The Portuguese explorers did this country some justice when they formerly named the land “Formosa” meaning beautiful as they came across the island in the western part of the vast Pacific Ocean. Presently called Taiwan, the beautiful island looks relatively small compared to its neighboring countries namely mainland China in the north-west, Japan in the north-east and the Philippine Archipelago in the south. It experiences a tropical climate which is also influenced by the Asian continent beside it and its maritime location. Generally, however, the island of Taiwan is a mix of different weather patterns because of the contrasting geological features in the country. It is geographically divided in half: mountain ranges in the East and widespread plains the West. Interestingly, the Taiwanese are fondly called “children of the Sweet Potato” because of the form of the island roughly resembling a sweet potato. Despite being a highly populated country, Taiwan still has so many natural wonders and scenery to display. A sneak peek of some of these exquisite sites is now in store.
Sun Moon Lake
Right at the very heart of Taiwan in Yuchi town, Nantou lies the Sun Moon Lake, the largest in Taiwan. At its center is the island of Lalu, a sacred place for the Thao tribe that resides on the bank of the lake. The island partly divides the great lake in the east and west. The eastern portion is as round as the sun while the western part resembles a crescent moon thus the origin of the name. The lake has become a popular tourist attraction in Taiwan because of the peaceful scenery it provides. The crystal clarity of the lake reflects the surrounding hills and mountains adding value to this natural mirror.
Situated in the eastern shores of Taiwan, the Yilan Coast is part of the popular scenic areas in North-east Taiwan. The rocky geographical feature of Yilan city is a contrast to the waterscape yet the beaches have become a favourite surfing destination. Rather a valuable site for the Taiwanese, the shore of Yilan is more than just captivating scenery. Its aquatic life, cultural heritage and the numerous recreational activities the place offers has made it an educational experience for all visitors.
Another natural wonder in the north-eastern side of Taiwan is Taroko Gorge. Its name actually means “splendid and magnificent” in a similar way the island was named Formosa. It is also called “The Marble Gorge” because it provides a rich supply of marble as well as jade stone. In fact, the rocks that form the gorge are mostly wonderful marble where the Liwu River carved it out to form the gorge. The gorge is also part of the Taroko National Park in which it was the significant landmark. The natural resources it offers and the impressive canyon makes Taroko Gorge a favoured landmark of Taiwan.
Reflecting the mountainous terrain of the island, this area is a combination of three mountains with different sceneries to showcase namely Bagua Mountain, Li Mountain and the Lion’s Head Mountain. The Bagua Mountain sits on a tilted plateau on the eastern part of the city of Changhua which allows one to have a panoramic view of the city. The Lion’s Head Mountain displays lakes, springs, caves and forests on its surrounding area proving it to be a place for discovery. Li Mountain is home to Taiwanese tribes and is a cultural heritage of Taiwan.
Yushan literally means Jade Mountain because of the snow that forms in its peak causing it to shine like jade. It is the highest peak in East Asia and is located just below the center of Taiwan. It shelters a diversity of life suited for the level of elevation in the mountain. Intense hiking on this mountain can give one a perfect view on the sunrise and the sunset and the landscape this area has to offer.