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Smile Taiwan

Smile Taiwan
Ray Chin

Taiwan’s First Professional Underwater Cetacean Photographer

The winner of the London Natural History Museum’s 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice award went to Ray Chin of Taiwan for his image of a humpback whale and her calf. Chin is Taiwan’s first professional underwater photographer specializing in dolphins and whales. The award is the best validation of years of efforts chasing these creatures under the sea.

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The Dr. Cecilia Koo Botanic Conservation Center (KBCC)

Taiwan's Global Noah’s Ark of Plants

Thanks to a documentary about Taiwan’s “plant hunters” that created an internet buzz in early November last year, it became widely known that Taiwan boasts the conservation center with the largest and richest collection of subtropical and tropical plants in the world.

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Gazing Into the Distance

The Misty Mountains of Nantou

After four years in front of the camera as a fashion model, Kengo Kobyashi decided to follow his passion for recording his life and get behind the lens as a photographer. Having first come to Taiwan a little more than two years ago, not only has he fallen in love with Taiwan’s cultural color and natural wonders, but the photos and writings he has shared online continue to surprise and delight people around the world with Taiwan’s beauty.

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Off the Beaten Path

Experience the Enchantment of Nantou

Nantou County Magistrate Lin Ming-chen, an outdoors enthusiast, first attempted to swim across Sun Moon Lake in 2017, finishing in three hours and six minutes to become Taiwan’s first county chief to complete the 3,000-meter swim. As enthusiastically as he embraces nature, he is similarly dedicated to raising Nantou’s visibility. Here, he generously shares his some of his favorite hideaways with travelers looking for an immersive experience of Nantou.

A Farmer-Artist Who Returned to His Home

"People should not only see living things as vegetables and food, they must see the entire living ecosystem." Brooding over the devastating effects of climate change and difficulties in conservation, the farmer-artist had planted many indigenous Taiwanese plants in the garden. "Get to know them and they will continue to grow for you."

Prick up Your Ears to Listen to a Symphony of Mountain Forest Sounds

Sounds effect technician Hu Ting-yi, who was voted outstanding Taiwanese Filmmaker of the Year at the 54th Golden Horse Awards in 2017, has practiced Foley, the art of using physical props to recreate everyday sound effects for film, for the past 42 years. During his professional career, Hu has witnessed several waves of high prestige for Taiwanese cinema. He has visited Nantou County in central Taiwan in his private and professional life many times, yet each trip still lifts his spirit and makes his heart beat faster.

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"Boss Xiao's" Art Classes

The Legendary Country Artist

Referring to himself as a "country artist," Xiao Ru-Song embodied sceneries from his hometown with paintings as sophisticated as world-renowned masterpieces to express his love of his homeland.

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Colin Chen

Focusing on the Joys of Authentic Nantou Cuisine

Colin Chen became a chef in a radical career change that moved him from a life behind the camera into the social media limelight. Originally working as a print media photographer, Chen discovered his passion for cooking during a stint abroad as he craved the taste of home.

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Sustainable Tourism Paradise

Discover Changhua County’s Boundless Charms

The Wanggong Fishing Harbor Festival of Lights, the Tianwei Sea of Flowers, the Fangyuan wetlands mangroves, Baguashan Sky Bridge, Qingshuiyan Hot Springs, Beidou meatballs, Xizhou lamb stew, and the historical sites of Lugang…these are just some of the many notable tourist attractions of Changhua County.

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Slow Living in Miaoli County

Discovering Miaoli Culture Through Slow Travel

With traditional culture kept alive along the county’s coastline and in the mountains, four distinct seasons and a wealth of seasonal flowers and fruit, Miaoli has all it takes for developing slow tourism.

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A Prawny Tale

How did Taiwan Become a Haven for Recreational Prawn-Fishing?

Prawn fishing is a popular pastime among distraction-hungry urbanites in Taiwan. Have you ever wondered how prawn fishing evolved into a leisure activity?

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Sai Jia Paragliding Site

Take a Light Flight over the Island

For those who have long dreamed of flying like a bird, here's your chance! Hop on board, soar into the blue skies, and explore a bird eye view over the scenic plains and rivers in Southern Taiwan.

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Purple Butterfly Valley

The Magic Light of Butterflies

There are only two overwintering butterfly valleys in the world, one is in New Mexico, U.S.A. and the other one is in Maolin. Each year during autumn and winter seasons, millions of butterflies migrate to warm areas to cope with the cold.

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New Gangshan Hilltop Observation Deck

Ride the Music, Fly With the Mountain Wind

The New Gangshan Hilltop Observation Deck (崗山之眼) was built as a sky cloister under a budget over NT$100 million. What is innovative about the observation deck is that it exhibits the beautiful landscape of Gangshan through the symbol of music, which conveys an image of melodic harmony.

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Baolai Hot Spring Garden

The Hot Spring in Forests of Flowers

Baolai hot spring is known for its crystal clear, transparent and odorless sodium-bicarbonate geothermal hot spring. The water is not only for bathing but also drinkable, making Baolai hot spring one of the most famous hot springs in Taiwan.

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Kaohsiung City Dadong Arts Center

Slowly Rising 'Hot Air Balloons' Reshape the Skyline of Fengshan

Kaohsiung City Dadong Arts Center is right next to the Kaohsiung MRT Dadong Station. It is one of Kaohsiung’s most prominent modern cultural landscapes. The unique design inspired by hot air balloons creates an artistic atmosphere that is both futuristic and welcoming.

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Stone House in Kungadavane

Infusing the Warmth of Time

Kungadavane Tribe is the final stop of the Maolin Scenic Area and also the very origin of local culture. Enter the tribe of Kungadavane and indulge yourself in the well-crafted stone houses, stone BBQ and rice cooked in bamboo tubes. The diverse characteristics of indigenous local life are great experience of five senses for visitors.

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Simple Travel in Taoyuan

Historical Streets, Food Culture and Mountain Scenery (II)

Houcihu, Daxi Tea Factory and Xiaowulai Waterfall, these are the spots you do not want to miss when visiting Taoyuan. With great tips from local travel expert Mu-chin Lee, these beautiful places are perfect last stops before taking off from Taoyuan International Airport.

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Simple Travel in Taoyuan

Historical Streets, Food Culture and Mountain Scenery (I)

“Daxi is a living old street. Here foreign visitors can experience local life. It is like a living museum,” says Mu-Chin Lee, a travel expert who assists the Taiwan Tourism Bureau with showing foreign visitors around Taiwan.

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Keerthi Sridharan

2018: To New Beginnings

Is time socially constructed? If so, why do we make new year resolutions? Having said goodbye to the bumpy year of 2017, how should we keep making progress?

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Kungadavane Suspension Bridge

Suspending over the River Valley, Walking on the Cloud

Heading towards the unknown can be challenging but also rewarding. The high and exciting Kungadavane suspension bridge is one of these kinds of challenges. This extremely beautiful bridge is located in Maolin, Kaohsiung, attracting adventurous travelers with magnificent scenery and remarkable experience.

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A Family Business Transformation

A Home, A Factory, A Microcosm of Taiwan’s Economy

From a labor-intensive family business to a half-automated manufacturer, the embroidery factory has witnessed Taiwan’s industrial shift. Read a microcosm of Taiwan's economy from the memories of the son of the factory's owner.

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Taiwan Cruise-Style Trains

'Cruise' Around the Island by Train

“The best way to explore Taiwan is by taking a train trip!” With new itineraries of round-island tours coming up for each season, Taiwan’s Cruise-Style Trains are offering seamless package trips that include transportation, accommodation, and food, especially the train-exclusive ‘bentos’ (便當, lunch boxes). No forced-shopping stops, no pre-planning required, all you have to do is to sit back, relax, and let the train take you on an in-depth island-tour.

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Icey Tsui:

Climb Every Mountain

Everyone should climb at least one 3,000-meter peak in their lifetime. The path is never easy in the high mountains. Set aside the familiar horizon at sea level and discover that no mountain is too high to climb.

Eco-Tourism off Jiangjun’ao Isle

When the South Penghu Marine National Park was established in late 2014, local fishermen feared for their livelihood due to restrictions on fishing and other conservation measures. Meanwhile, guided snorkeling and scuba-diving excursions are providing new sources of income, putting the area on the eco-tourism map.

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Keelung City Remake

Bringing The Old House Back to Its Beauty

Cleaning an old house is like archaeology, as you discover the beauty of it inch by inch. See how the youths of the old port city Keelung breathe new life into the old.

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HsinChu after the Winds of September

HsinPu Persimmons, Golden Pearls of Wisdom

It takes the right time, the right place, and the right relationships for the mouth-watering traditional dessert to be passed down from generation to generation.

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Enjoying a Fine Aroma

Sipping a Cup of Full-bodied Nantou Coffee

An electronic engineer by training, Stanley Chien nonetheless went on to open a breakfast store because he loved food and drink. Inspired by a remark from a customer, Chien delved into coffee roasting, which turned into a real passion for the caffeinated beverage. He became such an expert at brewing coffee that he won the Taiwan Barista Championship in 2011, making a name for himself in the industry and making the promotion of coffee culture his mission.

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Forward, Forward, Forward

For Me, Movement Defines Taipei

Where can you find the true spirit of Taipei?

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Layers of Beauty in Daily Life

Chai Chai: More than a Postman

Some places in Taiwan leave deep imprints in the minds of the people who have lived there.

The Hawks of Kenting

As the autumn winds begin to blow, so come the migratory hawks. Head south to Kenting to glimpse them soaring magnificently across the sky, and enjoy a peaceful autumn afternoon soaking in a hot spring fit for a Japanese prince.

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Tainan City

Sowing the Seeds of Dreams

As more and more cultural immigrants plant their roots in Tainan, Taiwan's first capital city is slowly emerging as the island's creative and cultural Mecca.

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Taipei Station

A Hint of Manhattan

Once merely a place of transit from one destination to another, Taipei Station has become a glamorous venue to stop and enjoy in its own right.

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The Old House Inn in Tainan

Old House, New Soul

After Kyle Hsieh lovingly converted his old family home into a vacation rental, it quickly became a hit with travelers from Taiwan and abroad. Retro is now contemporary, and the past is the latest fashion.

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Ah-Lang of Kenting

Barefoot through the Mountains and Surf

In the course of a single day, this Kenting native may surf in the ocean and lecture on forest ecology in a national park, drawing his spiritual sustenance from the great outdoors along southern Taiwan's mountainous coast.

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O'rip Magazine Founder Wang Yu-ping

Bringing Out the Good in Life

She left a high-profile job as the events planning director for Eslite Bookstore to start a magazine in underdeveloped Hualien County. What convinced Wang Yu-ping to give up the city life?

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Catcher Technology

Elite Craftsmanship Captures Apple's Eye

CommonWealth Magazine was recently granted an exclusive peek at Catcher Technology's highly secretive Apple production line, unveiling just how Taiwan's biggest maker of metal notebook computer casings struck gold.

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Travel in Taiwan

The Six Lures Hooking Foreign Visitors

Taiwan's people seem more smitten with Europe's streetscapes and Japan's culture than their country's own beauty. But CommonWealth Magazine has identified six major lures that overseas visitors have come to appreciate.

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Travel in Taiwan

Understated Splendors

With its charming mix of old and new, its stunning scenery and mouth-watering food, Taiwan has become the insider's favorite travel destination in Asia. But are the Taiwanese themselves aware how beautiful their island is?