A continuation from the previous Taiwan post: https://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Taiwan/blog-883667.html Day 6: 花蓮 (Hualien)
Today, we planned to bike up to Taroko National Park. Unfortunately, it poured heavily on our journey, and we decided since it will be unsafe in the heavy rain to bike, we sought shelter at a Family Mart convenience store instead. One good thing about Taiwan's convenience store (as opposed to SG) is the provision of seats for customers to enjoy their quick bites in store.
However, even after waiting for close to an hour, the rain didn't look like stopping, and so we decided to head back to our hostel altogether. And by then, half a day was gone! hah. We stayed in, chatted with the lady boss of the hostel and had our cup noodles takeaway lunch! It was a cosy and comfortable afternoon spent sheltered from the rain
, in the comforts of the sofa and bed (afternoon nap rocks). Late afternoon and evening was more exciting, as we explored lovely Ji'an town, biking across the vegetation flanked by mountain ridges by the side. Wanted to take a look at the Alpaca at a private accommodation to no avail. The most charming part of the
day was when we biked through 楓林步道 (Maple trail)
, allowing us to have a bird's eye view of the whole Ji'an town, including parts of Hualien. It was interesting to note that vegetation and rice fields were in the midst of urbanisation in the form of shophouses in very neat road grids. We took in the view with a couple of other locals and watched the sunset casting shadows progressively on the town. Before we knew it, the street lights were up in the entire town, and the sky went dark. And another day went passed. Day 7: 九份 (Jiufen) / 十分 (Shifen)
After braving the early morning rain (again!) from Ji'an to Hualien, we took the railway train from Hualien to Ruifang, where we would transfer onto the public bus up to 九份 (Jiufen)
. Had an interesting conversation with a Taiwanese at the railway station, who told us there was an earthquake tremor
felt just this morning, which caused our train to delay. The funny thing was that both Steph and I felt the tremor but didn't think much about it, and I even thought it was just a mega-heavy vehicle passing by the road at lightning
speed! (Ignorance from someone who hasn't experienced an earthquake before. Hah!)
Anyways, after navigating to Jiufen, we swiftly checked into our minsu and had a good late lunch of different snacks that we saw along the main street. Notable ones include fishball soup (with rice or noodles)
, taro ball dessert, Peanut ice cream roll, and prawn tako balls.
All hungry + savoury and sweet cravings satisfied immensely within the hour. :D Besides boasting traditional treats from food stalls
lined along the main street on the hills, the view from Jiufen is pretty breathtaking
as well. We soaked in the panorama scene of nearby Keelung and its harbour from an elevated pavilion, right where the public bus stop is. This mountain village is old yet eludes a charm that is quite irresistible.
The evening was spent in 十分 (Shifen)
, perhaps the most enchanting place we visited this trip, in my opinion. Made popular by famous Taiwan drama shows, this used-to-be mining town is right smack along the railway tracks, giving visitors much opportunities to walk along the tracks and re-enact scenes from the big screen. Steph and I spend some time on the tracks and the 地久 suspension bridge taking
shots before the highlight, where we wrote our wishes on the sky lantern
and released it up in the air. May our wishes do come true! 希望愿望能成真! Somehow as we set free the lantern and watch it rise to disappearance in the vast skies, I felt peaceful, with a sense of repose. The mind and heart seemingly void of any worries, troubles and anxiety 😊 Day 8 - 10: 台北 (Taipei)
The last 3 days were spent in the capital city, where we did our fair share of sightseeing of major attractions, relaxation in the hot springs, shopping and roaming the streets alongside other tourists. We made our way to 新北投 (Xinbeitou)
where we got into the 溫泉 (public hotspring) which costs only SGD$2 per person! There were 3 common hot spring pools of various temperature (from 38 degrees onwards) and a couple of cold water pools. After soaking for a while in a few of them, we thought it's not particularly our cup of tea and had some popsicles (sold at the entrance), before heading off to my favourite place in Taipei, 淡水 (Danshui)
, in the northern part of New Taipei. Danshui is a beautiful riverside city
where buskers can be seen performing, with fancy shops and snack stalls lining the street adjacent to the river. I particularly like the relaxing feeling of being here with some drinks/food and watching the sunset by the waters, accompanied by the live music playing in the background. When we were there with our xiaolong bao contemplating the sunset, there was a really talented young guy singing to some old school hokkien and chinese songs, lightening the entire atmosphere and adding so much feel to the place. Oh how I wished time could stop there, right at that moment! We continuing strolling along the riverside as the night fall, getting street side food for dinner before heading over to Shilin night market.
We also did visit some tourist attractions like the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial, Sun Yat Sen Memorial, Taipei 101
(didn't go up, though I went up before and the view wasn't fantastic), Raohe Night Market
and We Fen Pu
shopping district where we spent almost an entire day revamping our wardrobes (okay, i'm kidding on this). Even though it's my 3rd time returning back to Taipei, I still very much feel refreshed being here, exploring parts of the
city which I've been before. The different company also brought a special meaning for this visit as well 😊
Steph and I concluded this trip with bigger backpacks; a heavier load of food and souvenirs for loved ones back home; tanner faces (hopefully not fatter); and many unforgettable memories created over the 10 days. Taiwan touched and will hold a special place in our hearts 😊
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