Tag Archives: taitung

Summer on the East Coast of Taiwan.

Taiwan is a warm, tropical world, and southern Taiwan is especially so. This week, we have experienced its harsher side, being baked for hours on end in the strong sunlight, and also its more softer side, in the humid and slightly cooler nighttime. On Sunday evening, we arrived in Taitung, our first excursion on this visit to the eastern coast of Taiwan. The city of Taitung itself lies in the giant East Rift Valley, and brilliant mountain scenery surrounds it.

On our first night, we went to Siwei Night Market, which was quoted on Tripadvisor as being “a more rustic night market”. What they mean by that is that it’s decidedly for locals. Many night markets more renowned in bigger Taiwanese cities have stands which boast neon signs, each more garish than its neighbor’s, and often feature a flat screen TV that loops a news segment about the stand. Siwei Night Market had almost none of that. We did get a delicious crepe stuffed with smoked chicken and vegetables for Steve and a bowl of steaming hot spicy stinky tofu for me (it tastes much better than it sounds!). We also watched several men at open-air karaoke, which seems to be a pursuit for the 50 and above, not that it’s easy to tell the age of Asian men.  But they had just set up along one of the aisles of the night market, and were warbling songs in Taiwanese into a microphone which reverberated around it. Steve and I watched for several minutes, entranced. Continue reading Summer on the East Coast of Taiwan.

A happy return to Kaohsiung.

Written on the 781
Sunday, July 27, 6:13 pm

It is the evening, and we are seeing our first sunset over the mountains. We’re most of the way through our rail journey from Kaohsiung to Taitung, winding a slow counter-clockwise arc around the southern tip of the island and emerging on the eastern side of Taiwan. Many of our evenings in Taichung and Kaohsiung on the west coast have featured splendid sunsets over the water and a city, but in Taitung and Dulan on the east coast, we will be chasing sunrises over the water and sunsets over the mountains.

The hillsides here are fairly rugged, and the train zips long much closer to the water. For some parts of our trip, we were darting through mountain tunnels to emerge on a narrow railway with the water and a precipitous drop on one side and on the other high mountains that we had to lift our faces to greet. The view is definitely worth it. On the right, the sky fades from a pale distant blue to light pink clouds, and then back to the blue-grey of the ocean. On the left, mountains barely a dozen meters from our left will loom close, and then give way suddenly to large expansive green valleys. Deep in the heart of the valley, we can see the lighter and mistier shapes of more distant mountains, and finally beyond that, the clouds themselves, gilded and illuminated with a deeper richer tone by the sunlight that has already sunk beneath the mountains. It is really strikingly lovely. Continue reading A happy return to Kaohsiung.