I can’t say that I had particularly high expectations the National Center for Traditional Arts (國立傳統藝術中心) when I visited it during my trip to Yilan, but I really enjoyed myself there.
The center’s beautiful 24-hectare campus is located on the banks of the Dongshan River, and features a colorful mix of traditional and modern Taiwan architecture, painting, calligraphy, sculpture, handicrafts, and food. Regular music, drama, and operatic performances are held in various venues throughout the complex, and boat rides along the gentle waters of the river run throughout the day. Continue reading Notes from the field: Taiwan National Center for Traditional Arts and Suao
Meihua Lake (梅花湖), or Plum Blossom Lake, doesn’t come anywhere close to Cuifeng Lake in terms of elevation, but it is set in an equally spectacular location that is bordered by luscious green hillsides on three sides. The lake also has the advantage of being much easier to get to by road or rail. It’s only about half an hour from Yilan compared to two hours for Cuifeng Lake.
The best place to view Meihua Lake is from the Sanqing Temple (道教總廟三清宮), which overlooks it from a perch on its southern slopes. Confusingly spelled as Sanchin/Sanching, the temple is the headquarters of Daoism in Taiwan and is dedicated to the three most important deities in the Daoist pantheon known collectively as the Three Pure Ones (三清; sānqīng) (1). Continue reading Notes from the field: Meihua Lake and Sanqing Daoist Temple
Perhaps I was just imagining it, but the temperature on the climb up Jiuwufeng was slightly cooler than usual this morning. Here’s hoping that this marks the end of what has been an extremely hot summer this year in Taiwan. Let’s see. Thank goodness for air conditioning – quite possibly the greatest invention in human history.
I assume that the weather must be nice and cool at Cuifeng Lake (翠峰湖), another of the main attractions in the Taipingshan National Forest Area (平山國家森林遊樂區). About a forty-five minute drive from Taipingshan Villa, this is the defined as the largest high-mountain lake in Taiwan. During the rainy season it can reportedly cover an area of up to 25 hectares – though it was a lot smaller than that when we visited it. Continue reading Notes from the field: Cuifeng Lake in Taipingshan
The Taiwan tourist industry has experienced quite a boom thanks to the restrictions on international travel resulting from Covid19. Ironically, this has meant that formerly sleepy backwaters like Taidong, Penghu, and Jiaoxi have been so swamped with visitors that the peace and calm they were once known for have been snuffed out by the noise of the traffic and crowds.
I was lucky enough to make it out to the hot spring resort of Jiaoxi (礁溪)before the boom really took off. Despite recent efforts by the county government to spruce it up, it’s not a particularly attractive town but it does provide a convenient starting point for excursions to nearby attractions in Yilan County. Continue reading Notes from the field: ancient cypress and Chinese hemlock trees at Taipingshan