Wednesday, June 19

Taiwan Trip 2011 Day 7 Journey to Green Island Lyudao 綠島 via Fugang Harbour

[continued from Taiwan Trip 2011 Day 6 Liyu Lake and Hualien at Night ]

Today I will cover our travels from Hualien township to the Green Island (otherwise known as Lyudao 綠島 locally) Of course, must start the day off with some traditional Taiwanese breakfast rite? We each had a small box of typical Taiwanese egg pancake and hot some soybean milk. Got this from the shop just below our hotel.

This journey takes quite a few hours and quite a few types of transport. You can buy your own train ticket to Taitung but make sure you book with a local minsu operator from Green Island first, for a package deal which will take care of arranging:
  1. Taxi cab transport from Taitung train station to Fugang harbour
  2. Ferry transport to Green Island, 
  3. Green Island accomodation, tours and transport as well.

As you walk towards the train station you will pass by rows of scooter rental shops. They cater to the weekend crowd. You can get a small scooter for as cheap as 200TWD a day, petrol not included, we rented a white new 125cc scooter for the duration of our Hualien stay for 350TWD.

So happens in late September it is peach and pear season. As top notch agriculturists, Taiwanese farmers produce some of the largest and nicest looking peaches and pears I had ever seen.

It takes about 2 hours to get from Hualien to Taitung. In Taiwanese trains even numbers are on one side. Make sure if you are travelling couple to get the two seat numbers both even or odd. But if train is not too crowded you can always switch seats to whichever side has better scenery. Train conductors do come on and check tickets but usually only right at the beginning of a trip.

Well couldn't resist the beautiful nashi pears so bought a couple for lunch. On the way to Taitung we passed by Ruisui station. This is the town where you can go whitewater rafting and some hotsprings too. Didn't go for this activity as we heard that the river levels were quite low so not as fun. Best time is right after typhoon season :D

 Train passed by quite a few of such rivers with their floodplains. Looks like its dry season.

We also passed by numerous rice fields. Remids me a little of the padi fields in Malaysia. But looks much neater and organized.

Managed to get an action shot of a bird, probably a fat pigeon, not easy on a constantly rumbling train.

Upon reaching Taitung station, we were picked up by a taxi driving auntie, who was driving a Toyota Wish, together with another couple from HongKong. More on this train station in future post as we did not have time to explore before pickup.

Fugang Fishing Harbour 富岡魚港

Dun play play, this auntie drove very very fast. Like a true local she used all the small little lanes and roads to bypass all the traffic lights. Before we knew it, we were at Fugang harbour 富岡, Taitung County. Only took her 10 minutes? from train station to harbour. Maybe she was worried we miss the ferry.

Tea eggs and fried sotong balls are local street food. Must try.

Wow such a busy day. Lotsa weekend tourist heading back from the island to the cities.

Don't have to worry about safety or pirates as harbour police are always watching.

Unfortunately mother nature was not too happy that day. Looking at the clouds, OMG, was it gonna be a "typhoon" day? I did enjoy the murals of whales on the breakwater walls though. Crossing my fingers, I hoped the next few days would be rain free for us to enjoy our island trip.

A small container ship silently waiting for the coming storm to pass...

Quite a few ticket desks inside the harbour complex. Just approach and tell them your minsu name they will fix you up with the appropriate ticket. Easy...

Obligatory ticket shot. Our ferry - Green Star Number 2, how appropriately named. As it was a busy weekend and probably due to weather conditions, the ferry was gonna be a little late, which gave us some time to walk around the harbour.

Fugang fishing port could be rated as a tourist spot to visit, even if you are not planning to travel to Green Island. Other than the foodstalls at the entrance of the ferry complex, there is also a section off the other side of the port where locals gather to have lunch and buy fish.

You can even join the locals for fishing at the breakwater walls.

Some seafood on sale. Locals here are very japanese cuisine influenced. Meaning eating raw fish sashimi style is the norm here.

Did I forget to mention, non-urban Taiwanese are a friendly and happy bunch of people. Good to see so many smiles all around. Everyone seems to be having a good time. Very different from Taipei city people. A very nice local businessman even bought us some sashimi for lunch! We had only just asked him for some directions to the "fishing" part of the harbour and got a  free lunch.

Finally we were told the ferry was coming. Everyone moved off from the waiting chairs to the pier. We were kind enough to wake this fella up. Otherwise he woulda missed the ferry.

Wow nice ferry, UrAnus some more, fancy name. Looks good.

Apparently a normal minsu only organises this type of not so fancy ferry.

As we boarded the ferry it started to rain.

This was the lovely Sailfish sashimi the local treated us to. The trip to Green Island would be about 50minutes so with nothing to see or do as it was raining outside, we started on the sashimi.

RESULT : Wife with stomach of steel no problem whatsoever. Me vomited 2x towards the end of the trip. Ok maybe its not the sashimi. Thing people don't tell you is how fun the ferry ride is. Other than wife, I don't think anyone on the ferry did not vomit. They actually have plastic vomit bags ready for you when you board the ship. So if you ever plan on going to Green Island, take some seasick pills first and try to sleep before the sea sickness kicks in.

Probably the most unforgettably "fun" part of the trip. Trust me, it was not the weather as people were seasick left and right on the way back as well despite a nice sunny day calm sea day.

[to be continued soon, beautiful Green Island]

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