Taiwan
Taiwan

Here you’ll find travel reports about Taiwan. Discover travel destinations in Taiwan of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

83 travelers at this place:

  • Day12

    From west to east

    December 5 in Taiwan

    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 in Taiwan

    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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  • Day14

    Taroko Gorge(ous)

    December 7 in Taiwan

    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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  • Day15

    Coast Road to Taipei

    December 8 in Taiwan

    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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  • Day13

    The bridges of Hualien County

    December 6 in Taiwan

    We left Taitung at our regular 9am after a spectacular breakfast at the Sheraton buffet. First stop was the Museum of Prehistory, a very detailed exhibition of Taiwanese history and culture from the beginning of time, which took us close to 2 hours to go through.

    We drove most of the day through the pineapple and tea growing area of the East Rift Valley, a widem flat valley between two distinct mountain ranges. The rivers are almost dry at the moment, so they are doing lots of maintenance work in the river beds. We stopped at a lookout on the Luye Plateau, which overlooks the valley on three directions.

    Lunch was a Taiwanese bento box in the town of Chuhshang, the rice growing capital of Taiwan, followed by a detour for a short hike to see Nanan Falls. This was followed by a much longer walk in Yushan National Park, a 3km return trip to see a waterfall, which included crossing the pictured suspension bridge.

    On the way to Hualien for the night we stopped at the Tropic of Cancer Marker, then Hualien Sugar Mill - a former mill site, but now only a tourist outlet that sells good ice cream!

    We arrived at Hualien well after dark, booked into our hotel and headed straight to the night market for tea. They have moved this one off the streets and given it a permanent home in a park, so the lack of having to avoid scooters made it a rather sanitised affair! (it was more like sideshow alley at the royal show than a traditional Taiwanese market, with mostly games of chance and fried food stalls).
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  • Day9

    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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  • Day8

    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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  • Day14

    Yey - Back to normality!

    October 8 in Taiwan

    We both woke up with a spring in our feet as we knew we were going to have an amazing day. We were finally able to get hold of a scooter and were going to go to the mountains!! Taroko Gorge is the number one place to go in Taiwan. Although very touristy its easy to get off the tourist trail by heading a bit further and not going on the smaller trail roads. To be honest we didn't care, we had sunshine, a scooter and mountains. Perfect.

    The drive was soo gorgeous, first along the coast and then through the mountains. Gosh it was good to be back to normality!

    First stop was to go to a hidden natural hotspring. Annoyingly I'm a stickler for rules and I just couldn't bring myself to go in as it was actually closed off. Will on the other hand went for it. He said it was very very hot and came out sweating like mad. I definitely had a bit of FOMO on this occasion but ah well.

    For lunch we made peanut butter and jam sandwiches from breakfast at the hostel and ate them on our next stop, Baiyang Waterfall. At the moment it's the end of rainy season and you can definitely see it from the fast flowing river! I can see why its the number 1 place to visit in Taiwan.

    Next we did a bike tour round various photo ops and on our way down hit "total grid lock". It was crazy busy and there was a very narrow road and the traffic was being managed. Luckily we were on a scooter and were able to race to the front 😊 We soon jetted off and as it was beginning to shower we decided to head home before it got dark.

    For dinner we went to a really tasty beef noodle soup restaurant and for 25p extra you could order a large, so we did. It was ridiculously big, so I gave half to Will to finish off. Well at least he didn't need a second dinner today!

    It was only 6pm when we finished. I went for a much needed haircut and then chilled in the hostel with a hot chocolate.

    I'm not sure if I told you about a tune that we keep hearing everywhere? It's driving us bonkers and as I write this blog it's going on repeatedly outside. It's a tune that the bin lorry makes to alert residents it's coming round. All residents have to throw their own rubbish in the wagons so everyday from dawn till dusk this annoying tune is played and it is constantly stuck in our heads! But not going to let that ruin our amazing day 😊

    I'm so so so so so so glad we are finally getting back into the swing of things and able to visit the mountains, its made such a big difference on our mood!
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  • Day5

    Things don't always go to plan...

    September 29 in Taiwan

    As we pretty much did every must see place in Taichung yesterday we decided to try and hunt out WiFi to plan the next couple of days after Taichung.

    In the morning we chilled out and admired Kelvin's Art work around the flat and headed out around lunch time. It took a while but through absolute luck and lots of clicking we were able to understand how to sign into the free WiFi on the street with a backup plan of going to McDonald's. We found a popular noodle soup shop and saw people picking up either a pink or yellow slip of paper and then ticking their food choice which was obviously in Chinese. I was perfectly happy to just tick a random box on a random paper but Will was rather hesitant. After a couple of minutes the owner saw that we looked quite lost and helped us out and we had Tofu noodles with veg. It was absolutely gigantic!! We sat there till it closed and ended up taking most of it home. As we were in desperate need of veg we decided to go to the shop and buy some veg to bulk out the soup for dinner.

    We then headed back to the street found a couple of chairs and sat attempting to plan. Originally when looking at Taiwan I saw that it is a smallish island but with lots of mountains, therefore plenty of things for us to do. But the more research we are doing the more disheartened we were getting as to climb most of the mountains we have to have a permit and to get a permit it seems you have to apply well in advance. Then when we started looking at more low land options and looking for accomodation it seems there is next to nothing! After about 4 hours of making 0 progress it was time to make an early dinner. It was so nice to have something simple and scummy. In need of a change I decided to read for a bit, I'm currently reading Anne Frank: The diary of a girl.

    After an hour it was definitely time to get out the house and get fresh air, and of course do our daily steps (currently on a 9 day streak and don't want to break it). We went back to Feng Chia Night Market again. Not really in search of food but wanting a snack we went in search of the biggest queues ie the most popular food. We had a treacle bubble tea (Wow), a green tea custard tart (yum) , sweet potato balls (meh, it was OK, we only queued because it seemed so popular for 2 days) and pan fried scallops and prawns with pepper and onions (only £2.50 so can't complain!). Our mood was definitely lifted and we even, although it was quite late, decided to walk the 45 mins back home as we needed to get our steps done 😊
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  • Day9

    Alishan Forest Walk

    October 3 in Taiwan

    We were up and out with plenty of time to walk to the station to begin our journey to Alishan. Our host saw us and gave us some biscuits and then drove us! He's been fantastic!!

    The journey to Alishan was pretty windy around the mountains, but luckily the driver stopped a couple of times so we were able to get some fresh air and clear our heads. Upon arrival it was cold and really foggy, so we had a chicken curry and rice from 7-11 with the rest of the local tourists.

    As usual upon entering the park there were steps and boardwalks across the whole forest area. It was pleasant and the trees were so lovely but it was a shame to not be able to feel the natural leaves and soil under our feet. Once we got going the fog lifted and the sun was beaming down. It ended up being a really nice walk, very easy but a nice little wander.

    After finishing the walk we caught the train to our final stop for the day, Tainan, the old capital city and now known as the City of Snacks. Here we booked the cheapest accomodation yet and its a nice hotel room, luxury. 😊
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Taiwan, 타이완 성, 臺灣省 or 台灣省

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