We hired a driver to bring us to Yehliu (野柳), Jiufen (九份) and Shifen (十分) for day trip. We departed from Taipei after breakfast at our hotel. Westgate Hotel served buffet breakfast, which offered a wide variety from Chinese styled porridge, fried noodles, scrambled eggs, yoghurts, cereals, breads, plenty of fruit juices and soya milk, etc...
The cosy breakfast lounge at Westgate Hotel Taipei.
The journey out from Taipei was smooth despite of us travelling during peak hour at 8.30am. We reached Fulong (福隆) around 9.40am. We made a quick photo stop. The journey was amazing with the scenic view and we saw a few small shops selling some wooden crafted and local specialties products, which was a feast to the eyes.
The scenic drive along the way to Yehliu.
Our first destination was Yehliu Geopark. We arrived at the remarkable geopark at 10.30am. We bought the entry tickets and walked through the park. We thought it was just another park, with some nice landscapes and fun children characters on display. Boy, we were so wrong! Our mouths opened wide the moment we saw the cape from far. Good thing about not doing homework before your trip, that you did not see any pictures prior to your trip and the feeling of seeing this natural beauty the first time was truly AMAZING and BREATHTAKING. :)
The sisters were enjoying the beautiful sea views.
Part of the ocean erosion potholes.
Yehliu Geopark is a park of natural wonders. The rocks were carved by waves cutting and weathering over years, resembling into shapes and figures such as queen's head, turtle egg, paw, etc... The best known is the "Queen's Head" (女王頭), an iconic image in Taiwan.
The iconic Queen's head.
Honey combed rock.
We spent 2 hours at the geopark and the driver was amazed that Papa Bear and I could 'last' so long inside the geopark with 3 active kids. He did not know that our kids love nature so much that we could actually sit all day long doing nothing in the geopark. It started drizzling, which made us leaving earlier than we actually wanted. LOL
We went to the small bazaar selling local delicacies and helped ourselves with some drinks. Papa Bear bought me a big cup of the popular Taiwanese brown sugar ginger tea (黑糖姜母茶) which was a gift to have in that cold windy weather.
We proceeded to Jiufen (九份). Jiufen is all about food and shopping. We first treated ourselves to a good hot lunch at one of the eateries. We were lucky to arrive at the right timing that the lunch crowd was not there yet. So the kids had some room to explore, checking out some display items in the conventional eatery.
The popular noodle shop in Jiufen.
We walked around Jiufen and bought some souvenirs and some small kiddies stuffs/toys for the kids. Papa Bear bought a leather pouch bag at a good bargain! You can easily spend an hour or two here. There were so many things to see and of course it was crowded too. If you are visiting with young children, do consider baby wearing, as the place is not stroller friendly, with a lot of stairs and uneven walkways. Jiufen is a good place to buy souvenirs, it's much cheaper than Ximending, especially if you are good at bargaining. But there were many items on bundle promos, which require no bargaining, and good for parents with young children who can't spend too much time shopping and looking at one 'boring' thing. :)
From Jiufen, we moved on to Shifen. The weather was not on our side. It started raining heavily. We were trapped in the Gold Ecological Park (黃金博物園區) in Jinguashi. We could not tour the place, as it was raining cat and dog. We were however lucky to be trapped in the food court area which had easy access to an outdated breastfeeding room, clean toilets and hot snacks. We had good time spending an hour sitting down there just watching the kids playing with the lazy big cat while sipping our hot drinks. Nothing we could plan on the weather, so it's important to adjust our expectation to avoid disappointment during travel. Having said this, we were quite disappointed to miss the scenic Shifen Waterfall (十分大瀑布) which was breathtaking. But that gave us another reason to visit Taiwan again in the next few years! :)
Shifen Waterfall, picture from Taiwan tourism site. We shall see you next time. :)
Before heading back to Taipei, our kind driver drove us to Ping Xi (平溪). Ping Xi is popular for releasing of Chinese lantern with our wishes written on it into the sky, all for a modest TWD100-120 depending on the size of the lantern. This is definitely fun that you can write anything you wish for and do pray hard that all wishes will come true!
Writing wishes on the lantern.
May all our wishes come true. :)
We left Ping Xi at 5.45pm and reached back our hotel in Taipei around 6.40pm. We had a good shower then headed out again for dinner at Chili's. Kids felt like going western after a few meals of local Chinese food.
It was a great day and all of us went to sleep soundly. We always made sure we slept early during our trip to keep everyone healthy. Getting enough rest is equally important with getting enough fluids.