In Deutsch



Pictures of the first part of our Taiwan trip   (Kaohsiung Kenting Taitung)    
Part 2: Taitung – Southern Cross-Island Highway – Siraya National Scenic Area (Zengwun Reservoir) – 
Alishan NSA – Sun Moon Lake NSA – Taroko National Park – Suao-Hualien Highway – Taipei
Part 3: Taipei – Northeast Taiwan – Northern Cross-Island Hwy. – Taroko – East Coast – Taitung – Kaohsiung
Taiwan Map
    Map of Far East






latest picture: October 27, 2007
  • click a picture to see details
  • the colored numbers of the pictures are corresponding with the map of the above mentioned link in the same color
October 5, 2007: We are waiting in Kaohsiung for today's arrival of our LandCruiser, which won't be released before Tuesday, 10/9/07. In the meantime we are awaiting "Krosa" – the category 4 super-typhoon – currently approaching Taiwan.
October 6, 2007: "Krosa" just made landfall in Taiwan in the North. Here in the South, while the wind is increasing, it's getting more gloomy and dark. In the meantime we are backed up by nice people to get the car released and shall visit therefore on Monday the local customs authority.
October 8, 2007: Unfortunately the customs authorities are not yet cooperating; they want to have the "Carnet de Passages" verified by their representation in Bern or Geneva. In the meantime the container remains in the rain in the harbor of Kaohsiung – the typhoon is currently in China.
October 10, 2007: Good news is that the customs authorities have now accepted our customs paper. Our LandCruiser could be freed from its cage, the container. Today being National Day, we should get it hopefully released tomorrow Thursday.
October 11, 2007: We happily made it into our 157th country Taiwan, but with pretty high entrance fees (about the double as usual)! From now on, please follow us via our pictures below.
01  Saying good-bye on Sept. 28th, 2007, to
our LandCruiser, sailing on Evergreen-Line
from Bintulu in Sarawak/East Malaysia
(Borneo) to Kaohsiung in Taiwan
 02  Taiwan’s “Taipeh-101-Tower” with
its height of 1’676.4 ft. was considered
the tallest building in the world until it was
exceeded by United Arab Emirates’ “Burj
Dubai” (Dubai Tower) (>1'832 ft.) building
03  A fascinating contrast of old and
new at Zhongshan South Road in Taipei
Taiwan  (October 2, 2007 – November 28, 2007)
There is definitely no point of return! Everything is firmly booked, everything is already paid. The message of our Swiss Trade Office in Taipei that we possibly won’t be allowed to drive on Taiwan’s roads with our own car, reaches us too late, because already two days later, on October 2nd, 2007, 5pm, we approach our 157th country with JetStarAsia. Through the white billowing clouds we catch a first glimpse of the subtropical island we hope to be able to explore for a period of two months – of the dark mountain massif, of intensely cultivated fields, scattered duck ponds, interrupted by many dense concentrations of uniform high-rise buildings. Any moment, we are prepared for the heavy turbulences announced by our captain as a result of Typhoon “Lekima” that is heading straight towards Taiwan. But luckily, it remains calm until we land. A lovely sea breeze is greeting us, as we leave the plane and head to the modern airport building. The air seems to be much less filled with the sweltering humidity here than we experienced recently throughout the rest of South East Asia. Finally we are able to take deep breath again. But we aren’t really relaxed yet. The chance that we will be asked for an onward ticket is pretty high and is worrying us. At the check-in counter in Singapore, we only got away with the explanation that we would continue from Taiwan with the ferry to the Japanese Island of Okinawa, despite that this was never our intention. Well, then it is our turn, Emil’s first. As he leaves the booth after only two minutes visibly happy, a load is off my mind: I know – we just have made it!
04  The “Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall”
is fronted by a traditional Chinese arched
gate and sits in a beautiful park
 05  In the midst of sky rising buildings,
Taipei’s “Peace Park” with its lovely
pavilions and fish pond is a relaxing oases
from the hustle and bustle of the town
06  Small Taiwanese temples are
often squeezed between town buildings.
At Taipei’s Shaoxing South Road
we are attracted by this side altar
Shortly after, we are sitting in the modern city bus and drive full of expectations into the advancing night. An old James Bond movie with Sean Connery is flickering on the small TV screen, while, through the windows, we watch the bright lights of this mega city passing by. The final destination of our bus is the main station; from there, the short stretch to our booked Taiwanmex Hostel is within walking distance. Although our room is just a tiny cubicle, we feel immediately comfortable. The hostel is cheerful and clean, and in no time we are already deeply asleep. Totally different from many other Asian cities that we have criss-crossed by now, Taipei presents itself in a way broader, more relaxed and without the omnipresent hectic, chaos and the often bone-crushing feeling of overpopulation, despite that – after Bangladesh – Taiwan has the reputation to be the second most densely populated country in the world. The many luxurious shopping malls, where obviously all of the expensive world-renowned labels can be found, show a distinctive Western character. Nevertheless the charm of the Far East is visible around every corner, is it a traditional gate, a small temple with burning incense sticks and fresh offerings squeezed into a labyrinth of sky scrapers, or an exotic pavilion with an adjacent fish pond in a city park. But especially also the Chinese scripts of the mandarin language – the “proper Chinese” – highlight our feeling and fascination for this foreign culture. There is no more doubt: We are now in a Chinese part of Asia, feeling very happy.
07  An impressive experience: Taiwan's
High Speed Rail carries us with
186 miles/hour from the capital Taipei
to the Southern port city of Kaohsiung.
Time for the 208 miles ride: 1 h. 36 m.
 08  The Chinese characters look
fascinating and strange. Here the
Cheng Gong Road in Kaohsiung
09  Emil enjoys his favorite Chinese
dish "Sweet and Sour Pork"
and a bowl of noodles
To our complete happiness however, we are missing our third traveling companion: Our LandCruiser that is due to arrive in two days time in the Southern port city of Kaohsiung with “Uni Phoenix” of the Taiwanese Evergreen Shipping Line from Bintulu in the Malaysian province of Sarawak on Borneo. Therefore, already next morning we push our indispensable luggage trolley back to the nearby main station and take the spotlessly clean and comfortable high speed train that speeds with 186 miles/hour like a hovercraft in 1.36 hours to the Southern port city, 208 miles away. When we arrive, it is noon. We eat a filling Hamburger at McDonalds, then we announce ourselves at the Evergreen Line. We are welcomed by Ms. Lisa, a young and attractive lady, and Mr. Lee, a small and nervous Chinese who will be our broker. From the moment when we are guided to the conference room and served a cup of bitter tea, we sense somehow that not everything will run as smoothly as we hoped. And soon enough we get the confirmation: If at all, only a limited circulation permit will be granted. First, the talk is of five days, then of three times five days maximum and, in addition, of a bond of about US$4’000 that has to be placed. Despite of these bad news, we remain optimistic relying on the email of the Taiwan Tourism Bureau that says that the import of a visiting car is allowed as long as its value does not exceed the amount of US$20’000. If everything goes wrong however, the only solution will be to divert our container to its next destination – Hong Kong. This is, however, the last thing we wished to do.
10  Our LandCruiser made it into
Taiwan with the big assistance of
Legislator Mrs. Dr. Kuan Bi-Ling and
Prof. Weihwang Lin in Kaohsiung
11  Adorable children at Prof. Lin's
Kindergarden in Kaohsiung. Mr. Lin
helped us kindly to go through all the
hurdles for the release of our car
12  Can we park more appropriate in
Kaohsiung than in front of the election
poster of Legislator Mrs. Dr. Kuan Bi-Ling, who massively supported our car release?
In the evening, we are sitting on a wooden bench at the lovely promenade of the “Love River” and watch the pale sunlight disappear behind the dense ocean of houses across the river. The air is filled with the scent of aromatic coffee and music. Nevertheless, it is the calm before the storm – literally: This time it is typhoon “Krosa” that is approaching Taiwan with winds up to 185 miles/h. Memories come back from Guadeloupe, where hurricane “Jeanne” surprised us in the middle of the night on our lonely camping spot at the peaceful Goyave River. Within no time, the river had raised alarmingly, cutting us off with its many newly formed arms completely from the outside world. Our lives were only saved due to the fortunate fact that the water level receded exactly at its most critical level. With no cellular at that time, we could not even have called anybody for help. Today, the situation is different: In the meantime, we own also a handy – sponsored by Telecom Indonesia – and the next few nights we are sleeping behind the protecting walls on the 2nd floor of the 202-Backpacker Hostel, which is run by a Canadian und where also young expatriates, mainly English teachers, are housing until they find a suitable place to stay. Despite that the room is spacious and bright, we are sweltering even with two fans running, and the cleanliness is not the best either. But it is only for a few days, we comfort ourselves, because all the other accommodations we inspected in this port city cost at least the double. 
13  'Wan Shin Kong' Temple is
300 years old. It has been
restored 30 years ago
14  The tower in Kaohsiung was
the highest one in Taiwan before
the 'Taipei 101-Tower' took over
15  The wide-ranging panorama from
the viewing platform of the Kaohsiung
Tower over the town is impressive,
especially towards the North
Next morning, the forerunners of the approaching storm become already noticeable: All we can see outside is a gray wall; even the riverbank across is not visible anymore. The decorative draperies of a hurriedly set up wedding marquee on the huge parking lot opposite of our hostel are caught by the heavy wind and torn apart relentlessly. The huge pots of the street kitchen, covered by a rudimentarily tarp only, are shaking and rattling. And then it starts pouring down. Behind the comfortable walls of our room, we listen to the beautiful sounds of the exotic music that still can be heard from the pavilion. It helps to distract us at least a bit from the anxiety caused by today’s visit of our broker: He came barehanded. Nothing is positive, everything is negative: The Customs continues to insist on a bond of US$4’000, the Ministry of Transport is not willing to give us a temporary local license plate, and apparently having a local license plate is enforced by law – as it was the case also in Japan.
16  The former British Consulate at
Takao – today Kaohsiung - was the
first Western style building in Taiwan.
Situated on a hill at the seaside, it offers a
beautiful panorama over the harbor entrance
17  The Love River with its lovely
riverside promenade is one of the
main attractions of Kaohsiung. In
the evening, the many lights
add a romantic flair
18  Now, we are even remembered
at the body of a small shark
During the night “Krosa” has developed to a typhoon category 5. Luckily – at least for us – its centre lies in the Northeast of the island. Windows are rattling, the woodwork is crashing, the storm is howling through the empty streets. An upset sparrow is looking for a protected corner outside our window. We see treetops and palm leafs bending gravely, we hear the hard banging of toppling stuff – flower pots, bicycles, tables, chairs, billboards and flagpoles – that are accumulated virtually in front of every entrance. Fighting against the strong gusts of wind, we are looking for one of the few taxis and let us drive to the address mentioned by Lisa of the Evergreen Line. “We want to help you” is all she told us this Saturday morning when she unexpectedly called. Only little by little we realize that we landed in the office of the DPP – the Democratic Progressive Party – and that the friendly lady we are introduced to is Legislator Ms. Dr. Kuan Bi-Ling, and the man, who is looking after us from the beginning is a retired Professor named Dr. Weihwang Lin. We learn that on Monday, he will escort us to the customs head office and check with its boss what can be done. When Lisa is driving us back to our hostel, the storm is intensifying, and when we reach our room, it is already raging. Often we worry that our windows will crush. All the same, Emil walks to the close-by “Family Mart” to buy enough mineral water because there are warnings of one meter of rain falling and the disruption of the water and electricity supplies. Luckily none of them come true. However news spread of landslides, roads under water and hundreds of uprooted trees in Taipei and the most affected Northeast Coast. Fortunately, meanwhile “Krosa” already proceeded to mainland China. 
19  Around the Lotus Pond in
Kaohsiung, the charm of the
Far East is evident at every corner
20  Chinese lanterns are
eye-catching everywhere
21  The Confucius Temple in its
brilliant red and gold at Lotus
Lake is an architectural treasure
As agreed, Professor Lin is fetching us at 8am on Monday morning. Together, we drive to the main customs building. It is very obvious that he is an influential personality, because we are guided directly to the management department on the 6th floor. That gives us confidence! The secretary listens politely to his explanations and disappears thereafter with our papers. After less than 15 minutes he is back and after a short exchange of words between the two – of course in Chinese – we are guided back to the ground floor and assigned to a lady at one of the many counters. Due to all the activities, our confidence gets another boost! However, very soon her ongoing disapproval and her negative gestures don’t promise a smooth ride. But “our professor” remains persistent. After two hours of firm debating on both sides and anxious waiting on our part, it’s agreed that eventually our Carnet de Passage might be accepted. But first its authenticity will have to be verified through the Taiwanese representative in Switzerland. As Switzerland is still sleeping, there is nothing we can do than wait until the following morning. Hope and resignation change constantly.
22  One of the many exotic
pagodas around the Lotus
Pond on the outskirts
North of Kaohsiung
23  The God of War graces the 
Spring- and Autumn-Pavilion at
the Lotus Pond near Kaohsiung
24  View over roofs of the huge
Buddhist Monastery ‘Fo Guan Shan’,
situated approximately 20 miles North-
east of Kaohsiung. It is the center
of Buddhist scholarship in Taiwan
The returning sun next morning raises also our spirits. Over night, the verification of our Carnet has gone through all the authorities – internet makes it possible. At 1.30pm we are driven to the warehouse of the shipping line, and shortly afterwards, Emil is driving our LandCruiser out of its container. The customs inspector is already present. He wants to have the car keys for a later inspection. But as Emil refuses categorically to hand them over to him, the checking is done right on the spot, instantly and randomly. But we still have no right to drive on Taiwan’s roads. The Department of Transport has still to give its approval too, and then we need to buy third-party insurance. Being the “Double Ten National Day” tomorrow, October 10th, we have to exercise more patience. Leaving our faithful companion back in the lonely shed, we return to the city centre. It is 3pm as the phone is ringing. Surprisingly, it is the Tourism Bureau in Taipei that meanwhile is also involved actively in the release of our car. They apologize for all the inconveniences and congratulate us already for the success entering the 157th country. We find it to be a good omen and therefore a reason to celebrate. And what suits better than the riverbank of the “Love River” with its cafes and restaurants? We order a chilled beer and have the feeling that it seldom has tasted better.
25  The nun who gave us free sightseeing
of the ‘Fo Guan Shan’ Monastery poses for
a picture with Liliana under the main gate
26  In the peaceful Main Shrine,
three Buddha images of
25.6 ft. height sit in meditation
27  In the „Great Buddha Land”,
the 118 ft. tall golden Buddha
watches over his 480 disciples
The morning after the National Day more running around with “our professor” is necessary until the rest of the bureaucratic hurdles of the car’s release are finally settled: The main customs has stamped our Carnet, we get a temporary Taiwanese license plate not only for 15 but for 60 days (new in our travel journey is that we have to pay a daily road tax, what equals to US$60 for our two months’ stay), and are able to buy a limited third-party insurance for a reasonable price after initially they insisted on a years tariff. Though now we have US$600 less in our pocket, we are very, very happy to have made it at all into this fascinating island. And it has worked out only due to “Guangxi” – the connections, which are extremely important in Taiwan. Without “Guangxi”, nothing goes. What means that in order to succeed, you need somebody who knows again somebody who is able to help you further on. Yes, and our incredible luck started unexpectedly with Lisa, the young attractive lady of the Evergreen Shipping Line! 
28  Side by side and in long lines,
the disciples worship their God
29  Seven pagodas are “watching” the cemetery of the ‘Fo Guan Shan’ Monastery
30  The seven-storey, 141 ft.
high “Zhongxing Ta Pagoda“ is
the main attraction of Kaohsiung’s
“Chengcing Lake“ (Cristal clear lake)
But the city port of Kaohsiung has still a firm grip on us. Exactly one week after we were standing in front of the office of the Democratic Progressive Party with our seemingly unsolvable problems, we show up again, this time with our LandCruiser. The press has been organized: 3 TV stations, 1 radio station and 10 newspaper journalists. This gives us finally the welcome opportunity to express our gratitude and thanks to Legislator Dr. Kuan Bi-Ling and Professor Lin for all their extraordinary support. With the gift of a Swiss flag and a signed Swiss base ball cap, we underline our deep appreciation to Ms. Legislator. The response of this press conference is overwhelming. During the next days, our email inbox is running full from the flood of emails reaching us due to the numerous newspaper articles. Some people welcome us warmly to their country, others proudly give us tips of special sights we shouldn’t miss and offer themselves as guides for their region, and others again invite us spontaneously to dinner and even to stay for the night. The hospitality of this people is beyond all expectations.
31  Delicatessen shops with all kind of
exotic food are never far away in Taiwan
32  The setting sun casts a bright light
upon the impressive “Grand Hotel
Chengcing Lake“ in Kaohsiung
33  Four friends share their
happiness with us. Taiwan’s
youth is polite and friendly
Being reunited with our LandCruiser means to have regained our freedom and independence. Our first discovery trip leads us into Kaohsiung’s surroundings. Everything has such a strange and exotic touch, everything is so fascinating new for us – true Chinese. Wonderful scenery is awaiting us at Lotus Lake, with its Spring and Autumn Pavilions, with the huge figures of Goddesses, with the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the architectonic treasure of the Confucius Temple. Only after the last rays of the setting sun have disappeared behind the red temple roofs, we leave this place with its boundless treasures. Next day, we find ourselves in front of another not less stunning place: “Fo Guan Shan” – the centre of the Buddhist teaching in Taiwan – situated 20 miles to the North of Kaohsiung. The 118ft. high golden Buddha statue that sits on a hill and is surrounded by 480 deities is eye-catching already from the parking lot. While we walk through the widespread park with its different temples, pagodas, bridges, gardens and ponds, a graceful nun speaking good English is approaching us. “A guard told me that we have famous visitors”, she explains, waving the Taiwanese Liberty Times newspaper in her hand. “We offer free tours”, she continues. “May I show you around?“ she adds eagerly. This is how we get to know about the teaching of Buddha while admiring at the same time all the religious treasures of this temple empire. When after two hours we say good-buy to our friendly nun, we have to promise that, if possible, we will return and spend the night at their guesthouse.
34  Kaohsiung’s “Yimin Temple” in the
“Golden Lion Lake Scenic Area” is crammed
with offerings. ‘Spirit Money’ for the afterworld
being one of it. It can be bought in the temple
and then offered by throwing it into a burning fire
35  The small pagoda of Kaohsiung’s
“Yimin Temple” is enchanting with
its lovely details
36  A Chinese opera performance
in front of the “Yimin Temple” in
Kaohsiung attracts many spectators
On the way back to our “202-Backpacker”, we happen to pass along the “Yimin Temple” in Kaohsiung’s „Golden Lion Lake Scenic Area” where a big crowd has gathered. Curious as always, we park our car and walk through the gate to the temple. The scene awaiting us is unique: The entrance is cram-full with beautiful garlands and flower bouquets. Below the stairs, an open air Chinese opera is in full swing. At the adjacent small pagoda, devotes throw bundles of ghost money they bought in the temple into the open fire of a huge stove. Inside the main temple, on long tables, stacks of fresh fruit, ghost money for the afterworld and colorful paper puppets pile up. Priests standing in a line pray in a monotonous singsong. What event are they celebrating, we wonder, and ask some people to find out. We never get the answer, because unfortunately, nobody understands one single word of English. When night falls and we return for the last time to our „202-Backpacker“, our heads are crammed with all the exotic impressions of this fantastic corner of the world. And it just happens to be also our 23rd anniversary since we hit the road!
37  On our way to “Kenting National
Park“ at the Southern end of the island,
we enjoy a picnic on the seashore
38  The coast is getting lonely and
wild towards Jialeshuei on the
Eastern side of the Southern tip
39  “Sail Rock“ at Kenting is
a famous landmark in the
“Kenting National Park“
Next morning, we collect our room key depot of NT$100 hidden under a whisky bottle in the hallway and throw the key into the letterbox of the 202-Backpacker Hostel, as during daytime nobody is present. Leaving Kaohsiung, the sea of houses slowly gives way to vegetable gardens and betel nut palm groves as we head Southwards towards Kenting National Park, which comprises the island’s southernmost point and is a popular recreation park for the locals. After the hustle and bustle of the city, we are really looking forward to explore some nature and enjoy camping life again. When we reach the beach town of Kenting, however, it is a big disappointment: It is overflowing with hotels, restaurants, bars and especially people. It is not at all what we expected to find and have only one desire: To get away from the crowd as fast as possible. As night is soon falling, we desperately need a safe place to camp. When we ask permission in the headquarters of the Kenting National Park to stay the night in their compound, explaining that we are sleeping in the car, they categorically refuse. And in the dark, we fail to find the official campgrounds mentioned in our guide book. Being our first camping night in Taiwan, we get a bit nervous. Luckily, the coastal road gets steadily lonelier and wilder, the more South we drive. We try our luck on the first track branching off towards the beach, which is even paved. It ends on a tiny, deserted spot in front of a fence with the foundation of a house in the back. This is just perfect. The sea is roaring and the strong wind jolts our car, when we go to sleep. I am the first to wake up from some beaming searchlight. A voice calls “Hello”. It is the police, says an annoyed Emil, who is now fully awake too and peeks out of the window. He starts to get dressed. But at the same instant as he wants to climb out of the car, the police vehicle is already driving away. All the same, this nightly intermezzo on our first wild camping attempt in Taiwan does leave a mixed feeling. 
40  Chashan Beach near Jialeshuei
attracts plenty of surfers
41  A fisher lady tries her luck at
“Kissing Rock“ in “Eluanbi Park“
at the Southern tip
42  Chashan near Jialeshuei – a
surfer’s paradise! Dozens of brave
surfers confront the pounding waves
Clear blue skies awake us next morning. The gale-force winds have swept away completely yesterday’s haze. Excited, we start to discover the sights that this southernmost point offers on a small scale. A short way further we reach the “Windblown Sand” – a bed of sand that flows into the sea like a river. At “Cat’s Nose” with its vertical cliffs, we are staggering around dead corals. It is not a very safe place to be. Deep below us the sea is roaring and strong gusts of winds are blowing. When suddenly I am stumbling from such a wind gust and hurting my back on the sharp corals, we are not in a mood for more adventures and continue to the Kenting National Forest Recreation Area that is praised as a “must” in the Lonely Planet guide book. The only thing we enjoy there, however, is the panorama from the viewing tower. Apart of this, nothing else really attracts us in this recreational park. At least, we spot a large, empty parking lot, which will be just perfect to spend the next night. We wait until darkness falls. Only then we drive to the most hidden corner of it. A dog in the vicinity gets alarmed and is barking persistently, but nobody pays any attention and we remain undisturbed for the rest of the night.
43  One of the many beautiful butterflies
fluttering from blossom to blossom in the
“Shuangliou National Recreation Area“
44  A green tree frog watches for insects
45  A strange sight: A swarm of bees
form a compact ball on a tree branch
For breakfast, we move to the parking lot of the “Shuangliou National Recreation Area“ – according to Lonely Planet also a “must visit”. Except of parked cars of some early morning joggers and a young pig seeking gruntingly physical contact, we are alone. This park suits us: Fist-size butterflies fill the air and flatter from flower to flower to feed on the nectar of the many blossoms: White-black ones, then dark ones with king blue spots and brown-white ones. Half way, the path leads through two impressive deep gorges with vertical walls and very narrow passages. We are enthusiastically taking pictures when this happens: My Panasonic Digital Photo Camera glides out of my hands and crashes hard to the ground. I am devastated. I was so happy to finally have one for myself after we recently had bought a new one in Singapore. But wonder of wonders, after thoroughly testing it, we find out that everything is still working properly – just a little scratch on the body. Thankful, we move on and shortly after, we say definitively good-bye to the relatively dry southern point: To the “Sail Rock” – the famous landmark of the Kenting National Park – to the “Kissing Rock”, to the “Eluanbi Park” with its lighthouse and to “Chashan’s Surfer Paradise”. In Fonggang, we follow the narrow and twisting back road over the lush green hills to the East Coast. 
46  Emil poses for a picture between
the giant roots of a Banyan tree
47  A spider – the size of a hand – sits in
its woven net between two tree branches
48  One of the many delicate flowers that
are blooming in Taiwan’s subtropical climate
Arriving at the East Coast we take a turn to the North. We are in Daren when we need to find a place to camp for the night and branch off to a side valley, where soon we find a peaceful spot near a quiet river. It is a dreamy place. Not a single light of human existence interrupts the darkness of the night. Only blinking fireflies and a sky shimmering with a million stars keep us company. Next day, our lucky streak is still with us further north when we are looking for a place to make our lunch break. We find a lovely lake surrounded by palm trees and a shore full of wild flowers in beautiful colors. Again butterflies and dragonflies are all over. Grasshoppers are sitting on grass stalks. White egrets and a bird of prey circle above our heads. Over and over again, we are surprised how much pure nature this second most populated country of the world still treasures. It is only with a certain regret that we move on, but we want to reach today our next destination, Taitung. Driving the fast four-lane coastal road, we reach in the shortest time the third largest city of Taiwan.
49  A beautiful morning greets us at our lonely
bush camp in Nantian. We are surprised that in
the second most densely populated country of
the world, we still find such untouched nature
50  This beautiful temple in
Sihchongsi on Road 199
attracts us like a magnet
51  The “Liji badlands“ near
Taitung form bizarre formations
One of the numerous invitations that we got per email arrived from Taitung – from Augustin, a Swiss missionary of the Swiss Bethlehem Mission in Immensee. When we park our car in the early afternoon hours in the compound of their regional house, there is nobody around. We prepare ourselves for a longer wait, when Augustin suddenly appears on the doorsteps and gives us a cheerful welcome. He is 72 years old, still very energetic and is living already since 44 years in Taiwan. His responsibility is the construction of new churches, which little by little is handed over to the local parishes. Later, we also meet Brother Laurenz, another compatriot and also working as missionary on the island for already 40 years; then the two dogs: Veila, a 16 years old female, which is very sick with liver cancer and with no chance to recover, and Tutu the young male, which has energy for three and speeds away as soon as he is let loose.
52  A young lady in Taitung is picking
the stalks of the pepper leaves – an
essential ingredient of the betel nut mixture
53  View over the valley and the
“Little Huang Mountains“ in Taitung
54  The amazing net of these tree
roots is a natural help against erosion
Augustin is a passionate mountain climber, hobby gardener and nature lover. Therefore we are very lucky when he spontaneously invites us for a unique tour of the region. He knows his surroundings like his own vest-pocket and has a profound knowledge of plants, fruits and its use. That is how – among others – we get to see the tiny white blossom of the betel palm with its delicate scent. Then the pepper leaves that – like the beans – creep along poles, its stems being part of the stimulating betel nut mixture. The three of us are sitting happily on the two front seats of our packed LandCruiser, Augustin guiding us through the hills. He shows us the Liji Badlands, an impressive eroded landscape with bizarre formations and a wonderful panorama down to the river valley. Later, we follow him into the lush forest where he surprises us with a hidden thermal spring – a perfect place for Adam and Eve! 
55  The wide Peinan River meanders
through the fertile valley of Taitung county
56  A Hibiscus flower in its full beauty
57  The silvery band of the river cuts
through the steep and nearly inaccessible
mountains of the Central Mountain Range
After a short lunch at the mission house, where once more we enjoy some new exotic food, we are on the road again, this time with Augustin’s faster car. Through guava fields, kaki plantations and dense bush, we meander on a washed out road higher and higher into the mountains to his second garden. Cherry and chestnut and many other tree species as well as an abundance of flowers that are blooming in every imaginable color are his great and justified pride. It is a quiet little paradise on a lonely mountain setting, with a rustically mansion, whose interior shows great taste. In no time, a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee and even some wonderful pastry that can absolutely compete with the famous Swiss Confiserie Spruengli in Zurich are on the table. We enjoy our little coffee break and the splendid view into the central mountain massive, where for a short moment the sun transforms the meandering river deep below into a silver thread before we start our descent. When we reach the valley, we park the car and walk to the wide, stony riverbed. Curious, we wonder what surprise is waiting for us this time. We do not have to guess for long: Only known to insiders, in the middle of the bed of the Peinan River, another thermal spring is gushing. It is awesome!
Pictures from the second part of our Taiwan trip from Taitung – Southern Cross-Island Highway – Siraya National Scenic Area (Zengwun Reservoir) – Alishan NSA – Sun Moon Lake NSA – Taroko National Park – Suao-Hualien Highway – Taipei
Pictures from the third part of our Taiwan trip from Taipei – Northeast Taiwan – Northern Cross-Island Hwy. – Taroko – East Coast – Taitung – Kaohsiung
Articles in newspapers about us in Taiwan:
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", The Central News Agency - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Daily Newspaper "China Times" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妇游世界车难入关 管碧玲助解决", Chinese Internet News "Duo Wei News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Hi Net" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "msn News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "PChome Online" - October 13, 2007
Article: "管媽服務效率第一 連瑞士人都知道!", Legislator Ms. Dr. Kuan Bi-Ling's Blog - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦游世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Sina News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Yam News" - October 13, 2007
Article: "管碧玲服務效率 連瑞士人都佩服!", Chinese Internet News "IDN.com" - October 14, 2007
Article: "三項金氏世界紀錄保持者/瑞士夫妻環球23年 吉普遊台", Daily Newspaper "Liberty Times" - October 14, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦遊世界車難入關 管碧玲助解決", Chinese Internet News "Qnews" - October 14, 2007
Article: "管碧玲服務效率 連瑞士人都佩服!", Daily Newspaper "Taiwan Independent Evening News" - October 14, 2007
Article: "三项金氏世界纪录保持者/瑞士夫妻环球23年 吉普游台", Daily Newspaper "The Epoch Times" - October 14, 2007
Article: "三項金氏世界紀錄保持者/瑞士夫妻環球23年 吉普遊台", Chinese Internet News "YAHOO! News" - October 14, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妻环球航行23年 历经156个国家和地区", Chinese Internet News "CCTV" / China - October 15, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妻23年环球航行 曾到达156个国家和地区", Chinese Internet News "China News" / China - October 15, 2007
Article: "Swiss couple in Taiwan on 23-year round-world drive", English Internet News "The China Post" - October 15, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫妇23年环游地球 足迹遍布156个国家和地区", Chinese Internet News "China Daily" / China - October 16, 2007
Article: "瑞士夫婦23年環遊地球 足跡遍佈156個國家和地區", Xinhua News Agency / China - October 16, 2007
Article: "Swiss couple fall in love with Taiwan", English Daily Newspaper "Taipei Times" - November 13, 2007