A Travellerspoint blog

Taiwan

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 Comments (4)

Kaohsiung - City on the Water.

Taiwan 2010

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View over Love River.

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan and one of its major ports. It is on the coast and its main sights include a river, lakes and an island, so it really is a city on the water. We first visited around ten years ago and I think in many ways Kaohsiung has improved since then. It is now easier to get around due to the new metro and some areas of the city have been beautified.

Kaohsiung is not a spectacular city, but it is a city that makes the most of what it has got. For example, its main river the ­ Love River­ which was once majorly polluted has been cleaned up; walkways and cycle tracks line its banks and several pleasant cafes and bars are situated next to it. Kaohsiung's new metro system is brightened up by art work, for example, The Dome of Light at Formosa Boulevard Station, rows of daffodil like windmills and a waterfall at Central Park Station. People in Kaohsiung are friendly and generally try hard to be helpful even when they don't know a lot of English.

Our overall stay was very laid back and relaxing. There were lots of great places to eat and drink and enough to keep us occupied for a few days.

We were very lucky to get to Kaohsiung at all as there was a powerful typhoon, Typhoon Megi, bearing down on Hong Kong up until the day before our departure. It was expected to make a direct hit on Hong Kong and was expected to cause lots of damage. Then it veered away from Hong Kong and more or less burned itself out before hitting mainland China. It did cause large amounts of rainfall in Taiwan which luckily for us ended more or less on our arrival day.

Good points about Kaohsiung are it has quite a few sights. It is a useful base from which to explore southern Taiwan. It has good restaurants and very friendly people.

We stayed in the Ambassador Hotel, Kaohsiung which is located on the Love River. This was a good location as we could walk to Central Park metro in around 10 minutes or City Council Metro in around 7 minutes. We were very handy for the Love River and associated sights. There were several restaurants nearby including the Outback Steakhouse where we had a lovely meal. There was a Family Mart and Seven Eleven close to the hotel. Staff at the Ambassador were very helpful and friendly. Our room had a fantastic view over Love River. The room was very clean and comfortable. We could hear music from the boats on the river, but this did not go on late. Our room was quiet at night. Our room had a safety deposit box and tea/coffee making facilities, though the coffee was of the three in one variety ­ no good for someone like me who drinks black unsweetened coffee.

The hotel had a Sichuan restaurant on the 20th floor and a Sky Lounge up there, too. There was a Cantonese restaurant on the second floor and another restaurant on the first (ground floor). They all looked fine but we did not use them as there were­ too many outside choices of places to eat.
The hotel had a lovely pool. It's open from 7am to 7pm and its season starts on April 1st and continues to October 31st. It is an outdoor pool. We had the pool to ourselves every morning of our stay. The hotel also had a fitness centre and sauna. You have to pay to use the sauna. I'd be very happy to stay in this hotel again. Address: 202 Min Sheng 2nd Road, Kaohsiung, 801, Taiwan.

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Pool at the Ambassador Hotel.

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The Ambassador Hotel.

As I said above we stayed in the Ambassador Hotel which is located on Love River, so we saw a lot of this river. At one time Love River was very polluted but in recent years it has been cleaned up and has become a beautiful area for the population of Kaohsiung to enjoy. We did not have breakfast included in our hotel deal and bought breakfast each morning from one of Kaohsiung's many convenience stores; we then sat on the banks of Love River to eat ­- a very pleasant and relaxing start to the day.

The river is lined with walkways and cycle tracks. There are many conveniently located seats. Several cafes and restaurants are situated on the river banks. There are several interesting temples overlooking the river. The Film Archives Museum and History Museum are by the river. The Holy Rosary Cathedral is not on but close to the river. At night the river is lit up in many different colours. There are riverboat trips up and down the river. These last for about 20 minutes. Some of the cafes and restaurants by the river have music. It is well worth visiting.

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Cleaning up after the typhoon.

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The Love River.

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The Love River.

Lotus Lake is one of the most famous sights in Kaoshiung. It is a man made lake in the north of Kaohsiung which has several interesting temples. We got to this lake by taking the metro to Zuoying Station. When you arrive at the station, go to exit 2; walk straight ahead until you come to a fairly large road. At this road go right. You will arrive at a park. Cross the park and cross one more road, you will be at the lake at the Confucius Temple end. (Although we did not do this, I believe if you get off at Ecological District Station you can walk to the dragon/tiger temple end of the lake).

The Confucius Temple is a fairly simple but pretty temple. It dates from 1977. Continue walking round the lake and you will come to the temple of the emperor of the dark heaven. There is a walkway lined with statues which leads to an enormous statue of the emperor of the dark heaven. Walk further round the lake and and you will reach the Spring Autumn Pavillion. These are two towers dating from 1953. Between them is a huge dragon and on its back stands Kuan Yin ­ goddess of mercy. You can enter the dragon's mouth, walk through its body and exit its tail. Inside the dragon is lined with various paintings. Behind the Spring Autumn Pavillion a walkway leads to a pavillion in the lake.

Walk further on and you will reach the Dragon Tiger Pavillion. This was built in 1965. Go in through the dragon's mouth and leave through the tiger's mouth. This is supposed to turn bad luck into good luck. There are good views over the lake from the dragon and tiger towers.

Each pavillion in the lake is opposite an ornate temple on the shore. We walked all the way round the lake and back to Zuoying Station. The other side of the lake has a temple with a huge statue on its roof. Other than that it is a fairly pleasant walk past fishermen and the occasional patch of waterlilies from which the lake takes its name.

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Lotus Lake.

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Lotus Lake.

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Lotus Lake.

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Lotus Lake.

We also went to Cijin Island. The most likely way you will get to this island is by taking the metro to Sizihwan Station on the orange line, exiting exit one and walking to Gushan Ferry Terminal where you can catch one of the very frequent ferries to Cijin. We did not do this because we discovered that a ferry went to Cijin Island directly from Love Pier on Love River. This ferry only runs at weekends and public holidays and runs every 40 minutes. Going from Love Pier gives you quite a good view of Kaohsiung Harbour on the way. Going from Gushan is fun because when the ferry unloads it is an unbelievable mess of motorbikes, bikes and people all exiting simultaneously from the same exit.

Cijin is a popular day trip for a number of reasons. It has a beautiful Tin Hau Temple dedicated to the goddess of the sea. It has a street with lots of fish restaurants. It has a black sand beach. It is also possible to visit the remains of Cijin Fort and to visit Cijin Lighthouse (this closes at 4 and was closed by the time we got there). You can climb up to the fort then follow the path from the fort to the lighthouse. We spent a lot of time walking from Cijin's main town to the windpower park. It took around 30 minutes and we got rather sunstruck on route. The park has seven wind powered mills and various models of sea creatures. These were not that interesting. More interesting, in my opinion was the sea which was really shooting up massive waves next to this site on the day of our visit, plus the myriads of kites being flown next to the site and finally the very colourful kite/windmill shops at the entrance to the site.

Just before you reach the windpower park you will come to the Cijin Peace Park which remembers Taiwanese soldiers killed overseas and overseas soldiers killed in Taiwan. There was a monument commemorating the American sailors killed on Japanese hellships during World War Two. These ships held prisoners of war in appalling conditions. The walk to the Wind Power Park is long and hot. It is probably better to cycle here or go when it is a bit cooler in the morning or evening. Part of the walk goes through the Cijin forested coastal walk. This has pleasant shady areas with seats and is a good spot for a picnic.

Cijin also had an indoor market selling lots of fish among other things, several beautiful temples and a good atmosphere on a Sunday when crowds flock there from Kaohsiung. On the Sunday we visited we heard live music and watched kids play in the dancing fountains and generally enjoyed the liveliness of the area.

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Cijin Island.

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Cijin Island.

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Cijin Island.

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Cijin Island.

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Cijin Island.

When we left Cijin we went to Gushan and visited Gushan Harbour and the British Consulate. To get to Gushan Harbour take the metro to Sizihwan Station and exit through exit one. Gushan Harbour is a pretty harbour in its own right and it has several good restaurants. It is also the place to catch the ferry to Cijin Island. From Gushan Harbour you can walk to the former British Consulate Building. Exit Sizihwan metro exit one and walk to Gushan Harbour. Go to the far side of the water and walk towards the sea. You will see a signpost for a landscaped walkway to the consulate building. It is an uphill walk ­ fairly steep. The consulate was not really what I expected. For a start it was full of tour groups. The building was an attractive red brick one with lots of archways. It had a fairly non­descript exhibition about the Beatles inside. The consulate building is now a restaurant. We had a pleasant meal there with lovely views over the harbour.

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British Consulate, Gushan Harbour.

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View over Kaohsiung Harbour.

We also visited the Martyr's Shrine. This shrine is in the Shoushan area. We got to it by taking the metro to Sizihwan Station, exiting via exit one, walking straight towards the harbour, but then turning right when we saw a sign for the Wude Martial Arts Centre. We walked along the road then climbed some steep steps up to a main road. The Wude Martial Arts Centre was across the road. Facing the Wude martial Arts Centre you will see more steep stairs on the right hand side, climb these. You will reach a pavillion beyond which is a road, cross the road walk through the tori, temple gateway and you will come to the Martyr's Shrine.

There are lovely views over the harbour from here. The shrine was build by the Japanese when they occupied Taiwan during the war. It is in typical Japanese temple style. After the war the shrine became a peace shrine to remember those lost in the conflict. There are photos commemorating historical events from China's past around the walls. The shrine was very quiet and peaceful during our visit.

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The Martyrs' Shrine.

We also went to the Dream Mall Shopping Centre. To get here take the metro to Kaisyuan Station; then take the free shuttle to the shopping centre. You can see this shopping centre all over Kaohsiung due to the huge ferris wheel on its roof. The Dream Mall comprises two buildings. One of them is shaped like a giant fish. The other has the ferris wheel. The building with the ferris wheel has a large Japanese department store inside as well as an amusement arcade and a cinema. We had a lovely barbeque meal on Japanese food street. There were many other restaurants, too. We visited on a Tuesday and were surprised at how quiet the shopping mall was ­I guess I've been in Hong Kong too long where every shopping mall is mobbed all the time.

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Dream Mall Shopping Centre.

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Dream Mall Shopping Centre.

One evening we went to Liouhe Night Market. To get to this night market take the metro to Formosa Boulevard Station and follow the exits for the night market. Don't forget to have a look at the Dome of Light on your way out of the metro. The night market has lots of stalls and several places to buy foods. Several tour groups passed through on our visit. There is a second night market nearby plus a street specializing in wedding cakes and another specializing in wedding dresses nearby. This is quite an interesting area and well worth a look.

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Liouhe Night Market.

Kaohsiung's metro is a great way to get around. There are two lines: the orange and the red line. Interchange is at Formosa Boulevard Station. The metro is very user friendly. Just go to a ticket machine, press the name of the station you want to travel to and the number of people going and then feed your money into the slot. Fares start at 20 and go up to 50. Ticket machines accept coins and some accept 100 notes. You can get to the airport on the metro, too. Some stations are beautifully decorated like Formosa Boulevard Station with its dome of light or Central Park Station with its waterfall. We found the metro very safe, clean, easy to use and not too crowded,

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Kaoshiung Metro.

Posted by irenevt 23:33 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

Taipei

Taiwan 2010

rain

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Temple decorated for Chinese New Year, Taipei.

Taipei

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Lion dancing for Chinese New Year.

Taipei is an interesting location, but we did not visit at the best time of year. We went at Chinese New Year and the weather was terrible ­- constant rain. The other disadvantage of Chinese New Year is that things can get very busy and crowded with most of the population being on holiday. Most things remained open during the holiday ­ but some shops and museums were closed.

Lion Dancing

Lion Dancing

The biggest advantages of Taipei are it has lots of interesting street markets which sell goods at very reasonable prices; it has got some of the best decorated, most elaborate Chinese temples in the world; the people are very helpful and friendly though English is not that widely spoken, and although Taipei is modern, you can still see a lot of traditional Chinese shops and customs. Oh and the MRT is 100% user friendly and very convenient for getting you almost anywhere in Taipei.

We have been to Taipei twice. On our most recent visit we stayed in two hotels. The first was the Yo Mi Hotel. We stayed in the Yo Mi Hotel for four days. The hotel is 2 minutes walk from Shuanglian MRT Station. It is also conveniently located for the airport bus. Take the Eva Evergreen bus from the airport and get off at the third stop. The staff at the Yo Mi are very friendly and helpful and in many ways the hotel goes that extra mile to make your stay enjoyable. Rooms were very comfy with large flat screen TVS and a DVD player provided. Rooms had safe deposit boxes and tea/coffee making facilities. As well as providing free mineral water the hotel provided free snacks on a daily basis, such as: noodles, pea crackers, seaweed muffins. The hotel also stocked a wide range of phone chargers which could be borrowed from reception. It provided the free use of bicycles for hotel guests. In the breakfast room there was an excellent free massage chair which I made use of every morning. There was also a tiny gym with a treadmill and a couple of other machines. I liked the Yo Mi's breakfast buffet, but it did not really cater to western tastes. I found the many vegetable dishes provided each morning quite tasty and loved their pickled vegetables especially pickled seaweed and pickled bamboo slices.

On the negative side the hotel has very thin walls and you can hear everything that's going on in neighbouring rooms. Also while the bed linen and bathroom were very clean, the floor was not cleaned properly and the furniture was a bit dusty. The previous occupant of our room left her false eyelashes on the table. This gave us quite a nasty shock when we first discovered them I can tell you. On the whole though we would definitely stay here again.

Our second hotel was the Dong Wu Hotel. The Dong Wu Hotel is in quite an interesting and convenient location. It is right next door to a 7­-eleven. It is very close to a large Wellcome supermarket. It faces towards a Chinese Temple which was interesting during Chinese New Year as lots of festivities took place there during the festival.

The Dong Wu is about 10 minutes walk from the MRT and is convenient for buses. The staff at the Dong Wu are friendly and helpful. The hotel is spotlessly clean and the rooms are very quiet and comfortable. In the room there was a large TV, an in ­room safe and tea/coffee making facilities. The only downside to this hotel, in my opinion, was that the food at the breakfast buffet was invariably stone cold on each morning of our 4 day stay here. Other than that the hotel was very good and I would happily stay here again. Oh and the hotel is located in the second oldest area of Taipei with many interesting temples, shrines and old streets filled with interesting craft shops nearby. Address: No.258 Section 2, Yan­Ping North Road, Taipei 103, Taiwan

We started our holiday by visiting Taipei Zoo. We visited Taipei Zoo mainly in order to see their giant pandas. The zoo is very easy to reach. Take the Muzha line of the Taipei MRT to the last stop Taipei Zoo. Entrance to the zoo was very cheap at only 60 Taiwanese dollars. We went on a weekday which I would recommend as I think the zoo would be very busy at weekends. We could visit the pandas freely, but we saw the barriers outside for the waiting line at weekends and they stretched a long way.

The zoo is large and well set out. You can travel to the top end by shuttle and work your way down. There is an excellent penguin area. There is an area for desert animals ­ all in hiding due to torrential rain when we were there - ­ the poor things. There is an African animals area, a nocturnal animals area, a Taiwanese animals area, an insect area and many more. The zoo possibly has the loudest gibbons in the world. Boy can they make a racket. There is a McDonalds and a Family Mart inside the zoo.

We visited the pandas 3 times during our day at the zoo. On the first visit they were sound asleep. All we could see were panda bums. On our second visit they had come to life and were running around crazily leaping in their pools, rolling around on the ground playing with branches, racing round their enclosures both indoor and out. On our third visit they had obviously tired themselves out and we were back to panda bums. For me this was the first time I have ever seen pandas and I loved it. However, if I'd gone on a weekend and queued for hours to look at 2 large black and white bottoms I may not have been too pleased.

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Pandas, Taipei Zoo.

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Elephants, Taipei Zoo.

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Penguin House, Taipei Zoo.

Taiwan has some of the best Chinese temples in the world. There are so many in Taipei. The ones we enjoyed most are as follows:

Guanda Temple. ­To get here take the Danshui line to Guanda Station. The temple is 20 mins walk from the station. It is well ­sign­posted. The temple is huge with 2 large statue lined tunnels as well as the main temple hall. Across the river from the temple there was an interesting market.

Longshan Temple is also lovely. To get here go to­ Longshan Temple MRT Station. This is the oldest temple in Taipei, located in the oldest area near herb alley, snake alley and Guangzhou Street night market. The temple contains a Guanyin image that has survived earthquakes, bombings and riots. There is also a shrine at the back to the matchmaker. People pray to him in order to meet their ideal partner.

Qingshan Temple ­is a beautiful temple on 3 floors. By climbing upstairs you can see the temples's elaborate roof carvings of dragons and gods. This temple is within walking distance of Longshan temple, close to the end of Snake Alley. A very pleasant Taiwanese lady showed us round and showered us with food when we visited on Chinese New Year Eve.

The Confucius Temple is also very good. ­ To get here take the MRT to Yuanshan Station on the Danshui line. It's 5 minutes walk. This is one of the simpler, less ornate Chinese temples, beautifully peaceful and with pleasant gardens.

Boan Temple is ­ opposite the Confucius Temple. This is­ hugely ornate, covered in beautiful paintings and carvings. This is very well worth a visit.

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Chinese Temples.

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Chinese Temples.

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Chinese Temples.

We also visited Beitou Hot Springs. To get to Beitou take the Danshui line to Beitou then switch to the line that goes to Xin Beitou Station ­ one stop from Beitou. Beitou is famous for hot springs. A huge bubbling pool of water feeds into a stream that runs picturesquely through Beitou Park. The area is filled with spa hotels in which you can bathe in the waters. There are also several museums including the hot springs museum and two Taiwanese Aboriginal museums. Beitou is worth visiting for the spas or just for a walk around.

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Beitou Thermal Stream.

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Hot Springs Museum in Beitou.

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Me next to the hot springs.

After visiting Beitou, we went to Danshui. This is located at the end of the Danshui Line of the MRT. It is a port located on the Danshui River and has many buildings of historical interest as well as some interesting Chinese temples and busy shopping streets. Buildings of historical interest include: The Red Castle ­ now a restaurant. This picturesque building was originally built by the British. As a restaurant. It has quite good food and excellent views. Fort San Domingo is an ­ interesting and well preserved building originally built by the Spanish, then taken over by the Dutch, then turned into the British Consulate. It is well worth a look.

George Leslie MacKay was a Canadian missionary based in Danshui. He built many hospitals and schools in the area and is held in high regard by people in this area even today. There are lots of old buildings associated with George Leslie MacKay including Oxford College (located inside the campus of Alethia University), Danshui Church and Tamkang High School which includes MacKay's grave and a small foreigner's cemetery. Another lovely building is the little white house . This beautiful old building used to be the port's customs house. There is a statue of MacKay in the middle of town.

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Fort San Domingo, Danshui.

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Me at the Red Castle.

There are large numbers of night markets in Taipei which are well worth a visit, because they sell very reasonably priced goods. They also have some interesting snack stalls. Most of the night markets are very crowded. We enjoyed our visit to Shi lin Night Market and made quite a few purchases there. Snake Alley behind Longshan Temple is also worth a look. This night market has several snake restaurants hense its name.

Posted by irenevt 22:52 Archived in Taiwan Comments (2)

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