Wellness lifestyle in Taiwan and England
England is the region where I have lived the longest outside my motherland Taiwan. I notice two things they have in common, one is that people have a vegetarian lifestyle in both regions. The other one is that people like to go hiking (walking) at the weekend.
I am pretty sure that these are common hobbies following a conversazione with my accountant, Ms. Maria Lai. I have counted on her professional advice since I started my own business a decade ago. Lately, I have shared some Taiwan themed travelogues with her. She liked Keelung Candy and Keelung Talk a lot, as she also grew up from Keelung. We talk like friends because of our shared local connections. Recently, I invited her to have a coffee and we had a delightful conversation about her wellness and hiking lifestyle in Taipei. These activities are also highly recommended to tourists in Taipei.
(Photo Credit | Chi Hsu)
Wellness lifestyle on high mountains
One of Maria's wellness hobbies is to go hiking, with her husband. The same as Richard and I did on weekends in Oxfordshire although we walked on hills rather than the mountains as with Maria in Taiwan.
（Infographic | Chi Hsu)
Let's look at Taiwan's panoramic image from north and south. Taiwan is an island with various ranges of high mountain (see above). The highest mountain is Yushan (3,952 m) and 268 peaks with the height of over 3,000 metres. It may surprise people in England as the highest mountain there is Scafell Pike (Cumbrian Mountains), with a height of 978 meters.
The mountains are surprisingly close in Taiwan. In Taipei for instance, there is the Datun volcano range (see white circle above) nearby. There are various hiking trails open to the public, heading to the peaks of over 1,000 meters. It takes only 30 minutes to arrive the entrance of the trail from Taipei CBD.
Mt. Cixing is the highest mountain, height of 1,120 meters, of Datun range in Taipei. Maria and I (when I was younger) both have hiked to the peak.
After our chat we realized that, besides the company accounting and Keelung's local story, we also shared the same hiking experience.
(Left: Maria - Photo Credit | Maria Lai - Right: Chi)
Maria shared her photographs of where she hiked. Can you believe those mountain trails with fresh-air and bird-twitter are just located in the rim of Taipei basin? Well they are!
(Photo credit | Maria Lai)
One of the best living cities
Taipei is one of the best quality of life cities for expats in Asia. There is a very significant reason, which is its geographical situation - alongside friendly access to mountains and waterfront. Maria take advantages of this when she hosts her clients from overseas.
Most cities take a longer distance to go high mountains and/or beautiful coastal line. We agreed that we are so lucky to live in Taipei with mountains and waterfront so close by.
The mapping below gives an idea of Taipei's CBD to the high mountain and two driving routes to coastal ocean line then back to Taipei city. Each route is a single day trip or 2D1N itinerary.
(Mapping source: Google | Made by Chi Hsu)
The other wellness hobby that links Taiwan to the UK., is vegetarian cuisine. I am aware of many vegetarians in Taiwan, because of religion, healthy consciousness and the latest eco-friendly belief. This is the same as in the UK and even popular from time to time, but perhaps eco-concern are more important than religion.
I also read a blog from an expat in Taipei, who provided a long well-researched list of where to eat vegan food shop, buffet, cafe and banquet in Taipei. Amazingly impressive. (The list clicks >> The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Eats in Taipei)
Maria is a flexitarian, who eats meat but is also an occasional vegetarian. While she mentioned her cooking on mountains, she couldn't hide her appreciation of the art of vegetarian banquet at Yangmin Spring (in the neighborhood of mountain hiking trails). She showed her photo album of the zen spirit garden and restaurant. An awesome dining environment for VIP guests.
(Photo Credit | Maria Lai)
The whole set was well-designed from table setting to food presentation, Maria said.
Her favorite part was the hand-painted table runner with all names of host, hostess and guests on it. She said that's a big great unexpected surprise. This dedicated service made her to feel welcomed by great hospitality.
(Photo Credit | Maria Lai)
Inspirations for overseas tourists
While Richard and I visited in Xian, the "dumplings banquet" was the must-eat recommended experience. We ordered a set of dumplings banquet in a restaurant. Quite a creative way to experience local eats.
In my first conversazione (see "About Tourists | Ten Reasons to visit Taiwan you may not know") I learned some tourists come to learn about Taiwan's organic farms vegetarian food. People enjoy 'vegetarian' experience in Taiwan.
Maria and I both think that the Taiwan tourism industry, should start to highlight "vegetarian banquet" rather than endlessly focus on street food at night market. Plus a half day hiking, this adds up to an eco-friendly and healthy tour package in Taipei!!
Note  (Source: WIKI) Qixing Mountain, also spelled Qixingshan or Chihsing Mountain, (Chinese: 七星山; Hanyu Pinyin: Qīxīng Shān; Tongyong Pinyin: Cising Shan; Wade–Giles: Ch'i1-Hsing1 Shan1; literally: 'Seven Star Mountain') is a mountain in Beitou District, Taipei, Taiwan. It is located on the Datun Volcano Group and is the highest mountain in the city, at the rim of Taipei Basin. It is also the highest (dormant) volcano in Taiwan. It is located in the center of Yangmingshan National Park and its main peak is 1,120 metres (3,675 ft) above sea level.