Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Taiwan Trip For The First Time (Part 1)

During the Spring break, we took our family to Taiwan for a week. It was our first time visiting Taiwan. Before the point we decided to pay a visit to the place, Taiwan was placed in a low priority of our travel list. One of the reasons was we didn't see many cool things from friends who visited Taiwan... until I saw Billy's photo couple years ago. We wanted to go to the place which inspired "Spirited Away": Jiufen.

Jessie had some friends hired a Taiwanese local driver for their trips before. Then, we also hired him 4 trips. First trip was from airport to Jiaoxi. Second trip from Jiaoxi to Jiufen. Third trip was Jiufen to Taipei and then the last one from Taipei to airport. In the second and the third trip, the driver brought us to many locations on the way to destination. He explained a lot of back stories about various places to us. Basically, he was our tour guide at the same time.

We brought back about 120Gb photos to Canada.

After 11+ hours flight (plus delay), we arrived at the airport. The first thing before we met the custom was visiting the booth selling phone cards. We bought the 8 days unlimited 4G data sim card for about CAD30. We could contact our driver by WeChat. The trip to Jiaoxi was about an hour long. Passing the long long tunnel, we arrived at the hotel around 7pm. We had a quick dinner nearby and prepared for next day's travel plan.

We walked around the city and checked on some hot springs. The first impression of this place was the horrible traffic when motorbike didn't follow rules and cars parked wherever they wanted in a sudden.

We found a shop selling red pepper beer in the city. Because it was just the beginning of our adventure, we couldn't upset our stomach. We didn't try any.

The store used Dyson hair dryer ($$$) to dry the bubble waffle!?

At night, some stores changed into street side snack shops. Friends suggested we only bought fried food. Yes, the fired chicken was really good.

During the day, we took train to Yilan. The main purpose was visiting a kid theme park but it was closed on that day... Who would expect it closed in the middle of a week?

Leaving Jiaoxi, our driver drove us to Shifen. This place became famous because of a movie back in 4 years ago. It had a scene about releasing floating lantern to the sky. People wrote their wishes on the lanterns before releasing them.

The driver suggested us to start from the train terminal first. We could take photos of a still train instead of most visitors took photos at the stations after this. Our driver was good, I think.

On the way to make our wishes on Shifen's floating lantern, we stopped by the Shifen rainfall and had a lunch together.

Finally, we arrived and we were going to release the lantern at the middle of the rail. Sometimes, train passed by (quite dangerous). The staffs of lantern shops would help customers to take photos during the process (just handed them your camera). They could speak English, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean etc. Pretty amazing. The staffs asked us to do some embarrassing poses at that time. Traveling should be relaxing and be silly... That was ok :-)

After this, we walked to the train station for going to the Cat Village. Driver left and he waited us at the village's train station.

See Part 2 soon! Stay tuned!

Raymond & Jessie
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