Tianxiang Recreation Area features the widest and most flat terraces within Taroko Gorge. Here you can find Xiangde Temple, Tianfeng Pagoda, Pudu Suspension Bridge, and Silks Place Taroko, which are all surrounded by amazing high canyons and beautiful deep river ravines. It is a must see spot inside Taroko Gorge.
Taroko National Park is well known for its marble cliffs and canyons, and is also known as "The Marble Gorge." Millions of years ago, the rock we see today was sediment at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, but oceanic and tectonic pressure turned it into limestone, and later into marble. Later the Eurasian plate was uplifted where Taiwan is today, and a gorge was cut out of the limestone thanks to the Liwu River.
Taroko means "human being," from the Truku tribal language. Originally the Tupido Tribe settled in the area of what is now Tianxiang Taiti mesa. They built the Tupido Tribe Trail which was only 30 cm wide, and resided there until they were massacred by the Japanese in 1914. In 1917, the Japanese expanded the original trail made by the Tupido Tribe to 1.5 M and forced aboriginal tribesmen to carry goods along the trail to the east coast. This is now the Zhuilu Old Trail. Currently only 3km of the trail is open to the public. The Japanese created a national park in the Area in 1937, which was disestablished by the ROC in 1945, and then reenstated in as a national park in 1986.
Tianxiang lies 455 meters above seas level, and lies at the convergence of the Dasha River and the Tazijili River, forming the Liwu River.
Xiangde Temple was built in 1966 shortly after the central cross island highway was finished. It is a Buddhist monetary, and the area was chosen for it's quiet beauty.
How to get there:
By Car: From Taipei, Take National Highway 5 to Yilan and then drive on the Suhua Highway 9 to Hualien. A few miles before Hualien City, the gorge will be on your right. Tianxiang is 18 KM in.
By Train: Take the train to Hualien station, and from there you can rent a scooter or car, or take a tour bus to the gorge, and then get off at Tianxiang.
For more travel information see here.
Flying a Drone?
Apply for a drone permit here.
Map: Please see below:
Dexing Coal Mine in Xinyi District of Taipei is a refurbished coal mining tunnel that has been opened to the public. is a great place to get familiar with the extinct coal mine industry in Taiwan, and is conveniently close to Taipei's city center.
History of Coal Mining in Taiwan:
Before I show you my adventure, I’d like to give a background of the coal mining industry in Taiwan. If you aren’t interested, you can just skip this section.
Coal mining in Taiwan started during the Dutch rule, starting in Keelung and Tamsui. The Dutch started mines there, but didn’t have sufficient transportation infrastructure to move large amounts of coal. The Koxinga era didn’t see much coal mining.
After the Qing dynasty took back Taiwan following Koxinga and his son’s death, the government strictly banned mining of any kind in order to restrict the people from hiding in the mountains and starting rebellions. Despite this, coal was still mined and sold in on the black market in Taiwan.
During and after the Opium wars, many English and Americans scouted Taiwan for possible coal deposits. In 1864, despite the ban on coal mining, there was at least 4315 tons of coal exported out of Taiwan.
Pressure from western countries to open ports in Asia that had water and coal available to power steam ships forced the Qing government to finally allow legal coal mining in 1870.
After the ban was lifted, the size of coal mining operations was still very small. In 1874, due to Japanese influence, Liu Mingchuan convinced Beijing to allow advanced mining machinery in Taiwan, starting in Baodouzi, Keelung, and new mines were started under government control. During this time, many miners died due to poor and unsanitary working conditions and the fact that the government officials running the mines were inexperienced and did not run effective operations. During this time, infrastructure and railways were lacking in Taiwan, halting transportation of coal. By 1892 after the Sino-French war, government owned mines were closed and the industry became privatized. In 1895, Taiwan produced more than 10,000 tons of coal. By this time, Liu Mingchuan had constructed the Keelung-Xinxhu railway, helping alleviate the coal transportation problem.
In 1895 Japan took control of Taiwan and Penghu as a result of the Sino-Japanese war, and began to survey the forests and geography to maximize capitalist gains for the empire. Coal would be an important part in industrializing the Empire, as it was the major fuel source at the time. In 1896 Japan opened the coal mining industry to the public, and the next year the price of coal doubled, as demand increased. But as local know how and technology was lacking, imported coal from Japan was actually cheaper than producing it in Taiwan.
However in 1906 the coal industry in Taiwan gradually improved. New mining machinery moved to Tianliao, Keelung to support Japan’s Naval fleet. Sugar factories in southern Taiwan also needed a constant supply of coal.
During the First World War, the Empire of Japan became an important supplier of coal to western countries fighting in the war, and Taiwan’s coal exports gradually increased. In 1917-1918, Japan opened 194 new coal mines in Taiwan. They also built the Pingxi Railway which became the most productive site for coal mining, in its heyday producing 220,000 tons of coal per year. (The Taiwan coal mine museum now lays here, along withHoutong cat village). However, after World War I ended, the demand for coal declined, many mines closed, and there was widespread overproduction. But as industrialization continued in Taiwan, so did the demand for coal. To keep production going constantly, Japan provided subsidies to coal mines.
At the start of the second Sino-Japanese war, demand for coal rose dramatically, as did the price of coal. But also due to losses of manpower during the war, coal production saw a huge drop.
In 1945 Japan lost the war and Taiwan and Penghu were given back to China. Not long after this, the remaining government owned mines were transformed into the Taiwan mining company, but by then mining had all but stopped. However by 1949 after the KMT retreated to Taiwan, Taiwan became an important economic partner with America, and coal production began to soar to 1,650,000 tons of coal in 1951, mainly to fuel Taiwan’s coal power plants and other large industries. With economic support from the USA, new mines started opening. In 1960 Taiwan produced 4 million tons of coal.
Due to demand and the free market, coal mines gradually started closing and production went down, until by 1964 Taiwan produced only 2.8 million tons of coal. In 1969 Taiwan Power started using gas power plants which were cheaper than coal, lowering demand. By 1977 Taiwan had produced only 2 million tons of coal. During this time, Taiwan also improved safety regulations for coal mines, but accidents still kept happening, forcing the government to close quite a few mines. Here is a list of mining incidents in Taiwan.
The lone survivor of one1984 mining incident that killed 93 people survived by cannibalism and drinking pee over a period of 90 hours inside the mine. He later said that if he had to do it all over again, he would still have eaten his coworkers.
Local coal soon became more costly to mine than just importing it. In the year 2000, Sanxia’s Lifeng Mine shut down operations, and Taiwan’s mining company closed, and thus all coal mining in Taiwan effectively stopped.
History of Xinfeng Coal Mine:
Dexingeng Coal Mine was one of many mines around Taipei, as there are many coal seams in the mountains of northern Taiwan. The coal mine was active from 1946-1978. Once the coal mining industry shut down in the late 1990's, this mine shut down too and was left abandoned for a number of years until the area was restored by Taipei City in the early 2000's. Now it is a well kept tourist attraction, where one can enjoy the history of the mine as well as the natural scenery nearby.
9 AM to 4 PM every day
How to get there:
Fanshuliao in Hualien is the most unique looking canyon on the east coast, and is a popular river tracing spot. The canyon is over 100 meters deep, and metal steps have been hammered into the canyon wall for those brave enough to walk down them.
The Canyon at Fanshuliao is 100 meters deep and 45 meters wide. It was formed by loose volcanic rock, which erodes easily, which helped to create the canyon.
The Amis aborigine people that lived here sais that any young man that could traverse the canyon in one leap using a bamboo stick would become the village chief. Because of this, many young men fell to their death, and a pile of bamboo sticks began to pile up at the bottom of the canyon known as the "forest of lost brave ones."
Highway 11, also known as the Hualien-Taitung Coastal Highway, first began as a trail during the Qing Dynasty in 1877. During the Japanese era of Taiwan, the road was improved and open to vehicles in 1930. The current two lane highway as we know it today was completed after WWII in 1968. The Fanshuiliao rest area (named after the nearby Fanshu village) was probably also completed at that time. It is a popular stop along the highway, and the Fanshuliao River is a popular river tracing destination.
How to get there:
By car/scooter: Travel along Highway 11 until you reach the spot. There is usually plenty of free parking here.
By bus: There is a stop here on Bus 304's route, or take bus 1140 from Hualien Station to Fanshuliao bus stop.
Please see below:
Tax season is here. In Taiwan, taxes must be filed from before May 31st, however for 2021, the tax filing deadline has been extended to June 30th, 2022 due to the pandemic. . As a foreigner, you might be wondering how to file a tax return and what the regulations are. Luckily Taiwan has made it easy by creating an online tax filing system that you can complete from your computer, although you do still have to physically send some forms to the tax office. Let us answer some common questions about tax filing that might come up:
Forward: The following is Q+A for tax year 2021 only, based on information provided on Taiwan's Ministry of Finance website for your reference only. Personal income tax can be a complicated issue; for specific answers regarding your tax situation please contact the Taiwan tax office: +886-2-2311-3711. Press 7 for English service. The ultimate decision for tax payable is up to the discretion of the Taiwan tax office.
Q: When should I file Taxes?
A: Between May 1st to May 31st after the tax year (tax year is same as calendar year), however for 2021, the tax filing deadline has been extended to June 30th, 2022 due to the pandemic.
If you are leaving the country and do not plan to return to Taiwan, you must file an early tax return within 10 days before you leave. We recommend going to the tax office in person for an early filing.
Q: When are Taiwan tax payments due?
A: Tax payments are due by May 31st, however for 2021, the tax payment deadline has been extended to June 30th, 2022 due to the pandemic. after which there will be penalties for late payments.
Q: What makes me eligible for paying Taiwan taxes (or what makes me a tax resident)?
A: You become a Taiwan tax resident if you stay in Taiwan longer than 183 days, or you are a Taiwan national and have household registration（戶籍） in Taiwan and visit for at least one day. The address in your ARC is not household registration, it's a registration process from the local administrative office (戶政事務所）.
If you stay less than 90 days in Taiwan, in general you do not have to file taxes, and VAT or sales taxes are reimbursable.
If you worked in Taiwan and stayed over 90 days, you need to pay taxes on your Taiwan based salary even if your income came from overseas.
If you stayed in Taiwan between 90-183 days in a calendar year then you need to pay a fixed rate of 18% income tax （your company may have deducted this from your salary already).
If you have Taiwanese dual citizenship and Taiwanese house registration, then you need to pay taxes if you have stayed in Taiwan for over 31 days. Days are cumulative in a tax year, and it doesn't matter what you came for during these days.
Q: How do I count the days I stayed in Taiwan?
A: Please note that the day you come to Taiwan doesn't count, but the day you leave does. It's a good idea to keep track of the number of days you have been in Taiwan via the stamps on your passport.
Q: What is the income tax rate?/ How much is Taiwan tax?
A: The income tax rate for non-residents who earn at least 1.5 the minimum wage per month (37,875 NT as of 2021) is 18% (you can get a tax refund if you pay 18% taxes and then become a tax resident). This tax rate is usually applicable for most white collar foreigners.
For non-residents who earn less than 1.5 the minimum wage per month (37,875 NT as of 2021), the income tax rate is 6%. This tax rate is usually applicable for most blue collar foreign workers. 18% usually is applicable to white collar foreign workers.
The 2021 tax rate for residents (staying over 183 days in Taiwan) is as follows (source: Taiwan Ministry of Finance):
The Jingpu Tropic of Cancer Monument is a special geological marker along the road on the coast of Hualien County, and is a must stop for a selfie. There are also some fruit stands and shops nearby. It is a beautiful and unique monument to commemorate your journey around the island.
The Jingpu Tropic of Cancer Monument sits at 23.5 degrees N, and is the dividing line between tropical and temperate climates. You will notice that more tropical fruit grows south of here. At noon during the summer solstice, sunshine will shoot right down the black center of the monument, meaning everything will have no shadow under the sun.
How to get there: Take highway 11 south from Hualien City about 60km or two and a half hours. If you do not have a scooter or car, buses also stop along this route. You can also take bus 1140A which takes about three hours.
Price: Parking is free.
Hours: 24 hours a day
Map: Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.