By Lily Riani on October 4, 2019

 

Famed for its night markets, shopping and street food, Taiwan is believed by many to be a city fit for city dwellers, shopaholics and obviously foodies. This is true until you learn about the other side of Taiwan – the nature that forms the backbone of this wondrous island, the customs and traditions that endured despite the influences of colonisation, along with cross-cultural architecture that amazes the world over. All you need is just one trip to this other side of Taiwan to change your mind – it would leave you spellbound.

The land of earth, wind and fire

You may realise that this beautiful country is prone to typhoons (wind), has active volcanoes (fire) and is ‘strategically’ nested on the intersection of the Yangtze Subplate, Okinawa Plate, Philippine Plate and Sunda Plate (earth). Yet, the typhoon season is when they celebrate the summer flower festival, the active volcanoes help flourish the hot springs townships such as Beitou, and the heavily forested Taiwan mountain ranges contain the Taroko marble gorge and towering Qingshui cliffs, among others. This charming island has so much to offer but so few has been discovered.

Flying Cow Ranch

You will see no cows flying, but the place is remarkable nonetheless

Passion and vision is the guiding light of the Flying Cow Ranch. Life, education through edutainment content and conservation serve as key factors for this attraction’s sustainable operation. Situated on the higher grounds of the Nanhe Village and surrounded by over 60 grazing cows accompanied by goats, rabbits and strolling ducks, you are neither bored nor lonely here. And if you actually are, enrol yourself in a pizza or yoghurt pudding, or even an art class.

#TravelTips

  1. Different sets of utensils for Muslims and non-Muslims are provided.
  2. Muslim meals can be catered, but early request need to be made.
  3. Overnight trips are highly encouraged because there are plenty of activities for all age groups.
  4. Accommodation ranges from camping to Family Suites at NT$6,200 per night.
  5. The journey from Taipei takes approximately two hours and a half.
More info

Entrance Fee : Adult – NT$220, Kids – NT$150

Room Rates : From NT$3,600 per night for Deluxe Double Room onwards

Address : No 166, Nanhe Village, Tongxiao Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan

Website : https://www.flyingcow.com.tw/en/

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Fun Taiwan

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Adrenaline rushes and culture don’t seem to be a perfect combination, yet Taiwan is able to marry them amazingly well. Tribes such as Atayal, Paiwan, Rukai and more contribute to a colourful and flavourful culture with years of rich heritage that not only enriched the island, but also pleasantly surprised us. Their sharp facial features, and semantics, including the detailing and motifs on their traditional wear are strikingly similar to Malaysian Borneo cultures. Showcasing their aboriginal homes, traditional attires and dance performances offer an uncommon glimpse of Taiwan’s diversity.

There is also an amusement park that complements the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, injecting more fun to the experience. Caribbean Adventure park is the latest addition to the existing Mayan Adventure, UFO Adventure and Gold Mine Exploration attractions.

Sun Moon Lake

World’s best cycling route

Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake

Noted as one of the 10 best bike routes in the world for cyclists by CNN Travel, on top of being designated as one of 13 national scenic areas in Taiwan, the Sun Moon Lake is Taiwan’s largest freshwater lake, the perfect place to enjoy nature, local culture and street food. Make your day by taking a sunset boat ride after enjoying the scenic cycling routes or a doing hiking. It is highly recommend that you disembark at Ita Thao Pier to either sample street food of the aboriginal Thao people, do souvenir shopping or just chillaxing over a cup of bubble tea.

#TravelTips

  1. Summer is the peak season so heavy traffic should be expected, so plan your transportation well.
  2. You can take the cable car from Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village to Sun Moon Lake and vice versa.
  3. It is best to combine the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village and Sun Moon Lake into a two-day and one-night trip.
  4. It is advisable to stay around Sun Moon Lake area.
  5. The journey from Taipei takes approximately three hours.
More info

Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village

Entrance Fee : Adult – NT$850, Kids – NT$650

Address : No 45, Chihtien Lane, Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan

Website : https://www.nine.com.tw/

 Sun Moon Lake

Address : Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan

Website : https://www.sunmoonlake.gov.tw/

Taipei 101

The famous wind damper

Unlike other tall buildings in the world, Taipei 101 is unique, not because of its east-meets-west architecture, but more on the fact that it is built on an island that is prone to typhoons and earthquakes. Therefore, the focus of Taipei 101 is more about the gold coloured wind damper or steel pendulum, possibly the only wind damper in the world visible to the public, which serves as a tuned mass damper, placed between levels 87 and 92. Its main objective is to minimise the swaying of the tower during typhoon or earthquake, preventing further damage. Footages on damper movement due to actual typhoons and earthquakes can been watched at the observatory level. And if you are (un)lucky, you might even get to see the damper swaying!

#FunFacts

  1. Officially the world’s tallest from its opening in 2004 until 2010.
  2. Possessed the world’s fastest elevator until 2016. It is capable of moving at the speed of 60.6 kilometres per hour from the 5th to 89th floor in 37 seconds.
  3. Awarded the Platinum rating under the LEED certification system for being the tallest and largest green building in the world in 2011.
  4. Possibly the only largest and heaviest wind damper in the world that is visible to the public.
  5. Famous spot to celebrate new year countdowns and celebrations.
More info

Entrance Fee : Adult – NT$220, Kids – NT$150

Address : No 166, Nanhe Village, Tongxiao Township, Miaoli County, Taiwan

Website : https://www.taipei-101.com.tw

Heping Island Park

Sun, sand and swim

Heping Island Park

Heping Island Park

Heping Island Park definitely has its own charm. Meaning ‘peaceful’ in Mandarin, Heping Island Park is a great representation of nature and development done right. Popular among locals, this seaside attraction is a great place to enjoy a little bit of sun and swim. Preserving the geographical structure of the seaside, the local authority has improvised three natural pools to cater for children, adults and pets. Meanwhile, the picnic area is sectioned and is positioned close to the stream, and includes a sandbox play spot for small kids.

The sandstone park is safeguarded to ensure it is not vandalised. In order to protect the rock formation and seaside rockscape, you are required to join a guided tour to earn more about it.

#TravelTips

  1. Allocate one full day if you intend to do a little bit of sun, sand and swim.
  2. Changing rooms and toilets are available.
  3. Information centre, souvenir shop and cafe are located in the main building.
  4. A short hike is required to reach the famous ocean pavilion.
  5. The journey from Taipei takes approximately an hour..
More info

Entrance Fee : Adult – NT$80, Kids – NT$40

Address : No 360, Ping 1st Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Keelung City, Taiwan

Website : https://www.northguan-nsa.gov.tw/user/Article.aspx?Lang=2&SNo=04005328

Yangmingshan National Park

Flower and fire

Yangmingshan Hydrangea Festival

Yangmingshan Hydrangea Festival

It is strange that the same mountain that has the best and most beautiful seasonal flower also contains a post-volcanic geological crater attraction site at the same time. And this same national park also has a hot spring area, hiking trails and rolling hills of grassland. The Yangmingshan Flower Festival 2019 starts from February until March, the Calla Lily season from end March to May, Hydrangea from May to June. This is also the best spot to catch the cherry blossom season.

Tip: Take a short hike along the scenic trail and stop by the flower farm for some photos, before dropping by at the crater and culminate at the hot spring ponds to wind down. That would be a perfect day spent at Yangmingshan.

#TravelTips

  1. There are shuttle buses to each attraction area within Yangmingshan.
  2. Wear proper hiking shoes if you intend to hike as there are a few hiking trails.
  3. Xiaoyoukeng is a post-volcanic geological crater that you can visit.
  4. Stop by Lengshuikeng hot spring area to dip your leg into the hot springs.
  5. Bring towels, clothes and toiletries if you plan to dip into the hot springs.
  6. The journey from Taipei takes approximately 45 minutes.
More info

Address : No 1-20, Zhuzihu Road, Beitou District, Yangmingshan, Taipei City, Taiwan
Website : https://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/

Salam Taiwan

Halal eateries and Muslim friendly hotels

Taipei Grand Mosque

Taipei Grand Mosque

With an increasing number of Muslim tourists, it has become easier to find for halal eateries and Muslim friendly hotels in Taiwan. Certain famous local delicacies can now be sampled by Muslims, and hotels are now more sensitive to Muslim guests’ needs by providing them with qibla direction, and prayer mats, including prayer times and copies of the Quran. Few hotels can arrange for halal utensils to accommodate halal dining, making it easier now for Muslims to visit Taiwan.

Certified halal restaurants

  • Chang Beef Noodles Shop, Taipei
  • Master Diced Beef Nankan Restaurant, Taipei
  • Yunus Halal Restaurant, Taipei
  • Kunming Islamic Restaurant, Taipei
  • Ice Monster, Taipei
Amba Hotel

Amba Hotel

Muslim friendly hotels

Gaya Travel Magazine extends our heartfelt gratitude to Taiwan Tourism Bureau, Malaysia for making the writer’s trip to Taiwan possible. Visit https://www.taiwan.net.my/ for more information regarding Taiwan.

 

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One Comment

  1. dansontheroad says:

    I can’t believe Taiwan has such diverse and beautiful landscapes. I would skip the city just to explore rural Taiwan for over a week!

 
 
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