Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Taiwan, September 2010

When we went to live in Asia, Taiwan was not one of the destinations we had in mind to visit but we heard so many great things about it from people who'd lived there or visited on holiday, that we decided to see for ourselves. We were not disappointed!

satellite map of Taiwan, looking west

We flew from Seoul to the capital, Taipei. This is Taipei's famous 101 Tower, until recently the tallest building in the world:

Same building by night:

This Taoist temple dates from the early 19th century:

Boa-an Temple

Boa-an temple roof decoration

We also visited the National Museum which is one of the largest in the world, and contains many ancient Chinese treasures brought over from mainland China in the late 1940s. 

National Museum, Taipei

We spent three nights/two days in Taipei, then headed down the east coast to Taitung, where we caught a ferry to Green Island (off Taiwan's south east coast) to go scuba-diving. Lonely Planet calls the ferry the "Green Island vomit barge". Our trip over was effectively rather stomach-churning as there had just been a cyclone, but the return journey was smooth.

one of the Taitung-Green Island ferries

Green island is notable as it possesses one of only three salt water hot springs in the world. (The two others are in Japan and Sicily) :

on Green Island

The 33m-high lighthouse is in the island's north-west, and was originally built in 1937 by the Japanese.

lighthouse, Green Island

our accommodation

Sign by the roadside on Green Island :

After travelling back to Taitung we headed up the coast to Hualien where we spent a night and then visited Taroko Gorge, which reminded us a lot of Reunion Island.

Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge

Taroko Gorge

Sausage ice-cream?  Hualien beach

My 'artistic' creation on Hualien beach :

This is called a coffin sandwich in Taiwan (death by sandwich ?)

Suggested reading:

Lonely Planet Taiwan (Country Travel Guide)

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