If you are as crazy as me ; you can find some stamps in every Information Center & can stamp your journal if you have one !
“Easy Card” ; It is the best & cheapest way to travel in “Taiwan”. You can buy a card from any 7 eleven, post office.. You put some money on & it works in the transports as “Pop up / Top off”.
What cost the most in Taiwan ? The accommodation. The food, activities, transports are quit cheap as all Asia. Even if it is more expensive than the other country like “Thailand” or even more “Vietnam“. When you think of it where I paid maybe 2 euro maximum for a night in a Hotel in Vietnam & in Taiwan is not less than 10 euro or as usual 15 euro per night. You can always deal with them. But when you feel frustrating about the price just think back about the prices in France or UK. The smile will come back 🙂
Backpack on shoulders, we are moving to our first destination with a bus from “Taichung” to the train station with the bus N’ 161 for 40 mins. Let’s the backpacking trip begin !
Sun Moon Lake ; Bus from “Taichung Station” – 190 TWD ( 5,70 euro ) – 1 hour 30 to stop at “Shuishe” Terminus with the bus company “Nan Tou”. Information center straight away to know about the cheapest hostel – “Resort Hostel” – 900 TWD ( 27,35 euro ) for 2. We walked a bit around the lake & go to eat in a street food – 80 TWD ( 2,40 euro ).
Wake up at 5.30 am to go to take photos of the sunrise, but it is cloudy this morning. Come back to the Hostel at 7 am to discover a plastic bag at our door ; Breakfast !
You have a choice between a trip with a bike around the lake or a boat tour to get to the opposite of the lake & enjoy a walk there. The weather was not great for us, so we decided to do the boat trip instead. 200 TWD ( 6 euro ) – We paid less ( normal price 300 TWD ) as it was low season. Go to the temple “Xuanzang – Xuanguang” 20 mins one way – 850 m to the top of the 2nd temple in the forest. We saw a relic of a master inside the 2nd temple. We walked back to the boat. Next stop “Itashao” town with lots of street food but not much to do as the “Cable car” was close because of maintenance.
Wake up at 5.30 am again, & this time the sunrise is better with less clouds. Go back at 7 am for our breakfast & pack to get to the bus at 8 am.
Alishan ; Bus to go to “Alishan” – 319 TWD ( 9,70 euro ) – 4 hours. A little bus but it is comfy. We stopped few times ; “Takaka” where you can enjoy a beautiful view on mountains, then “Yushan view” where you can see into the binoculars the most higher hill of Taiwan – Yushan, 4 000 m. An amazing view all the way to get to “Alishan Forest Recreation Park” – pay the entrance 150 TWD ( 4,50 euro ). At the information center, we realise it is the week end & so all the Hostels are full. We finally, found one close to the entrance of the park – “Catholic Hostel” where it is the cheapest too – 750 TWD ( 22,80 euro ).
We walked to the train station to book the ticket for tomorrow morning for “Zhushan Sunrise” – 150 TWD ( 4,50 euro ). It is a 40 mins ride one way for this price. The price is double from last year. We decided to walk back for the return.
Then we went for a trail around the “Tree Three Generations”, “Sacred Tree”, “Elephant Trunk”, temples – Giant Tree boardwalk 1 & 2, bridge.. for 2 hours & walked around thousands years old trees, a magical walk to do.
Wake up at 4 am in the morning to get ready & warm to get to the train station. When we get there, there is already a long queue waiting. We get to the platform & queue again until the train get there. When we arrive, we walk to a bridge with the view of the mountains in the mist & a start of lights. It is very cold. We wait a long time for the sunrise to appear. Unfortunately, I felt it was a normal sunrise, nothing special… So a bit disappointed & start to make a move back down the hill.
We see the train passing us & we walked a long way in a path into the forest. It is very quiet & peaceful but feel cold & tired. We booked our seat for the bus to leave for “Chiayi” in the 7 eleven & pay inside with “Easy Card“.
Chiayi ; We jump in the bus & on the road again – 2 hours as we do not find buses to go straight away to “Tainan” – 202 TWD ( 6,14 euro ). We stopped at the train station & buy a train ticket to “Tainan” as it is cheaper than a bus ticket ( first time ever ) – 81 TWD ( 2,45 euro ).
Tainan ; After 1 hour in the comfortable train, we get to the train station in “Tainan”. Go straight away to the Information Center & here, they call for us some few hostels that we founded online to know how much for a night. We go for “Hotel Guang Hwa” – 595 TWD ( 18 euro ). We went to the night market a bit further away from our hotel – Bus return with “easy Card” – 36 TWD ( 1 euro ) then walk 15 mins to the huge night market. Such a good mood come out of this place, smell of good food, music, people everywhere – 70 TWD ( 2,13 euro ) for the food & trust me I was full.
A breakfast free for our morning in the Hotel. At 11 am we check out, & leave our backpack in the Hotel. Then take the bus N’ 99 ( tourist Bus ) – 18 TWD ( 0.50 euro ). Stop at “Tree house” in “Anping” area. We have got a map of the walk to do around – 2 hours walk. The temples & buildings to see are very old but not amazing. The narrow streets are really cool & discover a ruins of a previous house with some coral rocks. It is a very hot day to walk out ( 34 degree ). It is a very nice old town & lots of street food around with funny stuff as an ice cream wheel – You get to turn it & numbers 2 – 3 – 5 – if that stop of 5, you are lucky & have 5 balls of ice cream ! – 10 TWD ( 0,30 euro, yes I know it was too expensive ).
Xin Zuoying ; Train cheaper than we expected – 50 TWD ( 1,54 euro ) for 45 mins. We get the bus ticket return to “Kenting” – 600 TWD ( 18,28 euro ) as there are no buses or trains from “Kenting” to our next stop. 2 hours 40 with a beautiful view around us & a red sunset.
Kending ; When we arrive, it is full of people in the streets as there is the night market & loud music.. We made our way to all the different hotels to ask prices & availability. We found a good deal & feel comfortable in the bedroom – 1050 TWD ( 32 euro ) for 3 nights. So tired & hungry, we walked the street to find some nice food.
After realising that the walk we wanted to do in a forest was quit high to go by foot. We went back to town & rent a motorbike to a very nice man for longer & cheaper than it was suppose to be – 250 TWD ( 7,61 euro ) & 40 TWD ( 1,20 euro ) for the fuel. “Forest Recreation” area to take some information for the walk that we will go the next day. Then we drove to “South Bay”, “Houbihu”, “Maobitou”, “Baisha” ; beautiful view all the way on the road, “Longluan Lake” ; but not really amazing, “Hengshuen” ; old town with “The Gate” on the roundabout.
“Chuhuo” ; difficult to find the way to go there but finally made it to see the “Natural Fire” – not fantastic. Drive to the “East Coast” ; see “Chuanfan Rock” & drive to the light house but you have to pay to get closer ; so we drove to a view point near the rock for the sunset. When we head back, a little treat at the night market is welcome.
We drove back to the “Forest Recreation” at 8 am to do our walk – 75 TWD ( 2,28 euro ). Not too hot & lots of shadows during the morning. “The Giant Autumn Apple Tree”, “The Green House”, “The Garden Heritiera Littoralis Dyand” ; a tree with very strange roots, very beautiful & unique, “Sea View Platform”, “The Viewing Tower” ; breath taking- 180 degree panoramic of the National Park, “Silver Dragon Cave” ; very narrow way between stalagmites, spectacular “The Valley Of Hanging Banyan”, “One Line Sky” ; tunnel of rocks & then we walk to “The Cliffs Of Apes”. On our way back to the entrance, next to “The Green House”, we hear some noise & see some monkeys.
Drive to “Longpan” – East Coast ; view on Pacific ocean, beaches very nice until we get to the bridge “Jialeshuei” where you have to pay to go on it. Then we drove 20 km to “Gangzai” ; sand dunes. A very calm place to relax & get your feet into the stream of water going in the ocean. Some dark clouds started to worried us. On our way back to town, we had a little shower but not too bad. After that day, yes my friends, we went for a McDonald…110 TWD ( 3,35 euro a menu… No comment ).
After our breakfast & packing the bags, we go to take the bus ( choice between N’ 9189 – 9188 – 9117 ) for 1 hour.
Fenghao ; we finally stop to “Fengao” as it is closer to us. But surprise, the next train to come is in 2 hours… After some games, we have 1 hour 30 to get to “Taitung” – 216 TWD ( 6,56 euro ).
Taitung ; When you get to the station, it is cloudy, a bit chilly. The station is not a nice one & very difficult to get information. We finally find the Bus Stop & jump in the bus to town – 21 TWD ( 0,63 euro ) 20 mins. Find a Hotel “Hsin Hsin Hotel” – 700 TWD ( 21,27 euro ) for 2 nights. Next to it, we go to eat & walk along the street to discover an amazing bakery with such yumi food in it.
We go to our bakery for breakfast but not a lot inside in the mornings. We get ready for our day trip to “Zhiben”.
Zhiben ; Bus stop N’1 – 8.30 am just next to our Hotel to “Zhiben Hot Springs”. 1 hour in the bus to arrive at the terminus “Forest Recreation” – 56 TWD ( 1,70 euro ) for the bus & 50 TWD ( 1,52 euro ) for the entrance of the park. Cross the bridge & do the walk around the forest. A little paddle is there to get your feet in the Hot Springs. We saw some monkeys around during the walk in trees. Very wild, very happy. The beautiful big butterflies around us, sounds of insects, the wind, our foot step on the ground, the birds..
Then, we find a Hotel who have the Hot Pools. You will need a hat to go in. It is a huge place with different pools with different degree. The first one we jump in is at 42 degree – very hot ! Then a big one with some seats massage inside. A sauna also is there, but a different way that normal as it is inside a little box with stones where you seat on a stool and with a wooden gate. The steam of sulfur hot & very good to seat. So nice & original with a little cup that you can put water to splash inside the box & then seat again. Then go & jump in cold water – yumi. An amazing place to go for a day of good health.
We took the bus back to town after that amazing day in “Zhiben”. The next day with go for our day trip in “Wulu”.
Wulu ; woke up at 5.30 am – prepare & go to the bus stop N’6. Departure at 6.20 am – 1 hour 45 – 179 TWD ( 5,43 euro ). The drive was bendy & long with a crazy driver funny with loud music as we were the only one in the bus after a while. The mountains & the gorge from the road were stunning.
We walked up hill to see the little village & tried to find the famous bridge but can’t find it. We finally understood that it was a bit further away by the road we were drop to. We founded a very nice family in a car who drove us to the entrance of the Hotel straight away. Taiwanese are soooo nice !
Inside the Hotel, a nice person told us to walk to the bridge just a the back of the Hotel & you can have a beautiful forest walk with a steep view of the gorge, from there who join the road a bit further up. The bridge is high & very long… It was quit windy when we walked on it & quit scary when you discover wholes on the wooden plank… But we made it !
The steep walk with some stairs sometimes make it too hard for me as we had long walks before & the weather was a bit misty. We walked back & wait for the bus to come. We had a little surprise as the bus was late – there is just one bus to go back to town from here & it is suppose to be at 3.50 pm. You don’t want to miss it. It came at 5 pm, same driver so we laughed & talked to him all the way.
We went to a night market so nice also. Taiwan is a beautiful country with amazing street food. Next day will be a trip to “Dulan”.
Dulan & Sanxiantai ; Took the bus at 9.40 am with our day pass – 299 TWD ( 9,11 euro ). You can stop on different spot during the day & jump into the bus at any time.. Well that’s what was the plan but the buses are not so often so sometimes you can’t go as quickly to the next part as you would like to.
Any way, we stopped first to “Dulan”, walked from the bus stop 30 mins to the beach very nice to go to surf. Then, went all the way to the terminus “Sanxiantai” to see the famous bridge for 30 mins & then jump into the bus to get to “Donghe” where it is a surf beach too but you have to walk 45 mins from the bus stop. It was very hot so we decided to have a break. It is not an amazing pass but if you want my advise it is to take a normal bus & stop to the 2 major stops – It is very nice.
Hualien ; 8 am, Bus Stop N’4 to go back to the train station. 11.25 am for 3 hours 30 to “Hualien” – 198 TWD ( 6 euro ). After a long walk around to find a Hostel, we go for an usual one “Arch” a bit further away from the train station, in a very quiet area. A very modern & young place to stay – 700 TWD ( 21,33 euro ). Then we walk to the night market in Downtown.
7.15 am, we go next to the train station to buy the bus pass for 2 days – 400 TWD ( 2,19 euro ). This is the best bus pass ever as the place to visit is just amazing ! 8 am departure for “Taroko Visitor Center” – The center is close but a little walk for 30 mins along to do. Some of the walks are close because of the typhoon last month who destroyed a bit of the nature. “Tianxiang” – Pagoda where you can walk up but the top to join the temple was close for reconstruction work.
“Lushui” – 1 hour walk in an amazing place, under rocks, inside tunnels, view of the mountains, gorge, water rushing under us… Arrive to a beautiful bridge. We head back but no buses will come for a while so we take our chance by walking back on the road & try to stop some cars but finally it is a bus tour who stop & accept to let us to the next bit. Amazing.
“Yanzikou” – 30 mins walk where you can see across the marbles rocks with swallows, caves in the rocks, all the colors… The tunnels are quit dark & humid but so beautiful.. Some people wear some helmets & we started to be concerned about it.
“Changchun Shrine” – The famous temple with a waterfall under. So beautiful place & very peaceful. The walk to get closer is close but the view from the platform still just stunning.
“Qixingtan” – A very long beach with some people playing music, a very nice mood. We staid there for the sunset on rocks, ocean.. just perfect. It is a beautiful memory for our backpacking trip with this awesome landscapes.
Next day, 6.50 am jump on the bus because we wanted to get to the beach for the sunrise, but unfortunately, it is cloudy so we kept going to get to “Shakadong Trail” – 30 mins return. A walk under rocks very narrow all the way against the huge gorge & the big rocks in the river. The colors, the sound of the water running, the feeling of the humidity & our steps on the ground are a nice moment.
Bus to the terminus again to enjoy longer this amazing National Park. Taroko Gorge is definitely a place to come to see & admire. It is sad that every year, they have typhoons but the place still dramatic & stunning.
Next to the really nice Hotel where we are staying with a very nice person owning it ( Chris ), you can find a washing shop where you can leave your clothes, they weigh the total weight & you can come back in the evening to collect it. I talk about this place because I never felt my clothes so soft & smelling so nice ! You want to go there ! – 125 TWD ( 3,80 euro ) for 2 very big bags.
Ruifang ; Train to “Ruifang” for 3 hours – 211 TWD ( 6,40 euro ). Information Center as usual & trying to find the best & cheapest Hotel. Finally go for one close to the station – 1 300 TWD ( 39,62 euro ) for 3 nights.
Keelung ; Bus to “Keelung” 30 mins. It is an old & cool town. Information Center with very nice people helping us to make our plan for our walks. 30 mins walk to “Zongzheng Park” – Dafo Buddhist Temple. A high steep walk under the sun. We arrived in front of the temple with a massive statue of Buddha in white & another one in gold. An incredible view of the town. The big letters of “Keelung” writing on the mountains, the port, the old town.
Bus 101 to “Heping Island” 30 mins. Stop at the terminus & don’t really know where to go from there. A Gallery was open & we went to ask the woman in if she could help us to know the direction. She didn’t have a good English so she just shows us to wait. She came back with her motorbike & pick me up to drop me 5 mins later to the place we wanted to go to. She did the same with my boyfriend. What an amazing generous woman !
Inside the park, did the walk around in 1 hour as we stopped every 5 mins. Rocks formations just wonderful, sandy rocks like balls. It is a beautiful place to see. We walked back & lucky as we are the bus is already there. We went back in town.
Bus 302, to “Fairy Cave” – “Buddha hand cave” with the printed fingers of the Buddha. A very huge cave very humid & very pretty. A little tunnel super narrow where you have to put your arms in front of you if you want to fit in. On the walls, a lot of signs, full of mystery & magic. Then we walked around the streets in town for next few hours.
Bus back to “Ruifang” around 6 pm. In total for the day, 120 TWD ( 3,65 euro ) for 4 ways. Little note ; we went in a Hotel in “Ruifang” to do some day trips around as it is cheaper than the places to go visit.
Juifen ; Bus 788 to “Jinguashi” to see the gold mine ecological park. It is a very big place with trains, rails, wagons. We had a little walk around, & also a little Japanese garden.
Bus 891 to “Shuinandong” to see the gold waterfalls. Road to go down & suddenly the waterfall appear. A stunning waterfall just next to the road.
Bus 788 to “Juifen” – we stopped to “Gabing Parking” area to start our walk from there. A steep long walk up on stairs to reach the summit of the mountain called “Keelung mountain”. 30 mins – 4 to 5 stops during the walk. Very windy & difficult. A panoramic view of Juifen – Keelung – Ruifang & also can already see the sky tower of Taipei. The oceans, mountains, clounds, wind.. just extraordinary.
When we get down we walk to the street named “Jishan Rd, Shuqui Rd & Qingbian Rd”. Narrow streets full of people, like “Myazaki” movies. Full of street food, shops.. We are really into the movie “Spirited away“. & finally, we get to see the famous “Tea House” of the movie. On the streets to go down again on stairs, you will see the famous lanterns. It is a beautiful place to come to visit. I am a fan of “Myazaki” so can’t be more happy than being into this place.
It started to rain when we reached the road down hill. We went into the bus to get back to town with the bus N’ 788. Total for the buses 45 TWD ( 1,37 euro ).
Shifen – Pingxi ; 8.25 am. Train to “Shifen” – local train with “Easy Card”. The famous sky lanterns going up into the sky from people standing on the rail train. People could write messages on the fragile papers recovering the lantern. The colors meaning different things like “Fortune – Love – Luck – Health…”. There are also an another possibility if like me you feel this is a “tourist attraction” – the bamboo stick where you can write on it your wishes & put it on the sticks around.
The town of wishes. Then we walk a bit away from the town to walk to see the waterfall. The walk is not too long & it is a very nice one. They call it the “Niagara Falls” – Don’t know if it is a joke but it is a miniature of the real one !
Then we walked back to town to take the next train to get to “Pingxi”. They do the same departure of lanterns on the rails. It is the same but older & smaller. Very nice little town. Then we take the train back to “Shifen”. We decided to do the bamboo stick – 20 TWD ( 0,60 euro ).
I took some photos by night with the lanterns in the sky & then we jumped into the train to get back. For all the trains trip – 34 TWD ( 1,03 euro ).
Taipei ; 10.45 am take the train to get to “Taipei”. 1 hour – 44 TWD ( 1,34 euro ). The station is huge & outside too. We feel a bit sick as we come from so mall & cute little town that suddenly be in a big city is very strange. The Hotels around the train station are very expensive in “Taipei”. We took a very long time to find the good Hotel & don’t have to pay a fortune – ( 2 000 TWD a night – 60 euro ). After 3 hours looking for Hotels, we finally go for one, 20 mins away from the train station. It is a modern & nice Hotel with a friendly man at the entrance with who I deal hard to go down with the price as we are going to stay 6 nights – 2 700 TWD ( 82,28 euro ). Because I am amazing ; the Hotel name is “Sleep Box“.
We go to walk around the Park next to the Hotel, “Peace Park” ; temples, river, turtles swimming next to big fishes. A very nice area. We find a bakery close to us & still amazing.
We took the subway to “Sangjiang Nanjing” to the Guanghua Digital Plaza Shopping Center to see if there are good deals for electronic equipment. It is not a huge difference from what we have in Europe. 32 TWD ( 0,97 euro ) for the subway.
“Longshan Temple” – beautiful big temple. “Taipower Building” – to see the most old tea house. “Douan Park” – a very nice park to walk along with beautiful trees. “101 Taipei World Trade Center” – Amazingly high but we don’t go inside ( I have vertigo guys ). In front of the building ; some sculptures very nice. “Yuanshan” to visit 2 temples – Dalongdong & Confucius. There are very big & impressive by all the details & the beauty of it.
“Shilin” to see the official residence. It is a big garden park with flowers & little walks around a water with turtles, fishes.. More amazed by the park than the residence. Get back to the Hotel at the end of the afternoon. 108 TWD ( 3,29 euro ) for the subway.
Next day, we go to the “National Palace Museum” with the bus N’815 at “Shilin” subway station – 150 TWD ( 4,57 euro ). 3 levels in the museum. The day in the museum was really nice & it is a lot of diversity around the levels.
Yangminshan & Beitou ; 7.50 am the weather is not great but we go to “Yangminshan Volcano”. Bus + subway for 1 hour. The Visitor Center is close when we get there & the weather is miserable so after walking 15 mins up hill, we decided to go straight away to “Beitou” for the Hot Springs. 40 TWD ( 1,20 euro ) for the Hot Springs but you need to have swim spandex for man. Finally we don’t go for it & chill out around in a park for a while.
When we get back to “Taipei” it is for our last night in “Taiwan”. Next morning walk to the Train station to find the bus N’ 1819 near M4 outside & have to do a queue to go in the bus – 1 hour to get to the Terminal 2. 125 TWD ( 3,80 euro ).
This country is full of amazing people & beauty nature. We discovered beautiful things all around the country & felt welcome in every areas. It is an amazing place to go to visit. I loved it & I will definitely go back there one day.