Cheap flights from Taiwan

Taking off from Naha Airport on a Peach flight back to Taiwan.

This guide features a list of cheap, direct flights from for planning visa runs and inexpensive vacations. Most non-Taiwanese simply fly across the Strait to to file paperwork but I prefer spending a few days wherever I go to make up for the needless hassle and bureaucracy of international air travel. I have put a lot of work into compiling and updating various lists of potentially low-cost routes to destinations in East and Southeast Asia so I figure I may as well share my findings here.

Unfinished business in Wuqi

Broken remains of a home in the back alleys of Wuqi.

I found this half-demolished building while slinking through the back alleys of last February. I wonder what possessed anyone to only knock down part of the structure, leaving the rest exposed to the elements for some interminable period of time. You’d think the neighbours would complain about a gutted ruin on their doorstop—but in another sense it is oddly picturesque. Then again maybe someone still occupies the front part of the house, this being and all.

Fanjiang Ancestral Hall 范姜祖堂

In front of the main building at Fanjiang Ancestral Hall.

I chanced upon Fanjiang Ancestral Hall 范姜祖堂 while out for a bicycle ride around in late October 2015. That morning I set out from my place in to see more of the countryside and eventually pay a visit to Fugang Old Street 富岡老街 in western . Along the way I made a brief diversion into to see whatever might be found there—and this cluster of historic homes were my reward.

A derelict entertainment complex in Zhongli

Deciphering the names of twin theaters in an abandoned entertainment complex in Zhongli.

Among the many disused and movie of is a massive entertainment complex home to twin cinemas: Qīnqīn Grand Theater 親親大戲院 and Láilái Grand Theater 來來大戲院. Located immediately across from the former Sogo department store in the heart of downtown, it remains unexplored insofar as I know. Several businesses still operate out of the ground floor of this hulking ruin and they don’t take kindly to strangers mucking about in search of an entrance to the upper levels.

An abandoned courtyard house in Shalu

Old brick gateway to a traditional courtyard house in Shalu.

Last February I went on a productive day trip around without any particular destination in mind. After visiting an abandoned anti-airborne fortification on Dadushan and the eerie Wansheng Zizhu Monastery I breezed through on the way to Wuqi Old Street 梧棲老街. While making a pitstop at a 7-Eleven on the side of the highway I noticed what looked like an old Qing dynasty building building obscured by some foliage and went to take a quick peek. Traditional courtyard homes, or , are an ubiquitous feature of rural and yet another thing I regularly document wherever I go—and this one is unusually striking with its red brick archway.

On the edge of the Changhua Railway Village 彰化台鐵宿舍村

An abandoned apartment block near the entrance to the old railway workers’ village.

Featured here are a handful of photos and some notes from an incomplete exploration of the Changhua Railway Village 彰化台鐵宿舍村 (pinyin: Táitiě Sùshè Cūn) just across the street from the amazing Changhua Roundhouse 彰化扇形車庫 in . While living there in the winter of 2014–2015 I made several lazy attempts to gain access to the more interesting and historic parts of the old village without success (mainly due to all the wild dogs around). The only part of the village I was able to explore were some of the newer residential buildings on the edge of the block—which have much less aesthetic and historic value. That being said, since I’ve recently been filling in some archival content from my time in Changhua’s capital I decided to share these photos as well. This is not a full exploration by any means—so if I ever get around to seeing the rest of the old village I’ll be sure to update this post.

Postcards from Changhua City 2 彰化市明信片

The gates to Kaihua Temple in the heart of Changhua City.

Not long after moving to the capital of in 2014 I published a collection of photographs entitled Postcards from Changhua City. All of the photos in that post were shot in my first few months of residency but I ended up staying for half a year. In that time I gathered more than enough material for a sequel while making my daily rounds. Although long overdue this second collection is now complete so here it is: more photos from my time in , a historic town in central .

Yingong Theater 銀宮戲院

The historic Yingong Theater, Changhua City.

Despite living in for half a year I never paid much attention to the clothing store across the street from the historic Confucius Temple 彰化孔子廟. At that time my Chinese abilities were even more rudimentary than they are now and I did not know very much about what kinds of buildings to watch for while navigating the variegated urban landscapes of . Only after my awakening at Datong Theater 大同戲院 in did I begin to map out the rise and fall of Taiwanese cinema. Since then I have mapped the locations of more than a hundred vintage theaters and documented many of their fates. Most end up abandoned or destroyed—but Yíngōng Theater 銀宮戲院 earned a new lease on life after it was purchased by NET, a Taiwanese fashion retailer.

In search of salt on the outskirts of Lukang

A mysterious brick building on the outskirts of Lukang.

Several months ago, after researching and writing a piece about the Qingkunshen Fan-Shaped Saltern 青鯤鯓扇形鹽田 of , I ventured out to in search of the Lukang Saltworks 鹿港鹽場, a saltern that shut down in the 1960s. Whereas there are several good resources outlining the history of I found nothing similar for anything north of the Zhuóshuǐ River 濁水溪, the traditional dividing line between north and south . Turning to Google Maps I browsed satellite imagery for evidence of salt evaporation ponds (here is a historic photo of one of Lukang’s salt fields to give you an idea of what I was looking for). I soon noticed a street by the name of Yánchéng Lane 鹽埕巷, literally “Salt Yard Lane”, as well as several sites with grid-like structures obscured by overgrowth. When the opportunity arose to borrow a scooter in the area I jumped at the chance to put this cartographic sleuthing to the test. Was there any chance I’d find some relic of an industry that vanished half a century ago?