Road trip in Taiwan – Braving the crowds at Yelhiu Geopark

Last November, we went to Taiwan for two weeks and we did a road trip around the island and it was fabulous ! The weather, the people.. and the food, oh the food…. it was just amazing ! We landed in Taipei and we started to drive clockwise around the island. Previous parts:

Keelung night market

In Taiwan, most of the tourists travel by coaches.. which means that a place can easily be overcrowded. Taiwan is a popular destination for Chinese tourists and we experienced our first overwhelming sightseeing trip when we decided to visit Yelhiu Geopark.. alongside 10 000 other tourists (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but it was full of people :p). We drove from Keelung along the coast and the drive was very scenic ! The sky was a bit grey when we left Keelung that morning but it wasn’t raining.

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Located North of Keelung, the Geopark is famous for the incredible rock formations, made of sandstone and eroded by the wind and water.  The waves were super strong. Before walking amongst the rocks, we watched an interesting video with english subtitles at the visitor center explaining how the rocks were formed and eroded over time.

There are famous rock formations : the mushrooms, the candles, some erosion potholes, ginger rocks.. but the star attraction is the “The Queen’s Head”, a rock that resembles the profile of an Egyptian Queen. People were queuing for this but we didn’t bother.. we just took a picture from the distance.

The last part of the park was a major ecology reserve where you could spot some birds ! It was the quieter part of the park because it was slightly further away and people usually don’t dedicate hours to visit this place when they are part of an organized tour. It was a nice break from the crowds.

Yelhiu Geopark

Yelhiu Geopark

Yelhiu Geopark

After spending time walking through the rocks, we had a look at the market nearby and tried one of their local fruit, the noni, also called sugar apple. It was definitively too squidgy and sweet for me but I was glad to have tried it !

Yelhiu Geopark

 

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92 responses to “Road trip in Taiwan – Braving the crowds at Yelhiu Geopark

  1. Fantastic photos. I stayed in Yehliu for a few days many years ago. My sister was a a high diver at Ocean World theme park. I wonder if it’s still there…anyway, the geopark is so strange and beautiful. And there were a lot less tourists then, judging from your account.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know about the Ocean World Theme park I’m afraid. The Geopark is very strange and out of this world. All these shapes… it’s crazy to see how powerful the water and wind can be. It was just packed with tourists… that was so cramped… not the best experience if you like a bit of quietness (especially since Chinese tourists are kind of the worst … they push, they have no sense of private space and they are just rude in general :D)

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  2. So lovely to see photos of this very beautiful country. The rock formations are fantastic – shame about the crowds but you did well to take good photographs without the crowds spoiling them! I loved the market photos too.
    – Kate

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The rock formations are so interesting Gin – they must get such a pounding from the seas! I like the sound of the ecology reserve too especially as it sounds less crowded! The fruit looks and sounds interesting!!

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  4. We spent a whole day at Yehliu and loved it – but we definitely needed to take time to get away from the crowds otherwise they’d have driven us crazy! I remember when I visited Alishan forest and there were so many tourists from mainland China and they were smoking, dropping cigarette ash all over the place, spitting and shouting so loudly. It completely disturbed the peace of nature.

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  5. Dear Virginie:
    When I was a kid, Yehliu is a magical place, especially queen’s head, when sea erosion has not been so severe that there was a time queen’s head must be repaired manually to avoid breakage, it is also Yehliu Taiwan’s north coast symbolic trip.
    Here is the Chinese guests must travel attractions, so many people so noisy and crowded, I have for many years did not go.
    I’m glad you try to sugar apple, which is very good, but there are a lot of seeds, are common in Southeast Asia such as fruit.

    sophia :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh I didn’t know the queen’s head has been repaired !

      This was the most crowded and busy place we’ve visited. I’m glad we did because the rocks were amazing but it was very stressful. Difficult to take pictures, people were very impatient and didn’t want to stop for you to take a shot. Chinese tourists are not as nice as Taiwanese people :-)

      There was so many seeds in the sugar apple ! But I’m glad I tried. Do you like sugar apple ? What kind of fruit do you have at the moment ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Queen’s head is the invasion of the sea breeze and her neck will soon break, so then have made repair.
        I like sugar apple, Taiwan almost four seasons can eat fruit like this, there are apples, bananas, pears and citrus …………this moment.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Road trip in Taiwan – 2 days in Taroko National park (part 1) | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  7. Pingback: Road trip in Taiwan – Exploring Jiufen Old Street (九份老街) ) | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  8. Great shots of Taiwan ~ I love this place because of the great diversity of scenery, and mostly the wonderful traditional foods and culture of China. Great photos ~ especially of the sea shore topography!

    Liked by 1 person

    • hehe ! Yes, and they always seem to be in a hurry, better not to be on their way when they are running everywhere and better to be quick to take a picture because they don’t care and just pass in front of you :p :p Was funny :p

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  9. If a human, rather than erosion, had sculpted those rocks, they would be considered art, don’t you think? As far as the crowds go, I sometimes fear that, in another 20 years, there will be so many people travelling that it won’t be fun anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree ! It’s difficult to admit that it has only been created by the power of wind and water ! It is extraordinary :-)

      We were talking about that with my partner a few weeks ago. We would love to go back to Galapagos but we fear the crowds.. we would also love to get married in Iceland close to the jokulsarlon (that’s where we got engaged) but it has become so touristy right now that we are still unsure about it.. maybe we will choose a remote place to avoid all the tourists. Now if you want to go somewhere you have to book 9 months in advance. .crazy ! it’s impossible to have last minute trip for cheap. In a way it’s good that travelling has become affordable so you don’t need to be rich to experience the wonders of the world but in another way.. things are going to get ruined. I have mixed feeling about that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Those rock formations are just fantastic – love the mushroom ones!! Shame about all the other people – a nightmare – but from your pictures you would think you had the whole place to yourself!! Never heard of a sugar apple but I love trying new things like that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The mushroom are quite interesting ! Agreed, one of my favourites as well. It was extremely busy and stressful (you know, you try to stop to take a picture but 10 people want to pass in front of you.. so you can’t really take your time and find the perfect angle). I think we should have considered visiting it at the end of the day, that was our mistake.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hahaha, you didn’t bother to queue to see the most famous rock! But I suppose seeing the other popular ones was more than enough. They look amazing and they do have definitive patterns and “holes” :D

    Le looks like he is enjoying the sugar apple very much. Look at that big smile and you took a beautiful shot of him <3

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great rock formations. I would never have thought that these could be found in Taiwan, of all places! After seeing these photos, I think I should seriously consider visiting Taiwan. It would be nice to see what the scenery looks like at sunset minus the Chinese tourists who would be on their way to their next destination by then.

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    • I think you should consider visiting Taiwan. The country is fabulous, it’s like a condensed version of the best you can find in Chinese culture, according to my boyfriend :-) The geology is very interesting and the food is really good and cheap. People are genuinely friendly and love tourists. I think it was stupid of us to visit this place in early morning because that’s the first place the coaches will visit, if they leave from Taipei or Keelung ;-) You are right, it would be better end of afternoon for sure !

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  13. Awesome capture and stunning beautiful. I had been to Taiwan twice but we haven’t been to this part as our tour guide prefer to take us somewhere don’t have so many Chinese Tourists attraction spots.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This looks amazing! Now I really want to go to Taiwan. See this and eat at the outside markets.

    Have you two dried durian? I can’t bring myself to do it. Vic’s dad loves it and his mom makes him eat it outside the house. After trying my mom likes it. To us it kind of smells like cat pee and we just can’t do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bet it must have difficult by local bus ! We briefly tried to figure if we were going to rent a car or not.. but it wasn’t too expensive and it allowed a better flexibility than the bus so it was better for us. But hey, taking the local bus must have been an adventure on its own :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. So beautiful! Looks like I’m going to need to visit! And I totally understand what you mean by the Chinese tourists – we were doing our own trip in Japan this past November, and there was an overwhelming number of Chinese tourists traveling by those ginormous coach buses!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I barely met other nationalities than Chinese people. They really love Taiwan ! I’ve never been to Japan but I’m not surprised by what you said.

      It’s overwhelming for sure, especially when they visit the same site as you. They are usually in a hurry and very stressed.

      Like

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