TAIWAN: The journey to the Northern Coast

For luck!  Tradition says that ringing this bell in Chungcheng Park will bring you luck.

"Guess what?  While I was researching online for our upcoming trip to Taiwan, your blog came up! It was really useful,"  an office mate told me when I bumped into her a few weeks ago.  I was all smiles after because I'm easy to please like that haha ;)

I've blogged about Taiwant trip essentials and our foodgasmisc experience in the Formosa (Trans: "Beautiful Island") but I haven't gotten around to one of the best parts of our 2012 trip:  the journey to the Northern Coast.  A few hours from its capital, Taipei, the Northern Coast is the perfect place to experience rural Taiwan and taste some of the island's eccentric local delicacies.


Keelung City
Rain was non-stop during the four days we were in Taiwan.  While I would've normally preferred a sunny weather, the gloomy skies provided us a totally unique experience:  like walking into a Wong Kar-Wai film.

And our first stop:  Keelung City.

Located in Keelung City is the Chung Cheng Park where one of the main attractions is the giant Buddha statue.


"The statue of Goddess of Mercy is the landmark of Chung Cheng Park. It is the biggest Goddess statue in Southeast Asia."  (Read more here.)
From the park's terrace, you can see a bird's eye view of the city.

Hollywood, Keelung version.  Check out the Hollywood-like sign atop the hill on the right side of this photo.
A walk through Cheng Chung park is also a peek into Taiwan's Buddhist culture.

Taiwanese culture.  (LEFT) Our tour guide, Peter Pang, explain why one of the Sons of the Dragon looked the way it did; (RIGHT) Swastika? Nope. If you take a closer look, the direction of this sign is counter-clockwise, as opposed to the sign of the Nazis. According to Peter, the Nazi's sign wills negative energy while this sign, the Shakti, invokes positive energy.


The Yehliu Geopark
The Yehliu Geopark.  (Also spelled as "Yeliou".)

If you're a fan of rock formations, then the Yehliu Geopark is definitely a must-see.  What's more amazing is that these rock formations are a produce of sea erosion, weathering, and earth movements.

Scattered across the park are peculiar formations which range from simple to outrageous, depending on your imagination ;)

Mushrooms, anyone?
Spot the "nipples".
The Queen's slipper.
Elephant rising.
Godzilla.  At this point, my lens has become hopelessly moist.

(LEFT) The Island of Taiwan; (RIGHT) The Queen's Head.


Jiufen

If everything were in black and white, I would've really thought that I stepped back in time.  Jiufen (also spelled as "Jioufen" or "Chiufen") is a feast not only for the eyes but also for the taste buds.

"In 1890, someone struck gold near Jiufen. The poor village with only nine families soon attracted prospectors of 4,000 families. The village once was gold city of Asia and called little Shanghai or little Hong Kong. However, with the decline of gold mining activities, Jiufen fades. Later, several movies chose to shoot here and the movies won international acknowledgement. For example, the film "A City of Sadness" has won first prize in Venice Film Festival and awakened people's memory of Jiufen. It seems that the prosperous old streets, buildings, mines and the glamorous gold digging days are flashing before our eyes." (Read more here.)

Touches of nostalgia. 
The Jiufen Old Street.  An alley full of shops and restaurants.


Travel back in time. An old theater in Jiufen showing classic films.



Heavy shopping bags, happy stomachs, and two pairs of soggy boots later, my friend Djong and I concluded our rainy journey to the Northern Coast.  But not without having this picture taken first:

One of my favorite photos from the trip.  Photo is blurred from all the moist and we're drenched like crazy but this pretty much sums up our hilarious adventure in the Island of Taiwan :)


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GETTING AROUND THE NORTHERN COAST
While there are buses going to the Northern Coast, I highly recommend a guided tour since commute to the rural areas of Taiwan can be a bit challenging.  And I highly recommend our funny and helpful tour guide :)

PETER PANG
English Tour Guide
Mobile:  +939 950 308
Email:  peterpang@seed.net.tw

WHERE TO STAY IN TAIPEI
Check out my friend's review of Citizen Hotel Taipei here.

TIPS
For more tips about traveling to Taiwan, click here.

21 comments:

  1. So much wonderful pictures...... very well done.

    Greetings from Holland, Joop

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  2. Good B & W photo...i like it.

    Greetings, Joop

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! It was taken by my friend/traveling companion :)

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  3. wow - your narrartive is detailed and the photos marvelous - Travel Magazine should be calling you if they have any sense :-)

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    1. Such a heartwarming compliment, Helen! Thank you!

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  4. Love love love your pictures Koryn! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jo! :) Reunion anytime soon?

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  5. Napaka candid sa first shot mo Ms. Koryn! ang gaganda ng shot kahit nag moist na yung cam.. timing ung mga sea/splash shots

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    1. I think I must learn how to maintain/secure camera and lenses in moist weather.

      P.S.
      Ang hangin-hangin nung kinukuha 'yang shot na 'yan! Hehe.

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  6. My fear with this kind of enviroment is acquiring moist in my lens coz I heard that the repair for this kind of camera issue is expensive. Kamusta lente mo after this trip? :)

    Ayos yung mga rock formations. Nasilayan ko ang "nip slip" moments ng mga batong yan. :)

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    1. Either it had no effect at all or I'm such a bad camera owner haha. Was thinking of bringing it to the shop after the trip but... Well, I saw no difference naman and it still functioned properly. So I let it be haha.

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  7. love it ,, gusto ko makita si dao ming si hahah

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  8. Wow Dear, what a great photo collection. You were very lucky seems it was a good thing to ring that huge bell :)
    Fantastic place and your photos are beautiful as usual.
    I didn't find my words when I saw those unbelievable rock forms. Sure that the nature is the biggest wizard, isn't it?
    Take care!
    Greetings

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    1. "nature is the biggest wizard"-->Couldn't have said it better!

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    2. Hello Koryn,
      I've just heard there was a very serious earthquake at Philippines. Hope you're doing well and everything is okey with you and with your family.
      Take care!

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    3. Hi Kovaks! My family and I are okay. The quake happened in the southern region. But it's really heartbreaking because a lot of areas are still isolated and haven't received help yet.

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  9. wow, those water landscapes are magical! i'm not surprised your blog is coming up in searches. your travel imagery and information is awesome! anthony bourdain better watch his back! :D

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  10. Dear Koryn,

    I stumble upon your blog while researching about touring Taipei. My family and I will be travelling to Taiwan in November 2013. How much did Mr. Peter Pang charge you for your tour to the three places? (I hope you don't mind my asking!) I am window shopping for a car & driver renting services at the moment. Thank you. I enjoyed reading your blog!

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  11. Nice shots taken! just hopping around.. hope to come back soon.

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  12. what an inspiring reportage! I am in love with this place! sorry I missed your blog post, was kind of busy (we were away for my bday-in Normandy, France and before this I had a great autumn week in Bulgaria showing friends around:-)

    the first picture is simply GREAT, so happy !thats how one can summarize the joy of globetrotters traveling+exploring, RIGHT?:-)) its soooo funny, because there is a place at home (Bulgaria) where there have similar rock formations called Rock Mushroom, I still need to get there:-) may be next year if you come with me?
    HUGS+happy touring in Brazil, very happy for U!

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  13. Very eerie seascape, but very beautiful in a way too.

    Is it better to join a tour group when going to Taiwan? I've always thought that it would be easier to navigate in like HK. =)

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