The third-largest city in Taiwan (after Taipei and Kaohsiung), Taichung (臺中) gets its name for being situated in the center of the country, as well as being the entrance to the mountains where visitors can hike, raft, and otherwise explore the deep, beautiful nature of central Taiwan. One of the most famous attractions is the mesmerizing Sun Moon Lake, where my family and I would make a trip over during our one night in Taichung.
Qingshui Cliff in Hualien, Taiwan (June 2016).
Taipei has always been sort of my second home: my family and I would frequently go to visit my mom’s family– aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother– all the while explore the city and what it had to offer. Despite the intense humidity and mosquito bites every time we visit, Taipei is the exact definition of a city paradise: shopping, night markets, and of course, incredible food!
Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan (June 2016).
On our final day, we made stops at both Nara Park and Osaka as means of finishing off strong our eight-day tour on the island of Honshu in Japan. Considering that they’re two of the island nation’s biggest attractions (next to Tokyo and Kyoto), Nara Park and Osaka didn’t disappoint when we visited, despite the short amount of time.
Rising early the next morning (5:15, at latest), our tour took us over to the Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple and an UNESCO World Heritage Site situated east of Kyoto. Considering its high status, it would of course be packed with tourists by 9:00, so we sloughed off the early-morning drowsiness to beat the crowds before then.
Under the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove near Kyoto (June 2016).
The following morning after our visit to the Miho Museum, we boarded our coach to head back toward Kyoto. However, we weren’t visiting the city proper just yet—rather, we would be visiting the natural surroundings in the parks and forests, situated on the outskirts, away from the hustle and bustle of the city itself.