A Taste of the Pacific Ocean

Have you ever tasted the Pacific Ocean? Maybe an unexpected wave crashed into you right when you opened your mouth to yell something at a friend or sibling?

I realized this past weekend that fortunately, the Pacific is much less salty than the Atlantic! Why is this relevant you ask? Because recently I chose one windy day to go snorkelling and although I likely swallowed an entire glass of salt water, it was extremely worth it.

My friends Sandra, Shiun and I met at Taipei Main Station and took the 1811 bus to LuoDong! The bus ticket will cost you $110 NTD (and the bus leaves at 8:20, 9:20, and 10:20 AM, so naturally we took the latest one.

CAMERAThe stop for the snorkelling is called Long Dong Port.

The location is remote so before leaving make sure to stock up on food, water, sunscreen, and to bring all necessities: bathing suits, towels, sunglasses, etc.

Once we got off the bus we walked down some bamboo stairs, continued straight for about two minutes, and before long saw a quaint shop on the corner that rented snorkel equipment.

For $70 NTD we rented a snorkel and began the journey to the “Dragon’s Hole” for some underwater adventures! The path to the snorkelling cove is straight from the shop (ProTravelTip: remember to follow the people, the crowd rarely leads you astray) and is a tad difficult to get to, unless your parents put you in rock climbing classes as a child.

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It takes about 15 minutes, and my best advice is to just take your time, wear some running shoes, and look before you step/ jump.

Once you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view and will instantly forget how annoying that rock trek was. Place your bags somewhere on the rocks, strap on that snorkel, and jump in!

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The water was perfect temperature for swimming and we quickly found a spot where, what I like to refer to as Dory’s (ahem Finding Nemo ahem), we’re hanging out!

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After swimming around and taking in the bunches of beautiful coral and fish gathered around them, we spotted a rock formation where people we’re jumping off.

It was about two storey’s high so of course we had to jump off of it. After scaling up the rock formation, with the help of two ropes tied to the rock, I quickly took in the view before taking my leap! Oh, and plugging my nose.

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We swam, laughed, and soaked up the sun during lunch while we reflected about just how lucky we were to explore this hidden treasure at so little cost! After all, it’s important to be in the moment, but in that moment it’s also extremely important to reflect and appreciate what you are experiencing.

There are some days in life we wish we could relive because they were THAT awesome, and let me just say that for me, this was definitely one of them.

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Travelling to Long Dong?

First, download BusTracker Taipei from the app store.

On your way home, the 1811 bus can pick you up at the Long Dong Port at 3 PM or 6 PM.

Alternatively, you can take a bus to Keelung (for example bus 791) and then from Keelung buses leave every 10 minutes for Taipei.

Bus 1811: http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Line=3025&Lang=En

 

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Dusk at Elephant Mountain

As a girl from a small town surrounded by Lake Huron, I have seen my fair share of beautiful sunsets. However perhaps one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen took place from my view at Elephant Mountain, just about a 15 minute walk from the famous Taipei 101.

DCIM107GOPROElephant Mountain is the most famous of the Four Beast Mountain collection, which also includes Tiger, Leopard, and Lion Mountains.

There are actually two more mountains on this trail system called Nangang Shan and Jiuwu Peak that rise behind the beasts. Elephant  Mt. happens to be the part of the trail that links all these together.

Not only is this view of the city spectacular, it is also easily accessible by a 20 minute walk up the mountain (not to mention its free!!) The path to this glorious sight is made of stairs that are well maintained and include a railing so although steep, its not too difficult if you just go at your own pace.

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Although it will likely be busy the best time to go is during the late afternoon around 5-5:30 PM so that you can catch the sunset in Taipei, which currently occurs approximately 20 minutes after 6 PM (double check with your best pal Google). If you want to see the city landscape in daylight light, go earlier!

To get there by MRT, take the Red line 2 to its terminus, Xiangshan Station. You will be instructed to get off the Subway around the Da’an stop, but fear not, another car will be along shortly to take you to the end of the line, simply step off and wait for it.

Once you arrive at Xiangshan, take exit 2 out of the station and continue walking straight. You will notice a park and basketball courts to your left as you walk. Follow the signs for Xiangshan Hiking Trail and you won’t have any problems! When you reach the end of the road, walk across the street before you take a left, and follow both the fellow hikers and the corresponding signs. After a short distance turn right and soon you will have arrived at the base of the Xiangshan Hiking Trail.

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Take a swig of water, tie up those laces and prepare to be amazed.

You will come to a point on the trail where there is a picture taking pavilion. Although crowded there’s an unwritten code, people take their pictures and then move out of the way so that others may do the same. Be patient and you too will have your turn!

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To get the TRUE  birds eye view continue UP the path for not much longer and you will proceed to be amazed at how much of the city is visible.

In the backdrop you see mountains. In the foreground you see the impressive infrastructure of Taipei. Look right, left, and backwards; you will see greenery and perfect picture taking boulders to stand on.

Take pictures, take video, and then a deep breath and savour this moment because it really is so so breathtakingly beautiful.

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Once you take it all in I suggest walking back down to the pavilion area to get a great shot of the city lights after dusk. I guarantee you’ll be thinking about this scene the entire walk down, if not for the rest of the night. Did I mention you can see all this for free??

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To get a similar shot, have your camera ready between 6:30-7 PM, focus on the right side of your view and afterward use some good ole Instagram editing to really make the colours of that sky pop!

Wondering where this information came from? See for yourself! 

Elephant Mountain

https://guidetotaipei.com/visit/elephant-mountain-%E8%B1%A1%E5%B1%B1-xiangshan

Taipei Metro
 
The Four Beast Mountains
 
Xiangshan Taipei