Sunday, August 31, 2008

Expect the unexpected........

The most beautiful part of a holiday is when you get to do something out of the ordinary, out of expectation and out of the unimaginable. I skip blogging for Kaohsiung because of all the place I being to in Taiwan, Kaohsiung seem to be the least exciting of all. I had great fun there but just nothing special to write about. So here I decided to write about Luye in Taitung. After all the walking and traveling by the time we were in Luye it was near the end of our whole trip in Taiwan. With tiredness starting to hit on us, Luye was totally a relaxing heaven.

These is the train station, it feel like one of those in the movie right.

we were a bit worry to had to arrived in Luye late in the night but sitting in the station waiting for our pick up from the home stay, some how we just feel a sense of calmness and peacefulness. NO FEAR AT ALL.

There were more crazy stuff we did. These picture are just the started. The thing we did in Luye was probably something we would never imagine we would ever do. Earlier post in my blog where I posted photo of picture of the three of us together were all mostly taken in Luye.

It is not so much the placed that make me want to talk about Luye but the stuff we did there. We were really lucky as when we arrived in Luye we have a great guide to take us around. Her name was 小鱼(sorry I think that is how you write her name, my Chinese is pre school level). We didn't have to paid for her to take us around, she was working for the home stay we stay in. Here is the website (I not sure if they still provided the service but the place is beautiful to stay in).

The home stay we stay in is just a simple elegant design home with just 2 to 3 bed room. With 小鱼 taking care of us, everything that is simple to our normal everyday life seem to bring a unique experience. She brought us lychee to tried, the breakfast was a simple white porridge and bun but it had a warm feeling while we were eating it. Just before we left she let us tried the art of drinking Chinese tea and cookes the most tasty instant noodle. All this was great hospitality with no extra cost.

From the moment we arrived 小鱼 took just to a small road side stall for simple but delicious bean curd stew with white rice. After dinner we ask if there is any hot spring in Luye and she said we should tried hot spring dip at night. We each book a room with hot spring, it was only RM30. In the room there was a hots spring with small opening door where you can look up into the sky with infinity star and old melody music playing in the back ground. Gosh tell me that is not heaven I don't know what is (sorry too indulge to take picture).

After hot spring 小鱼 took us on ride on this road at night. She said at night this road is known as timeless tunnel. Because there is no street light driving at night it feel like you are traveling on a never ending road. 小鱼 said everyone who come to Luye should tried driving on these road and night and in the morning you can rent a bike. The feeling is amazing.

Another activity to do in Luye is Paragliding. We didn't get to do it because to wind was to great on that day but standing on the edge looking at the beautiful scenery. I can half imagined what it would feel to Para glide from there.

Luye give us memory where the three of us will treasure for the rest of our lifetime. It seem like its fate for me to choose Luye out of all the other place to go in Taiwan. I had no info or expectation when choosing Luye. I was looking at a pamphlet where it was introducing all the farm stay in Taiwan. I choose Luye because it was the cheapest. The result of the choice was amazing. I guess this fit the saying "expect the unexpected". I hope 小鱼 can read this because of her I get to have such beautiful memory of Luye.............

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My five year Partner................

This will be the only memory left I have of this car. I officially sold the car off today. I know I'm being sentimental but this car had being with me for the past 5yrs of cause I have to show some emotion. bye bye bye.................

Railway Journey.................

Best way to travel in Taiwan is going by the train. I had never ride in a train in my life, so I had my imagination of what train ride is like. Excitement and fear are both in the bag. To talk about fear, it would be whether or not it was going to be dirty. Now I can tell you there is NO NEED TO FEAR, not only was it clean, you would be traveling in total comfort. I have proof........(evidents below). Traveling by train is an experience on its owned, I'm not sure if you will be able to feel this kind of experience even if you take train ride in other country. One of the must tried feature while traveling by train in Taiwan is buying a lunch box. You can buy it when the train stop at the station or on the platform while you are waiting for the train. A ladies will carry the lunch box onto the train or sell it at the waiting platform. This practice had being around for a very long time. The most important thing is the food are not bad. The final and one of the most important reason for taking the train is the scenery. Along the east coast the scenery is mile and mile of ocean view. Provided you don't fall asleep the view is great.

This is why I'm always the one holding the camera. This look like they are as comfortable as they are sleeping in their owned bed.

Because we travel by train around the Island, so at some point we had to do crazy stuff. Here I leave it to our very own Low Lay Phon. I shouted at her for jumping in while I was taking the picture, but looking through all the shot I had taken, this picture come out the best.

This is train station Chencheng. There is so many reason why we decided to come to this place. I'm not sure how famous this place is to the westerner but in Taiwan is very famous. This station run on one of the last three old railway track in Taiwan. The track had being around since the Japanese occupation. This place is well known for it wood work. I stumbler on this place through a television show introducing a restaurant. (I will talk about the restaurant next). The more I search for info on these place, the more I was fascinated with the history and scenery of it. If you have time it is a must to stop by maybe just for half day. another fun thing to do there is the DIY wood work factory, after that you can bring back the work as souvenir. Here is the website you can check out for activity to do in Chencheng

This is the one of the reason why you must go to Chencheng. The food is not bad but the fun thing is after you finish with the food you can take home the bucket. (Yoke Teng grab the bucket) Here is the website for the restaurant There is not a lot of surprise about the restaurant, it is just a chick modern cafe. The bucket lunch set was the main attraction for me to go to Chencheng but when I reach there I found a new uniqueness about the place. Here you have a place which is still very much a old traditional town with very little development, yet right in the center of the attraction is this new modern trend restaurant. It give the feel of a old and new era combine together.

Traveling is about the whole experience of the journey, it is not only about visiting a particular place but also the journey it take to reach the place. The journey on the train is as much an exciting experience as visiting the different place in Taiwan. Backpack traveling can sometime be tiring. Take time to stop by in Chencheng for lunch is a great way relax and breath in fresh air.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

日月潭...................SUN MOON LAKE

WHY..................Sun Moon Lake, apart from the fact that every TOM DICK AND HARRY will have to go to if they decide to travel to Taiwan because it had to be within the top 10 list of tourist must go destination in Taiwan. I however will give you my reason why give this place a go. Even without my words, check out this website and you see why I had chosen to go the Sun Moon Lake. The thing is there is not much to do in SML but the scenery is breath taking. Hearing the name in Chinese is like going back to ancient time, something like the movie Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. If you are Chinese you know what I am trying to get at. To be able to walk into this fairytale scenery, the place is worth going to anytime. If I described Jiu Feng to be the ancient beauty of Taiwan. Sun Moon Lake would have to be the modern beauty. Some residents of SML said because of the earthquake few year ago a lot had being destroy. So I m sure the place would have being even more beautiful than.

One of the must to do thing is book a boat ride around the lake. that is the most beautiful tranquil feel of calmness in the lake and you be able to feel it when you go on the ride. Most booking can be done through hotel or the home stay. Price are usually cheaper.

It would have being picture perfect if it was a guy and girl in the picture. instead we have two crazy girl here.

The beauty of the photo is the wall. This and the photo just above is taken on a walk up to a temple. If you take the boat ride, this will be one place where they will stop for a visit.

This was our mode of transport, the owner of the home stay provide transport to take us around. These two girl was so excited with riding in the back of a stock pickup van. If you look closely they are sitting on a box. I think even a limo ride cannot give us this much excitement.

All I know how to caption the three picture above is "3 women found their childhood memory or just us trying to act young". Overall it was great fun. Yoke Teng riding on miniature train, Lay Phon on merry go round and me just hanging in air.

I should had written about the hotel stay at the very beginning but the picture didnt turn out good so I leave it till the end. Thought the picture didnt turn out good but the actual place is great. There is really no need to book hotel in advance unless you are going during the very peak season, otherwise there is plenty of home stay around. I actually book in advance but when I reach there I found the hotel was in the middle of no where, so we went looking for another place the next day. We found a home stay (shown in the picture above). The room rate is cheap, although the room is small but design was very cosy, so I highly recommended it to everyone. You can also bargain the price with walk in.

We had our fun in SML but I think the place are made more for lover. It is just so beautifully romantic. There was a joke I had with Yoke Teng. If there was me, her and a guy in a boat, I will push her off the boat because she would just ruined a picture perfect scene.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back in Time...........Jiu Feng

If you ask me where in Taiwan is my favorite place one of them would have to be Jiu Feng. It is about an hour train ride from Taipei, then catch a bus opposite the train station in Rui Feng. Another 30 min you be at Jiu Feng. Although the place is all so tourists (something I m not fan of) but the place still maintain the feel of traveling back in time. The place is full of old architecture house, tea house and cafe. All seem like its hanging off the cliff. so standing at anyone of the cafe, you feel like you are standing on the edge of the world. Most tourist go there for day trip but I recommend everyone to stay a few if not at least one night there. Get the feel of the place when most tourist leave, go to one of the restaurant hanging off the Cliff for dinner, listen to old melody, feel the cold breeze blowing on your face. Oh one more important thing to do, buy some beer or plum wine and drink the night away in a stylish design homestay.This is as close to heaven as it get.

Imagine waking up to this scenery in the morning. This is why I recommend that everyone must stay a night. There is lots of homestay here. Most are beautifully design in the interior.

This is the homestay I stay in I highly recommend to anyone who decide to stay there, the reason is apart from the beautiful room you get to meet the nice's people there. The place is owned by 陳姐 and 許先生. We actually booked the cheapest room with one double bed only. When we reach and meet up with 許先生, he saw that there were three of us, so he put us up in larger room (more like a house) at no extra cost (He said since it was low season and no one was occupy the place, he will give it to us so we can sleep more comfortably. After we settle in, he invited us to have tea at his cafe, serve us delicious fresh bamboo shoot and with that we chat away few hour in his cafe. This was all great hospitality done with no extra charge (The three of us was afraid all this come with price).

Does it look like the 2 women is posing for photo, believe me this is as natural as it get. This was how we spent our 2rd day in Taiwan, Jiu Feng. We not only woke up to beautiful scenery but also great breakfast, make by 許先生 himself. You must tried to tea, it had the most unique taste that linger in your memories (some flower sense to it).

The tourist aspect can be seen by the fact that every corner is created for tourists ranging from souvenir shop, tea house or cafe. but the good thing is all this still maintain or run in old architecture styles building.

Tea house is a phenomenon in Taiwan, no exception in Jiu Feng. Everywhere you turn there is a tea house. Some had even being used to film drama. We choose a more modernise one, we are however still in the young generation. This tea house have a great view to see the sun set. However the price for drinking tea is very expensive but with a view like that it worth every cent.

The feel of standing on the edge of the world.

I m not good with word to fully described how it feel to be in Jiu Feng. You have to be there to get the feel of the whole environment, the people and the place. Chatting with great Taiwanese over a cup of tea and plate of fresh bamboo shoot. Sitting in tea house for 2 3 hour to wait for sunset, walking alone the walkway which might have being 100 of year old. You will know and feel that this is how life should be. Every step is move with the feet and not with the wheel. So one can really appreciate every minute every second.

Taiwan..............THE MEMORIES

I finally went to Taiwan (not going to said when, it just upset me because I m here writing about it and not there right now). So far all the place I being to always seem like heaven. Taiwan is no different, I really dont know how to put in words to describe the place, The time spent there was just perfect. honestly not a single fault in there. I think I m just lucky cause I didnt meet any bad people or experience.

Me, Yoke Teng and Lay Phon was there for about 2 weeks, general description of the timeline is first stop Taipei, Jui Fen, Sun Moon Lake (Taichung), Kaohsiung, (Tai Tung), Haolian and back to Taipei for the last stop.

Sorry being as lazy as I m. I will separated the different place into separate post. For starter I will first post some and I mean some photo of the 3 of us, I swear if I post certain photo of the trip. I cant guarantee the consequences. Two might never get married and one would be divorce by the husband. This trip is great not only being in Taiwan but with the best companions I had. Most of the fun are being with these two crazy girl. We have our fair share of irritating one another but all these is like ink print into my memories. I do hope when we are in out 50, we can still travel together. at least these is what we promise each other. Love u girl..........

I m a shame that I m a photographer, this is the best photo in the whole trip and its not taken by me.

The cutes thing in Taiwan is that they have the most creative mind. some of the most simplest thing can catch one attention. walk into 7/11, even a bottle of mineral water will grab one attention

How many can leave their footstep in this beautiful lush greenery. we did more than that Instead of just walking and running we roll down on these piece of land as well.

Looking at this picture it really look like one of those bollywood movie right. Ha Ha Ha. By night this road is know as "time traveling tunnel" Our guide from the home stay took us for drive at night, it feel like traveling on a never ending road and in the morning it seem every tourist have to do this to remember they being here. Believe me the truck couldnt be bother with us.

Everything stop just standing there. the picture look great right? I was scare like mad, this was a very and I mean very expensive camera taking the pix on auto timer. with our back turn anything can happen.

Hear no evil, Speak no evil, See no evil.

I dont consider backpack traveling unless you spend some time in self laundry shop. Even this was so much fun.

From the three of us to oh sorry cant count, just many people. This was in Haulian. We meet up with one of Yoke Teng friend "ah Yee". The old men second from the right, holding the purple hat, he is one of the best host u can find when traveling in Haulian. He operate a home stay there. I will blog more about Haulian and him in future post.

Here is Ah Yee and me trying to be sexy. oh gosh that didnt work at all. the bridge nearly broke.

Gosh I was so fat, thank god I m working hard to shed off the fat. The best thing about Taiwan is sitting in convenient shop eating over size instant noodle (The best instant noddle I have tasted in my life). I m backpacking.................

This is a photo of us b4 heading out to see whale. I wish I can show some of the picture on the boat but they are all so ugly. This will have to do for now. The trip was great not only catching a gleams of whale but taking off our shoe, sitting on the edge in front of the boat, dangling our leg off the boat and letting the ocean water splash onto our leg. That was better than high on drug.

There are more picture I wish I can show but considering the consequence I will keep them for private viewing. For those who want to travel go with friend that you can do crazy thing with. Thing like buying bottle of alcohol to drink at night. sitting in train station late in the night and finally taking lots and lots of crazy picture.