Sites to See in JiuZhaiGou (九寨溝) County

JiuZhaiGou (九寨溝) county, also known as “Nine Village Valley”, is populated with Tibetan villages and really amazing backdrops. Here are a few places in JiuZhaiGou County that worth visiting:

JiuZhaiGou (九寨溝)

It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and has been under heavy preservation by the Chinese government. The majority of tourists are domestic Chinese travelers, which averaged 7,000 a day in 2004 (Wikipedia). Be prepared to spend a hefty penny for entrance and food – it’s Disneyland park prices without the Disney flare and the rides, but the views are pretty amazing.

Our visit in April combined with high elevation made for weather that was just right for a little snowfall

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Chengdu, The Land of Milk and Honey

Over the past decade, I’ve travelled multiple times to China visiting Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing, and so far Chengdu has been my favorite. Chengdu (成都), located in Sichuan Province (四川), sits in the Red Basin and is historically known for its agricultural wealth having constant access to water from the surrounding mountains. The city is sometimes referred as the “Land of Milk and Honey” and it holds true even as a traveler (Random plug). So many beautiful areas to see in the surrounding areas that a schedule can easily be packed for 1.5-2 weeks.  Continue reading

Sky Lanterns in Pinxi

Pinxi (平溪區) is an area most well known in Taiwan for lighting sky lanterns (Tiandeng, 天燈). These lanterns carry the wishes of the owner into the sky in hopes that they will come true. The old style streets in Pinxi also add a bit of flavor making the experience enjoyable whether or not you decide to light your own sky lantern. The affordable street food, lush green landscapes, and romantic feeling of the area makes for a great date location ;). Otherwise, still a good places to go with friends.

Train track in Pinxi

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Taroko Gorge Hikes

lI had been to Hualien (花蓮) when I was a little kid, but don’t have any lasting impressions since I was so young. It seems that the words, “beautiful”, and “Hualien” are synonymous, and it certainly doesn’t fail to disappoint, particularly Taroko Gorge (太魯閣). Being a short train ride away from Taipei, the landscapes offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city with beautiful scenic views of canyon drop offs and deep valleys.

Taroko Gorge

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Kaohsiung – Slower, Smaller Taipei

Every city offers something a little different. for Kaohsiung, it seemed like slower, smaller Taipei. I had the opportunity to couch surf with a young gentleman and his family for a few days and my interactions with the people here have been nothing but friendly, generous, and humbling. It seems that the further south I travel, the nicer people become (not that people in Taipei are mean) and striking up conversations was very easy.

Welcome to Kaohsiung

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One Day Around Kenting – Bicycling

Cycling around Pingtung county (or Kenting) can provide a lot of historical information both about the area and Taiwain in general. Combined with partial flats and hilly areas make this a great area to challenge cyclists from all backgrounds. Easier rides tends to follow the coastline while going inland usually provide a change of scenery and the obligatory hill climb at the national park. I found the most enjoyable views and landscapes of Pingtung county were outside of Hengchun city proper.

Nanmen (南門) at Kenting

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Packing for an East Coast Taiwan Cycling Trip

When I first heard about cycling around Taiwan, I got hooked. In fact, many roads are very suitable for cyclists so long as you are not going during typhoon season. These roads seemingly cater to bicyclists with bicycle stations situated easily within every 15 km. It doesn’t require as much packing for just-in-case scenarios, but with any trip, some foresight is required. I’ll tell you what I brought and what I wish I brought.

Bicycle Pit Stop Station, seen periodically throughout the East Coast of Taiwan

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