Posted by: jyunbugspeaks | May 9, 2012

Jyunbugspeaks in Taiwan: Exploring Outside The City

With the help of our tour guides and local friends Angela and Roger, we were booked to go on a fantastic tour, check that, journey to a different side of Taiwan. I was very familiar with the city as I’ve been there before but this time around we ventured outside the city. This tour was very unique as it conducted in a taxi cab! Odd but actually it was fun because it was more intimate and we got to know our driver/tour guide Jimmy very well. This 70 year old man, I pegged him to be in his 50’s, was a very kind and quite an extraordinary man. He has been doing these tours for 30 years(!) and can speak Cantonese, Taiwanese Mandarin, English and Japanese. The English and Japanese was all self taught by listening to the radio (English lessons were broadcast on Taiwanese radio) and DIY Japanese CD’s. Amazing.

Our first stop on our journey was at this National Park in Yehliu District (north west coastline). What made this Geopark so interesting was the natural forming shapes on these rocks along the shore line.The most famous and well known of these rock formations was the one called The Queens Head.

This rock formed a shape of the Queen Mother naturally over the years from weather and water eroding the surface of this rock. Unfortunately as with all natural occurring phenomenons we were told that this unique rock formation may crumble in the not so distant future so I was glad I got to see this and cross it off my bucket list of things to see before I die. Heading inland our second stop was in Jioufen Village.

This cobblestone laid village has been a travel hot spot for locals and tourists for years with its fresh seafood and tightly lined stalls that catered to everything you needed from souvenirs to unique types of street food. I got to try several dishes like this sweet dessert dish that had freshly made doughy dumplings of purple yam, taro and sweet potato. Yum! Also Taiwan is known for its tea and I got to see a demonstration on how to brew this tea traditionally and of course to try it as well.

Our third and final destination was a place called Pingshi. This town is known for its huge lanterns that light up the night sky during the Lantern Festival. Together with my girlfriend and I, and with the help of Jimmy, we got to design our own lantern by using traditional brushes and wrote our wishes on the lantern’s four sides. Once that was done we held onto the lantern and the inside canister was lit. The heat from the fire created the lift and voila, our lantern with all our wishes gently rose into the heavenly night skies. It was quite a romantic moment except for the train that roared right through the place every hour or so. The place was literally set up over tracks. Oh well.

Well I for one really enjoyed this tour, we got it through our friends here but it is offered at most hotels and at the Dandy Hotel (Dandy Hotel (Daan Park Branch) / No.33, Sec. 3, Xinyi Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.) / Tel: +886 (2) 2707-6899‎ / Fax: +886 (2) 2706-5777 ) where we were staying. I hope by reading this that you can make your way to Taiwan and explore other places outside the city as this was an unexpected surprise and well worth our time. I highly recommend it!

Special thanks goes out to Angela and Roger for organizing and showing us a great time with this tour. Thanks guys!

Make sure to check out my other posts on Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau!

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