Not all who wander are lost, but a surprising amount of time I am lost. These are interesting places that I either gone to on purpose or more likely was lost and found them. Be it animal farms, temples, or historic sights I have a bad habit of riding or walking along and saying, “Hey I should check that out”.
Hardwick is a small town next to the one I grew up in. Made up of the villages of Hardwick, Gilbertville, Wheelwright, and Old Furnace. The town of Hardwick was settled in 1737 and incorporated in 1739. The Hardwick Historical Society was founded in 1961 and bought its current building from the town for one dollar. The building was the site of a school until the 1930’s. Latter it was used for engineers working on the Quabbin reservoir before becoming a meeting place for boy scoots and polling.
Located on the east side of the town common, in a brick building. The Hardwick Historical Society is open Sundays from 12 to 2 PM. In addition you can find them on Facebook.
This one is not a restaurant with animals, it’s a horse farm with animals. Taikai Horse Ranch has a few horses and from what I have heard offers horse riding lessons. That is not why the majority of people go. Instead, they want to see the animals. Located at No. 11-10, Huazhong Road in Ji’an Township, it is free to walk around the ranch and look at the animals. At the entrance near the peacock and muntjac enclosure, they sometimes have food for people and animals for sale. The ranch is easy to drive to and is also off the bike trail that runs south along the ocean from the Dongman Night Market.
Money is not everything, but it solves a lot of problems. Naturally, the money god, Tu-Di-Gong, is very popular in Taiwan. The most popular is Zi Nan Temple in Nantou County. It was our last stop on our trip to Nantou.
Religious affiliation is much more flexible in Taiwan than in the USA and you often see Buddist and Taoist beliefs mixed together. I had been to a few temples before but this was the busiest I have been too. Like everywhere in Nantou there were plenty of places that would charge for parking. We parked in the large free parking lot south west of the temple.
Like most mountains in Taiwan, there was a shuttle, lots of shuttles. The trail up to Wangyou Forest (忘憂森林) is no different. After the Monster Villiage, it was a nice change to be out in nature. We heard “100 to the top” about a dozen times walking from the car to the road up the mountain. Instead up the mountain we went it was a nice steep walk that included switch backs and dodging the shuttles driving fast up and down the mountain.We had already avoided paying for parking by finding one of the few places you could pull a car off the side of the road.
Lots of entrepreneurs having the same idea to make money of a free thing. The entrepreneur I wanted to see, someone selling water bottles half way up the trail, was missing. At the end of the trail was a restaurant, a bathroom you have to pay to use, and someone selling water and ice tea.
A new animal farm complete with a restaurant opened up in Hualien. Hua-Dong Farm (華東牧場) is located near the Hualien fishing port and is a great place to see animals and eat. The place is actually hard to find. I rode past it the first time on my bike. You have to keep your eyes open for a small road/ driveway on the west side of Gang Kou road. After turning down the driveway you can park and walk to see the farm. …
Xitou Monster Village in Nantou is a family-friendly tourist trap. That is the best sentence I can sum it up with. The monster themed village gets over 200,000 visitors each month so they are doing something right. I am sure it also helps keep the hotel busy. Either way, it makes a great stop for an hour or two. Fortunately, it was just a short walk from the hotel we were staying in.
The best part of the village is the show, at night (7PM/ 1900). The best part of that show is the drumming. After that, it becomes a children show complete with mascots and that monster watch song. That catchy song gets stuck in your head just like Let it Go and won’t go away.
One day after waking up early I decided to go for a walk. Off to Liyu Lake, I went. Liyu Lake is in Shoufeng, Hualien. Liyu in English means carp and is also the name of the mountain next to it. In addition, it is a great place to walk and you can see a variety of insects, lizards, birds, and sometimes monkeys.
If you did not know, I love history. It was the one subject I was good at in school. So when I visited Tainan I was excited to visit the National History Museum of Taiwan. The museum opened in 2011 and has about 60,000 artifacts. It covers Aboriginal, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese influence on the island.
The museum is best viewed from the top floor and working your way down. On the top floor is the special exhibits. When I went the exhibits were on New Migrants,Food in Taiwan and on the 2.28 incident.
Farglory Ocean Park is built into the side of a mountain to the south of Hualien. It has rides [A LOG RIDE], dolphins, sea lions, a manatee, fish, sharks, and otters.What’s not to Love? Tickets are normally 890 NTD ( about 30 USD) fortunately my ex-girlfriend works as a dolphin trainer so I was able to get discount tickets. She also deserves credit for most of the photos that appear in this post. I need to get better at remembering to charge my phone.
The park was opened in 2002 by The Farglory Group. The Farglory Group is a
large construction and development group. They also own multiple hotels around the island including the luxury Farglory Hotel next to the ocean park. In fact, you see an add for the hotel on screen before the dolphin show. It looks like it was the add they played at the opening of the park. Still, the place looks baller.
Anyway, the park could use a little updating in some places. It is still a great place to spend the day looking and learning about ocean animals and going on rides. A lot of signs also have English captions and Farglory has an educational angle.
Bi Han Xuan Ecological Museum ( 碧涵軒帝雉生態館 ) is a pheasant farm in Yilan County Taiwan. Yilan County is above Hualien County and is an easy train ride. After a lengthy adventure to get a scooter we were off to the pheasant farm. Su’ao is the closest big city that has scooter rentals, I found this out the hard way. Luodong and Yilan are farther away and are bigger cities. Photography is not allowed inside so all the pictures are sourced from online or Bi Han Xuan’s website.