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things to do in Taiwan

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Ten Festivals Worth Planning your Taiwan Holiday around (Part two)

Last week we talked about a few of Taiwanese festivals happening during the first half of the year. (If you haven’t already read that post, check it out first.) We continue this week with the festivals of the year’s second half. 6. Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival When: Begins on the 1st day, 7th  lunar month and continues for 30 days Where: Keelung, New Taipei City The Celebration: Although the 7th lunar month is traditionally considered ghost month throughout Chinese culture (basically the month when restless spirits roam the earth seeking to be placated by mortals), the month has taken on a greater meaning in the harbor city of Keelung, where a great battle between various clans was fought in the late Qing dynasty. After elders from both sides called a truce, the fallen from both sides were honored with prayers and a parade, which has since morphed into a month-long festival with fireworks,…

Maokong – A Location for Tea-for-Two

Text: Mark Caltonhill Photos: Vision The Taiwanese are fond of their tea and love to climb hills overlooking their hometowns to take in a “night view.” Put these two together, stipulate that you do not want to drive more than one hour, and Taipei residents still have a large number of choices. One of the most popular is the historic tea-growing area around Maokong in the southwestern part of the city. Tea plantation at Maokong The Taipei basin is surrounded by hills – many of which offer excellent hiking opportunities – and Maokong (貓空) in the hills above Muzha would be just another of these, were it not that at the end of the 19th century immigrants, most famously Zhang Nai-miao (張廼妙) from the tea-growing region of Anxi in mainland China’s Fujian Province, discovered that this particular mountain area’s moist climate and good soil perfectly suited the strains of tea…

Keelung: Seaport City of Deep Character

Text: Richard Saunders Photos: Maggie Song, Vision Blessed with a deep, natural harbor (which has made it a natural choice for a settlement since Taiwan’s natives moved in, followed by the Spanish and Dutch for brief spells in the 1600s and the Taiwanese since, Keelung (基隆; pronounced “jee-long”), Taiwan’s second-busiest seaport after Kaohsiung, combines frenetic energy, distinctive local color, and great seafood with a long and fascinating history, Taiwan’s most elaborate annual Ghost Month festivities, and a slew of impressive natural and cultural attractions.  Keelung Tourists visiting this corner of the island generally make a beeline for the famed seaside rock formations at Yeliu (野柳), to the northwest of Keelung, or the historic twin gold- and copper- mining villages of Jiufen (九份) and Jinguashi (金瓜石), to the east. Be sure, however, to make time for exploration of a few areas of this vivid and endlessly fascinating city – at just…