Sunday, May 31, 2009

trip to hualien, nantou and sun moon lake

a fairly fresh set of photos from a 3 day trip last weekend.

driving trough hsuehshan tunnel (雪山隧道). at a total length of 12.942 km it's the fifth longest road tunnel in the world. it cuts travel time from 2 hours to just 30 minutes between taipei and ilan.

stretching in taroko after a long drive on the scenic but slow and winding road along the beautiful east coast.

photography by picturesque liyu lake, about 18 km from hualien city.

rainclouds gathering on the beach by our b&b. it is the monsoon season after all. then again it's hard to experience the beauty of hualien without the rain any time of the year it seems to me.

hualien by night. hungry travellers looking for some snacks. eating is a very (some might say the most) important part of travelling for taiwanese.

breakfast with a view. (and i'm not just talking about the scrumptious fare)

one satisfied customer.

taroko national park is quite possibly one of the most spectacular places in taiwan.

"if you let them they will come". mainland tourists being rushed through the gorge. with a china friendly administration recently signing numerous trade and travel agreements, including direct cross strait flights, growing demand has prompted the taiwanese authorities to raise the permit quota on chinese tourists to 4,000 per day. while that may not sound like much, keep in mind that tourism has never been a main industry on the island.

timber-framed buildings in nantou county - especially the newer guesthouses - seem to be very popular with taiwanese nowadays. they seem a bit out of place for me but i have to admit the geography does resemble the alps a bit.... you can see from the view from our balcony.

if eating is no 1., taking photos (and video) is surely close behind on any trip for taiwanese.

picturesque cingjing farm (check out the video too) at 1,700 - 2,100 m above sea level is a nice getaway from the scorching summer heat. often shrouded in mist, we had a gorgeous warm sunny day.

it seems like a fierce fight but i swear these animals were putting up a show just as the fake cowboys. the sheep seemed to enjoy the spectacle as much as the dogs and the local audience.

taiwanese belle adjusting her hat :)... the mountains in the mirror are nearly 3,000 meters.

scenic sun moon lake is definitely worth a longer than a 2 hour visit which we were left with at the end of our trip (almost half of which was spent... yes, you guessed it, eating :)...) i will be back soon, and hope to post more photos.


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