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Taiwan's scenic areas wecome arrival of 2014

TAIPEI -- Anyone wanting to celebrate the arrival of 2014 surrounded by nature will be offered a variety of options in national scenic areas around the country, according to the Tourism Bureau.

Ten out of a total of 13 national scenic sites in Taiwan will hold celebrations to greet the New Year, including countdown parties, concerts, sunrise and sunset watching events, the bureau said.

In the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area, where its “salt mountains” — large piles of salt drying in the sun — attracts large crowds year-round, visitors can bid farewell to the last sunset of 2013 with music, dance, and a ritual that involves the sprinkling of salt to seek good luck.

Those who prefer to see the year's first sunrise from a higher vantage point can visit central Taiwan's Alishan National Scenic Area, one of Taiwan's most popular scenic mountainous spots, to watch a classical music concert that has been held since 2003.

A countdown party will take the stage in the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area, featuring popular music between 3:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Jan. 1.

For wildlife lovers, Maolin National Scenic Area in southern Taiwan will be an ideal destination to welcome the New Year as a campfire party will be held overnight between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, while visitors will be invited to a butterfly-watching event on the morning of New Year's Day.

The park prides itself on a large population of purple crow butterflies, which tend to overwinter there.

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