Tag Archives: Temples

Road Trippin

20 Sep

The last week here has been full of many frustrations in regards to course selection and getting enrolled in classes, so it was really nice to get out of Kaohsiung and go see some new sights! My first excursion was with a trip to Lugang organized by the school and then the second was with a group of about 20 other exchange students to the popular beach town south of Kaohsiung called Kenting.

Lugang – Temples/Museums/Masks

Our first stop of the day was the very popular Longshan Temple for tourist and locals alike. Luckily we traveled to Lugang on the Mid-Autumn Full Moon Festival. This is a very important National Holiday in Taiwan where many people BBQ and eat moon cake, they also go to the temple and give thanks for the past year and pray for a healthy and prosperous year to come. This temple was very beautiful but also very busy due to the fact that it was a holiday. After the temple we were given some free time to shop around. I stumbled upon a shop of a local artist who makes hand painted fans, they were all incredibly beautiful and I couldn’t resist making a purchase.

The Artist & The Fan

The rest of the day was filled with tours of a Folk Art Museum, originally the home of a local wealthy family and is now filled with many historical daily-life articles. We also visited a local temple where they had just begun their traditional rituals, the woman were dressed in all black and were drumming and singing. Families come to bring fruit, fake money and light incense to communicate with the gods.

Local Temple

We were shown how to ask the gods questions and even got to try. The process is very lengthy, you drop to blocks that are flat on the bottom and rounded on top. In your mind you think about what you are asking the god and drop them, if they land one up and one down then you can pick a stick with a symbol on the bottom to guide you to your answer, if they both land up or both land down, then you must start again. At the back of the temple there was a beautiful pond and an area where they were giving out a celebratory snack, it consisted of a syrupy broth and then rice balls. You were to eat 6, no more/no less to have a lucky and healthy year to come. It was really nice to take part in local traditions; it really shows what a rich and beautiful culture the Taiwanese have. Just before we left we were dropped off at another location and we were rather confused as we thought the day was over. We were actually taken to classrooms where we were shown how to paint masks and then got to paint them ourselves and take them home. It was a long day that started verrrry early, but I am glad that I went.

Kenting – Scooters/Beaches/Beautiful Views

This weekend adventure started with a two-hour taxi ride from the MRT station in Kaohsiung to our hotel, The Green Tunnel in Kenting (which turned out wasn’t actually in Kenting, but it was close enough, clean & even had a pool). This taxi cost 400NT = just over $10 CDN, so ridiculous! Once settled in our hotel we found the first scooter rental place we could find and rented 8 to get us all around for the weekend. Next stop, THE BEACH! At this point in my head I am here on a holiday, but oh wait… I think I originally came for some thing else, right; school starts this week. Nanwan beach was full of jet skis, banana boats, tubes, and tractors to transport all of these too and from the water. It reminded me of my family campout when everyone is trying to get their campers parked in the spot they want, it was the similar situation here, but instead of trying to miss trees the tractor driver is trying to miss people. We didn’t partake in renting any of the water sports, but I am glad we didn’t because the way the workers were rotating the jet skis in and out like is was no big deal made me feel that the machines we not in tip top shape.

Tractor taking the jet ski to the water

In the evenings we explored the downtown Kenting area for dinner and drinks, and a little shopping of course. We did notice though, that the prices here were wayyyy more expensive than Kaohsiung, total tourist trap. Also, to my surprise there were no normal pubs in this lovely tourist town. From the outside they look like your average disco with music pumping and dinner menus posted out front, however; they are all places with live dancers, who also happen to be (as the French would say) “ladyboys.” Complete shocker! So we found ourselves a nice patio outside to have a few drinks and then called it an early night.

Kenting National Park

The second day we took the scooters up into the hills of the Kenting National Park. This was absolutely stunning! We parked our scooters at the top of the mountain and started our walk around the Sheding Nature Park. Many were worried about snakes and spiders but the only wildlife we came across were some of the most beautiful butterflies I have ever seen and thousands of Chinese Hawks in the sky migrating south to Indonesia. This day finished off at Little Bay beach that had bigger waves and a was a little bit more crowded, but just as beautiful as the day before. All in all it was a wonderful weekend away and I was glad to come back ‘home’ to Kaohsiung. Actually, I was glad we made it back alive to Kaohsiung as our driver on the ride back to the city completely disregarded all traffic rules and regulations. Sure we had “After the Sunset” on the movie screen to try and distract us, but there was no way you could miss what an idiot our driver was. I have never wanted to kiss the ground more than when he dropped us off at the Airport MRT station, and due to the fact they keep the MRT so clean here I actually could have.