This country with its captivating mountain landscapes, stunning beaches, enigmatic Chinese architecture, brilliant natural treasures and world class food is a hidden treasure in Asia. Taiwan is a land of endless enchanting surprises that makes it a must visit in 2018.
15 Most Beautiful Photos of Taiwan that makes it a must visit enigmatic country in 2018
Internationally renowned journalist, photographer and urban nomad Kounteya Sinha was recently sent to Taiwan by The National Geographic Traveller India to do a large piece for them. He returned with images that will make you drool. Kounteya is revered globally for his ability to dig out the greatest of human stories from the most mundane.
Kounteya’s offbeat take on travel – that mixes anthropology, social customs, hidden faces, off the map corners and his ability to penetrate the hardest of human hearts has earned him millions of die hard fans cutting across the globe.
Kounteya who has traveled to six of the seven continents – passing through nearly 65 countries calls Blackboard one of the best websites to come out of India and always shares his stories with us.
The greatest landmark of Taipei City is dedicated to former Chinese president and statesman Chiang Kai-shek – who fled and took refuge in Taiwan after a civil war broke out between his Chinese Nationalist Party and the Communists in 1946. Chiang established a government in exile in Taiwan and led it for over two decades. Entrance to the main hall of this octagon-shaped national monument requires climbing 89 steps (the age of Chiang when he died). A gigantic bronze statue of Chiang greets you in the main hall as the words “ethics, democracy and science” are etched behind it. The monument with its roofs decorated with deep-blue glass and decorated with Chinese-style latticed windows featuring 26 different motifs is spread across a total area of 250,000 square meters and houses an artefact museum with Chiang’s two Cadillacs among other things in it. The hourly changing of the guard is a big draw for tourists. The sprawling well-manicured gardens or the Liberty Square are spectacular with blue, white and red coloured flowers to match the country’s national flag that denotes the spirit of freedom, equality and brotherhood. The gardens also host the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.
You can get the most unparalleled views of Taipei – the capital of Taiwan from top of the city’s tallest man made structure – Taipei 101 – the number denoting the floors of what was once the tallest structure across the world. Taipei 101 held that distinction for six years till 2010 when it was surpassed in height by Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The massive structure is today recognised for the sheer engineering marvel it is – built to withstand earthquakes of a magnitude of 9 and typhoons with wind speed of over 216 km/hour. Interestingly the building whose design is inspired by the bamboo plant houses the world’s fastest elevator – climbing 55 feet per second. Weighing 700,000 tons, it took over seven months to inspect the soil to see whether such a structure can be built on t followed by six years of construction costing $1.8 billion. The electric cabling of the building is believed to be so extensive that it could reach New York and back if stretched end to end. The building houses one of the swankiest malls of Asia.
The pungent smell hits you much before you hear the hissing sound of rocks spitting out sulphur gas. Taking a dip in bubbling hot springs rich in sulphur in the mountains of Yangmingshan is a very popular pastime – almost bordering on being a ritual. Enjoying a good soak in a steaming hot spring is believed to have a range of therapeutic effects on various disorders such as skin disease, gout and arthritis and can improve blood circulation and relieve chronic muscle aches. Interestingly, lots of people with disabilities are driven up just to inhale the sulphur strong air. Since sulphur is the third most abundant mineral in the body, it is essential for muscle skin and bone health. Most of Yangmingshan’s geothermal activity is confined between Beitou and Jinshan – a region 18 kms long and 3 kms wide. Besides, the Yangmingshan National Park was also a hotbed for sulphur mines considering the use of the mineral in the manufacture of gunpowder. The Park is also a hiker’s paradise – home to 1,359 species of plants, 123 different species of birds and 180 species of butterflies.
It’s nothing less than a deluge. Undulating slopes of the 1340-metre-tall Liushidan Mountain range (literally translates to Sixty Stone Mountain) covered in a carpet of yellow and orange across 300 hectares of land – it’s a sight that can give cities like Amsterdam known for its flower tourism a run for its money. The Day Lily region in the Taitung County of south eastern Taiwan is a riot of bloom from the end of August. There are 623 hectares of farmland in Taiwan dedicated to day lily cultivation – a flower that is a prime delicacy as deep friend during the Moon Festival mid- August. In Chinese the flower is called jin zhen or the golden needle. One of the most prevalent dishes using the flower as an ingredient is called pork rib soup with golden needles.
Nine year old Tseming’s father owns the Xing Yuan Tea Garden in Zhongcheng village producing six varieties of pesticide free, chemical fertilizer free and herbicide free tea for the past 40 years. The Garden is famous for making tourists get a hands on experience – teaching them how to make green tea ice cream being the most popular.
The garden produces a ton of tea annually with the most expensive being the Pomelo Flower Oolong Tea that costs 3600 Taiwanese dollars per 600 grams.
The peppermint blue water of the Liwu river carving its way through plunging canyons with gigantic marble slaps in the Taroko Gorge National Park is a must see. The buzzing sound of crickets and wasps is almost deafening as you hike through this ecological wonder – home to 27 of the 100 peaks in Taiwan which are over 3000 metres in height and 80% of the country’s animal species.
Since being declared a national park in 1986, the 920-square-kilometer area has been a protected reserve which is dotted with shrines perched on mountain tops – the most famous among them being the Eternal Spring Shrine.
Explorer, story teller, photographer, public speaker and animal tracker with a compulsive knack of running away from home since the age of five, award winning journalist Kounteya Sinha was the United Kingdom correspondent of The Times of India (TOI) – the world’s largest circulated English newspaper. He recently became the European Union Fellow on diaspora under which he travelled to 10 European countries of his choice over three months discovering and documenting the unknown lives of Indians who made EU their home.