During our recent trip to Taiwan, I have take quite a few video clips, which are now available on YouTube. Here they are presented with some additional comments and links..
The first clip was taken in the Longshan temple in Taipei. This temple was originally built in 1738 by Chinese settlers from Fujian, It was destroyed many times by earthquakes and fires, but every time rebuilt. The last time was after the Americans had bombed the temple in 1945, claiming that the Japanese had hidden weapons inside the temple. It is an iconic example of classical Taiwanese architecture.
Also a temple, but in a completely different style and much more recent: the Shell Temple in Dangshui. In the hills, north of Taipei, remote, we hired a taxi to get there. Completely built from sea corals and shells. Amazing.
During our trip we had lots of nice and often unknown food. One of them was this dish with I think is called Milk Mochi. It has a Japanese origin and was very refreshing. Aric shows here how to eat it.
One of the tourist attractions of Taipei is the Maokong Gondola. It connects the Taipei Zoo with the Maokong hill. Opened in 2007 it was closed in 2008 after structural damage of the supporting pylons was discovered. Reopened in 2010. Some of the cabins have glass bottoms.
Maokong is a tea growing region, so one of the attractions is to drink tea in one of the many tea houses that can be found near the gondola station. It was misty, so the famous night view of Taipei was disappointing. But we had tea and here Aric is showing how to do a tea ceremony (more or less…haha)
In Xin Beitou I took two videos of the geothermal activity there. The first one on our way back from our hot spring bath experience in the remote location. Note how there is a small stream with cold water just next to the boiling water and the steam. Transported with numerous pipes to the baths.
In Xin Beitou itself, walking distance from the center, there is a “Thermal Valley”, a small lake of hot water, greenish colour, with a lot of steam coming from the water.
Our next destination was Jiaoxi, on the north-east coast of Taiwan. Here Aric had discovered during his research a nice waterfall, the Wufengqi falls. Walkable from the town.This is the lower tier
The upper tier is quite impressive, a tall vertical fall. We were not the only visitors, although it was a steep climb. This is a popular tourist attraction.
One of the must-visit places for food in Jiaoxi is the Wengyao Roast Chicken restaurant . Their specialty is chicken, slowly smoked over tropical longan wood.
First here a video about how they prepare the chicken.
What a job! The chicken is cooked in its own fat, with some herbs. You can only order a whole chicken. They bring it to your table with two pair of gloves and you have to dissect it yourself. Here I am doing that, it became a kind of slapstick video. Watch it full screen and have a good laugh.
By the way, I have never in my life eaten a more juicy and delicious chicken!
From Jiufen, the last village where we stayed, we made a few trips in the north-eastern hills of Taiwan. One of the places Aric liked to visit was the grave of Teresa Teng, a Taiwanese Chinese pop singer, passed away at a young age in 1995 and still very popular in Malaysia and other Asian countries. Elaborate grave, with her songs being played. Interesting.
On our last day we explored the Pingxi line, a single-track railway line, built in 1921 to transport coal. Now a major tourist attraction. On a day ticket you can stop at each station, walk around and then proceed to another one. From the Shifen station you can walk to what is considered the most scenic waterfall of Taiwan, the Shifen fall. Kind of Niagara falls in miniature.
The Shifen station itself is an interesting one, with the railway tracks running in the middle of the village main street! When no train is arriving these railway tracks are a center of activity with people preparing huge Chinese lanterns, writing messages on them and then let them go up in the sky.