Monday, February 19, 2018

TAIWAN IN FEBRUARY: Day Two

It was during our second day that my sister booked a tour van via Klook. Basically, the driver would take us to places and give us a time frame for each place, in which we had to make sure that we would be back at the specified time. 


We had three places we wanted to go to, namely Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen Old Street, and Shifen Old Street. We booked our tickets with Klook for a shuttle bus that would take us to all these three places. Take note that they have to be purchased in advance.




You can also try out their Northern Coast Tour, in which it includes a city tour around Keelung City and a trip around Yehliu Geopark as well.


The meeting place was at a bakery called "Gakuden". It is located near the Ximen station.



The meeting time was at 8AM, and we went on a Sunday since Saturday and Monday were both fully booked. Take note that they've there are additional tourist spots such as the Yin Yang Sea, 13 Layer Remains, and Golden Waterfalls, however these are not included during Sundays and holidays, as well as on days when there is inclement weather. It was a Sunday, and it was raining, so we definitely were not able to see those :'( I highly suggest you book on a weekday, if possible!




Here is the shuttle van we rode. There's a signage at the side with the Klook logo to make it distinguishable.

When we entered the the van, the driver greeted us and explained to each passenger the flow of activities. He made the effort of really going to each passenger to explain, since he wasn't fluent in English. He did prepare a few visual aids, such as laminated sheets of paper in which it explained that:

  • Time allotted for each location that will be visited (roughly 1 hour and a half to 3 hours).
  • They are very strict with the time, and that the van leaves with or without you.  





We passed through a couple of tunnels

Yehliu Geopark

Our first stop was in Yehliu Geopark. Yet again, just like on our first day, it rained the whole day. Now since we were by the sea, it was way colder.


These landscapes were formed out of years of weathering and erosion, which also explains why it is brown in color. It wasn't muddy at all, in fact I was quite careful in walking as I was afraid that I might slip because the ground I was walking on seemed quite smooth.

What I found fascinating were the honeycomb rocks and mushroom rocks. I'm not fond of holes, especially when they're numerous to count and are grouped together, but for these structures to form such shapes is what I found to be most interesting.


The rain didn't stop the people from coming here.



I think it was a really good thing we packed raincoats for this trip. It was used very well.

The Queen's Head !



As much as I wanted to explore more and go further to the tip of this cape, the winds and rain just got too strong. But still, it was a beautiful sight for me to behold; it's another one of those moments you get when you simply can't fathom how these things were created. Yes indeed there is science behind all this, but when you're there and you see it as it is now after all these years, you'll just be there to appreciate it as it appears in front of you.


Next on the itenerary was Jiufen Old Street. Before we left Yehliu Geopark, the driver once again went to each and every passenger to explain how the meet ups would be:


The bus numbers and the cost per person, 15NTD one way from Parking Lot 9. This can be paid through the Easy Card, or with coins.

  • The Klook van will be parked in Parking Lot 9. From there, there are buses that go to Jiufen. It only takes a few minutes from here.)
  • Next was that he showed us an illustration of a winding road in which only designated buses are allowed to pass going up. 
  • The bus then would drop us off at the bus stop, then we'd have to walk a short distance up to where the street was. 

Jiufen Old Street

Jiufen Old Street! It's filled with stores, food stalls, and tea shops. This is the place to be if you want to learn all about tea. And of course, it's where the famous Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away, was inspired from. There were so many Spirited Away themed souvenirs here, and lots of quirky merchandise.



The red lanterns lined the way throughout the street and side streets.



Red bean waffle~


It's the stinky tofu! Yes it was stinky, but then it tasted alright. It wasn't so bad.



I don't know how it's officially called, but some say it's sort of like a burrito. But inside you'll find grated peanut brittle and ice cream! A really nice treat despite the cold weather. 

Taro balls! ❤❤❤

Me and sis

The parentals



Drunk on Earl lol





I went inside a souvenir shop and saw lots of lantern merchandise. From washi tapes, to cards, to miniature figures. There's also the wooderful life music box! Just a bit of context for this: In my last trip to the USA, we had our stopover at the Taoyuan International airport. While waiting for our connecting flight, I roamed around and saw a similar display of this music box and was fascinated since then. I was delighted to see it again three years later.

Fish slippers~ Would you wear these?

Lots of shops, lots of things to see. 

Cutiepie




I'm really just loving all these red lanterns.



Going back to the Klook shuttle, we had to go to another bus stop which was a few blocks away from the Jiufen Old Street entrance. From 711, you'll have to walk straight up for a short distance until you see the bus stop.



We waited for the bus that would supposedly pass by the parking lot were the Klook shuttle was waiting.


Shifen Old Street

And the last would be Shifen. We chose not to fly a lantern, but instead we watched everyone else's wishes float up into the sky.


Just like in Jiufen, both sides are filled with stores and food shops.


He's got big dreams definitely.  



We were on the high way here, on the way home. Spot Taipei 101!

On the way home, we were brought back to the Gakuden bakery. This is especially convenient since it is near the Ximen station, which gives easy access to the Metro.

This day was pretty much packed with all three places, but I enjoyed every bit of it. I would say that a day is enough explore all three, although admittedly I did want to explore Yehliu Geopark a bit more, but then due to the weather, it was quite a challenge to go around.

The tour van experience was worth it. I'd recommend this for those who have a limited time in Taipei although would love explore and maximize their stay. I liked how it seemed like a hop on and hop off experience, and that we were free to do as we pleased to explore on our own without a tour guide.

I commend the driver as well, especially since he made sure that we would understand what he meant despite his challenges with communication. He also made sure that we got to the places on time. His driving also wasn't so hurried, which was good because safety must be valued above all. I really did appreciate all the effort!



Day One | Day Two | Day Three



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4 comments

  1. It also rained on our stay in Yehliu Geopark but we still took our time! It was amazing to think all those structures were made from waves! Reading your blog series made me miss Taiwan.

    xx, Richel V.

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    Replies
    1. We had about two hours to roam around the geopark, and there were lots of people! Also, the rain got stronger the longer we stayed.. so we quickly took photos at the iconic spots (such as the Queen's head) then went to look for a covered area haha! Thanks for reading, Richel :) I hope you liked it!

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  2. Hi, would you recommend other places to go? One with the Yeliu Geopark since it seems so pretty as you described it! The one you mentioned here is already fully booked for our trip dates :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello there! I would recommend this other tour which includes Yehliu and a city tour in Keelung :)

      https://www.klook.com/activity/459-taiwans-northern-coast-taipei/?aid=2597

      The rest of the details are on the Klook page. I recommend their service because it's hassle free and they'll take you to the notable landmarks that you can't miss in Taiwan :)

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