taiwan to what I have encountered while traveling elsewhere. For one, my Scandinavian-looking face and American-accented speech have rarely posed much of a barrier. I have met other young people, sharing meals and drinks, and soon enough we have found ourselves exchanging stories and laughing. We have been able to do all this without judgment of superficial differences posing a problem. We have been able to connect, human to human. This might sound simplistic, but I’ve found this to be one of the rarest treasures in the world. I think it’s exactly this sort of openness that gives the music and art scenes in Taiwan, for example, such an undeniable vibrancy, a creative energy that reverberates throughout the cultural landscape. Today I call Taipei home – and not because of the weather that is so much better than in my hometown. It’s because of the countless people here who share the perspective of difference as a positive quality. This means that in Taiwan all sorts of sub-cultures and lifestyles can co-exist, mix together, and even get mixed up. And rather than that being something to fear, here it’s something people embrace.
HOTEL ÉCLAT TAIPEI
Hotels of Taiwan
Taipei 台 北
TAIPEI GALA HOTEL
Taipei 台 北
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.
＊Hotel list in alphabetical order from Northern to Southern Taiwan.
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
sPecial featuRes: Business center, K lounge, free parking, free self-service laundry, free Wi-Fi, 24 hours free coffee for guests
sPecial featuRes: Coffee Shop, Fitness Center, Business Center, Meeting and Banquet Facilities,Laundry Service, Non-smoking Floor, Parking Lot, Airport Transfer Service
186 Songjiang Rd., Taipei City,10467 10467 台 北 市 松 江 路 186 號 Tel: +886-2-2541-5511 Fax: +886-2-2531-3831 Reservation Hotline: +886-2-2541-6888 E-mail: email@example.com
MIRAMAR HOTEL HSINCHU
Room Rates: Deluxe Room Business Room Executive Deluxe Room Boss Suite Premier Suite
RestauRaNts: L’IDIOT RESTAURANT & BAKERY (Western), CHIOU HWA RESTAURANT (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)
Room Rates: Superior Room Executive Room K Suite
Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese
Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese
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 10684 10684 台 北 市 敦 化 南 路 一 段 370 號 Tel: +886-2-2784-8888 Fax: +886-2-2784-7888 Res. Hotline: +886-2-2784-8118
No. of Rooms: 220
6,000- 8,500 9,500-20,000
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$
9,000 11,000 13,000 17,000 21,000
Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, and Chinese RestauRaNts: Rain Forest Buffet Restaurant, Tic-Tac-Toe Bakery, Light Café, JIU BAR sPecial featuRes: Business Center, Pyramid Club, Sauna, Fitness Club, Outdoor Swimming Pool, Multifunction Room, 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, 10441 (Exit M2, MRT Taipei Main Station; 7 min. by foot)
10441 台 北 市 中 山 北 路 一 段 53 巷 22 號 (捷運台北車站M2出口，步行7分鐘)
369, Lin-sen (Linsen) N. Rd., Taipei City, 10447 10 4 47 台 北 市 林 森 北 路 3 6 9 號 Tel: +886-2-2581-8111 Fax: +886-2-2581-5811
Tel: +886-2-2581-2222, 0800.020.222 Fax: +886-2-2581-1900 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
83 Civic Boulevard, Sec. 3, Taipei City, 10491 10491 台 北 市 市 民 大 道 三 段 8 3 號 Tel: +886-2-8772-8800 Fax: +886-2-8772-1010 E-mail: email@example.com
111, Sec. 2, Gongdao 5th Rd., East Dist., Hsinchu City 30070, Taiwan 3 0 0 7 0 新 竹 市 公 道 五 路二 段111號 Tel: +886-3-623-1188 Fax: +886-3-623-1199 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel in Taiwan
Taipei 台 北
THE GRAND HOTEL 圓山大飯店
No. of Rooms: 79
No. of Rooms: 500 (Suites: 57)
Room Rates: Superior Room Business Room Deluxe Room Executive Suite Sense Suite
Room Rates: Single/DBL Suite
NT$ 7,500 NT$ 8,500 NT$ 9,500 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.
Taipei 台 北
NT$ 8,200-13,000 NT$ 18,000-30,000
Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, French, Spanish, and Japanese RestauRaNts: Western, Cantonese, Northern China Style Dumplings, tea house, coffee shop, steak house sPecial featuRes: Grand Ballroom, conference rooms for 399 people, 10 breakout rooms, business center, fitness center, sauna, Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis courts, billiards
477 , Linsen N. Rd., Zhongshan District, Taipei City 10451 10451 台 北 市 林 森 北 路 477 號
PARK TAIPEI HOTEL
No. of Rooms: 143 Room Rates: Standard Room Superior Room Deluxe Room Deluxe Triple Room 101 View Room Executive Room Executive 101 View Room Park Suite
Taichung 台 中
No. of Rooms: 70 NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$
14,000 16,000 18,000 20,000 22,000 26,000 28,000 56,000
Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese
Food Symphony (Full Buffet)
sPecial featuRes: Separate bathroom and toilet, TOTO washlets, Denmark Damixa Merkur bathroom hardware, DVD player, Japanese satellite broadcast, safety deposit box, gym with massage chairs, VIP lounge, high-speed broadband Internet access (computers available), free high-speed WiFi throughout hotel, conference room, balcony (smoking allowed)
Room Rates: Standard Room Superior Room Deluxe Room Family Room Deluxe Family Room
NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$ NT$
4,500 5,000 5,500 6,000 6,500
Desk PeRsoNNel sPeak: English, Japanese, Chinese sPecial featuRes: Our guests enjoy easy access to all attractions lively Taichung City has to offer. From the hotel it’s a two-minute walk to Taichung Railway Station and a three-minute walk to the bus station, from where guests can easily reach popular tourist sites, such as Qingjing Farm, Xitou Forest Recreation Area, and Sun Moon Lake. 53 Hotel offers a wide range of services, including laundry/dry cleaning, a business center, a gym, and free wireless Internet access. 27, Zhongshan Rd., Central District, Taichung City, 40042
3 minutes by foot from Exit 2 of MRT Zhongshan Elementary School Station
Tel: +886-2-7743-1000 Fax: +886-2-7743-1100 E-mail: email@example.com
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
317, Sec. 1, Fuxing S. Rd., Taipei City 10665 10665 台 北 市 復 興 南 路 一 段 317 號 Tel: 886.2.5579.3888 Fax: 886.2.5579.3889
40042 台 中 市 中 區 中 山 路 27 號 (距離火車站 2 分鐘) Tel: +886-4-2220-6699 Fax: +886-4-2220-5899 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Taipei City Tour 台北市區觀光
Pingxi Sky Lantern Experience & Old Street Walk
Taipei Night Tour
3-Day Southern Taiwan Tour
(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 )
Folk Arts Tour (Sanxia & Yingge)
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
2-Day QingJing & Fruit Picking Tour
Jiufen Village & Northeast Coast Tour
(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
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 )
台北市松江路 190 號 4F
4-Day Central & Southern Taiwan Tour
1-Day Taroko (Marble) Gorge Tour
Northern Coast Tour
"Thousand Island Lake" & Pinglin Tea Plantation
( two minutes from railway station)
Wulai Aboriginal Village Tour
Taipei 台 北
(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
(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.
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
E-mail: email@example.com http://www.edison.com.tw
Relieve Your Stress Regain Your Peace of Mind!
Traveling and vacationing is all about feeling relaxed, and that’s exactly what you will experience at the swimming pool and the hotspring Spa of Yooushan Grand Hotel! Remove all tensions from your body and regain inner peace. At our revolving restaurant, open 16 hours each day, take in splendid views of Puli and its surrounding
verdant mountains, located at the geographical center of Taiwan. Get your energy back working out at our well-equipped gym. Take some time off, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, away from your hectic fastpace daily life. Be surrounded by mountains and nature and let us help you to enjoy a stress-free and memorable time!
Yoou Shan Grand Hotel ( 友山尊爵酒店 ) Tel: (049) 298-1122 Fax: (049) 290-1122 Add: No. 131, Shuren Rd., Puli Township, Nantou County 545 (545 南投縣埔里鎮樹人路 131 號 ) Website: www.yooushan-hotel.com.tw
Published on Jun 28, 2017