My first year and first job in Taiwan was coming to a close. My first field trip had been to a mountain, this one was too the Luodong Forest Culture Park. It was not my first trip to the Forest Culture Park but it was my most memorable. When the rain was forcing us to take cover we played games and I showed the students how some of the old logging methods worked. The strange mix of history, art, nature and old wood made a strangely compelling mix.
The first time I saw this mountain was on a field trip. I had just started teaching a class of kindergartners and we were on our first field trip. It was probably my second or third week of being a teacher. Needless to say, my co-teacher was the real MVP. Who am I kidding she was always the MVP. Cars can not drive up to the top so we parked at the parking lot and started up the mountain.
Overlooking the beautiful Lake Meihua, Sanqing Temple is a major Taoist temple in Taiwan. The Temple is based on classical Northern Chinese Palace designs. Interestingly paper money is not burnt hear and offerings are instead made of incense, flowers, and fruit. Naturally, the temple is the busiest during holidays. In fact, they perform a special blessing during Chinese New Years.
In addition to being a religious site, Sanqing Temple is known for its beauty. The temples elevation and location gives it a good view of Meihua and the surrounding area. There is also are a few mountain trails around the temple. The temples plaza is a popular place to view the scenery at both day and night.
My first year in Taiwan had been spent living in Yilan County. I wish I had started this blog when living in the city of LuoDong. One place I biked to a lot that year was Lake Meihua. It is part of a loop that you can bike form LuoDong sports park, down to Dongshan and back.
Lake Meihua is located south of LuoDong and is a popular and easy trip. In addition to a 4km long bike path, there are many shops that have bikes and carts that you can rent. Lake Meihua is a popular tourist site in Dongshan Township, resulting in many cafes and shops around the north side of the lake. Located at No.1, Dapi Rd. and “open” (as in the stores and office is open) from 0900 to 1730.
It was a hot weekend but I went up to Taipei and stayed at a place called Nina’s Room. It is a cheap place to stay where you get a private room with a futon on the floor and a bathroom, but bring your own towels and tooth brush. …
Instead of going to Taipei I stayed at home and watched the typhoon this weekend. Typhoon Nesat was our first Typhoon of the year so it got a lot of attention. The Typhoon hit the south of the country harder so there was not much to see in Hualien. It was actually a nice down weekend. I worked on the novel I was working on and took some pictures. I then promptly accidentally deleted most of the pictures.
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.