On a clear, sunny day, there's nothing quite like the feeling of euphoria and exhilaration (often relief) as you reach the summit of a hill or mountaintop, throw the pack down, turn around and take in the magnificent panorama that unfolds below.
Shihsanhang (十三行) is the archeological pride of northern Taiwan -- and a pleasant day trip from Taipei within easy reach of the MRT.
It was a sunny morning, clearly the beginning of a lovely day, but I still found myself desperately tossing and turning in bed with a dilemma.
Right about now is one of the best times to visit Mt. Kwanyin (觀音山), across the estuary from Danshui in Taipei County. While countless hillsides throughout Taiwan turned white last month under the annual deluge of white tung blossoms (which seem even more spectacular this year than ever), Mt. Kwanyin doesn't have a very large population of tung trees.
Sitting in an MRT train speeding between Taipei and Danshui, it's easy to dismiss Mt. Kwanyin (觀音山), looming across the river, as a great view and little more.
You're tired of being stuck in an office or a classroom all day. You have an itch to get outdoors, but you are also growing more and more annoyed with the weekend crowds that flock to the popular sites throughout Taiwan.
Keelung, Taiwan's second port on the island's northeast coast, seems to get a lot of bad press. For many years, I knew it as the rainiest city in Taiwan and a place with a good night market, and that was about it.
Along Taiwan's rocky northeast coast come April, bright white lilies (野百合) pop out from between rocks, clinging to steep hillsides, dotting the slopes with white stars. These lilies are native to Taiwan, and in fact are named Lilium formosanum.
There are four different species of lilies growing on the island. They are Slimstem Lily, L.longiflorum, L. speciosum Thunb. Var. gloriosoides Baker and Formosan Lily. The L. longiflorum and Formosan Lily are the two major lily species now in Taiwan that are easily to be found in the countryside.
Since the Council for Hakka Affairs (CHA) launched the Hakka Tung Blossom Festival in 2002, the Tung blossom has become a tourism phenomenon during mid April and early May.