The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

Category Taiwan

Abandoned Hotels Around Shimen Reservoir, Part 3

I’ve previously explored two abandoned hotels near Shimen Reservoir (read about them in Part 1 & Part 2). There is one more abandoned hotel near the reservoir that has been on my list of places to go explore but I haven’t been able to find the time. Last weekend, me and a friend decided to go to Buddha World which I have written about here. When we got there however, we discovered that the place was closed. Neither of us was really up for breaking in to a Buddhist temple, so we had to think of something else. … Read the rest

Taiwanese Cultural Quirks

I’ve been living in Taiwan for close to ten years now and despite feeling at home here there are still some aspects of Taiwanese culture that baffle me. That’s not to say I think the way people here do things is wrong, or that we in Europe are better, it’s just that from my perspective these cultural practices and behaviors are kind of quirky. Mind you, some of these might be common to other countries in Asia, it’s just that I never lived there long enough to notice. So without further ado, here are some things about Taiwanese culture that … Read the rest

To Yilan with a baby

As we all know, international travel isn’t possible with a global pandemic going on but domestic travel is still possible, at least here in Taiwan. We’ve been thinking of going back to Yilan and the secret beach for a while now and last weekend we decided to do it. Previous trips with the baby have either been day trips or trips back to Yinis parents house where we already have plenty of baby things. This was the first time staying overnight in  hotel with the baby which was an entirely new experience for us but we decided to take on … Read the rest

Baby’s Second Adventure

Before becoming a parent I thought having a small child would mean being stuck at home most of the time. Recently I’ve found more and more that while there are some limitations, it is possible to go out and do fun things. Granted you have to make some adjustments to what you are doing and where you are going but still, you can go on little mini adventures. For instance me and my wife used to really enjoy taking the motorbike up into the mountains then go hiking to some semi-remote waterfall. We can’t go by motorbike anymore, but if … Read the rest

The Abandoned Temple

My favorite Taiwanese film is The Great Buddha + , and in it there is a scene where the main characters go to pray in a temple dedicated to former Taiwanese dictator Chiang Kai-shek. Apparently the scene was filmed in a real temple which has been (mostly) abandoned. Knowing that I like this kind of place, my wife found out where it is (thank you honey) and last weekend we decided to go check it out.

The temple is in rural Miaoli, close to a small village called Baishatun, and is actually marked on Google Maps. The place is … Read the rest

Baby’s First Adventure

A couple of weeks ago I was out with the motorcycle in the mountains and rediscovered a trail that we tried to hike many years ago but never finished because part of it had collapsed, then forgot about. From what I could see it seemed to be in good shape, so last weekend we decided to give it another go…this time with the baby.

It’s actually not much of a trail, only a few hundred meters long, but it leads to a waterfall which in my opinion makes it a worthwhile hike. The place isn’t particularly popular and it’s a … Read the rest

Guyan Waterfall, 4:03 pm

I stand just meters from the fall looking up at it. It is tall and narrow, the stream of water tumbling down a near vertical cliff, hitting little protrusions in the cliff face on the way down, sending a fine mist into the air. The mist catches the rays of the sun, forming a permanent rainbow that hovers in the air just above the the shallow little pool at the fall's base. The little gully where I stand lies in the shadow of the cliffs above and the air is filled with the rushing of the water. Outside, the landscape is bathed in sunlight, all green and bright and swelteringly hot, but here it's cool and calm with the soothing sounds of the water drowning out all other noise. As I stand there admiring the view, the excitement of successfully scrambling my way up the lower falls to this place slowly dissipates and I feel a calm settle over me. It's as if my mind has been emptied of all worries and negative feelings and I simply feel happy.

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

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 Balcony, 12:08 am

I stand looking out over the seemingly sleeping city. There's a light breeze that makes it feel like the cold of the night air is creeping in through the gaps between my shirt buttons, and chill of the stone floor is seeping up through my socks. A new round of fireworks starts, I can hear the sharp cracks somewhere off to the right but they are hidden from view by the nearby buildings, all I can see is the colorful flashes of light on the surrounding facades. I stand there in the cold dark space of the balcony, the revelry and fireworks just on the edge of my consciousness, and feel that special kind of feeling that isn't quite loneliness but isn't really anything else either - clearing the mind from daily stresses and just absorbing the cool quite now, and yet, realizing somehow that you want to be where those unseen fireworks are. And that's the moment that I notice it, the fireworks are reflected on the windows of one of the buildings in the distance, the glass making the images ripple and become dreamy; a moment of beauty pierces my solitude and brings me back to reality. I listen to the fireworks for a few moments longer then let the cold drive me back indoors.
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