Taiwan 101: Part 4. Western Taiwan

In 'Top One Hundred' mountains, Aboriginal Culture, Ancient trees, Chunghua County, Cultural relics, Day hikes, Geological curiosities, History, Hsinchu County, Miaoli County, Mountains, Nantou County, Natural history, Photo Collections, Taichung City, Temples and local religious beliefs, Treks and long walks, Waterfalls, Yunlin County by Richard4 Comments

Hakka sanheyuan house near Xinpu

Hakka sanheyuan house near Xinpu

Dabajianshan, Taiwan's most magnificentlly distinctive high mountain peak

Dabajianshan, Taiwan’s most magnificently distinctive high mountain peak

Temples at Shitoushan, Miaoli County

Temples at Shitoushan, Miaoli County

Shuiyang Lake, a beautiful creation of the great 1999 earthquake

Shuiyang Lake, a beautiful creation of the great 1999 earthquake

Taiwan 101: volume 2 is available from me directly by mail-order, or from English-language bookshops in Taiwan

In Taiwan 101 western Taiwan is everything from the Hakka lands of Hsinchu and underrated Miaoli, through Taichung City, Changhua, Yunlin (another under-explored corner of the island), and beautiful Nantou County. This long swathe of the island comprises the flat and (for a nature lover) relatively uninteresting western plains, but these are dotted with some of Taiwan’s most historic (and interesting) towns, the majority of Taiwan’s heritage structures are found here, and there’s even the occasional stunning natural anomaly, such as the badlands landscape of Fire Mountain and the Da An River Grand Canyon, both just north of Taichung city.

Taiwan’s magnificent central and Snow Mountain ranges are also generally approached from the west, which has easier access to most of the high summits, while in their foothills, Taichung City and the counties of Nantou, Yunlin, and Chiayi feature some of the island’s most magnificent easily accessible scenery. For hikers and nature lovers with time to explore only one part of Taiwan, this western region (with the magnificent scenery of Chiayi County just to the south) is the area to go for. Several months could be spent hiking around and exploring the area’s extraordinary range of natural and cultural attractions without exhausting the possibilities.

The summit of Mount Yuanzui, perhaps the most exciting day hike in the Taichung area

The summit of Mount Yuanzui, perhaps the most exciting day hike in the Taichung area

Wannian Gorge, Yunlin County

Wannian Gorge, Yunlin County

Atomospheric old alleyways in Lukang, Chunghua County

Atomospheric old alleyways in Lukang, Chunghua County

Eve Tree, Zhenxibao, Hsinchu County

Eve Tree, Zhenxibao, Hsinchu County

Taiwan Pleione, a rare endemic orchid, on a trail in Hsinchu County

Taiwan Pleione, a rare endemic orchid

In Chung Tai Chan Temple, Nantou County

In Chung Tai Chan Temple, Nantou County

Atayal sculpture at Shilai, Hsinchu County

Atayal sculpture at Shilai, Hsinchu County

Taoshan Waterfall, Taichung City

Taoshan Waterfall, Taichung City

Temple sculpture, Lukang, Chunghua County

Temple sculpture, Lukang, Chunghua County

Taiwan's highest road (3,200 meters) at Mount Hohuan, Nantou County

Taiwan’s highest road (3,200 meters) at Mount Hohuan, Nantou County

Old Movie Theater at Nanchuang, Miaoli County

Old Movie Theater at Nanchuang, Miaoli County

Japanese-era Lidong Fort sits atop a mountain at just under 2,000 meters, Hsinchu CountyCounty

Japanese-era Lidong Fort sits atop a mountain at just under 2,000 meters, Hsinchu County

Ancient red cypruss tree (over 2,000 years old) at Zhenxibao, Hsinchu County

Ancient red cypruss tree (over 2,000 years old) at Zhenxibao, Hsinchu County

Sun Moon Lake cycle path

Sun Moon Lake cycle path

Shenxian Gorge, dwelling place of Atayal aboriginal ancestors, Miaoli County

Shenxian Gorge, dwelling place of Atayal aboriginal ancestors, Miaoli County

The Hall of the Four Kings at Chung Tai Chan Temple, one of Taiwan's largest

The Hall of the Four Kings at Chung Tai Chan Temple, one of Taiwan’s largest

Kuhuatan Waterfall, Miaoli County

Kuhuatan Waterfall, Miaoli County

Smangus, Hsinchu County

Smangus, Hsinchu County

Climbing Mount Yuanzui, Taichung City

Climbing Mount Yuanzui, Taichung City

Shuiyang Lake, Nantou/Chiayi County border

Shuiyang Lake, Nantou/Chiayi County border

Maliguang Waterfall, route 60, Hsinchu County

Maliguang Waterfall, route 60, Hsinchu County

Cijiawan River, Wuling Farm, home of the critically endangered Formosan landlocked salmon

Cijiawan River, Wuling Farm, home of the critically endangered Formosan landlocked salmon

The famous Fan-shaped Railway Depot at Chunghua

The famous Fan-shaped Railway Depot at Chunghua

Water Curtain Cave, Caoling, Yunlin County

Water Curtain Cave, Caoling, Yunlin County

Confucius Temple, Changhua

Confucius Temple, Changhua

The thrilling Batongguan Historic Trail, a Japanese-built route from Nantou to Hualien County

The thrilling Batongguan Historic Trail, a Japanese-built route from Nantou to Hualien County

The original Heavenly Steps bridge at Taiji Canyon in Nantou has since spawned several imitators around the island

The original Heavenly Steps bridge at Taiji Canyon in Nantou has since spawned several imitators around the island

Granddaddy Tree, Smangus, the third largest known tree in Taiwan

Granddaddy Tree, Smangus, the third largest known tree in Taiwan

View en route to Shanlinxi, Nantou County

View en route to Shanlinxi, Nantou County

The spectacular Pinglai Stream Canyon, Nantou County

The spectacular Pinglai Stream Canyon, Nantou County

The famous Chiyou Tree, on the Wuling Four Mountains high mountain trek

The famous Chiyou Tree, on the Wuling Four Mountains high mountain trek

Beautiful but rarely visited Fenghuang Waterfall, Yunlin County

Beautiful but rarely visited Fenghuang Waterfall, Yunlin County

Smangus, Hsinchu County

Smangus, Hsinchu County

The view from the summit of Snow Mountain, Taiwan's second highest mountain at 3,886 meters

The view from the summit of Snow Mountain, Taiwan’s second highest mountain at 3,886 meters

Songlongyan Rock, Shanlinxi, Nantou County

Songlongyan Rock, Shanlinxi, Nantou County

 

 

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