Halfway to NoWhere

Ranting and Complaints of Life in Taiwan

Hsinchu Trip: Mountain and Fishing Port

Billowing Clouds

Most people know about Hsinchu County because of the science park – the heartland of Taiwan’s technological might. However, over the weekend, I had the opportunity to travel with a group of co-workers to the lesser-known parts of the county, into the backwaters of hi-tech land. There, I found remnants of nature’s wonder, from the fog-covered heights of Jianshih Township to the renovated port-turned-recreational sports park of Nanliao.

The trip begins with a brief stop at Nanwan – one of the better-known resorts in the mountainous part of Hsinchu. Following a short stay at a local amusement resort consisting several rounds at the go cart and bumper car circles, the self-appointed tour guide took us to an amazing restaurant located at one of the mountain peaks in the area (later I was told that the restaurant is situated 1,200 meters above sea level).

Digital Sky Restaurant

Digital Sky Restaurant (I can’t find the English name) offers western-style cuisine, though at a hefty price. I ordered a standard meal with lasagna as the main course. Not surprisingly, the most enjoyable part of the meal was enjoying the majestic landscape from the outdoor terrace.

Dog No. 1

Dog No. 2

Of course, no visitors can ignore the three cute (albeit big) canine mascots of the resort.

Sea of Cloud

To relieve our over-stuffed stomach, we decided to take a walk up the back walkway which leads up to even higher parts of the mountain peak. Unfortunately, most of the trail is still under construction, so we had to walk along paths made by bulldozers or the likes (some parts were quite scary). Despite these unattractive parts of the climb, we were actually happy to see heavy fog rolling down the side of the mountain, blanketing the surrounding in misty white.

Tree in the Mist

Looking Down a Forest Walkway

For me, the most rewarding moment during the climb was the astounding view from the top, seeing the sea of fog/cloud right beyond the resort. Too bad the housing part of the resort wasn’t quite finished; otherwise, I’d be more than happy to spend a day or two in the embrace of fog, in an environment that reminds me so much of San Francisco.

Wind City

After the exhilarating hike (yes, I call it a hike because I was a melting like there’s no tomorrow thanks to the camera gear I was carrying), we left immediately for the seaside of Hsinchu (we had to travel from one end of the expressway to the other end – roughly a 40-minute drive).

At the Fish Market

Now, Nanliao – the destination – was an interesting place. The first thing I saw after we parked was the two-story fish market building and the large fishing port. My other companions decided to embark upon a bike trip along the coast. As for me, who detest riding the bike (OK, I admit I’m not good at riding bikes), I stayed behind and concentrated my photo efforts in the surrounding area. Well, I guess that’s a good thing too since this was my first visit to the location.

Sunset next to the sea

One big problem I had with shooting the scenes next to the port is the wind. The wind got so intensive that the tripod was still shaking even after attaching my gear pack to the attached hanger (we’re talking about a 70-200mm lens, flash, and junks still inside the bag). Without a better solution, most of my after-sunset picture were slight blurred due to the annoying wind.

Fishing Port after Sunset

Finally, one important lesson I learned from the photo experience at the port is the role of colored-filters. The sunset photo was taken with a Cokin Sunset-color graduated filter. Even though I don’t want to admit it, the sunset scene would be a lot less convincing if I didn’t use the filter.

After the session, my co-workers got back and we had a nice meal at a local seafood restaurant. Consisting of 10 entries (including a freshly prepared sashimi dish), the meal cost only NT$3,700 (roughly NT$400 per head). This is definitely not something you could find in Taipei.

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July 30, 2009 - Posted by | Trips

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