Of Au­tumn flow­ers and shel­ters from the cold

Food and Travel (Singapore) - - Special Feature -

Ex­plore the flow­er­ing au­tumns of Tai­wan and hot springs to shel­ter you from the com­ing of winter

Chi­ang Kai Shek Shilin Res­i­dence

Au­tumn, a sea­son tra­di­tion­ally mark­ing the end of sum­mer is per­haps one of the most beau­ti­ful, herald­ing the com­ing of winter. For Tai­wan, the pe­riod rep­re­sents a spe­cial time in which au­tumn & winter flow­ers such as the chrysan­the­mum bloom in full. Cus­tom­ar­ily, the chrysan­the­mum plant bears sig­nif­i­cant mean­ing for the Tai­wanese bear­ing mean­ings such as last­ing friend­ships, rest and re­cov­ery and en­dur­ing life. Tai­wan’s premier cou­ple, Gen­er­alis­simo Chi­ang Kai-shek and his wife, Madam Soong Mei Ling, who were aware of these el­e­ments showed re­mark­able ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the flower and had ded­i­cated an en­tire gar­den to it within their home, ‘the Shilin Res­i­dence’. As a pre­cur­sor to the flower’s bloom, the Chrysan­the­mum Show was held from 1950s to 1975 on the Gen­eral Chi­ang’s birth­day on Oc­to­ber 31st.

The Chysan­the­mum show was re­vived back in 2002 and con­tin­ues to see visi­tors throng to visit the re­mark­able at­trac­tion sit­u­ated here. Chi­ang Kai-shek’s Shin­lin Res­i­dence while famed for its botan­i­cal gar­dens also had re­mark­able his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance as it was where Tai­wan first held its coun­try level elec­tions in the 1950s and was also the re­cep­tion venue to many for­eign heads of state in­clud­ing U.S Pres­i­dents Nixon, Eisen­hower and Lyndon B. John­son.

Chaolin An­cient Trail

For those who pre­fer the rugged trails, the sil­ver­grass trails of the An­cient Chaolin trail await east of the city of Taipei in the junc­tion of Gongliao dis­trict and Toucheng Town. Mea­sur­ing some 8.5 kilo­me­tres long, the an­cient trail was part of Dalan An­cient Trail con­nect­ing Wan­hua of Taipei City to Yi­lan dur­ing the Qing Dy­nasty. Some sources have in­di­cated that the trail is the only sur­viv­ing part of the Qing Dy­nasty Road. The beau­ti­ful trail es­pe­cially dur­ing the month of Novem­ber is filled en­tirely by sil­ver grass, trans­form­ing it into a field of sil­ver waves. Visi­tors who wish to re­turn in sum­mer may also ob­tain the op­por­tu­nity of view­ing gin­ger lilies in full bloom dur­ing this sea­son. The trail takes about 4 hours for those who wish to com­plete the en­tire trail.

Hot Springs

The chills of Tai­wan dur­ing winter may fall as bit­terly low as 8 Cel­sius but see­ing that

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