Spirited Away in Taiwan – Part 5
Water, Fire, Forests, and Caves Oh My? – Day 7
Kenting is a beautiful park, however it’s a known tourist trap so prices rise a little. Even with raised prices, its still cheap by our standards, and the food did not let us down. More importantly, Kenting has amazingly clear and warm water. Although from the people we saw hovering at the shoreline, it was criminally underused. We decided to fix that problem and hopped in ourselves. The water was clean and crystal clear, and it was refreshing on this warm day. The biggest difference in Kenting was the humidity had dropped to the point where we felt like we were in San Diego. After swimming up to the buoys we spotted small zebra fish and some large unidentified silver fish. The water temperature was in the high 60’s though I don’t know the exact temperature for that day.
Our swim was sadly cut short, however. We had lots to do today. After washing up we headed to the Southern-most point in Taiwan, preceded by our trip to the Eastern-most point. There was a monument for the point, with a lot of visitors snapping their photos.
Next, we visited Longpan Park which was high above the water up on the cliffs. Apparently due to its height and distance from the cities it was a great place to go stargazing, an experience we did not have time for, unfortunately. The views stretching down the coastline of Taiwan was really amazing regardless.
Our next stop was a little more unusual. Chuhuo is a natural gas crack in the ground which is on fire. The weirdest part of this place was the number of pigeons just chilling nearby. I’m told it’s more spectacular at night.
Ming-Du Gate, or, South Gate, was a gate that is now little more than a curiosity surrounded by a roundabout.
The area where we spent our most time at today was Kenting National Forest. A lush, green, and fertile place, it features poisonous snakes, wasps, and centipedes. Yay…
This Giant Autumn Maple’s seed lodged itself into the soil through reef rock which has secured itself and prospered into a large tree estimated to be 3 centuries old.
A feature I didn’t mention so I could do it here are the 3 caves located in the forest. One was unfortunately shutdown due to cave-ins, however we did get the opportunity to explore the other two.
There were a lot of unusual formation in this cave and it was pretty spooky but cool at the same time.
The tower in the middle of the forest afforded 360 degree views of the surrounding area. Although signs clearly indicated “no pole-dancing” I did discover climbing rope that neatly ignored those instructions.
Cave #2 was the Silver-Dragon cave. This cave was significantly different from the first, with the rippled stalactites (yes those are the ceiling kind) created the impression of dragon skin.
Oh look! A probably poisonous wasp! I’ll take a picture of it! This would be the last photo I ever took.
Except no! Miraculously on our way out we spotted our 3rd spirit animal. The monkey. He was chilling by the road and unfortunately I only have this terrible photo to prove it with. He must have cured my poisonous wasp bite.
With our trip done it was time to take the High-Speed rail. In order to make this journey we needed to head to the 2nd largest city in Taiwan, Kaohsiung. Saying our farewells to our driver and one of our travel buddies, we embarked onto the train. It was surprisingly quiet and smooth for something that moved at 186 mph. We didn’t really even feel the acceleration, and the seats were quite comfy. And then it was night, a 7th day.
All Good Things… – 8th Day
Sadly our time in Taiwan was cut short by Time. I hate you Time go die in a fire. Alas I could not kill time, so we had to limit ourselves in the end. We started right back where we began, waking up in Neihu. We headed out for breakfast where we ended up in a line that went around the block and up 2 flights of stairs. In order to make it all work we had to split into teams. 3 of us stood around tables watching like hawks for someone about to leave. The moment they got up we sat down immediately to claim the spot. The other team stood in line and secured our food. And what glorious food it was. So glorious in fact, that I have only 1 photo to show for it. For shame.
We encountered a plaza that was used for different events; today was Starbucks filled.
We then visited Taipei 101, which is supposed to be shaped like bamboo. I told everyone that it looked like stacked takeout boxes to me. Inside we found all manner of expensive items, ranging from glass art to pottery with ridiculous prices which I would never want to have to pay.
With Boba in our bellies from Hanlin we bade our farewells to a country that fed, housed, and entertained us for a good long while. I can’t point any defining moment as the “best” moment in Taiwan as there was so much to soak in, sometimes literally. However having had the chance to explore a good chunk of the land I can safely say that it’s a place worth visiting and I would love to come back again someday. If not for the food, then for the sights. But really, I just want more food.