Itching to explore outside of Taichung, one of my friends invited me to visit Taoyuan this past weekend. Naturally, I took the chance to see her and explore a new side of the island. For many, Taoyuan is only familiar because of the association with the location of the largest airport in Taiwan: Taoyuan international airport. But Taoyuan holds many more treasures than meets the eye upon first glance.

Taoyuan is a bustling city like Taipei, Taichung, and the like, but if you dare to push the city limits, there's much to discover. In Zhong Li district, Zhong Li night market is busy Saturday night with locals, tourists, students, families, and backpackers all feasting their eyes upon the sights of the night market. To the left, there are little arcade games for children. On the right, snakes in cages lay in the warm air beside food vendors. Up ahead, a man sells a 3 meter long phone charging cord. And yes, of course I bought one!

Zhong Li is a fun, vibrant community full of history, wonderful food, and friendly people. Further out of sight from the city, the landscape changes and becomes something seen in story books, on TV, and in your wildest dreams. An entire park of statues dedicated to Chiang Kai-Shek hides away in the mountains. A little afternoon walk through the statue park shows Kai-Shek through the years, and in various shades. If you love nature, flowers, and wonderful views, just up the way from the park is a farm full of flowers, teddy bear shaped fields, and peaceful sitting areas. For me, it was the perfect photo spot to get both a great view and some selfies. 

Perhaps for the history lover, Daxi Old Street holds all the wonder and architecture you need. Complete with the wandering smell of stinky tofu that you smell before you see, this market is beautiful, timeless, and historical. Not to mention the perfect place to spend some money on good treats, trinkets, and toys. Oh, and to admire the view of the bridges down below as you reach the edge of the market. 

Sunsets are by far one of my absolute favorite things.  On the way back to Zhong Li, there's a reservoir that just so happens to also double as a stunning view. As the sun sets, the colors fade into the night sky behind the mountain tops and the stars start to appear in the sky.  There's so much beauty in nature, and such power within a single moment. Traveling always has given me a feeling of comfort and peace, but watching the sunset that night was like watching a piece of heaven right before my eyes. 

*Originally from my personal blog*

Published by Marie Soukup