Taiwan, with the warmth of its locals, interesting history and culture, and unparalleled culinary treats, is nothing short of amazing. And with more than half of the country covered with verdant forests and many other natural wonders, it’s no surprise it was aptly named Ilha Formosa (Beautiful Island) by the Portuguese.
A short 30-min travel from the Taiwan’s downtown capital is one of the country’s nine national parks. The Yangminghsan National Park is popular for its volcanic geography, hot springs, and natural beauty of lush forested mountain ranges. Its accessible location along with the many hike trails (both walking and cycling), make it a favorite among locals and tourists. Blessed with a fine climate, the park boasts of unique beauty every season. From the blossoming season, with the lovely sprawling gardens of azaleas and pink cherry blossoms, and the vibrant vegetation of summer to the charming colors of fall and occasional snow during winter, there’s no doubt that this haven has won the hearts of many.
A lake with a picturesque view situated in the heart of Taiwan, the Sun Moon Lake, is among the country’s loveliest attractions. The Lalu Island, divides the lake into halves – its southern part a resembling the shape of the crescent moon and the northern, sun-shaped, thus its name. With surrounded forested mountains and top tourist attractions such as Cien Pagoda, Wenwu Temple, bridges, gardens, and cultural villages in the lake, a visit to the only big natural lake is truly worthy of spot in the must-visit list. Having many walk trails, exploring the area by foot is indeed a great option however being named by CNN having one of the world’ best cycling routes, wouldn’t it be a delight to take in the beauty of this destination on bike?
In the east is Taiwan’s premier tourist attraction, the Taroko National Park, named after the famous 18-km marble-walled Taroko Gorge formed by natural forces (tectonic movement and erosion by the beautiful blue-green Liwu River). The vast, scenic park, popular for its granite formations, spans 1200-sq km comprising the Taichung Municipality, Hualien, and Nantou counties. With over 30 walking trails – from scenic and fitness to mountain-climbing courses, exploring the greens, towering cliffs, caves, canyons, tunnels, stunning mountainous landscapes, and seeing up close an abundance of wildlife species, Taroko National Park is nothing short of breathtaking.
Heading down south to the subtropical Pingtung County is a destination perfect for coastal and underwater recreations and home to Kenting National Park, Taiwan’s first-established national park. Apart from its abundance in coral reefs and sea-eroded terrains, the avian ecology of this country also makes for an exciting bird watching destination especially during the wintry months. From awe-inspiring beautifully dramatic highways that look like from a movie scene and national scenic areas (of Maolin and Dapeng Bay) to less visited beaches and the best paragliding destination, what else does southern Taiwan has to offer? Deliciously irresistible local eats!
From bountiful flora and faunas to remarkable works of nature and an abundance of marine life, exploring the natural side of Taiwan should be on every traveler’s bucket list.