Taiwan: Day 1

I've just returned from an eight day trip to Taiwan, and while I've brought back some form of contact dermatitis or photosensitivity reaction, I've also brought back plenty of memories and new experiences.

For the first five days of our trip, we had a private tour guide that drove us around the western side of Taiwan. We stayed in a different hostel every night which sometimes did feel like a bit of a rush, but it also meant that we got to see many different parts of the country. We were really thankful for our guide because we wouldn't have been able to do too much ourselves in such hot weather. Being chauffeured was a luxury, and his knowledge and enthusiasm were huge pluses. 

#1: Cihu Mausoleum, Taoyuan

Our first stop was Cihu Mausoleum, the resting place of Chiang Kai Shek, who was one of the greatest leaders of the Republic of China. To be honest, I had never heard about him before this visit. It wasn't till afterwards when I had read up on him that I realised what a major role he played in Chinese history.

Some defining features of this attraction were its abundant portraits and statutes, a beautiful, large lake (hence the name 'cíhú', meaning 'benevolent lake'), and the changing of guards ceremony.

#2: Neiwan, Hsinchu

Our next stop was Neiwan, a Hakka community located within the township of Hsinchu. We strolled along the old street and feasted on local snacks, and also took a walk across the suspension bridge. I was drenched in sweat, but there was no denying its humble prettiness with its mountains and waters. 

#3: Sanyi, Miaoli

Our last stop for the night was Sanyi, a rural town recognised for its woodcarving industry. Upon entering the town, we were stunned to see shops upon shops selling intricate carvings and sculptures, all made from wood. We also visited the Wood Sculpture Museum which was an eye-opener. It was fascinating to learn about the history of woodcarving and to admire the craftsmanship as well as the thoughts and meanings behind each work. 

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