Aviation Pavilion in Taichung’s Central Park
Taichung City’s vast Central Park covers nearly 70ha and is home to more than 10,000 trees. Ingeniously designed, it features 12 so-called Senses of Field Areas, allowing visitors to enjoy different sensory experiences. Toward the southern end of the park is a visitor center that is worth a visit in it’s own right. Inside, you can learn about the park itself and also about the original tenant of this wide open space, Shuinan Airport. The center is designed like a small airport where visitors can have a great time experiencing what flying is like, including sitting in a mock-up airplane cabin and a flight simulator.
New Observation Platform on Yilan Coast
If you take a train from Taipei to the East Coast, wait for the moment after the train has passed the New Taipei City village of Fulong and exits the next tunnel. In an instant you will see the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean and Turtle Island in the not-too-far distance. This is the type of view you can take in from numerous locations along the Yilan County coast, some of which have manmade facilities, like the brand-new Dafu Observation Platform, part of the Dafu Seaside Recreation Area in Zhuangwei Township. This is an excellent spot for sunrise gazing or for taking a rest on coastal bike rides.
Hyatt Place New Taipei City Xinzhuang (新北新莊凱悅嘉軒酒店) | located in New Taipei City’s Xinzhuang District; 278 guestrooms; grand opening September 2022
Anna King Hotel (安娜與國王酒店) | located in central Chiayi City; 51 guestrooms; Thai-style interior design; grand opening in January 2023
Breezy Blue Hall
Railway enthusiasts will certainly be interested in the Breezy Blue train experience, a nostalgia railway ride on the South-Link Line, connecting Fangliao Railway Station in Pingtung County with Taitung Railway Station in Taitung County. The train has a diesel-engine locomotive and decommissioned non-air-conditioned cars meticulously restored to their original state, now allowing travelers to experience what rail travel was like decades ago. To learn more about Breezy Blue, visit the Breezy Blue Hall by the Fangliao station. Originally a dormitory building for railway workers, the hall is a cultural space with an exhibition room, bar area, and service counter.
New Zhongzhuang Suspension Bridge
The town of Daxi in Taoyuan City is best-known for it’s Old Street filled with heritage houses and shops selling dried tofu, but it’s also an excellent place from which to go on a bike ride. Rent a bike (there are two YouBike stations in Daxi) and head north, following either the west bank (Daxi Riverside Park) or the east bank (Yuemei Wetland Eco Park) of the Dahan River. Then cross the river on the brand-new 400m-long Zhongzhuang Suspension Bridge and return to Daxi to complete the loop. At the western end of the bridge is the Zhongzhuang Retention Basin, where you can take cool photos on a glass-bottom platform.
Taitung from Above
Taitung County is one of the most beautiful areas of Taiwan, and deserves to be seen from all sorts of angles. Taking to the skies gives you a whole new perspective of the land and the ocean to its east. Apart from taking a hot-air balloon flight during the annual Taiwan International Balloon Festival, you can now also go on 30-min. small-aircraft flights that take in the East Rift Valley, the Pacific coast, and Green Island. The planes, operated by Apex Flight Academy, seat nine passengers and reach heights of up to 1,000 meters. You can choose from three different routes, focusing on the valley, the coast, and the island respectively. The experience sets you back NT$9,900 (NT$85,000 for chartering an entire plane); tours are available Thursday~Sunday.
“Yong’an Sea Snail Cultural Experience Park”
About 20km west of downtown Taoyuan City is Yong’an Fishing Harbor. Like many fishing harbors, it’s known for seafood restaurants, but also attracts visitors with a scenic footbridge and the chance of catching eye-pleasing sunsets. One new reason to pay the harbor a visit is the recently opened “Yong’an Sea Snail Cultural Experience Park” on the opposite side of the harbor from the seafood restaurant area. Apart from its unique architectural design (the building was constructed to resemble a sea snail), this new sight also features fun AR and VR experiences for visitors, there is an observation deck with wind chimes, and inside you can sit down for a cup of coffee in the “Sea Snail Café.”
“North Eye Platform”
The best views of central Taipei City from high up (excluding manmade structures such as Taipei 101) are arguably from lookout platforms on Elephant Mountain (Xiangshan) in Xinyi District. For a different perspective, head to the opposite (north) side of the Taipei Basin and walk the trails of Mt. Jiantan (trails start behind the Grand Hotel Taipei). A great panoramic view is from the Old Place Observation Deck (encompassing airplanes landing at Taipei Songshan Airport). Another great lookout spot on the mountain is the recently built North Eye Platform, from where you can take in Shilin District, with MRT Jiantan Station and the iconic Taipei Performing Arts Center in full view.
New Tourist Attractions in Chiayi
Chiayi is best known for the Alishan National Scenic Area and the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, but there are more tourist attractions in store for curious travelers. Close to Jourdeness Castle Biotech Park, a large and complete newly built Baroque-style castle complex north of Chiayi City, Gaia Manor is smaller in size but equally attractive, with the large white building featuring tall columns and surrounded by a garden with fountains and gazebos. Both sites are great for taking selfies, dining, and shopping. While in the area, also check out Chia Nan Food’s Ball Planet museum, a fun place where you can learn all about meatballs.
New Penghu Ferry
The fastest way of getting to the islands of the Penghu archipelago from the Taiwan mainland is flying from Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, or Kaohsiung (less than an hour flight time for each route). A slower way is taking a ferry, either from the town of Budai in Chiayi County or from Kaohsiung Port (about four hours one way). If you opt for the latter route, starting this August you will enjoy the trip on a brand-new vessel, the Penghu Ferry. The new ferry has replaced the Taihua Ferry, which served on the route for more than 30 years.
Renovation of Hotel Provintia Tainan Completed
Old Tainan hands know that Fort Provintia is the old name of Chikan Tower, one of the best-known tourist attractions in the city. Named after the old fort and located just to its northeast, Hotel Provintia is a gem of a hotel that fans of nostalgia should definitely check out. Lovingly restored over the past three years, the hotel (90 guestrooms, including some with excellent views of Chikan Tower) is a complete work of art. From the stylish furniture in the guestrooms, to communal facilities such as a library to the Western restaurant, the hotel makes guests feel as though being transported back into a time gone by.