Wednesday, June 08, 2016

7D6N Tour to Taiwan (Shifen), Day 2 - Cats, Cats, everywhere

Throwback to 14 December 2015
Day 2

Thanks to the cool weather and the serenity of the area, it was a restful night! We were greeted with a thick mist of air outside our guesthouse. The dehumidifier was on when we were in.

View from our porch

Dragging the dreadful tote bag

After a 5 minute stroll, we arrived at the main office which is also the 涵館咖啡馆/coffeeshop, where breakfast is provided.

Finding out where we should go next while waiting for breakfast

Freshly made breakfast with distilled coffee

Researching the day's itinerary

Would have been a great place to chill if not for the drizzle

And the journey for the day begins

You got to salute the bus drivers for being able to negotiate sharp bends at such high speed

Ruifang (瑞芳) Station

Bought our one-day train tickets for Pingxi Line (平溪線)

Trail Guide Map of Pingxi Line

As the train comes every hour, it is important to plan your trip carefully to minimise train waiting time. We decided to make Houtong Cat Village (猴硐貓村), just one stop after Ruifang (瑞芳) Station, our first stop to up the morale of my pregnant wife.

Train schedule


Map of Houtong Cat Village (猴硐貓村)

Cats, cats, everywhere starting from the train station

We gave ourselves about an hour to explore Houtong. Sadly, most of the shops were closed. Having some time to spare, we ventured into the Houtong Coal-Mine Ecological Park 猴硐煤礦博物園區. It was an adventurous 20 minutes, and we dashed back to the real train after our mini-train ride.

Explanation of the coal mining process

Having a try on the traditional mining equipment

Can already start second career

Bye bye Cat Village

We managed to catch the train, and we headed for the terminal station, Jingtong 箐桐.

Map of Jingtong 箐桐

Japanese house that was not open

A stroll down Jingtong Old Street 箐桐老街

We decided to heed the advice of some travel websites to walk for 20 minutes to Pingxi 平溪.

Perhaps better to take the train if it's raining

We had one of the best Peanut Ice Cream rolls at this Pingxi stall. Huge roll with greens (which Jiufen's do not have). From Pingxi, we rode to Shifen. We were advised that it is sufficient to enjoy the view of the other stops while the train rode along.

Huge troves of tourists releasing lanterns into the air. We spoke to the locals who shared with us that they do deploy people to clear up the lanterns from the neighbouring forests. However, taking a glance over to the trees out there, we realised that with so many of the lanterns caught on the branches high up from the ground, releasing an additional lantern might just be denting the environment further.

So, we went to see the famous waterfall. It was a short taxi ride away (we couldn't walk more).

At first, we thought this tiny waterfall was the Shifen Waterfall (十分瀑布)

Fortunately it didn't disappoint us

As the day darkens, we decided to end the day. Dinner was at the food centre at the end of Ruifang (瑞芳) food street.

Finally a dog, after so many cats~

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