Located in the heart of Taiwan and surrounded by mountains, sprawling PULI (埔里; pŭlǐ) is an easy day-trip from Sun Moon Lake, and lies at the start of the spectacular road to Wushe and Hehuanshan. The best reason to visit is the mind-blowing Chung Tai Chan Monastery on the outskirts of town, one of Taiwan’s most remarkable sights. With more time and, preferably, your own transport, Puli offers an assortment of secular attractions associated with traditional manufacturing and crafts that have flourished here for decades. Much of this is linked to the quality of the local water and surrounding natural resources – the town once produced eighty percent of Taiwan’s lacquer and was the centre of a flourishing paper trade; it is still the home of Taiwan’s most famous Chinese wines. Puli was also the birthplace of glamorous 1960s film star Chang Mei-yao – perhaps the real reason why tourist literature claims the town is famous for “water, wine, weather and women”.

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