Taoyuan is not all that far from Hsinchu, about an hour and a half by country roads, but, having ridden the scooter to Hsinchu on Friday afternoon, I had to bring it back on Sunday. Me and Yini decided to do this as a small trip, going eastward through the mountains instead of the straight road. It turned out to be a bit of an adventure that, including several stops, took us most of the day.
Riding along the winding mountain roads, we first came to a mountainside cafe where we stopped for tea, then kept going along until we happened upon a rest area with a nice view of Shimen reservoir among mist covered mountains.
The proper way to have tea.
Just a dab of sunshine would make this a splendid view
We kept on riding for a fair amount of time along mountain roads that were surprisingly well paved and wide. After a few minor stops and leg stretchers we came to a tower that Yini has been to earlier. There was two ways up the tower, on normal set of stairs and on narrow, steep ladder carved from a single log, with a not-so-sturdy handrail on one side. I opted for the narrow ladder, then gave up about half way up as the hand rail became even less reliable.
Coming down from the tower, it started raining, I pulled on my rain pants an jacket, just for the rain to stop a few minutes later, which was just as well, because, as we were crossing a river gorge, we saw the old bridge had been painted pink, which was enough reason for us to stop and explore.
Who paints a bridge bright pink?
New bridge in the background
Down by the river
Having been told off by a local guard type for going too close to a construction site (on the other side of the river, closed for the weekend) , We decided it was time to get going again. Heading further east, we left the main road for a short bit and went up to a place called Bat Cave. Naturally, tourist exploitation had scared away the bats, but, ever the ave explorer, I did enjoy it all he same, if nt as much as some military tunnels or such.
That is a pretty strange way to build a lookout platform
From bat cave we made dash north towards Sanxia, arriving just before dusk. At the end of preserved historic old street, we found a fairly big temple. Now, I normally don’t take pictures of temples anymore, they are far too abundant in this country for me to care unless they are special. The one here, Zushi temple, was awesome. It’s made with real wood and stone, covered in more carvings than any temple I have ever seen, all of them hand carved, and it had a proper old feel to it. In short, a temple really worth visiting.
A temple worth taking pictures of, net time, in daylight.
When we finished seeing the temple, we had some inner in the old streets an, as it was dark decided to go non stop to Taoyuan as there is little to see during the night in mountain terrain and small villages. Tired but happy we parked the scooter, then hopped on the next train home.