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Taiwan - Beautiful Island.

sunny

We have been to Taiwan four times. We visited Taipei twice and Kaohsiung twice. I've already written up these trips, but we did several excursions from Taipei which I did not include in the write ups so I will write a bit about them here.

One of our first excursions was to Wulai. We went here on an organized tour. Wulai is a small town in the mountains, about an hour's drive away from Taipei. It has beautiful mountainous scenery, a large waterfall and lots of Taiwanese Aboriginal culture. The Taiwanese Aborigines here belong to the Atayal people. They make up roughly sixteen percent of Taiwan's indigenous population. The name Wulai comes from an Atayal phrase kirofu ulai meaning hot and poisonous. This is due to Wulai's natural hot springs. Our tour first stopped at Wulai's scenic waterfall which is around eighty metres high. Then we had some time to wander through the town. It began to pour down as we wandered Wulai's streets. Thankfully we were heading indoors to the Wulai Atayal Museum to watch a cultural show. At one point the performers wanted to demonstrate a traditional Atayal wedding. They choose a man in the audience to come up on stage and help them, but he was too shy, so Peter volunteered to go up. He had to act out an Atayul wedding with a beautiful Taiwanese Aboriginal girl. At one point he had to carry his Atayal wife across the stage strapped to his back in a sort of harness. Then they both drank from a traditional double scoop wooden drinking vessel. Unfortunately, I was laughing so much, I messed up taking the photos, though we did buy one, at a rather rip-offy price, that was taken by the museum's photographer. Even now Peter still sometimes refers to his second wife. Apparently she's much better behaved, less demanding and easier to control than me.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Waterfall.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Streets of Wulai.

Atayal Cultural Show.

Atayal Cultural Show.

Atayal Cultural Show.

Atayal Cultural Show.

Hubbie with wife number two.

Hubbie with wife number two.

Hubbie with wife number two.

Hubbie with wife number two.

A second place we visited was the port city of Keelung. We have been here twice: once was on an organized day tour and the second time we made our own way here by train. The second time was quite funny. We bought our tickets and boarded the train which was so packed we could scarcely move. I asked someone if the train went to Keelung. He looked sort of puzzled like he wanted to say something but couldn't, then he just nodded and looked a bit sad. Anyway the journey was horrible and really squashy. Then at one station around two thirds of the people on the train suddenly got off. With a great sense of relief, we finally sat down. The scenery started to get really beautiful too - lots of mountains everywhere. Suddenly the ticket inspector appeared. We gave him our tickets and he looked at us in despair. Then he started calling for people still on the train to come and help him. Soon all the passengers in our compartment were around us, looking at our tickets and shaking their heads. Not a good sign. By joint effort they managed to tell us in somewhat broken English that we should have changed trains at the station everyone else got off at. Through another joint effort they eventually got through to us that we would have to get off and catch a train back the way we had come then get off again and change trains. One woman was getting off at the station we should catch the train back from. She was assigned the job of looking after us. When we got off at the next station, she physically placed us on the correct platform, pointed at the information board to make sure we knew which train to take, then after we'd thanked her, took an escalator down to leave the station. I moved away from where I had been positioned to take a photo, then I was suddenly grabbed from behind. The same lady had come back up on the escalator, because she had seen me move. She then physically re-positioned me so I didn't get on the wrong train. I was too scared to move after that till our train came in. Still we got there in the end.

Keelung is Taiwan’s seventh largest city and is located in the north east of the island. It is the largest natural port in northern Taiwan. Keelung is nicknamed the rainy port and it certainly lived up to that description on our second visit. The train station is near the port and we began our visit by wandering around the port area looking at the huge cruise ships that called in there.

Keelung Harbour.

Keelung Harbour.

Keelung Harbour.

Keelung Harbour.

Keelung Harbour.

Keelung Harbour.

From Keelung Harbour we walked to Zhongzheng Park in the eastern part of Keelung City. This park has three levels. The first level has a historic fort. The second level has a Buddhist library, a Martyrs’ Shrine and a temple. The third level has Guanhai Pavilion. One famous sight in the park is a twenty-five metre high white statue of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy. There are good views over Keelung and its harbour from here.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Kuan Yin.

Peter in front of the temple.

Peter in front of the temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Peter ringing the bell.

Peter ringing the bell.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

Temple.

View.

View.

View.

View.

On our first visit to Keelung, we also visited nearby Yehliu. Yehliu Geopark is a rocky area by the sea that is mainly made up of sedimentary rocks. These have been weathered into a weird and wonderful variety of different shapes by the wind and the sea. Shapes include the queen's head which looks like the Egyptian queen, Nefertiti, mushrooms, shoes and many more.

The whole area is supposed to be shaped like a turtle. There's an old Chinese legend about a mischievous turtle who once lived in this bay and liked to cause lots of trouble. Eventually the Jade Emperor sent a fairy to punish him. She arrived riding on an elephant and brandishing a sword. She lashed out at the turtle with her sword and injured him badly. Nowadays when the sea mist turns the sky here foggy locals will say: "Look the dying turtle is taking his last breath."

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape

Yehliu Landscape

Yehliu Landscape.

Yehliu Landscape.

Queen's Head.

Queen's Head.

Me at the Queen's Head.

Me at the Queen's Head.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Rock Formations.

Finally, we also went to Yingge, a lovely pottery village near Taipei. We made our own way there by train with no mishaps. In the past Hakka farmers cultivated tea in this area. Then potters began to produce high quality tea sets here, too. Later a wider range of ceramics was produced. Yingge Old Street has lots of potteries and shops selling all sorts of ceramics. I'd have bought lots if we could only have carried them. As we visited here at Chinese New Year, we were suddenly surrounded by lion dancers as they chased away bad luck and welcomed in the new year.

Peter on Yingee Old Street.

Peter on Yingee Old Street.

Me on Yingee Old Street.

Me on Yingee Old Street.

Pottery.

Pottery.

Pottery.

Pottery.

Yinggee Old Street.

Yinggee Old Street.

Peter on Yinggee Old Street.

Peter on Yinggee Old Street.

Lion Dancers.

Lion Dancers.

Buskers.

Buskers.

Posted by irenevt 07:43 Archived in Taiwan

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Comments

Hi Irene not been on here for a while, so catching up with blogs! I taught English in Taipei many years ago and it was so nice to read your blog and look at your photo's! Brought back some nice memories.

by katieshevlin62

Hi Katie,

We both really like Taiwan. I'm currently writing a few blogs for old trips I never got round to writing up since I've got a bit of time on my hands. I now have to teach from home using Zoom rather than go into work. Things did seem to be getting better here covid 19 wise, but now a lot of HK residents are coming back from overseas and our numbers are going up again. If you're currently in the UK, I suppose you will be in lockdown. All the best, Irene

by irenevt

You've convinced me that Taiwan would be an interesting place to visit - I've never really considered it before. I love the rock formations in Yehliu and had to laugh at Peter's 'second wife' story

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, Taiwan is actually very beautiful. We've only really explored the two main cities: Taipei and Kaohsiung and places close to them. There is amazing natural scenery in between. People in Taiwan are very kind and friendly but not many people speak English. Add it to your bucket list which I suspect is as long as mine.

by irenevt

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