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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Aug-Sept
18 | www.probussouthpacific.org Gorge-ous From the capital, Taipei, the Taiwan High Speed Rail whisks travellers 345km to Kaohsiung in just over an hour and a half. Once in Kaohsiung, we board a domestic flight to Hualien, known for the marble that was once mined there and the beauty of Taroko Gorge. In the local indigenous language Taroko means ‘magnificent and beautiful’, and the gorge truly is just that, with its massive marble cliffs speckled with tropical vegetation, gentle streams and dramatic waterfalls, and pagodas surrounded by green forests. There are still magic places in the world and Taroko Gorge is one of them. While we could have enjoyed the view from our comfortable tour bus, we decided to walk to take in the beautiful views and appreciate the environment, water and marble surrounding us. Time for tea After this amazing experience we checked in at the Parkview Hotel and took in the views of waterfalls, paddled in the resort- like pools, walked over the hills, browsed the titles in the library and – best of all – shopped, before a hot-pot dinner at one of the hotel’s restaurants. Further along the coastal highway, we visited Yilan and the Shiang-Yu Organic Tea farm for a hands-on lesson in tea-making. With hats and scarves to protect us from the heat, and bottle-shaped baskets slung from our hips to collect tea leaves in, we made our way out to the fields. We picked, rolled, cooked and dried the leaves before sampling the farm’s own organic brews. The calming beauty of such a tiny island with over 22 million residents has to be seen to be believed, and the best way to see it is certainly overlooking a tea field with a steaming cup in hand. •• Monika Prasad was a guest of Trade Travel, Taiwan Tourism and Howard Hotels. Trade Travel: www.tradetravel.com Taiwan Tourism: www.taiwantourism.org Howard Hotels: www.howard-hotels.com RHualien's Taroko Gorge is a feast for the senses: towering marble cliffs, dramatic waterfalls, meandering streams and tropical vegetation. There are still magic places in the world and Taroko Gorge is one of them. Be pampered: take a ferry from Gushan Quay to Chijin Peninsula, and be whisked away in a pedi cab for main street shopping and amazing seafood. After all that hard work at the mall, heal those weary feet at a massage clinic. Shop 'til you drop: between the malls and the night markets, you’ll never be without a chance to track down a bargain. The night markets on the Chijin Peninsula boast a great atmosphere, with music playing, delicious food cooking and late night shoppers snapping up steals. Culture vulture: the Sun Moon Lake visitor’s centre opened in February and contains an exhibition of, and information about, local pottery, winemaking, railways and timber, paper arts and crafts, and tea culture. Take a bullet: jump aboard the bullet train from the capital Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung. Sit back and watch the scenery glide by for an hour and a half and you won't believe you’re hurtling along at up to 300km/h. TRAVEL GUIdE The Chairman's Choice Tour, hosted by PCSP Chairman Ken Brand, will be visiting Taiwan in March 2012. The 13-day/12-night tour departs Sydney on 19 March, returning 31 March, and takes in the highlights of the island including: • High Speed Rail • Sun Moon Lake Cruise • Taroko Gorge • Taipei City Sights For more information, contact Trade Travel. T: 1800 645 103 (toll free) E: email@example.com ALL ABOARd!
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