Thursday, 30 June 2016

Taiwan Trip (Part VI): Shihtiping - Highlight of our Hualien Days

After a horrendous ‘camping’ (more like asking-for-murder)experience in Liyu Lake, we were very skeptical about going for camping at Shihtiping. There’s only this much of waddafuq moments our little hearts could take. Still, since we didn’t have much idea where else to go, we carried on with our Shihtiping plan and it turned out to be such a serendipitous experience.
We had to stop by Guanfu for one night, and it’s this little town (a ghost town by the time we reached at 9pm) with barely anything to do. And here we were, mercilessly destroyed by Hualien mozzies, getting our instant noodle dinner fix in 7-Eleven. 

Our accommodation was a guesthouse that was in fact more resort-like with very nice gardens. When we arrived there, there was no one in but through the door we could see the lights were on, computer was on and so being the shameless beings that we were, we just went in and put our things there. We called their mobile (using their home-line hahah) but no one answered. So I left a note (on my boarding pass) explaining everything and we went out for food. 

Our host were back by the time we returned and we learnt that they actually went to celebrate Mothers’ Day earlier. See how trusting these people were! Gates unlocked, door unlocked, computers, drawers all unlocked when no one’s home! So yup, they were SUPER nice and welcoming and their rooms had a very calming naturally-wood smell to it. 

Morning came around and we were served homecooked brunch with their self-grown veggies. It was so yummmmy we were practically gorging down the food and I didn’t want to risk going back to retrieve my camera in case my boyfriend finished the food while I was away. Ya, he can be trusted with everything but food. Or being on a mountain with shaky tent during an oncoming storm. 

Here’s a one last look at our very lovely guesthouse – Summer Trail B&B! Highly recommend this place if you too are looking for a stopover place on your way to Shihtiping from Hualien. See here for all its booking details and also my other accommodations in Taiwan.

Say hello to the mighty Pacific Ocean! 

And GOODNEWS ERRBADY! The Shihtiping Campsite turned out to be as legit as it shows on the official Taiwan website – the COMPLETE opposite of Liyu Lake Campsite. This place screams 'HOLIDAYYY VIBESZZZZ'!

I was soooo happy that I let my inner China tourist came out (see first picture for what I meant), but instead of posing with scarves, I upped my game to sleeping bags, while I forced Q to the tent. (Truth: No we had better taste in life. We were just sunning our stuffs)

The sun was BLAZING hot, you could really feel it on your skin, but the sky was amazingly blue and you could hear the waves in the near distance. I just sat there (read: look into the horizon and contemplate about life) while Q read Economist on my mozzie-bites infested legs. 

 A small stretch of padi field was found on our way to hunt for some food. And except this ‘rice-in-a-leaf-cone-sprinkled-with-dried-fish’ thing (the place was called the Flying Fish), there was no eateries around anymore! So please my darlings, if you are going to Shihtiping, remember to pack your own food!

From the depth of my heart, I loved the place. It was so beautiful and the fact that the whole place was formed by mountains eroded by the oncoming Pacific waves was just poetic. 

Spotted some fishies who looked like they should belong to Avatar instead and guess who became obsessed with them for the next 15 min.

This cute old man was getting flustered at his tangled nets, cos the waves were coming in more and more with each passing second and he needed to lay it out before it's full tide. 

See the difference:
Boyfriend's photo taken by me - him basking in the golden hour twilight, contrasting with the emerald ocean background 
My photo taken by him - over-exposed ocean with poor composition of me and the rocks

We settled down, showered (yes they have hot showers starting from 6pm), and went out for a walk when it was completely dark. The stars were everywhere, and a storm was happening in the near distance and so the lightnings lit up the entire sky every 5 minutes. We caught a glimpse of our first shooting star in Taiwan that night and I am sure you'd get to see more if it's a clearer night. 

The night was, however, the most horrible night of my entire Taiwan trip.

The bites - some new some old, I dont know, I've lost count- were working up and getting increasingly itchy due to the heat in our tent. You see, our tent was meant for hiking on cold mountains, not for humid beach nights. But it's not like we could zip it down cos we would otherwise become full-course buffet for ALLLLL the mosquitoes buzzing around our tent.

So I was whining in my sleep, waking up to slab palmful of menthol creams, while my dearest boy fanned me with his Economist throughout the night. I woke up seeing him fanning me, smiling at me with his dark-circles, and I felt couldn't feel more sorry :( 

This was Q not willing to leave the place without another playing session. 
They are not men, they are all just boys.

Bye bye Shihtiping!!
I really, really enjoyed my times with you! 

We then headed for Taitung, but decided to stop by Donghe for a night.
It's this surfer town that's increasingly getting more popular in recent years. But nope, it's a wrong decision. We were there during the low-season for surfing and so, it's yet another ghost town for us.

This was RIGHT along the highway.
It should be a tell-tale sign for anyone that there's really nothing much over here.

How to spot a hitchhiker:
Dressed shabbily
Holding huge water bottles
Have bags bigger than their torso 
and stranded on a highway 

We soon found our way to Taitung and just a head's up: IT'S OUR FAAAAVOURITE CITY OF OUR ENTIRE TRIP!!
Here's the cat (Her/His name is Mumu) at our guesthouse and I ABSOLUTELY adored it!! Though it didn't seem to feel the same way for me...
More to come on my next post!

Getting to Shihtiping by public transport:
1) Hualien-Guanfu: Take the train
2) Guanfu-Fengbin: From the train station, walk out straight down the road for around 10 min and you will see a lamppost on your right with bus schedules pasted on it. There's a bus with 2 timings - one around 8am and one around 1pm. Take all the way to the last stop (Fengbin)
3) Fengbin-Shihtiping: At the same bus stop you've alighted, take another bus to Shihtiping. We took the second bus to Fengbin and it happened that the bus from Fengbin to Shihtiping came just 5 minutes after we alighted.

Campsite Charges:
- You probably had to book online during peak seasons or weekend, but we went on a Monday and only a few grounds were booked. The charges varied from NT800 to NT1000 depending on if it's Mon-Tue, Wed-Thur, Fri-Sun. Comfortable platform grounds and hot showers and toilets were provided.