Eastern Taiwan


Guanyin, Snakes & History’s Ghosts: An Afternoon on Turtle Island

All photos credit to Stephanie Huffman and Candace Chen Though the form for which the island is named is readily apparent from angles further north and south, from Toucheng pier due west, Turtle Island looks more slug-like than terrapin-shaped. A small and curving rock covered in green, the island – like all points on the horizon – grows larger and more distinctive as our boat draws closer. There are about sixty people on the Blue Whale, all wearing bright orange life jackets and hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphins sometimes spotted frolicking around the island. The boat takes its time along the island’s southern end, a steep hill dotted with carved outcroppings. “Are those lookout points?”, asks Stephanie. I point to the long, faded green barrel of a cannon just sticking out of one of the outcropping. “Among other things,” I answer. As with many of Taiwan’s outer…

Coastal Hualien – Taiwan’s “Secret” Backyard Garden

Text: Rick Charette Photos: Chen Cheng-kuo Sun, surf, thriving tribal cultures, stupendous geological artwork, and… well, read on. Hualien County is a powerful place. Nature is master, man mere spectator, despite oft thinking otherwise. Though just a few score kilometers away from the west coast as the eagle flies, Taiwan’s Hawaii-like coastal Hualien “secret garden” could not be further away from its industrial side. Island Taiwan’s thick back of soaring mountains allows just two narrow, long strips of flat land to exist on the east coast, stretching from Hualien into Taitung County and being separated by the Coastal Mountain Range. One, the East Rift Valley (花東縱谷), is carpeted with neat, bright-vegetation farms. The other, the exceedingly narrow sea strip, tirelessly serenaded by the pounding chant of Pacific breakers, is the subject of this article. We’re headed on a 3-day sampler trip for you from the north point where the central…