Monday, June 29, 2015

Beitou Zhuzihu Route (北投竹子湖線) - Liuhuanggu Geothermal Scenic Area (硫磺谷地熱景觀區) - Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館) - Beitou Thermal Valley (地熱谷) - Puji Temple(普濟寺) - Snake Alley (華西街夜市) [Taiwan Day 666: Drag Me to Hell! - June 28, 2015]


I started a prayer when I woke up. I prayed that this day will be ok just like any ordinary day in Taiwan. 666 is a bad number and I feared that something bad might happen. News exploded the night before this Taiwan Day 666. An accident occurred in Formosa Fun Coast! Colored cornstarch being thrown to party goers ignited suddenly turning the Color Day Asia event into a real hell. 


Defying the omen and testing whether I will experience the same unfortunate fate. I went on a travel adventure with Bryan, Francis, Jonalyn, Gian, Rakesh, Jason and Yoshi. As the hot summer sun scorches Taiwan into a literal hell I thought of places that will remind me of the “burning abyss”. For the “Fast-Track Travel Program”, I chose Zhuzihu and Sulfur Valley in Yangmingshan and the hot spring town of Beitou District in Taipei. We boarded Bus 128 from MRT Shipai Station to reach Zhuzihu or Bamboo Lake. I fastened my seatbelt as the bus goes up in winding road going to Yangmingshan. The bus was passing over cliffs. What will happen if our bus falls down? Whatever goes. I was ready to die on that day. lol














Blue flowers in which I don’t' know the name were abundant in Bamboo Lake. The volcanic Yangmingshan mountains was once active and there was a great lake here. The lake have dried up through the years and is now the green farmlands now known as Zhuzihu. After wandering in Zhuzihu we went to restaurant to eat for lunch. Reading the menu which was written in Chinese tortured us. What the hell! 













We boarded Bus 109 from Zhuzihu to our next destination, the Liuhuanggu Geothermal Scenic Area. It means Sulfur Valley in English and the scenery was described as like a crater of a volcano. There were a lot of hot springs which shoots hot spring water into the sky. I can really feel hell here as the sun toasts our body. A man was selling ice cream and we decided to buy. It gave us a relief from the heat of the sun. The scoops of ice cream created a feeling of cold winter in a hot summer. 












The Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch is just beside the Beitou Hot Springs Museum.
Another bus ride and we arrived at Xinbeitou, where the famous Beitou Hot Springs Museum was located. It was built during Taiwan's Japanese colonial period and served as a public bathhouse for men and women during those times. It also houses the radioactive mineral hokutolite. We entered the museum by removing our shoes and replacing it with slippers which were provided by the museum. It was the custom during the glory hot spring days of the building and is still practice up to now. 











A trip to Hell Valley made us to perspire more. Hot sulfuric gas was steaming out together with the hot spring water creating that real sense of being in hell. Water from the Hell Valley overflows into the Beitou Stream and canals along Beitou. Try walking along the sidewalks of Beitou and you will see that the canal is steaming. Puji Temple was also walking distance from Hell Valley. Believers can go here to ask forgiveness and have hope not be dragged to hell when they die. 













If you thought that Taipei is a good girl. Think again! The streets along Huaxi Night Market was a former red district. Walk along the night market and you will find a turtle being sliced off. My Travel Buddies and I watched in a horror as a helpless turtle was being slaughtered. They are endangered but are still being killed. Why? Why? Why? There was also this restaurant selling snake dishes with live snakes displayed at their doorsteps. A Snake Alley indeed!


Nothing happened to me and to my Travel Buddies in this Taiwan Day 666! It was just another successful trip in the “Fast-Track Travel Program” with a hell concept. The destinations were great and as hot as hell. So do you want to go to hell in Taiwan? No problem. Just tell me and say “Luo-mu Jie drag me to hell!”
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