Rain or no rain, east coast of Taiwan by car

Hualien Travel Blog

 › entry 23 of 34 › view all entries
a driving map given to us by the car rental agency, the yellow highlighted our route for the first day, and blue for the next day.
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Deats and I had talked about where to go and what to see today. But it was raining when morning came. So we changed the plan and decided to rent a car (1500NT/day) instead of getting too wet. They wanted an International driver's license and I didn't have one. Although I am more experienced in driving, Deats did the driving and I navigated. It would have been hard for him to navigate anyway, the map being in Chinese, and it worked out wonderfully.

We thought being Sunday maybe Taroko would be more busy so we decided to go south today. We first drove down the East Rift Valley south toward Taitung (where Deats came from yesterday!) then east through a tunnel to the coast. The mountains were under low clouds and played peek-a-boo with us.
the 8 arched bridge leading to the island "platform of the 3 immortals"
The tunnel was new and shortened the drive, we also had great scenery as the road wound east. By the time we got to the coast the rain had stopped and we went to our first stop 三仙台"the platform of 3 immortals". The story was that 3 of the 8 immortals from the Chinese Taoist pantheon had stopped to rest here on one occasion, thus the name.

It is a small coral island off the coast, with an 8-arched bridge 320 meters long linking it from the main island of Taiwan. The arched bridge was shaped like 8 waves, going up and down at each arch. It was VERY windy on the arched bridge and I could swear if I tried hard enough I would be airborne easily. That might have been a contributor to the legends, because the immortals in Chinese stories can fly and ride the clouds.
Deats at the beach, platform of 3 immortals in the background
The waves were pretty big because of the wind and rain. We walked over the bridge to the small island and walked the trail around it. There were many cliff and rock formations  from erosions and the beach was rocky. There were people fishing off the rocks. This is one of the most famous scenic spots in Taiwan's east coast and I can't remember ever been here before.

Our second stop was the 八仙洞 "cave of 8 immortals", a little bit up (north) the coast. These were many caves made by the sea long ago, and are now on a hill near the coast. This was the only place in Taiwan where stone age artifacts were discovered. It was a hike up the trail to see the various caves, each is now a shrine for one god or another.  One of the caves had great echos from the waves down by the coast.
map showing the scenic area
The trail was closed some ways up so we couldn't see all the caves. But it's really mainly an excuse for a hike of up to 150 meters high and to see the coast from high up. The area was wild enough that we saw a wild monkey in the trees. Deats warned me about monkeys that they can move very fast in the wild and to stay away.

Going north along the coast, we stopped at a tall monument which is the tropic of cancer marker. Taiwan is subtropical north of this point and tropical south of it. Taiwan stradles the tropic of cancer,  the northernmost latitude where the sun appears directly overhead at noon (on the summer solstice day usually about June 21 or 22). The word tropic is from Greek meaning turn because the sun "turns" back south after this day, and the days become shorter than nights until the sun hits the equator directly overhead at noon on the autumnal equinox day.
me on the bridge, it was VERY windy and I felt like I could be blown away any moment
Supposedly only in Taiwan is the tropic of cancer in such a lush green environment.

Keep going north up toward Hualien, we stopped at 石梯坪 Shi-te-ping, a piece of the coastline with tiered platform of rocks like giant steps (where its name came from) and erosions from the sea in a way that when the waves came in, they shot up the platform and could flood it if you didn't know better. We were a little distance away when we saw how far the waves would come up so we stayed safely enough. I think it was a good thing that it had just rained, probably made the waves more impressive than just a nice sunny day. Besides we were lucky enough that when we were out of the car walking, we didn't get rained on.
Deats walking and fighting the wind on the bridge leading to the platform of 3 immortals, Taitung, Taiwan


It was getting late so we headed back to Hualien. Overall, we drove somewhere around 250 km for the day, a large part of the coast of Taiwan (about 400km from north to south total). It was definitely a good thing to have a car to cover the distance efficiently.

The rain had returned for a slightly wet evening. We ate at another dumpling restaurant (much bigger than last night's) This one was picked because the name was the same as my last name. We had several different dumplings and a "小米粥 (foxtail millet) porridge" which was very good.
Deats says:
I managed to add some new locations to the taiwan map from finding them on wikipedia with exact longitudes etc. Been busy away for the last 4 hours and have many of the photos uplodaded now :0)
Posted on: Mar 29, 2008
portia says:
oh, that's right, the tropic of cancer marker.
Posted on: Mar 29, 2008
Deats says:
What about the tropic of cancer! Or Capricorn, or whichever it was :)
Posted on: Mar 28, 2008
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a driving map given to us by the c…
a driving map given to us by the …
the 8 arched bridge leading to the…
the 8 arched bridge leading to th…
Deats at the beach, platform of 3 …
Deats at the beach, platform of 3…
map showing the scenic area
map showing the scenic area
me on the bridge, it was VERY wind…
me on the bridge, it was VERY win…
Deats walking and fighting the wi…
the bridge
the bridge
360 degree view at the bridge lea…
rocks along the path on the platfo…
rocks along the path on the platf…
nice planked path around the islan…
nice planked path around the isla…
more path on the island
more path on the island
view of the coast from the island …
view of the coast from the island…
some rock formations on the platfo…
some rock formations on the platf…
people fishing off the rocks on th…
people fishing off the rocks on t…
deats on far side of the platform …
deats on far side of the platform…
a small rock with burned out incen…
a small rock with burned out ince…
lots of rocks along the coast of p…
lots of rocks along the coast of …
view of the off shore island of pl…
view of the off shore island of p…
a cave at the 8 immortals cave
a cave at the 8 immortals cave
a higher cave, turned into a shrine
a higher cave, turned into a shrine
view from high up at the 8 immorta…
view from high up at the 8 immort…
a monkey in the tree off the path …
a monkey in the tree off the path…
The Tropic of Cancer marker
The Tropic of Cancer marker
looking west through the opening o…
looking west through the opening …
Deats taking photos at the Tropic …
Deats taking photos at the Tropic…
view of Shi-ti-ping coast with rou…
view of Shi-ti-ping coast with ro…
waves crashing onto the rocks
waves crashing onto the rocks
rocky coast at 石梯坪
rocky coast at 石梯坪
more rocky coast with waves crashi…
more rocky coast with waves crash…
big waves at 石梯坪
big waves at 石梯坪
Deats taking photos at 石梯坪
Deats taking photos at 石梯坪
rocky coast with large puddles of …
rocky coast with large puddles of…
more waves at Shihtiping, Hualien…
big waves at Shihtiping
waves at 石梯坪
waves at 石梯坪
coast view at 石梯坪
coast view at 石梯坪
石梯坪 panorama view
石梯坪 panorama view
waves at 石梯坪
waves at 石梯坪
big waves and fishing boat heading…
big waves and fishing boat headin…
sculptures by an Italian artist at…
sculptures by an Italian artist a…
sculpture
sculpture
Sign inside the dumpling restauran…
Sign inside the dumpling restaura…
our feast, onion pancake on the up…
our feast, onion pancake on the u…
a bowl of 小米熬粥, foxtail mi…
a bowl of 小米熬粥, foxtail m…
Hualien
photo by: canuck_downunder05