Hikers heading up the winding mountain road en route to the popular peak of Lion's Head Mountain (獅頭山), high above the southern Taipei suburb of Xindian (新店), could be forgiven for missing an inconspicuous marble tablet nestling in the undergrowth beside the road.
Some say the only true way to see a county is to travel around it on two wheels, the leg-powered variety, and what better place to do it than on this beautiful island of Ilha Formosa!
Perhaps you've lived in Taipei for a while now. And perhaps there are times when you realize, "hmm, my life here isn't so different than it was back at home," and so in an attempt to soak up some atmosphere and culture, you hustle off to Danshui or Jiufen or any other small, mountainous village, only to realize that once you've been to one "lao jie" (old street), you've pretty much been to them all.
A red maple leaf fluttering in the air, dainty pavilions dotting tree-lined trails, sonorous waterfalls and tranquil ponds--these are the images of Yangmingshan (陽明山) that I hold very dear to my heart.
The Lin Family Garden in Banciao (板橋林家花園) is the oldest example of a traditional Chinese garden in Taipei. The construction of the enormous complex began in 1847 when Lin Ping-hou, a rich rice merchant, started building Bi-Yi Hall at Banciao.
It's neither a glittering landmark of the city, nor a big shopping mall sporting the biggest brands available, yet Taipei's Dihua (迪化) Street becomes a coveted destination for tourists and shopaholics alike prior to Chinese New Year (CNY).1 Comment
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."