It is Moon Festival in Taiwan which means we have five days off. Except for going back to Erlin to celebrate with Yini’s family, we planned to go out to the coast for a few days. However, the weather gods didn’t seem to like our plans because they sent not one, but two typhoons our way. The first one caused floods and lots of chaos down in the south and east parts of the island but Erlin, which is in the middle, was fine and we had two nice days with the family, barbecuing and shooting fireworks in the evening. The second typhoon hit the southeast, then curved northward heading towards Japan which further blocked our chances to go to the coast. Not wanting to waste the rest of our vacation sitting at home, we searched out the part of the island that wasn’t affected by the typhoons, Tainan county.

We drove to a small town called Baihe in the mountains and went to several tourist sites in the surrounding area. The area is know for growing lotuses so the first stop was a lotus pond.

Lotus leaves, so many lotus leaves

When Yini said that the Big King Lotus is strong enough to carry a small child I didn’t believe her at first, until we saw a child actually sitting on one of them.

Child sitting on a lotus leaf

When we saw a few of them on land it became clear why it was possible, the underside of the leaves have a honeycomb like structure which makes them very strong.

On the way to our next stop we saw some colorful wagons by the side of the road, after closer inspection we found out it used to be a hot spring resort that had closed down. Seeing that the place was abandoned I just had to explore it. It seems the wagons used to be dining area booths, with paths lined with wine jars between them.

This is what we saw from the road that made us stop

Collection of photos from the abandoned restaurant

The next two stops were two temples, the first one was remarkable because they had built a roof over it. I guess they wanted to protect it from something but I have no idea what.

The temple under the roof.

The second temple lay higher up and you got a really good view of the mountains. Looking  at the mountains is always nice but what was more interesting was the wall of rather strange looking statues. I especially like the one of a guy who has weaved his eyebrows into a rope.

The wall of strange statues

The different weird statues

The last stop for the day was a place called Water Fire Spring. I had seen the name on Tripadvisor but didn’t take note of what it was. It turned out to be a place where natural gas was leaking out through the rocks, right next to a spring. The gas is on fire so you have what is essentially an eternal flame coming out of a small pond. It’s really cool.

Water Fire spring

By this time we had seen everything we planned to see today, so we headed to our hotel, checked in then went out for dinner overlooking the mountains and the sunset. We finished the day with a dip in the hotel hotspring pool. I really love staying in hotspring hotels, it’s a great way to relax after a day of sightseeing.