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Travel Guide for the 2009 New Year Holiday — Taiwan Central

The Lunar New Year Holiday will begin on Jan. 24. This year there will be up to nine days for camera-wielding tourists and their families to take either a long or short trip around the island.

So far, almost all tourism—related businesses, such as transportation companies, hotels, recreational areas and scenic parks are already prepared to accommodate the influx of visitors.

Whether taking public transportation or driving a car or motorcycle, visitors will have to overcome the traffic issue before reaching their destination as traffic jams during this period of the year are inevitable.

Also, travelers must be sure to reconfirm their hotel rooms. Most major hotels are already fully booked. An alternative is to try and find a home stay near your desired destination.

Here are some recommended scenic areas around the island to go.

Taichung Area

■ Houfong Bicycle Path is the shortest of Taichung County's bike-only tourist trails. Just 4.5 kilometers long, it doesn't take more than an hour and a half to cycle from one end to another and back again. If you have time on your hands, you can still go further afield, up into the hills behind the small town of Houli (one of the largest production centers for saxophones in the world!), or along the nearby Dongfong Bicycle Path.

■ The Fongjia Night Market, in Taichung City's famous commercial business districts, offers delicious local snack foods, such as rice noodle soup with mushrooms, bamboo shoots, dried tiger lilies, dried shrimp, oysters and shredded pork. Night markets in Taiwan are great places to shop for bargains and feel the pulse of Taiwan's after-hours life. The markets are a bustle of noise and energy, with friendly restaurant owners calling out their menus, stall holders calling out their wares, and crowds of curious onlookers, shoppers and diners mingling together in the night air.

Nantou Area

■ Taiwan has no shortage of unusual attractions for those willing to search them out, and the Xian Feng Ling Sun Moon Cave, cut into the face of a hillside in the southwest corner of Nantou County in central Taiwan, certainly fits into this category. The 52m-long cave was carved into a small rock face on the side of Mt. Wandou, high above the tiny hamlet of Taziwan, by a retired local over a period of ten years between 1969 and 1979.

■ Set like a jewel among the green hills and mountains of central Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is glorious. On a sunny day the lake surface dances and sparkles in the light, and when the mist rolls in from the surrounding peaks, the area's dazzling beauty melts away into something more alluringly mysterious.

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 Travel Guide for the 2009 New Year Holiday — Taiwan Central 
Standing at a peak, hikers can see a great view across the ever-interesting Changhua Plain. (The China Post file photo)

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