Day 6, Taipei
9th December 2010, Thursday
Jingtong station – you won’t miss this colorful train!
Since there were 10 of us, it’s rather difficult to coordinate going to some places due to too many preferences. So, we decided to go on our own today. I didn’t know where to go but it was a lucky thing that I printed some blogs to follow. Also, thanks to AJ for giving me the Taipei map. As I was waiting for my turn in the shower, I read the itinerary in the blogs and decided to take train to Jingtong to check out the oldest coal mining town in Taiwan!
Little did we know that, we were actually heading back to Keelung! We were there yesterday and somehow didn’t manage to come here! It’s really frustrating to be traveling to the same side of the country and yet, miss out all these goodies! That’s the downside of not doing your homework properly before a trip.
Deco on the door at one of the old houses
We went to Taipei Main station and asked how to go about the place and somewhat got mixed response. The blog didn’t exactly tell you where to get the train tickets so, we asked around. It was a good thing that we bumped into a fellow Malaysian while lining up for tickets to Ruifang at the TRA (Taipei Railway) line. Going to Ruifang only costs NT50 for a 40-minute journey. So, for record purposes, I wrote down the number of stops from Taipei main station to Ruifang.
Taipei – Songshan – Nangang – Xike – Zizhi – Wudu – Baifu – Qidu – Badu – Nuannuan – Sijiaoting – Ruifang
We got down at Ruifang and went to the ticketing counter (they called it fare adjustment booth) at the same platform (Platform 2) to get our unlimited day pass to Jingtong (Pingshi line). It cost only NT54. We were lucky because we managed to board the train as soon as we purchased the tickets!
Again, for record purposes, here are the stops along the Pingshi line, right to Jingtong, the last station.
Houtong – Sandioling – Dahua – Shifen – Wanggu – Lingjiao – Pingxi – Jingtong
The scenery along Pingshi line is simply breathtaking. Both sides of the railway line are flanked by lush greenery and crystal clear river in cobalt blue, basically left untouched! There were some little wooden and brick houses dotted the landscape as well.
The train is not fully automatic. They have station masters manning the trains. When the train reached a stop, the station master would whip out his keys to open the door. It was really quaint.
The blog suggested that we stop at Jingtong first, so we did. Anyway, we being smart alecs, didn’t check the train schedule when we got off the train and ended having to wait 1 hour and 30 minutes for the next train!! It was a good thing that Jingtong, despite being almost deserted, the quiet town also has eateries – otherwise we would be starving to death! So people, first thing first – please check the train schedule as soon as you got off the train for the next ride.
We went along to the opposite side of the railway to check out the old headquarters. This place is basically in ruins. Even some of the information tablets are dilapidated by time and at the point of collapsing. It’s pretty scary if you were to come here on your own! We discovered a pipe of spring water too!
Wishes on Bamboo
Since there were so much time to kill, we decided to buy a bamboo to write our wishes and hang them on the old train for good luck! So here’s my wish to you, my fellow blog readers:-
Hope that tonnes of blessings, love, good health, safety, prosperity, warmth and peace be upon my family and friends and readers of this blog!
Eh? I forgot happiness? Haha!
After some shopping for souvenirs and walk about the museum, the train arrived. Time flies rather quickly. We boarded the train to get to the next stop, Pingxi. The blog mentioned that, we should fly a sky lantern here, so we looked forward to it.
PS. Since the post is rather long winded, I decided to split it into two.
And… I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2011!