Bay Area LIFE: Discover the art and culture of Taiwan

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Taiwan is known for its towering mountains and, indeed, is spotted with numerous mountains peaks that rise over 3,000 meters. (KGO-TV)

Taiwan is known for its towering mountains and, indeed, is spotted with numerous mountains peaks that rise over 3,000 meters. It is also the home of Northeast Asia's tallest mountain, Yu Mountain, which is nearly 4,000 meters in height.

Besides mountains, beautiful coastal scenes are part of Taiwan's great natural assets. Starting from the northern tip of the island is the North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area and Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area, featuring a wide variety of coastal geography. Traveling around the island to the east, you come to the scenic East Coast National Scenic Area and East Rift Valley National Scenic Area; go to the south, and you will come to the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area and then the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area, blessed with sunshine and a tropical touch.

Alongside the western edge of the Central Mountain Range is the Maolin National Scenic Area, where a lot of indigenous people live and place you can check out the world of butterflies, Rukai stone houses, and splendid natural scenes. Legendary tales depict the subtle beauty of the Alishan National Scenic Area, where you can enjoy relaxing scene of the sun rising over a sea of clouds. The incomparable natural setting of the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area waits in the center of the island, and the Tri-Mountain National Scenic Area offers eagle-spotting at Bagua Mountain, the highland fruits of Lishan and the sacred Buddhist sanctuary of Lion's Head Mountain.

Taiwan now has nine National Parks: Yangmingshan National Park in suburban Taipei, which is famous for its volcanic landscapes; Shei-Pa National Park, spanning Hsinchu and Miaoli counties and famous for the unique and endangered Formosan landlocked salmon; Taroko National Park, known for its lofty canyon landscapes; Yushan National Park, known for its bright sunshine and the highest peak in Northeast Asia; Kenting National Park gives at the southern tip of the island, giving a touch of Southeast Asia; and Kinmen National Park, containing legacies of war decades ago.

The Dongsha Atoll National Park was established in January 2007 on the northern waters of the South China Sea, marking the southern portal to the Taiwan Strait. The atoll has a unique white sand landscape formed of coral and shell. Finally, Taijiang National Park, with its cultural, historic and environmental protection functions; and South Penghu Marine National Park, which brings together natural ecology and geological landscape with cultural and historic sites.These nine national parks await for your discovery.

In addition, the National Palace Museum, located in the outskirts of Taipei City, is home to priceless artifacts that present the essence of China's 5,000 years of history. It has the finest collection of Chinese art in the world, providing an eye-opening experience of Chinese culture.

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