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Taiwan in Colours: Blue

Taroko Gorge, perhaps Taiwan’s finest natural attraction, is one of those places where Mother Nature avails herself of almost every hue on her palette. The layers of marble, schist and gneiss range from near-pure white to dark grey. There are creamy browns, near silvers and even diluted golds. But at the bottom of this breathtaking canyon, in those spots where the Liwu River flows slowly, there’s invariably a glorious blue. The pristine water (pictured upper right) looks temptingly cool – but unfortunately clambering down and jumping in is dangerous and quite rightly illegal.

Inland bodies of water such as Sun Moon Lake or Liyu Lake (pictured at the very top) reflect a sky that’s often blue even in the cold season. If you’re driving from Hualien City towards Taitung or through the East Rift Valley, a short detour will get you to Liyu Lake. Nearby, there are at least two decent indigenous restaurants.

Taiwan has one of the world’s largest fishing fleets and many fishing vessels are painted an azure-like shade of blue. Fishing harbours dot every part of the 1,566-km-long coastline and all of the outlying islands. An especially scenic little port is Shitiping (pictured lower left), squeezed between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountain Range.

Far from the sea, blue is the traditional colour of the formal tunics worn by Hakka ladies. In Meinong, the town in Greater Kaohsiung that’s considered a bastion of Hakka culture, a number of tailoring shops still make and sell these elegant garments.

Before World War II, many buildings were wooden and quite a few of them were painted sky blue. In Zhudong near Hsinchu, what’s now called the Timber Industry Exhibition Hall is a survivor from that era, and a striking contrast to the white-tiled concrete houses that surround it.

Over the next few months, we’ll looking at Taiwan through the lens of various colours, so come back to this blog regularly and also take a look at the wealth of travel and tour information here.