Our Tour of Taiwan (Day 2)

Day 2 (10 Aug)

We all woke up early the next day, excited to finally kick start our Taiwan adventure. By 8am, we all made our way down to the hotel cafe where buffet breakfast was waiting for us. Whilst Koko and I had our normal (probably more) share of cereals, I noticed that it was quite common for Taiwanese to have sweet potato porridge and soya bean for breakfast. Of course, there’s also Papa’s favourite Lu Rou Fan (滷肉飯) or minced pork ricemmmmmm!

Before we flew to Taiwan, Papa had already made prior arrangements with this taxi driver, Mr Sung to package his Toyota Wish taxi and take us on two days of tour. With a daily rate of NT3,600, it felt like a good deal for a family of five. Furthermore, if any of us kids needed to go to the toilet at any unimaginable time, riding in a taxi does help (read: can simply stop anywhere…hee!)

He was very punctual…arriving at our hotel lobby by 9am. After loading our  stuff into the taxi, we shot off for the day, on our Taiwan North East Coastal tour, first stop…Yehliu Geopark, which is famous as a scenic sightseeing spot where there are many beautiful and interesting rock formations, naturally sculptured by the sea waves over thousands of years. Some of the more famous ones are the Queen’s Head and Fairy Slipper rocks.

We had arrived there shortly before noon, and with the scorching hot sun blazing down at us, it was definitely a sweating session for a first stop! Phew!

We didn’t even managed to walk through the entire area! By the time we were halfway through, Mama already feared we may get a sunstroke (despite us all putting on sunblock at the entrance), so we slowly made our way back to the exit in the sweltering heat…good thing they had a smaller replica of the famed Queen’s Head for us to take a picture with that was closer to the entrance..hehe..

When we exited, we quickly found shelter in the Information Centre, which I felt was such a haven for all the visitors, with its soothing air cond at full blast…ahhh..

After Yehliu, Mr Sung drove us to Keelung (基隆), which is port city in Taiwan. Here, we only had a brief 1 hour stopover to take a look see at their street market, which apparently operates day and night. Our Yehliu excursion must have been extremely tiring because by the time we arrived in Keelung, Caleb already dozed off..

It was a good thing we brought the super-lightweight ‘Seababy’ stroller with us…so we let Caleb rest a while and catch up with his power nap whilst we relaxed with a cuppa fruit juices. 🙂

We skipped lunch in Keelung because Mr Sung advised that there would also be plenty of street foods to savour at our next destination….Jiufen (九份), which is situated on quite a high ground and is another popular tourist spot for its old-street market atmosphere.

In Jiufen, Mr Sung first drove us all the way up the hilly slopes to the main entrance of the old streets and gave us basic directions to slowly walk our way through the streets and eventually to the base of the main road where he would be waiting. We had arrived here around 2.30pm, so our initial plan was to finish Jiufen by 4pm….

….but once we entered the streets, we knew 4pm would not be enough! There was just so many things to see, and EAT! of course, with baby Caleb (without stroller) tagging along, Papa and Mama sure had a challenging time navigating through the Jiufen’s sea of people..

We had our fair share of Taiwanese food here, but some of their more popular dishes we tasted along these streets were the fish and beef balls, deep-fried octopus, ba-wan (肉圓) and of course, sausages.

At the end of walking these old streets, when we were all REALLY tired, a beautiful view of the coast greeted us,which was really refreshing! Ahhhh…

There were so many scooters in Taiwan, even Caleb tried to climb on one of them!

Trying…

Still trying…

Yay! Success! Erm….now where’s the handle?..:-p

What goes up…must come down….SIGH. And from the hilltop of Jiufen, going down…is another matter altogether…

We were already super tired by then (oh…did I mention that earlier..oops…), but we had to make our way down anyway…and it was plenty and plenty and plenty of STEPS….no kidding.

Trust me…there were SO MANY steps downwards that I even lost count due to tiredness…:-p

The funny thing was that when we finally reached the main road, we discovered that we were about 200m off the meeting point we were supposed to meet Mr Sung! 😮 Since the main road was kinda dangerous and it was also heading UPWARDS, Papa walked up the main road to get Mr Sung whilst Mama stayed with all the rest of us where we had arrived. Thankfully, there were some steps and shade for us to rest after climbing down those steps!

If we thought our tiring day was over, we were SO wrong! Apparently Papa had the weirdest impression that we kids were super energetic, so there was actually ONE more stop before the day was over….our final destination of the day…Pingxi (平溪).

The drive to Pingxi was an adventure by itself. We seemed to to going up and up a hill as if we were travelling to Genting Highlands. After a while, my head was already spinning in exhaustion. Both Koko and myself kept repeating and groaning “Are we going back to the hotel yet?” all along the journey. Yes, we were THAT tired.

However, when we reached (finally) reached Pingxi, our batteries were recharged and we were ready to explore and sight-see again! Wee! Pingxi is  a place that is apparently built on some hill and the unique thing about this place is that an old (but still active) train track runs THROUGH it. The main activity here was raising the sky lanterns…which was a really cool activity! The lanterns would be painted along the sides of the track and the finished ‘product’ would be released right ON the track itself!

We were actually given a ‘menu’ to choose what colour we wanted our lantern to be. Methinks Taiwanese people are really smart too, since the menu highlighted different pricings for different colours, as well as the auspicious ‘meanings’ of these colours. In other words, the more colours you choose, the more expensive your lantern. 🙂

So, we purchased a huge sheet of red-coloured paper (the cheapest option!) and were given paint brushes to write well-wishes or draw just about anything at all on it. This is what I call Art Attack! Since a sky lantern has four sides, we also had four sides of red paper to showcase our graffiti! Hee!

Oh! There was another heart-attack moment when during our business in painting the lantern, suddenly, there was a loud whistle and people were shouting for everyone to clear the tracks, because…

….a train was passing through!! 😮

Quite a scary moment, I tell you! Hehe! Anyway, after the train had passed, everything went back to normal! So, we eventually finished our red-coloured masterpiece and proceeded to ask the seller to help us light it up and let our lantern fly up into the sky!

After that, we decided to take a stroll around the Pingxi Old Street where Mr Sung mentioned that there was a nice bridge nearby. Unfortunately it was already getting late. If not, we would have tried to walk to the Shifen Waterfall too. There was a signage pointing us in that direction, but we don’t know how far it may turn out to be..:-p

Anyway, we eventually found the bridge and made our way across it, just to see what was there…and then back again. By then, the sky was already very dark and a sign that we should be heading back too.

The trip down was also pretty scary…imagine driving down a hill at night. Mr Sung was also a pretty fast & furious driver, so that made our ride down doubly kan cheong…hee!

By the time we reached our hotel, we could barely move already, and all we wanted to do was just to rest and sleep. It was also really late already so we decided not to go out for dinner. Whilst Papa bathed and prepped us to sleep for the night, Mama went out to buy some bread and water as snacks for the next day, and also brought back our ‘late’ dinner…PIZZA…from Pizza Hut Dominoes! The unique thing about pizza here (compared to pizza from back home) is that one of their toppings was actually spinach….:-p

Good night! Stay tuned for Day 3!

Day 2 Recap:

Yehliu Geopark –> Keelung –> Jiufen –>Pingxi

Category: Family, Vacation
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Responses
  1. Pei Gee says:

    Hi dear it is actually Dominos Pizza – probably you were too tired to notice

    Caitlynn: Thanks Mama…corrected liao…:-P

  2. WD says:

    Wahhhh….I’m feel tired for you too…but sounds like so much fun! 🙂 I didn’t manage to go to Yehliu the last time. Or Pingxi either. Hmm…must remember to include them the next time.

    Caitlynn: Yeah…really tiring for us…but I think more tiring for Papa and Mama…hee!

  3. Ashley says:

    Hi,

    My family of 6 will be traveling to Taipei and wish to engage a friendly and reliable taxi driver. You mentioned Mr. Sung in your post. Would you recommend him? If yes, would you still have his contact? Thanks!

  4. Collin says:

    Yes, he’s quite knowledgable and friendly, though quite talkative. His email is a0966223899@yahoo.com.tw
    However, when we travelled to Taiwan again last year, I tried contacting him again but there was no reply. All the best and happy travelling! 😀

Leave a Reply

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

Please note: JavaScript is required to post comments.