January 14, 2021. It’s a sunny day – gotta get out of town! Where to today? Yehliu Geopark! This one has been on my list of day trips from Taipei for a while. I am becoming more and more comfortable figuring out public transport, specifically the bus system. Google is pretty good at making suggestions, but also lacking lots of local info. The ability to speak and read Mandarin would come in so very handy. But hey, figuring stuff out is part of the fun of getting there.
Yehliu Geopark is a unique landscape and images have intrigued me since I first heard about it. Yehliu is home to a number of unique geological formations including the iconic “Queen’s Head” you see on all the advertisements. It is located along a cape formed by Datun Mountain and stretching out 1700 metres from the town of Wanli. When overlooked from above, the place is like a giant turtle submerging into the sea. Thus, it is also called “Yehliu Turtle.”
The bus drops me along the highway and it’s an easy walk through this small fishing town to get to the park. I detour to a tea shop for a bubble milk tea (nai cha) and then explore the fishing harbour. Boats, crates, nets and ropes, a temple (always a temple or shrine close by) and men standing on the pier holding their fishing rods, waiting for something to bite. And the notorious plastic garbage floating here and there and collecting in corners.
I see the Geopark from the harbour and am soon at the entrance paying the fee of NT80 and following a path toward the water. I just love being by the ocean. And the sight of the sandstone formations with the backdrop of the beautiful azure blue sea is a treat for eyes and all the senses. The rock layer along the seashore contains sandstone of limestone texture and is subject to sea erosion, weathering and earth movements, thus shaping a particular scenery consisting of sea trenches and holes, candle shaped and pot shaped rocks. I take my time to walk around the first section and am just loving it. Nature is the best artist in my humble opinion. Wind, rain, ocean fauna and flora are working away on ever changing sculptures that are here for a while before crumbling and passing – to be enjoyed now. Everything in nature seems to surrender to this natural law – we’ve come to pass. Humans seem to have a bit of a hard time with it though…
I am so enjoying being here among these geological formations that inspire names like Queen’s Head, Fairy’s Shoe and Candle; or Bean Curd, Dragon Head, Princess; turtle; mushroom... and so on. And no, I did not make an effort to log which one is which (except for the Queen)… have fun! There’s one below I call “the big nipple” and another “submerged smiley”… and then there’s a plastic bottle graveyard (zoom in)…
I follow the path around and up to the lighthouse and further to the other end of the peninsula where more stunning views open up.
What a wonderful day to soak up sun, wind, ocean and rocks!
I spent hours wandering, resting, sitting and soaking it all up before finding a bus back to town. It’s a different route and the driver seems to be in a hurry speeding along. I’m holding on… and eventually get off in a familiar part of Taipei, not far from the Red Room, a Vegan restaurant and favourite spot for creative gatherings. I’ll have dinner there. On the third Saturday every month people come together to share their creative talents – poetry reading, musical performances, art displays, story telling – it’s not about how good you are, but allowing yourself to step out, be seen, heard, listened to, participate and engage. Fun!
Kaya just wrote a blog about her Red Room experience – here is the link 🙂
If you happen to be in Taipei on the third Saturday of the month, check it out! Or drop by anytime for a delicious vegan meal and interesting exhibits and patrons.