21 November 2011
Taiwan’s High Fives
Where to start with this little island of discovery? From night markets billowing with the steam of local cooking to mountain scenery that takes your breath away, Taiwan isn’t short of a little wow-factor. We’ve handpicked our five Taiwan musts…and it’s not been easy, because this is an island that carries some serious cultural zing. For more regional nuggets of information take a look at the spotlight for a unique insight.
ROCKS AT YEHLIU
- Overview: Out of this world rock colours
- Famous for: The orange and red swirls on the rocks
- Must try: The seafood at the nearby Keelung Harbour
- Location: Wanli (1hr drive to Taipei)
On Taiwan’s north coast, not far from the urban playground of Taipei, you’ll find Yehliu with some of the strangest rock formations ever known. Discover rocks that swirl with mesmerising colour and wonder what cosmic universe you have suddenly stumbled upon. Etched around pools of water, marvel at the red and orange streaks that score the contours of the rock. Beautiful yet mind blowing, that is Taiwan. You’ll also be within range of Keelung, with its markets, forts and beautiful harbour, so don’t miss out squeezing another unique snip of Taiwan into your trip.
THE YUSHAN MOUNTAINS
- Overview: Nature at its most spectacular
- Famous for: Jaw-dropping views
- Must-try: Bubbling away your stresses in the hot springs
- Location: 7hrs drive to Taipei
This pocket of Taiwan is as spectacular as it is secluded, with a landscape of soaring marble mountains, lush rainforest, and steaming hot springs. You can’t go to Taiwan and not experience the view from the top of Mount Yushan; the scene confirms nature as the greatest artist of all, and one that had our memory cards full in no time. Once you have soaked up the natural beauty treat yourself to a gentle steam in one of the nearby hot springs. Go on, you deserve it.
SUN MOON LAKE
- Overview: Pristine lake bristling with history
- Famous for: Still, glassy waters
- Must try: A cuppa at the nearby tea farms
- Location: Nantou County (4hrs drive to Taipei)
Spiritual, secluded and a mirror of calm, Sun Moon Lake is a treasure right in the heart of Taiwan. The glassy still waters form a barrier around Lalu Island, where the Thao Tribe – the only people allowed on the island – still live by their ancient codes. While you can’t swim in this most mysterious of lakes, hike in the surrounding landscape and stumble upon one of the small Assam tea farms, the perfect place to kick back with the freshest of brewed cuppas.
- Overview: a picture perfect wilderness
- Famous for: marble-walled canyons, lush vegetation, and cliffs
- Must try: a dip in the Wenshen Hot springs
- Location: Taroko National Park (6hrs drive to Taipei)
If you appreciate a natural wonders as much as us, the Taroko Gorge is one you can’t miss. Containing over half the wildlife population of Taiwan it’s a unique chance to take a peek into the country’s pristine wilderness. Simply amble along the hiking trails taking in the majestic scenery, or for the more active there are numerous spots for kayaking, swimming, or river tracing.
- Overview: top secret coastline and perfect beaches
- Famous for: stretches of sand backed by majestic evergreens
- Must try: the locally caught seafood
- Location: on Taiwan’s south coast
You’d be surprised to find that the southern tip of Taiwan is awash with the idyllic beaches of the Kenting National Park. The activities here are endless. Whether you fancy taming the waves on a surf board, hiking in the grassy meadows, or simply flopping on golden sands before tucking to some freshly caught seafood. For music lovers the area hosts Spring Scream – one of Asia’s biggest outdoor music festival