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Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival 福隆沙雕藝術季: Golden Art

You can see elaborate sand sculptures of all types at the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival 福隆沙雕藝術季 in New Taipei City.

You can see elaborate sand sculptures of all types at the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival 福隆沙雕藝術季 in New Taipei City.

While we’re in the midst of winter in Taiwan, it’s never too early to think about summer.  While most people head to the beach for some R&R, you can also enjoy an art show right by the ocean.  The canvas at the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival 福隆沙雕藝術季 is the beach itself.  These incredible sculptures top any paltry sand castle I’ve ever made, and showcase a variety of different themes and subjects.  Check out more info after the jump. Read the rest of this entry

Thousand Island Lake 千島湖: Tea Time with a View

Though there are no islands or lakes, Thousand Island Lake 千島湖 in New Taipei City offers some great visuals.

Though there are no islands or lakes, Thousand Island Lake 千島湖 in New Taipei City offers some great visuals.

When you hear the name “Thousand Island Lake” you would probably expect some islands.  Or at least a lake.  Not so here.  Though you won’t find any of the titular sights, you will still experience some amazing views which including endless rows of mountains, terraced tea fields, and cerulean water.  Though there aren’t many activities at this destination, it’s still worth checking out for fans of scenic outposts and tea junkies.  Check out more info after the jump.

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Neidong National Forest Recreation Area 內洞國家森林遊樂區: Nature’s Omnibus

Just one of the many waterfalls at Neidong National Forest Recreation Area 內洞國家森林遊樂區 in New Taipei City.

Just one of the many waterfalls at Neidong National Forest Recreation Area 內洞國家森林遊樂區 in New Taipei City.

I have been to Wulai several times to enjoy the sites, but little did I know that there was a stunning “forest recreation area” nearby.  The moniker of “forest recreation area” seems a bit ambiguous at first.  It is somewhat between a forest and a national park.  There are about twenty of them across Taiwan, with the most famous being Alishan (I promise to make a post on that!).  Neidong National Forest Recreation Area 內洞國家森林遊樂區 is the closest of these to Taipei.  The highlight of the area is not actually the forest, but the impressive three tier waterfall and abundance of insect life.  Check out some photos after the jump.

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435 Art Zone 435藝文特區: A Splash of Color in Banqiao

You'll find a lot of graffiti and public art at 435 Art Zone 435藝文特區 in New Taipei City.

You’ll find a lot of graffiti and public art at 435 Art Zone 435藝文特區 in New Taipei City.

You can easily find many museums, studios, and public spaces dedicated to art in Taiwan.  There are countless old factories that are now trendy art galleries, and there are constant exhibitions and festivals.    435 Art Zone 435藝文特區 in New Taipei City isn’t exactly dense with art work, but it is a fun place to take photos.  It’s also a great place for kids, as there are many hands-on art activities for children and a toy museum.  Check out more photos from my visit after the jump.

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Waterfront Restaurant 水灣餐廳: On the Riverside

You may find a familiar aesthetic at the Waterfront Restaurant 水灣餐廳.

You may find a familiar aesthetic at the Waterfront Restaurant 水灣餐廳.

Most people who visit Tamsui hang around the old street and fill up on snacks and other vendor food.  It’s hard to make it fifty yards past the MRT station before you find yourself waiting in line for some fried mushrooms or a-gei.  If you do manage to fend off the temptations, you’ll find restaurants trying to take advantage of Tamsui’s riverside by offering clear views of scenery.  One of these is the Waterfront Restaurant 水灣餐廳, a Bali-themed restaurant located so close to the river that the crashing waves may drown out your conversation.  Check out more photos after the jump.

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Wulai 烏來: A Mountainous Sausage Paradise

The 80m tall waterfall at Wulai 烏來 is just one of the many sights to see.

The 80m tall waterfall at Wulai 烏來 is just one of the many sights to see.

Wulai 烏來 in New Taipei City attracts visitors for a host of reasons.  Some come for the old street, some come for the scenery, some come for the hot springs, and some come to learn about aboriginal culture and chow down on traditional food.  You can dabble in whatever you like, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.  Check out some photos from my visit after the jump.

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Yehliu 野柳: The Queendom of Taiwan

Yehliu 野柳 has a very distinctive landscape.

Yehliu 野柳 has a very distinctive landscape.

One of the most striking places I’ve visited in Taiwan, or perhaps visited ever, is Yehliu 野柳, a cape in New Taipei City.  The area is a geological marvel filled with unusually shaped rocks formed by erosion and tectonics.  It is most famously known as the location of the Queen’s Head, a rock that has a very feminine visage.  Most people come to visit Yehliu Geopark and take pictures with the charmingly named rocks, but if you come on a clear day you can see some beautiful scenery.  Check out some photos after the jump.

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Hohaiyan Rock Festival 貢寮國際海洋音樂祭: Bands on the Beach

People settle in for the Hohaiyan Rock Festival 貢寮國際海洋音樂祭.

People settle in for the Hohaiyan Rock Festival 貢寮國際海洋音樂祭.

Is there a better place for a music festival than on a beach?  It’s hard to beat warm sand, cool waves, fried food, and loud music.  In the year 2000, some brilliant men and women got together and decided to combine all these things into the Hohaiyan Rock Festival (also known as the Hohaiyan Gongliao Rock Festival) 貢寮國際海洋音樂祭, located on Fulong Beach in New Taipei City.  I visited the festival in 2012 and loved it, but couldn’t make it in 2013 because a typhoon delayed part of the festival and I was busy on the new date.  Summer is inching closer, so I will see if I can make it again.  Here are some pictures from my visit.

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Pinglin 坪林: A World of Tea

Tea is everywhere in Pinglin 坪林.

Tea is everywhere in Pinglin 坪林.

There are few places in Taiwan as tea crazy as Pinglin 坪林 in New Taipei City.  I don’t think I saw a single building that didn’t have the Chinese character for tea on it while I was there.  What better place for a tea museum?  Pinglin is a definite must-do for anyone obsessed with the beverage.  Even if you’re not, you will be wowed by the beautiful scenery.  Check out more from my visits.

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Pingxi Line 平溪線: An All-Day Escape

The Shifen Waterfall, one of the many sites on the Pingxi Line.

The Shifen Waterfall, one of the many sites on the Pingxi Line.

One of the most popular day trips from Taipei is spending an afternoon riding the Pingxi Line 平溪線.  It is a special branch line in New Taipei City that you can transfer to from Ruifang Station.  It is best known as the site of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, though it has plenty of other things to see, do, and eat during the festival off-season.

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