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Neijiang Hotel -> Yehliu Park -> Jin Gua Shi waterfall -> Keelung Night Market -> Gold/coal mine Museum -> 黄金瀑布->阴阳海九份十分瀑布十分放天灯
Breakfast of the day was served at 7am. I must say, they are very efficient. When we requested for breakfast at 7am the day before, at 6.59am they already hung it outside your door knob.

For the price that we are paying for, we didnt expect any wide spread of food for breakfast. Actually we did read up on reviews about the breakfast served. It did meet our expectations! 

Breakfast @ Neijiang Hotel
Quite a yummy sandwich, but it would be even better if they serve nutritious sandwich with some vegetables instead.
Today, we are going to conquer the outskirts of Taipei with our friendly driver, 董先生!
We originally liaised with 姜先生(his boss), but as he has another customer to fetch, he appointed 董先生 as our driver. So we departed with 董先生, our driver cum guide for the day at 8.15am. He was earlier than our appointed time of 8.30am! Generally we feel that Taiwan drivers are quite punctual, and they always tend to reach a little earlier than stipulated time which is a good thing!

We passed by 外木山风景区 and 莎临万里区 before advancing to Yehliu Park. The rocks are all natural and the scenary is as good as what we saw at Taroko Gorge!

Did you notice the golden brown colour of the rocks in the picture above? 董先生 told us that there's a huge coal mining factory uphill, and the water from washing the gold flows down and decolourised the rocks, forming a gold coloring layer!

There was a lot of tourists at Yehliu Geopark, since its quite a popular destination with tours.

'sea of tourists'
We bought four tickets at the admission counter for  NT50/pax.

The whole place was quite big and there's mainly different forms/shapes/structure of rocks. The view at Yehliu park overlooking the sea was fascinating!

Ocean Erosion Pothole
Ocean erosion pothole is formed as a result of seawater erosion as well as weathering imposed on the notches created by differential weathering. A grain of sand may often be found inside the pothole. 

Mushroom rocks/honeycombed rocks
strong current gushing in through the small gap between two huge rocks
Sea groove
" Sea groove is formed as the surface of concretion is eroded by sea waves while the concretion is developed in a position vertical to the cape. The small bridges set up in the park are meant to connect two lands where sea grooves are formed below. "

Mushroom rocks
Elephant Rock

doesnt this resembles a turtle?
people queuing to take photo with the famous Queen's Head

" Queen’s Head, one of the most famous scenes in Yehliu, is a kind of mushroom rock. It is formed due to the differential erosion caused by seawater during curst movement. When comparing the height of which with the crust’s rising rate, it is assessed that the age of the rock is about 4,000 years old. The so called “Queen’s Head” is in fact a mushroom rock; it gets the title because the shape as formed after the top of rock being fallen apart in 1962~1963 appears like the side face of Queen Elizabeth.
Queen’s Head is regarded as the landmark of Yehliu, yet its fame doesn’t bring any good to itself since it not only undertakes natural devastation but also being spoiled by mankind. The narrowest part around it neck is about 138 cm now. "

Japanese Geisha
Mazu Cave
Honeycombed Rocks
If you love and know how to appreciate the beauty of rocks, Yehliu is a place to visit. Its amazing to see how through natural cycles like weathering, the rocks can be shaped such incredibly!

We then stop over at keelung night market for an early lunch at 11am.

Keelung night market
It's famous for its marine products = seafood!
猪血汤seems quite popular at Taiwan!
various food stores selling at reasonable prices!
We had lunch at 鼎边搓 (25-1) as recommended by our driver.

It's quite bland = healthy though! It consist of mainly mushroom, rice dough (something like mee hoon kuay but made from rice and taste nicer!), the orange colour meat balls, bamboo shoots, vegetables.

There's a departmental store( O-MA store) at Keelung that sells clothes at very cheap prices like a cardigan for NT190, T-shirts for NT100, dresses can go as low as NT150. Material wise, don't expect too much, around Singapore's bugis street low/mid range price of material.

We left Keelung at 12 +pm, and 董先生 drove us to see Nanya rocks.

Nanya Peculiar Stone 
Nanya is noted for its fantastic rock formations and sea-eroded coral shore. The entire coastline here is a veritable sculpture garden that illustrates, in stone, the incomparable artistry of weathering and wave action. The patterned stone topography of Nanya, unique in Taiwan, was formed through the weathering of the sandstone that lines the shore. The oxidation of iron ore within the striations of the stone has given it a beautiful striped pattern. (At the 89-kilometer mark of Provincial Highway 2, or the Coast Highway) "

sea cliff

"The layers formed  by the sequential deposition of sediments provides a unique and visual record of sea level change. These exposures are known as "cross" or false bedding". "
huge vertical hill

Public bus services to Nanya Rocks

A clearer view of the golden yellow rocks at the seabed as mentioned due to the water that flows down during copper mining. But, today the mines have all dried up and the gold rush has ended. But the factory still remains mostly intact! 

Let your imagination runs wild: doesn't these feels like gold?
A sneak peak: Real Gold coming up soon at Gold Ecological Museum.
Our next stop was the waterfall also known as 黄金瀑布.

Gold waterfall!
Gold waterfall! Doesn't this seems like a potential wallpaper?
"The substantial Jinguashi rainfall seeps into the mine shafts through cracks in the surface rock, becoming acidulous water after interacting with the pyrite and energite underground and undergoing oxidation reduction. A natural wonder “Gold Waterfall” has formed where the terrain drops sharply. This is one of the sources of the Yin-yang Sea. "

photography enthusiast taking a closer look at the waterfall rocks
On a side note, we tasted our only 大肠包小肠 @ NT60 here!

It's not a famous store at the night market, but still we feel the goodness in  大肠包小肠! It tasted really good, was tempted to buy a second one. We bought its ice cream too and i must say, its quite traditional. It's red bean ice cream doesn't just give you the cream + red bean flavour, but with plenty of red bean fillings inside and the portion the uncle gave was huge.

mountain view
 He further drove us to the pavillion where we can have a picturesque view of the yin-yang sea.

pavillion near yin yang sea
Taiwan houses

The different colours seen is the main reason on why its called 阳海.
"It was initially believed that the sea color was the result of pollution from Taiwan Metal Mining Corp’s smelting activities but, over 10 years after the company stopped its activities, Yin-yang Sea still exists. Scholars say that the Jinguashi geology has a large amount of pyrite that, after millions of years has formed Fe3+ which does no dissolve easily in water. This forms iron ion floating particles when it flows into the sea, resulting in the strange sight of the Yin-yang Sea."

the beautiful winding road
We reached the gold museum at about 1.50pm.Originally we wanted to follow the free tour at 2pm, but we drop out halfway. The whole tour will last around 40 minutes. As the pace was a little slow, and we prefer to tour through the museum at our own pace.
We came across the The Residence of Mike Kikujirou. It's " used by the second but last director of the Jinguashi Mining Bureau in the Japanese era, Mike Kikujirou (the last director was 戶田貢). It is a very typical Japanese-era detached single dwelling building. It is spacious and has front and back gardens. In previous days it had an excellent view from the front garden but now the view is blocked by a new Shiyu Middle School building."

As we advanced, we saw a lot of school students believed to be having their graduation trip at 金瓜石.
Gold museum
wax figure of a coal miner

With a small fee for its insurance and equipment, you can enter this tunnel and experience how its like to be mining in the dark squeezy tunnels. It's a pity we didnt try it out due to limited time.

The highlight of the museum is the real solid gold displayed and it allows visitors to have a feel of the gold. Definitely, at that instant, I feel so, rich!

1.575kg of pure gold!
According to the machine there, it reflects a current selling price of this piece of gold as NT 3,484,145.84!

gold mining stone outside a temple
After a 20 minutes drive, we reached Jiufen old street.
We bought our souvenirs @ LiyiBingjia first. It's just beside the road, on your way to the entrance of Jiufen old street, you will come across this store.


It's quite popular on the net and it has been making pineapple tarts, 凤梨酥 for more than a century. We like its fragrance in the pineapple tarts, not too sweet not too sour, and its freshly baked! you can see many helpers behind the desk helping out in packing/baking.. They have cut slices of the tarts for testing, so try them before deciding whether to buy! It cost NT220 for a box of 10 pineapple tarts. This is considered its flagship store, but if you happen to miss this store, you can consider buying it from another branch at Taipei Main Station.

Pineapple Tarts @ NT220
Our first stop after entering the old street is this shop selling 芋圆。

芋圆+tau huay+Ginger soup
It tasted not bad but we tried an even nicer one later on at a more popular store - 赖阿婆芋圆. We saw a lot of locals buying from this store, so we decided to give it a try and it tasted even nicer. More ingredients too!

We tried their fishball soup, but still prefer Singapore's fishballs taste and the 'feeling of chewing'. They have ingredients like mushrooms in their fishball.

Houses/buildings at Jiufen
董先生 waited for us near the 九份派出所 area. 派出所 is Taiwan's police station. Normally policemen who didnt perform up to standard will be asked to do service at a remote 派出所 for example @ Cingjing, where there's not much of night activity there. Lesser freedom in another words.
Upcoming, is the highlight of our evening - 放天灯@十份.
A whole stretch of tourists/locals lighting up the sky lanterns and crackers along the railway track. 
The railway track is in use! Trains do still pass by at certain timing!

shop where we bought our skylantern

A normal sky lantern cost NT100, and you can choose your colours. Different colours stand for different wishes. As we included firecrackers too, it cost a little more! But overall the atmosphere here is much better than when we had it at Hualien, when we were the only one. Although the sky wasnt dark enough and there's drizzle that ended up as a downpour, here there's more people and you can totally feel the way everyone is hoping the wishes that they wrote will come true. Furthermore, lighting the sky lantern along the railway track, how nice! Doesn't this reminds you of the popular movie by 九把刀?
writing of wishes using brush. not markers!
Don't worry if you are at a loss of words to write, its not necessary to write in chinese, but anyway a whole list of categorized chinese idioms will be provided for your use!
Our sky lantern + fire cracker.
May the sky lantern once again carry our wishes up high and even higher to realise our wishes.
Everyone had to quickly light their sky lanterns before 5.35pm, as that's when a train travelling through the old towns in Taipei will pass by. Those that failed to light up by then will have to clear the railway track for the train to pass by!

Train is coming!

董先生then drove us to Jingtong Train Station, which is just a short distance away. It was built by the Japanese in 1930s, and is now the terminal for the pingxi railway line.

Here we met the train that we saw earlier!
This place is also the shooting scene for <那些年>, when the male and female lead 放天灯 on the railway track! It had since been a popular area for people especially couples.

traditional entry gate
wishes hung on trees
flowers along the way
Jing tong train station was our last stop for the day, and it's about an hour journey back to our hotel. 董先生 brought us to a fruit market at Ximending, where fruits are sold less costly and a wide variety too! It occupies both stretch of the road!
董先生 has been very helpful in feeding us information about the various sightseeing places, he has also been a friendly and humorous guide. Knowing that my family love fruits, he even treated us to the fruits(papaya, watermelon, pineapple, mango) there at Yehliu.

Here's his contact namecard and his boss. They provide cab services within Taipei and to Taoyuan Airport, at affordable fees!

We reached our hotel at Ximending @ 8pm. We ended the day with a final shopping spree at Ximending.

Before that we had a quick dinner to fill our empty stomachs at this 古早味store near our hotel. It's just a straight right turn down the road from Neijiang Hotel. It's a pity that we didnt take any photos there as we probably were to hungry and gobbled down the food in a haste. It's just simple food fare but it taste good and cheap. About NT30 for a bowl of 卤肉饭。We ordered two bowls of 卤肉饭, two bowls of 扣肉饭, a plate of sweet potato leaves, 紫菜蛋花汤 and 白苦瓜汤. Taiwan's white bitter gourd is not bitter at all and it has great heat relief effects!

In our opinion, 白苦瓜汤 is a must try at Taiwan!

We went Xi Men station to do a refund of our 悠游卡value since we will not using anymore. We are able to retain the card, but its no longer valid for use.

西门 station
There's chop(stamp) from the various places of interest in Taiwan and some Taipei MRTs. You can always prepare a notebook for collecting the stamps as souvenir.

Stamp at Ximen Station


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