Taiwan: I am reading about you!
Reading is my first step to traveling. From my personal experience, I can say that if I read around a place before visiting it, I feel more connected to it. It tends to becomes more familiar. A few weeks ago, I came across a tweet on my timeline. It was a beautiful image from the ‘Lantern Festival of Taiwan’. My curiosity in the picture led me into reading about it at once. Pingxi District in Taiwan looked gorgeous and superbly lit with lanterns floating in the sky. Soon I learnt that it is one of the most important and romantic festivals of Taiwan. Here, I would confess that I have never been curious about Taiwan before except the fact that I had a fondness for its catchy tagline- The Heart of Asia.
In the following week, I got in touch with the relevant tourism board and asked them to send me travel guides and booklets because I wanted to read around this small but significant piece of our planet. The good people were quick to respond and soon sent me a bundle of information. Personally, I not only love collecting travel pocket guides and route maps but I enjoy reading them too. They are a wealth of knowledge. If you are regular on my blog, you would know that last I had read so much about Chhattisgarh in India.
Enamored by Sun Moon Lake
It is not possible to visit all places in person. But it doesn’t take a penny to read and travel miles. This is how I lived my experience of wandering through this gorgeous place in Taiwan. No less, it is called the heart of Taiwan. Not only it looks like a Chinese landscape painting but also it plays a role as the major hydro power generator of this island nation. The beauty of this lake is enchanting and it fills you with love. They say, a fairy illuminates this lake with her lantern in the night. The lake shimmers and ripples from dawn to dusk. The lake surrounds a tiny island, Lalu, named after the Thao tribe. To me, it makes a great place for romance and love and someday I would love to visit this place with my husband.
All that I have recently learnt about Taiwan! (Part 1)
As you can see in the Instagram picture, the cute little booklets had arrived 2 weeks ago. Since then I have been taking in little bites about Taiwan. Of course its tough to write about it all, but yes I have tried to highlight all that was absolutely unknown to me. There will be a second post too. Hope you enjoy the below stuff for now.
Taiwan boasts of Yushan or Mount Yu or Jade Mountain. It is Northeast Asia’s highest peak. The area around is called Yushan National Park and it invites a lot of tourists everyday.
The National Palace Museum in Taipei has a collection of more than 650,000 historic items showcasing artifacts over a period of 7,000 years. This museum is ranked among the world’s top four museums. I know I am gonna love this place. The facade looks beautiful.
The 508 meter high, 101 observatory in Taipei has 89 floors. It has one of the world’s fastest elevator that takes the visitors up for a panoramic view of Taipei city. At one time, it used to be the tallest building in the world. And today it is Asia’s biggest shopping paradise with its famous designer boutiques inside the building.
Dunhua South Road is the most upscale, brand boutique area while Ximending is the oldest shopping area in Taipei. Close to the later, there is a Movie Street as well as a Tattoo Street, places which buzz with young and creative people. Movie and Tatto, the names itself sound so peppy.
Taiwan is so much about Night markets. Some of the famous ones are- Gongguan Night Market, Shilin Night Market, Raohe Street Market ( first tourist night market in Taipei that opened in 1987), Miokou, Nanya, Zhongli, Linjiang , Huaxi, Ningxia night market.
Miaokou Night Market happens to be by far the best known tourist attraction in Keelung city.
Jiufen and Jinguashi are old mining towns but visitors love them for their famous specialty snacks, old world charm and tea houses. They gained importance after they became part of the movies ‘ A city of Sadness’ and ‘ Hill of No Return’.
Chisang Rice– A rice type which is known for its excellent quality. It was loved by the Japanese colonists but now the Taiwanese love their Chisang boxed lunches and dinners. It is used to make a number of rice products- rice cakes, rice ice-cream, Mochi, sweet dumplings and traditional cuisines. Chisang Township is located on the East Rift Valley of Hualien and Taitung and the belt is known for its rice production. Now, this for important for the rice lover in me.
Taitung and Hualien are the two countries that make up Eastern Taiwan. This is the place for whale and dolphin watching. Rich in high mountains, rift valley, cliffs, sea and river terraces, this long and narrow strip of Taiwan that stretches along the island’s Pacific coast is also called ‘pure land’ of tourism. The world famous Taroka National Park stands here.
Amis is the largest tribal group in Taiwan. Eastern Taiwan is the home to indigenous people, the Amis.
Alpine rail road that zigzags to the steep mountains, there are only three such roads in the world and central Taiwan has one of them taking us to Alishan National Scenic Area. This is the place that is known not just for the rail road but verdant forest, sea of clouds,abundant rainfall, spectacular sunrise and sunsets and cherry trees. Mt. Zhu station is the highest railway station in Taiwan. (Southern Taiwan)
Liuqiu is one and only coral island of Taiwan. No less, it has 800 species of fishes, shell fish, algae and coral. If you here, one must do the popular scenic spots- Black Dwarf Cave and Beauty Cave.
And before I tell you about the orchid ice-cream, you must know that Taiwan has an Orchid Island too. Lanyu, or Orchid Island. This is a volcanic island located offshore from Taitung. This island is where we meet the Yami tribe, another primitive group of the country. They celebrate three interesting festivals – Flying Fish Festival, Millet Harvest and Boat Launching. This island makes a great place for diving around the coral reefs.
So what do you think? Did you know enough of Taiwan before reading this?
If you have been to Taiwan, please drop in your personal favorite about it. And if you are intrigued around it, do let me know even then.
In the last two days, Taiwan has been in news because some parts of it have been hit by Super-typhoon Dujuan.
(I will do a part 2 for more on Taiwan)