Friday, July 12

Taiwan Trip 2011 Day 7 : Yong Ya Fang Minsu 雍雅坊民宿

[continued from Taiwan Trip 2011 Day 7 : Journey to Green Island via Fugang Harbour ]

As the ferry neared the harbour at Green Island, the rain stopped. The sky did remain overcast, a constant reminder that mother nature could churn up a typhoon anytime she pleased. I was happy to have "survived" the 50min long ferry ride to Green Island, funny thing was my wife was totally fine, despite polishing off most of the sushi!

[ Green Island is surrounded by beautiful coral reefs that make it a snorkelers' paradise. On the island itself, most of the scenic spots are linked by the 16.3-kilometer round-the-island concrete highway. These include the Green Island Lighthouse, Green Island Park, General Rock, Gateway Rock, Guanyin Cave, Youzi Lake, Pekinese Dog Rocks, Sleeping Beauty Rock, Sail Cape, Black Ghost Cave, and the rare Zhaori Saltwater hot spring ]

After the ferry drops you off, you will have to walk a short distance to a lady under an umbrella. Here you hand her a coupon and she will hand you keys to a scooter. I am not sure what will happen if you can't ride a scooter, it seems like every Taiwanese person is an expert. This will probably be a good time to start learning as everyone travels around Green Island by scooter.

If you travel free and easy like we did, you will have to ride the scooter with your luggage to your minsu. Luckily we were travelling light and only had a carry-on luggage each. First stop is actually a line that forms at the local petrol station. It's the only one on the island, so don't forget to tank up before doing anything else. Usually there is not much petrol left in the scooter. Ours had about one quarter left. Tanked up our 125cc scooter and off to the minsu to check in!

Yong Ya Minsu 雍雅坊民宿

View from Minsu window

This minsu seemed to be rather old and established. But the room and toilets were clean and the owner was actually quite a nice man. Staying there actually felt like staying in one of those island chalets in Malaysia. He gave us a short intro on the facilities in his minsu. Mainly, there is a lobby area downstairs which has filtered hot and cold water, in case at midnight you wanna make instant noodles like the locals. He then handed us some packages and told us about the fun things we could do on the island.

We were very excited to start exploring the island, but decided it was better to take some time off to look at what we recieved in the package. Besides I was still feeling a little sea-sick from the ferry ride.

Included were some vouchers for breakfast, tickets for entry to the Zhaori Saltwater hot springs (朝日溫泉) and for next morning's snorkeling session. How nice, this minsu also provides the bare essentials of fresh face towels and bath supplies. Most useful of all was a map of the island with locations of all its attractions.

Green Island Lighthouse 綠島燈塔

Nice marble bench beside Green Island Lighthouse

Rested and no longer seasick, we decided to scooter around and see what we could find. First stop was the main light house on the island.

There is a small beach next too it.

It was low tide when we got there, so you can see the tidal area full of rocks and waves in the background. Click on the image above to see a bigger panorama picture.

Some stuff we saw whilst clambering around the inter-tidal zone. Safety is very important in Taiwan. The sign says for emergency use only, theft of public property will be prosecuted.

More interesting signs. As you scooter around, you will see these signs in chinese warning you to becareful of local wildlife like crabs, frogs and lizards crossing the road. Surprisingly we did encounter a crab and some frogs trying to cross the road. And No we did not run over any of them.

Green Island is also famed for its Sika Deer. This local products store actually stocked Deer Meat Jerky. I wanted to buy a pack to try but wife said no, not when they had a cute little pet deer outside the store. You can pat and feed it grass from the roadside, it was very tame.

Guan Yin Cave Shrine 觀音洞

Our second stop for the afternoon was a local shrine. This is a special shrine, which is located in a small limestone cave. Translates to Guan Yin Cave, named after the Goddess of Mercy whom some buddhist in Taiwan pray to.

Inside the cave there is an altar for praying and holy objects for doing some divination. As you can see, locals think this limestone stalagmite looks like the goddess of mercy. You could say it looks like the Virgin Mary.

Next to the shrine the locals have set up a shop selling local souvenirs and food products as well as a food store selling some special local fishballs. I will cover more of this in my next post. You can purchase these wooden square tablets with all sorts of well wishes on them to hang at a special area set up outside the shrine. We bought one for health.

What you do is write your name and some extra stuff on these tablets, make a wish, then hang them outside the shrine along the wooden bars. We tried to hang ours as high as possible. This is very much like what they do at shrines in Japan and I think it is an imported custom, but still its fun.

It got dark very quickly and we decided to get back to the main town center to look for dinner. Passed by this BBQ place overlooking the sea and saw this owner literally firing up a charcoal container for customers to BBQ with. Woah he was on fire! Most of them have the standard meats/vege/seafood on a stick for you to choose and BBQ. As it was similiar to those we had in Hualien, we decided to find something else to eat...

Hope you enjoyed this shorter post. I am breaking up my usual long post as we did so many activities on Green Island. Join me next on  Taiwan Trip 2011 Day 7 Green Island Dinner Time.

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