We had planned the day before to visit the temple near Silks Place before setting out to meet Ms Gu at the train station. So after a quick breakfast, we headed to the temple of the Goddess of Mercy. Of course, there’s no escaping the climb uphill (we are in Taroko!). Weather was still cooling, so there’s no problem with the climb.
On the walk up to the top, we passed by a midpoint, which is a pagoda. Which means a climb up the pagoda is a must 😉
As we got higher, the pagoda got lower. 😛
When we got to the top, the temple awaits us.
And there’s a nice big gold statue in front of the temple.
Remember I said this is a temple for the Goddess of Mercy. Somehow I have no pictures of her 😳
So, yesterday in our chat with Ms Gu, she knew the real reason of how and why we came to Hualien. Seriously, for all the talk my colleague said of Taiwan, if I had never seen a particular Taiwanese drama idol series, I would still never have ventured out of Taipei. Beats me why! 😕 The show mentioned is called Drunken to Love You.
In the first few episodes, some beautiful scenery of Taiwan was shown. A particular striking scene was one of the female and male leads enjoying the view of a beautiful blue ocean. Silly me had asked my husband if he knew the name of the sea (SEA???!!! duh!). You know what a nice man my husband is when he just said nicely, ‘that’s Pacific Ocean’. Oh, that’s right, Taiwan is an island! 😛
From that scene alone, I knew we HAD TO go to Hualien. Further research on my part showed that Taroko Gorge is the main draw of Hualien. So I had left it up to Ms Gu to decide on the itinerary of our half day tour. Well, she informed us that her son will be taking us for the tour today and one look at the young man, XiaoZheng, you could tell he’s of aborigine descent. Yep Ms Gu and her husband are both aborigines!
So XiaoZheng, upon settling us down in his car, said that since we went to Taiwan because of the show, today’s tour will include the hotel which was the backdrop for the show. 😀 That sounded really really good 😀 😀
So, first stop was to ChiTsing Tan, which is essentially a beach. Before we headed to the shore, the view of the entire place is that of a resort. Opposite ChiTsing Tan, there’s a hangar.
Just to prove that it is indeed a hangar…
I gotta admit, I can’t remember what was next.. Liyu Tan or FarGlory hotel.
I think FarGlory Hotel was next. This hotel was the filming site of the above-mentioned show, and it is the most expensive hotel in Hualien. Even more expensive than Silks Place. The reason why people are willing to pay the high rates is because of the view it commands. So said XiaoZheng. I was thinking, come on, that’s just a gimmick. And well, I have travelled to a few places, and have seen quite a number of nice commanding views and I was a bit skeptical just how nice a view the hotel has to show.
And here comes the view. I think it costs a minimum of SGD500/600 for the basic room. And being the world savvy traveller that I am, I WOULD pay for this view. It was breathtaking!
The real thing…
Imagine a blue blue sky with some cute dreamy clouds – this spot would be one of the most romantic place on earth. Truly beautiful! Even if you have no intention of spending a night here, you should just go to FarGlory just for the view. Its splendid! So no more photos for you…you gotta go there to experience it yourself! 😎
As we continued walking we came upon this station where one could stargaze at night. I bet it would really be a cool sight. At night, this site would top the other site for being the most romantic site in Hualien, if not Taiwan, if not Asia.
So I was really sold on the views this hotel command. Told my husband in my ever-sweet voice and said ‘we really should spend at least a night here the next time we are in Hualien’. ‘Sure’, he said. 😀 I just don’t know if we will ever go back to Hualien again. I mean there’s so many places on earth to go. I suspect the very smart husband knows that too 😛 But if I were to go Hualien again, I would definitely spend a night there!
Well, we couldn’t hang around FarGlory hotel forever, can we?! So next stop was Liyu Tan. No idea what this was to be. When we reached there, we knew its a place we wouldn’t stay long as there’s really nothing interesting there. Boringggggg…… 😕
Although there is really nothing of interest for us at LiYu Tan, we still walked around the place for formality’s sake. There is really nothing much here… 😐
We simply had to get out of the boring place and asked XiaoZheng to please bring us to eat some food local to the area. So he brought us to a place where he had enjoyed some nice carrot cakes.
The shrimps looked good BUT they were too small to peel. Such a hassle and we gave up shortly.
According to the locals, this is called Taiwanese vegetables which they say is only available in Taiwan. XiaoZheng told us this is called a fern in Singapore. So me reckons, this is not only available in Taiwan but rather, maybe one can get to eat this in Taiwan than in Singapore.
We had some chicken too….a wee bit different from the chicken we have from our chicken rice, with some blood still present :shock:… We still prefer our chicken in our chicken rice 😛
And I think the best dish is still the carrot/yam cake; very different from the one we have in Singapore. The taiwanese version is a deep fried tempura type.
On the way to the train station, XiaoZheng brought us to a Japanese temple in the area. At that point, we probably had enough of Hualien already. Besides, we’ve seen beautiful Japanese temples in Kyoto before, so interest level was low = no photos 😳
Somewhere near the temple there was a ‘Sea of Flowers’. According to XiaoZheng, there are competitions held to decide where the ‘Sea of Flowers’ are. This one we were at, its one of the consistent winners over the years. Very pretty!
So nothing eventful on our journey back to Taipei! Meaning this time round, we got ALL our bags accounted for! 😛
Met my sister and brother-in-law, who came over from HongKong, for dinner. On a cold chilly evening, only hotpot will do for dinner. And this time round, to another popular hotpot place in Taipei, called TaiHe Dian.
We liked it a lot better than Tripod King….its better suited to our taste!
These deepfriend doughsticks were wonderful!! Most yummilicious when you dip them into the soup!
And then back to Park Hotel where we had a triple sharing room. Very new hotel. A bit expensive but near to a metro station and service is quite good. I would return to Park Taipei. Bed time!