We went hiking on the first day of 2017 to take advantage of the gorgeous weather. The Ninety-Nine Peaks Forest Trail [九九峰森林步道] is a 1,930 meter long trail in Nantou County’s Caotun Township [草屯鎮]. We brought the kids here because we figured they were getting tired of the trail we frequent in Jhongsing Village. Furthermore, being a holiday weekend, most of the popular trails in Nantou County were probably going to be packed. We only encountered a couple dozen people on the trail. Amazingly, both kids made it through the whole trail without asking to be carried!
I’ve visited the Dragon and Phoenix Waterfalls [龍鳳瀑布] of Zhongliao Township in Nantou County several times in the past few years. I’ve made frequent stops there on cycling trips through Zhongliao and taken my family there a few times for recreational hiking and firefly viewing. In recent years Nantou County Government has taken steps to turn the county into a tourist wonderland by initiating the construction of several projects like the one I’m featuring here. Continue reading
I usually make a habit of visiting the lotus ponds on Shengfu Road in Jhongsing Village several times to photograph during their blooming period which falls between late May and early June. This year was somewhat hectic however due to work obligations and juggling contractors for renovations prior to moving into our new abode. Thankfully, I managed to squeeze in two brief visits late in the season: one with the family and one on my own before work. Looking back at previous year’s posts is interesting to see how the mood of each series is different due to my post-processing tendencies of the time.
Pandas World Tour
The Pandas World Tour stopped in Jhongsing Village over the weekend. An outdoor exhibit of pandas [Ailuropoda melanoleuca] and Formosan black bears [Ursus thibetanus formosanus] took over a park near our house. The exhibition spotlights the importance of protecting endangered animals. The 1600 paper-mache pandas were created by French artist Paulo Grangeon. On the Taiwan leg of the tour these pandas were accompanied by 200 Formosan black bears – an endangered species endemic to Taiwan.
A couple months ago our family visited the 2014 Nantou Sand Sculpture Festival [南投市貓羅溪畔沙雕藝術節]. One thing that separated this year’s festival with previous years was an emphasis on health and environmental issues. A few prominent sculptures warned on the dangers of nuclear power, deforestation, marine pollution and food safety.
Despite our complaining about how unsuitable our town was to hold the 2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival, that didn’t stop us from visiting several times. This post is a compilation of photographs taken at the Jhongsing Village Children’s Park during our visit with our son one evening and a visit with both of our children a few days later.
The once sleepy Jhongsing Village [中興新村] is now bustling with activity as it’s the location of the 2014 Taiwan Lantern Festival. The event started February 13th and runs through February 23rd. This annual event has been recently named one of the best festivals in the world by the Discovery Channel so I conjured up the energy to walk five minutes from my front door to check things out myself.
Happy Lunar New Year readers! The 2014 Nantou Sand Sculpture Art Festival [南投市貓羅溪畔沙雕藝術節] started a few days ago and runs through March 9th. I haven’t had an opportunity to take the family there this year so the best I could do for a header picture is one I took five years ago. From the handful of photographs I’ve seen floating on the net there’s a fine assortment of sculptures so this could be a good trip for anyone seeking to get out of the house during the holiday. Here’s the official website which is highly useful if you can read Chinese. Admission is $50NT except for us awesome residents of Nantou City and Zhongliao Township who can get in for free. Motorists can take the No. 3 Freeway to the Nantou City exit. Follow Nangang Industrial #2 Road [南崗工業區南崗二路] toward the Nangang Industrial Area and turn left of Zhonghua Road [中華路]. Turn right on the Nangang Daqiaotou Flood Dike Road [南崗大橋頭右轉堤防防汛道路] and continue till you reach the venue.
A much larger event is the upcoming Taiwan Lantern Festival [台灣燈會] right here in Jhongsing Village. Organizers were kind enough to include English on their website but several sections were incomplete as of writing this. The event runs from February 13th through 23rd. Visitors have several options on transportation: Motorists can get off Freeway No. 3 at Caotun or Mingjian and follow the instructions of the several hundred officers who will be on hand to direct traffic to one of the many parking areas, High Speed Railers can zip to Taichung HSR Station and ride a shuttle bus waiting for you at exit #6, Railfans can take the regular train to Yuanlin or Wuri Station and take shuttle buses from those stations, while Shoppers can take the shuttle buses running from Taichung’s Tiger City Department Store to the Lantern Festival.
On New Year’s Day I headed south to Xinyi Township to see the area’s plum blossoms [梅花]. I set out early and beat the traffic up the narrow, mountain road to Fengguidou [風櫃斗]. After a brief stop there to pick up some plum-related products I headed down the road to the Liujia Plum Farm [柳家梅園].