Central Taiwan


Taichung: City on the Move

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Chen Cheng-kuo Long a city with an unusual hybrid blue-collar/academic character, serving the factories that powered Taiwan’s famed economic miracle and home to numerous universities, Taichung is fast reinventing itself as a city of dynamic cultural sophistication. Everywhere you look, it seems, you see cranes and crews putting up new buildings or fixing and prettying up old ones. The city, which absorbed surrounding Taichung County in 2010, has a total population of over 2.6 million, with just over 1 million in the urban core. This core is known for its roominess. There is park space aplenty, and big museums, spacious restaurants, and sprawling teahouses. In numerous locations broad meridians separate parallel road sections lined with restaurants, cafés, boutiques, and galleries. Known for having Taiwan’s most pleasant weather – drier than Taipei in the far north and cooler than Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second city, in the far south…

The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area – An Experience Wholly Different Every Few Hours

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Ray Chang Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) has been a lodestar Taiwan tourist destination for many decades. Yet up to just 15 years ago the visitor experience here was largely restricted to a narrow range of options – static views of the pretty body of water from the shore, tour-boat rides, and visits to a limited array of cultural attractions. Today the options menu is far deeper and richer, calling for repeated visits to the lake and surrounding area and making each an experience wholly different from those prior, and those yet to come. This area was the epicenter of Taiwan’s great 921 Earthquake in 1999, which left the people reeling. The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area was established soon after, and today the local economy, in which tourism has been given the leading role, is abloom just as the thousands of local cherry trees engage…