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Western & Central Taiwan

Alishan

Alishan

In the heart Taiwan, Alishan National Park is a mountainous area of natural beauty set in the hills and peaks of Chiayi County. Spanning more than 160 square miles, it covers terrain as varied as rugged mountain passes and green, lush tea plantations. The National Park encompasses four small villages which are seats of ancient indigenous history and are bursting with tradition and culture. While the Japanese occupation is evident with the logging railway running through the area.

Hugely popular with hikers the many trails take in waterfalls, countless species of flora and fauna and include Mount Ali, a peak that is visually synonymous with Taiwan. The Alishan Forest Railway is an 86 km network of narrow gauge railways running up to and throughout the popular mountain of Alishan. The railway, originally constructed for logging, is itself a tourist attraction with unique Z-shapedswitchbacks, 50 tunnels, and over 77 wooden bridges. Carrying tourists to the most famous views in the park. 

Every morning before dawn, throngs of visitors gather and wait for the sun to emerge from the dark before their eyes. Immersing them in serenity as they observe the sunlight changing from faint orange rays to bright daylight. Sunset provides another momentous event as well as the phenomenon sea of clouds which is a marvel to behold.

 

Additional Resources:


Alishan National Scenic Area Adminstration 

Riding the Alishan Forest Railway to Fenqihu

 

National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum Southern Branch

The Southern branch of the NPM is an “international museum that exhibits arts and cultures of Asia”, it  showcases classic national heirlooms along with the time, space and culture that they represent. The immense continent of Asia is home to three prominent civilizations, namely Chinese, Indian and Persian, represented allegorically by the dragon, the elephant and the horse respectively. The three distinctive images, each having its unique vitality and longevity, are transformed into streamline entities and integrated into the architecture, in which one sees the ongoing communication and interaction of the three invaluable heritages.The branch museum took over 15 years to complete. The project was first initiated in July 2001 and officially opened on Dec. 28, 2015 to coincide with the 90th anniversary of the National Palace Museum.

National Palace Museum Southern Branch:

 

Additional Resources:


Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum 

 

Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

The largest freshwater body in Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake is a beautiful, picturesque mountain lake that stands at 2,454 feet (748 meters) above sea level. Located in central Taiwan, Sun Moon Lake has long been inhabited by groups of Taiwanese aboriginals, most notably the Thao tribe, who have been in the area for at least a century.

Its name derives from its shape; whereas the east of the lake is rounded like a sun, the west resembles a long, crescent moon, separated in the middle by a tiny island called Lalu. The area is famous for its local handicrafts, fresh seafood, Aboriginal cuisine, and Assam tea - originally brought to Taiwan from India during the Japanese occupation.

Despite its elevation, Sun Moon Lake is humid year-round; nonetheless, visitors should note that the lake is particularly crowded with tourists on weekends and holidays.

 

Yushan

Mt. Jade, Yushan

Situated in the central part of the island nation of Taiwan and standing at 12,966 ft.  Jade mountain is one of the highest mountains in East Asia, making it a much sought after climbing destination in the region. Mount Jade is the undisputed focal point within the  Yushan National Park. With panoramic views, overlapping mountains, and deep, plunging valleys, Yushan National Park is well known for its scenery, sunrises, sunsets, geological features, and views of the clouds from above. A surprising fact to many is that Yushan, or in English Jade mountain, rivals Mt. Fuji of Japan in being the highest peak in Asia.

ClimbingJade Mountain is an amazing experience but it also requires preparation in terms of logistics and physical stamina.  The main entrance to the Mount Yushan trailhead is situated at the Tataka Visitor Center. Here is where many groups will spend the first night on their assent to the summit then onto Paiyun Lodge located on the western slope for the 2nd night to acclimatize to the elevation. A pinnacle of the climb is to reach the summit in time for the sunrise.  Rewarding hearty hikers with panoramic views of the beautiful Taiwan Strait and the sapphire blue Pacific Ocean.

 

Additional Resources:


Yushan National Park

The Big One! Yushan (Jade Mountain)