Nature

Formosa (beautiful island) is what the Portuguese called Taiwan when they came here in the 16th century and saw the island's verdant beauty.

Located along the southeast coast of the Asian Continent at the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, between Japan and the Philippines and right in the center of the East-Asian island arc, Taiwan forms a vital line of communication in the Asia-Pacific region. It covers an area of approximately 36,000 square kilometers (14,400 square miles) and is longer than it is wide. Two-thirds of the total area is covered by forested mountains and the remaining area consists of hilly country, platforms and highlands, coastal plains and basins. The Central Mountain Range stretches along the entire island from north to south, thus forming a natural line of demarcation for rivers on the eastern and western sides of the island. On the west side lies the Yushan Mountain Range with its main peak reaching 3,952 meters, the highest mountain peak in Northeast Asia.


THE MOUNTAINS
Taiwan has been generously equipped with forests. Some 293 mountain peaks are more than 3,000 meters high, geographically making Taiwan incomparable to any other country in the world. As mountains can be found anywhere, mountain climbing is a popular leisure activity in Taiwan. One can choose to walk the mountains on the outskirts of the city or accept the challenge of climbing one of the numerous high mountains, follow the course of streams and valleys, trace back the source of rivers, or cross entire mountains. In any case, lush scenery will unfold before your eyes and it will not take too long before you'll be convinced of the beauty of Taiwan's mountains. In addition to this, six national parks offer a variety of distinct topographic landscapes: the Taroko National Park, a narrow ravine created by a river which has cut through the mountains, Yushan (Jade Mountain) National Parkhighest containing the highest landmark of Taiwan and also the highest peak in Northeast Asia, Shei-Pa National Park, featuring with its dangerously steep slopes; Yangmingshan National Park, offering volcanic craters and lakes; Kenting National Park, encompassing Taiwan's only tropical area which breathes a truly Southeast Asian atmosphere; and Kinmen National Park, with its storied granite hills.


WORLD OF THE SEA
Taiwan has a very rich marine ecology. In the Pacific Ocean on Taiwan's east, groups of bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, Risso's dolphins, and pantropical spotted dolphins can be seen jumping out of the water. Azure seas and magnificent coral reefs can be found in Kenting on the south end of Taiwan, and on Green Island and the islands of the Penghu Archipelago. It is there for you to discover and marvel at.


ECO-PARKS
Taiwan has a warm and humid climate and a variety of terrain, including sandbars, plains, basins, hills, plateaus, and mountains. As a result, the island is home to abundant animal and plant life, including various endemic species, and can therefore be regarded as one gigantic eco-park. Because of the formation of mud flats and mangroves along the coast, large numbers of migratory birds from around the world are attracted to Taiwan, where they use these coastal areas as a temporary shelter and rest area before they resume their journey. In spring and summer there are the birds that leave the tropics behind to spend this season in Taiwan, such as the eye-catching fairy pitta, known in Chinese as the eight-color bird, while during autumn birds from colder northern areas come to Taiwan to spend the winter, such as the black-faced spoonbill of which only 530 are left worldwide. Each year the gray-faced buzzard will be right on time to participate in the Double Tenth celebrations (Taiwan's national day), and there are also countless other migratory birds that use Taiwan either as a stopover or as their final destination, one way or the other adding exuberant vitality to Taiwan's wildlife. One surprise after the other will come to you when traveling in Taiwan.

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Information provided by Tourism Bureau, Rep. of China.

 

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