Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day trip to National Dong Hwa University and Lintienshan (國立東華大學,林田山)

I was puzzled when a Taiwanese guy I was chatting with in the Sleeping Boot hostel mentioned National Dong Hwa University (國立東華大學) as one of the recommended places for me to visit. My immediate reaction was to raise my eyebrow. "Are you serious? You're telling me to visit a university campus in Hualien?" And I reckon that's because I am from Singapore. And Singaporeans will never suggest visitors to take a tour around National University of Singapore, or National Technological University for that matter. It didn't occur to me that a university campus in Hualien could be picturesque enough to warrant a visit. Surely he could have given better suggestions? That's what I thought. At that point, the hostel owner, Fong, interjected. "Oh yes, he's right. National Dong Hwa University is a place worth checking out" I remained a little skeptical but I made sure to make a mental note of this place.

A few days later, I met another Taiwanese chap, who similarly suggested that I could visit National Dong Hwa University, if I had the time to do so. I was rather intrigued and decided that I must go to that place to take a look. And so I did, and was perfectly convinced why it was recommended to me by 3 different people.

How to get to National Dong Hwa University
- Take a train from Hualien train station to Zhixue train station (2 stops). Journey time: approx 15-20 mins. Train fare: NT$22-28
- Upon exiting Zhixue station, continue walking straight along Zhongzheng road. The university campus is about 500-600m away. 

Note: The campus is huge. It took me a long time to cover less than half the campus grounds. Will be wonderful if you've got a bicycle. I recall seeing a bicycle rental shop at the end of Zhongzheng Road before reaching the campus, but it wasn't open that day. 

Zhixue train station

Somehow this scene made me reminisce my university days, not that we have such scenes in Singapore. I guess I missed the good old carefree days.

Fortunate enough to chance upon the opening ceremony of an art exhibition by 10 year old Clement Yang.

Drawn by Clement when he was 9. His artistic prowess is amazing.

Look how picturesque the place is!

With splendid views of the mountain range and the lake, it is little wonder that many Taiwanese want to enroll in this school.

After leaving National Dong Hwa University, I had a quick late lunch at one of the small eateries along Zhongzheng Road. Lintienshan was my next destination. It was a really rushed one for me though, because that place closes at 5 p.m. and I had barely an hour there. 

Lintienshan, a forestry center with its rich lumbering history dating back to the days of Japanese rule. Its lumber industry continued after Taiwan gained independence from Japan and ended in 1991, when natural logging was no longer permitted.

How to get to Lintienshan from Zhixue
Take bus 1121 or 1122 headed towards the direction of 光復 / 瑞穗. Drop off at Wanrong (萬榮) or simply tell the bus driver you would like to go to Lintienshan and tell him to advise you where to drop off exactly. 
Journey time: approx 40 minutes. Bus fare: NT$77

2.3 km to walk?! I walked for 5 minutes and decided I should just hitch a ride in.

Panels displaying the history of Lintienshan

Educational tour for elementary school students

I haven't had time to explore the place fully, so what I have captured is limited. I'll end this entry with a recommended page for you to visit to find out more about Lintienshan. 

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