A large boulder stands beside county route 122 at the trailhead of Ruitai Old Trail, inscribed with the words "hao han po" (好漢坡), which, roughly translated, means "slope of the heroes."
I've often thought how very fortunate it is that Alishan lies in Chiayi County, because this wildly popular (and admittedly very beautiful) mountain forest park acts like a kind of magnet, inexorably drawing nearly every day-tripper and tourist within a 50-kilometer radius towards itself, while leaving most of the surrounding countryside blissfully quiet and undiscovered.
In modern day Taiwan, Wu Feng (吳鳳) is a controversial figure. Many say that his life story has been exaggerated and manipulated, and others believe that he never even existed.
Have you ever been sure that you knew something, a person or place maybe, only to then see it from a different angle and have all your opinions blown away? That's exactly what happened to me recently, not once but twice, when I stumbled back across the town of Chukou (觸口) in Chiayi (嘉義) County.
Chiayi County is promoting its southern coastline as a destination for birdwatchers, and late last year they invited more than twenty reporters -- including this writer -- to tour a number of birding sites.
Turn down a country road in Taiwan, follow it for 10-20 kilometers, and more often than not you'll come across a quaint little town, a fantastic view, a hiking trail or some other point of interest that will make you want to stop and look around.
It is something of an irony, but just a few kilometers from southern Taiwan's most famous seafood market, there's a conservation area that's dedicated to the protection, rather than consumption, of sea creatures.
Every year in the spring, thousands of religious pilgrims make the long trek from Taichung (台中) County to Chiayi (嘉義) County--and back again--in honor of the goddess Matsu (媽祖).
At the heart of Chung Cheng University's (中正大學) leafy 132-hectare campus is a large and picturesque lake.
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.