Head to Tainan and Alishan if you want to see more of Taiwanese culture

Metro News
Date: 12 May 2019
By: Qin Xie

Taipei is always the first port of call for first-time visitors to Taiwan – and rightly so, given that it’s the capital.

But if you really want to delve into Taiwanese culture, heritage and explore the lesser known parts of the island, you need to head south.

I decided on Tainan, the former capital, as my first port of call.

On the train down, I spotted an article on some of the craftsmen in the city – that’s how I ended up at Tainan Kuang Tsai Embroidery Shop.

Mr Lin, who’s owned the shop for decades, creates these incredible embroidered pieces for everything from Chinese opera costumes and wedding outfits to decorations for temples.    [FULL  STORY]

Southernmost Taiwan cape named one of most welcoming places in the world

A considerable number of properties in Eluanbi Cape won 2018 Guest Review Awards

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/01/09
By: Ryan Drillsma, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Eluanbi lighthouse in Kenting (Flickr/paularps)

TAIPEI (Taiwan) — Eluanbi Cape (鵝鑾鼻) in Pingtung County (屏東縣) was named one of the friendliest travel destinations in 2018 by

Digital travel platform released its annual list of “the most welcoming places on earth” today (Jan. 9). According to the hotel reservation website, the list honors its “accommodation partners that consistently deliver great guest experiences with a 2018 Guest Review Award.”

Eluanbi Cape in Kenting (墾丁), Pingtung is one of the areas known for hosting many such accommodations and was named alongside Niagra on the Lake in Canada, New Zealand’s Lake Tekapo, and Newport in the United States.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan’s Pinglin tea zone is a Top 100 Green Destination

The award will be handed out at ITB Berlin next year

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/12/21
By: Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Pinglin, New Taipei City (photo courtesy of New Taipei City tourism department).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Pinglin district of New Taipei City, known for its hillside tea plantations, has been named as one of the world’s Top 100 Green Destinations, reports said Friday.

The award will be handed out at one of the largest tourism events in the world, the ITB travel fair in Berlin on March 6, the Liberty Times reported.

2018 was the fourth year that a Dutch-based foundation made a selection of global tourism destinations based on criteria such as sustainable development, social, cultural and economic conservation, and environmental protection.

Pinglin amounted to the back garden of the greater Taipei area, with its water sources protected from pollution, the Liberty Times reported.    [FULL  STORY]

12 Taiwan national forest recreation areas accept mobile payments

The 12 national recreation areas will accept the four smartphone payments–Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Taiwan Pay.

Taiwan News 
Date: 2018/12/17
By: George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Shuangliou National Forest Recreation Area (photo courtesy of the Forestry Bureau)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Twelve national forest recreation areas in Taiwan have adapted themselves to accepting mobile payment, which has become a trending payment in recent years, according to a recent news release posted by the Forestry Bureau, which administers the country’s national recreation areas.

The bureau said in the news release that from now on, the 12 national forest recreation areas, as well as the Bong Bong Train in the Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area, and the sightseeing mini trains in Wulai, New Taipei City, will accept the four NFC-enabled smartphone payments linked to visitors’ credit cards–Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and Taiwan Pay.

The 12 national forest recreation areas are Taipingshan, Manyueyuan, Neidong, and Dongyanshan in northern Taiwan; Basianshan, Dasyueshan, and Aowanda in central Taiwan; Alishan, Shuangliou, and Kenting in southern Taiwan; and Jhihben, and Chihnan in eastern Taiwan, the bureau said.

The national forest recreation areas are rich in natural resources, the agency said, adding the levels of negative ions and phytoncides, which are beneficial to human health, in forests are several times higher than those in metropolitan areas. Forests can directly intercept particulate matter and reduce the level of PM2.5, the bureau added.

Preserving social cohesion at all costs is still the bedrock of Taiwan’s social morality.

Here, placing the larger clan, the society, before yourself, the individual, is key.

BBC News
Date: 1 November 2018 
By: Leslie Nguyen-Okwu

Saying ‘buhaoyisi’ in Taiwan can open a Pandora’s Box of profuse politeness (Credit: Keitma/Alamy)

Yun-Tzai Lee and Joanne Chen are one of those sickening couples that finish each other’s sentences, lace their fingers together and just won’t stop oozing adorable. But the three little words ‘I love you’ don’t come as easily to Lee as they do to his fiancée Chen. His face turns beetroot-red at the thought of uttering the phase, and causes him to feel ‘buhaoyisi’(pronounced ‘boo-how-eee-suh’) – one of the many ways to feel mortified or to be sorry in Taiwan.

“Most people here will feel this way,” Lee said.

Welcome to the linguistic minefield of apologising in Taiwan, where simply saying ‘buhaoyisi’ can open a Pandora’s Box of profuse politeness. The word is made up of four characters that literally translate to ‘bad meaning’ or ‘bad feeling’, and serves as a tidy catch-all that can be deployed in all kinds of situations, from meekly catching a waiter’s attention to expressing a guilt-ridden apology to your boss to the paralysing feeling that washes over you as you struggle to confess your love.

Buhaoyisi is forever on the lips of Taiwanese, according to Prof Chia-ju Chang, Chinese professor at Brooklyn College City University of New York. “We use it all the time as Taiwan is a verbally polite culture. So, we use it when we interrupt people or asking of a favour. We can even use it to start a conversation.”    [FULL  STORY]

VIDEO: 5-star hotel gives away furniture and appliances as it closes

Radio Taiwan International
Date: 01 November, 2018

This five-star hotel is closing and is giving away furniture for free!
A five-star hotel in Taipei that’s closing at the end of the year lets you take home pillows, electric appliances and furniture for free. That is if you book it on its last day.

As many as 60 hotels around Taiwan are likely to close their doors due to competitiveness in the hotel industry. A room in a five-star international hotel that’s been open for 20 years in Taipei costs more than US$970 a night.    [FULL  STORY]

Relax and enjoy a bike tour along the unparalleled beauties Taitung County has to offer 

So why not join a bike tour organized by Taitung County Government that allows participants to relax, experience the slow pace of life, and enjoy wonderful views along the way

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/09/20
By: George Liao, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

The Diamond Avenue bike path is also called “King Kong Avenue”

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Taiwan’s eastern county of Taitung is the best place to ride a bike as it is full of scenic views and has the best air in the country. So why not join a bike tour organized by the Taitung County Government that allows participants to relax, experience the slow pace of life, and enjoy wonderful views along the way.

The county government has organized four cycling routes that span the best parts of the county—one along the east coast, one in the East Rift Valley, and two in the county’s south.

The organizer combines bus service with cycling to provide seamless one-day and two-day tours that bring participants to explore the county’s secret places.

For example, one of the tours will take participants to the Diamond Avenue bike path, sometimes called “King Kong Avenue.” The bike path, located in Changbin Township, offers a poetic view over the vast paddy fields to the sparkling Pacific Ocean far beyond the horizon. There are no electric poles along the route; and there are no buildings either, except for a pavilion for rest. The legendary view of the sea and the sky merging into the horizon can also be seen along this route.     [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan’s stunning 106-year-old mountain railway

Date: 18th September 2018
By: Maggie Hiufu Wong

Visiting Alishan: Built more than 100 years ago, the Alishan Forest Railway is perhaps the best way to explore Alishan, one of Taiwan’s most important mountain ranges. Lai Guo-hua, an aerial photographer who lives next to the railway, spent more than three years documenting it.
courtesy Lai Guo-hua

Chiayi, Taiwan (CNN) — As a red and cream-colored train chugs up the Alishan mountains of Taiwan, hikers and villagers stop and wave at the passengers on board.
It feels like an adventure, harking back to a time when train travel was new and exciting.
And in a way, it is.

The train has embarked on one of the newly introduced cruise-style tours on the century-old Alishan Forest Railway, a network of 71.4 kilometers (44.4 miles) of narrow-gauge rail lines in central Taiwan’s Alishan mountain range.

Former Japanese logging railway
Completed in 1912 under the Japanese occupation, the Alishan Forest Railway was used to transport now-endangered Taiwan cypress trees from Alishan. After logging was banned, it lived on as the only passenger train to ride up the mountains.

Today, it remains one of the world’s most historic and beautiful mountain railways.

6 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Taiwan

Taiwan News
Date: 2018/07/13
By: Zack Davisson, Taiwan News, Contributing Writer

Jiufen (Photo courtesy of NH)

People have many common misconceptions about Taiwan. Foreigners tend  think of the island state as an extension of China and Chinese culture. While historically, China has significantly impacted Taiwan, Taiwanese people take great pride in their unique way of life combining Chinese, Japanese, colonial, and native influences. Another common mistake made by travelers is the idea that Taiwan is defined by Taipei. While the capital city has a lot to offer and is the heartbeat of the island, there’s a vast landscape of traditional villages, gorgeous mountain peaks, and friendly locals to admire elsewhere. In fact, business travelers venture out so little from Taipei that they are rarely out of viewing distance of the towering Taipei 101 skyscraper.

If you’re looking to embrace Taiwan and discover some of its many hidden gems, the travel experts at AllTheRooms have got you covered with these off-the-beaten-path places.    [FULL  STORY]

Staying at The Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan

NZ Herald
Date: 9 Jul, 2018
By: Lucy Casley

The Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan.

Lucy Casley checks into The Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan.

Getting there:

The hotel is located in central Taipei — a short bus or train ride from Taipei Airport.

Check-in experience: My mouth dropped to the floor when we arrived at this hotel because of its classic Chinese architecture and decor. Everything is royal red, from the carpet, to the railings to some of the walls. Beautiful mosaics cover the ceilings and statues are dotted around the hotel. There is a wall of fame featuring photographs of presidents and royalty visiting the hotel from the 1950s onwards. We were welcomed very warmly and professionally by the manager and other staff and were able to check in immediately.

Room: I stayed in a Deluxe room, which had a beautiful balcony overlooking the city. It had two single beds, a desk that looked like it was set up for some serious business, a mini fridge, a kettle, fruit and two water bottles. The fruit was not free, nor was the water in the fridge, but the room-temperature water was complimentary. Having not checked the policy list, I went for the refrigerated water after a day in the heat.

Bathroom: The electronic toilet had a controller where you could adjust the heating of the toilet seat. There were a lot of other buttons but it was all in Mandarin, so I stuck to my usual toilet routine to be safe. There was also a bath and separate shower with good water pressure.

Toiletries: Very comprehensive including a dental kit, razor, bathrobe and slippers.

Facilities: Remarkable banquet rooms for special events, shops on level two, a restaurant, gym, sauna, swimming pool, tennis courts and a business centre.

The bed: Single and very cosy with crisp, clean white linen.

Price: $640 per night.    [FULL  STORY]