Taoyuan is not all that far from Hsinchu, about an hour and a half by country roads. Having ridden the scooter to Hsinchu on Friday afternoon, I had to bring it back on Sunday because I need it for work. Me and Yini decided to do this as a small trip, going eastward through the mountains instead of the straight road. It turned out to be a bit of an adventure that, including several stops, took us most of the day.

Riding along the winding mountain roads, we first came to a mountainside cafe where we stopped for tea. From there we kept going along until we happened upon a rest area with a nice view of Shimen reservoir among mist covered mountains.

The proper way to drink tea

Just a dab of sunshine would make this a splendid view

We kept on riding for a fair amount of time along mountain roads that were surprisingly well paved and wide. After a few minor stops and leg stretchers, we came to a tower that Yini has been to earlier. There were two ways up the tower, one normal set of stairs and on narrow, steep ladder carved from a single log, with a not-so-sturdy handrail on one side. I opted for the narrow ladder, then gave up about half way up as the hand rail became even less reliable.

The ladder is more scary than it looks, and it does look fairly scary

Coming down from the tower, it started raining. I pulled on my rain pants an jacket, just for the rain to stop a few minutes later. This was just as well because, as we were crossing a river gorge, we saw the old bridge that had been painted pink, which was enough reason for us to stop and explore.

Who paints a bridge bright pink?

New bridge in the background

Down by the river

Having been told off by a local guard type for going too close to a construction site (on the other side of the river, closed for the weekend), We decided it was time to get going again. Heading further east, we left the main road for a short bit and went up to a place called Bat Cave. Naturally, tourist exploitation had scared away the bats but, ever the avid explorer, I did enjoy it all he same.

That is a pretty strange way to build a lookout platform
The bat cave

From the bat cave we made dash north towards Sanxia, arriving just before dusk. At the end of a preserved historic old street, we found a fairly big temple. Now, I normally don’t take pictures of temples anymore, they are far too abundant in this country for me to care unless they are special. The one here, Zushi temple, was awesome. It’s made with real wood and stone, covered in more carvings than any temple I have ever seen. All the carvings hand made, and the place had a proper old feel to it. In short, a temple really worth visiting.

A temple worth taking pictures of, next time in daylight.

When we finished seeing the temple, we had some dinner in the old streets. As it was dark and very little to see in the mountains during the night, we decided to go non stop to Taoyuan. Tired but happy we parked the scooter, then hopped on the next train home.

  Sanxia old street, deserted in the rain