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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Aug-Sept
Active RetireesTM | 17 TRAVEL INTERNATIONAL L ocated off the south-eastern coast of mainland China, Taiwan is the size of Tasmania but consists of 16 cities, with another two offshore. Taiwan has been generously gifted with forests and contains 258 mountain peaks over 3000 metres high, making it geographically incomparable to any other country. Alongside its natural beauty, Taiwan offers unique cultural experiences, with museums, tea farms, monasteries and more. The National Palace Museum in Taipei was built in 1925 and is now one of the top four museums in the world. With 677,687 paintings, rare books, ceramics, jades, calligraphy, documents, bronzes and curios, it would take one of the 6000 visitors the museum welcomes each day 13 years to see all the pieces. Further around the coastline, over mountains and rivers, Tai Chung Monastery awaits the culture vulture. In response to his disciples’ need for a place of spiritual cultivation and refuge, Grand Master Wei Chueh vowed to provide an environment for all who wished to learn the Buddha Dharma. The design of Tai Chung Monastery commenced in 1992 and, after three years of planning and seven years of construction, the landmark building opened its doors on 1 September 2001. Each of the 37 levels is more exquisite than the last. Level nine is dazzling in pure white and, seven floors up, level 16 consists of 22,000 handmade tiles depicting Buddha, each of which took a whole month to make. The last stop, to our amazement, as tourists are not usually permitted entry to the higher levels, was level 37. We each stood in the centre of the room to say a prayer; our echoing voices meant our prayers had been heard. » All the tea in Taiwan Ever wanted to know how your ‘cuppa’ came to be? Just ask Monika Prasad, who visited Taiwan's tea fields for a lesson in picking and preparing organic tea leaves. We picked, rolled, cooked and dried the leaves before sampling the farm’s own organic brews.
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