Taiwan: 10 Unforgettable Views
Lanterns and architecture collide in Jiufen, Taiwan
There’s something about Taiwan. One of them is the unforgettable views.
But, it might also be the island culture. It might be the Chinese heritage, mixed perfectly with a Japanese aesthetic. It might just be the people. All of these things combine to create a unique country, modern and at the same time steeped in history; fun-loving yet reverent of ancient traditions and beliefs.
This island formerly known as Formosa, features temples to the deities, gods and religions, from Buddhism to Taoism to Confucianism, from folk shrines to grand temples, which are a bustling hot spot for those who believe that making a prayer can help their cause. Taoism, the “homegrown” Chinese religion and philosophy, has given the Taiwanese their most popular and revered deity, Matsu, the goddess of the sea.
Of course, the Taiwanese also welcome Christian, Muslim, Hindu and more into their way of life. And that’s the thing about Taiwan. A way of like that is almost self-sustained. The island is beaches and the bounty of the ocean; mountains and the waters that spring from them; and the land, where everything is grown, and eaten in season, from rice to coffee to vegetables and fruits.
But it was the views from the many strategic perches we visited that captivated our attention. Temple roof tops, vast deep blue seascapes, the city of Taipei and beyond, gave us a sense of place and beauty.
Click through below for an island-wide trip of some of the best views of Taiwan.
#1. Taipei 101, Taipei City
Once the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 is used as a landmark for citizens and tourists alike, to help navigate Taipei. An outpost of Din Tai Fung, home of the famous soup dumpling, sits at its base.
#2. Chih-Kan Tower, near the Confucius Temple, Tainan
The gardens here are meticulous, and you’ll find a whimsical turtle fountain along the base of the front temple lined with large stone tablets (see above). Known as Fort Provintia during the Dutch period of Formosa.
#3. Grand Matsu Temple, Tainan
Matsu is the most venerated and popular Taoist deity in Taiwanese culture. She is the goddess of the sea, and patron saint of fishermen and seafarers. Not surprising, as Taiwan is surrounded by the ocean, and is subject to its whims.
#4. Taiwan Lantern Festival, Beigang
The main event, The National Lantern Festival, is a cavalcade of lights, hundreds of sculptures made of up LEDs morphed into everything from Hello Kitty to the Eiffel Tower to this year’s Chinese Zodiac sign, The Rooster, and beyond. It takes place in a different city each year, and competition for hosting the event is fierce.
#5. Sun Moon Lake, from The Lalu hotel
The Lalu hotel is breathtaking, for its views of Sun Moon Lake, and for its mix of modern meets Asian design and cuisine.
#6. Sun Moon Lake, from The Fleur de Chine hotel
Sitting on the first-ever discovered natural hot spring in this area of Taiwan, the Fleur de Chine resort capitalized on the wellness trend of taking the waters. The hotel specializes in all things hot springs, with a public bath house (men and women are separated), or in the privacy of your own room – marble bath tub included!
#7. National Taichung Theater, Taichung
This impressive building was designed by the Pritzker prize-winning Japanese architect Toyo Ito. Its undulating entrance, fronting a reflective pond is only the beginning and you haven’t even entered. Curving walls, curling staircases and a rooftop garden make this building more than a place to go for theatre. There are shops and public spaces for design-lovers to soothe their passion for organic architecture.
These crescent moon shapes actually represent the Yes/No question that worshipers ask the deities when they go pray in the temples. They take a pair of palm-sized wooden crescents and toss them, after silently saying a prayer. Depending how the pieces land, it’s a yes, no, or maybe. Sounds like life in general.
#9. The Hotel Royal Jioxi, Jioxi
The view from this resort, another hot spring beauty, is mountains and ocean, on the north east coast of Taiwan. The hotel features a rooftop wellness hot spring, gorgeous floor to ceiling windowed public spaces, and sometimes offers live concerts in its lobby.
#10. The rooftops of Jiufen
From the heights of the town of Jiufen you can see for miles, and the ocean and islands beyond. But it is the orange rooftops with ornate decoration of temples and houses that captivated us. A beautiful day; a beautiful view.