2017年11月29日 星期三

Traintime: Fengyuan 豐原 to Taipei


The map above is missing a lot of stops, and even entire train lines.  But for my purposes it's probably good enough.  I'm skipping over several stops anyway.

1. Fengyuan 豐原.  Since translating that "Influence of Western Civilization on Taiwan" book I've learned a bit more about Fengyuan and its surprisingly long history.  When I lived in Taichung I didn't get up there much, aside from trips down the road that goes from Fengyuan to the Coastal Expressway 海濱快速公路.

It's an uneventful place, but I like that view along the river north of Taichung City.


Downtown Miaoli City.

2. Miaoli 苗栗.  My impression of Miaoli County has always been that it's "varied" (i.e. it has a lot of interesting places in it).  My impression of Miaoli City, however, is that it's one of the most boring cities in Taiwan.  When we lived in Taichung we took the train into Miaoli often, and I suppose it was the first part of Taiwan (outside Taichung) that I explored.

I like the hillsides in Miaoli.  That reddish soil, with those distinctive trees.  It's definitely not a good county for observing wildlife, but when I think of those hillsides I feel very nostalgic.

Points of interest in Miaoli?  This is all off the top of my head, but I remember that the town of Sanyi 三義, where they carve wood, was somewhat amusing.  There were also some old train stations, train tracks, and tunnels.  Miaoli also has an aquarium, but when I lived near there that place really wasn't worth going to.


People picking strawberries in Dahu.

Dahu 大湖, where they grow the strawberries, was one of the more fun places in that county.  If memory serves there was also a hot spring area near there, near the southern part of Shui Ba National Park 雪霸國家公園.

But don't put too much stock in what I say about Miaoli, Hsinchu, or Taoyuan.  Those counties are very far from where I live now, and I only visit them infrequently.

3. Jhunan 竹南.  I can only remember two things about Jhunan, and they are: 1) There's a Taiwan Beer Brewery there, and 2) There's a beach resort near the ocean, not far from Hsinchu.


Hsinchu Train Station, built by the Japanese.

4. Hsinchu 新竹.  I lived in this city for a year.  I enjoyed some aspects of it, really didn't enjoy others, but it's changed so much since that time that I couldn't presume to tell you much about it.  Last time I drove into Hsinchu I got SO lost.  Everywhere I looked there were new buildings, and roads where there were no roads before.

I have many fond memories of the Neiwan Line 內灣線 that runs east into the mountains from Hsinchu.  When I lived in Hsinchu I spent a lot of time in Jhudong 竹東.  Neiwan, at the end of that line, is a cute little town.  There are a ton of strange mountain places east of Jhudong, and some surprisingly unspoiled natural scenery.  

I miss Beipu 北埔.  There was some good food in Beipu.

5. Taoyuan 桃園.  I was in Taoyuan not long ago, attempting to take my daughters to Coca-Cola World 可口可樂世界.  It took forever to find it, and once we did we quickly discovered that you can only visit that place as part of a group.


Taoyuan County

During the year I lived in Hsinchu I visited Taoyuan many times, but I don't remember much.  Like Hsinchu, most of the more scenic/interesting places in Taoyuan are closer to the mountains, and I had a good time visiting some of the Hakka villages in that area.

I always meant to go to La La Mountain 拉拉山 and "Little Wulai" 小烏來, but still haven't made it over.  They look nice in the pictures I've seen, but I've never been in that area with a car and with the energy to seek those places out.

Taoyuan International Airport

Oh, and of course Taoyuan International Airport is in that part of Taiwan.  A lot of people get confused because their ticket stubs say "Taipei," but the airport is really in Taoyuan.  This is why the "Airport MRT" is called the Taoyuan MRT on many of the signs.  It's operated by the Taoyuan County Government.

6. Taipei 台北.  I already talked about Taipei in this entry and this entry.  So I'll just leave it there.

...aside from the fact that it's HUGE and there's a ton of stuff to do.  If you don't like Taipei, it's probably because you don't like crowds.  Just the same Taipei is a fun (if expensive) city, and I usually have a good time there.


Related Entries:

Traintime: Kaohsiung 高雄 to Taichung 台中
My Sister's Visit to Taiwan 我妹妹來台的旅遊
台灣西方文明初體驗 The Influence of Western Civilization on Taiwan (3 of 4)
Dongjhu 東竹 to Hualien 花蓮, According to the Hualien-Taitung Line 花東線 and My Faulty Memory

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