TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan is a hidden jewel of Asia, and no matter when you visit, it is always worth the cost, says David Code, internationally recognized travel writer.
Taiwan may not be large, but it offers an impressive amount of culture and natural resources. As a result of its geographic position, and the movement of the earth’s tectonic plates across millennia, Taiwan possesses a unique topography and an array of different natural environments with the Tropic of Cancer cutting right through the center of the island.
The country’s landscape is rich in mountains, hills, valleys, coastal plains, and beautiful beaches that span tropical, subtropical, and temperate climate zones.
Among its various ecosystems, Taiwan boasts a large number of indigenous plant and animal species, including cherry blossoms, Taiwanese macaques, Taiwanese black bears, and blue-bellied pheasants among many others. The country’s biodiversity makes Taiwan an important place for conservation efforts.
In order to protect the natural ecology of Taiwan, the government has established nine national parks, one national nature park, and two national metro parks. These nationally protected areas offer some of the most beautiful natural environments on earth, and have been made accessible for sightseeing.
“Yangmingshan National Park,” north of Taipei, is famous for its lush forests and beautiful terrain formed by the dormant volcano.
“Shei-Pa National Park” straddles Hsinchu and Miaoli Counties and is known for its cherry blossom groves and its variety of endemic freshwater fish.
“Taroko National Park” in eastern Taiwan is known throughout the world for its breathtaking caves and canyons.
“Yushan National Park” stretches across the beautiful landscape of four counties in the center of the island and boasts the highest mountain peak in Taiwan and all of Northeast Asia.
“Kenting National Park” on the southern tip of the island offers beautiful beaches, sunshine and a tropical getaway to visitors.
“Kinmen National Park,” on the outlying island of Kinmen, is famous for both its beautiful geography and for its many historical battlefields.
“Dongsha Atoll National Park,” located on Taiping Island in the South China Sea, is unique for its coral ecology, and its pristine white sand beaches.
“Taijiang National Park” near Tainan City where the land meets the sea is known for its wetlands geography and is home to many indigenous bird species.
“South Penghu Marine National Park,” located in the outlying Penghu island chain, contains a number of beautiful small islands and unique geological landscapes.
The “Shoushan National Nature Park” in Kaohsiung contains wonderful mountain vistas and is home to a large population of Taiwan Macaque monkeys.
The Taichung Metropolitan Park and the Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park are also excellent and easily accessible destinations for nature lovers to visit.
On top of the stunning landscapes, there is also plenty to learn about the amazing natural ecology of Taiwan. Only by personally experiencing the parks on a visit, can one truly feel the power and understand the beauty of Taiwan’s natural majesty.
The Office of National Parks, under the Ministry of the Interior’s Construction and Planning Agency, has made it easier than ever for foreign visitors to access and appreciate the country’s parks.
The parks offer interpretation services that are available with prior notice. There is also a collection of video guides made available on YouTube, for everyone to enjoy a bit of the beauty they can expect on a visit to Taiwan.
In order to attract foreign visitors and Taiwanese travelers alike to the parks, the Construction and Planning Agency, in 2011 and 2012, launched the “101 National Park Mobile Narrator” project. The project invited 101 specialists to each create brief videos introducing unique aspects of Taiwan’s national parks. The video collection, which is in Mandarin, provides greater insight into the parks, and serves as a guide for people considering a visit.
In 2018, a new phase of the project was launched to market the country’s national parks to foreign visitors. With the help of foreign language commentators, the ministry has created a collection of mini-docs highlighting 16 aspects of Taiwan’s amazing natural geography. English speakers can now enjoy the “National Park Mobile International Narrator” to learn about Taiwan’s national parks.
The video collection is available online, and visitors can also use smart phones to scan QR codes on the tourist materials to instantly enjoy these informative video guides and learn more about Taiwan’s natural beauty when setting an itinerary.