|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.
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.|
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 ;)
|Spot the "nipples".|
|The Queen's slipper.|
|Godzilla. At this point, my lens has become hopelessly moist.|
|(LEFT) The Island of Taiwan; (RIGHT) The Queen's Head.|
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 :)|
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 :)
English Tour Guide
Mobile: +939 950 308
WHERE TO STAY IN TAIPEI
Check out my friend's review of Citizen Hotel Taipei here.
For more tips about traveling to Taiwan, click here.