4 ‘Holiday for Healing’ suggestions from Taiwan
With domestic virus infections in Taiwan at zero for two consecutive months, it’s time to plan reasons and events to look forward to, for both domestic and international travellers.
In April this year, Taiwan had announced that the future of holidays in the post-Covid world would have to be focussed on healing - on mental recovery from the trauma and difficulties faced during the pandemic. Such healing will only be possible when all of one’s senses are indulged amidst natural surroundings and family/friends who make us happy. With domestic virus infections in Taiwan at zero for two consecutive months, it’s time to plan reasons and events to look forward to, for both domestic and international travellers. As reported in the Covid-19 White Paper by Tripadvisor*, travellers expressed a 218 per cent greater likelihood to take a trip where they can relax after the pandemic.
Taiwan provides 4 ‘Holiday for Healing’ suggestions, coming from the natural beauty of the island country:
Indulge your senses amidst mountains: 2020 has been declared the year of the mountains in Taiwan, with more than 2500 mountains of varying altitudes, steepness and possibilities of experiences to offer. The numerous mountains to explore prevent any congestion in the hills, and allow travellers to choose from the steepness and altitude of the Yushan Peaks, indulgent resort experiences of the Alishan and Datashan ranges, or the gentle hills to be found closer to Taipei and yet away from the hustle of the city at the Yangminshan National Park. Biodiversity reserves where nature is in its full bloom and the options to explore are as varied as the heart desired. From breathtaking yet tiring trails and hikes such as the one to the top of the Seven Star Mountain, a dormant volcano near Taipei that offers a stunning view of the city, or the opportunity to have an ‘Alishan’ (meaning luxurious, lush) experience at the Alishan National Scenic Area – the mountain resort and nature reserve with wilderness, waterfalls, tea plantations and more, located in Chiayi County in southern Taiwan.
Festivals, the coming together of people in a recovery phase: Starting this month, the Taiwan East Coast Land Arts Festival gets underway with the Moonlight Sea Concerts following a week later, at the East Coast National Scenic Area. Art installations form the soul of the Land Arts Festival, centred around themes that combine the natural environment, geographic landscape, and spatial aesthetics of the East Coast National Scenic Area. Through the dynamic occurrence of natural phenomena such as moonrise, sunset, waves and ebb and flow, the festival metaphorically expresses the leisure philosophy and aesthetics of East Coast life via the Festival. Along with encouraging relaxation the festival supports people’s focus on social distancing and hygiene with it’s open-air nature, and being spread over a large area. At full moon, every month starting June, flooded with moonlight and starry nights to follow, domestic and international artists during the Moonlight Sea Concert sounds like a recipe for good health. The festivals continue till end-October
Did anyone say ‘A cup of Tea’: If cherry blossoms and magical sunsets were not reason enough to tempt traveller to take a trip down to the Alishan National Scenic area, then the scent of tea leaves and the promise of a warm, home-brewed cup only add to the charm of the Alishan region in south-west Taiwan. The Alishan Four Seasons Tea Tour, initially scheduled as a round-the-year celebration, will now be hosting an Autumn Tea Party in August amidst the myriad of autumn hues, followed by one in late-winter. Registration to tea tours are currently open for locals on pre-booking, but the situation continues to evolve as per opening up.
Alpine oolong tea, Jinxuan tea, green tea and standard breakfast teas produced by Alishan are quite popular for their freshness and mellow flavour.
Day-long Tea tours begin with a magical sunrise over the Alishan Scenic Area, while sipping a cup of fresh, organic tea picked from the plantations around. Alishan is famous for its sunrise views, best explored from the Jade Mountains for active trekkers, and the Zushan Sunrise Observation Deck. With gentle climbs, a relaxed pace and tea tasting, the morning passes by amidst an assortment of beautiful sights, smells and knowledge sessions. Included in the morning visit to the plantations are sessions on the art of gathering and brewing along with overall eco-tourism, related industries and products. Afternoons will be kept aside for a lunch of local delights amidst fresh mountain air, with gentle walking trails afterwards to walk it all off, while keeping only the memories and sights. Sipping a warm cup of fine tea in autumn or winter whilst soaking in the natural scenery of Alishan with sights such as cherry blossoms, fireflies, waterfalls, bamboo forests, birds and enchanting clouds fosters a sense of ‘Gemütlichkeit’ - the German way of expressing a sense of cosiness with your surroundings.
Bonding with friends/family amidst flowers: There is no season when the flowers don’t bloom in Taiwan. With gentle spring and summers followed by glorious autumn, the sight and scent of flowers is bewitching. Summers are bedecked by yellow-golden daylilies with the Golden Needle flower season creating a lush carpet viewed from the Liushishi Mountain in the East Rift Valley. Come autumn and it’s the Silvergrass and Chrysanthemum season. At the Chilin residence, the last residence of the former President Chiang Kai-Shek and his wife for over 25 years from 1950 through 1975, the Chrysanthemum flower show takes place early-November and it is also the perfect spot for botanical gardens and horticulture
Mental peace with Geographical Proximity: In the post-COVID situation, travelling will be an arduous exercise. Taiwan is working closely with flight partners to ensure increase in the number of direct flights from India to Taiwan. Geographical proximity and the control over the COVID situation are part of the experiences that will determine the comfort of travellers, and with less than 500 cases till date, and a quick and efficient system in place for contact tracing, social distancing and a short-haul flight, stay in Asia! If domestic trends are to be seen, consumers have two major preferences - one, geographical proximity of their destination; and second, preference for beaches, mountains, farmhouses, campgrounds and nature. With this in mind, Taiwan expects a strong recovery once international travel restrictions ease, and believes that the umbrella theme ‘Holiday for Healing’ is truly what travellers are in search of.
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