From Korea to Taiwan
25.07.2010 - 31.07.2010 88 °F
I took my week-long summer vacation to Taiwan. I traveled with my 2 best friends Nick and Ashley, my friend Sara, and my boyfriend Derek (Dokyun). We flew into Taipei, Taiwan, which is the country's capital. It is a bustling city, with a variety of things to see and do.
We stayed at a cute hostel. The owners were very hospitable, and we met some interesting people to converse with. Derek, Sara, and I visited some of the night markets Taipei had to offer. It is definitely something to see. There was a plethera of seafood and fresh fruit. The fresh mango was amazing. We also ate a a great Thai restaurant named "Kiki." It was reasonably priced, and the food was tasty.
Before we departed Taipei to travel south, we went to the Taipei 101 Tower. It is an observatory tower as well as an exhitibition providing a cultural tour of Taiwan.
From Taipei we headed southeast via metro then bus to Hualien, Taiwan. We stayed at an out of the way hostel in this smaller feeling city. The main reason for this stop was to spend the next day visiting Taroko National Park. Taroko is on the outskirts of Hualien City, the townships of Ji-an and Sincheng. We left on a tour from the hostel. The bus could not accommodate our time schedule, so we were lucky enough to get our very own private taxi cab tour! The cab driver was not rookie to guiding tourists through the park. He knew all the sights worth seeing. We took a healthy hike on Suopodang Mountain. It was so refreshing and beautiful. We stopped at other notable sights such as Swallow Grotto, the Buluowan Recreation area where we enjoyed some Taiwanese cuisine at an outdoor restaurant, the Eternal Spring Shrine, and the Siangde Temple Trail. After a good hike, we reached Xiangde Temple on a plateau across the Liwu River. The temple is surrounded by mountains. Vehicles cannot reach this place, so it remains very peaceful. This is a Buddhist temple, completed in 1968. Many visitors come from all over the world to worship Buddha or practice moral teachings.
The last stop was to an ocean park on the east coast in the Hualien area. We rested, and took in the satisfying ocean air and view before ending our tour. From there, we gathered up our luggage and headed to the train station. Next stop, Kaohsiung, located in the southwest region of Taiwan. We only stopped here, because the train does not travel any further south. From there, we took what looked to be a flinstone-style bus (very old and rickety), to Kenting, Taiwan. Kenting is located at the very southern tip of Taiwan. We stayed at The Surf Shack Bar and Grill Hostel. It was a great hostel with delightful food and the nicest, mot hospitable host. We learned that Kenting is pretty disconnected in terms of technology and the use any other form of money besides cash. This posed a bit of a problem, but we managed. We spent a lot of time walking the streets, checking out the markets, and of course a few different beaches.
The week ended, and we made the long trip using almost every different mode of transportation besides boat to arrive back in Korea. Before flying out of Taipei, we hit the Jade Market. Taiwan is known for their Jade, and much of the homemade jewlery that entails. Overall, it was a very nice vacation. Taiwan did "touch my heart."