Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day Trip to Guangfu (光復)

Guangfu is located in the middle of the Hualien county, along Highway 9. It is accessible by both public bus and train. The train definitely takes a shorter time (about 50 minutes) and is cheaper too. (I recall having to pay NT140 for the bus fare to get from Hualien bus station to Guangfu, whereas the journey back by rail cost us only NT97 each)

My travel companions for the day. Getting ideas at the visitors' centre outside Hualien train station, before deciding that Guangfu it shall be.

We hopped onto a public bus as there happened to be one departing for Guangfu the moment we stepped out of the visitors' centre. The journey took well over an hour and being a lazy rainy day, we drifted off to Snoozeland for the most part. We alighted at a bus stop near Guangfu train station, and then proceeded there to check out information for visitors, as well as to check train timings back to Hualien.

Guangfu train station

Tourism information map at Guangfu train station

This panel displays the list of tourist attractions and the corresponding distances from Guangfu train station

Train schedule - take a snapshot for handy reference when you need it

After a brief discussion, we decided on going to Hualien Sugar Factory and Mataian Wetlands Ecological Park. Hualien Sugar Factory is located on Tangchang Street and is about a 15-20 min walk from the train station.

Enroute to Hualien Sugar Factory

Almost there!

In addition to its sugar products, the Hualien Sugar Factory is famous for producing around 30 naturally flavoured ice products. Many visitors passing through the town of Guangfu like to stop here to enjoy a generous serving of refreshing ice cream, right beside a carp-filled pond. Neat rows of Japanese-style dormitories can be found next to the sugar factory. These residences are made of cypress and were built for the factory employees during the Japanese Occupation. These well-preserved old buildings evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Ice cream galore (Image obtained from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taiwanadventures/5932643156/)

Carp pond

Well-preserved Japanese-style dormitories

Seeking shelter at the dormitory

Aboriginal handicraft on display at a gallery

Cultural exhibition room

Our original plan was to visit Mataian Wetlands Ecological Park after touring Hualien Sugar Factory. Unfortunately, the weather did not clear up and going to the wetlands during wet weather wasn't exactly at the top of our minds. (There's always a next time!) We made ourselves comfortable at an eatery instead, and were pleased with the piping hot dumpling soup accompanying our idle banter on a cold day. :) After that, it was time to go back to Hualien.

Piping hot dumpling soup to warm us up on a cold rainy day

Approx 50 minute journey back to Hualien via Tze-Chiang Express. Train ticket cost NT$97.

P.S. I think Mataian Wetlands Ecological Park would be a good place to visit during summertime. Here's a link to have a sneak peek of what to expect: http://blog.xuite.net/xalekd/940109/25933948-%E3%80%90%E8%8A%B1%E8%93%AE%E5%85%89%E5%BE%A9%E9%84%89%EF%BC%9A6%E4%B9%8B5%E3%80%91%E3%80%8C%E9%A6%AC%E5%A4%AA%E9%9E%8D%E6%BF%95%E5%9C%B0%E7%94%9F%E6%85%8B%E5%9C%92%E5%8D%80%E3%80%8D%E7%B6%93%E9%A9%97%E5%88%86%E4%BA%AB%EF%BD%9E%E5%80%BC%E5%BE%97%E5%8D%8A%E6%97%A5%E9%81%8A%EF%BC%88%E5%85%8D%E8%B2%BB%EF%BC%89

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