(CNN) — “The most beautiful scenery of Taiwan is its people.”While this famous saying is often cited by travelers as a reason to love Taiwan, this 36,193-square-kilometer island also happens to have a staggeringly diverse wealth of stunning scenery and destinations, from cityscapes to natural wonders. “Taiwan has the highest density of high mountains in the world, leaving us adventurers with endless places to hike, camp, river trace and more,” says Ryan Hevern, co-founder of Taiwan Adventure Outings.
Taiwan’s natural beauty
Hevern, after living in Malaysian Borneo as a jungle guide, moved to Taiwan and started an eco-friendly outdoor tour company with co-founder Dustin Craft two years ago.”We aren’t city people, so we spend our free time in Taiwan’s outdoors,” says Hevern. “In November 2016, we decided to deal with the weekly grind of living in a city by starting an outdoor adventure group. Each weekend we explored new hikes, new mountains, new rivers and so on.” A whirlwind tour around the picturesque land and cityscapes of Taiwan, from sunrise over Taipei 101 to the nightlife of Ximending.The company currently offers around 20 different outdoor routes with an emphasis on sustainability.”Even in the cities such as Taipei, adventure is a mere 20 minutes away. Outdoor adventures are endless. We love that about Taiwan,” says Hevern.
Central Mountain Range
Azalea flower blossoms appear on Hehuanshan in May.Theerasak Saksritawee/www.popumon.comThe 3,886-meter-tall Central Mountain Range is one of the five main mountain ranges in Taiwan and, according to Hevern, “offers the most spectacular views, with opportunities to see the ‘Sea of Clouds,’ at sunrise and sunset.” “Hehuanshan (of the Central Mountain Range) is the most amazing nature in Taiwan, especially in May,” he says. “You’ll see the azalea flowers blossom on the top of the mountain. Wait for the sea of clouds and sunrise to appear in your photo frame.”Theerasak drove around Taiwan for weeks taking travel photos. His resulting otherworldly travel album has impressed local media and netizens alike, with his images going viral in Taiwan.
An eerily beautiful post-quake lake
Shuiyang’s beautiful lake is a reminder of the 1999 Jiji earthquake.Courtesy of Ryan HevernShuiyang, a destination for hiking and camping, stands out from other Taiwan nature tours. Located between the Alishan National Forests and Sun Link Sea, the dreamy lake is a reminder of one of the island’s most tragic disasters. “This little gem is a result of the devastating Jiji earthquake in 1999,” says Hevern. “Coniferous trees collapsed, damming the river and creating a small lake. Now the sun bleached, dead trees stick straight out of the water to paint an incredible scene. There is nothing quite like it in Taiwan.”
Taiwan’s stunning city views
Head to Datunshan on a foggy day for views like this. Theerasak Saksritawee/www.popumon.comUnlike Hevern, Theerasak was first attracted to Taiwan by its city views in 2014.”I love Taipei 101; wherever you are you will see this building, I can take so many pictures with Taipei 101 in the background — just find a new foreground around you,” he says. One of the best places to view it is atop a mountain near the city.”Datunshan viewpoint is where you will see Taipei city from above,” says Theerasak, adding that it’s best to visit on a foggy day with a telephoto lens.But his favorite place to photograph is Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, a monument in Taipei.”Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall is the most beautiful place in Taiwan. It’s also easy to go there. In the morning you will see the soldiers with the Taiwan flag, birds, bicycles, people and the sunrise,” he says.For more incredible Taiwan scenes, check out the above gallery.