Guam: Sun, Sea and …?

The magnificent view from Two Lovers’ Point, near Guam’s main tourist center, Tumon Bay

Summer 2010 has become a series of island vacations as my plans changed from travelling around eastern Indonesia to exploring Taiwan’s offshore islands. However the chance discovery of a cheap package deal last weekend saw me and David heading out to a place I’ve been intrigued by for many years: the island of Guam, a territory of the US in the western Pacific. Continue reading

The Three Faces of Green Island

Wangong Arch, the largest natural arch on Green Island (and probably in all Taiwan) is huge!

According to the elegant phrase on the T-shirts sold at the gaggle of tacky souvenir stalls that greet new arrivals to Green Island stepping off the boat from Taitung, “Green Island is … F***ing Hot“.  Actually for about half of our three days’ stay on the island, the weather was Bl**dy chilly, as a front of cool, rainy weather coincided with our visit, but in another sense the blokes that coined that slogan got it right.  Continue reading

Caves, Waterfalls and Archeological Sites: Guanyin Mountain’s little-known curiosities

Guanyin Mountain summit from Mount Jhan

Guanyin Mountain is a familiar sight to anyone who’s taken the MRT from Taipei to Danshui as the shapely, many-peaked mountain rising across the broad waters of the Danshui River estuary. It also makes for some great hiking, commanding one of the Taipei area’s most magnificent views from the top if you’re lucky enough to get a clear day.  I generally avoid the popular ‘tourist’ route up the mountain from the showpiece Lingyun Temple in favor of a less well-known but more interesting (and demanding!) route from the front (river) side of the mountain, via the satellite peak of Mt. Jhan (占山).


   Taking this route also has the advantage of passing close to one of the peak’s most intriguing yet little-known landforms, Chauyin (‘tidal sound’) Cave, a very narrow box canyon rather than a real cave, housing  a tiny shrine and, at the end, a small waterfall. Continue reading