The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Kaohsiung Sights Day 2: Cijin Island and Dream Mall

Getting back to writing about our great southern Taiwanese adventure in Kaohsiung, here are shots of what we got up to on the second day.

Cijin Island

We headed out nice and early on bicycles for Gushan Ferry Terminal, where we hopped on a ferry with our bikes for a short 10-minute ride over to Cijin Island. We had a little trouble finding the ferry terminal using the not-so-detailed free map from the hotel, but there was no shortage of kind and friendly people to ask for directions. The friendliness of Taiwanese people is one of the main things we love about Taiwan, and we are not the only foreigners to think likewise. The weather was perfect for cycling - brilliant blue skies and warm - and we enjoyed a delicious lunch of fresh locally caught seafood, which will be blogged about soon enough!

There were some festivities going on that Sunday morning at Tianhou Temple, with lots of music and a procession of people in costumes dancing their way into the temple. This 300-year-old temple is regarded as the oldest in Kaohsiung, and is dedicated to the goddess of sailors, Matsu, whom the Taiwanese people believe protect every fishermen out at sea:

Cycling towards Cihou Lighthouse:

Informative signs showing the way to two of Cijin Island's main sights:

The Cihou Lighthouse. Unfortunately there was no public access up the tower:

The lighthouse site provides a very wide view of the entire Kaohsiung bay area. The silhouette of the 85 Sky Tower can be seen towards the right (click on image for larger view):

After descending from the lighthouse site, we cycled through a back street which had a certain old world charm:

The main street of Cijin Island, where the action is - many seafood restaurants and market stalls selling various knick knacks are located on Miaoqian Road:

A very refreshing 'Grandmother's love sugar cane ice tea', with taro/tapioca pearls. Perfect on a warm sunny day:

Back on the ferry, bound for Gushan Ferry Pier:

We only saw a tiny fraction of Cijin Island, but we didn't want to cycle anymore under the midday sun, so we headed back for the hotel soon after we had a delicious seafood lunch.

Dream Mall

We reached our hotel around 2pm, and after we all enjoyed a refreshing shower, we headed back out to spend the evening at Dream Mall, the largest shopping mall Taiwan and East Asia. There's a rooftop amusement park with a ferris wheel, which we thought would be great fun for the whole family. By happy coincidence, the 2nd Annual Kaohsiung International Food Festival was being held that weekend, and we enjoyed a bit of live concert and a delicious snack (we'd planned to go back to Liuhe Night Market again for more local goodies, so we held off on the international food).

Stalls full of international foodie goodies:

Foster Hewitts Pub & Grill's Famous Chicken Wings. Quite crispy and delicious, and surprisingly not too greasy:

On the rooftop amusement park, having some fun 'fishing' in a swirling pool:

The Kaohsiung Eye ferris wheel all lit up:

Approaching the highest point, looking down towards the centre of the wheel; the rooftop amusement park is on the right side:

Beautiful night views of the city from up high:

The Dream Mall is worth a visit for the amusement park and the ferris wheel ride. It was very easy getting there using the MRT and the free shuttle bus at Kaisyuan MRT station to and from the mall.

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