Saturday, April 28, 2012

May Snow in Taiwan

Traveling through north and central Taiwan in April and May, visitors will be greeted by the sight of blooming tung trees, which paint swathes of the countryside a beautiful sparking white.

The annual Hakka Blossom Festival, help from mid-March to mid-May, attracts millions of visitors who come to admire the tiny flowers and to learn more about Hakka culture through dozens of musical and dance performances.

Native to southern China, tung trees have thrived in Taiwan at least since the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945). The Hakka, a subgroup of Han Chinese tung trees to be an excellent source of oil for making paint and began to cultivate them on a wide scale a century ago. The Hakka are the second largest ethnic group in Taiwan and comprise over 15 percent of the population, which the majority living in Hsinchu(新竹), Miaoli(苗栗), and in parts of Kaohsiung and Taichung – the same places where tung blossom flourishes each spring.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Taiwan's Night Markets

Packed with vendors selling traditional snacks and low-priced merchandise, the Taiwan island’s ever-popular night markets are bulwarks against the relentless tide of modernization.

Taiwan_night_Market, ball bead

For many first-time visitors to Taiwan, the sight of streets lined with vendors had them reaching for their cameras. Locals react differently: Often, the smells wafting from such places make their mouths water.