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10 reasons to visit Xiao Liuqiu, Taiwan’s Hidden Island Gem

Located off the coast of Southern Taiwan’s Pingtung county, Xiao Liuqiu (also known as Little Okinawa) exists in that perfect mid-point of “known to locals” and “largely overlooked by international travelers.” Unlike well-trammeled Taiwan scenic spots like Sun Moon Lake, Taroko Gorge and Alishan, Xiao Liuqiu hasn’t gotten much international press. Indeed, outside of a few intrepid international travelers who find their way to the island, most westerner visitors to Xiao Liuqiu are local expats who’d likely prefer that the island remain a secret. ( Xiao Liuqiu Island 3- Day Free & Easy Package) To the aforementioned group, apologies: Awesome destinations never stay secret for long, so take solace in having found the place first. For everyone else, it’s time to let the cat out of the bag (so to speak). Here are 10 reasons to visit Taiwan’s (mostly) hidden Island Gem. 1. Xiao Liuqiu easy to reach… Liuqiu is by…

Cycling the East Coast with MyTaiwanTour (part one of two)

  Day One: Coastal Riding and Taiwan’s Best Seafood Although I’d only known Brandon and Emily for an hour (including time taken to adjust their bicycles), I felt like I was riding with old friends. A line in Emily’s final tour confirmation email had tipped me off to the fact that this would be an interesting tour. “I’ll be the only person with pink, purple and gray hair waiting in the lobby!” Emily, Brandon and I would spend the next four days together winding between coast and rift on a customized cycling tour of Eastern Taiwan. We were riding under beautiful, slightly overcast skies on the particularly nice stretch of coastal road 11 that winds between the entrance to Taroko Gorge and Hualien City. Though I’d ridden some of the route we’d be riding over the next few days before (both as a solo cyclist and tour leader), other chunks…

Eight Unforgettable Taiwan Cycling Routes

Over the past twenty years Taiwan has become a major destination for bicycle tourists (as well as the go-to spot for expats looking to live someplace offering second-to-none cycling). A big part of this is due to the sheer variety of cycling experiences offered by our fair island. From hardcore climbs and descents to long, winding coastal roads to gorgeous paths stretching through valleys, Taiwan’s got enough road variety to make getting bored nearly impossible. So with so many roads, paths and trails to choose from, picking out the best is sort of a fool’s errand, and a largely subjective one at that. But in the name of steering readers towards the best of everything Taiwan has to offer, we’ve created a list of roads that we think you’ll find very ride-worthy indeed! Some of these are standalone rides, while others are best done as segments of multi-day cycling trips.…

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival: Color, Culture and Controversy

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most popular things to do in Taiwan. Each day, hundreds of visitors visit northern Taiwan’s Pingxi township to take part in the creation, decoration and launching of DIY Sky Lanterns. Once part of a broader celebration held specifically as part of the greater Lunar New Year festival, in recent years the festival has morphed into more of a destination based activity rather than an annual festival available only at certain times during the year. Launching a sky lantern with a few thoughts and prayers has become (like a night market stroll, dumplings at Din Tai Fung or visit to the National Palace Museum) a Taiwan bucket list experience. Burning lanterns rising skyward have brought countless photo opportunities for visitors and financial fortune to the town itself. But the lanterns have brought something else to Taiwan’s tourism scene: Controversy. And though not…

Chinese New Year in Taiwan : The Six Days of Chinese New Year, 2018 (part one)

If you’re in Taiwan over the Chinese New Year Holiday, congratulations: You couldn’t have picked a more festive time of the year for your visit. And if you find yourself invited into a local home over the holidays, 雙贏! (Shuangying, or double win) because you’re about to experience Taiwanese culture from an insider’s perspective to which few casual visitors are ever privy. In this two part article, we’ll be offering practical advice for spending your Chinese New Year in Taiwan. In part one, we’ll deal mostly with logistics, and in part two we’ll switch over to etiquette. Since tradition and culture play a big part in both the when to go and what to bring aspects of Chinese New Year, let’s start with that. Taiwanese people are, in general, pretty casual, and not nearly as hung up on rigid formalities as folks in Japan (whose myriad unwritten rules of etiquette,…