Posted by: sea2stars | March 6, 2010

Kenting and Green Island

We got a week off for Chinese New Year and I took the time to see a little more of Taiwan. I was suppose to scooter with a friend to various places in the south and along the east cost but at the last minute my friend was unable to go. I had nothing planed, that was her job, I was just going along for the adventure. So I found myself a week away from Chinese New Year with nothing booked. All attempts to book trains, buses, and accommodations were futile, as everything was in chinese or already full. The week prior to Chinese New Year was beautiful and I decided to buy a tent and take my chances. I have never traveled alone and without plans like this before. I usually find myself rather anxiety ridden about such thing, afraid that I will end up on the wrong side of town. But Taiwan doesn’t make me nervous because there isn’t a bad part of town. Kids are too busy studying math or English to become hoodlums and get into trouble. Plus people are super nice to me because I’m a foreigner and they are always willing to lend a hand, even if they only speak a little English. So I packed up my bag and my tent, made sure I had my Taiwanese friends on speed dial, and headed to the train station.

I hopped on a train and then a bus to Kenting, which is a national park on the very southern tip of Taiwan. I drew a picture of a tent on my notepad and pointed at it to show the bus driver where I wanted to go. Camping or Tent weren’t in my mandarine chinese hand book, I suppose it’s not a common thing to ask when you travel to another country. The bus driver knew exactly what I wanted, although I’m sure he was a bit confused as to why, and kindly alerted me when we got to the camp site. He said a few words to the owners of the campsite and they took me to my “campsite.” I use this term loosely because in true chinese fashion tents were no more than a few feet from each other. I was actually quite surprised to find the Taiwanese camped at all, they have never really struck me as the outdoorsy type.

I first went to the Kenting aquarium, actually called The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium. It was by far the best aquarium I’ve ever been too. Although I will say that I don’t remember much of the Chicago aquarium. I was pretty little the last time I went there. The entrance to the aquarium was amazing. They had large whale and fish sculptures with water cascading down them into a shallow pool that you could play in on a hot day.

The aquarium was huge. There were three different buildings and I kept getting lost every time I would try to make it to a feeding or a show. I tried to make it to a penguin show and the beluga whale feeding but then I got lost in the kept forest.

I also got to see all the Finding Nemo fish, even the light fish from the depth of the ocean. They had a great section of fish preserved from the deep ocean.

The aquarium had many large fish tanks and one of the fish tanks had 3 different tubs for you to walk through to see all the wonderful fish, stingrays, and sharks. They also mimicked a shipwreck to show how it creates habitats for fish and all the hallways were decorated as if you were in an old shipwreck.

At the end of the day I found a gallery area where you could just sit and watch all the fish go bye. I watched for quite a while as a whale shark and other fish swim in circles around the tank.

They also had lots of fun kid sections full of fish to play with. They had a touch pond and I got to even pet a sea cucumber. They are actually kind of soft in a slimy sort of way.

After spending a few days in Kenting I continued on my trip and headed to Taitung to take a boat to an even smaller Island. At the bus station to get to the ship I meet a nice American couple traveling from Taipei to Green Island as well. It was very nice to talk to them and have some company on my trip. As we boarded the boat I wondered how rocky the ride over would be. My Lonely Planet guide book warned that it was the barf mobile. It’s amazing how calm the water looked but how rough it was in actuality. I can’t judge how big the swells were, maybe 5-10 feet I suppose. It was kind of like riding a mini roller-coaster as my stomach would drop as we rocked over every swell, I was loving it. But their were many people who were not enjoying it at all as they reached for plastic bags. At least half the boat has plastic bags and by the end of the trip the smell was a little overwhelming and I was happy to get off the boat.

I parted ways with my new American friends and rented a scooter. I had my tent and was ready to go camping but the girl that rented me the scooter kept telling me that the campground was closed and she was trying to sell me a room at her home-stay, but it was very expensive. Taiwanese are very pushy when they are trying to sell you something, which I personally really dislike. It is also completely ok and expected to bargain. By the time I left and was insistent on going to the campground the price of the room had dropped by more than half. Although the price was getting better it was still expensive. I took my chances and went to the campsite and found other people camping and pitched my tent.

Green Island is a beautiful volcanic island. It rained most of the time I was there but I just bought a 7/11 rain coat and continued to explore the Island. I scootered around the Island and went on a nice little hike and found Green Island to be beautiful through all the fog and mist.

Columnar jointing is often seen in volcanic rocks and is due to the way the lava cools. If I could have gotten a closer look I would have.

Only in Taiwan would they turn a perfectly good cave into a temple.

You got to love the universal road sign. No words needed.

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Responses

  1. I can’t believe how brave you are — to travel and camp by yourself. You are a true Geotraveler. Your pictures are amazing. I love the one with the whale and the fish. Unbelievable.

  2. p.s.Love your new header. Did you take that? It’s awesome.

  3. Thanks. I took the picture at Lantern Festival. I’m a little behind in my posts, but it’s coming soon.


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