Taiwan
Taiwan

Curious what backpackers do in Taiwan? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

174 travelers at this place:

  • Day11

    Taipei Night Market

    October 10 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Smells of everything from roasting horse nuts to fried cheese. We sampled some dumplings and some weird noodle slop. One bite tasty next more slop. Very strange.
    Loads of people and loads of lights. After an hour, definitely time to go back to the hotel to rest the feet.

  • Day12

    From west to east

    December 5, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Oliver and I went for a quick walk after breakfast, before Steven picked us up at 9am.

    We detoured via the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas (in the dragon, out the Tiger!), near the old town wall of Kaohsuing, before heading toward Moon World. It's not a theme park, but is an area of barren hills with a lunar-like landscape in Tianliano District.

    After a much welcome ice cream (it was 32 degrees and humid today), we left the east coast and headed across the mountains to the west coast, including a stop for lunch (beef noodle soup today).

    The west coast is vastly different, with long beaches and sheer cliffs. The cities are much smaller and have a rural feeling, without the crowds of the west coast.

    We arrived in Taitung at 4pm and went for a bike ride around the Forest Reserve, before heading to our hotel (5 star luxury tonight in the Sheraton... it's in the main street and looks very out of place!)

    We headed to the outdoor bar for cocktails, then a quick swim before heading out for a walk around town for some tea and a couple of caches.
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  • Day11

    Waiting for the crack of dawn

    December 4, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    4.30am wake-up call this morning so we can catch the 5.30am train to Zhushan station, then a short, steep uphill walk to "Ogasawara Mountain Sun-rising Watchtower", the best place in the area to see the sunrise. It's a popular event in these parts, the train was standing room only.

    The train line originally went from Chiayi to Alishan (80km), but was damaged in the 9-21 earthquake in 1999. Repairs were competed in 2005, but it was damaged again in Typhoon Morakot in 2009, and remains unrepaired. The section we are traveling on is now just for tourists, from Alishan Township to the summit.

    We arrived at the lookout at 6am, and did the important stuff first - found the cache up there☺ (it's now our highest altitude found cache, at 2449m).

    After watching the sunrise and squeezing between the bus loads of selfie-stick wielding Chinese tourists to take some photos, we caught the train back to the village for breakfast (local breakfast today, our hotel doesn't have a dining room... or a lobby, comfy bed or lift... but that's another issue!)

    After breakfast we met our driver at 9am for a lovely walk up and down and around the forest - according to Chris' app we walked up the equivalent of 57 flights of stairs!

    We departed for Kaohsiung at 10.30am

    To be continued...
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  • Day11

    Caching in Kaohsiung

    December 4, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Today's lunch special was rice dumplings in Zhongpu - peanut, chestnut and radish flavours for mains, and a sticky black rice variety for dessert.

    Next stop was the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum on the outskirts of Kaohsuing, Taiwan's second biggest city. It had a comprehensive display of Buddha's life and housed one of four Buddha relics in the world (one of his teeth).

    Kaohsuing was one of only two Taiwanese cities planned by the Japanese during their occupation, and is a notably different to other cities we have visited, with a functional grid design with wide boulevards, on the banks of a river. Our first stop was a Love River Cruise (the river's name, not the nature of the cruise!).

    After grabbing a nearby cache, we were dropped at our hotel, which is in the heart of the city. We walked to the Liouhe Night Market (voted the best night market in Taiwan) and ate the usual range of delicacies - fried squid, Taiwanese hot dog, sweet potato balls and a mango beer.

    The walk back to the hotel was via the MRT (Underground) station to view the Dome of Light, the largest glass art installation in the world. It's 30m in diameter and is made of 4,500 glass pieces... and has a resident grand piano player! Not the usual sight in an underground station! Did I mention there is also a cache there... according to the past logs it's notoriously tricky, so we were very happy when Chris made the find 😃
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  • Day14

    Taroko Gorge(ous)

    December 7, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    This is the first time in Taiwan that we've spent two nights in the same hotel, so it was a pleasure not to pack bags this morning. Our driver suggested switching the next two days around to avoid the weekend crowds, so today we will do a number of short hikes in Taroko Gorge National Park.

    Taroko Gorge, also known as Marble Gorge, is an 18km chasm carved out by the Liwu River. There are multiple walking trails, some along narrow paths high above the river, others in tunnels carved into the rock almost at river level.

    We did a few different walks today and covered about 10km in total. On the Swallow Grotto walk we were required to wear hard hats - hopefully the rock falls were going to be small ones!! I'll let the pictures tell the story....
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  • Day16

    Taipei 101

    December 9, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    Our last day in Taipei together, so we made an early start (9am is early for Taiwan - nothing usually opens until 11am, but then goes late into the night). We booked online last night to visit Taipei 101, the second tallest building in the world (with the second fastest lift in the world... both thanks to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai!).

    Coming early was a good move as we were up very quickly with plenty of room to move around, but the weather wasn't on our side and visibility was rated as poor (non-existent was closer most of the time!). But the star of the show is the Tuned Mass Damper, a 660 ton ball of steel which is suspended over 5 floors between levels 82 to 87. It's designed to absorb and counteract the buildings movement during high winds and moves up to 1m during a typhoon.

    It had started to rain lightly as we walked to a local craft market, but they were still setting up... at 11.30am... so we had a bagel, found a cache, and caught the MRT back to our hotel.

    KT, DC and Chris are flying home tonight so we finalised bag packing (DC had plenty of space which KT was pleased to fill!), and we escorted them to the MRT station to catch the airport train.

    We continued via a couple of caches toward Ningxia Night Market, which was mostly food stalls, and very busy, then wound our way back to the hotel via a decent coffee at Starbucks (which says something about the quality of coffee in Taiwan!)
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  • Day9

    From Lugang to the Sun (Moon Lake)

    December 2, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    First stop of the day was Lugang Township, formerly the busiest port town in Taiwan, where we visited a temple and had a walk around the old town. On the way we sampled the local specialty, shrimp monkeys (deep fried mud shrimp, eaten whole including head and legs).

    On the way out of town we drove through a rural area, past a traditional cemetery and stopped at a Shell Temple in Fuxing Township. It's a little-visited labour of love that took one man 20 years to build, covering his own temple inside and out, with sea shells (all but 2 of the temples in Taiwan are privately owned, by individuals or not -for profits organizations)

    The drive to Sun Moon Lake was mostly on raised freeways and through tunnels, so we made good time, arriving in time for a shuttle boat cruise - a fleet of boats visit 3 ports around the lake and you hop-on and off at your leisure.

    Sun Moon Lake is the most popular tourist destination in Taiwan - we counted 30 tour buses in one of the car parks, mostly from mainland China (although the Taiwanese government is actively promoting tourism from other east Asian countrtries to minimise their reliance on China if the political situation deteriorates).

    Tea was in the night market again, but as it's not a major city, it was starting to shut down as we walked back to the hotel at 7.30pm.
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  • Day15

    Coast Road to Taipei

    December 8, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌧 16 °C

    We began the day visiting Liyu Lake, for a paddle boat ride and visiting a Japanese temple, both on the outskirts of Hualien. Then we began the journey to Taipei.

    There's only one road from Hualien to Taipei, and it spectacularly hugs the coast for the first part of the journey, then goes inland through multiple tunnels (the longest being 12.9km), before hitting freeway into the city.

    We broke up the journey with a bento-style lunch box, and we arrived in Taipei at 5pm after a long day driving. After farewelling Steven we checked into our hotel and went for a walk in search of tea.
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  • Day18

    Taipei bikes and gates

    December 11, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    We set our sights on a series of caches in the Erchong Floodway today, which contains the longest bike track in Taiwan (20km), as well as 68 sports grounds (we saw 2 baseball fields and multiple basketball courts) . We caught the MRT to Sanchong Station in the hope a bike rental place would be open, despite the drizzling rain, to save us a lot of walking in the unimaginatively named New Taipei Metropolitan Park, aka Erchong Floodway.

    As luck would have it, just across the road from the station Fun Bike was open. We rode the park for close to 3 hours, for a total of NTD$112 (AUD$5) and 10 caches. We were the only bikes we saw all day, so not sure if they even covered wages!

    We caught the MRT back to our hotel, grabbing a pork, rice, cabbage and tofu bento box for lunch on the way.

    Our afternoon walk was to the North Gate of the Taipei City Walls. Taipei was a walled city from 1884 to 1895, at which time the Japanese colonial rulers destroyed it when they redesigned the city. In 1945, when Taiwan was handed back to the Chinese, they rebuilt five of the gates. The North Gate is the only one done in the original design.

    We finished the day with an evening walk to the Presidential Palace (you need to book 3 days in advance online to go inside) and 228 Peace Park (in memory of the massacre of Taiwanese citizens after handover), and tea in another shopping strip (spicy pork and spring onion pancake and mango milk).
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  • Day8

    Stinky tofu, and other culinary delights

    December 1, 2018 in Taiwan ⋅ 🌫 20 °C

    After a fabulous breakfast of scrambled eggs, steamed buns, porridge, rice, vegetables and toast, we met our driver Steven to begin our tour of Taiwan.

    Being Saturday morning, the roads are full of locals heading away for day trips out of Taipei, so progress was very slow at times, despite being on a 4 lane freeway with additional raised lanes on both sides.

    We arrived at Longfeng Broken Bridge in time for morning tea, and Oliver jumped right in the deep end with a Taiwanese specialty - black stinky tofu (the name is extremely accurate). She and Steven had most of it, but everyone had a taste.

    We continued through the mountains on to Shengxing Railway Station, a town which was bypassed by the railway many years ago, and uses that, and its Hakka heritage, as a tourist attraction (think Hahndorf with noodles instead of wurst ☺). We also made some traditional pound tea by grinding herbs, peanuts and seeds in a mortar and pestle before adding hot water to make tea.

    We then drove to Taichung via the Rainbow Village, a former veterans village which was painted from head to toe in bright murals by one of the residents in a bid to save it from demolition. He is in his 90s now, and although no lives there anymore (it is purely for tourists), he was in the village today and happy to pose for photos for a small fee.

    Next stop was the Fengjia night market, famous for its imaginative food and drinks. It was here that bubble tea was invented, so we sampled sweet potato balls, fried quail egg balls, a hot dog in a hot dog (a pork sausage inside a rice sausage "roll"), deep fried suckling pig omelet, and a watermelon milk drink. We walked for over 2 hours and covered about half the market, so you'll get an idea of it's size!

    A short drive across town had us at our hotel around 8pm.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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