Monday, January 15, 2018

Cycling Taiwan 2017 Day 9: Tainan To Kaoshiung - A Painted Village

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Cycling Taiwan 2017 Day 9: Tainan To Kaoshiung - A Painted Village
Taiwan Day 9: Sunday, 22nd October - Tainan to Kaohsiung
This is part of cycling tour around Taiwan, from Tainan (臺南市) to Kaohsiung (高雄市):
Tainan (臺南市)>Tainan Metropolitan Park (台南市政府觀光旅遊局)>Chimei Museum (奇美博物館)>Yan Tian (鹽田)>Wuli Bridge (五里林橋)>Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park (高雄都會公園)>by Kaohsiung Metro (高雄捷運)>Kaohsiung (高雄市).
Cycling Distance - 50.37 km.     Level: Medium
Cycling Time : 8:30am to 4:10pm
Time Taken : 7 hrs. 40 mins. (including stops at painted village, parks, lunch, and many photo opps.)

This is page 8 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D8 Tainan            |           Go to Other Days       |    Go to D10 Xiao Liu Qiu >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
     The Taiwan (台湾) is left-hand drive, so cycle on the right. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    The route is quite flat and mainly on Freeway 1 of Taiwan's National Highway. Click here to download a PDF guide on Cycling Around Taiwan. Although a busy highway, there were dedicated or shared cycling lanes to ride on.

3. Weather
    The weather was mildly hot, averaging at 27°C during the day (partly cloudy) and 24°C at night. Wind speed was low, averaging 12kph with gusts up to 13kph.
    It is always prudent to check the weather for the next day so as to know what to expect and be prepared for it. Useful weather forecast sites for the Taiwan are the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau and AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Places of Interest
Tainan Metropolitan Park (台南市政府觀光旅遊局) (GPS: 22.93455, 120.22243).
Chimei Museum (奇美博物館) (GPS: 22.93478, 120.22606).
Erren Red Arches Bridge (GPS: 22.91545, 120.22584) across the Erren River.
Yan Tian Painted Village (鹽田社區彩繪巷) (GPS: 22.83375, 120.20907).
Wuli Bridge (五里林橋) (GPS: 22.76846, 120.29447) across Dianbao River at Qiaotou District (橋頭區), Kaohsiung (高雄市).
- Purple Railway Bridge (GPS: 22.76747, 120.30737) across Dianbao RiverQiaotou District (橋頭區), Kaohsiung (高雄市).
- Rainbow Pillars (GPS: 22.7413, 120.31766) at Qiaotou District (橋頭區), Kaohsiung (高雄市).
- Gangshan-Ciaotuo Cycle Path running along the Agongdian River (阿公店溪) at Gangshan District.
Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park (高雄都會公園) (GPS: 22.73178, 120.31677).
Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市) (GPS: 22.66626, 120.29935).
- Cycle Path at Kaohsiung Love River (Àihé - 爱河) (GPS: 22.65254, 120.30269).

5. Food
- Breakfast: inclusive at hotel.
- Lunch: economy rice at 昌龍 food stall (GPS: 22.7965, 120.28593) at Gangshan District (岡山區)Kaohsiung (高雄市).
- Dinner: Take-away food from Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市) (GPS: 22.66626, 120.29935).

6. Accommodations
Long Siang Hotel (龍翔商務大飯店) (GPS: 22.66438, 120.30473) two rooms at NTD680 per night each for a room for two pax and a special rate NTD780 for a four-pax family room (with two king-size beds) which only two of us shared. This was one of the best hotel we stayed in, clean and very big size rooms with inclusive breakfast.
Address: 75, Liwen Road, Zuoying District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan 813.
Tel: +886-75574769     |     Website:

7. Travelling By Trains And Bringing Bikes Onto Trains
    Folding bicycle are allowed onto most trains (express, local and metro trains) but must be bagged before entering the platform, and only unbagged after leaving the platform. Unbagged folding bikes (and full-sized bikes) will usually face a charge equivalent to 50% of the fare. Do note that at smaller stations there are not lifts or escalators for getting to the platforms, so do expect some carrying across bridges or underpasses. A few stations do provide bike-way for pushing across the tracks, do look for signages indicating these; but use of them is subject to the station master's discretion on safety.
    For more details on charges on bringing bikes onto the different trains (local or express trains) click here for the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) Guide On Carriage of Bicycles.
    Click here for a link to the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) website for booking train routes and fares; and also to see which railway line totally does not allow bicycles on board.
    Click here for guidelines on bring folidng bikes onto the Taipei Metro.
    Train services are quite regular between larger towns, but at smaller towns services may not be that regular (perhaps like every two or three hours). Do check at the respective stations for the train schedules or at this TRA booking site link.
    Fares for the Kaohsiung Metro train ride from the Metropolitan Park Station to the Zuoying HSR Station was NTD25 pax.

8. Communicating with Each Other
   When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest.
    At Taipei Taoyuan Airport Terminal One, just after exiting the into the arrival hall, there are several booths on the left selling pre-paid phone SIM cards. We got pre-paid 4G prepaid SIM cards from Chung Hwa as they had good coverage even in remote areas. These cost NTD1,000 for a 30-day plan that includes unlimited data and NTD$430 credit for texts or calls. These can also be booked on line.
    Those without sim card could try using free Wifi that are sometimes available at the airport, some bigger train stations or hotels; do note that these free wifi may not be stable and registration could be required.

9. Communicating with Locals
    Most Taiwanese (台湾人) speaks Mandarin (官话) and Hokkien (福建話), and very few speak English. So it would be good to have a person in the team who can converse in Mandarin or Hokkien.
    When communicating with locals is a problem, this could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedules.

10. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.

Yesterday was a good riding day, one that exposed us to some Taiwan culture when we unexpectedly caught hold of an on-going Nine-Emperor Gods Festival procession and later visited the Chiayi's Tropic of Cancer Monument. Our tummies were happy too as we had a good lamb hot pot lunch and later a Taiwanese steamboat dinner.
Today, we head for the next major city, Kaohsiung and on the way will be on the look out for a painted village.


Route: Tainan (臺南市)>Tainan Metropolitan Park (台南市政府觀光旅遊局)>Chimei Museum (奇美博物館)>Yan Tian (鹽田)>Wuli Bridge (五里林橋)>Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park (高雄都會公園)>by Kaohsiung Metro (高雄捷運)>Kaohsiung (高雄市).
The route runs along secondary road, and also partly on the Gangshan-Ciaotuo Cycle Path running along the Agongdian River (阿公店溪) at Gangshan District. Destination enroute is the Yan Tian Painted Village (鹽田社區彩繪巷). In the evening it was cycling along the brightly lit Cycle Path at park along the Kaohsiung Love River (Àihé - 爱河).

It's going to be a LOVE-LY day; and by that I don't mean that it was nice sunny day, although it was. It's a day full of LOVE as we started off with a "MY DARLING" stop at Tainan. Later there would be more love at an infectious Love River!
Enroute we will hunt for a painted village and also some colorful bridges.

Just out of Tainan, it was a short stint along Freeway 1 when we saw a majestic building afar. Why not go in as we were in no hurry. This is the Chimei Museum set within the large and very green Tainan Metropolitan Park. We did not go into the museum but lingered outside to enjoy the greenery and also the Apollo Fountain set in front of the museum.
Among the Olympian gods, Apollo governs the light and is a symbol for music, poetry and prophecy. He is patron god of the arts and leader of the Muses. This is a life-size duplicate of the Fountain of Apollo at the Palace of Versailles.

Behind the fountain was this open corridor lined with statues of Greek/Roman gods.

Not too far ahead, we steered away from the highway and headed down quieter rural roads passing by several bridge. Sin had heard of the Yan Tian Painted Village; there was not much write up on it on the web and so it's location was uncertain. Fortunately, we did manage to find it and had a good time admiring the artsy painted houses there. But more of that in a later section below.
We spent a fair part of the morning at the village. After which good food eluded us and we had to make do with these economy rice from the 昌龍 food stall at the Gangshan area. It's real economy as the food were served in paper cartons and the rice in paper bowls.

At the Gangshan-Ciaotuo Cycle Path, my buddies studying a map of the first before proceeding. This bike path runs along the Agongdian River. At this time of the afternoon, it was quite; just the six of us having the path all to ourselves.

The path would take us along the riverside and later pass farmlands and fishing ponds. At some of the ponds, many local could be seen fishing.

Saw this self-service filtered water dispensing station. Water is given free but I am not sure why filtered water is used here, is the piped water not suitable for consumption?

After a short break at the Kaohsiung Metropolitan Park, we decide not to cycle into Kaohsiung in order to avoid the evening peak traffic. Instead we hopped onto a Kaohsiung Metro train. We were let into the train without bagging our bikes, later we were to learn that bagging was a requirement.

Our train ride was just a short  5km one.... er.... we could have cycled... Only after alighting did we realize that we had got down two stations too early 😆.

Let's take a break from our cycling route and look at a couple of other things we saw enroute:



Photo and video shooting time at the village!
This unique village have walls of new and delapidated houses painted with scenes gone-by days of traditional salt farming. This is Yantian (鹽田village, a village that once had a thriving salt industry; one where salt was manually farmed from the sea onto salt pans. In fact the village name Yantian in Chinese is 鹽田 translates as "salt pans".
About 30 years ago, a power company bought the salt pans to build a power plant, closing the once lively salt town in the process. With their livelihoods gone, may of the townspeople moved out, leaving just over 100 people in the community. To promote this former salt- producing community as a cultural tourism destination, the local district office together with a local non-governmental organization invited students and staff from the Tungfang Design Institute to help decorate old houses with artwork.

Most of the artwork were painted onto the exposed red-bricked walls of many of the vacated houses located at Xinxing Road (新興街) and also along some of the roads branching of from there. Some too were are painted onto the walls of newer occupied houses. The paintings depict an era of days gone by, one of a thriving town with workers in conical padi hats manually harvesting salt from the sea. There are also scenes of the rustic life of the rural people, taking life at a serene, slow pace; ones of playing physical games (so much better than pc games these days), going fishing and street markets.

Other than another visiting couple, we had the whole place to ourselves and took advantage for lovely poses with the murals and houses.

Siah, sitting cooling "playing" a board game with the locals!

The only surviving shop at the village, a grocery shop called a gamadiam (柑仔店) in local Hoklo language. There we met the oldest resident of the village; he's over ninety years old.

Inside, the old lady operating the shop relaxes on a rattan chair. Eventhough it's a Sunday, life is slow here. Although we found it interesting and eye-catching, and an educational historical place, Yantian is still not that well publicized yet. I hope our blogging on it will help the community realize that dreams of revitalizing their village.
(.... read more of Yantian Painted Village)

Erren Red Arches Bridge spanning across the Erren River. This bridge is not for vehicles but facilitated a pipe crossing. The vehicular bridge where Freeway 1 is runs parallel next to it. I had thoughts of cycling on it, but chickened out as there was no platform on the pipes; one "Err-or" and it's... er..... ER..... into the Erren River..
The river forms the boundary Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Wuli Bridge (五里林橋) across Dianbao River at the rural Qiaotou DistrictKaohsiung. Within these country-side areas were rustic farmlands and fish ponds.

Purple Railway Bridge across Dianbao RiverQiaotou District (橋頭區), Kaohsiung (高雄市). This is a bridge on the tracks running parallel to the Chenggong South Road section of Freeway 1, opposite Tiedao North Road.

Rainbow Pillars at Qiaotou District (橋頭區), Kaohsiung (高雄市). These pillars hold up the elevated railway tracks as they crossed over the Chenggong South Road section of Freeway 1. The colors looked faded on account of daily exposure to traffic fumes, click here for a better front street view of the pillars.

Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市) was very crowded, people were jostling shoulder to shoulder as they walked around. We jostled with the crowd too, trying our best to see the many varied stalls. At some of the stalls like those selling barbecued pork trotters, the vendors put on a show of cooking the trotters with hand-held blow torches. Another section sells dry goods like clothing etc.

Ruifeng Night Market with its many stalls selling a wide range of food, was one of the best night market we visited. The downside is that most of these stalls do not have tables and chairs where one could eat leisurely. The few that had were territorial, one could only eat their food at their tables.
We did the next best thing, bought take-away food from different stalls and had a small feast at our hotel. They had kindly allowed us to use a table in their closed restaurant.

It's time to be cycle-tourists again as we rode off to the Kaohsiung Love River (Àihé - 爱河). There is an extensive network of shared Cycle Paths here which runs along the banks of the river, and around the parks lining it. At the park itself were brightly lit bridges, some curving beautifully over the river. 

The night mood here had an infectious atmosphere of love in the air, and many couples were walking around lovingly, hand in hand. My better half was not with me at this tour, and I had to make do with Goofy.

.. but our buddies caught the love bug 😍!
They started the day with "My Darling!" and ended it romantically too!

Good Night and
"I💖U all!
(Love is in the air, yah)

(For more photos of the Day 9, Click Here)
This is page 8 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D8 Tainan            |           Go to Other Days       |    Go to D10 Xiao Liu Qiu >


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