In Deutsch



Pictures of the third part of our Taiwan trip
(Taipei – Northeast Taiwan – Northern Cross-Island Hwy. – Taroko – East Coast – Taitung – Kaohsiung)
Part 1: Kaohsiung – Kenting – Taitung
Part 2: Taitung – Southern Cross-Island Hwy. – Siraya NSA (Zengwun Reservoir) – Alishan – Sun Moon Lake – Taroko – Suao-Hualien Hwy. – Taipei
Taiwan Map
    Map of Far East




latest picture: December 13, 2007
  • click a picture to see details
  • the colored numbers of the pictures are corresponding with the map of the above mentioned link in the same color
112  As we descend the mountain pass
from Taipei to Yilan, we enjoy a unique
view at the Northeast Coast near Toucheng
as far as Turtle Island (Gueishan Island)
 113  Between Toucheng und Suao
huge parts of the Lanyang River
delta are covered by flooded rice
fields and vegetable crops
114  Every inch of soil is used for
crops near Toucheng at
the Northeast Coast
The first day with blue skies, we set off to our first Northern tour along the windy forested Beiyi Highways to Yilan. Until the opening of the Hsuehshan tunnel in June 2006, this mountain road was the main connection from Taipei to the East Coast. Now, there is hardly any traffic. The most impressive part is the descent to Toucheng with the tiny Turtle Island (Gueishan Island) luring in the distance and the wide Delta of the Lanyang River with its countless, beautifully laid out rice fields in its initial growth , nestling between gaily painted rows of houses and the deep blue sea . Each inch of soil is accurately cultivated. 
115  The wonderfully ornamented
Tiangong Temple in Dali at the
Northeast Coast is another example of
the fascinating Taiwanese architecture
 116  Burning incense sticks
in big jars full of sand are
found in every temple
117  One of the wall reliefs that
adorn the Tiangong Tempel at
Dali’s Northeast Coast
Then we follow the “Northeast Coast National Scenic Area”, through small villages with unnecessary traffic lights and a stretch with black rocks, where the waves break and where we find a lovely lunch spot along the sea shore. When in mid-afternoon we reach Dali with its impressive Tiangong Temple, light rain starts to fall what does not prevent us though to fully absorb its beauty. With the temples in Taiwan it is the same feeling like with the Maya ruins in Mexico and Guatemala or the pagodas in Thailand: You think you have seen enough of them – and still, the next of these fabulous treasures attracts us again and again like a magnet. Unfortunately, the rain and the gray skies continue all the way back to our friend’s place in Sinjihuang near Taipei with no more highlights to enjoy. In the evening, when we recall the sights we have explored today, we have to admit that we are in a way a bit disappointed: We have driven 200km and seen very little in comparison to the Southern region.
118  The small town of Dali is nestled 
between the sea and forested mountains
 119  Fish and any kind of seafood 
are sorted out in a small harbor
120  Fishing boats are mooring at the
port of Yeliou on the North Coast
This does not prevent us, however, to make another trip up North the following morning. This time, we directly head to the famous sand stone formations of Yeliou that have been carved through the eternal play of wind and waves. At the entrance booth, Emil cannot hide his annoyance when we are told that the otherwise nationwide granted discount for seniors is not valid here for foreigners, only for locals. Emil starts to argue with the lady behind the counter, who finally calls her boss, a polite young man. He listens to our complaint, and when, at some point, we touch the word “discrimination”, he obviously feels uncomfortable. “We will review it”, he fast assures us and we are returned the fee’s difference.
121  Endless wind and waves have
formed unique sand stone formations at
the Yeliou Scenic Area at the North coast
 122  The “Candle Rock” is unique
in Yeliou. It is round in shape
with a wick on top
123  A Taiwanese tour group is posing
for its obligatory picture. Personal
pictures are a must for most Asians
The area with the mushroom- and jar-like formations is by far bigger than we expected. So are the numbers of visitors too. On this normal Tuesday morning, we count 40 parked tour buses. Some arrived with huge school classes that flood the whole sights. An additional disturbance and at the same time an awful sight are the thick red security lines drawn on the yellowish-white sandstone to show the people where to walk and where not. On the two spots where the bizarre formations are concentrated, it is like living hell. We need a lot of patience until we manage to take a single picture of the so called Queens Head Rock, of the Mushroom and other fantasy formations like the Candle Rock, known to be unique to Yeliou. But then, on the walkway to the roaring cape, we are almost left alone and we enjoy the butterflies fluttering above our head, the blooming bushes and the beautiful view far out to the sea. Only when after three hours we start to feel really hungry, we leave and keep our eyes open for a nice picnic spot.
124  Emil poses in front of the
„Queen’s Head Rock“ in Yeliou Park
 125  Yeliou’s (wild willows) artistic
sandstone formations attract crowds
of local tourists as well as foreigners.
We counted on a Tuesday morning
more than 40 busses
126  Liliana standing between
a mushroom and another
fantasy sandstone formation
The coastal road follows now a narrow land strip sandwiched between high forested hills and the sea through the North Coast and Guyanyinshan National Scenic Area where it is easy to find a lovely spot along the sea shore for our lunch break. Unfortunately, soon an uncomfortably chilly wind is starting up, forcing us to cut short and move on, back towards Taipei. North of the capital, in the Danshuei region, a monumental building sitting on a hill attracts all our attention. Despite of being already late afternoon, we try to locate and to drive towards it. After some fruitless attempts we end up at one of the three enormous crematories with beautiful views, just when the red ball of the setting sun is disappearing at the horizon. Its last rays plunge the red roofs of the temple, the white tower and the already dark mountains in the back into a beautiful warm light, highlighting our second and last tour to the North.
127  Between the strange sandstone
 formations of Yeliou Park we discover
also fossils, e.g. sand dollars
 128  Some of the many school
children heading over a stone bridge
towards the Yeliou park exit
129  Fishermen are hoping for good
luck in Cape Yeliou’s rough surf
Next day, the air being relatively clear, we are among the first ones riding at the opening at 10am the fastest elevator of the world with a speed of 3’314ft. per minute to the indoor observatory of the 1667ft. high “101 Tower” – the pride of Taipei’s skyline. In only 37 seconds we reach the 89th level. Until recently, this tower owned the title of the highest building of the world, with an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2004 (like ours in 1998), when it has been beaten by the “Burj Dubai” in Dubai. The view through the huge panorama windows in all four directions is stunning. For an additional fee of NT$100 (the normal entry fee is NT$350 p.p., about US$10.50) we are allowed to go up higher the stairways of two floors to the outdoor observatory, where unfortunately the high wired fence is hampering the photographing experience.
130  Grass caught by rays of sun always
is a charming sight. Here in front of forested
hills along the Taipei-Yilan mountain road
 131  A happy young couple at one
of the few sand beaches in Taiwan
on the North Coast near Baishawan
132  Again and again we admire
the variety of Taiwan’s butterflies
From this dizzy height the city is spreading below us like a cobweb. We recall all the places we have visited and admired and try to figure out their location in the denseness of the sea of buildings: The “Chiang Kai-shek Memorial ” with its traditional Chinese Gate and manicured park, the “Peace Park” with its dreamy pavilions and lovely fish pond, the Palace of the Taipei Grand Hotel, where we had the chance to spend two luxury nights, the “Dian Shui Lou” Restaurant where we enjoyed a 18 course menu and the “Taipei Museum of Drinking Water”, where we joined the 25th year jubilee of the Trade Office of Swiss Industries (TOSI) – all places and experiences that we will deeply treasure.
On the slopes of the hills near Danshuei, North of Taipei, we discover these
enormous monumental buildings and are amazed to learn that they are crematories
Then it is time to say good-bye to our new friends in Sinjihuang near Taipei. We start to our journey South along the East Coast to Kaohsiung for shipping our car to its next destination. But firstly we intend to cross some beautiful Northern mountain regions: After only 12 miles, in Sansia, we stop again. We visit Marc, a Belgian, and his Chinese wife who spontaneously invited us for a city tour. When we approach the high rise building in the centre, where Marc is living, he and Robert Kelly, co-author of the Lonely Planet guide book Taiwan, wave at us already from far away. After the two gave us a warm welcome, we find ourselves already with the newest issue of Lonely Planet’s Taiwan – a most appreciated gift from Robert.
136  The sun sets over the red
roofs of one of the crematories
 137  Between Danshuei and Guando,
North of Taipei, we discover this
temple in a pagoda shape
138  The sun is setting behind a
temple gate in the hills of Danshuei
With Marc and Robert, we have the best personal guides we can wish. The main attraction, the Tzushr Temple – one of the oldest temples in Taiwan – is the first place we admire. Since it was built in 1769, it has been destroyed twice – once through an earthquake, and once through the ruthless burning down by the Japanese Army – and twice it has be rebuilt. And restoration is still going on. But what we see is already enough to take our breath away. Everything is made by hand, from the bronze, wood and stone carvings to the wonderful reliefs – it is a religious palace of art in itself. Devotees flock in for prayer on this Sunday, women in black long robes are chanting in front of the main altar. We are overwhelmed by the deep faith of this people, by all the treasures, all the precious details and all the exoticness that lay concentrated before us. Being aware that it will probably be the last Taiwanese temple we will visit, we enjoy it the more.
139  Three deities adorn the main
altar of the pagoda shaped temple
between Danshuei and Guando
 140  The “Grand Hotel” in Taipei
in its majestic beauty, where we
were offered to stay two nights by
the Taiwanese Tourism Bureau
141  From the 89th floor of the 1’667 ft.
high “Taipeh-101 Tower” we enjoy an
impressing panorama over the capital. The
elevator brings us at a speed of 1’104
yards per minute in only 37 seconds to the
viewing platform. Until recently it was the
tallest building of the world, until “Burj
Dubai” in Dubai has taken over
It is already drizzling when we join the families on their Sunday walk through the newly restored “Michuan Old Street” with its arcades and shops made of red bricks, enjoying as much as they do the street musicians and jongleurs, the freshly squeezed sugar cane juice and the relaxed atmosphere. “Did you already try “Stinky Tofu” Marc asks us when we pass at one of the many street stalls. When we answer with “no”, he orders this typically Taiwanese specialty, once in form of a soup and once fried. The soup is much too spicy for us, and the fried one smells awful. We prefer by far the following cappuccino and coconut cake at one of the kiosks. 
142  The newly restored “Minchuan
Old Street” in Sansia (12 miles Southwest
of Taipei), lined with small shops now
attracts big crowds on a Sunday 
 143  A Chinese “no parking” sign
in front of the Tzushr Temple
in Sansia .....
144  ..... where – not knowing – we
park nevertheless. The Tzushr Temple
is one of the oldest Taiwanese temples.
Every detail is impressively hand made
Marc has organized a safe nightly parking for our LandCruiser near his apartment and also a room. Cinthia, the Taiwanese friend of his Chinese wife, who is living in the same building, offers us her husband’s room, who is on a business trip for a couple of days. In no time, we are sitting in her spacious living room by a cup of tea, followed by crackers, grapes, boiled peanuts and oranges, cheese and a beer – it never ends. In the meantime, Marc takes care of a very sick dog that he found abandoned. He named her Lucy. Everyday, he takes her to the vet where she is stuffed with antibiotics, and he deeply hopes that he can save her, so do we. Earlier, he was the owner of a renowned restaurant, but he had to close it due to lack of customers a year ago. Now, he works on his previous “job” again, as a photographer, and now we are his preferred object. Despite that we would love to accept Cinthia’s offer to stay one or two days longer, we cannot. We need to move on: The shipping date in Kaohsiung is set – the Taiwanese license plate is soon expiring, the container for Hong Kong is ready.
On “Minchuan Old Street” in Sansia we are entertained with
145  a performer .....
 146  .... and a street musician couple
147  A vendor is proposing
his fresh sugar cane juice
The scenery gets again more and more beautiful, as we drive along the Northern Cross-Island Highway to the South. Marc was right: The road is very windy, very narrow and slow, but with very little traffic. We enjoy driving at our pace through the peaceful regions, where down in the valley the vegetable fields, which are planted widespread along the fertile river banks, shine in deep green. We are just taking pictures of an idyllic mountain village, when a small truck fully loaded with cabbages passes and stops shortly afterwards abruptly at the road side. The driver jumps out of the car hastily, reaches for two cabbages, comes walking towards us and before I realize what happens, I am the new owner of the cabbage. Everything happens in a real hurry, and before we can react, he already disappears behind his steering wheel and rushes away. We look at each other with amazement. What a nice gesture! When we approach the village of Chilan, persistent drizzle starts to fall, and then fog is adding in becoming denser and denser. It does not make any sense to continue any further. When we spot a small road leading towards a hill, we follow it. It ends at a wild mountain river – an ideal, quiet corner to set up our bush camp for the approaching night. 
Car and pedestrian suspension bridges are part of Taiwan
148  We cross this traditional red
bridge on the North Cross-Island
Highway South of Fusing
 149  This bridge spans across a
river of the North Cross-Island
Highway South of Sansia .....
150  ..... and this pedestrian
suspension bridge leads across the Liwu
 River, East of Lushui in the Taroko Gorge
Next morning, fog swallows the whole surrounding and the drizzle and light rain continue. While I am preparing breakfast, two energetic policemen come walking straight towards us. We are already bracing ourselves for problems, when they make merely the sign, if we have slept here. When we nod, they are satisfied and leave again. We ask ourselves whether it does make any sense to drive through the mountains in this weather conditions? Or should we take preferably the direct road to the East Coast, branching off shortly? This is the question we discuss while having breakfast.
151  Ready to hit the road after
our wet bush camp near Tuchang
 152  The only thing we see is fog
as we drive towards Cilan
153  Another testimony of Taiwanese
hospitality. When taking a picture of
the mountain village of Huanshan near
Lishan, a small truck stops and the
driver gives Liliana two huge cabbages
“As soon as we reach the West side of the Sihyuan Pass, I am sure the weather will improve”, Emil argues. I rely on his optimistic forecast, because usually he is right. Therefore, I agree and we start driving further through the fog and rain. But when on the other side of the mountain pass, we are greeted with a clear blue sky, our joy is immense. Obviously the “föhn effect” exists also in Taiwan. The valley is beautiful, with many apple and pear orchids, where each single fruit is wrapped carefully in a white plastic. Deep below us, the river to the Deji Reservoir is meandering in its many turns through the rugged mountains with its tropical vertical slopes. When we reach Lishan, we turn off in southeasterly direction towards the Taroko Gorge and the Pacific Ocean. On our way to the wild East Coast, we drive once more through this famous canyon with its white marble boulders. But again we have to content ourselves with cloudy skies.
154  Many fertile river banks
are used to grow vegetables,
like here near Cilan
 155  On our way to Lishan, the
picture book village of Huanshan
offers a wonderful sight
156  Towards Lishan, deep down in
the valley, the river meanders in many
hairpins through the rugged mountains
12 miles further down the road, we enter the town of Hualien. On the outskirts, the heavy clouds open and it starts to pour down. It will not be easy to find a place to camp. “May be we should try to call Jeff from the ‘Paris Foreign Mission’ and ask him if he has a free room”, I propose Emil. We are lucky. Shortly after, we find ourselves in a clean room with two comfortable beds, two desks, an own bathroom and wireless and are happy to have a roof over our heads while outside the rain is pounding relentlessly in its full force.
Before Lishan, we stop every few miles to take a picture of the river that meanders through a narrow valley before it is dammed
The following day, the sun is peeking temptingly through the clouds, as we say good-bye to Jeff and follow the scenic rugged coast to the South. We have driven only a few miles, when the golden Buddha of the Henan temple that sits on a green hill, draws all our attention. While we take the turn to the temple’s parking lot, we hear a weak bang. The next moment, Emil is already lying under the car, holding up two oil smeared fingers. Even to me the smell does not leave any doubts: It is once more the horrible semi-floating axle shaft, which is worn out due to the collapse of the wheel bearing – a very unfortunate solution of the early LandCruisers. It’s not only an expensive but also a time-consuming and tricky imminent repair.
160  In a tunnel of the
Taroko Gorge, we still
find a nostalgic milestone
 161  A phenomenon: Not everywhere
water is centrally supplied. We
encountered this kind of “personal
individualistic” pipelines quite often
162  Taiwan has to deal with landslides
all the time, either because of Typhoons
or due to earthquakes. But surprisingly,
they still manage to keep the mountain
roads (mostly) always open
Luck is on our side that we are not yet far away from the “Paris Foreign Mission” and that “our” room is not yet booked for the next night, thus having at least a convenient place to repair the axle. But unfortunately, the weather does not cooperate fully. In the middle of the replacement, the skies darken and heavy rain starts to fall, making it impossible to complete the work. It has to be postponed to the following morning. But then, by 11am, everything is settled. For the second time, we give our farewell to Jeff, and for the second time we drive into cloudy skies, past the Tropic of Cancer-Monument busy with tour busses, and further along a coast with pondering surf and lovely views. And for the second time, in Taitung, Augustin from the Bethlehem Mission is giving us a warm welcome – it feels a bit like returning home!
163  One of the many idyllic sites in Eastern
Taroko Gorge along the Shakadang River
 164  „Indian Summer“ in Taiwan. Red
maple (acer) leaves are shining in the sun
165  A tiny bird rests in the foliage of a tree
in the Taroko Gorge (Shakadang River)
After two days of being spoilt once more, we start to the final leg of our Taiwan journey, back to Kaohsiung. We bid farewell to the friendly missionaries and to Claudia, Regina and Susanne, who arrived yesterday from Taipei with Claudia’s and Susanne’s belongings, as they will be starting their challenging task with retarded children in Taitung. Despite the wet weather, the three girls are standing out in the rain to wave us good-bye until we disappear from their eyes. We will miss them all! From the last stretch to Kaohsiung, we can say only one thing: We drive it in persistent strong rain with poor visibility and not a single highlight. It is 3pm when we approach the town. This time, we have not booked any room. And only at our third try, we are successful: In a motel renting out rooms by the hour, which turns out to be very quiet, clean, reasonable and with even the breakfast included. 
166  Raindrops shine like crystals on a big
leaf in the Taroko Gorge (Shakadang River)
 167  „Thimble mushrooms“ grow
on a slope in the Taroko Gorge
168  This red blossom of a richly
flowering tree is unique in its beauty
We make contact with the Evergreen Shipping Line to organize the stuffing of our car into a container next morning. Then we call “our” Professor, Dr. Lin, who insists that we will have to give back to him the temporary Taiwanese license plates – and we hoped so much to be able to keep them! At 10am we meet at the Evergreen Offices, where we have to pay also our bill for the shipment to Hong Kong: Totally TW$6’900 = US$215; the freight for the container itself was only US$20, as there are mostly only empty containers that are returned to Hong Kong. At 2.30pm, we are expected at the port.
169  A float of the Ami aboriginal
tribe is forming for a street
parade in Hualien
 170  A little girl of the Ami
aboriginal tribe wears her traditional
dress for the parade in Hualien
171  A beautifully painted face
of a girl brightens the Ami’s
street parade in Hualien
To our great relief, the rain is suddenly easing and our LandCruiser starts to dry out slowly. It would be an absolute nightmare to have to pack a dripping wet car into a container; in the tropical heat the whole content would get moldy until its arrival. Everything is working out just smoothly: Emil lashes the car skillfully and the seal and our personal pad lock are put on. Mr. Lee, our greedy broker, comes speeding and surrenders us the stamped out “Carnet de Passage”. Then, we are driven back to the Shipping Line from where we take a taxi back to the motel.
172  South of Hualien on the East
Coast, this huge Buddha statue is
greeting from a green hill
 173  The wild scenery of
the rugged East Coast greets us
during bad weather in the haze
174  A coastal flower in Sansiantai
In the evening, the circle closes again. We are surrounded by the same fantastic and warm hearted people who have helped us unselfishly two months ago in succeeding to enter Taiwan with our LandCruiser: By Lisa and her girlfriend, who have started the ball rolling, and by “our” always humorous Professor Dr. Lin, who did the utmost to help us and has been constantly at our side to solve all the bureaucratic hurdles. I am really touched when in addition he surprises me with a Seiko watch on this last evening. From the most important person, Legislator Ms. Dr. Kuan Bi-Ling, we can bid farewell only with a greeting card for a quick recovery. She is currently hospitalized with a broken foot. Later we learnt that in the 2008 elections, she has been reelected as a legislator in Kaohsiung. It is incredible: People, who have been complete strangers to us, have moved heaven and earth to help us, opening our eyes and hearts for their country. We owe them our sincerest thanks!
175  High surf is pounding at the arched
bridge at Sansiantai – a famous tourist
attraction between Hualien and Taitung
along the East Coast
 176  Under the influence of
approaching typhoon „Mitag“, the
sea in Sansiantai is very rough
177  On our journey using the ordinary
train from Kaohsiung to Taipei, the
High Speed Railway is passing us
Next morning, we take the “slower” train that brings us in five hours to Taipei from where we will board JetStarAsia to Singapore. It’s unbelievable but it’s cheaper to fly a budget airline from Taiwan to Singapore and then on to Hong Kong than boarding a “normal” airline directly. During the whole train ride, it rains and the scenery is looking dark and bleak – a gloomy farewell to an island that has enchanted us in every respect. “Taiwan touches your heart” reads the slogan of the local Tourist Bureau. We fully agree with it!
More websites from Taiwan:
Articles in newspapers about us in Taiwan:
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", The Central News Agency - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Daily Newspaper "China Times" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妇游世界车难入关 管碧玲助解决", Chinese Internet News "Duo Wei News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Hi Net" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "msn News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "PChome Online" - October 13, 2007
Article: "管媽服務效率第一 連瑞士人都知道!", Legislator Ms. Dr. Kuan Pi-ling's Blog - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦游世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Sina News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Yam News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "管碧玲服務效率 連瑞士人都佩服!", Chinese Internet News "IDN.com" - October 14, 2007
Article: "三項金氏世界紀錄保持者/瑞士夫妻環球23年 吉普遊台", Daily Newspaper "Liberty Times" - October 14, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Qnews" - October 14, 2007
Article: "管碧玲服務效率 連瑞士人都佩服!", Daily Newspaper "Taiwan Independent Evening News" - October 14, 2007
Article: "三项金氏世界纪录保持者/瑞士夫妻环球23年 吉普游台", Daily Newspaper "The Epoch Times" - October 14, 2007
Article: "三項金氏世界紀錄保持者/瑞士夫妻環球23年 吉普遊台", Chinese Internet News "YAHOO! News" - October 14, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妻环球航行23年 历经156个国家和地区", Chinese Internet News "CCTV" / China - October 15, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妻23年环球航行 曾到达156个国家和地区", Chinese Internet News "China News" / China - October 15, 2007
Article: "Swiss couple in Taiwan on 23-year round-world drive", English Internet News "The China Post" - October 15, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妇23年环游地球 足迹遍布156个国家和地区", Chinese Internet News "China Daily" / China - October 16, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦23年環遊地球 足跡遍佈156個國家和地區", Xinhua News Agency / China - October 16, 2007
Article: "Swiss couple fall in love with Taiwan", English Daily Newspaper "Taipei Times" - November 13, 2007