When Taiwan was not Taiwan, but a lonely island in the Pacific Ocean, when there was no Han population in this land and we can imagine the idyllic aboriginal paradise, living in several valleys and plains of this almost empty region, the Tang (唐) Dynasty ruled in the huge, heavily populated Chinese empire.
As the summer heat picks up, hiking in the steep little mountains around Taipei is rapidly becoming a less than tempting proposition, so it's great to discover that rarest of hikes in Taiwan: the long, scenically stunning, yet mostly level walk.
You can look, but you can't touch. Sounds like advice you might hear regarding certain beautiful girls in Taiwan. However, when in Taimali (太麻里), Taitung (台東) County, this wisdom applies to an amazing stretch of beach along the coastal highway.
The trail is less than a meter wide and five hundred meters long, but as our group gingerly follows the narrow strip, suspended halfway up the sheer face of Taroko Gorge's highest cliff face, I think the feeling is unanimous that this is probably the most spectacular, easily accessible hike in Taiwan.
I almost didn't want to go back to this valley, that's how much I love it. Between 2000-2004, I river-traced and camped in this gorge twelve times.
Standing for a group shot in front of the simply named Ancient Tree no. 1, there's ample room for ten of us to pose, lined up in a row and leaning on the tree's prodigiously broad, curving trunk.
It's always a delight to be able to get out of the city and up into the mountains into the fresh air, beautiful scenery and amongst the chirping birds.
The countryside around Pinglin (坪林), best-known as one of Taiwan's best tea growing areas, is also among Taipei County's best-kept secrets.
One of my students remarked that when you visit Taitung (台東) County "it feels like nobody lives there." That's one of the main draws, in my opinion, but, time and again, I feel as if I'm being magnetically pulled back to the far-away county by the call of its mountains.
A special four-day mountain bike tour organized by a private adventure organizer; In Motion Asia, will be held to coincide with the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival long weekend, allowing experienced limited riders the opportunity to enjoy some of the best mountain biking trails in Taiwan and experience first-hand the stunning beauty and world-class riding on offer in Taiwan., 1 Comment