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Off the Beaten Path

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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…

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…