Pingtung: Expect the Unexpected (Part one of two)

One of these days the good folks in the Taiwan Motto Making & Sloganeering Bureau will listen to me and adopt Taiwan: Expect the Unexpected as the official slogan of Taiwan tourism. For now I’ll just have to appropriate it as the title for this story about three surprise-filled days I spent in Pingtung, Taiwan’s southernmost county.

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Guanyin, Snakes & History’s Ghosts: An Afternoon on Turtle Island

Though the form for which the island is named is readily apparent from angles further north and south, from Toucheng pier due west, Turtle Island looks more slug-like than terrapin-shaped. A small and curving rock covered in green, the island – like all points on the horizon – grows larger and more distinctive as our boat draws closer. There are about sixty people on the Blue Whale, all wearing bright orange life jackets and hoping to catch a glimpse of the dolphins sometimes spotted frolicking around the island. The boat takes its time along the island’s southern end, a steep hill dotted with carved outcroppings.

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Taipei Celebrates Our Pride

There’s never been a better time for GLBTQ travelers to come to Taiwan. Arguably Asia’s most progressive country (Taiwan’s military struck down sexuality-based discrimination way back in 2002), just this year our highest court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, clearing the way for full marriage equality. And if there’s never been a better time to visit Taiwan, there’s no better time of year than late October. For starters, the weather is great, with the hot summer behind and wet winter yet to come. More importantly, October is when Taipei’s Pride festival, the largest Gay event in Taiwan and a major global pride event occurs.

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We Never Made it to Jiufen

Having overstayed its welcome here as in much of the rest of the northern hemisphere, Summer is finally over in Taiwan. The forecast is for heavy rain over most of Northern Taiwan through the weekend, which means movies and Netflix, and maybe a wet bicycle ride. So it’s a good thing I made the most out of last week’s four day weekend by spending much of it outdoors, bringing a friend from Singapore on a personalized tour of Taipei including a food tour of the Raohe Night Market, a tea hike through Maokong, and the all-night art, music and culture party that was the 2017 Nuit Blanche Taipei festival.

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Taiwan’s Shittiest Restaurant

Declaring any single eatery The best restaurant in Taiwan is ridiculous. (Though kudos to CNN.COM for doing their level best with this article about Chef André Chiang RAW.  Taiwan has too many excellent restaurants to make any such proclamation a subjective crapshoot at best.

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8 Taiwanese foods that you don’t even know you need to try (yet)!

OK, We know what you’re thinking!

“Oh no, not another one “must try Taiwan” food lists! Those are so lao geng (老梗,cliché).”

But stick with us, because we’re going in a bit of different direction here. You’ve already read about Taiwan’s amazing beef noodle soup, and if you haven’t already crossed stinky tofu off your foodie bucket list by this point, you’ve probably made the conscious choice to stay away from the stuff.

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Customizing travel, or Infinite diversity in infinite combination

As an exceptionally warm and eventful September gives way to a (presumably) cooler October, I find myself reflecting on two important events of the past month, events that are on the surface unrelated but that I, in true gonzo journalist tradition, plan to not merely connect, but to do so in a way that makes sense.

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Three Great Ways to Spend the 2017 Moon Festival in Taipei

Also known as the Moon Festival, the Mid-Autumn festival is traditionally a time to celebrate a successful harvest with barbecue, beer and of course, the traditional holiday snack of Mooncakes beneath the light of the autumn moon.

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Waterfalls and Sky Lanterns: A day tour to Shifen and Pingxi

Today’s excursion brings us to the charming towns of Pingxi (平溪) and Shifen (十份). Located in Taiwan’s Northeast about an hour from Taipei, both are former Japanese era coal mining towns that today offer rich histories, quaint streets offering a good feel for old Taiwan, and of course, great street food. 

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Gluten Free Eating in Taiwan (Part Two): Wheat Free Snacks and Gluten Free Night Market Fare

Last week we discussed ways to eat gluten free in Taiwanese restaurants. This week, we’ll move onto snacks and street food.

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