It was our third day, a time to discover Taiwan’s hidden gems on the province side. Welcomed by the day with drizzles in Taipei. It was a very exciting itinerary for that day as we head for Yin Yang Sea, Jiufen, and Pingxi.
As we head out early in the morning, we passed by McDonalds and opted to just buy breakfast from there. I ordered a toasted sandwich and just the sandwich, cause I was afraid if I ordered iced tea, it won’t be on my liking (I’m sorry for being a picky eater, haha!). I was surprised the toasted sandwich was so good (no hint of star anis whatsoever! Yas!) that I wished I bought two, haha! I really hoped they also have that kind here in PH.
We then went to the bus terminal but was quite lost where to find the bus itself. We tried to ask around and was informed that bus won’t be there until later that day, so we decided to take another route after we finished eating. We took the train to Ruifang and then waited for about 30 mins for the bus. It then started pouring, it was already cold that day but was even colder due to the rain. Good thing I had worn my waterproof shoes and I brought with me my raincoat and that’s all I have to combat rain because I left my umbrella in the Philippines. Haha!
Going to Yin Yang Sea was quite an adventure. It was raining hard and we are going up, like Baguio up – we can’t see the road as the visibility was reduced to almost none. I was quite impressed with the skill of the bus driver – the rain, zero visibility, steep road. By the time I saw the sea from the bus window, I was mesmirized and in awe, at the same time scared as the waves are high. You know that when it caught you, the chances of you being seen again is reduced to zero. The waves are angry along with the heavy rain and gushing wind.
After we passed the sea we were going to a place that just doesn’t feel right as it was going even higher. I stated having questions like – are we going to see falls or the sea? So that’s when my friend decided to ask where we are, and it was very unfortunate of us that no one, even the bus driver and the passengers, knows how to speak in English. No one. It was like a nightmare – we are in the middle of nowhere with no one who knows to speak the language we do.
The bus driver then unloaded us and signalled us to go I don’t know where and we didn’t understand We unload the bus and asked around, still no one knows English. We decided to wait for a bus going back. Unfortunately those seemingly provincial buses don’t stop at bus stops unlike in Taipei, you have to press the “Stop” button, in which we don’t know is a stop button because it’s not in English. There is no sign as well where we are, unlike in city buses where it flashes the current and the next stop. It was totally different. Aside from that it is raining heavily. Fortunately for us, even though we are far up the mountain, we still have the internet working, so we knew the estimated time of arrival of the next bus going to Yin Yang Sea, by this time we knew to press stop if we are near the destination – and we did. Surprise, surprise – the sea that we wanted to see was the one we were mesmerized to during that bus ride. As much as we want to go near it, we can’t afford to be taken by the sea away. So again, we are left in the middle of the shed – waiting indefinitely for the next bus to arrive.
We were worried. I was worried to the point I just want to go back to Taipei and go to a mall, have something hot and be just comfortable. The started to die down, though still drizzling. My friends said they wanted to fly lanterns, I told them it was too early to do so, because I imagine doing it at night. Lol. They really want to go and I don’t want to spoil their fun, and besides we are already there, why stop now and let the rain ruin everything – well it actually ruined us seeing the Yin Yan Sea, Gold Waterfall, Cat Village – the only thing left for us to explore was Jiufen and Pingxi (sky latern). Despite my worries and fears, I decided for myself to give it a go. After a few minutes of waiting in the cold, there was a taxi – our life saver! We asked him to take us to Jiufen, but told us it’ll cost much – we said it was ok as long us we are not stuck in the middle of nowhere.
The road to Jiufen was even steeper. Taiwanese drivers are really skilled! Almost in the 45 degree angle steep, still we are doing pretty good – no wonder their taxis are in automatic transmission.
Reaching Jiufen we were then welcomed again by the rain. I decided to wear my raincoat and my friends decided to purchase one. The stores are really ready, they have lots of raincoat as well as umbrella. We walked in Jiufen, saw things we liked, bought them and walked again. But that hot and steamy Xiao Long Bao made us stop and rest for a while. We ordered one and divided it amongst ourselves. It was the first time I had it but I knew I wanted to try it even before the trip so I was really excited to have one – and it was perfect!
It took the cold of Taiwan away and relaxed us really good. It was then I realized it was the best decision to continue on with the itinerary. After that we roamed and saw these delicious looking mochi with a gigantic strawberry on it. It was purely delicious especially the bean paste! Mid you I don’t really like beans in general, but I loved this one.
By that time we already forgot we almost got lost in Taiwan. And then we now headed to fly some lanterns in Pingxi. A bus away from another station and a whole lot of train trips over looking cliffs going to Pingxi. Yes cliff, cause when you look at the window you’ll either see a raging river or a steep cliff. It was a fun ride and there were many people who wanted to fly some lanterns. Fortunately for us, some tourists unloaded at another station before going to Pingxi, we decided not to go there anymore as it was nearing night.
Arriving in Pingxi we chose were can we fly our lanterns. We then went ahead and chose the variants (you can choose how many colors your lantern will comprise, those colors represent symbols you are wishing for that year) – I chose yellow, red, blue and pink. I forgot what those colors meant hahaha! But yeah those were mine. After writing our “wishes”, we head out the empty railroad and started flying our lantern with the help of the vendor. He was so nice to take a photo as well as a video (yup simultaneously and he knows the way to any phone hahaha!) of us flying it. After that we spoke with him and via the Google Translate app, the told us he’s been doing it for 25 years now.
It was such a fun adventure. After that we decided to head back to Taipei as it is already nearing the evening.
We decided to head back to the hotel to change first as we were constantly drenched in the rain. After changing we headed out to eat our dinner at Modern Toilet. I was wondering why it is named the way it is, to my surprise the food was served on toilets, well not really the toiler per se, that’s gross. Haha! But the plates were toilet inspired. We met with Filipinos there as well who was almost finished with their food – sadly we were spoiled that it doesn’t fit the Filipino taste. I was actually excited but when they spoiled us, my expectations fell. I somehow learned a good lesson not to spoil anything to other tourist, and let them try it for themselves (not unless they really want me to spoil it for you). I ordered chicken pasta and to my surprise it is not your normal pasta, I don’t know how they were able to lace it with star anis, but yeah it – you know how it is with star anis and I. Haha. It’s not that it doesn’t taste good, but since it’s my third day in Taiwan I’m starting to not like the smell of star anis, plus the fact that it was spoiled to us – it resulted to not really enjoying the dinner, or perhaps it’s just I. Haha! But the concept was really smart – hands down to that.
Also, look at this cute ice cream that is shaped like 💩. Haha!
After that we went to Shilin Night Market. Unlike the Raohe, Shilin doesn’t have as much food but clothes and things. It is nice if you are looking for things to bring at home. Though not much food choices but still there are great food out there like the toasted buns I loved (but too hot to eat, haha!)
These bacon-wrapped spring onions, which are are the best!
and these cute Custard pancakes.
After the late night stroll, we head back to the hotel and ended our third day. It was full of adventure. And looking back, I’ve learned quite a few lessons:
1. Never be afraid to continue on despite having a few inconveniences. Because you might just miss out one of the best adventures of life. Ask God for wisdom whether to continue on, and when He says so trust that He’ll carry you through and that He holds what lies ahead. Just trust in Him when He says – Go!
2. Don’t spoil anything to your co-tourist. Or at least tell them it is by your personal preference (perhaps tell them this is a disclaimer, I don’t know but at least respect their space, haha! I’m not mad, It’s just really a lesson for myself that I won’t do with others) or ask if they would want your comment/suggestion/violent reaction. Because in doing so, you grab them of the experience – whether be it good or bad. So let them try it themselves. Say hi of you’re on the same country, if they need help – help them. If not, let them enjoy and have fun.
P.S. (since we are talking about spoilers and disclaimers, haha!) If you’re travelling to Taiwan and my food preference has somehow influenced you. I must say it is still by your personal preference. I mean, maybe one of these days I may have grown accustomed to star anis and would find all of Taiwan’s food appealing than before. What I’m saying that I don’t like Taiwan’s food in general, it’s just that star anis and I were probably set on a wrong foot. Also, it is probably because I am one picky, very picky eater, who has been set out for a journey. As it is right now, it’ll be really hard for me to find food I’ll love, or even try aside from the ones my mother cooked. Haha! So if you’re going to Taiwan, go ahead and try them yourselves and tell me if you liked it. 😊