Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day 6 : Kenting National Park

     It was raining when we arrived at the hotel. The hotel was in a remote area which is isolated from the city and there was any other restaurants nearby. Our choice for super was at the restaurant in the hotel. After having simple fried rice and one dish of vegetable and soup, we went to check the outdoor hot springs' pools. There were two pools under canopies and some pools were under the sky. Some Chinese tourists already enjoyed soaking in the hot springs. Because of the rain, my husband and I decided not to go for it. Our friends soaked in the hot springs and told me that they really did enjoy the hot springs. 
This was the view in front of the hotel. We left a little bit later than the Chinese  tourists. So we had a chance to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the place.  
Since we visited the east coast, we had seen this scenery everyday. I liked the fresh and peaceful feeling. 
Pitrure from Ann and Ted
This was the outdoor hot springs pools in the hotel. The hotel website stated that "its hot springs came from a 1460 meter deep underground thermal water. Its quality is more pure than other hotels which hot springs were only from a few hundred meters deep." Every morning, the hotel will open the value of the pipe line which went all the way to the thermal water source in order to clean and maintain the pipe line. If you wake up early, you can see steam come out from the pipe line. 
We had traveled 403 km so far from north down to south on the east coast.  
We would take Highway 9 crossing the mountain to the west towards Kenting National Park, which wad established in 1984. It was the first national park in the southernmost part of Taiwan. It would take us about 3 and half hours driving (121km) without a break on a winding mountain road. So we left a little bit early, but it was still later than those Chinese tourists. Our first stop ten minutes after we left was a 7-11 store for cups of American coffee and snacks to go along with the mountain drive.   
Picture from Taipei Station
We stopped at the Daiwu rest area for our second stop, a pee break and also sightseeing. We were at Daniao village in Dawu township which is an aboriginal territory.   
A view to the south
A view to the north which we could see the trace of the highway. 
A thoughtful design so people won't get wet when it rains.  
     After we crossed the island, it was sunny and warm on the Henchun Peninsula. We arrived in Henchun township, Pingtung County early than we expected. Therefore, we decided to see one of the remaining historical gates which was built in 1875 after the Japan attacked the small remote area due to the Mudan Incident.   

A military tank was displayed at the park to educate the public about the tank and also promote the relationship between the local residents and the military. 
It is the most well preserved gate in Taiwan with some small repaired. Today, it no longer protects the city but it is a place for locals or visitors to acknowledge its history. 
The picture is from Ted & Ann
We walked up to the platform to overview the city. 
Taiwan is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. So there are a lot of natural hot springs or thermal water, and also natural gas around the island. This is a natural gas source near the old gate less than 10 minutes drive but requires a 10 minute walking to this place. 
This was a French seafood cuisine restaurant. The chef went to France to learn French cuisine and also there would be a Chef from France in the summer time. It was famous in the Kenting area. When our friends were enjoying the hot springs the night before, I was busy searching a special restaurant on the internet for them. I knew they had too much aboriginal food and Chinese food on the east coast.  So having a western style food menu might be a better choice for them. 

     After lunch, we embraced the long lost warm sunshine and the beautiful ocean. All those dark clouds and cold rains were behind us. We were going to enjoy the beaches and the sun in Kenting National Park, a tropical climate and the southernmost point of Taiwan. 
The Henchun Peninsula surrounded by Taiwan Strait on the west coast, Bashi Channel on the south coast, and the Pacific Ocean on the east coast.   
Our first stop was Shadau, which means sand island. The beach accumulated a lot of seashells and corals. In the early time, some merchants took the sands and exported to Japan, Hawaii, and other countries. Its ecologic and natural environment was damaged by those merchant. Therefore, the park was aware of the effects and set this place as a protection area to conserve its environment. 
Next to the seashell beach is coral reef rocks. It has a splendid marine ecology. It is one of my favorite places. I was surprised what I could find in the coral pits.  
This picture was taken in 2009.
This puffer was brought to these coral reef rock pits by the high tide. I didn't know how it would survive by the bright sunshine and the heat in the coral pit. I guessed it had to wait until next high tide to get it back to the ocean.  
This was another surprised I found there. I did really want to bring it home, but it didn't belong to me. I gave up my idea and let it stay at the place it belonged to. 
There were many crabs in the pits. I liked its color and also it didn't hide from me. I could easily spend some time to observe it. But someone was asking me to leave. The good time to be here is in the morning or at night to see its abundant marine ecology.
Walking on the coral reef rocks must be cautious and carefully on the wet rocks, but it is really fun to find marine life.
     Eluanbi Park 
     For the first time visitors, it is the most visited place in this national park. It is famous for its light house which has its significant histories in the19 century. There were two incidents occurred at this place, the Rover Incident in 1867 and the Mudan Incident in 1871. Both were involved with Taiwan aborigine, Americans, and Japanese due to its submerged reefs which caused ships sinking. Therefore, the American government and Japanese government requested the Qing dynasty to constructed a light house for guiding all ships to guide them around the southern tip of Taiwan. For more infomation about the incidents , please visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_incident 
Visitors were attracted by its surrounding view. The mountain with a sharp tip shape is called Dajianshan. It is only 318 meter high. It is the natural landmark of  the national park. Due to the weathering situation, the rocks are very fragile and constantly fall down. The national park closed the hiking trail for safety reason.     
The original light house was built and destroyed by the Qing Dynasty after it gave up Taiwan to Japan in 1895. During WWII, the lighthouse built by the Japanese was destroyed by the American military force. It was rebuilt in 1962. I just hope there is no war to destroy this light house again. 
Taiwan had abundance of deer on island in the 17, 18th century. Holland exported deer skins to Japan samurais for their body amours.  Deer meat and antlers were exported to the Qing dynasty. This tree in the center of this picture is like a deer standing on the grass plain.   
This is pandan (screw pine named by English merchant) fruit. It is edible after being processed, otherwise it is poison to human beings. 
Our last stop was to be at the southernmost point. Cars or buses can't access to the spot.  It is about 10 minutes walking down to the bottom of the small hill. Along the road, some street vendors sell cold drink and other kinds of food and toys. This weather radar is also on the way to the point.  
It is the trail head. The trail is covered by trees on the both side. 
This picture was taken about 2 years ago. Why did I post this picture? Because this landmark was by itself. We encountered a lot of Chinese tourists there during this trip.  We hardly found a good and clear spot for our photos. There were "people mountain, people sea" which directly translating from Mandarin "renshan renai" means the place is very crowed. I was glad that I could find this photo in my hard drive.   
Ann and Ted waited for at least 5 minutes for taking this pictures. Finally, they gave up for taking the landmark because the Chinese visitors never ended. We were somewhat pushed to the edge and I had to stand on the bench. I tried to isolate other people in this photo.   
The Chinese tourists entered a prohibited area. They ignored the warning from me and their tour guide. They didn't care about or obey the laws. They just did whatever they wanted to do. There were some incidences which happened to some of Chinese visitors in the pasts because of their ignorance. For example, a few people were washed away by unpredictable waves which is very common on the coast of Taiwan. They were warned before they visited these places. But their ignorance got them in trouble. 
picture from Ted & Ann
We were back to our hotel early. So people could take a rest in the hotel or walk around the main street of Kenting. There are many shops, bars, and restaurants on the street. Its atmosphere is like in the southeast Asia countries. Some vendors are from other countries for making living in Taiwan. It is the most diverse cultural town in Taiwan. 

Lanyu and Kending National Park. 720p


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