We woke early to leave from Taitung city and finish our coastal drive. The sun had barely risen and we were in our car on the hunt for starbucks. The skies cleared as the sun rose. It greeted us with warm and bright sunshine. The musty smell of Taitung faded with distance and heat. We really needed it too. A day where we didn’t have to change our wet socks 3 times made for a great day. With my starbucks fix ( I know but in Taiwan they have a rose tea latte. You guys, it’s amazing) we continued our plan. For our day in southern Taiwan, we spent a little time in Kenting National park then drove back up the peninsula to head north into Maolin. We aimed to hit up a beach at Kenting but … We got distracted.
By this guy…
The temple had nice grounds, a clean public bathroom (!!) and no one around. The bright colors of the temple popped against the blue sky, the gold sparkled with the sun. We enjoyed the time to stretch our legs and really see the details and care that goes into building them. Otherwise, we weren’t falling in love with Kenting park. It seemed a little barren. So after kicking it with that guy, we headed back north to seek out some waterfalls in Maolin.
Maolin and Meinong offer a plethora of peaceful nature and aboriginal culture. The land is mostly used for farming and gave the same feel as my home in Okinawa, a mix of farms and oceans. We stopped at fruit stands with mangos, pineapples, custard and wax apples. We loaded up on fruits, and carried on our way. Southern Taiwan has unique fruits that are all deliciously sweet. Every one we tried was very good, so don’t be afraid!
The clouds thickened over the mountains the further inward we went but it never rained. We headed into the woods to find the waterfalls a few hours before dusk. Cloud cover, humidity, dusk = bugs! Everyone talks about Taiwan and their butterflies. All the research, blog reading and pinteresting told me Taiwan has billions of butterflies, all kinds. Some only found on this island. However, I do feel like NO ONE in our research, blog reading and pinteresting talked about all the other bugs Taiwan has.
I was chased by a bee of some sort, both going up and down the trail. This thing was huge and aggressive — I died. Then while relaxing, taking long exposure photos of “Lovers Waterfall” I was “bit” by something else. I was quite sure the culprit was a large spider who poisoned me for standing on his rock. I swear I felt the venom moving through my veins, sending this awful pinching feeling up my leg randomly as we walked. Wade went the Occam razor route and decided it was nothing but a mosquito. Either way — I died again. There were large ants, big ass beatles and one really off the wall bird (I’ll get to that in another post). So yes, let me be the one to warn you that Taiwan has rare wildlife in both the bug and bird department. Some more pleasant than others.
Our last day with our car rental ended perfectly. While driving through the mountains back to our hotel we stopped to check out the view. I was taking down my tripod we noted the strange noise coming from the trees. Figuring it was a bird, we started to walk to the car when we saw him. I know it was a “him” by the evidence he showed off in many of my photos. Luckily I snapped one where he was being most modest. ? I was beyond excited to come across a wild monkey. Not found in touristy hot spots, but just by chance. (National Geographic, you can contact me regarding work via my blog email.)
The sun went down as we started for the car. Tomorrow we would drop off the car and take the bullet train to Taipei. It was time to leave the mountains, murderous bugs and monkeys and head into the city.
If you are interested in the finer details of our day in southern Taiwan; you can find a map and more specifics on my 7 day Taiwan Itinerary.