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Tourism. ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook 2011 Ch18 tourism


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From the last edition of the ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook that used to be published by the disbanded Government Information Office (GIO).

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Tourism. ROC (Taiwan) Yearbook 2011 Ch18 tourism

  1. 1. A well-known tourist attraction in Kinmen, this eclectic Chinese-Western style residence was built in 1931 with funds from Huang Hui-huang, a native of Kinmen who had earlier become a businessman in Indonesia. (Lin Jin-shu, courtesy of the Tourism Bureau)18五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 258 2011/10/18 1:59:33 AM
  2. 2. 18 Tourism At a Glance • Inbound visitor count hits historic high • Projects and measures to further boost tourism • 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition • In-depth traveling around Taiwan T aiwan offers a wide range of engaging choices for holiday- makers and world travelers. These include bustling metropo- lises, breathtaking alpine and coastal scenery, mouth-watering cuisine, diverse traditional Chinese as well as aboriginal arts and traditions, and some of the world’s friendliest people. For na- ture lovers, the main island’s mountains and foothills, with their lush forests, hot springs and crisscrossing network of hiking trails, offer many opportunities for exploration and relaxation. This chapter explores the magnificence of Taiwan’s national parks and scenic areas, as well as the colors, sounds and flavors of its many festi- vals and holidays. It also looks at various tourism promotional cam- paigns, events and festivals hosted by the Tourism Bureau and local government agencies, attracting inbound travelers whose number in- creased significantly in 2010. 25918五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 259 2011/10/18 1:59:34 AM
  3. 3. 18 Tourism Recent Developments and hotels and tour operators throughout the country. Some 31 countries, 59 cit- Travelers from overseas made a ies and 86 organizations from around the record-high 5.6 million visits to Taiwan world took part in the floral extravaganza. in 2010, up 1.2 million or 26.7 percent Visa Inc. and the Tourism Bureau over 2009, far surpassing the Tourism teamed up to launch the “Go Discover Bureau’s 4.5-million target. Among them, Taiwan with Visa” plan, which provided 58.3 percent were tourists. The jump in special offers to overseas Visa credit card volume of visits is accounted for mainly holders traveling in Taiwan between April by increases in the number of visitors 2010 and March 2011. These included ad- from East and Southeast Asia (see “Main mission to attractions such as the world- Sources of Visitors” section). class National Palace Museum (NPM) 國 立故宮博物院; enjoyment of cuisine at pop- Tourism Promotion Campaigns ular restaurants like Tu Hsiao Yueh 度小月 Building on the success of the Tour and Din TaiFung 鼎泰豐 (ranked as one of Taiwan Years (2008-2009) program, the Asia’s best restaurants in the 2010/2011 Tourism Bureau 交通部觀光局 carried out edition of the Miele Guide); and discounts several promotion campaigns in 2010, at major retail establishments, such as including the “Go Discover Taiwan with the Taipei 101 Mall, the Eslite Bookstore Visa” Go享受!台灣吃喝玩樂盡在Visa卡 and chain 誠品書店, Pacific SOGO Depart- “Tour Taiwan and Experience the Centen- ment Store 太平洋崇光百貨 and Shin Kong nial” 旅行台灣.感動100 plans. The bureau Mitsukoshi Department Store 新光三越. also promoted the 2010 Taipei Interna- As a continuation of the Tour Taiwan tional Flora Exposition 臺北國際花卉博覽 Years program, the “Tour Taiwan and 會, which drew 8.96 million visitors, or an Experience the Centennial” highlights average 52,700 visitors per day. celebration of the ROC centennial. In- With an investment of about US$300 depth travel packages comprising 10 million, the Taipei floral expo generated themes, nominated by specialist teams about NT$16.8 billion (US$531 million) and selected by online public vote, are worth of business in Taiwan for horticul- offered so that travelers can get to know turists in central and southern Taiwan, Taiwan better. These include religious Taiwan Welcomes Individual Tourist Visits from Mainland China Visits to Taiwan by certain types of individual tourists from mainland China have been permitted since June 22, 2011. Taiwan began allowing visits by tourist groups from main- land China in July 2008. Residents of Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen are the first of mainland tourists to be al- lowed entry for individual visits, with the initial daily quota for such solo tourist visits set at 500. Applicants must be at least 20 years old, provide proof of income, and may be ac- companied by spouses, parents or dependents. Students aged 18 or above are also eligible to apply. Tourists from mainland China who wish to travel in Taiwan on their own must provide itineraries and emergency contact information for relatives on the mainland, along with proof of having purchased travel insurance with coverage of NT$2 million (US$67,769). They may apply for stays of up to 15 days. Those who overstay will be banned from enter- ing Taiwan for three years. 26018五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 260 2011/10/18 1:59:34 AM
  4. 4. Digitally-rendered images of flowers endemic to Taiwan were featured in floor projections during the 2010 Taipei International Flora Exposition. and folk customs, indigenous Austrone- administrative regions of Hong Kong and sian people’s cultures, local cultural tradi- Macau—Japan at 19.6 percent, Malaysia tions, and contemporary arts. Among the at 5.1 percent, Singapore at 4.3 percent plentiful recreational opportunities are and Korea at 3.9 percent. hot springs, hiking and cycling eco tours Tourism in Taiwan has been greatly and tours of celebrity-related sites. boosted by the easing of restrictions The centennial program also includes by both Taipei 臺北 and Beijing on the a year-long, Internet-based “Happystay movement of mainland Chinese and, in 100” 幸福旅宿.百種感動.住我家最感動PK活 July 2008, by the launch of direct flights 動 campaign launched in September 2010, between Taiwan and new destinations where local residents are asked to help se- in mainland China (adding to the direct lect Taiwan’s top hotels and guesthouses air links that have long existed between as a means of boosting domestic travel. Taiwan and the mainland’s special ad- The Tourism Bureau also introduced ministrative regions of Hong Kong and the 2010-2011 Taiwan Incentive Tour Macau). Encouraging this trend was the Offers and Promotions 獎勵來臺旅遊優惠措 launch of flights between Taipei Interna- 施 to provide tour groups with souvenirs, tional Airport 臺北國際航空站 (Songshan administrative assistance and cultural Airport) and Shanghai Hongqiao Inter- performances. Details are available at national Airport 上海虹橋國際機場 in June 2010, supplementing flights to and from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport 臺 Main Sources of Visitors 灣桃園國際機場. In 2010, the bulk of visitors—about According to Tourism Bureau data, 4 million out of the total 5.6 million— mainland Chinese from regions other came from East and Southeast Asia. The than Hong Kong and Macau made more four most important sources for visitors than 1.6 million visits to Taiwan in to Taiwan were mainland China, at about 2010, each for an average of eight days, 43 percent—one-third from the special spending between US$230 and US$300 26118五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 261 2011/10/18 1:59:36 AM
  5. 5. 18 Tourism per person per day. The spots they most often visited were the NPM, Taroko Efforts to market Taiwan in Southeast Asia and other Asian nations as a tour- Gorge 太魯閣峽谷, Sun Moon Lake 日月潭, ist destination have also paid off. For the Taipei 101 skyscraper—the world’s instance, nearly 286,000 visitors from second-highest—and night markets. Malaysia came to Taiwan in 2010, a Japan has long been one of the most growth of 71 percent from the previous popular tourist destinations among year, while the number of Singaporeans Taiwanese. The resumption of flights visiting Taiwan rose to over 241,000, a between Taipei’s Songshan Airport and rise of 24 percent. Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on October 31, 2010, after three decades of suspended Enhancing Tourism Appeal service between the two airports has en- Tourism is one of several indus- hanced the convenience of travel between tries targeted by the ROC government Taiwan and Japan. The number of two- for development assistance. Accord- way visits between the two countries’ ingly, the Tourism Bureau launched travelers in 2010 reached 2.5 million. “Project Vanguard for Excellence in According to data issued by the National Tourism” 觀光拔尖領航方案 (2009-2012) Immigration Agency 內政部入出國及移民 to capitalize on Taiwan’s advanta- 署, 1.1 million Japanese visitors came to geous location as a transportation hub Taiwan in 2010. of East Asia and develop international Visitors from South Korea numbered and domestic tourism. about 217,000 in 2010, an increase of It is expected that the project will 29.4 percent. That year, they and visitors help maintain visits by foreign nation- from Japan spent over US$1.6 billion als at about 5.5 million in 2012 and in Taiwan. generate more than US$10 billion in Medical Travel Taiwan is at the forefront of practice of both Western and Chinese medicine, with health care professionals who offer the highest standard of service at costs well below those in most Western and some Asian nations. Physical examinations, dental treatment, cardiovas- cular surgery, craniofacial surgery and joint replacement surgery are among the medical procedures for which Taiwan’s medical expertise is commonly sought. Taiwan also leads in cosmetic surgery and aesthetic medicine, offering highest-standard care that costs one-fifth to one-sixth of that in the Unites States and the United Kingdom. In recent years, Taiwan has annually received tens of thousands of visits by foreign tourists seeking health care services. Services provided to visitors from Asian countries are currently valued at more than US$4.5 billion per year. More than US$2.5 billion in government funding was invested by 2010 in promotion of the health care industry, which is expected to provide services worth US$11 billion in 2012. The Taiwan Task Force for Medical Travel 行政院衛生署國際醫療管理工作小組 was estab- lished under the Department of Health 行政院衛生署 to serve as a platform for providing overseas nationals with information about medical services available at accredited hospitals and, to that end, enhancing cooperation between government agencies, hospitals and health care-related civil organizations. For details about medical travel in Taiwan, including information about costs and serv- ice options, see and 26218五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 262 2011/10/18 1:59:36 AM
  6. 6. foreign exchange earnings—over 2 per- revised according to international stan- cent of Taiwan’s projected GDP—and dards, with stars replacing the traditional about US$8 billion worth of domestic plum blossoms. The new system was tourism spending. It is also anticipated developed with reference to the American that the project will create 400,000 jobs Automobile Association’s system of eval- and attract private investments of US$6 uating the facilities and service quality billion by international hotel chains and of hotels. Consumers will be able to find other enterprises. lodgings that match their needs through Action plans of the project call for this new rating system. Eight hotels were highlighting contrasting themes for dif- awarded five stars in November 2010 ferent regions of Taiwan. These include, among the first 24 participating hotels. for example, promoting northern Taiwan Many other prominent hotels have yet to as a hub of Chinese culture and arts with be rated. trendy metropolitan areas, and eastern According to the bureau’s statistics, Taiwan as a paradise for leisure and rec- as of the end of 2010 Taiwan had 68 in- reational activities. Others involve orga- ternational tourist class hotels, 36 tourist nization of activities in connection with class hotels, 2,614 budget hotels and 3,062 events such as the Taipei Flora Expo and guesthouses and B&B operators. the 2011 International Design Alliance Congress. Also included are projects for renovating hotels, tourist sites and facili- Transportation Options ties, improving services and training The world’s major airlines fly from personnel as well as carrying out inno- points all over the world to Taiwan vative marketing. Taoyuan International Airport near Taipei. Within the city limits, Taipei’s Songshan New Hotel Rating System Airport connects Taiwan with locations The Tourism Bureau has launched a in mainland China and Japan, and links new hotel rating system, which has been northern Taiwan with airports throughout A stunning view from the Lalu Hotel 涵碧樓 overlooking Sun Moon Lake. Once a guesthouse of the late ROC President Chiang Kai-shek, the building was refurbished and opened as a hotel in 2003. 26318五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 263 2011/10/18 1:59:39 AM
  7. 7. 18 Tourism the island. Southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung island’s seamless transportation network. International Airport 高雄國際航空站 like- National parks and scenic areas are excel- wise services flights to and from main- lent choices for first-time or repeat visitors. land China and Japan as well as several other Asian countries. National Parks In Taipei and Kaohsiung 高雄, buses While national parks have been es- and metro systems make getting around tablished primarily to preserve natural easy, while comprehensive intercity bus resources rather than to foster tourism, and train networks—along with Taiwan’s they also serve recreational purposes. Of high-speed rail service—ensure that ac- the eight national parks, the seven that are cessing the rest of Taiwan is convenient. open to the public are introduced below. Car rental services are widely available, Work is now underway in the eighth, and taxis are plentiful in cities. Dongsha Atoll National Park 東沙環礁國家 公園, to preserve its coral reef ecosystem Government Services for prior to its opening. Travelers Kenting Information centers operated by the Covering 33,290 hectares, Kenting Tourism Bureau at airports and in major National Park 墾丁國家公園 wraps around cities help foreign visitors design tours Taiwan’s tropical southernmost tip, fea- best suited to their interests, locate lodg- turing a dramatic coastline formed by ing or find their way. The bureau pub- millions of years of geological activity. lishes an array of informational materials, The park features fossilized coral cliffs, including the monthly magazine Travel living coral reefs and diverse marine life. in Taiwan. Meanwhile, every city and Migratory birds also gather here in au- county provides information in English to tumn and winter. enhance the ease and enjoyment of sight- seeing in its particular area. Kinmen Tourists and the expat community can Kinmen National Park 金門國家公園 oc- resolve various questions regarding visas, cupies roughly one quarter of the Kinmen travel and residency through the Informa- Islands, which are located just a couple of tion for Foreigners service, which offers kilometers from the coast of the Chinese 24-hour assistance in English, Japanese mainland. Traditional-style buildings, his- and Chinese via a toll-free telephone torical towers and other items of cultural number (0800-024-111). Also, the Tour- significance dot the islands, the oldest ism Bureau operates a 24-hour toll-free structure being a temple dating back to Tourist Information Hotline (0800-011- the 13th century. 765) in English, Japanese, Korean and The first of the ROC’s national parks Chinese for information on travel itinerar- to be established primarily for the pur- ies or emergency assistance. pose of preserving historical and cultural assets, Kinmen National Park contains Nature many battlefield relics from the period from 1950 to 1960, when the islands were Taiwan is blessed with some of the intermittently shelled by mainland China. world’s finest natural scenery, much of However, the park also has abundant which is readily accessible thanks to the natural flora and fauna. Among others, 26418五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 264 2011/10/18 1:59:40 AM
  8. 8. Dongsha Atoll National Park comprises a unique white sand landscape entirely from shattered corals and seashells. Its outlying seabed is laden with shipwrecks, tropical corals, tropical fish, echinoderm, crustaceans, algae and other marine organisms. more than 300 species of birds have been artillery emplacements. The estuaries of recorded in Kinmen. three rivers flow through the park’s four major wetlands. The park contains con- Shei-pa servation areas for mangroves and black- Covering 76,850 hectares, mountain- faced spoonbills. ous Shei-pa National Park 雪霸國家公園 is the main watershed for northern and Taroko central Taiwan. The park has 51 peaks The centerpiece attraction of Taroko over 3,000 meters in height, including National Park 太魯閣國家公園 is Taroko Taiwan’s second-highest Xue Mountain Gorge—a spectacular 19-kilometer 雪山, at 3,886 meters. Among the park’s marble-walled canyon that was lifted natural treasures is the Formosan land- up from the earth by tectonic forces and locked salmon (Oncorthynchus masou carved out by the Liwu River 立霧溪. formosanus), which inhabits a refuge Differences in altitude mean that the sur- created for it in the upper reaches of the rounding region supports a rich diversity Dajia River 大甲溪. It is believed to have of animal and plant life. Forty-six species become trapped in the frigid mountain of mammals, 152 kinds of birds, 302 spe- waters of central Taiwan during the last cies of butterflies and 2,093 species of Ice Age. native vascular plants can be found in the 92,000-hectare park. Along the dramatic Taijiang 2-kilometer-long Tunnel of Nine Turns Established in 2009, Taijiang National 九曲洞, the two sides of the gorge almost Park 臺江國家公園 in southwestern Taiwan meet overhead. is a 39,310-hectare marvel unique among Taiwan’s national parks, encompass- Yangmingshan ing wetlands and lagoons, salterns, fish Yangmingshan National Park 陽明山國 farms and oyster farms, as well as vintage 家公園 is located on the northern edge of 26518五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 265 2011/10/18 1:59:43 AM
  9. 9. 18 Tourism Taipei City. This location makes it easily accessible. The park is notable for its hot air raids to the south. The Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area 大鵬灣國家風景區 springs, heated by long-dormant volca- in Pingtung County 屏東縣, frequented noes. Covering nearly 11,455 hectares, the by more than 90 species of birds, is an park is graced with lush, grassy meadows, ideal location for bird watching. Egrets, mountain peaks and waterfalls. snipes and rails live among the man- grove swamps. Yushan Located at the heart of the Central East Coast Mountains 中央山脈 and spanning nearly Along the eastern coast, where dol- 105,490 hectares, Yushan National Park phins play and whales frolic, is the East 玉山國家公園 contains 30 of the 100 high- Coast National Scenic Area 東部海岸國 est mountain peaks in Taiwan, includ- 家風景區, which stretches from Hualien ing Yushan (Jade Mountain), Northeast County 花蓮縣 to Taitung County 臺東縣 Asia’s highest peak at 3,952 meters. along 168 kilometers of coastline. Visitors The wide spectrum of climatic zones can enjoy snorkeling in the warm waters means that a large variety of animal and of the Pacific or, inland, kayaking and plant life can be found in the park. Sub- rafting along the rapids of the Xiuguluan tropical, temperate and alpine species all River 秀姑巒溪. The East Coast is the pri- thrive on Yushan. mary home of the indigenous Amis 阿美 people, whose villages dot the coastline. National Scenic Areas Visitors can consider visiting the Jialulan Unlike national parks, Taiwan’s 13 Handicraft Market 伽路蘭市集, which is national scenic areas have been estab- open from May to August. lished chiefly to boost domestic and international tourism. They offer both East Rift Valley scenes of natural splendor and elements Flanked by mountain ranges, the East of cultural interest. Rift Valley National Scenic Area 花東縱谷 國家風景區 covers 138,386 hectares span- Alishan ning Hualien and Taitung counties. Rivers The Alishan National Scenic Area 阿 weaving through mountain ranges form 里山國家風景區 is a beautifully preserved breathtaking natural scenes of waterfalls, mountainous area in central Taiwan with canyons, lakes, alluvial plains and hot 41,520 hectares of forest. Many visi- springs. Spanning subtropical and tropical tors stay overnight to view the majestic climatic zones up to 2,000 meters above sunrise, which is said to be the most sea level, the national scenic area has a awe-inspiring in Taiwan. Alishan is also broad variety of flora and fauna, with some famous for its high-mountain oolong tea. 100 varieties of birds, 24 varieties of mam- The three villages of Ruili 瑞里, Ruifeng mals and 29 species of freshwater fish. 瑞峰 and Taihe 太和 are linked by trails and offer a quiet escape from the more Maolin touristy areas of the region. Rafting down rapids, observing the mass migration of many species of but- Dapeng Bay terflies and learning about the way of life Dapeng Bay, well suited to water of indigenous peoples are just three of the sports, was once the location of a World memorable experiences that can be had War II airbase from which Japan launched in the Maolin National Scenic Area 茂林 26618五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 266 2011/10/18 1:59:43 AM
  10. 10. Taijiang National Park 26718五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 267 2011/10/18 1:59:45 AM
  11. 11. 18 國家風景區 Tourism that spans Kaohsiung City and Pingtung County. In it there are seven of sandy beaches and sweeping vistas. In- land, the landscape is typically rugged, the 20 main butterfly gathering spots in with precipitous mountain slopes. Danshui Taiwan. Reflecting the dominant color- 淡水, famed for its sunsets and seafood, ation of many butterfly species here, the Jinshan 金山 for its “old street” whose place where the most butterflies congre- buildings date to the Qing 清 dynasty, and gate has been dubbed the “Purple Butter- Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園 for its famous fly Valley.” wind- and sea-eroded rock formations, are well worth visiting. The 616-meter-high Matsu Guanyin Mountain overlooks the mouth of Most of the area of the sparsely the Danshui River. Its crisscrossed hiking populated Matsu Islands form the Matsu paths provide splendid views of the sur- National Scenic Area 馬祖國家風景區. The rounding areas, including Taipei, Danshui, flora on these craggy islands is diverse, Bali 八里 and Datun Mountain 大屯山. with glorious spider lilies, chrysanthe- mums, dianthuses and hawksbeards Northeast and Yilan Coast blooming in the fall. Old dwellings in Covering some 17,500 hectares of Qinbi 芹壁 are another draw. Once a bus- land and sea, the Northeast and Yilan tling fishing village, residents of this town Coast National Scenic Area 東北角暨宜 on the island of Beigan 北竿 began to de- 蘭海岸國家風景區 contains a number of part when fish stocks fell, leaving behind quaint fishing villages, and the area is their beautifully preserved houses, which particularly renowned for its fantastic have a marvelous view of the sea. wave-sculpted rock formations and bird watching. Some 150 species of birds North Coast and Guanyinshan reside in or migrate through this area. At the northern tip of Taiwan lies the Spring and fall, when migratory birds are North Coast and Guanyinshan National Sce- present in the greatest numbers, are the nic Area 北海岸及觀音山國家風景區, offering best times to visit the area. Sailing and Heping Island 和平島 at the mouth of the Port of Keelung connects to the city by a bridge. Picturesque formations resulting from wind and seawater erosion over millennia in the park on its northwest side are best viewed at low tide. (Tang Wei-kuang, courtesy of the Tourism Bureau) 26818五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 268 2011/10/18 1:59:50 AM
  12. 12. Youth Travel in Taiwan Since 2006, the National Youth Commission (NYC) 行政院青年輔導委員會 has provided a wide range of services to overseas travelers in Taiwan under the Youth Travel in Taiwan 青年壯遊台灣 program. Backpackers can now enjoy a handy guide—a “digital tour buddy” mobile phone with an English-Chinese dictionary and preprogrammed numbers for tourist hotlines and information centers, youth hostels, English-language taxi service and other practical information. Foreign visitors can borrow the device for up to 15 or 30 days with- out a deposit during their stay in Taiwan. Application can be made online beforehand or onsite. Those who apply in advance online can pick up the device at the airport’s tourist service center upon arrival, while those who apply after entering Taiwan can do so onsite at the NYC’s Taipei Youth Volunteer Center 臺北市青年志工中心. Other services or activities provided include: a free Youth Travel Card with over 1,000 special offers and discounts on admission to museums, shopping, transportation and ac- commodation; free personal tour-guide services under a partnership program with local colleges; economical accommodation information through the Youth Guesthouse Network; and recommendations of 41 travel spots selected in cooperation with local nongovernmen- tal organizations to give travelers unique travel experiences. For details, visit the website at canoeing are also popular at river mouths, are perhaps best preserved. True to its while surfers take on the waves at Daxi 大 name, meaning land of abundance, this 溪 and Toucheng 頭城. The waters around scenic area—with its waterfalls, reser- Turtle Island 龜山島, 10 kilometers off the voirs and recreational farms—produces a coast of Yilan County, is well-known for large variety of fruits and other produce whale- and dolphin-watching. year-round. It also contains the Wushan Taiwan Macaque Natural Reserve 烏山 Penghu 臺灣獼猴保護區 as well as Caoshan Moon Situated on the Penghu Islands off World 草山月世界, an eerie landscape of Taiwan’s southwest coast, the Penghu eroded mudstone. National Scenic Area 澎湖國家風景區 has many ancient ruins. One of the most inter- Southwest Coast esting of these remains is the Four-eyed For hundreds of years, people along Well 四眼井, which is believed to have Taiwan’s southwest coast made their liv- been dug during the 16th century. More ing by evaporating seawater to extract recent structures dating to the 19th cen- salt. Today, the marshy Southwest Coast tury are artillery batteries and fortifica- National Scenic Area 雲嘉南濱海國家風景 tions built following the Sino-French War 區, which stretches across parts of Tainan (1884-1885) to strengthen the islands’ City as well as Yunlin 雲林 and Chiayi 嘉 defenses. For decades, lighthouses lo- 義 counties, is a refuge for wild birds and cated around the archipelago have helped a place of great historical interest that navigation through the Taiwan Strait. honors the once-vibrant salt industry. Siraya Sun Moon Lake The Siraya National Scenic Area 西拉 Serene and majestic, the Sun Moon 雅國家風景區 in Tainan City 臺南市 is where Lake National Scenic Area 日月潭國家風景 the indigenous Siraya people’s traditions 區 is one of Taiwan’s most popular tourist 26918五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 269 2011/10/18 1:59:50 AM
  13. 13. 18 Tourism attractions. The largest natural body of fresh water in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake the world. Its collection is so extensive that items in the permanent exhibit are is tucked away amid the mountains of rotated quarterly over a 12-year period. Nantou County 南投縣 at an altitude of Special exhibits are displayed for two to some 750 meters above sea level. Hik- four months. ing trails starting at the lake lead off in People interested in contemporary every direction through adjacent forests art can check out the Juming Museum 朱 and mountains. 銘美術館 in New Taipei City 新北市. This museum is dedicated to the work of re- Tri-Mountain nowned sculptor Ju Ming, who uses a va- The Tri-Mountain National Scenic riety of materials to create larger-than-life Area 參山國家風景區, totaling roughly depictions of people, including farmers 77,500 hectares, includes three widely and practitioners of the martial art taiji- separated regions: in northwest Taiwan, quan 太極拳 (see Chapter 17, “Culture”). the Lion’s Head Mountain Scenic Area 獅 In Taichung, the National Taiwan Mu- 頭山風景區 straddles the border between seum of Fine Arts 國立臺灣美術館 houses Hsinchu 新竹 and Miaoli 苗栗 counties; in an extensive collection of works by artists north-central Taichung City 臺中市 is the of the Ming 明 and Qing dynasties in ad- Lishan (Pear Mountain) Scenic Area 梨山 dition to highlighting contemporary Tai- 風景區; and in the west-central region, the wanese art. Baguashan Scenic Area 八卦山風景區 cov- Museums with unusual themes can be ers parts of Changhua County 彰化縣 and found all over Taiwan. In Taipei City, vis- Taichung City. itors can explore the Miniatures Museum Lion’s Head Mountain is famous for of Taiwan 袖珍博物館. Hundreds of exhib- its Buddhist and Taoist temples. Many its here showcase an array of subjects, temples here offer inexpensive lodging from a mine to an apartment featuring and vegetarian meals, and are a good the world’s smallest working television place for a serene retreat. This scenic set. The Museum of Drinking Water 自來 area is in the region where Taiwan’s larg- 水博物館 is also located in the capital at est concentration of Hakka-speaking the site of an old pumping station. At the people lives (see Chapter 2, “People and Gold Mining Museum 黃金博物館 located Language”), and it is interesting just to in New Taipei City, visitors can gain an stroll the streets of small towns here. The understanding of how the mine func- Lishan Scenic Area comprises highlands, tioned in its heyday, as well as the history steep cliffs, deep canyons, rivers and for- of gold and its uses. In Kaohsiung City in ests and is home to the indigenous Atayal the south, the Taiwan Sugar Museum 臺 泰雅 people. Visitors can enjoy its numer- 灣糖業博物館 pays homage to the region’s ous hiking trails and bikeways, or go once-thriving sugar industry. hawk watching and visit historic sites. The expansive National Chiang Kai- shek Memorial Hall 國立中正紀念堂 plaza is one of the stateliest sites in Taipei. Here, Cultural Attractions beautifully landscaped gardens comple- ment traditional-style buildings, including Museums and Cultural Centers the National Concert Hall 國家音樂廳 and The ROC has many fine museums. the National Theater 國家戲劇院, which The NPM in Taipei has the largest collec- host world-class performances. National tion of Chinese art treasures anywhere in Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 國立國父紀念 27018五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 270 2011/10/18 1:59:51 AM
  14. 14. 館 in eastern Taipei is the site of lectures, the front doors of homes. People travel concerts and other cultural events. domestically, go abroad or visit relatives during the holiday, which lasts a week Cuisine or so. Offices and businesses are largely Taiwan is a cultural melting pot and closed during Lunar New Year. Conve- visitors are sure to find something to their nience stores and restaurants catering to fancy among the endless array of culinary holiday demand remain open, however. delights. Moreover, its yearlong growing Food shops are decked out in bright holi- season and diverse climatic zones ensure day colors and play Lunar New Year mu- the availability of a wide variety of locally sic, while traditional markets are crowded produced fresh ingredients, contributing to with shoppers during the week or so lead- the great taste of Taiwanese cuisine. ing up to the holiday. Temples teem with Given Taiwan’s historical connections worshipers on Lunar New Year’s eve, with the Chinese mainland, numerous tra- and fireworks herald the arrival of the Lu- ditional Chinese cuisines and sophisticat- nar New Year at midnight. ed derivations of them are the dominant While most of Taiwan no longer cel- theme in Taiwanese cooking. And with ebrates the entire traditional 15-day-long one of the world’s largest fishing fleets, it Lunar New Year period, visitors to Taiwan is a seafood lover’s paradise. are certain to enjoy the traditional culmi- Taiwan also has an abundance of veg- nation of the holiday period, the Lantern etarian restaurants and buffet-style eater- Festival, in which colorful lanterns are ies to meet religious or healthy lifestyle lit and yuanxiao 元宵 (sweet dumplings demands. Its big cities offer many Asian made from glutinous rice flour) are eaten. cuisines, including Thai, Vietnamese, Among the festivities held at this time are Malaysian, Japanese, Korean and Indian, the spectacular sky-lantern releasing cer- as well as a good selection of North emony in New Taipei City’s Pingxi 平溪; American and European cuisines. Sam- the Hakka people’s Blasting the Dragon pling the myriad delicious snacks at stalls Festival 龍 in Miaoli; the Blasting of and small specialty eateries in Taiwan’s Han Dan 炸寒單 (a deity of wealth) in Tai- many night markets and elsewhere offers tung City 臺東市 and the Beehive Rockets a change of pace from restaurant dining. Festival 蜂炮 in Tainan’s Yanshui 鹽水. These have become major attractions for Taiwanese and foreign visitors alike, who Festivals and Events enjoy the thrills of immersing themselves in the rain of fireworks bombardment that January-March was originally meant to drive away pesti- Domestic travel peaks during these lence. Some of these festivals have been months, as they contain the major Lunar featured in the Discovery Channel series New Year and Lantern Festival 元宵節 hol- “Fantastic Festivals of the World.” idays. This is a season of renewal, family The largest-scale religious pageant in reunions and good cheer. Taiwan is the Dajia Ma Zu Pilgrimage 大 The Lunar New Year is the preeminent 甲媽祖遶境, which honors the Sea Goddess holiday in Taiwan. It falls in either Janu- Ma Zu, regarded by many as Taiwan’s ary or February of the Gregorian solar most important guardian deity (see Chap- calendar and generally begins with the ter 20, “Religion”). Held in March or hanging of chunlian 春聯 (strips of red April, the eight- or nine-day procession, paper bearing words of blessing) outside in which hundreds of thousands take 27118五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 271 2011/10/18 1:59:51 AM
  15. 15. 18 Tourism part, starts at Jenn Lann Temple 鎮瀾宮 in Taichung City’s Dajia District 大甲區 to traditional belief, the gates of Hell are opened during this lunar month, allowing and circuits Changhua, Yunlin and Chiayi spirits to roam freely and seek comfort counties before returning to the temple. in the realm of the living. Ghost Month celebrations in northern Taiwan’s main April-June port city of Keelung 基隆 are particularly The Hakka Tung Blossom Festival 客 noted for its colorful parade and release 家桐花祭, usually stretching from April of water lanterns into the sea. into May, celebrates the culture of the Off Taiwan’s southeast coast lies Hakka people, whose ancestors planted enchanting Orchid Island 蘭嶼. Each tung oil trees in the mountain foothills September, the island’s indigenous in- around their communities in northern habitants, the Yami 雅美, observe their and central Taiwan. In bygone times, ceremonial Flying Fish Festival 蘭嶼飛魚 oil pressed from these trees’ seeds was 季 to give thanks to the flying fish (Exoco- a commercially important export. These etidae), which make their way northward days, with their blizzard of falling flower in the warm Kuroshio Current at that petals, the forests draw urbanites and time every year, on which the Yami have foreign visitors to walk along mountain depended for their livelihood since time paths, experience the charm of nearby immemorial. Given Orchid Island’s tropi- Hakka villages and savor Hakka cookery cal climate, visitors can swim and snorkel (see Chapter 17, “Culture”). here throughout the year. Coming in about the end of May is Throughout the nation, the one-day the Dragon Boat Festival 端午節. The prin- Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節, which marks cipal culinary fare of this day is zongzi the arrival of cooler weather, is celebrated 粽子, steamed glutinous rice dumplings on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month with various fillings wrapped in bamboo (usually in September). This national leaves. The centerpiece celebrations of holiday is marked by family gatherings, this holiday are dragon-boat regattas and in recent years, weather permitting, conducted on rivers. The best-known outdoor barbecues to admire the first au- competitions take place in Taipei City and tumnal full moon. Changhua County’s Lugang Township 鹿 港鎮. October-December Held annually in Taitung City, the July-September Festival of Austronesian and Formosa The Yingge International Ceramics Indigenous Cultures 南島文化節 showcases Festival 鶯歌國際陶瓷嘉年華, which runs the cultures of indigenous peoples of Au- for about six weeks every summer, show- tronesian ethnicity in Taiwan and other cases the pottery for which Yingge is ac- regions across the Pacific. The November claimed along with works from abroad. 19-28, 2010 festival featured musical per- Religious observances during the sev- formances, art exhibits, traditional foods enth lunar month (usually beginning in and crafts, including carving demonstra- August)—commonly referred to as Ghost tions and classes on making handicrafts. Month 鬼月—come to a climax on the 15th The Taipei City government holds day, when sacrificial feasts are laid out at the Taipei International Beef Noodle temples and in front of homes and shops Festival 臺北國際牛肉麵節 in October or to appease wandering souls. According November each year to tout this popular 27218五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 272 2011/10/18 1:59:51 AM
  16. 16. In the famous fire-crossing ritual at Fuhai Temple 福海宮 in Taoyuan County, carriers of a sedan chair bearing the icon of a revered deity dash barefoot over hot coals. This folk religion practice attracts both local and overseas tourists. (Hsu Shih- mou) dish. The most popular event is the which tens of thousands of people gather Beef Noodle Cooking Competition. The in the adjacent City Hall Plaza and neigh- best-performing restaurants taking part boring areas to ring in the new year. in the event earn ratings similar to those given to hotels by food connoisseurs and experts in the industry. Other Attractions Also held in November is the Taiwan Trade Shows International Coffee Festival 臺灣國際 Taiwan hosts numerous trade shows 咖啡節, previously known as the Yunlin throughout the year. Visitors who are in- Gukeng Coffee Festival 雲林古坑咖啡節. terested in the latest trends of particular Lasting for about two weeks, with various products, such as computers and electron- coffee-related activities and entertainment ics, bicycles or books, should check out programs, the festival aims to promote the Taipei World Trade Center’s 臺北世界貿 the coffee produced by Yulin County’s 易中心 calendar at Gukeng Township. The distinctive aroma of the beverage brewed from the area’s beans has made the name Gukeng syn- Night Markets onymous with premium coffee. A visit to a night market offers a fun While Christians make up only a and inexpensive night out. Most major small percentage of the nation’s religious cities have at least one such location. believers, secular Christmas-season tradi- Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 in Taipei tions are now widely practiced in Taiwan. City stands out for its sheer size, while Christmas decorations are commonly Liuhe Tourist Night Market 六合觀光夜 seen hanging in offices, buses and stores 市 and Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市 are during December. Fireworks displays at the largest in Kaohsiung and Taichung, midnight on New Year’s Eve light up the respectively. sky. The most dazzling of these is the Popular dishes at night markets include show on the Taipei 101 skyscraper, for oyster omelets; oyster and thin-noodle 27318五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 273 2011/10/18 1:59:54 AM
  17. 17. 18 Tourism Qingquan Hot Springs 清泉溫泉 along the upper reaches of the Pingxi River in Hsinchu County features 48ºC colorless and odorless spring water with a pH of 7.7. Known as Inoue Springs during the Japanese colonial era, it was a favorite mountain retreat year-round for Japan’s royal family. stew; Taiwanese spring rolls filled with “Geography”). On the eastern edge of meat, vegetables, bean sprouts and peanut Taipei, a relatively short climb up any powder; and a blancmange-like soybean of the Four Beasts Mountains 四獸山 confection. Especially welcome in sum- (Elephant Mountain 象山, Panther Moun- mer are the many refreshing beverages tain 豹山, Tiger Mountain 虎山 and Lion available. Among the best-loved beverages Mountain 獅山) is a good way to get into are papaya milk, watermelon juice and shape for more extensive hiking. Just iced milk tea with chewy tapioca balls. north of the city, Yangmingshan National Park, with its dozen trails meandering Hot Springs among extinct volcanoes and fumaroles, is especially popular for day trips. Taiwan is bathed by more than 100 hot spring sites, among the world’s fin- Moving southward to the Alishan est. A dip on a cold winter day in the area in central Taiwan, numerous trails springs of the Yangmingshan or Beitou 北 covering dozens of kilometers lend 投 districts of Taipei is believed to pro- themselves to easy day hikes amid some mote health. Less conventional possibili- of the island’s finest scenery. Along the ties can be found just off Taiwan’s east way are villages inhabited by indigenous coast on Green Island 綠島, in the form of peoples. Passing through the forests here, the Zhaori Saltwater Hot Springs 朝日溫 hikers will come upon ancient “sacred” 泉—one of only three saltwater hot springs trees, including the Lulin Sacred Tree 鹿林神木, 2,800 years old and 43 meters on the planet, or the muddy hot springs at Guanziling 關仔嶺 in southern Tainan. high, with a circumference of 20 meters. More challenging routes, such as those on the slopes of Xue Mountain and link- Hiking ing Hehuan Mountain 合歡山 with Taroko Taiwan is a hiker’s paradise, with Gorge, can also be found in central trails of varying difficulties close at hand Taiwan. The pathways on Jade Moun- wherever you go (see also Chapter 1, tain lead through stunning surroundings. 27418五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 274 2011/10/18 1:59:58 AM
  18. 18. Nearly 40,000 hikers every year ascend lists this tallest peak in Northeast Asia, for five major routes that best highlight the which a permit is required. island’s diverse natural beauty: Taipei- Guandu Left Bank of Bali 臺北–關渡八里 左岸 (27 kilometers) in northern Taiwan; Cycling Dongfeng-Green Passage 東豐自行車綠 Taiwan’s abundant natural scenery 廊 (12 kilometers) and Sun Moon Lake and increasingly eco-friendly environ- Round-the-Lake Road 日月潭環潭自行車 ment make it an ideal place for avid 道 (33 kilometers) in central Taiwan; and cyclists. Many of the island’s tourist Guanshan 關山自行車道 (12 kilometers) spots now have dedicated bike lanes as and “Poet’s Aria-Taroko”太魯閣自行車道 well as bicycle rental shops. The website (19.7 kilometers) in eastern Taiwan. • Tourism Bureau: Related • National Parks of Taiwan: Websites • Taiwan Museum: • Council for Cultural Affairs: • National Youth Commission: • Tour Taiwan: 27518五校OK (spelling)(indexed).indd 275 2011/10/18 1:59:59 AM