Taiwan Adventurers

River Tracing

River tracing in Taiwan is an excellent way to explore some of the more remote areas of Taiwan, and a great way to beat the summer heat.  Being such a steep, mountainous country, Taiwan has hundreds of small rivers loaded with clean water, waterfalls, and cool, refreshing pools to swim in.  Taking a river tracing tour has become more and more popular in the last few years amongst locals and expats alike.

River tracers relax at a remote waterfall in Northern Taiwan

Remote waterfalls like this one are rarely seen by most people. The only way to get there is by spending a few adventurous hours in a river with your friends.

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Taiwan Adventures iPhone Travel Guidebook

Taiwan Adventures iPhone Guidebook is a brand new way to learn about Taiwan as you travel through it.  The “book” has over 900 entries featuring Taiwan’s best travel highlights.  Useful to tourists and expats alike, the APP has entries describing everything from renting a car or scooter to finding that western food that you’ve been craving.  A sample of the Guide is a downloadable from the iTunes Store for free.

Several of my colleagues and I have been working on this guide for nearly a year now.  We’ve traveled to nearly every corner of Taiwan to find you the most interesting places, both famous and unknown.  We’ve tried to push our favorite part of Taiwan – its amazing natural beauty, but have also scoured the cities for the best they have to offer.

You can get a small sample of the Guide for free from the iTunes Store, then the five divisions of Taiwan (Taipei City, Northern Taiwan, Eastern Taiwan, Central and the South) are a small additional fee.

All the entries have several photos (over 2,000 all together), many of which are exclusive to this APP.

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Snow Mountain 雪山 – Dec, 2011

Snow Mountain (aka Xueshan, and a few other spellings) is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful hikes in Taiwan.  I’ve been lucky enough to have done it several times now, and each time seems to get better and better.

Just this past weekend, Taiwan Adventures took took a group of hikers for a two day, two night adventure on this high mountain.  We had great people, great weather and a great time.

Hiking to Snow Mountain, Taiwan

The afternoon sun highlights some cliff ridges on the hike to Snow Mountain, Taiwan.

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Taiwan Adventures Online Guide Book

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.

An online guidebook to Taiwan with lots of travel information and advice.

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Hiking Jade Mountain 玉山

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.

The Jade Mountain Main Peak as seen from the West Peak hiking trail.

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Hiking the Central Taiwan Mountains – NengGao 能高

The mountains of central Taiwan are remote and beautiful.  Some friends and I recently made a two day hiking trip to the old NengGao Historic Trail 能高越嶺古道. Starting near Puli 埔里, Taiwan, the Nenggao hiking trail is a long but relatively easy ascent to the “Spine of Taiwan”… the high mountain “Backbone” that runs north to south through its center.

Most of our trek was cool (perfect for hiking) and foggy (not so perfect for seeing the nice views), but we had a good time and saw some interesting things, so I thought I’d share.

Giant Earth Worm on the Neng Gao Historic Hiking Trail

A hiker in the Central Taiwan mountains finds a giant earthworm.

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The Golden Grotto (黃金峽谷)

The Golden Grotto (黃金峽谷) is a beautiful slot canyon up a remote river valley near Hualian, Taiwan.  Located a few kilometers south of the entrance to Taroko Gorge National Park (太魯閣國家公園) or a few Kilometers north of Hualian (花蓮), the entrance to the Pratan South River is in Pratan Village (aka SanJhan South River (三棧南溪) and SanJhan Village (三棧)).

Jumping off one of the waterfalls behind the Golden Grotto near Hualian, Taiwan.

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Formosa Adventurers – FINALE!

If you know me personally, or follow my blog, you probably know that some friends and I entered a contest called “The Best Trip in the World” put on by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau.

It’s a contest that gave the opportunity for selected groups of bloggers to travel Taiwan for 4 days and blog about it.  We were one of the lucky groups selected and we completed our 4 day itinerary back in June. The final stage of the contest has arrived and we put our adventurers into a finale video, complete with a goofy music video at the end.

Remember that this was the first time any of us ever tried to put a video together and we had a blast!  We highly recommend that everyone get their friends together, plan a trip (to Taiwan, of course!), and make a fun video!

Also have a look at my friends’ websites about Taiwan:

Stu’s Taiwan Hiking Blog

and

Phil’s 老外的臺灣旅遊日記 (in Chinese)

Thanks again for all the support!
-neil

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Formosa Adventurers – 4 Day Trip!!!

Formosa Adventurers just got back from our 4 day trip to promote Taiwan.

We had an absolutely fantastic time and it will be one of those events in my life that I’ll always look back at and smile about.

In four days we went river tracing, white water rafting, 4-wheeling, paragliding, hot springing, local food eating, and we also learned a lot about the aboriginal culture here in Taiwan.

There’s nothing like a fun trip with your friends…  you should plan one now and make some videos like we did… seriously!

These are  the things we do on many weekends, but the fact that we were doing it to try to win a contest gave us a bit of extra “umpf” and made it really special.

You can learn a lot more by reading our official contest blog and watching the videos below.  (If you’re short on time, day 1 and 3 are my favorites!)

Day 1 – River Tracing and an Aboriginal Festival


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Formosa Adventurers

Things are really starting to roll for our team!   Thanks to My Several Worlds, we have some more publicity for our entry to Taiwan’s “Best Trip in the World – 世界最棒的旅遊”!

If you haven’t seen our video, have a look below, then go vote for us and leave some comments!

Thank you all so much!

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Formosa Adventurers

The Formosa Adventurers got a write-up in today’s China Times!  We haven’t been able to find an online version, but if you can read Chinese, pick one up and check out page A10!  Woo Hoo!

Also, if you want to follow the Formosa Adventurers on Twitter, click the link below:

If you really want to help us out, go to our contest blog, give us a vote, watch the video and leave a comment.

Update:

Here’s Phil’s translation of the China Times article:

”英美聯軍”來勢洶洶”

觀光局初步認為有特色及網友回響多的參賽組中,來自英國及美國的四個大男生組成英美聯軍“FormosaAdventurers” (美麗島探險家)擁有高人氣的影片點選,他們規劃運動探險記原住民文化體驗的旅遊主題,包括花蓮溯溪,泛舟,臺東高臺飛行傘,入住原住民部落,體驗臺東知本及金崙溫泉

臺灣冒險及原住民文化的結合比臺灣人更道地,四個英美聯軍大男生還在個人部落格中,分別以中,英文介紹臺灣自然美景與有趣的旅遊經驗。

UK and USA United Forces

Taiwan’s tourism bureau believe so far that the team with the most special qualities and a lot of interest online is the Formosa Adventurers. Comprising of four guys from the UK and the USA, the Formosa Adventurers have had a lot of people watch their introductory video. They are planning a adventure sports and aboriginal culture-themed trip including river tracing and white-water rafting in Hualian, paragliding and visiting an aboriginal tribe in Taidong as well as experience Zhiben and Jinlun’s hot springs.

A combination of Taiwanese adventure and aboriginal culture that is very authentic Taiwanese. The team also write about Taiwan’s natural beauty and their own interesting travel experiences in their blogs which are written in English and Chinese.

Thank you!!!
-neil
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Formosa Adventurers

Formosa Adventurers” is the name of my and my friends’ group for Taiwan’s “Best Trip in the World – 世界最棒的旅遊” contest.  It’s a contest set up by Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau to promote tourism in Taiwan.

The way the contest works is that everyone who wants to give it a try uploads a travel plan, video and group introduction to the website.  From there, the contest organizers select 50 groups to complete their plans.  They give them 28,000 NTD (about $800USD) to do it.  After you finished with the 4 days, you upload a video and blog showing what you did.  Then, one group wins the grand prize of 1 million NTD (about $30,000USD) and gets to travel in Taiwan for a month, blogging on their experiences.

Not a bad deal.  And since this is what we do all the time anyway, it sounded perfect for us.

Our itinerary is (approximately) as follows:
(I’ll update this later, I don’t actually have the real one sitting in front of me now):

Day 1:
Train from Taipei to Hualien.  River tracing through one of the beautiful canyons down there.  Then that night, a visit to the night market.

Day 2:
White water rafting in The Rift Valley.  Followed by a train ride to Taidong and a visit to the night market and a few other sites in the city.

Day 3:
Paragliding just north of Taidong.  Then a visit to an aboriginal village for a cultural show and some Taiwanese Aboriginal Food.

Day 4:
Hiking through an ancient forest to a wild hot spring.  Then, the train ride back to Taipei.

So please watch the video below and go vote for us at Taiwan’s “Best Trip in the World” contest.

Thanks!!!!
-neil

Categories: TAIWAN, Taiwan Adventurers, TRAVEL, UNCATEGORIZED, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Huangdidian 皇帝殿

Hiking Huang Di Dian 皇帝殿 this past weekend was one of the best day trips I’ve been on in Taiwan.  Just about 20 minutes from Taipei, this hike is one that shouldn’t be missed.

A perfect 360 view awaited us at the end.

A perfect 360 view awaited us at the end.

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Fengtoujian 峰頭尖

Hiking in Taiwan just might be the best thing that you can do here.  Fresh air, beautiful views, and a bit of exercise can really help you to forget the traffic, noise and pollution of the cities. I find it really sad that a lot of the people who live here never leave the cities.  I’ve met foreigners who have lived here for years and have literally never left the city once.  Personally, I go crazy if I can’t get out of Taipei at least every other weekend.  Sometimes, I head to the mountains, sometimes the beach, sometimes the hot springs.

Last weekend, my friends and I decided that a little hiking was in order.  Stu Dawson is completely insane about hiking and has started a website called Hiking Taiwan.  He knows his stuff, so if he has a hike planned, I’ll usually try to tag along.

Last weekend we headed out to a small town called Pingxi 坪溪, just 30 minutes from Taipei.  Surrounding Pingxi 坪溪 are some beautiful, jagged mountains that are perfect for a days get away.

We chose one called Feng Tou Jian 峰頭尖 that sits on a complex system of trails that crisscross Taiwan.

I’ll keep the story short because Stu did a great job of writing about it on his website.  So if you want the details and practicalities of going to this particular trail, go to his site.  I just thought I’d share my pictures from the hike to hopefully motivate some of you to get out there and start enjoying yourself!

In the beginning, we could see two of the peaks we would cross.

In the beginning, we could see two of the peaks we would cross.

More hiking in Taiwan after the jump…

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Wuliaojian 五寮尖

I had big plans for the weekend.  The problem with planning anything on the weekends in Taipei is that the weather rarely cooperates.  This weekend was the opposite problem of what usually happens.  I was planning on a nice, lazy few days, with no other expectations except maybe get some stock pictures of the MRT (Taipei’s subway).  To my surprise, the weather on Saturday turned out to be one of the best days of the year…cool, low humidity, and even sunny!  Well, there goes my plans!!!  I’ve definitely learned that you can’t waste a nice weekend in Taipei…it’s not that it rains ALL the time, but it does rain an awful lot.

After an hour or so of convincing myself to get out of bed, I decided to get up.  So what to do?  A quick call to my friend Ross who had a friend in from Japan and it was on.  We decided we’d take a fairly easy 3.5 hour hike in the nearby mountains…

Wu Liao Jian (五寮尖) is a famous hike about 1 hour from Taipei.  It has a complex trail system that allows hikes from a few hours to all day.  The main attraction of this particular mountain is that it has a beautifully exposed rocky peak.  There’s also a nice river by the trail head for a cool-down swim session afterwords.

As always, doing something proved to be the right decision over doing nothing…damn.  Maybe next weekend it will rain!

Ross about to descend the very long rope ladder at Wu Liao Jian 五寮尖 mountain, near Taipei, Taiwan.

Ross about to descend the very long rope ladder at Wu Liao Jian 五寮尖 mountain, near Taipei, Taiwan.

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