I think it’s the longest stretch we’ve ever spent in a single city while travelling. We’re normally not big fans of cities because we’ve stayed in one for the past 30 years of our lives. Yet, somehow, we found ourselves falling in love with the cities in Taiwan. There’s just a buzz about them! It doesn’t hurt that there is good food to be found around almost every corner.
However, we started to realize that we were getting stuck in a lull, so we decided to get out of the city and head for the island of Lu Dao (绿岛) that was just off the coast of Taidong (台东).
Right off the train, we did something we would not normally have done. We went to a travel agency.
Actually, the travel agent came to us at the train station. He told us that the last ferry to Lu Dao for the day had already departed. (This is becoming a bit of a worrying trend). They offered to put us up at a hotel in Taidong for the night at a discounted rate if we took one of their Lu Dao packages.
The package would include transfer service from our hotel to the pier, ferry tickets to Lu Dao, accommodation in Lu Dao, unlimited use of the hotel’s motorcycle and free passes for snorkeling as well as access to the natural hot springs on Lu Dao.
At $100 each, it sounded like quite a good deal, so we took it!
At the end of the day, we were really grateful for the motorcycle.
After a few embarrassing minutes of “Ey, how to start up a motorcycle ah?” in front of the horrified hotel owner, we got to cruise around the island with the wind in our very wet hair.
Yeah. True to our luck, it was pouring almost the whole time we were on Lu Dao.
This included the three hours we spent in the saltwater hotspring. (Allegedly, it is one of only three in the world)
Regardless, it was really great fun riding on the road in Lu Dao. There is only one road that stretches around the island, so even for us, there was no risk of getting lost. The best part was the long stretches where we were the only vehicle on the road.
We had the sea beside us and the rain and heavy winds threatening to blow us into the sea. It was good to be alive.
I wish we had half that kind of fun snorkeling. Don’t get me wrong, there were TONNES of sea creatures to be seen when we snorkeled in.
It’s just that the snorkel operators, for fear of their customers drifting away, used the very primitive method of stringing everyone together during the snorkeling. I swear. There were even lessons conducted at the water edge on how to keep afloat…. with the float.
The snorkeling experience was enough to convince us that we NEEDED to dive in Lu Dao. There are many dive operators on the island, but as far as we know, there was only one that was “officially recognised” by PADI. It’s situated at Nanliao Village (南寮村).
Besides being relatively cheap (2500TWD for 3 dives), the diving was CRAZY. We managed to see many different species of fish and corals, but the biggest highlight has to be the Big Mushroom – a living coral head that is about 4 meters tall.
All in all, not a bad way to recharge our outdoorsy battery before we head up to Hualien and finally Taipei again.