Friday, December 1, 2017

My Taitung Visit was too Short

Amazing Taitung

I am now on my fourth day traveling around Taiwan using public transportation as a solo traveler who cannot speak Chinese. So far it has been wonderful with no major problems. Trains are leaving and arriving on time and the station platforms are well marked. I had a problem in Luodong explaining directions to a taxi, but the driver asked another person and I got to my homestay with no problem.

National Museum of Prehistory

Yesterday I was with friends and we went to the Luye Highlands and biked around the rice fields in the most picturesque around Chishang. As they were heading back to the Taitung airport they dropped me at the National Museum of Prehistory In Taitung. This is a very large museum with the purpose of exploring the natural history of Taiwan, the pre-history of Taiwan, and the indigenous people of Taiwan. The museum came about when excavation was being done for a new railway station nearby and in the process, it was discovered that the area was a prehistoric burial site. A museum was proposed near the site to properly show the archeological finds and for education. After eleven years of planning, the museum officially opened in 2002. It is a large multi-floor museum with life-size humans and animals in displays showing how they might have used the articles found in the archeological excavations in the area. It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon with the only negative being transportation if you don’t have a car, as it is a way from the city center. Luckily, the information desk was very helpful and called a taxi for me so I could get back to my hotel in the city center.

Rice souvenir The Gaya Hotel

My hotel was the new Gaya Hotel. I would call it a large boutique hotel if I can use those two adjectives together. The staff was very polite and helpful. The room I had was somewhat small but very well appointed.  It even had Taitung rice as a souvenir in a decorative package. The rooftop infinity pool had amazing views and included a rooftop lounge, which was closed possibly due to the rain. The next morning’s breakfast buffet would be considered average. Many hotels I have stayed at in Taiwan seem to take pride in their breakfast offerings. This is one area where the Gaya Hotel can improve.

Infinity pool with a view

The hotel was in an excellent location downtown near restaurants and bars. It is also next to the Railway Art Village which seems to have activities going on frequently. If you like nature walking or biking, Taitung has the parks for you.  Next to the Gaya Hotel is the Liyushan Park with many nice trails, a temple, and a pagoda.

Even the rain didn't stop vendors at the Railway Art Village

Good hiking on the Liyushan trail behind the Gaua Hotel

Coming out from the Railway Art Village on the old railway trackbed is a nice wide wooden trail that would be great for biking or even walking. I didn’t have a chance to get on it this trip, but next time I’m in Taitung I’ll check it out. Another park for biking is Taitung Forest Park. You don’t need to bring your own bike since bike rentals are available in the park.

Entrance to Liyushan trail

Boardwalk over the old railway bed

My visit to Taitung has been too short. I must come back soon, but for now, on to the southwest coast of Taiwan.

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