From awe-inspiring peaks and marble canyons to coastal intertidal zones, Taiwan offers up scenic outdoor activities for every level of interest and challenge. It’s a playground of fascination and inspiration for naturalists, hikers, photographers—and anyone in need of some restorative time in nature. Pause, for instance, to consider the light filtering through towering bamboo forests at Xitou Nature Education Area or the sublime mangrove tunnel in Tainan.
Not only is Taiwan ecologically and geographically diverse, but it’s also compact, which means you could explore coral shores in the afternoon, catch a majestic sunset—and then a sunrise after a cozy night's sleep in a mountain lodge. From the Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area to the working farms of Hehuan Mountain, nearly all of the island's spectacular sites are accessible via efficient, reliable, and inexpensive public transportation. Hop a train or bus, and don't hesitate to ask for guidance from locals you encounter along the way to experience true Taiwanese hospitality.
As you explore, keep an eye out for the Purple Crow—not a crow at all but a variety of butterfly. This alluring species stops over in the southern area of Maolin during its annual winter migration, blanketing the valley in its lovely lavender.
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