Cycling in Taiwan – East Taiwan by Eleven and Nine

Route 11 stretches like a lazy python along Taiwan’s eastern coast. From north to south it’s roughly 300 miles of  small towns, sheer-drop cliffs, dynamite-blasted tunnels, and many spectacular (and eminently surf-able) riptide heavy beaches.  It’s a road for drivers with strong stomachs who are in no particularly hurry. Leaving Hualien early, we ride beneath watery skies, passing a series of strange statues from Chinese mythology in a parking lot overlooking the beach. At the far edge of the lot a group of travelers giggle and take pictures of something beyond the railing. It is a bare-chested mermaid sitting on a rock next to an arch bridge, wearing a Hawaiian lei.

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From the Island of Women to #MeToo

Not long ago, when news of rich and powerful men finally being called to account – dethroned as a comeuppance for sexually predatory behavior – was still rolling in, my friend Darice Dan Chang wrote about how the movement had barely touched Taiwan. Although I’m usually upbeat about life in Taiwan as a woman compared to the rest of Asia, she had a point.

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The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival: Color, Culture and Controversy

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is one of the most popular things to do in Taiwan. Each day, hundreds of visitors visit northern Taiwan’s Pingxi township to take part in the creation, decoration and launching of DIY Sky Lanterns. Once part of a broader celebration held specifically as part of the greater Lunar New Year festival, in recent years the festival has morphed into more of a destination based activity rather than an annual festival available only at certain times during the year. Launching a sky lantern with a few thoughts and prayers has become (like a night market stroll, dumplings at Din Tai Fung or visit to the National Palace Museum) a Taiwan bucket list experience.

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15 suggestions for a day in Dadaocheng

If strolling through scenic history-drenched streets filled with cultural attractions, unique shopping venues and an abundance of great food is your thing, Taipei’s Dadaocheng neighborhood is well worth a visit. The neighborhood just north of Taipei’s Bei Men , or north gate station become increasingly popular with travelers over the past few years (much to the bemusement of locals, who’ve been hanging out here since the late Qing dynasty).

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Taiwan Culture Blooms at InBlooom, Taipei’s hippest fabric art shop

Dadaocheng is a busy neighborhood on most days, especially in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year holidays. But even on the busiest days things are usually a bit quieter on two blocks west, which is where you’ll find InBlooom, a shop specializing in both selling print goods and in teaching Taiwanese printing art to locals and visitors alike.

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Chinese New Year in Taiwan part two: Gift giving, etiquette and more

Last week  we talked about the logistics of experiencing Chinese New Year in Taiwan (Part one : Chinese New Year in Taiwan : The Six Days of Chinese New Year). This week, we’ll get down to the business of giving gifts, visiting etiquette and stuff like that. It might get confusing, so stick with us!

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“Baby, it’s cold outside!” Winter in Taiwan

There’s no denying it – the mercury in Taiwan is dropping, especially up north. Even Siri is sympathetic. When I asked “What’s the weather in Taipei?” Siri responded in typical I-phone doggerel:

“Some bad weather coming to Taipei: Down to 9° Celsius today.”

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