Toren’s Taiwan Trip 12: Sanxiantai

MAR 1 2022

Important note: Sanxiantai bridge was affected by earthquakes in 2022 and is closed for maintenance until 2024

Time for another drive! And a stop at a roadside snack – drinking coconut water straight out of a fresh coconut.

Soon we arrived at Sanxiantai Island!

And the magical bridge of magic!

The view from the bridge is fab, and a little path leads further into the island, we could see the bridge behind us

Lizards! Lizards just off the path! Scampering and chasing eachother around!

After we left, we drove on for a bit and then took a short break at Jialulanxiuxi Station 加路蘭休息站(停車場) park for another look around

Weird plant!

Tomorrow: A bike ride and pheasants in Taitung Forest Park and a walk around Taitung including Railway Art Village!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 11: Farm Dream Estates – Just South of Hualien

MONDAY FEB 28 2022

Breakfast and then time to leave the B&B!

Today I drove wife, mom, sister and niece to Farm Dream Estates which is about 30 minutes South of Hualien by car.

The entry and main concourse

There were many exhibits in the main building including the indigenous peoples of the island and also bugs!

Outside, many caged animals, including birds of all kinds, tortoises, red panda, raccoon, coati, and meerkats.

Way in the back, you get to the ‘farm’ part of the estate, which glamorizes the American West

On the way back to Taitung, we stopped at the Tropic of Cancer landmark, which you can go inside of! There was also an indigenous shop


In Taiwan, you will see dogs on scooters

Next stop: Bridge at Sanxiantai

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 10: Taroko Gorge (Hualien)

FEB 27 2022

Things you find at a B&B! Meaty breakfasts and ‘disposable’ bath towels that don’t do the job

I drove the car up the crazy, narrow, winding, treacherous often single lane roads to Taroko Gorge and got pinned down by buses for a bit. One thing about Taiwan is most often the sinks are actually OUTSIDE the washrooms.

I parked the car in a small lot and then we took the bus further to the Tunnel of nine Turns.

During the bus ride back the bus had to stop and the driver had to get out and direct traffic to get unstuck on a dangerous corner. To get a sense of the treacherousness, watch this vid:

Afterwards we went to Qixingtan Beach and rented bikes to cycle along the path. There’s a military base nearby, and we saw some defenses.

A fine day indeed!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 9: Taitung to Hualien


The car was making weird noises so we took it to a mechanic! I enjoyed the giant seed pod trees nearby

Many wondrous sights were beheld along the oceanside #11 Highway

We stopped for a Taiwanese sausage made at the side of the road near Changbin township

Not long after we were up the mountain highway and I ate an ice cream bar at the Baqi Rest Stop. I saw a macaque in a tree on the way up!

We soon arrived in Hualien and checked into the Edinburgh B&B. Wandered around the city and found a store that sells Magic cards

As the evening came we walked out to the Dongdamen Night Market

being the pandemic, they were looking for really hot people

We didn’t stay long, as it was raining and started to get a bit crowded as the evening wore on

Next time: Taroko Gorge!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 8: Drive to Taitung

FRIDAY FEB 25 2022

Even though driving in Taiwan is stressful, the drive along the East coast from Kaohsiung to Taitung was lovely. I drove my wife, her older sister (jeijei) and crazy niece.

There are many giant fiberglass fruits on the road

The stray dog problem and the plastic problem in Taiwan

gatchas in the 7-11 along the highway
Be careful if you get gas here
7-11s are everywhere… and can get anywhere!
Stopping to stretch the legs
Warm and breezy
almost there…
Make sure you get your welcome punch

We had dinner at a Korean bbq place and then for a special treat we went for bubble tea at Ding Go and fried chicken at Blue Dragonfly

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 7: Love River + Lotus Pond Kaohsiung (First Visit)

FEB 24 2022

Still in Kaohsiung! But not for much longer. Took a walk around mom-in-law’s neighborhood by myself and observed some things! For example…foliage!

I liked this pizza food truck

How traffic works:

What is this I see? Jackfruit or durians or something growing right in the public park?

Here’s a pedestrian/bike overpass with a covered seating area, over the Love River

Erica and I took a train North towards Lotus Pond, and then rented some Ubikes to ride around Lotus Pond.

Subway station has a barber!

A weird store with fun western clothes

\It was smelly and rife with mosquitos, but I liked it. We didn’t go in, but I think you’re supposed to go into the dragon and come out the tiger…

Right across the street was a great bakery, we got a lot of treats!

These are just your average doors for buildings in Kaohsiung!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 6: The Dome of Light & Korean BBQ

FEB 23 2022

Still staying at mom’s place in Kaohsiung, there’s a nice little breakfast joint right across the street where I would pick up breakfast for Erica most mornings in the city (I always was up and about first). It worked by Erica sending me a text message in Chinese which I would show to the staff, and then I’d hold out a handful of coins and they’d take whatever it cost. One of the great things about Taiwan is you don’t have to worry about tipping. Hopefully people are making a living wage!

Happy breakfast cafe!
I just really like the trees

We took the MRT to the immigration building for Erica to get some paperwork handled, and I got to see the Dome of Light at the Formosa Boulevard Station!

I love the welcoming vending machines in the stations, as there’s always something to feature on #torentries, like for example this salty sarsaparilla

As dusk fell, I drove through nightmarish traffic to a Korean BBQ restaurant to eat with the family, including Jiějiě (older sister) and her insane child, who enjoyed pretending to be a snake, hissing at the weird white man, and of course I played along, terrified!

Afterwards we took a little walk around that neighborhood and saw more things OF INTEREST

Bubble tea? Yes please
Scooters, scooters, everywhere

Next up: Lotus Pond!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 5: Jing Yan Leisure Farm and Rueifong Night Market


I took a Ubike for the first time! So easy! So convenient! Just use your transit card to take it out. No helmets though, sorry – this is Taiwan!


Right next to the Kaohsiung Airport! Hippo butts (‘pigu’ in Mandarin). There’s so much innnteresting foliage in Taiwan I went a big crazy with the photos.

You thought it was a rock but it was a very cleverly disguised speaker!
What fun texture is that? Hippo skin


Had a nice conversation with a Czech guy who was selling cake. This was a fine night market with lots of treats and I got some new summertime socks too!

These grapes covered in a candy glaze were fantastic! Definitely recommend

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 4: The Inside of a Hospital & Driving in Kaohsiung


Woahhhh! Driving in Taiwan is a bit scary – mostly because of all the scooters! But I got roped into it. TRIAL BY FIRE!

The bank: If it doesn’t say ‘no parking’ – it’s parking!

Foreign traffic directions are fascinating to me!

Good Morning! This is the place we got a lot of our breakfasts from when we were in quarantine hotel

Customized scooter for the outdoorsy type

I haven’t been to Mos Burger since I was in Japan in 2019! Good to be back! And…this one sells produce? In case you want extra tomato I guess! For some reason they were playing “White Christmas” – in February!

Fascinating toothpastes!

So during the quarantine period I developed a severe stabbing pain in my back whenever I shifted my body while laying down. It didn’t seem to be going away so we went to the hospital to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. They put us in a little room off to the side, and they had to bring a mobile x-ray machine in because during quarantine I wasn’t allowed in the general hospital halls or areas. They scanned me, but apparently the x-rays didn’t turn out because I was too chonky. Not sure how that works but that was what was explained to me! So the doctor just gave me a bunch of pills and said I could come back for an MRI in 2 weeks, but by then we would no longer be in Kaohsiung so we just went ahead with our travel plans and I suffered through the pain. Seems whenever I travel there’s always some problem – when I was in Japan it was frozen shoulder. We paid them some money and then I was off to try to manage the paperwork for my travel insurance. Fun fun stuff!

Next up: Hippo butt and our first night market!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 3: Pier 2 Art Center / Lantern Festival

Sunday Feb 20 2022

My first subway trip in Taiwan! From the Houyi station to Pier 2, where we saw lots of weird art!

Of course there’s 7-11 kiosks in the station, and they had my favourite, chocolate covered grape gummies!

Near Pier 2 there’s a book store called Eslite which is kind of like Taiwanese Chapters. I bought some Traveler’s Notebook products and unbeknownst to me at the time, there was a promotion – we got 2 free beers!

Yes. At the book store.

Many cool things were seen

There was a food market area, and yet you weren’t supposed to take off your mask or eat the food they were selling. So confusing!
A military presence!
A tiny lighthouse!

As the sun went down we were treated to the light show. Here’s the Music Museum pre-dusk and at night. One of these is not my photo, can you guess which one?

At dusk we took a tram to the Lingya District (not far)

We met with my wife’s older sister and her family at the Canadian restaurant called Yaletown Bistro! We got the typical Canadian fare – poutine, Montreal smoked meat sandwich, and of course a Nanaimo bar! The owner is from Vancouver and was super friendly.

After that, we went home and distributed our gifts from Canada to the family.

Next… Mos Burger and a trip to the hospital!