Many beautiful scenic spots and marvelous hiking discoveries appear in none of the mushrooming number of guidebooks covering the various regions of Taiwan, but exist simply as a humble dot and place name on larger-scale maps.
Feeling like you're in the mood for a combination of a history, science and nature lesson? The three-year-old Formosa Plastics Group Museum, located on the campus of Chang Gung University (長庚大學) in Kwei-shan (龜山), Taoyuan (桃園), offers just that.
It seems the only way is up, up and up as the interminable road--a rough, single track affair lacking a single helpful signpost or trail ribbon to prove we're on the right route--climbs ever higher, leaving the stream far below.
Having lived in Shilin for eight years, I had passed Zhishan Hill on my way to Neihu (內湖), Yangmingshan and Neishuangxi (內雙溪) innumerable times, promising myself to visit this mysterious place soon.
Seeing large mammals in the wild is no easy task in Taiwan, but there are one or two places where the challenge is a little less difficult. For those living in the Taipei area, the Old Tienmu Trail, which begins at the end of Zhongshan N. Rd (中山北路), Sec. 7, offers a great opportunity.
The Neidong waterfalls in Wulai definitely do not fit into the off-the-beaten-track category, so if you are looking for a challenging, adventurous trip to the middle of the wilderness, you might consider choosing another destination.
"I really want to see wild monkeys before I leave Taiwan," my friend Frank said as we ventured onto Wulai's Red River Gorge Trail. "They're called macaques, right? I've got to see them. It's a must."
It's hard to believe today, but orchards of fruit trees probably once stood where the department stores and swanky new apartment blocks of Taoyuan City (桃園市) now stand.
The 2007 Jinshan (金山) and Wanli (萬里) Hot Spring Festival held by the North Coast and Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration (NCGNSAA) will run for two months from Dec. 1 to Jan. 31.
To see the most beautiful parts of northern Taiwan, it's generally necessary to get out of the car and walk, but at least one road in the region gives a pretty good glimpse of the magnificent mountains of the island's northern quarter.