Cihu Lake (aka Cihu Mausoleum 慈湖陵寝, or Mausoleum of Late President Chiang) in Daxi District of Taoyuan is one of the most interesting parks in Taiwan. Much of the park is full of statues of a former dictator, Chiang Kai-shek. Also, Chiang Kai-shek's former residence and his mausoleum are on the site. It is definitely a unique place worth visiting.
People often don’t realize that Taoyuan has a lot to offer to tourists. Many of the places here aren’t represented as well in English as other sites in Taipei, which is why we want to help everyone realize what a great place it is.
Chiang Kai-shek's residence at Cihu lake was built in 1975, and it was known as his favorite residence because it reminded him of his home town in Fenghua, Zhejiang, China. When Mr. Chiang died, he requested that his body be kept in a sarcophagus at Cihu until Taiwan took back the Chinese mainland, at which time he could be buried again in his home town.
The area around the lake was controlled by the ROC army until 2007, when it was transferred to the Taoyuan City Government. The area was closed briefly in 2008 and then, at which time many statues of the former dictator were moved to a park nearby, under the direction of DPP president Chen Shui-bian. Later the park was reopened when KMT president Ma Ying-jiu won the election in 2008. In 2018 the mausoleum was vandalized with red paint, after which it was closed to the public.
As of 2017 there were 219 statues in the park, 190 of which are of Chiang Kai-shek, 27 of Sun Yat-sen, and 2 of Chiang Ching-kuo.
Seeing statues and visitors' center: Free
Back part of Cihu park: 100 NT per person
50 NT for cars
Hours: 9 AM - 4:45 PM
How to Get There:
By Car/Scooter: From Daxi, take provincial highway 7 east until you reach Cihu, it is hard to miss. There is a large paid parking lot near the park.
By Bus: From Taoyuan, take bus No. 116 or No. 7.
Please see below.
Taipingshan (aka Taipingshan National Forest Recreational Area 太平山國家森林游樂區) is a magical mountain paradise in Datong Township of Yilan County in Taiwan. It has an old Japanese era logging railroad track which has mostly been abandoned, but part of it has been restored with a working train. In addition there are hot springs, Taiwan's largest alpine lake, hikes, wildlife, and endless mountain scenery to explore.
In 1906, the Japanese Indigenous affairs police officers sent a team of men to Fanfan Mountain, where they discovered huge ancient cypress trees. Later the Japanese renamed the area Taipingshan, and began logging the mountain in 1915.
The Taipingshan Forest Railway was completed in 1934 and had at least 12 stations, with the grade up the mountain ranging from 2-3%. Loggers relied heavily on wires and pulley systems to haul logs to the railway, which differentiates it from the Alishan Railway. Because of the extensive use of wires or iron donkeys, it was difficult to convert the entire railway to a tourist railway, therefore only a short section at Maosing remains for tourists.
The logging industry continued in Taiwan until it was banned in the 1980s, after which the area was converted into a forest recreation area in 1983 and opened to the public.
The mountains in Taipingshan range from 500 to 2000 meters high, and is part of the northern central mountain range. The highest peak here is Nanhu Mountain at 3,740 meters high. The terrain generally consists of high mountains and deep valleys, which have been pushed up by the convergence of the Eurasian and Philippine plates, and eroded by torrential rains.
Taipingshan is 12,929 hectares, and includes six major areas: Tuchang, Jioujhihze, Jhongjian, Taipingshan, Maosing and Cueifong Lake.
Taipingshan holds the record for 24 hour rainfall in Taiwan of 1015 mm, recorded in 2016 during Typhoon Megi. The area is also one of the most accessible places in Taiwan to see snow during winter.
The forest recreation area is now a popular place for nature enthusiasts and hikers, and is one of the top three most popular forest recreation areas in Taiwan.
6 AM to 8 PM (open 4 AM on weekends)
150 NT for non-holidays, 200 NT for holidays
Cars: 100 NT
Scooters: 20 NT
Jioujhize Hot Springs: 250 NT in winter and 150 NT in summer
Bong Bong Train: 180 NT
For more info click here.
How to get there：
By Bus: Kuo-kuang departs from Yiland and Luodong at 7:40 and 8 AM, and arrives at Taipingshan at 10:30 AM. The bus then departs Taipingshan at 2:30 PM.
By Car: From Taipei, take National Freeway 5 to Yilan, then turn southwest on provincial highway 7 until you reach the turnoff to Taipingshan via Yijhuan Route 1.
Please see below of the places covered in this blog:
Fanfan Hot Spring is a popular hot spring in Yingshi Village, Datong Township, Yilan County. It is one of the most easily accessible wild hot springs in Taiwan, so it sees many visitors year round. If you are in the area, you should consider taking a dip here.
The area around Fanfan Hot Spring has been inhabited by the Atayal tribe for thousands of years. Originally the river where the hot springs lay was called Bonbon by the local indigenous people, but later the spelling was changed to "Fanfan" because of Han Chinese people in the area who misheard the name.
Fanfan Hot Springs is part of the Xueshan Mountain Range, which was pushed up from the collision of the Eurasian and Philippine plate. The hot springs come from heated water caused from metamorphic rocks under pressure deep within the earth.
How to get there:
By Bus: From Yilan Bus Station, take bus 1744 about one hour to Fanfan Station. The hot springs are about a 20 minute walk away.
By Car/Scooter: From downtown Yilan, take provincial higway 7 southwest to Siji Elementary School Yingshi Branch, in Yingshi village. There is parking at the elementary school. The hot springs are about a 15 minute walk away.
Please see below:
Being an American Expat abroad can be a scary prospect when it comes to taxes. Worldwide banks have implemented FACTA reporting which means that big brother knows how much money you have overseas for accounts you opened using your American passport. Also, the USA is one of the few countries that exercises a worldwide tax system.
But don’t let those things get you down! The overseas exemption is pretty high (102,000 USD as of 2017) and if you make more than that you should be investing some money into to a professional to do your taxes for you anyway. If you are making lower than that, filing your taxes is easy!
Also there is the foreign income tax credit and the additional child tax credit which can help to cancel out any tax payable.
You may try to file taxes online using Turbo Tax or something similar, but once you declare you have an overseas bank account, you will run yourself into trouble. The tax software will only be able to process this if you pay an extra $50 or something for the “professional version.” Who wants to pay $50 on a tax form that you are declaring nothing on, right?
The simple and free solution is to send in your tax form via pencil and paper. The government has made this relatively simple for us foreigners abroad. And they give us an extra 3 months to file! Below is a rough guide on completing your taxes via pencil and paper from overseas.
The expat deadline for filing taxes from overseas is automatically moved back to June 15th of the following year. But you can use form 4868 to extend the filing date to October 15.
Paper and Pencil Tax Filing Guide
Disclaimer: I am not a professional in US tax. Below is simple a guide that follows the tax instructions given by the IRS. If you have complex overseas tax issues, I would suggest you seek professional advice. If you file yourself, you need to read the IRS instructions carefully and make sure you do not misreport anything. I cannot take responsibility for any tax misfiling on your part..
With that in mind, I am going to assume that you are:
If you do have children, then I do not recommend claiming for foreign income tax exclusion. You should file form 1116 foreign income tax credit and schedule 8812 the additional child tax credit. In most circumstances with children you will be receiving a tax refund without any tax payable.
I will walk you through the following 6 steps:
Bonus steps if you will not use the foreign income exclusion:
1. Fill out form 1116
2. Fill out schedule 8812
3. Fill out schedule 3
Step 1: Fill Out Schedule B of Form 1040
Yes, before you even start on Form 1040, you need to begin with Schedule B of Form 1040. This is because you have a foreign bank account; you must declare it as well as other foreign assets. Because of FACTA, the US has forced banks worldwide to share the account information of American citizens. Big brother knows, so you might as well declare.
Click here for Schedule B instructions and here for the Schedule B itself. Be sure to print it out and read the instructions carefully.
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.