Must-Eat Foods and Drinks in Taiwan

Standing in the night market, you are dazzled by the vendor food everywhere and don’t know which to try. Famous for its cuisine, Taiwan has different kinds of food you need to try.

Taiwan’s most famous street food is often in the night markets. When you go to the night market, Oyster omelet, Stinky tofu, Misua (salted noodles) are often seen. When you explore the streets and alleys of Taiwan, Minced pork rice, Steamed dumpling, Luwei (food selected with broth) are also everywhere. Scallion pancake is the best friend of students when they are hungry after school.

 fried dumplings on the iron plate

To explore Taiwanese cuisine, cheerful Rechao restaurant is where the delicious secrets hide. Local Taiwanese will eat in Rechao restaurant (Taiwanese beer house) when Taiwanese are off work. Rechao gathers the traditional Taiwanese taste into the cuisines. People cheers and make business deals in Rechao restaurant, thus beers are the inevitable element of Rechao. In the messy, loud, and cheap Rechao restaurant, people may also bare their souls to their friends. Three cups chicken, Stir-fried rice and Taiwanese pineapple shrimp balls are always hot on the menu. Being an island surrounded by the ocean, there are many seafood dishes like Steamed crab and roe on glutinous rice, Salt-grilled shrimp, and Stir fried clams with basils.

Breakfast matters in a day. In Central Taiwan and South Taiwan, people often open their day with sumptuous meals. Taichung has fried noodles and Pig’s blood soup. Radish cake, Egg pancake, and Taiwanese chicken rice are the top breakfasts in Chiayi. Beef soup, Milkfish congee, and Zongzi (rice dumpling) can be eaten in Tainan. Another breakfast also can be eaten in Taiwan, like soymilk, Youtiao (Chinese churros), sandwich, eppanyaki noodles, and meat toast with eggs.

In addition to the food above, Taiwan also has much vegetarian food. You can find Vegetarian Restaurant offers buffet, hot pot, and caferteria in Taiwan. Don’t miss our vegetarian Pan-fried pork buns, dimsum, Misua, Oyster omelette, Luwei, and Conveyor belt sushi. There are also delicious vegetarian fried noodles, rice vermicelli soup, and fried mushroom worth trying.

chinese dessert, tofu pudding with tapioca ball

For the sweet addicts, Taiwan is also a paradise of sweets. Not to mention the famous Boba tea, there are Douhua (Tofu pudding), Peanut ice cream crepe, and Tanghulu (Candied fruit). Also, don’t forget to bring Pineapple cake, Nougats, Mochi, Suncake and Mango jelly for your friends and family as souvenirs.

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Have fun in Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival

Penghu is an archipelago including about 90 islands and islets of about 825 square kilometers, and it is located off the western coast of Taiwan. It is nominated as one of the Asian’s emerging tourist city by Agoda.com in 2015. Penghu’s largest city—Magong (literally means mother’s palace) is named because it has the oldest Mazu temple of Taiwan. The best time to visit Penghu is from April to October. Feeling this beach island with the sunny weather and salty breeze may be the best experience in Penghu to all the travelers.

Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival is going to kick off from 4/18 to 6/27 on every Monday and Thursday this year. There will also be a firework show added on 5/12 Sunday to celebrate Mother’s day. Innovation and environment-friendly elements are added to the firework show this year. The firework show is held in Guanyin temple, where a rainbow bridge lies. The river will reflect the magnificent fireworks in the sky. There will be the warm-up series—music concerts, dancing shows, and performances held before the firework show.

Being in this beach archipelago, don’t miss to try the watersports in Penghu. You may be fascinated with Cimei’s colorful coral reef. This fishing island also has a special Twin Hearts Stone Weir to trap fish. Near Cimei Island, there is a nesting environment of green sea turtles in Wang’an Island. Beyond these islands outside, let’s go back to the main island of Penghu. The Tianhou (Mazu) temple established in Magong is the religious center of the locals. For those who love historical spots, there are also Penghu Zhongyang Old Street and military Dependents Village Cultural Park to visit. To go through Penghu Great Bridge, you will arrive at the second biggest island of Penghu—Xiyu. Xiyu means the western island of Penghu in Chinese. It also has different kinds of attractions worth visiting. Being an island in the front line of Taiwan, Xiyu West Fort and Xiyu East Fort try to protect this island. The Yuwengdao Lighthouse leads the ships to find the way home. And this sea island also combines the sea world to temple. You can see the underground dragon’s palace (where the dragon king lives under the sea in Chinese tales) the Zhuwan Dayi Temple.

To have a summer vacation by the beach, Penghu is strongly recommended. You can not only have fun in the watersports and hot attractions in Penghu but also charmed by the Penghu Ocean Fireworks Festival. To have a convenient and local tour, Justaiwantour also provides English-friendly custom tour service for you.

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Picking calla lilies in Zhuzihu(bamboo lake)

As the middle part of Yangmingshan, Zhuzihu is near Tianmu and Qingtiangang. Go down, there is Tianmu ancient trail. Go up, you will arrive at Qingtiangang. In Zhuzihu, it is often rainy and misty, and damp. So if you overlook Taipei 101 from here, it may stand in the hazy mist. Yangmingshan is famous for its four flower seasons: calla lily, cherry blossom, Hydrangea, and bamboo. The Calla Lily Festival is kicking off in Zhuizihu from 3/29, and the flower viewing time will last for one and half month.

Going into the farm of the calla lily, you can enjoy the magnificent scenery of the calla lily sea on this blurred mountain and view the white flowers swing in the wind. Before picking calla lily, you need to change your clothes into “frog clothing.” You will put on a big green fisher clothing and rain boots. Then you can go into the sea of calla lily, and pluck this flower of innocence. While picking the calla lily, hold the bottom part of it and pull it up. While it gets out of the soil, there will be a popping cork sound. Take a part of this beautiful scenery back home. Put the calla lily in the bottle on your desk. It may bring joy and satisfaction to you.

After picking the flower, staying and eating the local cuisine in Zhuzihu is a good choice. Warm up yourself with Pineapple & Bitter Gourd Chicken Soup on the chilly mountain. The farms also provide a collection of jungle vegetables like Stir-fried bitter gourd with salted eggs, stir-fried jungle fern, fried Chayote. You can also go fishing on some farms. After catching the fish, the cook will make it into striped bass soup. As for the dessert, Sweet Potato Ginger Soup is the must-eat item in Zhuzihu. Besides, there are ten calla lily landscape designs in the farms for couples to take romantic pictures.

Besides, you can have a walk along the arrow bamboo trail after picking calla lily in Zhuzihu. The bamboo grows in dense clusters. It is the perfect wind-breaking barrier. Relax and listen to the sound that wind flows through the bamboo forest. Additionally, if you go up, there is Macao hot spring and Yangmingshan National Park. Because of sulfur mining, it is a fumaroles spring with smoke. Yangmingshan National Park has diverse recreational facilities of hiking trails and wildlife like black pines, acacia trees, and the Formosan sweet gum.

After hiking downhill, visiting Tianmu ancient trail nearby and Beitou hot spring is highly recommended to have a nature therapy. Along the trail, you may find yourself having the forest bath. Sometimes you may have the chance to see the monkeys hanging from the trees. There is also an attractive Fengcui Waterfall you can enjoy. Beitou is famous for its hot spring and historic culture. If you go to Beitou, remember to visit Beitou hot spring.

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Dajia Mazu Pilgrimage

There are diverse religions practiced in Taiwan like Buddism, Taoism, Christianity, Catholicism, and Islam. According to an unofficial estimate, Mazu believers are up to 140millions, which covers more than 60 percent of the population in Taiwan. Dajia Mazu pilgrimage is the biggest Mazu celebration held annually and has the longest history in Taiwan.

Taiwan has the highest density of Mazu temples with more than 850 temples. In Taiwan, we have the saying goes; “Mazu March Mania” Mazu is a Chinese goddess the sea. In the 18th century, many Fujian immigrants moved to Taiwan by crossing the dangerous Taiwan Strait. To thank Mazu for arriving Taiwan safely, the believers hold the Mazu pilgrimage. In this devotion journey, pilgrims escort the Mazu statue by holding palanquin walking around different cities to celebrate Mazu’s birthday in March of Chinese lunar calendar and hope the Mazu will protect them for the whole new year. This year, people will start this celebration from April 7th to 16th. The pilgrimage route will start from Dajia, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi, to Yunlin, and return to Dajia.

In the Departure of the Procession, the Dajia Zhenlan temple will hold a firework show around Dajia River. With the noise of firecrackers and vibrant firework show in the sky, this eight-lane bridge will be jam-packed with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and spectators. After this ceremony, the pilgrimage officially starts. Along with this journey, you can find the warmth and friendliness from Taiwanese. Local residents provide free foods and drinks to followers like herbal cake with sliced radish, mochi, and grass jelly. Also, you can experience the Roadside banquet of Taiwanese cuisine. But please mark that the provided food is vegetarian. Followers can’t eat meat until the return route. If you want to participate in the pilgrimage, you can start eating vegetarian food three days before.

In this journey of devotion, you can experience the local color of Taiwan like lion dance, Taiwanese Electric Flower Car, glove puppetry, and Taiwanese opera. This long-lived religious event also develops a unique culture—grabbing Mazu. According to the legend, crawling under and touching the palanquin will bring good luck for a whole new year. Therefore, local groups grab Mazu for attracting good luck for its community in Changhua.

For those who want to have an in-depth tour in Taiwan, Dajia Mazu pilgrimage can definitely meet your satisfaction to learn Taiwan local culture. If you want to join this celebration, don’t forget to have the blessed flag along the pilgrimage and have the temple stamp on it. Apart from the aforementioned information, please find out and follow etiquettes before you take part in this religious event. To have a more detailed travel plan that suits your traveling date, Justaiwantour also provides custom tours. Have fun in this inspiring culture journey.

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Find Sakura in Alishan

Alishan, also known as Moutain Ali, has unique scenery that only belongs to Taiwan like sunrise, cloud sea and sacred trees. Being a diverse scenic park, Alishan also has its own forest railway and the aboriginal tribe Tsou culture.

Never miss one of Taiwan’s hottest attraction— Alishan. Most trees will hit its full bloom in March and April. With the petal falling, have a good time walking in the breeze with flower fragrance in Alsihan. There are many types of cherry blossoms in Alishan, including Yoshino Cherry and Oshima cherry. The King Cherry of Alsihan, a big Somei-Yoshino Cherry tree predicting the cherry blossom of other trees, has already hit its full blossom this year. If you are lucky enough, you may encounter the The Whisper of Melody and Sakura—a music concert held by Alishan National Scenic Area. Most tourists will take the nostalgic forest train to appreciate the cherry blossom along the railway. The forest train was constructed to transport Red Cypress logs and carry supplies when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. Now it becomes an integral part of the Alishan recreation facilities to bring tourist convenience and happiness.

Sunrise viewing is another activity you can try in Alishan. After taking Zhushan line train, Take a stroll along Sunrise Viewing Trail to the viewing platform. Standing in the mountains and catching the first light of sunrise are definitely extraordinary experience for you in Taiwan. Apart from the hazy sunshine, the cloud sea is also worth watching. When people watch the clouds going, tranquility may flow into their heart.

Chiayi, Taiwan – Alishan vintage train stop in main station for bring tourist people to see sunrise in the mountain ,chiayi ,taiwan.

 

Sacred trees are also the must-see scenery in Alishan. Being about 2000 years old, most Sacred trees are Formosan cypress. Taking a deep breath of the frosty air in the forest, you can smell a fresh aroma of the Red cypress. After watching sacred trees, you can visit the Sisters’ Ponds. Sisters’ Ponds are two adjacent ponds. According to the legend, there was a pair of sisters who loved the same man. To show the support to each other, they both committed suicide by jumping into the ponds.

The elder sister pond in alishan national scenic area, taiwan.

After such a long hike of cherry blossom, sunrise, and sacred trees, you may be hungry and exhausted. Take a full rest in Fengchihu. There are Taiwan’s most prestigious railway lunchboxes here. Fengchihu bento box is famous for its traditional cuisine and attentive selection of fresh ingredients consisted of rice, vegetables, and usually wild boar meat or chicken. Since having been to Alishan, why not explore Tsou culture in it? Having their own legend, Taiwanese indigenous people—Tsou has its own culture. In February, there is Mayasvi Festival (war ceremony) to pray for the warriors. And Tourists can experience Tsou wedding customs in Fo’na Festivals (Life Bean Festival) in October.

Standing in Alishan away from the busy life in urban, you can not only get real sense of Taiwan but also feel the pulse of the Earth. To explore the natural scenic attractions in Taiwan, this forest recreation area is generally advised for those outdoors enthusiasts. To have a more convenient and in-depth tour into Alishan, Justaiwantour’s private day tour is highly recommended. Our accessible private car service can help the tourists design a tour that more convenient and deep into the aboriginal tribes and attractions.

 

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Have a Hipster Guide to Taipei

To have an in-depth cultural tour in Taiwan, please note the recent art festival event— TIFA on your schedule. TIFA (Taiwan International Festival arts) is going to celebrate its 11th birthday from 2019/2/16 to 4/21! Through theater, dance, and music performances, NTCH (National Theater and Concert Hall) tries to bring “Talent” and “Inspiration” to all the audiences. Through appreciating the performances, Audiences may also get touched with its “Foresight”, and “Amazingness”.

Not only inviting wonderful international theater like The Repetition Histoires du théâtre, TIFA also shows the local creative energy on the stage such as the aboriginal voice of Sangpuy in Concert and the local dancing groupe—The Cloud Gate’s 22° Lunar Halo. To enjoy music and theater performances in Taiwan, Taipei EYE also prepares Beijing Opera’s close up experience with the performers and costumes try-on experience for tourists.

Beyond the performance art above, TIFA also hold a big colorful bubble structure of KATENA on the NTCH Main Plaza. It is a pneumatic catenary structure designed by the UK team—Architects of Air. You can feel the art flow and the luminarium experience inside this space combined with concepts of architecture, and light sculpture.

Nearby the NTCH Main Plaza stand the Liberty Square and the must-go architect Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is a classical magnificent Chinese palace architecture inspired by Tiantan in Beijing. It will also hold exhibitions about Chinese calligraphy, oil painting, and ink wash painting.

night scene of national theater and concert hall, taipei, taiwan

As the cultural heart of Taiwan, Taipei always has many aesthetic sites to explore. Huashan1914 Creative Park which was a wine factory gathers the productive art power into exhibitions and live music concerts now. Taiwanese hipsters often gather to see photo exhibitions, forums, and fashion activity in Huashan. Don’t forget to arrange an afternoon for exhibitions and the historical buildings in Huashan1914 Creative Park.

Art enthusiasts and book lovers would also have a midnight adventure for 24-hour running Eslite Bookstore-Dunnan listed from Time’s Magazine. Beyond a bookstore, Eslite Bookstore also tries to broaden its experiential retailing to be a lifestyle store combining books, original design goods and Café. Emphasizing on art and humanities-related books, Eslite Bookstore provides customers a place to be immersed in the cultural space.

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How to Send Good Blessings for Pig Year in 2019

2019 is the year of pig. How to send good blessings regarding “pig” ? The most common one is the blessing with similar pronunciation-zhu shi chi shan(諸事吉祥), which the first word sounds similar to pig. It means “wish you lucky.” As for zhu shi ru yi(豬柿如意,) this means “wish you all the best.” These two phrases come from the famous Chinese four-word-idiom. In addition, the first word of “zhu” from zhu fu ni (豬福你,) which means good luck to you, sounds similar to pig in Chinese. The tip is to use the Chinese word “zhu豬” to make up phrases of blessings. But be careful! These kinds of blessings are more suitable for the same generation or those who are humorous. If you want to send blessings to your boss or supervisor, you got to be more discreet, especially the blessing regarding to “pigs”.

The Story of Pig:

In Asia, there are 12 animal’s symbols for different year according to lunar calendar. The pig ranks last. In one of the fables, the pig swam over the river during the competition. Even though it ranked last, it could be seen as an animal with true sportsmanship. From another stories, it was quite another story. It was said the pig was questioned for cheating so it was sentenced to the last one.

Who was Born in Pig Year?

The famous director, Sir Alfred Hitchcock, the Hollywood actor, Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger, and the founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford were all born in pig year.

The last pig year was in 2007. HSR in Taiwan was just open to traffic. IPhone 1.0 was first launched. 12 years have passed. Time and environment have changed. No matter what kind of person you were in the last pig year, seize this pig year and make the best of you!

Happy the year of Pig. (豬年大吉)

Wish you lots of luck for the Pig year. (祝你豬年幸運)

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16 Days Trip Around Taiwan III: Seafood Market at Guei Hou

Mr. Chou heard that everybody was obsessed with seafood, so he asked the driver to take us to Guei Hou Fish Harbor (龜吼漁港) at Wanli(萬里) to try seafood here. Guei Hou, an intriguing name!

Here used to be a place for fishermen to unload and sale the fish. Gradually, it became a small market at this fish harbor. “Fisher Market” (漁夫市集) was a reorganized area in 2015. It was a clean and well-lighted place, which were about 40 stands. In this market, we could find fish and all kinds of seafood. You could pick any seafood by yourselves and find a restaurant to cook the seafood for you. Or you could simply walk in and enjoy the cuisines that the restaurant provided in the menu. The central area was the dining area. We picked tasted various seafood there.

Andy Fang, our group leader, was an epicure and could speak Taiwanese, so we followed him closely. He was in charge of ordering, buying seafood we were interested in, and paying the costs. There were lots of visitors in the market. It took us some time to find a table. Luckily, we found a place that’s well ventilated, and the price was fair. Soon enough, our cuisines were served.

(Two fresh steamed fish-which tickled my taste buds.)

(Japanese fresh sashimi-the texture was tender and savory.)

(A plate of shrimps. The shrimps were bright red, sweet, and tasty.)

(Stir fried clams with basil were creamy and appetizing.)

(Stir fried fresh squids were chewy)

There was a special and especially delicious vegetable called white water snowflake(水蓮). The water spinach was also fresh and tender. When we finished one plate of water spinach, we asked to order another plate. Finally, we spent NT$ 2,500 for 7 people. To convert currencies, US$1 equals to NT$ 30.49. US$100 equals to NT$ 3,000, which had excellent quality and reasonable price.

(View from the distance of Guei Hou Fish Harbor)

After finishing tasting the seafood cuisines, we headed to Yehliu Geopark, which was one of the most famous attractions for the visitors. It took us only 10 minutes from the fish market to there. Taking a stroll was just perfect for digestion. Extraordinary sights like Queen’s Head, Lady’s Slipper, Leopard, and Sea Candles aroused our curiosity.

taiwan yehliu geopark strange rock

Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour

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16 Days Trip Around Taiwan II: Yangmingshan

Before I visited Taiwan, my impression of Taiwan came from Taiwanese movies, Xi Murong’s (席慕容) poems, Chiang Hsun’s (蔣勳) speech of aesthetics, Lung Ying-Tai’s (龍應台) essays, Lo Da-Yu’s (羅大佑) songs, etc. It was more real for what I saw but not what I heard. Finally, I got the chance to travel to Taiwan, where I’d been longing to pay a visit. What the most heart touching was the warm hospitality of people I met in Taiwan, the tour guide, the driver, and the Taiwanese.

(Silver grass blossom at Yangmingshan. Photo credit: 雪梅)

On the second day of our arrival in Taipei, we planned to visit Yangmingshan, Yeliu Geopark, Gold Waterfall and Jiufen Old Street. The most famous Taiwanese song, “Come to Meet You in Taipei in Winter 冬季到臺北來看雨,” was sung by Meng Ting Wei (孟庭葦). We met drizzle in fall as well. It kept raining for days. When I finished breakfast and got on the bus, I worried how to enjoy ourselves to the full due to the rainy day. As the tour guide, Mr. Chou, introduced the attractions, we looked out from the window, not only the rain stopped, but also the sun came out. We were excited to say that we were so lucky.

(Yangmingshan Eco Center陽明山生態中心 Photo credit: 若敏)

In 1962, Yangmingshan National Park was organized to be built. On Sep 16. 1985, Yangmingshan National Park was formally established. With the total area more than 11 thousand hectares, it includes Yangmingshan and volcano groups, which takes Datun Mountain and Qixing Mountain as a center. Because of the influence of volcanic activity, the ground surrounding the sulfur vents and hot springs was formed, making it unique and magnificent, hence it is the smallest but the most famous national park among five national parks. It is one of the most famous travel spots in northern Taiwan and also a great summer resort.

In a year, the four seasons bring different scenes to Yangmingshan. In winter, the clouds float. In spring, the calla lily and cherry blossom. In summer, the brook gurgles and the grass and trees are luxuriant. In the fall, the silver grass grows over the mountain and swings in the wind.

(The reconstructed Grass Mountain Chateau. Photo credit: 陳皮梅from the Internet)

Furthermore, the historical landscape is more distinctive. Jhongshan Building was built to perpetuate the memory of Mr. Sun Yat-sen’s centennial birthday. Grass Mountain Chateau was the first official residence where Chiang Kai-shek(蔣介石) and his wife, Song Mei-Ling(宋美齡), stayed in when they first visited Taiwan in 1949. After they moved to Shilin Official Residence, they still came here to avoid the summer heat. Unfortunately, Grass Mountain Chateau was burnt down at late night on Apr. 7th, 2007.

(The living room at Grass Mountain Chateau. Photo credit: 陳皮梅from the Internet)

Yangmingshan National Park features the landscape based on Datun Mountain volcano group, which includes Siaoyoukeng, Lengshueikeng, Datun, Erzihping, Qingtiangang, Yangmingshuwu Visitor Center, The Lin Yutang House, Longfong Valley Liouhuang Valley, and three areas that require permission to enter, Lujiaokeng, Menghuan Pond Ecological Protected Area, and Mt. Huangzuei Ecological Conservation Area.

(The travel map at Yangmingshan. Photo credit: 若敏)

We arrived at YangMingshan National Park Visitor Center on Jhuzihhu Road and experienced the hard earthquake caused by volcanic eruptions. We also visited ecological experience room and saw various butterfly specimen. YangMingshan was gorgeous, which deserved to be called the back garden of Taipei.

(Volcanic Experience. Photo credit: Alice)

The second stop was Siaoyoukeng at an altitude of 805 meters. It was a notched volcano, which was at the northwest of Qixing Mountain. Yangmingshan was once an active volcano, while now it was called dormant volcano. When a volcano activity stopped, the heat energy still remained. This heat energy heated the groundwater, making the underground accumulate the pressure of steam, which finally caused to a burst near the crater. The steam came out from the burst. The rocks around the crater were severely weathered because of the effect of high heat and water, which made the collapse of Siaoyoukeng. This phenomenon was also called post-volcanic action.

(Looking far into the distance from Siaoyoukeng. Photo credit: 若敏)

Everybody followed the tour guide to the Sulphur smoke spout of Siaoyoukeng. The sunken place was lacerated. Not even a blade of grass grew. The fumarole permanently spouted Sulphur steam. There were a lot of yellow Sulphur crystallization and hot steam near. We walked up to the wooden path, saw the white smoke came from the fumarole in close distance and smelled the Sulphur in the air. The pungent smell of Sulphur smelled like rotten eggs. It is not appropriate to stay here for a long time.

(Experience Siaoyoukeng in close distance. Photo credit: Connie)

We were reluctant to leave Yangmingshan. We waved goodbye to the rolling mountains, ethereal steam, and the silver grass.

 

The song, “Yangmingshan(陽明山),” composed by Jay Chou(周杰倫) rang with the wind:

Facing the wind and Enjoying calla lily on the way.

In this blossoming season, you hold me tight.

You said this is an unspeakable secret.

迎著風一路欣賞海芋

你緊抱我這一場花季

你說是不能說的秘密

Shh! Maybe there are truly countless unspeakable secrets in Yangmingshan that you should discover and imagine by yourselves. Perhaps next time, spending an additional day, taking a stroll, going hiking to Qixing Mountain, seeing calla lily and cherry will be an amazing experience for a different flower season.

Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour

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16 Days Trip Around Taiwan I: First Visit to Taipei

It’s been a week since I went back to the United States after finishing the trip in Taiwan. From Taipei to Tainan, Kenting to Hualien, the scene of sunshine, sandy beach, sea wave, and cactus in lyrics we’ve sung during our college life popped up. When the footprint on the beach, salty sea breeze, bicycle at Taitung Forest Park, Sacred Tree at Alishan and Sun Moon Lake came into my view, I was deeply touched by the fulfillment of a wish.

(The southernmost tip of Taiwan-Kenting National Park. My friend, Pin(萍), Fang(芳) and I were dancing together. Photo credit: Connie)

It was five years ago that I started thinking about visiting Taiwan. My son once traveled to Taiwan for a college graduation trip. He told me, “Mom, you have to go to Taiwan. It’s a unique place.” Due to my passion for delicacies and habit of writing food article, I got to know Fang Wang(王凡). The plan of visiting Taiwan unfolded during a casual chat. We started preparing the tour in May and set out on this journey in October. Eventually, “2018 Taiwan Food and Beverage Industry Tour from Atlanta USA” began.

(Lavender Forest. Photo credit: Connie)

During 16-day trip around Taiwan, I had more joy and less worry. Before starting off, I’ve read several Taiwan travel guidelines and had a superficial understanding of Taiwan. When I saw the well-designed customized travel brochure made by the travel agency, most of the attractions I wanted to visit were included. With Justawiantour(台灣光彩國際旅行社) and our tour guide, Hung Yi Chou(曹宏頤), we, 21 members, traveled from North to South and turned Taiwan strait to the other side of Taiwan, Taitung, the Pacific Ocean.

(The entrance of Central Cross-Island Highway. Photo credit: Hung Yi Chou(曹宏頤))

The plane took off in Atlanta, USA and transferred at Narita Airport. When we arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan Airport, it’s 10 pm, Oct. 17th. Through the sprinkle, I stared at the Taipei night view through the car window. A piece of the familiar song, “Come to Meet You in Taipei in Winter 冬季到臺北來看雨,” sung by Ting Wei Meng (孟庭葦) whispered into my ears. It was Autumn then. It looked like it rained a lot in Taipei. On that day, we checked in June Hotel (Minquan E. Rd., Neihu Dist., Taipei City). The lobby was simple and warm. I surprisingly found out I could exchange New Taiwan Dollar here in the hotel. The exchange rate is reasonable and fair, and there was no handling charge, which solved our problem. The gym and the laundry room in this hotel were for free. We’d stayed in June Hotel for 4 days and gained much from it.

(Overlooking Rocky Mountain, Canada in the sky)

(June Hotel. The breakfasts are various. The room is neat.)

After finishing breakfast, as there was still one hour left, my roommate, Connie and I decided to take a stroll near our hotel. The streets in Taipei were clean. The flowers blossomed. The gardening was beautiful.

(The members were having their breakfast and chatting.)

During our 16-day Taiwan tour, the most important part was our tour guide, Hung Yi Chou. It was lucky to have a professional, responsible, knowledgeable, humorous, hard-working, honest, and considerate tour guide like him. He is the best tour guide I’ve ever met. I could strongly feel that “Taiwan’s most beautiful scenery is people.”

(Mr. Chou was explaining the Taiwan tour.)

Even now, the memories replayed like movies. Taipei 101, Yeliu Park, Siaoyoukeng at Yangmingshan, National Palace Museum, Shilin Official Residence, Tamsui Old Street, the night view at Jiufen, Tropic of Cancer at Taitung, hot spring at Beitou, Taroko at Hualien, Eluanbi Lighthouse at Kenting, Cape No.7, Love Pier at Kaohsiung were unforgettable. In these 16 days, I enjoyed the poetic grace of Taiwan both in a familiar and an exotic way.

Author: 若敏 / Translator: Justaiwantour

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