July 2017
  • Day7

    Taipei

    July 30, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    So this morning, we woke up at 5.00am in hopes of having a traditional Taiwanese breakfast near the Shandao Temple area. Good news: No more typhoon. Bad news: The shop was closed. So we headed off to Taipei main station to catch our bullet train to Kaohsiung due to depart at 7.30am. More bad news though. Bullet trains are not running before 12pm. Our flight from Kaohsiung to Kuala Lumpur was still on time due to take off at 1.30pm. There was no way we were going to make it back on time.

    So, we reorganized. We bought flight tickets from Taipei airport to KL. Buying them last minute, we considered ourselves lucky as there were still seats available, but the price was on the high side. It was either going back or being stuck here. Not that thats a bad thing but we had work the next day.

    So off we went to Taoyung International Airport and boarded our airplane which departed at 1.30pm. We reached KL at 6.30pm. We later found out that there was a second typhoon by the name of Haitang that struck Taiwan that day. We considered ourselves fortunate to have missed that one.

    Overall, a good trip that ended with a bang. Might go back to Taiwan again in the future, but maybe not typhoon season next time.
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  • Day6

    Taipei

    July 29, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    This capital is pretty much like every other capital there is - crowds of people, busy streets, skyscrappers. But we also discovered a little bit more than that. We went to Taipei 101 in the morning which was the tallest building once upon a time. The observertory is on the 89th floor. From there, the entire city can be seen. Though unlucky for us, it was a rather cloudy day.
    In the afternoon, we headed for Elephant Hill. It was a long hike up. Took us a little less than an hour. Of course, it wouldn't have been that long if not for the rain, wind and our achey overworked legs. It was a rather pretty trail with lots of lavenders growing at the sides. From there, Taipei 101 can be seen clearly. We didn't spend much time there due to the worsening weather.
    By nightfall, the weather had gotten worse. We were planning to go to the Shilin Night Market, but when we reached Jiantan station we aborted that mission due to the strong winds and heavy rains. It just didn't seem safe. Only then I found out that Typhoon Nesat has been messing around with us. Hopefully, our train back to Kaohsiung and flight back to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow will be on schedule.
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  • Day5

    Taroko National Park

    July 28, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    We hired a driver for the whole day today to bring us to Taroko Gorge and back. Turns out he is also an awesome tour guide. We did a few trails today. First up was the Shakadang trail. It is a 1.6km trail but we only did 1km of it as it pretty much was the same thing the whole stretch. The view was that of a river in between the mountains. Clear blue water streaming down. Then we made a short stop to see the Changchun shrine and the Enternal Spring with flows from beneath it. Next up, we went to the Swallow Grotto and this is where I got some of the most magnificent shots of the gorge. After which we headed to the Cimu Bridge and Pavillion. The bridge is made of marble and its pillars are red in colour, overwelming the surrounding gorge. We also crossed a suspension bridge near the Yu Fei Pavillion but after that had to walk back across it as going beyond requires a permit and we didn't possess one. It was almost 2pm by the time we were done so we headed off to lunch at a place nearby. One interesting dish I had was the Golden Needle Flower (or daylily) soup. Apparently these grow nearby at a town south of Hualien. After that we hiked the Baiyang trail. Now this trail requires you to walk through a dark tunnel with a flashlight followed by a 2.1km trail. We only did 1km as the trail was closed off due to reconstruction because of damages from a previous typhoon. Just when we thought we were done, our driver/guide brought us to Qingshui cliffs. This is a 21km stretch of coastal cliffs with beautiful ocean view of various color tones. After that we went to an isolated beach nearby and just enjoyed watching the violent waves. Our train to Taipei was departing at 7.30pm so we headed off to the Hualien train station about an hour before. There was an impending typhoon coming towards Hualien and so the alert was on. Coastal shops and houses were to be evacuated for 3 days. We were lucky to be able to spend a wonderful day in Hualien today. Taipei is now upon us.Read more

  • Day4

    Golden Grotto

    July 27, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Today we went river tracing up the Sanzhan River in search of the Golden Grotto. We left our hostel at 7.30am and started our hike around 8.30am. After walking on some huge rocks with periodic swimming in the river to cool off, we reached the waterfalls. We climbed a series of 3 waterfalls before we reached the grotto. It made me realize how weak my upper body strength was. After about 3 hours we reached the Golden Grotto, and it was so worth the effort. Clear blue waters, beautiful rock walls, and a skylight. The view was to die for. Of course, my legs were already halfway through dying. The hike back was easier, to our relief. We floated down the river at places that were deep enough and walked the rest of the journey. We reached back to our starting point at about 4pm. All we wanted to do was go back to our hostel and immobilize ourselves. Taroko Gorge awaits tomorrow!Read more

  • Day3

    Fangliao

    July 26, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 32 °C

    We left Kenting and headed to Fangliao at around 12pm. Reached there at almost 2pm. Our train for Hualien was only at 5.30pm so we dumped our bags at the station and went exploring. We found a small market by a jetty selling fresh seafood. Ended up having lunch there. Simple but delicious. Fried rice and squid as well as sashimi. Then we walked around for a bit and stumbled upon a temple. It is called the Sea Goddess Temple. Very majestic indeed. After that we headed back to the train station and boarded the train bound for Hualien. It took us 4 hours to get there. Stayed in Comfy Hostel for the night. We managed to get a room with 6 beds for the 5 of us. Small space but sufficient. Achey legs are going to need a rest for tomorrow's activity.Read more

  • Day3

    Eluanbi Park

    July 26, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    This park is located at the southern most tip of Taiwan. Its main attraction is the Eluanbi Lighthouse. Apart from that, there are also scenic views of the coast from various platforms such as the Sea Pavillion and the Coastal Viewing Platform. Apart from that, there is also the Narrow Gorge which can only fit one person at a time so you must make a line in order to enter. It is basically formed by coral reefs which underwent erosion and pulled by gravity during an uplift. There is a small cave here known as the Mystery Cave. It has a small entrance which is only about 5 feet in height so you might want to watch your head. These are collapsed coral reefs which unintentionally formed a cave. Another attraction you will see is the Kissing Rock, which is formed by cliffs being eroded by waves.Read more

  • Day2

    Kenting National Park Recreational Area

    July 25, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

    More hiking today as we headed to Kenting and Shedding Park for another adventure. Walked on some pretty interesting trails and witnessed some amazing sights. My favourite was the view from the observertory. There were many caves and gorges there too. Apparently this place used to be the reefs, so now we see a whole lot of that sort of geology here. Plenty of wildlife too. We spotted monkeys, squirrels, bats and various insects.

    Another breathtaking spot is The Grassland in Sheding Park. According to history, deer used to roam here but the vegetation had been destroyed now, so no more deer.

    After all that hiking we headed to Houbihu Marina where we had our seafood lunch. Everything was so fresh, from sashimi to lobster. We walked out of the restaurant stuffed. Then we headed back to our inn to rest for a bit before we headed out to the adjacent night market for dinner.
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  • Day1

    Kenting

    July 24, 2017 in Taiwan ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We reached Taiwan via Kaohsiung Airport. From there it was a 2 hour bus journey to Kenting. We stayed in an inn smack in the middle of town called Sunshine Inn. There is a park nearby called Qingwashihaiyangyouqi Park. Try saying that real fast. It has some temple buildings but we didn't spend much time there. Instead, we went through it and walked along the sea shore on the reefs. Beautiful rock formation here thanks to the erosions caused by the waves. The view of course, is breathtaking. Came back to the main road by 7pm and there were so many stalls up by then. Lots of food, souvenirs, clothing, etc. We went for the food of course. So many stalls selling seafood, especially squid, but I took a corndog instead. Just felt right. On the way back to the inn we ate freshly cooked prawns and oysters. They were alive and were cooked to death in front of us. And although that sounds really bad, they tasted so good. After that we headed back and called it a day.Read more