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 can be found here : Taiwan
During our exploration of the East, we stayed two nights at Sialin Coffee Farm Homestay and we had an amazing time over there ! The location was perfect to explore Taroko National Park. The couple that hosted us, Lisa and Boya, were lovely: they recommended us good hikes around and they even sang for us the day of our departure :-)
One of the best thing about that place is the coffee ! They grow coffee plants and roast the beans themselves to produce delicious coffee for their guests ! It was very nice to have a fresh cup of coffee locally grown :-)
The breakfast was really good and typical, and Lisa put a lot of effort in the dressing of the plates. Over there we met a Canadian couple that were also exploring the region by public transport.
The garden was also wonderful ! The last morning we got up at 6am to take some pictures under the beautiful light. I made a terrible mistake though : wearing a skirt. I got bitten 10 times in less than a few minutes and got itchy for several days. It was really bad. Lesson learnt for the rest of the trip.
After saying our goodbyes, we headed South towards Ruisui Hot Springs (瑞穗溫泉). It was very quiet and cheap and a real authentic experience. This hot spring was built by the Japanese government in Taiwan at the end of the 19th century as a sanitarium for the Japanese officers and was opened to the public at the beginning of the 20th century. One peculiar thing to know about this hot spring is that the water that emerges from the ground is rich in iron which gives it its funny muddy colour. This is the only carbonated hot spring in Taiwan !
Over there, you can find three outside pools with different temperatures. One that is quite cold, one about 37 degrees Celsius and the other around 43 degrees Celsius. They don’t recommend to stay for too long in the last one and I only managed to stay for a few minutes. My favourite was the cold bath, as it was quite hot outside. If you don’t wish to take a bath in public it’s also possible to go upstairs in one of the private baths.
The different pools don’t look too appealing at first but the tranquility of the place makes it very relaxing.
After the hot spring, we felt all relaxed and took back the car towards the South. On our way, we had our first tea tasting experience at Done Sheng Tea House (http://www.dsts.com.tw/). It was very good and we bought a few boxes of Honey black tea. The tea was really sweet apparently due to the insects biting the plants.
We then stopped for food in Hualien at a hot pot restaurant called 上乘三家花蓮 and it was probably the best hot pot meal of the trip ! The sea food was so fresh !