Family outing to the northeast areas of Taiwan! Here’s an index to help you keep track of the various places:
- Fulong Bike Trail
- Fulong Train Station
- Fulong Visitor Center
- Beiguan Tidal Park
- Bubble Milk Tea Cultural Hall
1. Fulong Bike Trail
First order of business is to bike along the Fulong coast! Again as with Bali, there are plenty of places to rent bikes once you get here, so no worries about fitting your bike into your trunk. The roads are paved, and there’s usually a dedicated bike lane, plus clear signs directing you to the tunnel. Along the way you get beautiful views of the railroad, and ocean.
The tunnel is what most people are here for, though. It’s roughly 2.2 km long, for bikes only, and if you get bored of staring at the pretty tiles on the ground there are speakers playing jolly music to help you move along. It’s a pretty cool concept, opening a bike tunnel right next to a train tunnel, and the inside is well maintained.
Taken perilously as I avoided veering into the opposite “lane”:
For really loud noises and fast moving objects stand next to the entrance of the big train tunnel, then wait for a train to whiz pass. Here, I failed twice to unzip my phone out of my pocket, slide open the camera app, and adjust the focus in time before the train leaves.
2. Fulong Train Station
Coming back to the train station, there are people waiting to buy tickets and/or bentos. Fulong is famous for their railroad bentos, so you’ll see that most stores around the area are selling exactly that.
It’s actually a pretty typical Taiwanese bento: some vegetables, an egg, assorted meats.
The station itself has got a nice nostalgia-made-of-wood feel, and today the platform is rather empty because of aforementioned Chinese New Year. Fulong is a rural city, so to travel far people either drive or take the train.
Ticketing booth for all classes, all aboard the Polar Express!
3. Fulong Visitor Center
A little ways from the train station is the visitor center, which you should really visit! I liked it a lot; I rarely find visitor centers that have put so much thought into the exhibitions, and have professionals at each station explaining/fielding questions.
This one on the left is a wooden carving and sculpture exhibition. Taiwan experiences a lot of tropical typhoons, which brings a lot of driftwood to the shores. This project was sponsored as part of an ecological conservation effort, and the driftwood were remade into different sculptures.
Wooden people playing volleyball! With a wooden net!
I asked the guide why there are glasses of water behind some sculptures (it looks to me like it’s the ones that are glossed), and he said that it’s to prevent the wood from drying out in an air conditioned room. Nifty, eh?
This one is like Moby Dick, but the whale seems more friendly.
Up on the second floor there is an area on waves, with these jellyfish domes hiding fun facts about surfers and surf lingo.
A sand sculpture! Sand sculpting is done layer by layer, and you have to wait for the previous layers to dry out before starting the next one. Once you finish sculpting, the artist will seal it all off with a spray type of glue.
4. Beiguan Tidal Park
More sea and more rocks. If you walk straight down from the parking lot there is a stretch of stores selling assorted fresh and dried seafood, but we’re here for the great outdoors, right? Right? The map tells us so.
Continue walking down to see the cannons that used to be here, as a relic of an old military base.
This area is called “A Sliver of Sky”, and I watched many people take advantage of this wonderful photo op with a selfie stick.
The northeast coast of Taiwan is quite rocky, it would appear.
Keep going down and you can find a very long flight of stairs (which is better than a wall of rocks tbh), and you just take your sweet time going up and up and up and around and up and up…
Until you get to the top of the observation deck! Nice.
There’s a person fishing on the rocks. As always, I don’t know how that person got to that location in the first place.
5. Bubble Milk Tea Cultural Hall
A museum for boba! I personally am not a huge fan of boba, but it sure is interesting. Here’s our guide, telling us that boba is an internationally acclaimed drink because the people who bring boba into each new market know how to use local teas and tweak the flavor to match local preferences. In Latin America, for example, the boba is sweeter.
This boba museum’s specialty is putting boba into a lightbulb glass, and when our guide asked us why it’s in a lightbulb I said it’s because boba is the light of Taiwan. That’s incorrect. It’s actually because the museum is housed in an environmentally friendly building, so the bottles are all the lightbulbs that they save by being so green. Metaphorically.
The lightbulb boba served with crisp waffles! The tea and the pearls were aite. I preferred the waffles, which I’m pretty sure were bought from somewhere else.
The adventure continues in Part II!