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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

[Amaya Travels] Taiwan Trip Part 15: Lo Dong (罗东)

Initially, we thought that Yilan was a quiet place with nothing much to see. But after some patient explaining from our hostel owner in Lo Dong, we realised that there was actually a lot we could do there! Lo Dong is a very good place to have your base.

Large entrance, but our hostel is one of the apartments upstairs xD

Little birdies building a nest outside~
Check out all the stuff we could do!

Simple, clean and enough (:

After settling in, it was time to look for more food (lol). Lamb soup is very popular here, and you should eat at the stall below. Apparently, when a huge gourmet show came around to interview them, they were closed. So the show went to interview the 2nd in line, and now their business is booming. Well, all the better for us with insider info + no queue LOL.

Really delicious, but also heaty~

Spotted a cute building!

Our hostel owner, Maggie asked us what we would like to do in Lo Dong. We told her we would like to have tea, and she recommended this really old tea house:

According to the sign, the tea house closes every Wednesday and Sunday.

Second floor very scenic, kinda like a museum

Freebie with our tea!
We tried two different kinds of tea, one which we had to brew by ourselves, and the other had the tea leaves already in the cup. I had to rely on my tea brewing knowledge from 7 - 8 years ago XD Was almost all correct, except I didn't put the tea leaves in the pot XD

The surrounding buildings all had this old feel to it, which made for an enjoyable walk~

Lo Dong Cultural Factory (罗东文化工厂)

After long chats with the other tea house patrons, we headed to the cultural factory of Lo Dong (for lack of better translation...)! The museum inside closes at 6pm, but the outside area is free to public 24/7! Apparently their music awards ceremony was once held here...

This space was built to promote and protect the art of handicrafts and other performing arts in Lo Dong.

Oh hello there :D

Lo Dong Night Market (罗东夜市)

Reviews online praised the Lo Dong Night Market, and it was indeed a lively one with lots of food and shopping available!

Please choose the chicken drumstick! It is awesome xD

A bit like popiah~
Again, not many photos because we were busy eating XDD The next post will move into Yilan proper :D

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*Emoticons courtesy of JapanLover.me.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

[Amaya Travels] Taiwan Trip Part 14: Hualien (花蓮)

After Kenting, we had to make our way to Hualien! The fastest route was to reach Fangliao station, then to Hualien, which took around 4 hours? We didn't manage to get the train tickets the first time round, but the second time we tried, we got them! Sometimes the tickets are reserved for those who made online bookings but are released when the payment isn't made (^^)

Fangliao Train Station

The mini food kiosk there was selling the railway bento! And a really annoying message advertising it xD If you want railway bento on the train, get it here because the train to Hualien does not sell it ): An alternative is to prepare exact cash, and race to the seller at designated train stops, which you can find out from the train staff xD

Train platform~
After we alighted at Hualien, we immediately bought the railway bento xD Hungry~!

We made a quick trip to the local night market, Zi Qiang Night Market (自强夜市)! I was pretty worn out by then so we made a few stops and bought the food back to our hostel to eat xD

Fried crab was good, according to iPeen

The shell was really hard to work with though, may be cause it already cooled down

It rained a lot while we were there. Incidentally, we narrowly missed the earthquake that happened. But, it seems to be really normal business for the locals. When asked what to look out for when an earthquake happens, the hostel owner just looked at us weirdly and said, "Nothing...?" LOL.

My only picture of Colourful Taiwan xD

In Hualien, of course you must go to Taroko Gorge! A pity the river waters were all just grey and murky xD Tour guide said it is usually the case in the summer when the rainy season comes. In winter you get clear waters.

Likewise with the Kenting tour, our hostel had a tour package for Taroko Gorge! So off we go!

This is already my third time at Taroko Gorge, counting my family trip and immersion trips xD But travel buddy's first time here, so this scenic area is a must!

The tiny waterfall leading from under the temple is said to have never stopped.

Thus the name came about...?

Halfway through, we headed to an aboriginal tribe's museum + rest area for toilet break and lunch!


In light of the earthquake that happened earlier, we were to wear helmets when walking around certain areas just in case there were falling rocks. Some walk paths were also closed.

Suspension bridges are about the most exciting thing you'll come across in the gorge xD

Passed through a filter, kinda like it. The water was seriously that grey murky colour though ._.

Last stop was Seven Star Lake, or Cisingtan (七星潭)! It really felt like part of the sea though xD

Only pushcart selling food (other than fruits).

Look at the waves~!

Rainy season, so lots of clouds~

We were randomly stacking stones on the stone beach xD

Had a craving for Japanese cuisine, so after we got back, we located a Japanese restaurant using the iPeen app!



THIS is not ice cream LOL. It is actually mashed potato with crushed peanuts on top!

There were some cafes that were pretty interesting, but I was too tired to go D:

And ending with a picture showing our third last stop in Taiwan: Lo Dong!

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*Emoticons courtesy of JapanLover.me.