Monday, 7 April 2008

Taiwan trip - 7 Apr 08

Wake up at 6.30am today and outside is already so bright, it's like 8-9am in Singapore. Had a quick breakfast and left the hotel at 8am.
The road which our hotel is located Billboards everywhere

Today our 1st destination is Yeliu 野柳. There is direct bus from Taipei to Yeliu. One thing that I like about Taiwan is most of the places of interest can be reached by bus. This allows backpacker to reach those destination without spending much on transportation. In Taiwan, buses to places within the same city is called 公车, buses going outskirts places is called 客运(coach).

Guo guang 国光 is the largest bus operator in Taiwan. In Taipei main station alone, it has 3 terminals! The terminal opposite Keysman hotel is the East station for boarding of bus to Taoyuan airport and Keelung. It's important to ask people for directions otherwise surely had a hard time finding your destination, never be paiseh. Time is important or face is important, haha... Then the bus terminal nearer to the East station is the West station and is for boarding of buses to other county. Finally we found the bus terminal for intercity routes after asking around.

Guo guang east station
So many bus operators

The bus to Yeliu is the route to Jinshan Youth Activity Center 金青中心, ticket cost NT102 ~ S$5 and bus frequency is ~ 15-20min. The first bus is 6.30am. The bus journey to Yeliu is almost 2hrs.
Bus fare and frequency
Inside the bus interchange
Bus ticket

This bus was filled with elderly and there is one ah pek who is so nice to offer us biscuits wow...
Inside the bus

So many motorcycles

We missed the Yeliu stop all bcos of my sis. Before the bus depart from Taipei bus terminal, i had asked my sis to ask the bus driver to inform us when we reach Yeliu but my sis insist that the bus driver would read out the destination like the bus to Wulai yesterday. Then when the bus passed by the coastal area, i sense that we had missed Yeliu stop. Finally my sis walked up to the bus driver and ask. Indeed, we missed the stop but luckily there was a bus on the opposite side. I guess the bus has walkie talkie cos this bus driver inform the bus driver in the opposite direction that we had missed our bus stop. We board the bus and dun have to pay additional charges. The bus driver was so good and inform us to alight when we reach Yeliu. I guess the bus driver oso can sense that we are tourists, haha...

By the time we reach Yeliu, it's almost 10am. Should go Yeliu early in the morning to avoid the sun but this means that gotta set off super early.

Yeliu stopDirection to Yeliu On the way to Yeliu So many light bulbs!

We walk for almost 10min and still cant see Yeliu geopark. Came to a split road and was wondering which direction would lead to Yeliu geopark. Ask around and was told that both would lead to the same end. We decided to use the left route which is along the coast.

Reaching soon

Yeliu is famous for the curious shapes carved by sea erosion. 在2000多万年前,台湾仍在海里,由大陆福建一带冲刷下来的泥沙,一层层的堆积出砂岩层,600万年前的造山运动把岩层推挤出海面,造成台湾岛,野柳是其中的一部分。The admission ticket to Yeliu geopark is NT50 ~ $2.50 and opening hour is 8am - 5pm.

Ticket counter Map of Yeliu Geopark

Still got a long long way to go Haha... I'm so powerful, able to crack the rock Mushroom rock 蕈状岩

Able to spot the prominent Queen's head?

Queen's head 女王头
Green & Red lighthouse
24 filial piety rocks 二十四孝石
Taking a break under the shelter
Beancurd rock 豆腐岩
Fairy's shoe 仙女鞋
Elephant 象石
2 King Kong fighting
风化窗Super hot!!!

According to info from the forum, it takes 2 hrs to complete the Yeliu geopark. But we took 2 hrs oso havent complete it. Was super hot n perspiring. After touring a portion of the geopark, we headed to our next destination. We went to the nearest 7-11 to have some drinks to replenish our dehydration.

The fruit juice on the right is nice

Our next destination is Jinguashih 金瓜石. However there is no direct bus from Yeliu. Hence we had to cross the road to where we previously alighted and boarded the bus to Keelung town center. Luckily we didnt wait v long for the bus especially under such an unbearable hot sun. The bus fare is NT40 ~ S$2 and bus journey is ~ 1hr.
We met a taxi driver who ask us where we are heading but we just simply ignored him. I had done intensive research so I do not need a cab anyway.
Bus stop which we alighted when we reached

We reached Keelung 基隆 @ 1pm. According to the forum, the bus stop to alight is the last stop in Keelung which is along the Keelung harbour where you will see a building with 7-11, Starbucks and Burger King. However do note that although this is the last stop but the bus did not terminate here as it would continue the loop journey.

Keelung is a major port city situated in the northeastern part of Taiwan. Keelung is Taiwan's second largest after Kaoshiung and was nicknamed the Rainy Port for its frequent rain and maritime role. Keelung is most famous for the Miaokou Night Market 庙口夜市。

According to wikipedia, the name Keelung was derived from the local mountain that took the shape of a rooster cage. However, it is more probable that the name was derived from the first inhabitants of the region, as are the names of many other Taiwanese cities. In this case, the Ketagalan people were the first inhabitants, and early Han settlers probably approximated "Ketagalan" with "Ke-lâng". In 1875, during Qing Dynasty rule, the Chinese characters of the name were changed to the more auspicious 基隆。

Keelung town center Don't be mistaken. It's "Keelung" not "Hollywood"

We alighted and crossed the overhead bridge as Starbucks and Burger King were located on the opposite. We were looking for public toilet and fast food restaurants definitely have public toilet.

7-11 is so prominent in Taiwan

We crossed the overhead bridge to return to the bus stop where we alighted previously for boarding bus to Jinguashih. The bus fare is NT55 ~ S$2.50 and journey is ~ 40 mins. There are taxis touting for business asking anyone going to Jiufen. Guess at those places where there are tourists taking public transport, there are bound to be the presence of taxi drivers.

Bus stop Bus stop showing timing of the bus

The next timing to Jinguashih is 1.30pm hence we walked along the shops searching for some snack for lunch.

Chicken heart Pancake 车轮饼 - on the left is the butter, right is cai po (salted radish)

The bus would pass by Rueifang Railway Station on the way uphill. Usually people would take train from Taipei to Rueifang 瑞芳 and change bus to Jiufen as there is no train station at Jiufen. I noted that there is also direct bus from Taipei to Jiufen but no idea which mode is faster.

Ruifang train station On the way uphill

As Jiufen and Jinguashih is located on the mountain, the road up is winding and narrow. Sitting on the bus is like a roller coaster ride. We also passed by Jiufen and the bus driver would announce the stop in case people do not know that they had reached. However we did not alight as we heading to Jinguashih first and it is at the terminal stop.
The bus we took to Jinguashih and later back to Jiufen

The main attraction in Jinguashih is the Museum of Gold 黄金博物院 which introduces mining culture and the properties of gold. The world record 220 kg 999 pure gold ingot is located here and can be touch!

Pushing carts of gold
@ Gold Ecological Park

It's only when we reach the admission counter that we realised that the museum is not opened on Monday. Alas, now i recall why i initially arranged today itenerary on Sunday. Haiz... We walked around and left within half an hour.

Alamak, it's not open!
Jinguashi police station - Quite an unique building

To our surprise, the bus which we had alighted just now is still here. We waited for more than 15min before the bus depart. The bus fare to Jiufen is NT$22 ~ S$1 and journey is ~ 15min.

Nice to be living away from the bustling city lives
Jinguashih bus terminal

Jiufen is a quaint sea-facing town known for its teahouse culture, wooden houses and stone pavements up a steep terrain.

According to Wikipedia, the village here housed nine families during the first years of the Qing Dynasty, thus the village would request "nine portions" every time shipments arrived from town. Later Jioufen meaning nine portions in Chinese became the name of the village. Jiufen was only an isolated village until 1893 when gold was discovered in the area. The resulting gold rush hastened the village's development into a town and reached its peak during the Japanese rule. Gold mining activities declined after World War II, and the mine was shut off in 1971. Jiufen quickly went into decline and for a while the town was mostly forgotten.

In 1989, Hou Hsiao-hsien's movie 侯孝贤 A City of Sadness 悲情城市 set in Jiufen revived the ghost town of Jiufen due to the film's popularity. Tony Leung was one of the actor starring in this movie.
At present, Jiufen is a renowned tourist attraction in Taiwan and draws many tourists from Taipei during the weekends.
According to the forum, it is best to alight here as you will be walking downhill instead of uphill.

Previously there is a 7-11 and everyone knows that they had reached Jiufen @ Chishan Street 基山街 a.k.a 九份老街

There are lots of famous eateries located along Chishan Street. We always ordered one person's portion so that we can try more varieties. Although we passed by quite a lot of eateries, we didnt try every shop otherwise our stomach sure burst.

阿婆魚羹 (geng) 魚羹 means 鱼丸 Wooden postcards Ice cream wrap with grounded peanut. It's yummy! Such a huge peanut bar

Although there are few shops selling fish ball, we just anyhow choose this stall cos dunno which stall is nice.

Menu board

综合鱼丸 - 花枝鱼丸,三丝鱼丸,福州鱼丸
芋圆 Selling leather accessories

犇 is pronouns as ben1 meaning 语气比“牛”更强 九份黄妈妈天然蒟蒻专卖店
Wanna try your luck?This cafe stands out not only the decor but bcos cafe is so rare in Jiufen as majority are tea house.

Lots of teahouse 茶坊

Shengpin theatre is the first theatre in northern Taiwan. Jiufen used to be a bustling and town as watching movie was one of leisure activities of the locals. However the cinema ceased operation in 1986 and is no longer as glamorous as it was. 昇平戏院可是北部第一家戏院喔! 可想而知,当年的九份可是多么繁华富裕而看电影也是当地的居民最大的休闲活动。不过,现在的戏院已没有当时的风光,早已成为荒废的空地,甚至是随时会倒塌的危楼,不禁令人感叹。

Shengpin Theatre 昇平戏院 Famous stair in Jiufen

Walking up and down the steps can be quite tedious and tired. According to the forum, you can walk down the stairs and once down, followed the stairs down and it leads to Jiufen police station. There is a bus stop outside for buses that heads to Rueifang, Keelung or Taipei.

Jiufen police station

Bus stop

The bus journey back to Keelung took ~ 45min and bus fare is NT$45 ~ S$2. Keelung's Miaokou night market is famous throughout Taiwan for its large selection of food. It is situated at Ren 2nd road 仁二路. It meanders through lanes and alleys in the downtown area surrounding the Dianji Temple (奠濟宮) which is how it derives the name "Miaokou" night market.

Ren 2nd road Miaokou night marketDianji Temple 奠濟宮

Here are the food we tried:

Stall 36 - 蚵仔煎 Oyster omlette

Stall 26 - 豆签羹 Bean-Sprout Thick Soup

天妇萝 Tempura(Fried Fish Paste)- Forget which stall Stall 25-1/27-2 - 鼎边趖 Ding Bian Cuo

Stall 41 - 陈记泡泡冰 Pao-Pao Ice

Stall 58 - 营养三文治 Nutritious Sandwich

Stall 49 - 割包

Such a huge takopachi

We left around 8pm and walk back to the bus terminal to board Guoguang bus back to Taipei. The journey is ~ 1/2 hr and bus fare is NT$55 ~ S$2.50.

>>Day 4: 8 Apr 08

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