Two weekends before flying back to the Philippines, I (finally) had the chance to visit Chiayi in Central Taiwan.
Jei, one of my lab mates from grad school, offered to take me there when he went home to see his parents. I only had one Saturday to spare (making me wonder why I never got around traveling to that part of the country over the past four years), so we made the most out of the day and started the 3-hour drive bright and early.
We managed to visit three spots within or close to the city; I managed to take as many photos as I can.
National Zhong Zheng University
I wanted to visit National Zhong Zheng University (國立中正大學) because I learned that Meteor Garden ( 流星花園), a Taiwanese drama which was hugely popular in the Philippines, was mostly shot there.
Dong Shi Fishing Port
We had a late lunch at the Dong Shi Fishing Port (東石漁人碼頭), where many families were enjoying the weekend as well. Jei, who hasn’t been to the port for about four years, pointed out the considerable changes they’ve made – giant killer whale statues included.
Chiayi Sun Shooting Tower
The sun was nearly setting when we left the port and Jei drove methodically so we could get even a slight glimpse of it from the Sun Shooting Tower (射日塔). Unfortunately, there was jam on the way to the park and we didn’t make it for our intended view.
After the last stop, I wished Jei (who had to spend a few more days with his folks and who I probably won’t be seeing any time soon) well in his career, took the bus and arrived in Taipei at around 1 in the morning. It would have been a much shorter trip (roughly 2 hours) had I taken the high-speed railway but I’m all for economical trips (and I didn’t have much trouble sleeping during the ride).
Typically, people won’t consider heading over to Central Taiwan when traveling to the country. I, on the other hand, will definitely go back. Firstly, there’s Alishan (阿里山鄉)*, which is quite picturesque. Apart from its Forest Recreation Area, Alishan also serves as a starting point for people who want to climb Yu Shan (玉山) or Jade Mountain – Taiwan’s highest peak and another reason why I really intend to explore Chiayi further.
Despite the brevity and lack of overall planning for the trip, I’m still grateful to Jei for giving me a quick tour around his hometown.
So, tell me about a place you’ve gone and felt that your stay there was much too short. And let me know which spots and stops you’d like to go to on your next visit.
August 29, 2012 | Taiwan
** Stu Dawson details his experience in scaling Jade Mountain on his blog.