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Action & Adventure

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We Never Made it to Jiufen

Having overstayed its welcome here as in much of the rest of the northern hemisphere, Summer is finally over in Taiwan. The forecast is for heavy rain over most of Northern Taiwan through the weekend, which means movies and Netflix, and maybe a wet bicycle ride. So it’s a good thing I made the most out of last week’s four day weekend by spending much of it outdoors, bringing a friend from Singapore on a personalized tour of Taipei including a food tour of the Raohe Night Market, a tea hike through Maokong, and the all-night art, music and culture party that was the 2017 Nuit Blanche Taipei festival. We were also supposed to go to Jiufen, only we never made it. We tried, though. We had every reason to go. I’d not visited Jiufen for several years, and my partner Stephanie had never been. Tony, like most Singaporean men,…

Sky High-Climbing Up to the Roof of Taiwan: A Wushe to Mt. Hehuan Excursion

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Chen Cheng-kuo Mountain scenery of Mt. Hehuan On a three-day adventure along the Central Cross-Island Highway in the Nantou County section of the soaring Central Mountain Range, I visit Wushe, an indigenous town best known for being at the center of the last great uprising against the Japanese during the 1895-1945 Japanese colonial period; enjoy the eagle-view scenery and ranch experience at mountainside-hugging Qingjing Farm; revel in the grand experience of being at eye level with scores of peaks above 3,000 meters at Wuling, Taiwan’s highest paved-road point; hike and walk high-mountain trails; lose myself in a sunrise perched on a spot over 3,200 meters up; feast on the culinary inventions of mainland China’s Baiyi people; visit a Baiyi settlement; watch Taiwan’s Sediq tribe members weave cloth the traditional way; watch thrilling horse-riding acrobatics performed by an outer Mongolian troupe; visit local museums, … Let’s be…

Xiao Liuqiu Island: Pearl of Taiwan’s Southwest Coast

Coral filled seas, salty air and beautiful beaches as far as the eye can see. All this and more await visitors on Xiao Liuqiu, a charming little island is located about 15 KM west of Taiwan’s southwestern coast in Pingtung county. Looking to get off the beaten path? First, you have to get there. Getting to and around Liuqiu Unless your name is Michael Phelps, the only way to get to Liuqiu is by taking a 30-minute ferry ride from Donggang in Pingtung county. As with most other off-island excursions in Taiwan, you’ll need to bring your passport or ARC to get on the boat. Once you’ve reached Dafu port (the only port on the island), travel around the island is easy. There are shuttle buses as well as bicycles and motorcycles for hire. The island itself is small, just a shade under 7 square kilometers, so…

Summertime City Cycling and Unstable Weather

Summer seems to be peaking here on the Beautiful Island, though perhaps this is wishful thinking on my part. Daytime temperatures have hovered in the low 30s°C or in the mid-90s°F (for readers who don’t do Celsius). No matter what scale you use it’s hot, the sort of heat that makes wise people stay indoors or head out to the beach or into the mountains. But wisdom has never been my strong suit and having just discovered a newly installed Youbike station around the corner from my new apartment in Taipei’s Muzha district, my main form of outdoor activity this week has taken the form of short, intense rides through the streets of Taipei. An explanation may be in order for readers unfamiliar with our fair city’s public bike share program. What began as a collaborative program between Taipei city and global bicycle giant Giant (sorry, couldn’t resist) has…

Eight Secret Spots in Taiwan (Part I)

Taiwan is overflowing with beautiful, exciting and magical places. Taroko Gorge, Sun Moon Lake, Alishan, to name just three well known spots. But in this article we’ll take you to a few secret spots, true gems known mostly to locals (and in few cases, not many of those). Want to experience something truly unique? Check out a few of these spots on your next Taiwan trip!   No.8 -Jiguopai Old Church (基國派老教堂) Located in Sanmin Village in the Fuxing District of Taoyuan City, the Jiguopai Old Church was built by a local Atayal people and a a Presbyterian priest in 1964. The walls were constructed from rocks excavated from the nearby bat cave and carried up the mountain by locals. The church’s most distinctive feature is it’s round entrance (similar to the one in Bilbo Baggins house in Lord of the Rings). The areas is a beautiful spot for day…