Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) is one of Taiwan’s most popular weekend getaways. It’s a large, stunningly beautiful lake conveniently nestled in the Central Mountains. It has almost everything you could want in a weekend escape: from family friendly camping to five star hotels; adventure and exercise to spas and relaxing; and of course lots of culture and beautiful lake views!
The last time I visited Sun Moon Lake, I was only able to stay for about 24 hours, but in that time, I was able to see and do quite a few awesome things! Today I’m going to write about three places that can be visited in a half day: Syuanguang and Syuanzang Temples, and the Cien Pagoda. All three are connected by the short Mt Cinglong Hiking Trail (青龍山步道) that starts at the Syuanguang Temple’s pier and continues up to Syuanzang Temple and on to Cien Pagoda (You actually have to walk on the road for a short time, but it’s still quite nice).
For more information on Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) visit Taiwan Adventures Travel Guide (跟著老外玩台灣).
The beautiful Cien Pagoda stands towers above Sun Moon Lake in Central Taiwan.
Taiwan Adventures Online Guide Book is a project that my partners and I have been working on for the better part of the last year. It is a free, online travel guide to Taiwan. It has over 800 entries, is available in English and 中文, and will very soon be available as an iPhone App (Ready sometime before the end of September).
It has been A LOT of work to compile, visit, photograph and write about all of these places, but it has also been really rewarding. Hopefully now I can get back on track and start writing some blog posts about the best of these wonderful places.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, Taiwan Adventurers
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, Guide Book, information, iPhone, iPhone App, TRAVEL, Travel Guide, 台灣
Ghost Month is a traditional celebration held in most Chinese communities around the world, and of course in Taiwan. It is believed that this month is a sort-of vacation for all the ghosts living in Hell, and they are welcomed to walk the earth among the living. Many special precautions are taken to insure that the ghosts don’t hang around, like burning spirit money, guarding ones address and not moving house for fear that one of the ghosts might decide to stay in the new house.
In Taiwan, no city celebrates Ghost Month more vigorously than the harbor city of Keelung (基隆). They have parades, ceremonies and other events on almost every day of that month. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend as many events as I would have liked this year, but I did get to one of the most important days, the Ghost Festival Parade held on the 15th day of Ghost Month.
One of the musicians in the 2011 Keelung Ghost Festival Parade relaxes before the start.
Songluohu (or Songluo Lake) is another small lake in the mountains near Yilan, Taiwan. It’s a medium difficulty hike, mostly because the trail spends a lot of time crossing slippery tree roots, rocks and muddy slopes. The 4 to 5 hour hike is well worth the effort though, as the lake itself is surrounded by small mountain peaks and is quite a unique sight.
We lead the second of our overnight hiking trips there about a week ago, so I thought I’d share the photos.
The sunrise was beautiful.
The Taiwan Martyrs’ Shrine (officially The National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine 國民革命忠烈祠) is set on the side of Qingshan Mountain very close to the Grand Hotel and the neighborhood of Neihu (內湖區). It’s hallowed ground, dedicated to those who fought and died for the Republic of China in the Sino-Japanese War, the Chinese Civil War and the First and Second Taiwan Straight Crises. About 390,000 soldiers died in these wars, and their spirit tablets can be found here.
Twice a year, the President of Taiwan and high officials come to the Martyr’s Shrine to pay their respects to the fallen war heroes. But what many people come to see is the changing of the guard ceremony, which happens every hour on the hour.
See military precision at the Martyrs' Shrine in Taipei.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, Army, honor guard, military, must see taipei, soldier, Taipei, The Martyrs' Shrine, tourist sights, 台灣, 台北, 國民革命忠烈祠
My series of blog posts on hiking The Four Beast Mountains has become one of my most popular series since I’ve started blogging. Now that spring is back upon us, I’ve noticed that those posts are getting more and more hits. I can only guess that everyone is looking to get get some exercise!
So here’s a new post. It’s going to be mostly just pictures, but they are all from an area that I glossed over in the last three posts.
The general Yongchun area consists of two high schools, a small military base, several temples, and a few apartment building neighborhoods. The entire basin of this area (roughly 600m x 100m) was a shallow lake just a hundred years ago or so.
Categories: Hiking, Must See Taiwan, TAIWAN, The Four Beast Mountains
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, Asia, 無極天王, Elephant Mountain, 虎山, Four Beasts Mountains, hike, Hiking, mountain, natural, PHOTOGRAPHY, Taipei, Taipei 101, Taiwanese, Tianbao Temple, Tiger Mountain, trail, TRAVEL, 台灣, 台北, 四獸山, 天寶聖道宮
The Holy Ridge 雪山聖稜線 is one of Taiwan’s most famous big hiking trails. It’s a stunning hike along a long ridge line that usually takes about 5 days. It crosses several high peaks, including Taiwan’s second highest, Snow Mountain 雪山 (Xueshan) at 3886 m (12749 ft). The ridge is so long that three full days can easily be spent at over 3,400 m.
My friends and I hiked The Holy Ridge recently in a four day blitz. We achieved this by starting at midnight and hiking in the dark for an hour, then skipping the Snow Mountain Peak.
A hiker looks out on a sea of clouds on Taiwan's Holy Ridge, a hiking trail on and around Snow Mountain (Xueshan).
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, Video
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, 爬山, 登山, 雪山, 雪山聖稜線, Hiking, mountain, Snow Mountain, The Holy Ridge, trek, 台灣
Longshan Temple 龍山寺 (aka Lungshan and Mengjia 艋舺龍山寺) is the oldest and most well-known temple in all of Taiwan. What’s truly wonderful about it, is that despite being a major tourist destination, Longshan Temple retains it’s charm and genuineness by remaining a place of daily worship. The area around Longshan can be quite interesting as well, and features traditional markets, calligraphers, traditional medicine shops, fortune tellers, and a place called Snake Alley. All these reasons and more are why Longshan Temple is on my list of must see places in Taipei.
Throngs of Buddhists and Daoists pack Longshan Temple in Taipei on Chinese Lunar New Year 2007.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, Buddhist, Chinese New Year, Daoism, 艋舺龍山寺, 龍山寺, images, Longshan Temple, Lunar New Year, Lungshan Temple, Mazu, Mengjia, must see taipei, PHOTOGRAPHY, religion, Taipei, Taoism, temple, TRAVEL, worship, 台灣, 台北
Yehliu GeoPark (野柳地質公園) is a popular stop on the Taiwan tourist circuit. It’s an interesting set of geological formations found in a small park about 20 minutes north of Keelung, Taiwan. Truth be told, the entire length of eastern Taiwan is an interesting set of geological formations, but here you can find them all in one small area with a coffee and souvenir shop. If you’re only in Taiwan for a short time, or don’t have any transportation of your own, this it the place to go to be awed by Mother Nature’s artistic side.
An overview of the most popular area of Yehliu GeoPark.
Categories: Motorcycling, Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, alien landscape, 野柳, 野柳地質公園, geology, Heping Island, Keelung, Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, rocks, science, TRAVEL, yehliu, Yehliu GeoPark, Yeliu, Yeliu GeoPark, 台灣, 和平島, 基隆
Snow Mountain (雪山) is Taiwan’s second highest mountain at 3,886m (12,749ft). Located in Shei-Pa National Park, the most popular trail to the peak is called the East Xue Trail and is quite a beautiful one. The trail passes through a variety of scenery including open grass fields, several different pine forests and a stunning ex-glacial cirque. Despite the fact that I say the following after nearly every hike in Taiwan: This might be one of the best hikes I’ve ever been on!
It’s possible to hike Snow Mountain (aka XueShan or Syue Mountain) on a two day weekend from Taipei, but it’s difficult. We spent an excruciating Saturday hiking for about 13 straight hours. Our day started at 3 am and finished at dusk. In between, we were lucky enough to have some beautiful weather and see some beautiful sites…
The East Peak of Snow Mountain pokes out of the mist during an early morning sunrise.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, alpine, 登山, environment, 雪山, hike, Hiking, images, mountain, mountaineering, PHOTOGRAPHY, Snow Mountain, Syue Mountain, TRAVEL, trek, trekking, 台灣
Here are my most recent “random” images from Taiwan. It’s quite a mish-mash this time with images from the beach, the mountains, the city, a drainage ditch in Banqiao, and even one from a night club.
I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone over at Taiwanderful.net for holding the yearly “Best Taiwan Blog Award”. I’m very honored to report that I’m a co-winner this year for the Best Overall Taiwan Blog and the Best Taiwan Photography Blog! I’ll be sure to keep up the posting and I have a few new blog posts simmering that I should be able to put up in the near future. Thanks everyone!
This first image was featured in a album on my facebook page called “Critique Me.” If you’re trying to progress as a photographer, I would highly recommend asking for critiques from your peers. It’s an invaluable way to get a different perspective of your images. (Just don’t forget to wear your thick skin!)
Old world meets new in a Taipei, Taiwan alley.
Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, BMX, Buddhism, forest, hike, Hiking, images, life, lifestyle, PHOTOGRAPHY, Taipei, 台灣
Jialuo Hu 加羅湖 is a mountain lake found high in the mountains of northern Taiwan. Only 70km southwest of Yilan, the trail head is a three hour drive from Taipei. The hike to the lake takes about another three hours, making this an awesome weekend away from Taipei’s bright lights.
This was the second time we hiked up to the beautiful lake, so I’ll keep this post short, and get right to the newest pictures:
A dream catcher-like spider web reflects the morning sun on Jialuo Hu Lake, near Yilan, Taiwan.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, cresent moon, hike, Hiking, lake, mountain, nature, photogrsphy, trek
Shiding (石碇) and Shenkeng (深坑) are two small towns found just to the east of Taipei, Taiwan. They’re both withing 3o minutes of Taipei’s convenient MRT system and together, they make for a great day trip out of the city.
Shiding is a simple mountain village located at the convergence of two small mountain streams. It’s got an old-time Taiwan feel to it, and in fact has many stores that are over a century old. It also has two very clean, fish-filled streams that come from virgin forests high above, in the nearby mountains.
Doorways don't get much cooler than this.
Categories: Must See Taiwan, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, Asia, 石碇, Day Trips, market, must see, Must See Taiwan, Old Street, Shenkeng, Shiding, Taipei, traditional, TRAVEL, 深坑, 深坑老街
Jade Mountain (玉山) is Taiwan’s tallest mountain at 3,952 m (12,966 ft). It’s located within the Yushan National Park (玉山國家公園) just next to the famous Alishan National Scenic Area (阿里山國家風景區) in the central mountains of Taiwan. If measured from the nearby ocean floor, the Jade Mountain Main Peak rises an impressive 8,000 m in only 100 km.
Getting a permit to hike Jade Mountain is no easy task. My friends an I applied 14 times before finally receiving a permit to hike it on a weekend (A big thanks to Stu Dawson for his tenacity). We received a second round of good luck by getting perfect hiking weather on the 4th of July weekend. The trail to the peak is beautiful, and this hike is an absolute must-do for anyone with an adventurous soul living in Taiwan.
The Jade Mountain Main Peak as seen from the West Peak hiking trail.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN, Taiwan Adventurers, TRAVEL
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, 玉山, 玉山國家公園, 玉山主峰, 阿里山, 阿里山國家風景區, hike, Hiking, Jade Mountain, mountain, Mt. Jade, National Parks, PHOTOGRAPHY, trek, treking, wilderness, 台灣
I went on another weekend hike with Stu recently, this one to Xiaozi Shan (孝子山) and its nearby mountains located just to the south of Pingxi (平溪), Taiwan. We had a good time as usual, enjoying the first rain-free Sunday that Taipei has seen in months.
XiaoZi Shan and it neighboring mountains, Cimushan (慈母山) and Cimufeng (慈母) are all just a few minute’s hike from the 106 highway and downtown Pingxi. They all feature sheer-rock faced peaks with awesome views of the surrounding mountains and the Pingxi valley. What’s unbelievable about this area, is that all of the peaks are accessed by a trail “intersection” that has 4 different trail heads withing 40 meters of each other, and the peaks are all within a 30 minute hike from there!
Stu and I spent a few hours hiking up and down all the different peaks, then wandered home on a back trail and still got home for a late lunch, which has to make this area THE most accessible and best bang-for-you-buck hikes in all of Taiwan…
A couple of men descend from the peak of Xiaozi Shan (孝子山) on a aluminum ladder in Pingxi (平溪), Taiwan.
Categories: Hiking, PHOTOGRAPHY, TAIWAN
Tags: 2. More Information on Taiwan, adventure, Asia, hike, Hiking, images, mountain, mountains, natural, photo, PHOTOGRAPHY, Pingxi, Taipei, Taiwanese, trail, TRAVEL, 台灣, 平溪