Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yehliu Geopark (野柳地质公园) - A Fascinating Walk for a Geo Idiot @ New Taipei [Taiwan]

A friend sent me a message this morning and asked if my Taiwan trip was entirely about food. Answer is NOOOOO and i shall now prove it by blogging on a renowned attraction in Taiwan where i didn't even take a sip of water! 

Yehliu Geopark - the map might appear really big but the main attractions are limited to the area with the red border. It's not exactly small either; so do keep in mind that a little trekking is still required.

Alex was pissed for a reason; the lady captured in the above photograph had taken endless pictures yet wasn't at all bothered and embarrassed by her inconsideration that people were waiting for her to bugger off! 

Since this was more a natural attraction, i was worried about the rain and its impact on my walk. It didn't help that Alex was insistent that a little rain wouldn't harm and choose not to bring along the umbrella!!! 

Some stone bunker along the way from the entrance to the official geopark. You can see from his face he was still simmering with anger over the incident i mentioned one paragraphs before. 

Spotted our first rock formation! Wait, this is not natural rock but one made of fibreglass as a permanent, preserved copy of the original which is subject to harsh weather elements. Known as Cute Princess, the first visual image that came to mind was the cobra hood. Oh well, to each his own. 

Entering the geopark proper! Even though i have seen this view somewhere in guidebooks and blogs, it still didn't prepare me for the vast impressiveness ahead of us.

Well, it could have been better without the crowd. Damn, i was expecting Mondays to be a lot more quieter than this but i guess tour agents have the same thought as me; the accent of those i bumped into that day was definitely not Taiwanese! 

Whatever the case, i targeted to spend no more than 120 minutes in the geopark and it's best to get going before more busloads of tourists started streaming in.

Quite a pretty sight to see umbrellas of all colours and patterns! This reminded me of the photographs i took during a protest held in Singapore last year

Sea-eroded potholes! If not for the rain, i would have likely peer a little closer and check out for any fishes that might have been trapped within. 

The structures and formations of the rock were really unique and i wonder if it is a good idea to have so many visitors trampling the ground. Certain areas (edge of rocks etc) are off-limits, which is good, as i can imagine the many accidents that could have happened.

I am not sure how far the extent of limits is as i could still see an angler patiently waiting for his catch, in the rain! There didn't appear to be any no-entry deterring me from walking over even though the strong waves did stop me from doing so. 

View of the town right outside the entrance of Yehliu Geopark.

Frankly, i didn't know which way to go even though it felt good that i did not have to jostle with the huge group of tourists. Anyway, my intention was to walk all the way to the satellite tower at the far end of the cape.

Floor was super slippery due to the rain! Tip: please wear a pair of shoes with good grip and stick yourself to someone whom you can hold on after an accidental slip!

Another beautiful sight that stopped us in our tracks. There wasn't a single soul in this picture and i could not help feeling extremely relaxed while the waves pounded against the shore as the wind blew tiny raindrops on to my tired, sleep-deprived face.

To get to that tower, steps are a necessity! Either that or i would have to prepare some climbing gear to get to the top; not exactly something i would do given my fear of heights!

From the side i was previously on, i couldn't quite see what was on the other side! Most tourists seemed to congregate at this other side whereas goondus like us chose to climb the cape. 

I was right; not a human on the trail except for us! 

After a few minutes, we came to the realisation that our progress was very slow and the end of the trail didn't seem as promising as we originally thought it would be. Time was of essence and since all 'actions' were concentrated on the foot of the cape, we decided to give up. 

Down the flight of staircase and walked past two other goondus who were on their way to check out the satellite tower. I so bad; maybe there are indeed some good finds at the end of the trail.

Notice the thick red ugly line?

Please do not cross / even attempt to cross! There were staff who kept a lookout for anyone who breached the rule as it might result in injury / death for the rule-breaker (honestly, if that happens, that person bloody deserves it).

Bridge linking two rock formations.

Known as hoodoo stones, they are the distinctive features that brought fame to the geopark. The thing about such formations is that you often can use a bit of imagination to associate them with things or even persons.

What do you think this looks like? I can draw comparison to a crab's claw (my favourite part of the crab) or morbidly, a gigantic beheaded snake! 

A short pedestal for a statue that has long been washed away by the waves? Darn, i should have gotten Alex to strike a pose of Hercules on top of the tiered formation. 

The fairy's shoe! It's amazing that nature can craft something like this! A perfectionist might have requested a sculptor to beautify it further (truthfully, i thought it was more a slipper than a fairy's shoe) but natural beauty is still the best! 

Shall come to this hoodoo stone soon; as a hint, this is the only one in the whole geopark that had designated staff members to manage the queue and keep it in order.

Side nearer to the town where you can find more photo opportunities with the carp rock, candle rock, ice cream rock etc.

背山面海, which means facing the seas with the mountain protecting you from the back; this should be an ideal fengshui spot to bury myself if i die. 

Rest assured; the surface was actually not as slippery as i thought. 

It was kind of incredulous that no one would stop me even if i am over-enthusiastic in hugging this hoodoo stone for a picture. Shouldn't they be protected against harmful intruders like humans?

A fossil?! Seriously?

Random shot of another bridge.

Alex insisted i must take this picture and place it on the blog for the panorama of rock formations, green cape and algae-covered rocks on the seabed. 

Lining up to take a picture of the hoodoo stone i mentioned previously with its own security crew. I really respected this staff (denoted by the arrow i had conveniently photoshopped in) who was determined to ensure everyone stayed in line for their turn and would not hesitate to remind those photo-hoggers to be considerate! He deserves our respect for being so committed! 

Queen's Head; the treasure of Taiwan and named for its resemblance to Queen Elizabeth II (i beg to differ on this; it's more Queen Nefertiti than Elizabeth)! Notice the crack at the area below its elegant neck? It was said that the Queen's Head would collapse in the very near future.

A pocket of greenery in the midst of yellow brown rocks. It would be nice to sit around this area if not for the rain. Do note that the place would be a hot plate in summer as advised by the Kon-Tan couple! 

By right, we should have covered this section that houses the Candle Rock and Cute Princess.

By left, we did enter. However, we have had enough of looking at rocks and for a person who did not study geography in secondary school, a rock is merely a rock with technical terms that totally bore me. 

So we made our way to the entrance where you would chance upon a fibreglass replica of the Queen's Head. As with the Cute Princess, this would help to preserve the memory of the original Queen's Head especially with the uncertainties surrounding its existence.

The End

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Location Map
As above. Do note the numbers and link them with the pictures i have also appended above. As you could probably guess, i miss quite a number of them! 

Website
http://www.ylgeopark.org.tw/ENG/info/YlIntroduction_en.aspx

Price
Adult - NT$80
Children - NT$40

Additional Information
Personal tour guide app can be downloaded to both iPhone and Android phones! Please keep in mind that iPhone is equipped with only the Chinese version. 


For an overview of my 9 Days, 8 Nights Taiwan Trip [Cingjing (清境) - Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) - Taichung (臺中) - Taipei (臺 北)], click HERE.

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