Updated: Aug 15, 2020
The pandemic is real, and the quarantine is tough. The story is inspired by the harsh and unbearable reality of the pandemic and guide us to explore the creative landscape through Taiwan's mountain. As I miss the time to travel and explore, Taiwan mountains provides the perfect setting for a much needed escape.
From Glamping to Wildest Dream
Beginning at luxury glamping at CMP Village, I enter a dreamland that leads me to an unknown time and space that is mesmerizing and liberating. Soon enough, I have immersed myself in this Dreamy Town based on the wildest imagination from childhood.
Starting from the Taiwanese-style neon lights, the swings under the moonlight, to a hidden vintage carousel in the forest, everything reminds me of the pure joy and cultural regeneration that seems to be missing for a long time. I feel like a child again dancing in the land of freedom and am ready to take off from this starship to explore further.
Encounter with Indigenous Culture and Art
Follow the crisp and enchanting singing; I bump into the Paiwanese singer Abao. She almost shows up as a messenger from the Mountain with an incredible smile and energy. She gives me a piece of nature as a token of our friendship and shares the relationship between the mountains and her Paiwanese root.
Then I take her advice and explore deeper into The Forest Big, where nature has reclaimed the once-occupied land. The unique postmodern landscape becomes the perfect experiment intersecting human and natural experiences through all mediums and senses. While cruising between the remains and art pieces in the forest, I realize how important it is for us to co-create, and co-exist with nature. And we should never lose respect towards it.
The journey continues along the streams and valleys in Taiwan. I come across this stunning beauty of Xiao Wulai Waterfall and am impressed by the abundant liveness it provides to nature.
Mountains are also where civilization and indigenous culture begin. After cooling off by the forested waterfall, I came to visit Atayal artist Miruhayung. The self-taught artist shares his story and personal values with me.
Like how Miru describes, the abstract approach to his art has given a new identity towards his culture. Miru means drawing in Atayal dialect, and carrying forward his art is now a life mission. He has left many beautiful works and remarks as a role model to inspire new generations in the mountains.
The Perfect Hot Spring Experience
Coming into a setting where the clouds and fog paint over the mountains and forests. Hoshinoya Guguan is located at an inland historical hot spring town in the beating heart of Taiwan. Here you would find the subtle luxury and absolute harmony between art, architecture, and nature-rich environment.
I enter a scene out of mythology through the view from the floor-to-ceiling window at the elegant Yue suite. It is serene and peaceful. The indoor and outdoor public onsen is a perfect blend between Japanese and Taiwanese culture with the landscape's contours and colors.
The mountain retreat could not be complete without some gourmet highlights such as this unique ice brick cold noodle. With the impeccable privacy and dialogue with the surrounding nature, this is indeed the perfect hot spring experience.
Next to the Giant Souls of Shenmu (Giant Tree)
As Forests cover over 60% of Taiwan, I begin to wonder how rich is the biodiversity this land has to offer. I take an ecological tour to the Divine Tress Garden that is full of Taiwan Cypress. Each Shenmu (Giant Tree) here is named after a prominent Chinese historical figure as these giant trees have been standing here for thousands of years. I feel so petite next to these ancient souls as they have witnessed more stories and histories than any of us. And I am so honored to be able to feel the pulse of them in person.
Between the Reality & Dream
Returning to the Shanna Village, I join Suana under this giant Tent for Lovers, where he performs his powerful song and lyrics in Amis. It was a healing process by inhaling the energy and elements from nature, local culture, and creativity. All the complications and negativity seem to be left behind. I would only like to look ahead and keep moving forward before waking up from this soulful mountain journey.
Back to reality, after a much-needed self-reflected time. Just about when I get ready before dinner, I found the token in my bag that brings back every memory from the dream. I still remember clearly the fresh scent from the mountains and how joyful and meaningful it was to me being in nature.