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      • Part 27: The Best Of Taiwan
  • Joy Fang

    DURING a three-week so-journ in Taiwan last year – which became the basis for the popular Free And Easy In Taiwan 26-part series that ran in my paper – I experienced the island at its best.

    The food, as any foodie will tell you, is truly to die for. Sometimes, late at night, I find myself pining for the fried-chicken cutlet I ate at a bustling night market, and those succulent oysters that I tried on a pier.

    The people are lovely, too. They are homely and down-toearth, and go the extra mile to make you, a foreigner, feel welcome.

    But most of all, I find myself missing the island’s natural beauty. The quiet dignity of its stately mountain ranges, the astounding fields of flowers, and the clear-blue lakes – these are things you can’t find in all-too-modern Singapore.

    I can’t help, therefore, but recount my time there, and tell you about my favourite places to visit in Taiwan.

    CINGJING VETERANS FARM

    This tranquil pasture, nestled on the top of a mountain in central Taiwan, was easily my favourite spot.

    Not only is the air crisp and cool, but you’ll also find colourful European-styled bed-andbreakfasts, making you feel like you’ve been transported to a quaint European countryside.

    How to get there: Take a train from Taipei Main Station to Taichung Railway Station. Then take the Kuo Kuang Bus to Puli and transfer to the Nantou Bus, which goes in the direction of Songgang-Cuifeng. Get off at Cingjing Veterans Farm.

    TAINAN

    This quaint city – the oldest on the island and located in the south of Taiwan – had my full attention.

    I loved the antiquated buildings, the preserved remnants of its past (like its forts and old temples) and, of course, the fascinating fairy tale-like Anping Tree House. Its intricate lattice of intertwined tree roots and eeriely silent atmosphere were beautiful and chilling.

    How to get there: Take a train from Taipei Main Station to Tainan Railway Station.

    HUALIEN

    Running along Taiwan’s mountainous east coast, this county gives you a slew of alluring natural attractions.

    Enjoy amazing sea views atop plunging cliffs; travel on winding mountain roads, and check out the scenic lakes and a sea of seasonal golden daylilies dotting the mountains. Cisingtan’s black sands are also a must-see.

    How to get there: Take a train from Taipei Main Station to Hualien Train Station.

    SUN MOON LAKE

    This pristine and seemingly boundless blue lake is breathtaking at dawn, when the first rays of sunlight hit the water’s surface.

    The air of serenity and harmony inspires weary city-dwellers to stand still, breathe, and clear their minds. It’s also a great place for honeymooners.

    How to get there: Take a train from Taipei Main Station to Taichung Kan Cheng Train Station. Cross the street and take the Nantou Bus going towards Sun Moon Lake.

    PENGHU

    This archipelago is great for a quick getaway. Charming, unassuming and carefree, here you can enjoy a blissful island life as you engage in fun water sports, or just tuck into cheap and fresh seafood.

    Though there are many tiny islands to visit, each with its own unique features to offer, my favourite is Xiyu. There, head to the west coast and look for Daguoye, where you’ll see the area’s majestic basalt columns.

    Don’t forget to look for the gorgeously preserved antique stone houses on Wangan Island and to eat sea-urchin sashimi.

    How to get there: Take a domestic flight – such as those of Trans- Asia Airways or Mandarin Airlines – from Songshan Airport to Magong Airport on Penghu’s main island.

    Find my paper’s Free And Easy In Taiwan series online at http://sgtravellers.com/travel-sub-feature/free-and-easy-in-taiwan/29 Look out for a new travel series on Taiwan in my paper, starting next month.

    HELPDESK
    Popular: 受欢迎的 shòu huān yíng de
    Remnants: 剩余的 shèng yú de
    Alluring: 吸引人的 xī yĭn rén de
    Sea-urchin sashimi: 海胆刺身 hăi dăn cì shēn

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