We had seen a feature of San Xian Tai in a National Geographic travel guide to Taiwan and thought, “Wow, that looks really cool.” Looking it up, though, we saw that it wasn’t exactly right next to a train stop, and it was on the west side of the main Taiwan island, which is harder to get to overall. Nevertheless, Taiwan Tour Bus came to the rescue again, and we were able to charter a very reasonably priced personal driver and tour guide to pick us up from the nearest train station and take us straight to San Xian Tai for an afternoon hike. I gotta say, Taiwan Tour Bus made all of our coolest destinations possible, and it’s nice that it’s government sanctioned so you don’t feel like you’re risking it with a local travel company. In the U.S., it’s a pain to bring up a complaint against a company from another state, so another country just seems impossible. So the peace of mind of Taiwan Tour Bus and the great prices, convenience, and service just makes Taiwan a really easy vacation destination.
So Sanxiantai is an island that basically has a really stylistic bridge that connects the main Taiwan island to the small island not far off the coast. I guess the cool thing is instead of having to take a boat there, you just walk this bridge, which has eight arches complete with stairs going up and down them, adding up to 320 steps (or so we counted as we traversed it). The bridge is actually a little sad looking from the side in its sea-weathered metal state and somewhat clashing colors, but once you get on the thing itself and start crossing it, it’s pretty darn cool-lookin’ and the view is ridiculous as you cross over the ocean.
At the end of the bridge, you get to the island itself and hop on a wooden plank pathway that takes you around the not-so-little-on-foot Sanxiantai island.
As I walked on the clear wooden path between an engulfing mass of plants that looked like giant wild cattails, I felt not unlike Bilbo Baggins and the Fellowship of the Ring on our way to Mordor to destroy Sauron’s ring of power. Pretty soon, I saw Mordor and Sauron’s eye over the horizon.
Instead of the Gates of Mordor, I found a nice scenic rest stop gazebo. Again, I was without a tea set to enjoy this spot. I blame the Dark Lord of Mordor for this one.
There was more Mordor to cross, with some of the scenery looking a lot like remnants of volcanic eruptions, reminding me of my trip to Kilauea on the Big Island at the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
But the sight of the ocean broke the dark land with its sapphire waters. Oceans in LA are largely a dirty green, so when I saw blue oceans on TV, I thought it was special effects, until I finally saw blue oceans for myself on a family visit to Hawaii. The feel of Hawaii and Taiwan are strikingly the same–breathtaking.
Not surprisingly, we found ourselves facing another series of steep, criss-crossing stairs, but we gladly climbed them for the gorgeous ocean views at the top.
The hike back to the bridge was just as lovely. If you look closely in this next picture, you’ll see the entire bridge out in the water connecting Sanxiantai back to Taiwan. This is one of my favorite pictures from my trip to Taiwan.
While on the island, I saw this sign and almost busted a gut laughing. Apparently, people have tried to electrocute, poison, or BOMB the fish in this area? ROTFLMAO
Back at the main island at the start of the eight-arch bridge, there’s a lovely little expanse of pebble rock beach that looks like one of those default wallpaper backgrounds. Pet rock anyone? Just kidding. Don’t take anything out of parks. Bad for environment.
Next up, a sub-series on Alishan.