After Tainan, we headed to Taipei, where I had my first visit to Shifen – a very delayed visit, given the number of times I’ve been to Taiwan. It’s quite far out and if you wish to visit Jiufen and Shifen at the same time, I would highly advise you to start your day early.
We were fortunate enough to witness the train travelling along the tracks where we would release the lanterns. It’s so interesting how everyone starts shouting “train is coming” and there’s this scramble to get out of the way and whip out our cameras/phones to capture this interesting event.
Shifen waterfall is pretty small, but the walk up there from the train station is beautiful. We had lunch at a restaurant on our way up and this friendly auntie serves delicious and affordable home cook dishes that warmed our souls.
Literally translated into black mountain pork sausage (黑山猪香肠) – don’t forget to have it with the raw garlic they provide on the side. The garlic cuts through the grease and makes each bite crunchy, flavourful and refreshing.
The next day was a visit to Taipei Zoo, which was pretty warm before we headed down to Shenkeng Old Street. The old street had changed so much that it’s no longer worth the effort to go there.
We also made our way down to Yangmingshan (阳明山) – albeit pretty late so we couldn’t visit the calla lily farms at zhu zi hu (竹子湖). Instead we headed to xiao you keng (小油坑), qing tian gang (擎天岗) and leng shui keng (冷水坑).
Xiao you keng is the foot of the volcanic Mt. Qixing. If time permits, I would have love to hike up to the peak. But alas, we walked about the area until the next bus comes to brings us to qing tian gang.
Qing tiang gang is a lava terrace that has a flat terrain. There are quite a number of stray dogs when you first walk towards the grassland. There are also a few cows and their huge poop along the pathway so be careful on where you step. From here, we “hike” down towards leng shui keng – a hot springs area. But it was near 5 pm, so we had to hurry to catch the last few buses out of the mountain. Plus, bus timings towards the end of the day become less frequent and erratic due to mountain weather. So, it’s best to have some leeway when planning your departure from the area.
Till the next post, bye!