As I followed the jostling crowd through the winding alleys of an old market street in Lukang (鹿港), centuries of history suddenly enveloped me from all sides. Carved doorways and windows, intricately designed arches over the main entrance, thin brick walls and red tiled road -- all speak of an era gone by when art and architecture blended seamlessly to create beautiful masterpieces.
Summer is the season for flower blossoms and also is the season for travel, especially in Taiwan. The Nancy Yu Huang Foundation and The China Post held a two-day ecotourism trip to Wuling Farm (武陵農場) also called the (余夢燕新聞文教基金會) Wuling Recreation Area inside the Shei Pa National Park (雪霸國家公園) in the central part of the island two weeks ago.
Every year, 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).
Over the past several years, especially since Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization in 2002, local farmers have been forced to diversify in order to survive. Instead of growing rice, fruit or vegetables in the traditional manner, some now cultivate flowers or organic foods. Others think tourism is the way forward, and have turned their fields into leisure farms.
As we drove our scooters into the little aboriginal settlement of Cha Shan (茶山,tea mountain) one mid Saturday afternoon in early March, we disturbed a ball game that was underway in the middle of the village main street.
One of the delights of living in Taiwan is that, even after years of traveling within the island whenever I get the chance, there still seem to be plenty of interesting places I've not yet visited.
About the only place many Chinese ever get to see live fish are at the local pet shop or swimming sadly around a tiny aquarium at a seafood restaurant waiting to be fished out, cooked and eaten.
According to the map, the tiny aboriginal village of Tefuyie lies smack-dab right on the Tropic of Cancer, yet the chilly January night we sat huddled around the bonfire just outside our home stay on the edge of this tiny settlement deep in the mountains was anything but tropical.
As the taxi made its way over the flat terrain of western Chiayi (嘉義) County and approached the seaside village of Tongshih, about an hour's drive from Chiayi City -- and just a half-hour from the new High-Speed Railway train station in Taibao (太保 ) -- a cool breeze from the ocean carried fragrant smells from this quaint, picturesque "oyster village".
How many tourists that sweep along the Alishan highway, or chug along the mountain railway that connects the resort with Chiayi city on the plain below know there's another, even more scenic (if slower) way to get to this most popular of Taiwan's mountain resorts?