Day 3 - Yangmingshan National Park, Yehliu Geopark, and Jiufen

I hear your life is feeling pretty dull
you want something satisfying that'll make it fun
you wanna change but
your mum and dad don't want to ever see you escape 'the norm'

Bad Boy - Dan Croll

I was being ambitious for day 3. The big items to check off are Yangmingshan National Park, Yehliu Geopark, and Jiufen with some other stops along the way. To facilitate this, I got a driver to take us around and I also made it a point to start early at 07:30 AM. However after the 2 days where the weather was accommodating especially in Sun Moon Lake where we had a pretty blue sky, our last 2 days in Taiwan was filled with rains. While it did disrupt our plan, I can still be thankful about it because the rain was more like constant drizzle rather than the soaking stormy rain that we're having these days in Singapore, and Jakarta too I guess. As for the driver, well from the Internet I found an Indonesian guy who does this, but he didn't reply my mail :( Oh the snubbery :( After browsing the Net, I settled with Go Taiwan Taxi Service and it went well, they responded pretty immediately. Like the tour in Hualien, this too asked for a deposit through PayPal and you paid the rest to the driver. Another thing to note: if I had been alone, I wouldn't have done this. I wouldn't have the guts to entrust a guy to drive me around for a whole day in a foreign country. I would have taken public transportation and most probably ended up not being able to cover as much ground. So I am thankful that I got my parents to do this with.

We started off in Yangmingshan National Park. There are many places of interest that you can visit here and depending on the seasons that you're in, some are perhaps worth visiting more than others. From reading around, I chose these 3 stops: Xiaoyoukeng, Qingtiangang, and Lengshuikeng. First stop was Xiaoyoukeng. This spot has fumaroles that emit sulfur. Being that it was drizzling and the sulfur smell was quite strong, we didn't stay long. I have to say that the view from the walkway is not that exceptional.

We made a short stop nearby because it gives a pretty view of the mountains around with low laying clouds. Then it was to Qingtiangang. This is fun for me because it's basically a plain with walkway and all around you can see mountains. However it was raining and it's cold, so mom and dad opted to go back to the car and I spent some time walking on my own with an umbrella. There were only a few other people walking, but it's quiet enough and I like the solitude. I read that there's wild cattle, but didn't see any. I guess because it's raining. Since my parents were waiting, I just walked until I reached a shelter and walked back. This is basically the walk in the flat pathway. There's also other path which is not so flat and I didn't do that. I thought it might not be too wise to do it in the rain. I enjoyed my time alone here and I mean that quite literally because most of the time I was alone in the pathway.

It's hard to take pictures in the rain and one of my picture was this below which seems like it's from a nightmare scene in a movie :D

Next stop was supposed to be Lengshuikeng where you can use the free hot spring to soak your feet. However mom wasn't interested since it's raining (though the place has shelter) and as she mentioned, there are things like this in Indonesia too so off we went for Yehliu. We didn't do much in Yangmingshan and perhaps one may think that it's not worth going all the way there to spend so little time. I guess we could have done more if the weather had been better. I find Yangmingshan to be interesting and I guess it would be fun on a better day to do some of the hikes. I don't know how hard they are, but walking among trees when the weather is cool is great and I love doing that. For pictures from Yangmingshan, please go here.

Anyways, we arrived in Yehliu. I thought the parents gonna want to have lunch first, but upon seeing the seafood restaurants all around, they decided not to and we went to the park straight away. Ticket price is not very expensive. There's a lot of tourists around, a lot of Koreans. We also finally heard some Indonesian tourists. Luckily he rain stopped for awhile when we were exploring the rocky area. The rock shapes are quite interesting. It's similar to the rocks in Cappadocia, but the fact that this is by the sea made the experience more unique for me. Wikipedia told me that these types of rock is called Hoodoo. Basically the rock at the top is harder than the rock below which is supporting it, hence the rock below is eroded faster and can be leaner. The Queen's head is a favorite of everyone to take picture with. Hence I don't have a picture of it because I couldn't take a picture of it without people being in the picture. Aside from rock formations (like below, a collection of mushroom rocks), there are other interesting things too, for example there's some holes where water are pooling and there's also remains of fossil, like what the last picture in the group below shows.

Unfortunately the rain came back again that mom and dad decided to just sit out at a shelter at another part of the park while I went exploring on my own. It is really nice visiting it and mom likes it a lot. It's very touristy though, so I think it's always filled with people. For pictures please go here. Afterwards we went to the small market next to the park and decided to eat there. There are snacks that you can buy, mostly they're seafood based and mom got a pack of fish floss. Mom and dad are from Bangka and there's some good fish floss from there so I think we're kinda curious if this is as good. Asked mom about it today and she said it was good.

After that my plan was actually to go see Nanya rock formation, Yin Yang sea, and the Golden waterfall before going to Jiufen. However the driver just straight away took us to Jiufen. I did notice that he might be going straight there, but decided not to say anything. I guess the rain kinda dampened the spirit. So in Jiufen, there were also many people. The old street was filled with crowd that it didn't make it easy to walk through it. Since I don't like people, I couldn't say I enjoy myself much. At the end of the street, you can see the view below. Yes, as you can see, it was so so.

The old street itself is filled with shops selling snacks and souvenirs. The many different snacks were truly tempting. I tried the hot dessert soup filled with chewy colourful taro balls and beans like red and green beans. I wonder why the taro balls are colourful, were they coloured? It's nice in a cold rainy day. It's not very sweet and I think I may like it more if it's slightly sweeter. Side note: mom actually likes the fact that it seems Taiwanese food are not overly seasoned, for example this dessert wasn't overly sweet and most dishes that we tried there were not too salty. Then mom chose this weird peanut crepe ice-cream (picture below before 2 scoops of ice cream were added). Weird because I think that green leaf thing is cilantro. I only took a small bite without the cilantro thing. Mom said it's not bad. I don't do vegetable, so I think it's weird.

I don't think we stayed there long. So anyways I asked the driver if we had time to go to the Golden waterfall. He said okay. Maybe he realized that he missed the Nanya rock part. He seemed sorry and said it's a bit far to go there and it's a rock as well, the same as Yehliu. I said it's okay because it's raining, it did make visiting these places rather hard. The Golden waterfall is not very far and it's literally by the road. Actually from here, you can also see the Yin Yang sea which is this sea where a part of it has brownish and blue water together. I don't have any picture of it because it's quite some distance away so I couldn't get any good picture. It was cloudy too so any picture might not be good. Google it, you'll see some nice pictures. The driver told us that the water from the Golden waterfall has some minerals in it and it runs down to the sea and that's why some part of the Yin Yang sea is brownish. Took some photos of the waterfall and then we're off back to Taipei.

For pictures from Jiufen and the Golden waterfall, please go here. We arrived back in our hotel at around 5 pm. So that was around 9.5-hour trip. The quotation given to me was 4000 NTD for 8 hours and the deposit was 400 NTD. Every extra half an hour is 200 NTD. So if we're being calculative, I should pay him 4200 NTD. The driver was so nice though that he said I didn't have to pay for the overtime, I should just pay him 3600 NTD. I think it was too generous from his side so I handed him 4100 NTD and even then he tried to hand me back 100 NTD. I refused because 4 is an unlucky number in Chinese :) I don't care about that actually, but since he's Taiwanese Chinese, maybe it actually matters? Why 4100 NTD and not the correct amount of 4200 NTD? Well it's because I couldn't find the extra 100 NTD bill in my wallet. When I told my parents about it, mom was like you should have told me so that we could pay him the correct amount. It's okay though, all is okay.

That evening, mom and I went out awhile to Taipei Main Station to hunt for some snacks to bring back to the people at home. For me basically I just needed to get something for my landlady. We tried the egg pudding which I was so curious about. It wasn't amazing. It was milky, but so so. Again not very sweet. Mom didn't enjoy it. Then we packed dinner for dad from the place near the hotel that they like and I got little pieces of spicy fried chicken from a local joint which I forget the name. It was not bad. That was it for day 3, it was an ambitious one, but we completed it okay despite of the weather not being cooperative :)

:) eKa @ 10:00:00 PM •


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