While we spent our first evening in Taipei after arriving at Taiwan, we travelled to the eastern coast of Taiwan at Yilan 宜蘭 for our following stop the next morning.
[Taiwan September 2012]
13 September 2012
Dongshan River & National Centre for Traditional Arts | Yilan, Taiwan
As recommended by a local to take a bus instead of the railway train to Yilan, we caught an express bus with KML Bus that took us from the Taipei Bus Station located beside Q square near Taipei Main station to Luodong, Yilan.
And indeed, the ride was really enjoyable with nice and comfortable seats and we arrived at the terminating stop at Luodong Train Station within an hour’s time!
There, we made our way to the B&B we’ll be lodging at and checked in before carrying on with the activities for the rest of the day…
Arriving at the B&B 衿日林民宿 where we’re based for the night…
The B&B is located in the midst of farms and fish cannery, about a short 10min car ride from the Luodong railway station and it is located directly opposite the entrance of Dongshan River Water Park 冬山河親水公園. It surely didn’t look like there is any food or shops in the nearby vicinity but I doubt you can find the same kind of peace and serenity anywhere else.
[photo credit: http://www.alily.tw/]
This is the room at the B&B we’ve got that’s fit for four of us at NT 2700 per night. We fell in love with the room the very moment we stepped in especially when it looks so cosy and spacious. It was such a pity that we were putting up in this room for one night only.
Once we have settled down our baggages in our room, we decided to go as planned and explored the area along Dongshan River 冬山河.
We were advised by the owner of the B&B to rent an electronic bike if we’re planning to be adventurous and go further and she sold us entrance tickets to National Centre for Traditional Arts at a cheaper rate and recommended that we check out that place since it is located just beside the river and with that, we set foot on our little adventure along Dongshan River in Yilan that afternoon with our bikes and a map in hand…
We rented the electronic bicycles at a bike rental store directly opposite the entrance and the owner very kindly offered to come and meet us wherever we are should our bikes run out of battery! 🙂
Taking the chance to snap some photos of ourselves while we’re still fresh and energetic… hehe! Off we go and here’s the scenic view we had while cycling enroute to the National Centre for Traditional Arts!
Well, it’s not like we don’t have parks to cycle around in here in Singapore and there’s no big deal about cycling overseas but frankly speaking, even if we’re to cycle in Singapore, I doubt we’ll just such scenic views. Don’t you think so?
And the after approximately 15min cycling on a casual pace, we arrived at the centre via the rear entrance…
When we entered the centre, we were greeted by the quacking of the ducks at the pond just beside the rear entrance and stopped for a bit to feed them…
Imitating the Taiwanese buildings of early 20th century, the stretch of rustic looking brick buildings houses the Traditional Handcraft Artists’ studios with the main concept aiming to represent the olden times when traditional products were still dominant in the market. There are 33 shops in total including studios and some exhibition spaces.
And since we didn’t made prior plans and didn’t manage to meet any of the timing of the shows at the centre, we can only resort to checking out the studios and shops…
At Carton King…
At Carton King’s retail shop, everything from decorative items to bags and even furnitures are crafted and made of cardboards. You must be wondering if the furnitures are strong enough to hold our weight and I have to say, not only can they hold our body weight, the furnitures are really sturdy!
We managed to check out their themed restaurant outlet at CingJing Farm while we’re there too!
And finally, there’s some demonstrations going on that caught our attention!
The traditional candy tang cong, with its name derived from the cross section looks that resembles spring onions, is made from repeatedly pulling and folding the sugar paste until the whole piece is opaque and slightly slivery and glittery.
The process somewhat reminds me of the demonstrations we see at the Sticky candy outlets here in Singapore!
Since we’re curious what the candy tasted like, we decided to get the rolls to give it a try and only to find each roll filled with a piece of tang cong topped with chopped coriander, grinded peanuts and black sesame.
And to my surprise, that combination was pretty interesting and refreshing. While the coriander, peanuts and black sesame gives a strong aromatic fragrance and a savory textured touch, the tang cong that is crispy and crunchy not only further enhancing the texture, it also cuts back the slight bitterness from that peanut, black sesame and coriander combination with its sweet flavor that resembles honey.
While the facade reflects the character prominent old towns in Taiwan, there are dozens of shops retailing traditional food and snacks inside the building.
We probably only managed to check out just a tiny portion of the entire centre and the sun is already setting and threatening to cast darkness over us. Left with no choice, we decided to leave and move ahead with exploring the area around the river on bike.
We’re so grateful for the locals who helped by giving us some verbal directions, we managed to hit the beach within 15min from the National Centre for Traditional Arts!
It was really windy and very comfortable just standing around there staring out at the sea. If not for the fact that we need to get back before the roads get dark after dusk, we could have just hung around longer…
The brother and Anna with the sunset in the background…
We spent the rest of the time after a short stop at the beach fighting against time and the dying battery of our electronic bicycles before it turns dark to reach back to the bike rental shop or we’ll be caught in a total unfamiliar foreign land in pitch darkness!
F.Y.I. they do not have street lights that light up the paths and roads like in Singapore!
Just in case you’re wondering, I’ve attached a map with the route we’ve taken during our cycling trip that afternoon. We followed the path on the same side of the river as the National Centre for Traditional Arts for a start and returned on the opposite side of the river.
Like I mentioned, it’s not like we don’t have beautiful parks to cycle around in here in Singapore and there just doesn’t seem to be a big deal about cycling overseas but this kind of scenic views we see along the way is really one of a kind.
And frankly speaking, how many times will you even consider cycling in the parks here in Singapore? And since you’re already planning to relax while you’re overseas, how about giving the holiday a little adventure and do something you haven’t done in a long while right? 🙂
More posts from Taiwan September 2012 travelogue series:
- 12 September 2012: Huayin Food Street| Taipei, Taiwan
- 13 September 2012: Dongshan River & National Centre for Traditional Arts | Yilan, Taiwan
- Day 2 @ Luodong Night Market – A gastronomic experience at the night market in Taiwan offering the best street food
- Day 3 @ Hualien – Exploring and touring the scenic Hualien Day 1
- Day 3 @ Hualien – Eating in Hualien Day 1
- Day 4 @ Hualien – Exploring and touring the scenic Hualien Day 2
- Day 4 @ Hualien – Eating in Hualien Day 2
- Day 5 @ Road trip to Taroko National Park
- Day 5 @ Carton King @ Cingjing Farm
- Day 6 @ Cingjing Farm – Villa Relax 清境白熊屋民宿
- Day 6 @ Cingjing Farm – Evergreen Grassland 青青草原 & Mountain View Pastures 觀山牧區
- Day 7 @ Sun Moon Lake – Water, Land & Air travel @ Sun Moon Lake & One Piece @ Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village
- Day 8 @ Good Morning with MACC 早安! 美芝城 @ Sun Moon Lake
- Day 9 @ Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市
- Day 10 @ “Temple Run” at Lukang, Changhua
- Day 11 & 12 @ A side trip to Tainan 臺南
- Day 13 @ Wulai 烏來 & Bitan 碧潭 @ Taipei
- Day 13 @ Yonghe Lehua Night Market 永和樂華觀光夜市
- Day 14 @ Dazzling Cafe Sunshine
- Day 15 @ Foto Friday – Five Dime 伍角船板
- Day 16 @ A quick guide to breakfast around Taipei Main Station 台北火車站