Taiwan Stories – Sea Kayaking around the North-East Coast

30 Jul
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Published in Travel in Taiwan (July/August 2010)

Almost everywhere in Taiwan you will find breath-taking scenery, but perhaps the views that leave the deepest impression on visitors are those of the majestic, dramatic coastline. And what better way to take in all the splendour of these picturesque cliffs and bluffs than from the (somewhat) comfortable seat of a kayak!

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Taiwan Stories – White Water Rafting in Hualian

14 Apr
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Published in Travel in Taiwan magazine (May/June 2010)

The summers in Taipei can be overwhelming, even for long-term residents the combination of high temperatures and humidity are uncomfortable.  Fortunately, Taiwan has a plethora of different water-based activities to help you cool off and still get outside and make the most of the summer.

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TongXiao, MiaoLi County

14 Apr
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Field of Flowers

Published in Travel in Taiwan magazine (March/April 2010)

Rural Taiwan, has long played second-fiddle to the booming industrial areas in the island’s Economic Miracle, is finally seeing somewhat of a renaissance.  City dwellers, longing for fresh air and expansive countryside are looking to the farming areas that once drove the nation’s economy to find the peace and relaxation they seek as well as having a chance to re-discover some of the island’s more unique traditions.  TongXiao, in Miaoli County, is just one of the places taking advantage of this new tourism wave and we took the short train ride from Taipei to find out why.

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Maolin after Morakot

24 Nov
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DuoNa Mountains in the morning

Maolin Township is located in Kaohsiung County in Southern Taiwan. The Maolin township is intersected by the picturesque JuoKuo creek and lies between 230 and 2700 metres above sea level. The area has long been famous in Taiwan for it’s incredible natural hot springs that are set against stunning mountain backdrops as well as being the winter resting place for the purple crow butterfly. The township is composed of several small villages that are connected to one another and the rest of Kaohsiung County by a single, small road that weaves and winds its way through the steep mountains and over the creek. Almost all of the 2000 people who call Maolin home are members of the Rukai tribe of Taiwan aborigines.

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Meteor Lake (JiaMingHu)

18 Nov

Meteor Lake - JiaMingHu

Meteor Lake, JiaMingHu in Chinese, in Taidong County is a place of incredible natural beauty that has long been a favorite spot for hikers looking for spectacular scenery.  It was given the name Meteor Lake because it is believed that it was formed by a meteor crashing into Earth many years ago (Of course, this being Taiwan, there is a more romantic story – that the lake is a sapphire that was lost by God on Earth).   At over 3000 metres above sea level and a good days hike from the nearest major road, Meteor Lake is remote enough to ensure that it is able to retain it’s natural splendour and continue to astonish those adventurous enough to make the journey there. Continue reading

Motorcycling

17 Nov

Motorcycling near JinGuaShi

Motorcycling is something that I never imagined myself getting into.  Given that I’m a bit of a coward and the inherent dangers of riding a motorcycle, I figured that it was something I would always steer well clear of.  The first six months that I lived in Taiwan I didn’t touch a scooter or motorcycle.  I would see them fly past as I walked down the road and more often that I would have liked, saw them lying broken in the middle of the road after an all to common accident.  That was enough to put me off trying one out.  But one day, a friend inviting me on a trip to Taroko Gorge and naturally I jumped at the offer and took the train down with him and the rest of the group.  It wasn’t until we got on the train that my friend mentioned we were going to be hiring scooters and riding them to the gorge.  For those who have driven in Taroko Gorge before you will know that it isn’t the ideal place for a beginner to start out learning to ride a scooter.  Just the thought of the winding, narrow roads, coupled with sheer, near-vertical drops a matter of feet to the side of the road (not to mention to the tour buses or trucks that go through)  was enough to make my stomach churn with anxiety. Continue reading

NaMaXia (Formerly known as Sanmin)

17 Nov

Tea Mountain - Sea of Clouds

This is an excerpt from “Two Weeks Around Taiwan” a motorcycling trip around the island that my brother and I did in the Winter of 2008.

 After quite possibly the worst drive of our lives the previous day, we arrived at Sanmin township in surprisingly good spirits. This was mostly down to the best hot spring of our lives that we had at the end of the drive! I don’t know if there is something special about the hot spring water in Baolai or if it was just the sheer pleasure of finally being out of the cold and driving rain that made the hot spring incredibly relaxing and satisfying. Whatever it was, we were both pleased that we could feel our extremities once more and as if to emulate the perk in our moods, the sun finally decided to come out to play, too!

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