Monday, May 21, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - BaDouZi Station (八斗子車站) + EcoPark

Apart from the usual tourist spots, we love to explore places that locals go, that is out of the tourist radar. I am extremely thankful that our driver took us to BaDouZi (八斗子車站) which was not open yet when we visit in Nov 2016. This station is extremely beneficial as it makes travelling to National Museum of Marine Science and Technology easier. Plus, there are parks and many scenic spots around and along the coastal line that makes the trip here worthwhile.

Sunset in Taiwan is pretty early (~5pm). Hence, when we arrived at 4pm, we only had about an hour to explore the area. We stopped by Badouzi Station and sat by the rail tracks. It is indeed a scenic spot to admire the coastal line by the station.

To get a closer looks of the waters, we crossed the road and walked to the beach. There are many rocks and you can pick one to stand on or sit. 

Leaving our footprints here. :)

Further ahead is an eco park (潮境公園 & 復育公园). Apart from the breathtaking view, there are also many art installations that you can find. What attracted us was the multiple broomsticks that reminded us of Harry Potter instantly. The park is also a favourite spot for kite flying.

No flying broomsticks , but you can find jumping children and adults.

It appears Denver is taking off too! 

From here you can also have a good view of Jiufen. Stunning view and really a great place to be at sunset.

Ice-cream treat for everyone before we leave.

Bus services is available if you plan to travel on your own.

We arrived too late and did not get to check out the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology. Seems like an interesting place and if you are interested, check out the website:

You can have a good view of Keelung Mountain (resembling a chicken coop - in Chinese 'Ji Long')  from here. Rising 588 meters from the sea and made up entirely of igneous rock, it was once a mound of lava rising toward the earth's crust when it neared the seafloor about a million years ago. Cooled and hardening into the rock of the mountain.

Gorgeous view of Keelung Mountain and Jiufen within the mountains at the backdrop.

Another art installation (like a fish) at the park.

The sun is setting and we have to make our move to our final destination for the day - Keelung Night Market.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Visited in Nov 2016

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - JinGuaShi (金瓜石) + Golden Waterfall (黃金瀑布) -Yinyang Sea (阴阳海)

JinGuaShi - a beautiful mining coastal town formally famous for mining gold and copper. We arrived at the Gold Ecological Park at about 2 plus in the afternoon after visiting Jiufen and Shifen. Time is a little short but we try to walk around to explore the most part of the area.

We gave the Museum of Gold a miss but it will be a great place to go if you like to learn more about the mining history, its mining equipment plus touch the famous gold ingot. 

Guide Map

Overview of 基隆山 (鸡笼山). From sea level, it looks like a chicken cage. However from JinGuaShi, it looks like a pregnant women lying down hence also known as 大肚美人山.

The children trying to visualize the view of the pregnant woman. 

Another interesting find is the Mine worker's Lunch Box. Served in a stainless steel container, filled with rice, meat and vegetable, you get to keep the pair of chopsticks and the handkerchief (imprinted with JinGuaShi map) used to wrap the lunch box.

Stopping by the Crown Prince Chalet (太子賓館) which is open to public for viewing. Unfortunately, we cannot enter and thus can only view the interior from afar.

Another interesting activity is the DIY activities available at the Gold Mine Square. We got the children to go for the Gold Panning experience using the traditional tools. You also get to keep the gold speckles in a small bottle as souvenir after the activity. Gladys thought that she is rich with her small gold pieces

It is a pity that we did not get to go for the Benshan No.5 Tunnel... where you can experience and learn more about the mining and its history. Instead, we walked through another small old mining tunnel that is now for tourist to visit.

We hopped onto the vehicle and our driver took us closer to the coastal. The sky is clear and we have a nice view of Yinyang sea.

Stopping by at the Golden Waterfall. Water is clear and a distinct contrast against the brown rocks.

There is no gold at this waterfall but the name reflects the golden appearance which is caused by the regular rainfall and abundance of heavy metal elements deposited in the riverbed.

From Golden Waterfall, we proceeded further down to have a closer look at Yinyang Sea.

While sea water is generally blue, the waters at Shui Nan Dong is a mix of yellow and blue - hence the name Yinyang Sea (阴阳海). The unique and magnificent view of the shoreline is actually due to the massive pyrite contained in Jinguashi mine, accompanied with the plenty of rain. When ground water from the mountains passes the pyrite lode, chemical action causes the formation of golden yellow sour ore water with the iron ion. These sour ore water flows through the Golden Waterfall and eventually pours into Shui Nan Dong bay, hence the formation of the yellow blue sea water which appears like a contrast between masculine and feminine elements.

Loving the sea and mountains.

If we have more time, putting some time aside to hike will be one great option too.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Visited in Nov 2016

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Old Streets of Jiufen (九份老街)

Jiufen (九份) - a small town located in Northern Taiwan, a place where we always wanted to go since our first trip to Taiwan. Renowned for its food stalls along the narrow streets and the astounding views of the mountains and seas, Jiufen used to be a prosperous gold mining town in the 1950s. Many Studio Ghibli's fans also find the streets featured in the movie Spirited Away came from the inspiration of Jiufen.

There are many Chinese teahouses built by the side of the coastal hills where you can sip your tea, sample local delicacies and enjoy the spectacular view. 

To explore the old streets of Jiufen, we wriggle our way into the narrow streets and alleys, going up and down into the maze.

Love the quaint-looking streets and the unique architecture and surrounding just blend in perfectly. Every corner seems to have a little story to tell and a great spot for photo taking. Apart from food stalls and teahouses, there are also cafes, handicraft/souvenir shops and minsu (民宿).

Apart from photo-taking, we have been snacking as we strolled through the old street. Our first stop is trying out Grilled Jade Sea Snails (烤翡翠螺) which is pretty tasty and tangy.

Our girl's favourite is the grilled squid where we ordered another box after finishing the first. Unlike the other grilled squid stalls that we visited where the squid will be smothered with thick sauce/gravy, the grilled squid sold here is freshly grilled and sprinkle with some pepper and probably sesame and that's it! True taste of freshness from the seafood. :)

Just opposite is another stall selling grilled mushroom. The mushrooms here are huge and nicely grilled and coated with sweet sauce.

油蔥粿 - layered rice cake is another local delicacy in Taiwan. The making process is tedious which takes 4-5 hours of steaming the rice syrup and applying a layer of shallot oil and continue the process of steaming layer by layer.

Take a closer look of the rice cake and you can see the layers by the side.

This is a famous old shop selling 草仔棵 and into the 3rd generation. Business is very good and you can see the bee-line of people queuing to buy their assorted kueh - salty green bean, red bean, vegetable glutinous rice etc. Hmmm.. I could not recall the taste of this kueh already but I think it is worth a try if you are at Jiufen.

At Jiufen, you cannot leave without trying out the taro balls! 

More Century Eggs! As expected... we bought more back :)

An interesting Doremon bottle to slurp our drinks from. :)

The only souvenir/present that I bought for myself. Really love the music from the Ocarina (陶笛). Till now, I have not master how to play it yet but it is a nice instrument to own plus there are so many designs that you can choose from and all of them are uniquely different.

Happy faces as our tummies are fulled. 

The scenery at Jiufen is gorgeous. Would love to stay for a night if there is an opportunity. I can imagine how pretty the lights would be after sunset.  

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Visited in Nov 2016