There are so many temples in Taiwan that visitors sometimes wonder if anything distinguishes one from another. Certainly, many places of worship look very similar. As Taiwan has grown wealthier, hundreds of Buddhist and Taoist shrines have been rebuilt or renovated using mass-produced stone carvings and roof decorations. The result, some say, is that now no two temples are different.
In the past few decades, Taiwan's economy has changed from one dependent on heavy manufacturing industry to one based on technology and services. What is known in Britain as "industrial archaeology" -- the study of disused factories and machinery -- is coming into its own in Taiwan, as people rediscover the historical importance of landmark mines and mills.
Laiji is a small village deep inside the Alishan National Scenic Area. It is a typical Tsou (鄒族) community and so far it still keeps the Tsou tribe's rich culture and traditions.
With the Alishan Scenic Area Administration's help in development and promotion, Fongshan has become a rising star among Taiwan's scenic spots. Now more and more people have started visiting Fongshan to explore the natural beauty behind the mountains.
Staying in a resort hotel is a common experience for most people who travel on the island. However, it might be a unique experience to stay in a homestay. As a matter of fact, to stay in a homestay is one of the best ways to get closer to the real life in Taiwan and experience first-hand local customs and practices.
Mountain trains, seas of clouds and mountain forests are Alishan's (阿里山) three famous scenic attractions. However, the cherry blossoms in spring are much more popular than the previous three attractions.
In Taiwan, it is becoming more and more difficult to see fireflies flying in the countryside on a summer night due to the severe water pollution in rivers in the past three decades. Now, if you want to see fireflies, the Great Alishan National Scenic Area is the best place to see these insects appear in summer.
Taiwan has its fair share of farms that offer a peek into its verdant countryside and the natural bounty that the land hides so skillfully behind its urban gloss. In the past decade, the government has expanded the infrastructure and included these farms in the list of possible tourist destinations.
I leaned towards the car window to look more closely at the rugged wall of hills that surrounded us on all sides. In the approaching dusk they appeared like mystical creatures, ready to pounce on us at any time.
Dahu's Sharp Mountain (大湖尖山) is not the only mountain bearing that name in Taiwan. It's not even the only hill called "Sharp Mountain" in Chiayi County. But this bamboo-covered peak makes for a good trip that includes plenty of exercise. Even if the weather is overcast, as it was during my visit, you'll be treated to fine views of the surrounding hills and valleys.