Sunday, August 03, 2014

Yun-Hsien Park & Resort (雲仙樂園) - An Old Fashioned Theme Park @ Wulai [Taiwan]

To be honest, i am quite excited when i heard of an amusement park known as Yun-Hsien in the rustic hot spring territory of Wulai even though there wasn't much online information related to it.

Guess this blog post would help to give the general public a better idea of Yun-Hsien Park & Resort and decide for themselves if it would be worth a visit. My first piece of advice would be: "be prepared to walk quite a fair bit".

Similar to Genting Highlands, it's situated on top of a hill (albeit a much shorter way) and boasts a similar temperature (or even cooler) at certain seasons. Options to get to the place seem really limited and from what i gathered from the map, it does appear that the only way was to take the gondola ride

Shall share more on the ride in another post! One of the first few attractions was the haunted house ride i touched on previously! To reminisce the ride that was popular in the 1980s, click here

After which was the start of a tiring climb up and up the hill - it was almost as if we were on a temple pilgrimage and this walk was a litmus test for our sincerity! 

Thankfully, the weather wasn't very hot (note the word "very") and it was quite relaxing to take in the sights and sounds of surrounding nature as we slowly trekked up the steps. 

Along the way, we came upon a small temple built into the hill. Nothing in particular caught my attention except for the three urns by the side which have Chinese characters; 好運來臨 (good luck is coming), 快樂滿滿 (full of happiness) and 幸福洋溢 (full of blissfulness).

Step by step explanation on how to achieve the above was given via this wooden tablet. As expected, a token of appreciation (in the form of NT$10) was part of the deal. 

Sigh... i think it is like the dozen time i am complaining about the many walks i had to endure for this Taiwan trip! For those thinking of free and easy, do invest in a good pair of walking shoes! 

This was supposed to be part of a natural stream but i guess the man-made dam was necessary to control the flow of water. To get to this location, you actually have to veer off the main route for only a very short distance. 

Frankly, it didn't take us long on foot to reach the secondary entrance from the cable car station. I counted less than ten minutes; however, it was extremely daunting to see the many flights of stairs! 

This was the actual scene that greeted us when we walked past the archway; a mesmerising enclave that seemed to take away our tiredness and entice us to soak in its calming atmosphere. 

Mere seconds later, Alex insisted he wanted to take the sampan for a ride (cost: NT$60 per person for a small boat big enough for two persons)! Bloody ass still has the energy to row when he was complaining like hell just a few minutes ago.

As you could see, his full concentration was on rowing and i must admit he did a pretty good job! I attempted and only succeeded in getting the wooden boat turning around in circles.

He was skillful enough to navigate past the low-lying bridge! 

For me, i found it frustrating to waste my time on the boat where the only benefit was a nice tan and requested our capable boatman to let me off the vessel. Which he did, in an effortless manner that was almost insulting to a man with poor motor skills.

By the way, this lake is not a natural lake and was constructed sometime in 1970. One key feature was the island in the middle of the lake which was accessible using a connecting bridge. 

The pavilion on the island had an interesting name; 命运好好玩 (play with your destiny). 

Shall share the instructions here; in a way, this would be our usual divination method used in many Chinese temples for one to find out the luck / fortune / destiny.

Say in your heart what you would like to ask but instead of drawing out the lots by shaking the bamboo container, you are required to use your fingers to pick one out. Note the number.

Check out the bamboo wind chimes surrounding the pavilion and find the one with the selected number. 

A light tug at the free hanging bamboo tag and you would be able to decipher the outcome of your wish, provided you have a deep understanding of the Chinese characters and sayings, including their idiosyncrasies. For sure, my understanding is only skin-deep. 

Alex cut short his rowing which was supposed to be for twenty minutes! Anyway, the building in front was the hotel block for those interested to stay a night in the amusement resort.

I don't think there would be much activities at night (save for the firefly-watching tour from April to June). It's a different story in the daytime; besides the amusement park with its attractions, there are also two forest trails for nature lovers! 

Spotted this again! For those who remember, the first time i saw this was at Ita Thao, Sun Moon Lake! Check out the separate blog entry here

A major difference was the figurine used to dispense the fortune slip! Instead of a monster, it's now a fairy! Makes sense too since the name Yun-Hsien is taken from two Chinese characters; cloud and immortals. 

套住你的幸福 - to trap your happiness! In many places, this should be chargeable. However, no one was manning the kiosk and there wasn't any indication of a price.

The ever capitalist - Alex took the helm and started charging passersby. Kidding lah! We are not that mercenary and Alex, as usual, was fooling around.

Guess you don't need further elaboration on the instructions for this easy game.

Cross the bridge to another section; the amusement park was huge and attractions were not very close to one another. I actually didn't manage to cover the whole place as we still have a packed day ahead of us. 

Supposed to be a paddling pool; again, no one was manning it and i suspected it has to do with the fact that we visited on a weekday when children are in school. 

I could not help wondering if some of the attractions were indeed closed for good as maintenance was an issue. Put it this way, i was thinking it might be great to convert this quiet place into a paranormal theme park or to bring in a concept similar to USS Halloween Horror Nights for a few months a year! 

Children's World! 

No one stopped Alex! We asked one of the staff members if attendance has always been so low. Apparently, the park comes alive only on weekends and school holidays! 

This was a performance stage for the aboriginal warrior dance. We were the only two customers there so i guess there would not be any performance for us.

Oh well, we are not into cultural performances anyway; more interested in activities that brought out the macho-ness in us. Like archery! 

I can't remember how much we paid to play this. No matter what, we were given a crash course on how to shoot an arrow from the stringed bow. Sounded easy, as always.

To be able to hit the target was another matter altogether! 

We both shared the arrows and none of the arrows on the coloured zones belonged to me! Sad to say, i didn't live up to the historical reputation of my surname; 张 is a combination of two Chinese characters that collectively mean long bow. 

See how shamelessly proud he was!! 

Time to leave as we were running short of time. The tiring upward climb earlier would now be exchanged for an easier downward walk! Phew.....

With such an impressive view (that we have conveniently overlooked on our way in), Alex commented this would be an appropriate place as described in many wuxia novels for a person to train, absorb the essence of nature and gain immortality.

He decided to try it out. For maybe a minute? 

As i was drafting this post, the question i kept asking myself was whether the park is wheelchair accessible. From what i have seen, it doesn't appear to be so. The website didn't offer much information either. 

Last stop - the gift shop! You are entitled to redeem for a gift using a voucher attached to your entrance ticket. Aiyah, nothing much; the free gift was a pearl and as in Singapore's OG department stores, you would be encouraged to weld it to a necklace, earring, ring, etc. Of course, be prepared to pay separately for the materials.

Before you take the gondola to the foot of the hill, you would have go through this section. I am unsure if the content would change on a periodic basis but i thought the photo exhibition was really valuable to have a better depiction of the amusement park in its heyday. 

Personally, i feel that this exhibition should be shown to visitors when they first entered the park; this would educate them on the unique ecology of the park and provide information from the construction stage to its eventual opening. 

Next up - the gondola ride! Click here to read further! 

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Location
Yun-Hsien Park & Resort, Wulai,
New Taipei City [Taiwan]


Map
As above (i covered around half only)! 

Price
Adult (above 19) - NT$220
Children - NTS$150
(Inclusive of Gondola Ride).


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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