Sun Moon Lake
Perhaps the most famous of Taiwan's big three natural attractions, Sun Moon Lake is not as overrated as Alishan, but is nonetheless far less worthwhile than Taroko Gorge. The lake is certainly pretty when viewed from Shuishe, especially in the morning, but it hardly justifies a place on a visitor's itinerary. Furthermore views of the lake are increasingly becoming marred by overdevelopment, and any peace in Shuishe is shattered by the often-terrible, overamplified music performances that take place by the water. You can simply do far better for beautiful scenery in Taiwan.
Unique Suggestions: At least there is a lot to keep you occupied if you do bother visiting. Maolan Hill is a pleasant walk ending with excellent views, and if you're a strong hiker Shuishe Mountain is supposed to be an excellent walk. You can also bike around the lake.
Fun Alternatives: If you want mountains, cross the Central Cross-Island Highway. If you want a natural wonder, visit Taroko Gorge.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
Alishan Forest Recreation Area
This is one of Taiwan's three famous natural attractions, the other two being Sun Moon Lake and Taroko Gorge. It is also Taiwan's most famous tourist trap. The attractions here (a coniferous forest and the sunrise) are decent enough but hardly worth the effort of coming here. It is scarred by overdevelopment and yet lacks any decent eating options. It is overrun by tourists, particularly from mainland China. It is not even worth the time of unadventurous tourists.
Keep in mind that "Alishan" can refer to several places. Most famous is the Forest Recreation Area reviewed here. It also however refers to Alishan Township and the Alishan Mountain Range, both of which cover areas far more vast than the FRA, and both of which contain far more worthwhile sights.
Unique Suggestions: Go to Tataka further down the highway and do some walks around Jade Mountain, the tallest mountain in Taiwan. There is also a cheap hostel you can stay at here, though you will need to bring your own food. Public transport here is spotty and hitching is impractical, however. Your best bet is probably taking a "sunrise tour" from the FRA and staying for a day.
Fun Alternatives: Try visiting some of the other towns lying off the Alishan railway, said to have far better scenery.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
If you come to Taiwan, don't focus your stay in any city. Many people come to Taiwan and sty in Taipei. There is more to Taiwan than the Taipei 101!!!!
Also the most expensive place in taiwan. if you like high end luxuries and spending cash while staying at 6 star hotels, maybe its good to stay here....if thats not you, go for the bus/train station!
Unique Suggestions: 1. See the Taipei 101.
2. Go to the markets
3. Go to the zoo
4. Leave and don't bother returning cause thats all there is there (haha.....)
Fun Alternatives: take a trip south, or down the east coast.....Taiwan is beautiful (Formosa), why stay in a busy city that is focused on business and offices? see the tourist areas, Taiwan is literally **LOADED** with tourist activities!!!
NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRADITIONAL ARTS
The NCTA’s aim is to protect, exhibit and promote the traditional arts of drama,music, crafts, dance,and folk technology and design and establish the spirit of traditional arts culture on Taiwanese behalf.
268, Sec 2 Wu-pin Rd, Wu-chieh Township, Yilan County, Taiwan
Unique Suggestions: Traditional art is an organic outgrowth of people’s daily lives, bringing together the beauty of folk life with the wellspring of culture.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
WINDOW ON CHINA
Window On China is located an hour south of Taipei, which has 90 perfect miniature reproductions of the best known structures in both Taiwan and mainland China.
Unique Suggestions: Is the same with Splendid China In ShenZhen
Fun Alternatives: By train or bus. After coming to Chungli’s train st, across the station, get on a Hinchu Keyun Co bus. Get off at the Window on China stopRelated to:
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
Rafting on Hsukuluan River
It was a few days after typhoon Kaemi ŠM•Ä, there are two families of four plus myself on the raft. There are five rafts and looked aftered by 2 guides each on a fast motor boat.
It was a clear sunny day. The scenery was nice but the rafting was very boring if you have rafted in New Zealand or Australia before. I think this Hsukuluan River is not even grade 1.
I would rather saved that NT$650 for the a half day tour elsewhere.Related to:
Wufenpu - wholesale mkt NOT for kids clothes
Personally I did not quite like Wufenpu. The streets are narrow, without cover most of the time. What I mean is, if it is raining, I strongly advise you not to go. It is very difficult to juggle a dripping umbrella, and look at / try on clothes. Besides, most of the shops don't have a fitting room.
For kids clothes, you should go to Taipei Main Station Underground Malls instead. Here, it is true that the kids clothes are very very very nice. However, they do not do single sales, i.e. you need to buy in bulk. Most of the stores require to buy at least 10 items of the same design. Usually, these are of varying sizes, but definitely SAME design.
Unique Suggestions: Take measurements first, of the basic areas, e.g. bust, hip, length (if buying for somebody else0 etc. Bring a tape measure with you.
Highly recommend to buy the paper tape measure from IKEA, so you can just write down the various measurements for various people, on the tape measure itself.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Don't take local tours that squeeze in too much
Try not to take local tours, esp those that squeeze in too much activities / sites into one day. It's better to take your own time, and explore, smell the roses a little! *smile*
I have come across several full-day tours and these typically cost around NTD1200. One such example brings you to Jiufen (North East coast), then to Beitou, then to Yang Ming Shan (YMS) which is huge and worth several hours' exploration, and I think they squeeze in Danshui in the evening! If you look at the map, it is rather a mad-rush... Just imagine, it takes 1 hour approx EACH to get from central TP to Jiufen, YMS, and about 45 mins to Danshui
How else could I have taken such a beautiful photo like this? These are the steps that my friend and I sat on, sharing a bottle of red wine, some Taiwanese tid-bits (muar chee - although it's too sweet to go with wine *Doh*!), while somewhere the beautiful strains of Norah Roberts COME FLY WITH ME album songs come wafting through the misty.
Unique Suggestions: Do some research. Read the maps. Go to Taiwan forums. Ask. Ask. Ask!Related to:
- Budget Travel
*Taxi: I know , I know . If...
I know , I know . If you ever been to Taiwan , you'd think , how could the taxi fare be so cheap here in Taiwan . But do be careful of some of them , there are some unconscionable taxi drivers will try to rip you off , if they know you are a tourist here .
YangMing Shan & Taiwan's Greatest Resource-PEOPLE
The Taiwanese have a saying: "?ãŽÔ?‡æS‰ºŽÔ”A”A" (Shang che shuizhao xia che niao niao). The sentence refers to the long-standing Taiwanese tradition of getting a group of 30, 40, or 50 of your closest neighbors and friends together on a tour bus and going to some tourist spot, ususally for a couple hours (at most), and then getting on the bus and heading back home. The literal translation of the sentence is "board the bus to sleep, get off the bus to pee."
Unfortunately, one of the most popular destinations of these rolling karaoke clubs (yes, karaoke is provided on the buses at no extra charge, aside from the payment your poor ears have to make!) is YangMing Shan.
YangMing Shan is great, if you have time to go there when no one else is there, which would probably be around 3am any given Monday morning. I have been there once (see picture), on a Sunday afternoon, and it felt like there were more people on that mountain than people that heard about Madonna and Britney Spears kissing. It was horrendous!!
The tour buses start rolling in around 9am, dumping loads of middle-aged people and older off (fittingly near the toilets), park the buses in a bus parking lot, and wait. Sadly, the people keep coming, just like some mad Energizer bunny, until you are overwhelmed with the sights & sounds not of beautiful flowers or mist rolling through the hills and valleys, but by the garbage, cell phone calls, sausage vendors, and high heels (YangMing Shan is a great place for a date in Taipei).
It's a great place to go day hiking (the crowds are less likely to get off the beaten track), but if you're here on a short visit and have a limited schedule, head somewhere else.
Unique Suggestions: Of course, Monday morning at 3am is not the only time to go enjoy the natural beauty of YangMing Shan (though you'd probably get a good view of the TaiChi practitioners). If you're going to go, for God's sake, don't go on the weekends. And if it's raining out, all the more reason to go. I know, rain's kinda crummy, but I personally love walking around on mountains when it's raining (not too hard of course). And NO ONE goes to the mountains (or parks, or seaside, or river) when it rains in Taiwan.
Fun Alternatives: Head outside of Taipei county. Central Taiwan has hundreds of hiking areas with even better views unmarred by humans. Alishan, Jade Mountain, or He Huan Shan are some good alternatives (though the biggest tip, and the biggest touring problem in Taiwan really is: WEEKENDS ARE ALWAYS THE WORST TIME TO GO ANYWHERE).Related to:
- Family Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Ak sa nahodou rozhodnete...
Ak sa nahodou rozhodnete zapochodovat si vo volnej prirode, tak mate smolu, lebo vsade na vas cakaju vymurovane chodnicky a schody az do neba. Tato cinska ruza kvitne nedaleko Tse pagody, ktora bola postavena na pamiatku matky Chiang Kai-Sheka vyznamnej to osobnosti taiwanskych dejin minuleho storocia.
This massive memorial was...
This massive memorial was built by his son to honor his father. Tacky indeed. The land was originally reserved for the trade exhibition center but then Chiang Kai Shek died. The Taiwanese don't view as highly of this political figure as its memorial might suggest. Architecturally it takes the form of a temple and gigantic in size, which lacks contextual form in what exactly it's trying to convey. The only undisputed fact about this memorial is that indeed it looks very Chinese and I think that's what the architect had in mind as CKS died in vain thinking about the China that he never got to rule.
The citizens of Taipei do enjoy this open space. Thus it's worth a visit in that sense. It is a nice park for kites, rollerblades, and other family activities. Never seriously mind what the memorial stands for, otherwise I think people would stop using it even as an open space.
Honestly this man does not deserve a memorial, not to mention the size of it. Let's set history straight. We are talking about a power-hungry fascist warlord that occupied parts of China, and later by chance/luck became the president of the Republic of China, and then became really a dictator of Taiwan that committed the largest massacre ever happened in peace time. I don't think I've ever seen a Hitler memorial nor a Hitler Airport, but you get the CKS memorial and CKS airport right here in Taiwan. I know the Taiwanese are friendly but come on. If this were the Koreans they would have re-named their airport and blown up the memorial by now.
Snake Alley in Taipei. It's...
Snake Alley in Taipei. It's fun anyway and you can try cobra meat and look at pickled snakes (just see photo).
We did not have very high expectations about the standards of accomodation in Taipei and, actually,...more
We stayed in the Ambassador Hotel, Kaohsiung which is located on the Love River. This was a good...more
This hotel is located beside the Sun Moon Lake and each room is equipped with a Hot Spring Bath Tub...more
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