Travel Stories

A travel blog for a long-term expat, backpacker, traveler, ESL teacher, and photographer. 

Juifen, Jingashi, Houlong, and Pingxi.


One of my days in Taiwan, I went on a journey outside of Taipei to Juifen, Jingashi, Houlong, and Pingxi. Juifen was another market town. The entire main street was swarming with Chinese tourists buying more street food, more clothes, and more knick knacks. The view, however, was an attraction in itself. Juifen is a hilly, seaside village overlooking mountains and coast line. There was a temple in the center of town that was very much Chinese-esque. The Taiwanese temples are very gaudy and colorful compared to Korean and Japanese temples but the colors are exactly what makes them more unique. 

Secondly, I went to Jingashi. This is another village not too far from Juifen and the bus dropped me off at some sort of museum. Anyways, I left the museum tourist area almost immediately and went down some random stairs. This was definitely my favorite part of Taiwan and the best stairs choice I ever took. I found myself looking at a fairy tale-esque area with waterfalls. I found myself entering parts of this small, rural village where the locals are not used to seeing foreigners. Elderly Taiwanese women were hitting carpets, sitting on their porches enjoying the mountainous view, enjoying life. As I continue traveling as much as I do these days, as I continue seeing so many places, I hope that someday I too, will be this happy and content. I want to, someday, be able to look out at a beautiful landscape with a certain sort of contentedness. Perhaps I am thinking too much into it but I honestly believe that we spend our lives struggling so much to reach for more, to see more, to explore more, that we forget to sit back and breathe and stare off into the beauty the globe has to offer wherever we may be. I want to be an elderly lady someday, in a small rural village, staring off into the beauty surrounding me and be the inspiration for someone younger.

Okay, emotions aside, there was a giant temple with a humongous Buddha that caught my eye that I made my way towards. I have a sad feeling that not many tourists entered the beautiful village and missed this hidden temple. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so beautiful if it had been more touristic, however.

The next stop on my trip was Houlong. This caught my eye during research because the entire existence of this town is due to its overpopulation of cats. There are shops revolving around cats where the cashiers wear cat ear headbands. The music in the shops were cats meowing to song beats. Oh god, it was totally cheesy.





My last stop of the day was to set off a Chinese New Year lantern in Pingxi. Because I was a sad, pathetic solo tourist, the ladies who ran the lantern stand helped me set off my lantern. Basically, you pick a color of the rainbow which each has a different meaning, you put it on an easel and paint until your heart is content. You're supposed to write some inspirational message for the new lunar new year. Due to a major lack of creativity, I wrote an ultra lame message wishing happiness to every person in my life. So, YOU'RE WELCOME FOR PROVIDING HAPPINESS IN THE YEAR OF THE HORSE, GUYS. All thanks to me!




Honorable Mention:

While I was in Jingashi, I stumbled upon a a man busking with a saw and violin bow. It wasn't particularly the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, however, because nobody stopped and looked at him, I decided I'd give him my attention. I ate my lunch listening to his more than strange instrument, left some money in his instrument case, and went on with my day. The next day, I went back to Taipei and I went to the zoo. I then found the same exact man playing inside the zoo. He recognized me, offered me a CD (where he plays titanic on the saw), and let me play his saw (which is actually a lot harder than it sounds).