04 September 2015

Shimen District 石門區 | Taiwan North Coast

During my research for our Taiwan North Coast expedition in Summer 2012, I found the most materials for Shimen District - both natural formations as well as man-made attractions. Best of all, most of the attractions researched do not have an entrance fee :p

Shimen Windmill Park 石門風力發電站

As you travel along the main coastal road, you will see the giant windmills atop a hill. During our science lessons in our younger days, we learn that we can generate power from natural resources including the sun, water and wind - having seen solar panels and dams before, this is the first time I am so close to a functioning windmill (not statue or cardboard cutout hehe)

Owned by Taipower the national power company, I like that the windmill park is open to outside visitors and have tourist-friendly facilities including car park and restrooms

Shimen Stone Arch 石門洞

A natural formation created by waves-cutting into the rocks, the Shimen Arch is a pleasant place to rest your feet and enjoy the sea breeze. There is a stairs at the right side that allows you to climb to the top of the arch, but Hub and I rather not since it was very hot and our eyes could hardly open.

When we were there, there were some folks picking up seashells and catching little crabs. We learnt from our taxi driver that this is also an ideal location for kite flying

Fuji Harbour 富基漁港

We skipped Fuji Harbour 富基漁港 though as we were still very filled after lunch at Jinshan Old Street. Apparently you can buy fresh seafood from the seafood market and bring to the nearby restaurants who will cook it for you for a small fee. I thought it would be a pretty good experience, since we also have skipped the out-of-the-way Saikung seafood paradise in Hong Kong. You can refer to Saliha's blog for photos of her experience at Fuji Harbour.

Laomei Stone Ditches 老梅綠石槽

Our driver had a hard time looking for this place. Laomei stone Ditches are wave-cut volcanic lava reefs and looks like this according to Google image search:

Instead, this was what we saw:

Perhaps the summer was too hot, and the moss on the rocks turned brown. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sea view

Fuguei Cape富貴角

From the carpark, we left the air-conditioned vehicle and started our romantic walk in the hot sun to the northern most tip of Taiwan.

I joked with Hub that we will be rewarded by walking in the warm summer heat to our destination with this gigantic scoop of peppermint green ice-cream 

We reached! Damn tired!

Shimen Wedding Plaza 石門婚紗廣場

When I saw the word 'plaza', I thought of shopping malls like Far East Plaza (and of course aircon) but... Shimen Wedding Plaza 石門婚紗廣場 is actually an outdoor area with man-made Mediterranean style sculptures. With the sea in the background, it is a beautiful place for wedding photography.

Argh, we should have worn something more appropriate! :P

Linshanbi 麟山鼻遊憩區 

Similar to Laomei Stone Ditches, Linshanbi 麟山鼻 features wave-cut volcanic lava reefs. So no moss covered stone during this hot weather too.

Hengshan Terrace Fields 橫山梯田

As we were traveling towards Danshui, we made a quick pitstop at Hengshan Terrace Fields 橫山梯田 in the neighboring 三芝区Sanzhi District. Again, we were attracted by the photos in Google, showing how the water in the rice terraces reflects the blue skies, example:

Yes, I almost decided not to leave the car again into the blazing heat. But since we took about 30 minutes to detour into this area, we left the car for a few minutes to snap a few quick shots.

It has been 3 years since our travel along the Taiwanese North Coast. Back in 2012, it was difficult to find much English information about the North Coast. Most of the information were available in Traditional Mandarin websites which offers no translation

 I recall after our trip, I managed to find a shuttle bus service along the North Coast. Seems that it is out of service now, perhaps with too few tourists

Perhaps we chose the wrong season to travel the coastal strip during a super hot summer (in between two weeks of typhoons). While we enjoy ourselves thoroughly searching for each destination, I think once is enough :)