Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cycle Taiwan Day 4 - Hsinchu to Taichung

Hsinchu is the hometown of the rice noodle (vermicelli) or beehoon commonly known in Malaysia and it's farewell to Hsinchu as I passed by this sign on the way out of the city.
The rainbow Bridge 三 姓 公 溪 at Xiangshan District GPS : 24.801507, 120.916765 
This 17km Bicycle Path at Xiangshan has been around for a long while, some of it signages are worn out but still a lovely trail to ride. I love this canopied trail.
A Chinese Temple 惠民宮天上聖母 after the trail at the wetland.
風情海岸 Coastal Promenade of Xiangshan.GPS : 24.778629, 120.914491
We stopped by at the promenade and have a good view of the place.
We were fortunate to find this lovely path to travel instead of the normal route 1 of the recommended cycling route.
The tide was so high that the sea water was splashing onto the road at Haishan Fishing Harbor 海山漁港
It is also at the neighbourhood of Siangshan Wetland of Hai Shan Area.

At his Blue Sky Bridge 藍天橋 (GPS : 24.760373, 120.906139) there are many wind turbines more than what we saw in Jeju Island.
White Cloud Bridge 白雲橋 still on the bicycle path at GPS : 24.746215, 120.900762
At last we were at the end of the bicycle path and had to find our way off the path to continue with Route 61. It was a good and lovely ride on this trail.
On Route 61 and our journey continued with typical scenery of Taiwan outskirt.
It indicates 23km to Tongxiao which was our destination.
A comforting sign that indicates that we were on track at the cycling route.
A pit stop at Cheyouxiuxi Station 車友休息站 where we had a try of Taiwanese grilled sausages. Location was at Houlong, Miaoli County GPS : 24.659290, 120.813720
The proprietor chewing his favourite betel and taking a picture with us. There are basic tool for bicycle repair in this shop if you happen to need it.
The start of a severe climb at Route 61 particularly at GPS : 24.597847, 120.741815
Just a little push to overcome the hilly route.
At the junction for a detour at 南港里 GPS : 24.587595, 120.730477
Itwas climbing again to a higher elevation and wind turbines welcoming us as we scaled up the hill, by thwe way it was only 2km up the hill.
And the we reached the attraction the wind was super strong at Haowangjiao GPS : 24.601855, 120.731113 for a spectacular view. A few times our bicycles were knocked off to the ground.
Taiyen Salt factoy cum Museum 鹽來館 at GPS : 24.555956, 120.703050
Let lepak at this cool corner at the the salt factory.
Foot spa with salt warm salted water to sooth our feet.
Lunch time at QQ 大碗公 for Pork Leg Rice along Route 61 GPS : 24.550974, 120.699974
Fenn and Anne amazed by the huge melon inside QQ Restaurant.
The food we had at QQ Restauarant.
We took the coastal road (Yugang Road GPS : 24.491989, 120.678167) and approaching at the rear of Tongxiao Station.
We tried checking a few hotels in Tongxiao but we were not happy with it either it was old or with no lift to the room with steep staircases. We decided to proceed to Taichung for the night with a train.
Sorry Tongxiao we are going to a bigger city to stay.
Finally we arrived at Taichung City where we will spend 2 nights here and a chance to have more time in this place.
And off we went searching for a suitable place to sleep.
After much consideration and checking we concertedly agreed on Chance Hotel for 2 nights located at Jianguo Road, Taichung City, GPS: 24.138184, 120.685375
At a side lane next to Chance Hotel we went a stall selling economy rice located at Jianguo Road, GPS : 24.138143, 120.685167
Day 4 - We cycled from Hsinchu to Tongxiao and boarded a train to Taichung.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cycle Taiwan Day 3 Taipei to Hsinchu

Good morning Ximending! The moment I woke I took a peep at the window and was happy to see the sky so bright and clear. After 2 days of wet weather we could now see the sun, we were all ready to leave Taipei and eager to see more of Taiwan.
At he beginning we were kind of having a cold start, probably we were not used the heavy traffic of Taipei. The amount of scooters on the roads were like honey bees and coupled with a chain drop from Jo's bike. 
Still on the busy road we stopped by at this shop 良心 合記豆漿 at the junction of Nanjing West Road GPS : 25.053728, 121.507573 for breakfast.
We made friend with the shop operator and they were delighted to know that we are from Malaysia.
After the breakfast we visited Dadaocheng Park 大稻埕公園, a small community park for relaxation.
Taking the small lanes and back alley and seeing the backdoor landscape of the surrounding as we travelled down south.
We found the opening to Dadaosheng Wharf and crossed the busy road of Huanhe North Road into the wharf.
Our immediate call the minute we entered the bicycle path.
Taipei City government has a marvellous work converting the old wharf into a city park with dedicated bicycle paths and generating tourism for the country. 
Visitors have a chance to enjoy a stroll or bike ride along the river and experience a taste of history.
The bicycle path is friendly some with good shade and truly an ideal state for cycling.
After 10km of cycling we realised we were heading north instead of south, thanks to Anne for correcting the direction. With a little bit of help from the locals we were able to maneuver out and got ourselves corrected.
The extra kilometres took us to new sights that we might not have been able to view.
I love this stretch of wall mural, it's so oriental.
Jotaro did what some of the locals do, going topless.
Our main destination was to visit Sanxia old street 三峽老街, the weather was prefect though it was slowly getting hotter.
We passed by many bridges and all were brightly painted with attractive colours.
Suddenly we were out of the comfort zone from the bicycle lane and joining our brothers and sisters on the road.
After 39km we managed to reach Sanxia and were attracted by this old temple. It has an elaborate roof top and at the opposite side of the road is the famous Sanxia Zushi Temple 三峽祖師廟. 
At the corridor of the ancient shophouses as viewed from another temple called Xinglong Gong Matsu Temple GPS : 24.933532, 121.369719.
Historically, Sanxia (meaning three gorges) was an important goods distribution centre in Northern Taiwan due to its location. It quickly became a base for production and the streets of the town were lined with shops that sold dyes, manufacturing materials, and tea, however, after modernisation the town lost its economic advantages to other locations, and the riverfront area around Sanxia Old Street serves to educate visitors about Sanxia's past.
Although the town no longer is a economic powerhouse, it has still retained its cultural value, especially in and around the Sanxia Old Street area. The architecture consists of red brick buildings with hallways connected by small lanes. 
We were here at Sanxia Old Street.
Dating back to the early 1900s during the Japanese occupation, the unique traditional architecture is quite different from the rest of the island, which went through a massive development push in the 1970s at the expense of many traditional buildings.
Sanxia Zushi Temple 三峽祖師. Also known as Qingshui Zushi (Qingshui Master) Temple it was built in 1769. The temple was destroyed by an earthquake in 1833 and was rebuilt in 1867. However, during 1895, it was burned down by the Japanese army. After World War II, the restoration was led by the renowned artist Li Mei Shu. The restored temple presents refined carvings and sculptures and it is the work of Taiwanese artists. 
Our Brompton parking right in front of the Pork Leg Rice Shop at Minquan Street GPS : 24.934295, 121.370086
Our porky affair at this Pork Leg Rice 猪 脚 饭 shop, simply sinful and delicious. 
It only took 4km from Sanxia Old Street to a train station.
Approaching Yingge Station on our left on Wenhua Road GPS : 24.953435, 121.354256
At Yingge Station after 43km of cycling and we have to be Hsinchu before it get dark, by the way it gets dark around 5 plus in the evening.
In the front of Hsinchu Station. Photo Credit : Jotaro Zen.
We managed to find a hotel at No. 5, Lane 23, Datong Road by the name of Persimmon Hotel. An interesting hotel with different themes for different rooms.
We arrived just it was about to get dark and a good shower before we venture into Hsinchu City for our dinner.
Hsinchu is popular for the dry vermicelli (Beehoon) and one must try when you are in Hsinchu.
We had different versions of Hsinchu beehoon (新竹米粉) with some side dishes and they were all delicious. The beehoon is different from Malaysia the texture is firmer and rubbery. I like it very much.
Hsinchu City God's Temple or known as Du Cheng Huang Temple (都城隍廟) with a food court next to it.
The street food of Hsinchu as we slowly walked back to Persimmon Hotel. We tried a ice kacang at 阿忠冰店 at Dongmen Street but the taste was below expectation. So much of eating and it's time to sleep and prepare for tomorrow.
CT Day 3 - Out of 101km we only cycled 43km until Yingge Station where we took a train to Hsinchu.