Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is December a good time to visit Taiwan?

At least one Singaporean blogger thinks so after visiting in December 2011 and again in December 2012. Not surprisingly, he and his family had better weather in the south than the north (winter days in Chiayi and points south are typically very sunny yet extremely comfortable in terms of temperature; nights are cool but not frigid). There's another reason why coming in December is a good idea: Relatively few Taiwanese travel at this time of year, so booking accommodation isn't difficult. The family especially enjoyed the night markets and the scenic hill town of Jiufen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New luminous mushroom species discovered in Kenting

The academic journal Mycological Progress reports a new species of mushroom that glows in the dark: 

"Mycena kentingensis, a new luminous mushroom, was discovered in the tropical forest of Kenting National Park in Taiwan. The pileus of M. kentingensis is 3–8 mm in diameter and emits green light in the dark. The dorsal surface of the pileus is covered with short and white spines. The lamellae are nearly free... The new species of Mycena kentingensis brings the total of luminous fungi in the world to 74 species."

The actual discovery was made in autumn 2011; since then scientists have been propagating the mushroom to better understand it. According to this article in Taipei Times, Taiwan can boast of having nine of those 74 luminous fungi species. For photos and a Chinese-language report, click here

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A library, not a temple

This library in Kaohsiung City's Fengshan District (高雄市鳳山區) is a typical piece of Northern-Palace architecture, the building style favoured by the Kuomintang regime between the 1950s and 1970s. Other examples are the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the National Revolutionary Martyrs Shine and also quite a few post-war Roman Catholic churches. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An old dojo in Taichung

I adore Taiwan's Japanese-era buildings, such as this dojo, formerly part of Taichung's prison. Most of the prison complex was demolished in the 1990s, but this building and an office were saved and renovated and are open to the public.

Other appealing colonial-era structures in Taiwan include Futai Street Mansion and the Museum of Drinking Water (both in Taipei), as well as Taoyuan Martyrs Shrine.