Toren Taiwan Trip 22: Elephant (Xiang Shan) Mountain, Songshan Tianbao Holy Road Palace, and Lin Jiang Street Night Market (Part 1)

March 12 2022

Elephant Mountain on the East side of Taipei in the Xinyi district, is easily accessible and not too difficult a hike, although there are a lot of stairs at the onset.

Xianghan, one of the Sishou Hills was named for the elephant because of its long-nose shape, is a small mountain with a rich ecology and amazing views of Taipei.

Finding the entrance…

a cute little domicile near the base of the mountain

The starting point. There’s a lot of steps at the beginning! Bring water!

What you’re in for…

Where are we right now?

My god, the foliage!!!

We’re 10 minutes in (really)? and we’ve arrived at the observation deck!

I’M HUGE! The first viewing platform

Culture.

Hope this helps

educational!

I think it means “watch out for snakes”

Now we’re getting somewhere? Where, I don’t know.

Climb the stairway of destiny….

Now where am I?

We have arrived at 北星寶宮 – A small temple with a road on the mountain!

17 minutes according to google…not sure about that!

Checking out the facade…

On to the next whatever

Watch your step!

Tianbaoshengdao Temple AKA Songshan Tianboa Holy Road Palace

Another 10 minutes will get you here!

How could they keep that ki-rin in that tiny jail?

Heading down to the street

Another 15 minute walk along the road, through Yongchunpi Wetland Park (watch out for mosquitos) and you’re back in the city!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 21: Taipei Zoo Raohe Night Market

Took the train to Taipei Zoo! I was very excited to see some pangolins!

good luck everybody!

I guess I just follow these pangolins!

It must be near now! Should I call to see if he’s there? Is this the direct line to the pangolin exhibit?

So many Taiwan Treasures at the Taipei Zoo!

Finally got to the pangolin exhibit…it was closed. Sad face. But got to see these 2D representations.

Some marmosets attacked us! Well…not really

Had a close encounter with a coati!

I touched the dung beetle

We wandered around a bit and found a place to have lunch

Oh that’s fine, just park anywhere….

Found some game stores but was too shy (and time-pressed) to join. Also, can’t speak or read Mandarin!

Finally to Raohe Night Market!

Get the scholar’s cake if you can! My video was crap so here’s someone else’s:

tomorrow: Hiking Elephant Mountain!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 20: Taipei at Last!

THURSDAY MARCH 10 2022

Took the high speed rail from Kaohsiung to Taipei (a 2 hour 20 minute trip) where I saw the mountains and farmland of Taiwan

We arrived and walked around the neighborhood of our hostel, and visited the National Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

Creepy

I wanted to try Britshake, the British-themed restaurant, to see how it was in Taiwan. Unfortunately, not super memorable. So I won’t bother with pics. Anyway – here’s an interesting chart showing the ethnographics of Taiwan

A little park/mosquito breeding ground

Check out the space age 7-11. What happens in there? I don’t know

It’s a gas station just for scooters. They’re ubiquitous!

Your average Taipei commuter train station

We met up with two of Erica’s old friends, Frankie and Andy, at Kokoro izakaya (Japanese bar with food) where I had a cute little cumquat, deep fried bitter melon (yummy) and some nuts of some kind!

After that we went to a lesbian karaoke bar that I believe was called 7 Plus, but I couldn’t find it on google. It was…interesting, because the lesbians will try to chat you up for tips, which I found to be awkward, because although they were very nice and tried hard to make me feel welcome – I don’t really drink, and we don’t speak the same language. But there was some karaoke so not too bad!

I wanted to go to the poo-themed restaurant I had heard about years prior, but sadly they had permanently closed 🙁

DENIED!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip #20 Moon Bay Beach, Yuguang Island, Tainan

March 09 2022

Should you find yourself at Mitsui Outlet Park in Tainan, be sure to visit Gozen Kamicha!

Former fishing settlement on a forested island, with water sports & a beach with sunset views. Travel Tainan says “Yuguang Island, connected to the bustling Anping District by the Yuguang Bridge. Visitors can stroll along the beach or step barefoot into the waves to feel the caress of the sea breeze and the cool seawater lapping at their ankles.”

All true!

First thing on the island is the small area of vendors, and a temple of course.

A beautiful wooden path leads to the beach. Maybe to protect your feet from snakes? I didn’t see any snakes.

Isn’t that nice? I think so

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 19: Ocean Fantasy Museum at Chengching Lake, Niaosong District, Kaohsiung (A Sad Octopus)

TUESDAY MARCH 8 2022

About a half hour Easty (Northy) of downtown Kaohsiung there is a pleasant lake called Chengcing Lake. There’s lots of very pleasant park area around it.

Here’s the 2-star hotel “Chengching Lakefront Resort right next to the Ocean Fantasy Museum.

The lake looks nice, but don’t touch

Ooh – Lions Club lion looks different than the one in Canada

There’s a nice walk along the edge of the lake with many things to see!

Check out the marvelous Nine-Cornered Bridge! I think corners are supposed to confuse ghosts, so they made the bridge zig-zaggy? Maybe? I guess watch out for ghosts when you’re not on the bridge.

Finally, the Ocean Fantasy Museum, built from a converted anti-nuclear underground bunker!! It’s fascinating as a piece of cold war history, and also as a fairly humdrum aquarium with sad animals.

And now, a gallery of sad sea creatures

Tragic octopus.

Here’s a video I found on youtube touring the facility:

In conclusion, the park and lake are lovely to visit and a nice walk. I found the museum fascinating due to its history, with kitschy art, but the octopus and other marine animals in small sterile cells made me feel sad inside. I feel like this would be a nice park to bike around if I had the chance.

Toren’s Taiwan Travel Blog 18: Sanduo Shopping District (Kaohsiung)

Monday March 7

A ‘rest’ day today so we went to the FE21’ Mega Far Eastern Department Store Kaohsiung Branch to watch The Batman and do a little shopping.

it’s got The Enterprise int he little window but it looks like the Infinity Gauntlet.

I love these Japanese Hotwheels – they’re very interesting

a closer look

Did not buy

Back home I wandered around the nearby night market and got a Taiwanese shawarma. Quite different than what I’m used to in Vancouver, but tasty

Next time: Ocean Fantasy Museum at Chengching Lake, Niaosong District, Kaohsiung City

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 16: Taiwan Sugar Factory (Qiaotou District, Kaohsiung)

SATURDAY MARCH 5 2022

Drove the car to Taiwan Sugar Factory Museum in Qiaotou district (North Kaohsiung). Took many photos of rusty textures and post-apocalyptic structures. Enjoyed a Taiwanese sausage and Pocari Sweat.

The site was quite interesting also because it was build under the Japanese occupation. The main office building had gun holes to defend people resisting Japanese authority. Also according to this site https://topics.amcham.com.tw/2020/07/taiwans-sugar-industry/ US bombers targeted Taiwan sugar factories because they also produced ethanol.

For less crappy photos check out https://www.taisugar.com.tw/english/Attractions_detail.aspx?n=11997&s=318&p=0

In the evening we went to a Japanese BBQ place where the service was slow, unfriendly, and a homeless guy selling stuff kept coming and the staff yelled at him. A barking dog sat nearby. We were there OVER 2 HOURS and I was very bored so I walked around outside to stertch my legs and take photos of things!

Next – bike ride to Lotus Pond!

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 15: The Best Place in Kaohsiung – Cijin Island

FRIDAY MARCH 4 2022

It’s time for my #1 recommendation for visitors to Kaohsiung.

We took a train to Sizihwan Station 西子灣站 and had breakfast at Sanwa Bank, which has been turned into a cafe

The very short ferry to Cijin Island was fun! KUMAMON!

As soon as we got off the ferry we grabbed a little electric bike for two!

They gave us a little map of the island and the best way to get around. First stop: Cihou Fort!

We missed the lighthouse, unfortunately. Next time!

Then we biked along the beach path. It was longer than we thought!

We hit the Sunset Bar appropriately at Sunset. The servers spoke perfect English!

The Cihou Market had some fun stuff… like Avengers!

What a great day! Here’s some other misc photos from that day

As always, minimum amount of room is provided for pedestrians

Because people in Taiwan tend to park anywhere they want

Toren’s Taiwan Trip 14: Liouhe Night Market

THURSDAY MARCH 3 2022

There was a big power outage through many cities of Taiwan today, and here’s an article to prove it. This was apparently caused by an accident but parts of Taiwan are vulnerable to brownouts during the summer when demand for A/C is too much for the system.

We walked to the Jilin Street Night Market for food but it was crazy crowded so we took a 5 minute cab ride to Liouhe Night Market instead.

Look at how crazy crowded it is!

Aiyu jelly, known in Amoy Hokkien as ogio, and as ice jelly in Singapore, is a jelly made from the gel from the seeds of the awkeotsang creeping fig found in Taiwan and East Asian countries
Aiyu jelly, known in Amoy Hokkien as ogio, and as ice jelly in Singapore, is a jelly made from the gel from the seeds of the awkeotsang creeping fig found in Taiwan and East Asian countries

I got sour green mango!