The fortunes of New Taipei City’s Pinglin District suffered after the completion of National Freeway 5 and the Xueshan Tunnel in 2006. Once a bustling pit stop on the rugged highway from Taipei to Yilan County, the main settlement in the district, Pinglin town, was bypassed by the freeway and its economy sharply declined. Today a renaissance is under way, bringing sightseers back. Dotted with tea farms and a population of just over 6,600, part of Pinglin’s tranquil charm is that there are no hotels or guesthouses, because the entire district is within a water conservation area. Pinglin was originally
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