Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Travel in Taiwan 171102-07: Escape from Formosa Part 3 "Pretty Little Lions"


There is a powerful force on this island. An unseen magic that exists in the hearts and minds of the Kinmenese. The belief that stone idols in the shape of a lion will shield them from the strong winds of the northeastern monsoon. They are the wind lion gods. Sent from the sky and walk down to earth in the form of a feline, their guidance and protection is a must in my “Escape from Formosa”.


Varying in height, color and purpose on why they were built, these wind lion gods are scattered around Kinmen. Half of their total number can be found in Jinsha Township where the ferocious winds of the northeastern monsoon are easily felt. It was impossible to see all of them in a short period of time but through the help of the Taiwan Tour Bus, searching them became an easy task.




A special tour. After buying the half-day ticket in Shanwai Bus Station which costs NTD 250, I looked at the poster hanging on the wall. The Taiwan Tour Bus in Kinmen now has a wind lion god sight-seeing tour. It's an addition to the original four bus routes that go around the Kinmen Island. Accompanied by a tour guide from the Visitor Information Center, visitors are taken directly to the idols saving precious time and money.

Guan'ao (官澳)



Guan'ao (官澳)


Guan'ao (官澳) 

Tangtou (塘頭)


Xiyuan (西園)


Xiyuan (西園)


Tiandun (田墩)


Yangshan (洋山)




Yangshan (洋山)


Houzhai (后宅)



Houzhai (后宅)

Lucuo (呂厝)



Lucuo (呂厝)




Liu'ao (劉澳)



Pubian (浦邊)




Pubian (浦邊)


Xiatangtou (下塘頭)


Doumen (斗門)



Qionglin (瓊林)


Hecuo (何厝)

Zhonglan (中蘭)


A wish granted. I felt lucky to have come here in Kinmen at the right time. Back in November 2016, when I was originally planning my escape from Taiwan, there was no such wind lion tour bus. So I have to resort to Google Maps, checking and recording the location of each idol. Knowing how to get there and if there were any public buses that would stop at a particular place was always a headache. The wind lion gods must have heard my prayers or maybe they had been waiting for my arrival for a very long time. 

Qionglin (瓊林)



Guan'ao (官澳)

Yangshan (洋山)





The lion's tale. Each wind lion has a story to share. In Qionglin, which is said to be the biggest village in Kinmen, an idol stands in front of floodgate and functions like its keeper. Near Mashan Observation Point, which is an area in Kinmen Island very close to Mainland China, a pair of tall wind lion gods can be seen. They were donated by the people of Fujian province as a sign of friendship. In Lucuo, the deity gazes at a mountain. While in Yangshan, a female lion god caught me by surprise. She was pregnant!



Qingyu (青嶼)


Qingyu (青嶼)

Guan'ao (官澳)


Guan'ao (官澳)



Guan'ao (官澳)

Tiandun (田墩)


Tiandun (田墩)


Qionglin (瓊林)




Qionglin (瓊林)

Yangshan (洋山)

Extraordinary. Some wind lion gods were difficult to recognize. In Guan’ao which was the last stop of the Wind Lion God Morning Route, the deity became a part of a staircase. You won't know that it is a god unless you step on the farm that is facing and you turn your back to look at the idol directly. Still in Guan’ao, my tour guide had difficulty finding another wind lion god inside a temple. It was there standing beside the local gods of the community, but it was too small to be seen. Not to mention its dark color. But the most bizarre were the ones stuck in the walls of old houses. They had been there standing even before the war had erupted in Kinmen during the 1950s. 

Guan'ao (官澳)



Qingyu (青嶼) 





Masters of the wind. Whenever a person's wish is granted by the deity, the wind lion is dressed in a cape by the locals as a way of saying thank you to the god. Sometimes red in color or in a flower pattern, the cape adds color to their granite bodies, hiding the intricate patterns in their limbs. When a wind blows, the royal mantle flies in the air. Telling everyone that they aren’t just the guardians of Kinmen but also the island’s pretty little lions.

*********
Taiwan Tour Bus Wind Lion Route

Morning Tour: The bus departs at Shanwai Bus Station at 8:30. The tour ends at 12:05
Afternoon Tour: The bus departs at Shanwai Bus Station at 13:30. The tour ends at 17:15
*The morning and afternoon tours are two different wind lion sight-seeing routes. 
*As the trip ends, both tour buses return at Shanwai. 

Half-day ticket: NTD 250
Whole-day ticket (both tours): NTD 400
*Tickets are available at the Visitor Information Center
*There are still wind lion gods that are scattered around Kinmen and they are beyond the reach of the Taiwan Tour Bus. 

How to get to Shanwai Bus Station from Jincheng Bus Station: Board Bus Red 1, Blue 1, 2 or 3 and alight at the terminal stop which is Shanwai Bus Station

Departure times of the buses from Jincheng Bus Station:
Red (紅) 1: 6:00/7:20/8:00/10:40/12:10/13:05/16:55/17:50/18:15/18:40/19:30/20:30
Blue (藍) 1: 7:30/8:30/9:30/10:30/11:30/12:30/13:30/14:30/15:30/16:30/17:30
2: 6:45/7:40/8:20/9:25/10:20/11:25/13:25/15:00/16:15/17:20/19:10/20:50/21:20
3: 6:00/7:00/8:00/9:00/10:00/11:00/12:00/13:00/14:00/15:00/16:00/17:00/18:00/19:00/20:00

Departure times of the buses going to Jincheng Bus Station from Shanwai Bus Station
Red (紅) 1: 6:15/6:30/7:20/8:40/9:00/10:00/12:10/13:05/16:35/16:55/17:40/20:20/21:00
Blue (藍) 1: 7:30/8:30/9:30/10:30/11:30/12:30/13:30/14:30/15:30/16:30/17:30
2: 7:00/8:10/9:40/10:50/11:25/15:35/18:00/18:40/19:15/20:30
3: 6:00/7:00/8:00/9:00/10:00/11:00/12:00/13:00/14:00/15:00/16:00/17:00/18:00/19:00/20:00

*Tourists staying at Benshan Old Western Style House must board the earliest Bus 10 or 11 in the morning to get to Shanwai Bus Station before 8:30 am.

Maple Series


"Taipei kong mahal" (My beloved Taipei). Catch it every Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Taiwan/Philippine time)


Other attractions in Taipei


New Taipei


2018 Sakura Series - Taiwan


  • 2017 Sakura Series - Taiwan

  • 2017 Sakura Series - Japan


    2016 Sakura Series - Taiwan


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