National Scenic Area (I)-North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area, Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area

Taiwan is rich in scenic beauty, and has several spectacular National Scenic Areas where tourists can take in the wonderfully varied scenery of the island. This month we are going to explore three of these areas together.

1. North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area

Our first stop is the North Coast National Scenic Area. This area extends along the top of the island from the charming old river port of Danshuei to Keelung , North Taiwan 's biggest international sea port.The coastal road winds between the hills and the rocky shore along what is known as the Jumping Stone Coast , from the days before the road was built when travelers along the north of the island had to jump from rock to rock.

The surf is big here, and the sun light always bright.The North Coast has many geological sights and curiosities, including the huge igneous boulders of the Jumping Stone Coast , and the natural stone arch of Shihmen, formed by wind and water erosion.Further along the coast is one of the most spectacular and strangest of Taiwan 's geological wonders: Yeliou Geological Park .

Sedimentary rock, over 200 million years old, extends as a peninsula north into the sea. The action of the wind and waves has, over millennia, shaped the rock into a series of natural sculptures which are both unusual and beautiful. Most famous among these is the Queen's Head, which seen from the right angle, resembles the profile of an Egyptian queen complete with crown.

There are also other formations, such as the Tofu Rock, which looks like giant slabs of smooth tofu, the Fairy Shoe, which looks like a huge traditional Chinese slipper, and the Candle Rocks, which look like slender candles standing along the shore. This stretch of the coast is also one of the best places on the island for viewing migratory birds, especially in spring and autumn.

In addition to the natural scenic wonders of the coast, the old port of Danshuei is one of the most charming places to get a sense of Taiwan 's history. Founded by the Spanish across the river from the foot of Guangyin Mountain during the 16 th century, it served as the island's main port for most of the 19 th century. The town is full of enchanting winding lanes and traditional old houses. The sunset over the estuary is always spectacular and well worth catching.




Danshuei can be reached by MRT from downtown Taipei , while the attractions of the northern coast are an easy day trip from the city.

For more information about the North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area, visit: http://www.northguan-nsa.gov.tw


 
 
 

 

2. Northeast Coast National Scenic Area

The second destination on our tour of Taiwan 's scenic areas is the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area. This is a spectacular reach of coastline facing the East China Sea on its northern stretch, and the Pacific on the southern stretch.



Here, the mountains extend right down to the sea, ending in precipitous cliffs, with just a tiny strip of beach beneath. The most impressive of these are the cliffs at Longdong, which are wild and craggy, and popular with serious climbers.


Scattered along this rugged landscape are some good beaches and resorts, the most famous of which is Honeymoon Bay , long a haven for surfers. The coastal stretch here is also studded with charming little fishing ports, such as Suao and Nanfangao, where you can see the peculiar Taiwanese high-prowed fishing boats, built to a design that has not changed for generations.

The fishing ports are justly famous for their wonderful seafood, served up right on the edge of the harbor. The mountains above the sea here are particularly rich in natural volcanic hot and cold springs, and many of the hot-spring establishments in this area of the country take advantage of the view over the sea.

Further inland are the impressive Shihfen Waterfalls, which can be reached by the narrow gauge Pingsi Railway from Keelung .

 

 


The main attraction in this part of the island is the wonderful old town of Jioufen . During the last years of the 19 th century, gold was discovered in the river sand, and by the 1930s the place was a bustling gold rush town where fortunes were made overnight.




By the middle of the century, however, the gold was gone and the town's fortunes changed.Now it is famous as a tourist attraction, and as the setting of some well-known movies and TV shows. Its picturesque winding streets and stairs and old stone houses have retained their charm and evoke the spirit of old Taiwan like no other place on the island. The surrounding landscape is made up of wooded hills, and there is a magnificent view down to the sea and Fulong Bay . The town's many tea shops and restaurants take advantage of the fine scenery, and you can always find a great place to sit and relax and gaze at the view after a walk through the hills.

For more information about the Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, visit: http://www.necoast-nsa.gov.tw

 

 


 
  3. Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area

The third place on our tour is the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area, which is situated southwest of Taipei and covers three beautiful mountains: the Lion's Head Mountain , Lishan, and Baguashan. Each mountain has its own character and scenic attractions, and together they comprise one of the most spectacular and interesting scenic areas on the island.

Lion's Head Mountain , so called because from the right angle it looks like the king of the beasts, is the home to many Buddhist monasteries and retreats. The mountain is riddled with caves, and many of the Buddhist temples and retreats were originally built inside them.

The mountain is a thriving Buddhist center, so there are many restaurants serving vegetarian food, as well as centers for Buddhist studies. The mountain is peaceful and has many walking trails where you can enjoy the view, the sights and sounds of the forest, and the enchanting pagodas.


The surrounding area is the traditional home of the aboriginal Saisiyat tribe, and tourists here can witness some of the tribe's festivals.

 

 

Lishan is home to another of Taiwan 's aboriginal tribes, the Atayal, and visitors here will be impressed by their festivals, with dancing and wonderful singing. The mountain sits on the cross island highway, and is a hub for travelers going from East to West and North to South. The journey along the highway can be hazardous, especially in the wet season when there are frequent mudslides. The area was affected by a massive earthquake in 1999, but still provides spectacular views reminiscent of Switzerland 's Alps . The mountain is a staging post for visitors on their way to Syue Mountain , Taiwan 's second highest peak, which is covered in snow in the winter months. 

 

 

 










Baguashan is really a gentle hill situated south of Taiwan 's third largest city, Taichung . The hill is home to a large statue of Buddha, which dates from the 1960s and which is one of the biggest in Asia . The statue is hollow, and the inside is decorated with scenes from the life and thought of the Buddha. Behind the statue is one of the largest Buddhist temples in Taiwan . The area is well developed with tourist facilities such as multimedia exhibition centers, gift shops and cultural centers. A few hours spent here afford the visitor an insight into the island's interesting and varied religious life. The area around the mountain is one of the primary tea growing centers in Taiwan , especially famous for Songboling Evergreen Tea. Bird watching, especially for hawks, and cycling are some of the activities that tourists can enjoy here.

For more information about the Tri-Mountain National Scenic area, visit: http://www.trimt-nsa.gov.tw/

 

Yilan’s Kumquats

Lovely Nanzhuang

The Sea of Flowers in Xinshe Festival

Healthful Eating and Delicious Flavors

The Black King Kong of Yuanchang

From Art Brush to Beauty Brush

A Strange Fruit

The Sound of Drums

Zuoying Wannian Folklore Festival

The Hot Springs of Beitou

Simakusi (Smangus)

Meinong

Water Frolics

Overnighting on the Northeast Coast

Giant Buddha, Old Temples, and Glass Art

Mt. Beidawu

The Most Joyous Thing in the World is Music

Taiwan Fun on the Tropic of Cancer

FUN WITH CHINESE - Men in the Fields during Rain

NK 101 Tea @ Style

Taitung Backpack Bus Trip

The Life of Pi

Taipei’s East District Where the Art of Shopping Is Serious Business

Spring Onion Country Yilan's Sanxing Township Offers Ideal Conditions for Cultivating Scallions

Sandy Beaches, Rocky Coastline, Quiet Country A Whirlwind Tour Round Hengchun Peninsula

What Happened at Wushe

Confucius Day

Keeping It in the Family: I Wan Jan Puppet Theater

Taiwan Has a Unique Culture

Welcoming the Year of the Rabbit and the ROC's 100 Years

All the Flowers You Can Dream Of

Music from the Marshland

Pristine Scenes

Fierce Faces

Following the Tide

A Wonderful World Out There

Off to the Beach and the Rocks

Taiwan’s Easy Rider Goes Into the Wild

HAKKA TUNG BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

Taipei Int'l Flora Expo

HIDDEN HOT SPRINGS & LANDFORMS

JOURNEY into the PAST

YOUNG, GIFTED, AND DEAF

Taiwan's Ultra Man Going Beyond Extreme

Rice by Any Other Name

Taiwan is Beautiful!

TAIPEI EYE

Slate Houses and Mud Rivers

From Fir Formosa

Touring Kaohsiung by KMART

TOURING TAIWAN

Taoyuan HSR Station

Taking Taiwan's Slow Train

Bus Trip to Central Taiwan

Establishing a Beautiful Taiwan

High Mountain Ecology

Exploring High Mountain HighsTaiwan at Her Peaks

Cultural Tourism in Taiwan:What's in It for You?

Getting to Know Taiwan's Indigenous Cultures

Leaving Stress Behind

Taiwan! "Feel Good" Country

Exploring Taiwan's Rural Side

Aboriginal Tribes & Festivals

The Famous Lantern Festival in Taiwan

Night Markets in Taiwan

Great Arts, Culinary Exhibitions and Events in Taiwan's National Palace Museum and Other Places

Mountains in Taiwan

Water Fun in Taiwan

Taiwanese Arts, Arts Festivals and Interesting Artifacts

"Taiwan's Ghost Festival and Other Religious Events"

Dragon Boat Festival

City: The Tallest Building Taipei 101 & Kaohsiung's Love River

National Scenic Area (IV)-Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, Penghu National Scenic Area, Matsu National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (III)-East Rift Valley National Scenic Area, East Coast National Scenic Area, Maolin National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (II)-Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area, Alishan National Scenic Area, Southwest Coast National Scenic Area

National Scenic Area (I)-North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area, Northeast Coast National Scenic Area, Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area

Offshore Islands- Penghu、Kinmen National Park、Matzu、Green Island(Lyudao)、Orchid Island(Lanyu)

Eastern Taiwan- Taroko National Park、East Rift Valley、Rueisuei & Hongye、Jhihben

Southern Taiwan- Alishan、Tainan、Kaohsiung、Dapeng Bay & Little Liouciou、Kenting National Park

Central Taiwan- Miaoli、Taichung、Changhua、Nantou、Yushan National Park

Northern Taiwan -Taipei City、Yangmingshan & Beitou、Danshuei、Wulai、Jioufen & Jinguashih、Yilan、Taoyuan & Hsinchu