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September, 27, 2016

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Travel > Taiwan North > Taipei
A second look at Sanxia
Just over a decade ago I went to Sanxia (三峽) in Taipei County (臺北縣) for the first time. I wrote about that trip for this newspaper, and I don't need to refer to my old article to recall what struck me during that visit: the rainy, blustery weather; the magnificence of the town's major temple; and the dilapidated yet picturesque redbrick houses along what was then called Minquan Street (民權街).
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Three-day cycling on Taiwan's mountain trails
Taiwan is often referred to as one of the most underrated adventure sport destinations in Asia if not the world. With a large portion of the island covered in huge mountains filled with hidden lakes, thousand year old forests, cascading waterfalls, and memorizing scenery it's hard to see why.
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A secret place in a popular area: Two Phoenix Gorge Waterfall
The lush, rugged and incident-packed landscape lining the upper reaches of the Keelung River Valley makes this a stunningly beautiful area, and one which deservedly attracts crowds on weekends to enjoy its scenic riches.
 
The amazing rock formations of Shiba Dong Tian
Ever wondered where Maokong (貓空), that ever-popular hillside on the southern edge of Taipei where everyone goes to drink tea, got its name?
 
Seeing the Muller's Barbets on a Taipei ecological trip
The summer time is the reproduction period for some wild birds in Taiwan. When you walk in the forest and watch the trees carefully, you may easily find bird nests.
 
A culture trip to Sanjhih
For most weekenders, the small town of Sanjhih (三芝) is nothing more than a hazy memory along the road to bigger, more well-known places such as White Sand Beach (白沙灣, surely the loveliest beach in north Taiwan) and Cape Fugui (富貴), which combines a fisherman's market (offering delicious seafood lunches) with some wild and panoramic sea views from Taiwan's northernmost point.
 
Lotus blossom in Summer
Summer is now in its hottest period with temperatures having reached as high as 35 degree Celsius in the past few days forcing people to find cool places.
 
Taking an adventure in the Sanmin Bat Cave
Paying a visit to the wonderful Sanmin Bat Cave, which was once one of the best short adventures of northern Taiwan, is a pretty straightforward affair these days, since the local authorities, seeking to open this imposing natural curiosity to everyone, changed the route of the access trail to the cavern, bypassing a long wade up the slippery stream bed, and the steep descent and ascent (with fixed ropes) of several rock faces.
 
The beautiful waterfalls, rocks and jungle of Chiedong Old Trail
Considering their location right beside a drivable road and that the many cool, shady spots in the glen below the falls are just made for relaxing on a hot summer day, it's a big surprise to find that the beautiful Chiedong Waterfalls (茄苳瀑布), in the hills above the Taipei County town of Xichi (汐止) haven't become a popular summer destination, as I've never seen more than a couple of other persons each of the many times I've paused at this lovely spot through the years.
 
Exploring Xichi's rich environs in a day trip
Of all the satellite towns surrounding Taipei City, Xichi (汐止), which is to the east of the metropolis and located on the road towards Keelung (基隆), has undoubtedly received the worst press.
 
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