Friday, 21 December 2012

travel: Taiwan 2012 day 7: Alishan, Kaohsiung

This morning woke up to yet a beautiful day. Felt very very blessed, especially considering that the current season is winter and apparently in the mountains, it is tend to get foggy or raining. But for every single day, we woke up to great weather.

Breakfast was delicious home made dishes and porridge, overlooking the mountains and the B&B's beautiful small tea farm. Gordon was very friendly, helpful, and very charming. Love this B&B & Gordon's hospitality.

Gordon and us

Season Star B&B

After breakfast, we checked out and proceeded to Alishan's Giant Forest and Trees. Grant told us that it's really rare to have such great weather around the area in winter, even for him who has come numerous times.

We took the charming old locomotive style train to the top area and walked our way down, passing unusual trees and trunks , which shapes only achieved by mother-nature natural mouldings. The only thing that marred our experience was - again - some loud mainland chinese tourists who did not have any qualms about their high pitched chattering (gawd, you could hear their voices echoing throughout the forest path). We actually got some shocks of our life when one of the old men in the tour group suddenly sang so loud. Yep, in the middle of the forest. And another when suddenly another tour group blasted up their sound system with a chinese folk istrumental song aloud. WTF. Totally ruined the serenity of the place.

Nevertheless, we just blocked our ears as best as possible and just enjoyed the nature. Walking slowly in between such tall trees made us feel that we had been transported to another world - minus the loud chattering of other tourists... -_-

beautiful intricate details of a temple halfway down

After the nice walking trail, we had a simple lunch set, consisting of some vegetables and braised pork. TWD 75 a set.

After lunch, we went to a tea farm - Sheng Le Farm - to try some Alishan teas - arguably once of the best and of the most famous area for tea in Taiwan, especially for oolong tea and green tea of oolong variety. The hosts explained to us how the tea was produced and processed until their packaged state.
Beautiful tea farm, friendly hosts, and tasty tea, of course we did not pass up the opportunity to buy some afterwards. Unfortunately, the cafe that usually also serves some dishes was closed, so all we did there was drink tea.

These are the teas we purchased - a few for our close family and friends back in Australia, as well as for my parents. Their teas are not the cheapest, but quality and taste is definitely one of the finests. The hosts also gave us a free tea set - a simple glass tea cup and filter set for us to easily serve tea for ourselves. So generous.
If you are not fond with the whole tea preparation thing, they also sell their tea in convenient tea bag form, which is great idea. Their farm only started to sell the tea bags since last year, for their customers - especially those who come from far and do not have their own tea preparation set.

Then off to Kaohsiung, where we met Grant's colleague - a pretty and friendly girl called Sylvia - who is apparently more of an expert for Kaohsiung city, whereas Grant acts as our driver only from this point onwards.
Sylvia took us to board a ferry bound to a small island - called Cijin Island - to eat some seafood. Pick your live seafood from the tank and they would cook them for you the way you like it. Dinner was clams in spicy sauce, steamed prawns, seaweed & eggs, sweet potato leaves, and grilled fish. Although we were not very hungry because of the late lunch and lack of walking after lunch, the simple & delicious dish still got all of our appetite going and we managed to finish them. (Of course Grant acted as a rubbish bin whenever there was leftover :D)

Total Damage: TWD950

1/2heart spotted this fried seafood galore at a small kiosk/tent by the beach and of course passing by without trying some would be a sin. Sylvia recommended on the grilled cuttlefish. Very nice.

Total Damage: TWD 130

A bit of this... A bit of that... .

After boarding the ferry back to main land, 1/2heart spotted a dessert shop. The shop has a range of available sizes, from the single portion to a massive chinese vase like bowl that could feed 20 people. We chose double portion to share between the 4 of us.

The size... almost as big as Grant's head... .

OMG... by the time we finished, my stomach felt like bursting.

Then off we went to our accommodation for the next 2 nights in Kaohsiung: T Hotel.

Room type: Deluxe Business
Total Cost: TWD4760 (TWD2380 per night)

Our room is very clean and quite spacious. The jacuzzi is huge and is spacious even for two people. Apparently the location is very convenient as well as it is quite close to the Liouhe Night Market. We are too buggered to check it out, so I guess it is time to rest up for the night.

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