The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

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Climbing Teapot Mountain (茶壺山)

Last year I found out about an interesting hiking trail at Teapot Mountain (茶壺山) in north east Taiwan. I tried to do it back then but due to bad planning I had to turn around before I was able to finish the whole thing. Last weekend I decided to give it another try and this time I would plan it better. Teapot mountain is near Jiufen which is a nice place but it easily gets crowded in the weekends. In order not to spend too much time searching for a parking spot and then having to walk a long distance … Read the rest

Making a DIY Knife

When I was in Japan a a year or two back I bought a kit for making your own folding knife from the big DIY department store Tokyu Hands. Since then I’ve been too busy with other stuff but now I finally had time to assemble it and I thought it might be fun to show how I made it.

The kit consists of two handle parts, a blade, two sets of screws, four washers, a stop pin, two pieces of sand paper, a small tool and the instructions manual. They come in different versions but I got the one … Read the rest

Abandoned Hotels Around Shimen Reservoir, Part 2

Over a year ago me, my wife and my friend went to Shimen Reservoir outside Taoyuan City to explore a few abandoned hotels, which you can read about here. There are a couple more abandoned hotels in the area which we were planning to visit but for whatever reason we never did. Recently I've had the feeling that I really should go do it, so last weekend I decided it was time. While my wife stayed home to take care of our baby (thanks honey), I packed my flashlight and camera then set off on the motorbike...read the rest

The Secret Beach in Yilan

October 10 is Taiwan’s national day and since it was a Thursday this year, most of the country got a four day weekend. My wife is pregnant and some pregnancy related medical conditions have kept her cooped up at home most of the time. As luck would have it, she was feeling well enough to go out that very weekend, so we decided to take a trip to Yilan in north east Taiwan.

The first day we drove from Hsinchu over to Yilan then spent the afternoon on the beach in Dongao Bay. It’s a beautiful beach with verdant … Read the rest

Dongmen Market, Day and Night

Near the center of Hsinchu City there is an old indoor market called Dongmen Market. It used to be a so called wet market where people would go to buy groceries, clothes and other everyday items. The place has been on the decline for a number of years with more and more of the little vendor stalls and shops closing down. Lately however, a lot of young people have been opening little restaurants, cafes and bars in the old vendor spaces. Most of these businesses are only open in the afternoons and evenings, so during the day the place is … Read the rest

Buddha World part 3: the Last Castle

Last year we explored an old hotel in the abandoned amusement park temple (which I later found out is called Buddha World). When we went there we thought the hotel was the last unexplored building, but we spotted another castle-like structure out in the jungle. That time we weren’t able to go explore it so I had to make do with a couple of pictures taken from a distance.  This weekend we’ve finally taken the time to come back so I could take a closer look.

Yini didn’t feel like going into the building so I left her in the … Read the rest

DIY in the new apartment

Me and my wife recently bought a new apartment. To get the style we want rather than what a designer recommends, and also to save some money, we have been doing a lot of DIY for the interior decoration. I think it turned out really well, especially for two inexperienced people, and I just want to show off a bit.

Above is what the apartment looked like when we got the keys. The boxes are for the kitchen appliances that the construction company would install later. My brother inlaw was kind enough the install the floor tiles in the kitchen … Read the rest

Beehive Firecrackers

Before I tell about my experience, here is little bit of background. In the 19th century the town of Yanshui was suffering from a cholera outbreak. Locals called on Guan Gong, the god of war, to ward off the decease. The god agreed to help but said he had to be greeted by fireworks, so people organized large amounts of bottle rockets to be fired off. Apparently it worked (some say the sulfur in the fireworks killed the bacteria) so the town has made it a tradition to set off masses of fireworks on the 14th and 15th days of … Read the rest

The Passive AC Version 2

Back in May I wrote this article about building a passive AC. That time I attached it to the front of our living room fan and I found that while the principle worked the air flow was too low to give effective cooling. I also mentioned that I would like to try to fit one in a window to cool down the incoming air. Now, I’ve finally had a chance to test this concept.

The working principle is the same, as the air passes through the funnel it gets compressed which lowers the temperature. Last time I used standard 500 … Read the rest

Abandoned Hotels Around Shimen Reservoir, Part 1

Shimen Reservoir is a big man-made lake in the mountains outside Taoyuan City. It is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful views of the lake and the surrounding mountains, and nowadays there are more than ten distinct tourist attractions in the area. As everyone knows, with tourists come business opportunities, and a number of hotels, restaurants and cafés have sprung up along the lake shore. In the past it was common for visitors to stay overnight but as transportation improved, especially with the construction on the No. 3 highway, the market for hotels has gone down. As a … Read the rest

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