Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Portion of the Southwest Coast in Tainan City

     While I was vacationing in the States this summer, one of my sisters asked me to plan a two or three-day-trip for her and other sisters in Oct in Taiwan. It was a precious girls' trip for my sisters without their husbands and kids. I had to accept the invitation to take them traveling around Taiwan. In fact my husband and I had become my family's tour planner and driver since we retired and resided in Taiwan. 
     Of course this trip was also included my husband's mother-in-law. My poor husband had to endure 6 women yelki yelki for more than a 2 hours drive. Planning this trip was a little bit of a headache to me because my mother didn't want to visit mountain areas and also I had to avoid places that some of my sisters had been before. So I came up with the idea of visiting Tainan for its famous traditional food which no one would reject it. 
Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields:
This was the first sight when we arrived at our first stop at the Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields in Tainan. This was a small seafood restaurant which emphasized freshness. It is probably opened during Weekend not on weekdays.  
This was a run down area. It might be revived once the salt field draws a lot  of visitors to this area. This is a very traditional rural decline model in Taiwan. The salt field was closed in 2002 because its profit comparing to the cost was not significant. After closing the salt fields, young people went to the cities to find jobs and the population of the old generation declined. The small town gradually died.
This was a temple which was the landmark for people searching this place on the internet or asking for direction. If you ask for a direction which is nearby a temple, most of people would show you the correct direction. If you ask the direction by using the orientation, you probably won't go anywhere in Taiwan. If you ask me by using the orientation, you probably would be lost. Ha Ha! The pronunciation of the temple in Taiwanese is "Hing-an-kiong." It would be easier and better to ask questions or directions in Taiwanese when traveling to the countrysides because old folks know only a little Mandarin.  This temple offers a small bag for visitors to take some salt home for bath or other non eating proposes. So don't forget to ask for a bag and then get some salt which is located in front of the souvenir store inside the fields.
These were dry Milkfish which is very famous and popular in Tainan. It is one of the presentations of Tainan without a doubt. One of the famous and traditional breakfast dish in Tainan is Milkfish porridge.
The vendor knew we would stay in Tainan for another day. So he didn't try to sell his dry fish to us. He happily asked us to try his fish. 
Another vendor roasted eggs in hot salt which is from the salt fields. Salt would penetrate through the eggshells which makes these eggs have a salty flavor.
It was a Wednesday morning. These junior high school students came here for their field trip. They made this place suddenly alive. Our few moments of peace and quiet were gone after 2 or 3 buses of people arrived. This place has also attracted many photographers for its stunning sunset reflecting in the fields. 
This is the oldest and still active salt fields in Taiwan which started in 1818. The  most unique thing about these fields is its base, which are built with tiles which made it looked like mosaic art. The tile-base makes the salt a better taste without the absorbtion of the muds from the fields. Now this place belonges to the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area which cooperated with this private and only one salt field company to restore and promote the salt producing history in Taiwan. 
The high season for collecting salt is from March to May. Every small field (crystallization ponds) can collect 250-350 kg salt every 3 days. The low season can collect 200-250 kg every 5 days. Okay, Stop here for not getting into the technical parts.
Ticket: Free for Entrance
Operating Hours: 8:30-18:00
GPS: N23°15'33.8''E120°6'29.2''

This was next to the exit which was an ecological experiential area. It offers  sea lives and oyster farm view. We didn't plan to visit this area. Also the coffee shop was not opened during the weekdays. Visitors are encouraged to pay a visit. 
There was hardly any traffic on Coastal Hwy 61. The view was beautiful, so we  stopped our car for taking photos. 

Our lunch was in Qigu. Salt mountain and Salt Museum are located in this district. I didn't plan to visit these places since I had been there. But after we arrived at the restaurant I found out all my sisters and my mom haven't been there yet. I told them next time they can plan this trip and include these two places with their husband and kids. It was the photo time in front of Longmen Restaurant which is a decent and gourmet restaurant in this area.   
This was its most famous dish which is called Salt Roasted Milkfish. I ordered this dish two hours  before we arrived in Tainan from Nantou County. It was not done yet when we arrived at the restaurant. Before this big fish appeared in front of us, we were asked to slow done eating before we almost finished all dishes by the waitress. She felt sorry that the fish was''t done and we had to waited for this dish after finishing all of our dishes. We all laughed because we looked like a group of people who didn't eat for quite a while. Of  course, this dish wasn't my husband's cup of tea. He dislikes fish. So he was excluded in the joy of eating this fish.
PS: I had to search the difference between bake and roast! It seemed to be easy to define the cooking method in the States or other western countries. But when food is cooked in a different region with different method, it is suddenly difficult to define the cooking way in the English language.  

I just learned that my family and husband were the same type of people who conducted all the talking and engaging with the restaurant owner for a long time. The owner was very happy to introduce his surrounding neighborhood environment to us including his family history etc and how he decided to open this restaurant. There were a lot of stories behind that I couldn't tell all in this blog. This is one of the reasons that encourage us to talk to people on our journeys.
The restaurant location:
GPS: N:120.115622 E:23.146045
TEL: 06-7800-658
We drove on to the Qigu Lagoon area for a while and I found all my siblings and my mom couldn't handle the small roads next to the lagoons. They were afraid because they thought it was extremely dangerous. We could drive into the lagoons. They wanted me to talk to my husband to pay attention when driving on the road which let my husband and I laugh. If they know our travel experiences, they might disagree with us and my mom would tell me like "don't go and don't do that anymore." If life is lack of adventure, what would life mean to us? 

Sicao Ecology Mangrove Boat Ride :

There is only one boat ride at 2:30pm during the weekdays. So we had to be at this place on time, actually we arrived early. It offers two different rides: one is an hour ride which I posted before. The other one is this 30 minutes raft ride in the ancient waterway for observing its natural beauty and ecological life. 
These rides are sponsored by the temple which all the profits will go back to the temple and will be donated to charities or help poor people. We got on our raft and were excited for the ride. Before we got on the raft, we were required to wear a life saving vest and offered a Coolie hat for avoiding sunburn. Let's go explore the beautiful green tree tunnel. 
This was a guided tour. We were lucky to have a female guide who spoke softly for avoiding scaring the animals away. The fiddler crabs and mudskippers were very common to see in this area.  
This was a natural channel for ships entering the city to load and unload goods  hundreds of years ago. However, the floods and sediments through time had created new lands and block the natural channel. It became too shallow to perform its transportation duty. The man-made canal was born. 
My husband always teased me that I am the spring chicken with one leg stands. Well, we saw this hiding one leg standing egret which was staring at us. The difference between the adult and spring chicken egret is the colors of their feet. This was a young egret because it had two yellowish feet. The adult egret's feet are black. Egrets are the most common bird in this area. 
We entered the most beautiful section of the waterway. I wondered why the boat departing time was at 2:30pm? Because of the contrast of light and shadow reflecting in the water? 
We arrived at the end of the canal. It is a historical site which was a tariff office during the Qing dynasty. 
We changed our direction to see its beauty. It was a short ride which disappointed all people for say goodbye to the gorgeous view so quickly. We just had a wish. We wished it could be extent longer and longer in the comfortable afternoon. 
This group of people from Kinmen had enough people to ask for a ride just for themselves. During a high season ( Lunar New Year,) a guide could take 4-5 rides a day. It is now a very popular attraction place in Taiwan. 

Next to the temple was the sperm whale museum. It displays a mother and a baby whale's skeletons. They were stranded on the beach nearby the temple in 1992.  When people found these two whales, the baby cord was still attached to the baby. The entrance fee is NT $10 and can be waived if a visitor has the boat ride ticket.
Behind the temple was the battle field when Koxinga defeated Dutch and took over Taiwan in 1662.   
The most significant scene was this tomb which held the Dutch soldiers who died in this battle. In 1971 one media was told by the main god that there were some remains scattered around  the temple that needed to be taken care of. The believers followed the gods wish and found the remains which was proven by archaeologists or historians. 
After the boat ride, we had to show our appreciation to our driver. So we took him to the shaved ice place for a treat in the warm afternoon in southern Taiwan. It tasted really good with fresh passionfruit, real pineapple, and sugar syrup topping on the shaved ice. Like!
address: 596 Anpei Rd, Anping District, Tainan 
My original plan was interrupted because I let my family have a choice or because my mom couldn't walk too far. So we skipped National Museum of Taiwan History. We took them to the bicycle trail which is on top of the levee. It is just right behind the Anping Tree House. 

A lot of locals will ride, run, or walk on the levee in the afternoon. Following the levee will lead visitors to the mouth of the river or Taiwan Strait. The sunset view is great! 
The wetland, waterway, and the city itself 
We moved to the nearby park which is called Lin-Mo-Niang Park. The statue of  Lin-Mo-Niang and steles were donated by the chairman of the Chimei corporation. 
We met this french guy who is learning Mandarin for about a year and can speak very good Mandarin. 
The fishing boats were leaving the port.
Anping sunset is one of the famous scenery in Tainan. 
No fishing licence is required in Taiwan. This is one of the outdoor activities in Anping district. Life is very easy and relaxing here. 
The park is very suitable for flying kites. These two centipede kites were getting ready to fly. If you ask questions about flying a kite or making a kite, people are very friendly to explain to you or even teach you how to make the kite. A few years ago, I lived in this area for a few months and loved this place. 
It was time to check in to our hotel at Zenda Suites next to Chengkung University. 
Our bed was huge which can sleep three people.
The decoration was simple but functional.  Almost every hotel in Taiwan offers  free wifi or internet service to its guests. 
Because this was the university district (like college town,)  there were a lot of motorscooters parking along the sidewalks.
My family's idea was to eat here which offered bargain price for students. But if you ask gourmet food, it wouldn't be the place. Actually, there are western style restaurants nearby. We didn't go because the food was expensive for my frugal mother. So this was another change of plan. 

     There was a good advantage of Facebook. After I posted my plan for visiting Tainan, one of my classmates with her husband came to our hotel to meet us. We were at a restaurant and had a wonderful time conversation with them. This was a great lifestyle surrounding by my family and friends, oh and my husband, enjoying good food, and a fun travel experience. I had nothing to complain about!
     You can take a public tour bus to reach some of the places from Chiayi HSR station. The tour bus website is: 

1 comment:

  1. Hey LTT,

    Great post about your trip and we really love the pictures!!! Do check out our post of our Tainan Taiwan trip as well!

    Happy Travels!



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