Pingtung: Expect the Unexpected (Part one of two)

One of these days the good folks in the Taiwan Motto Making & Sloganeering Bureau will listen to me and adopt Taiwan: Expect the Unexpected as the official slogan of Taiwan tourism. For now I’ll just have to appropriate it as the title for this story about three surprise-filled days I spent in Pingtung, Taiwan’s southernmost county. I’d come with a group of Internet Media professionals from Malaysia and Hong Kong. Like me, my fellow journalists knew Pingtung primarily as that part of Taiwan where Kenting is, and as such were mostly expecting beach oriented activities. I’ll get to the sea kayaking in a bit, after listing a few of the activities that I didn’t expect to encounter out of the way: I did not expect to find myself riding a four wheel ATV across sand dunes in a chunk of Taiwan so remote it might well have been the…

A Bit of Hawaii in the West Pacific – Places to Go in and around Taitung City

Text: Steven Crook Photos: Rich Matheson With a population of just 107,000, Taitung City doesn’t come close to being a major urban center. What it is: an excellent base from which to explore the east coast and the East Rift Valley. Indigenous sculpture in Taitung Key to Taitung City’s appeal – and one reason why this part of Taiwan is sometimes compared to multiracial Hawaii – is its unique blend of people. In addition to substantial numbers of Minnanren (Taiwanese whose ancestors moved to the island from mainland China’s Fujian province two or three centuries ago), Waishengren (individuals who arrived from mainland China since World War II, and their progeny), and Hakka (many of whose forefathers came from mainland China’s Guangdong province), one in five city residents is a member of an indigenous Austronesian tribe. Beinan, Not Beinan If you’ve arrived in Taitung City by train, a logical place to…