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September 24, 2017

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Central Taiwan travel spots
  Changhua    Chiayi    Nantou    Taichung    
Travel > Taiwan Central
Exploring secret valleys and natural curiosities around Zhongliao
Tucked away in a corner of Nantou County far from Sun Moon Lake, Sitou and the other major tourist attractions of the region, Zhongliao (中寮) village receives few outsiders, excepting those passing through on the way to the nearby resort town of Jiji. Secreted in the steep valleys to the east of town, however, are a number of interesting natural curiosities that make this an excellent half-day stop on any tour of Nantou.
Water Curtain Cave springs to life from classic Chinese literature
Westerners are often surprised by the evocative, even flowery names given to many places in Taiwan. The island's main international airport is in a city called "Peach Orchard" (Taoyuan, 桃園), and if translated literally, mainland Taiwan's two smallest counties are "Splendid Transformation" (Changhua, 彰化) and "Misty Forest" (Yunlin, 雲林).
Jiji is a rising star in central Taiwan
Take a trip to Jiji (集集) in Taiwan's central county of Nantou and three things quickly become apparent: Jiji is an extremely popular spot, especially with young couples and young families; its surrounding scenery is breathtaking; and it probably has the highest density of tandem bicycles in Taiwan, if not the world.
Exploring the man-made wonder of Xian Feng Ling Sun Moon Cave
Taiwan has no shortage of unusual attractions for those willing to search them out, and the Xian Feng Ling Sun Moon Cave (仙峰嶺日月洞), cut into the face of a hillside in the southwest corner of Nantou County in central Taiwan, certainly fits into this category – yet this unique oddity is also an impressive testament to the imagination and amazing determination of one man.
Make 'tracks' to the new bike and walking path through Chiayi rice paddies
An enterprising team of urban planners in the southwestern Taiwan city of Chiayi (嘉義) recently took over an unused and abandoned railroad running through the middle of the city and transformed it into a scenic "pedestrian paradise" and bicycle path with views of the distant Central Mountain Range.
A road less traveled to Alishan
If you're heading up to Alishan (阿里山) this weekend, and you're not riding the train, chances are you'll be taking the No. 18 Road from Chiayi (嘉義). Indeed, you might not even be aware that you have any alternative. In the No. 159, however, an alternative does exist.
Rueili's waterfalls
Just below the picturesque town of Rueili (瑞里) in Taiwan's southwest county of Chiayi (嘉義) lie the Yuntan (雲潭, "cloud pool") and Shuangxi (雙溪, "twin river") waterfalls. Nestled in the Alishan National Scenic Area, their beauty and easy access (just a few hundred meters' walk from the main road) have made them a favorite with tour groups and families alike.
Dinghu: A natural gem down the road from Alishan
From the dark and brooding to the bright and lurid, green in a hundred shades and tones lies in swathes across the Dinghu (頂湖) landscape. Trees, ferns, tea plants, bamboo, bushes, there is a such a wealth of plant-life here that whether you look up, down, right, or left you cannot escape it. Nature surrounds you at every turn.
Two old houses that stand tall:  architectural oddities in rural Chiayi
The three-sided, single-story courtyard house is a symbol of rural Taiwan, as timeless as rice paddies and water buffalo. From the beginning of mass Han Chinese settlement in the 1700s until as recently as the 1940s, courtyard houses accounted for the majority of human residences built in Taiwan's villages and small towns.
Remembering the 9-21 earthquake at Shihgang Dam
Given the rate at which Taiwan is changing these days, it's hardly surprising that a new arrival stepping off the plane at Chiang Kai-shek, er, Taoyuan Airport tomorrow could travel around the whole island and still have no idea of the horrific damage inflicted by the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that shook the island just a few years ago.
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