February 27th-March 1st, 2015
With Chinese New Year ending on a good note after an awesome trip to South Korea it was time to go back to the adult world, but not for long! Along with a break for Chinese New Year my school also gave us a three-day weekend for Peace Day, February 28th. In January, I had decided I was finally just going to go to Green Island without not much planning involved. My first spur of the moment trip and I still managed to get hostels and hotels booked for myself (I don’t think I will ever stop being a planner).
I knew I was going to be getting done with work early that Thursday, so I decided to make the 6 hour train ride to Taitung that Thursday so I had all of Friday to get to Green Island. I ended up picking up a subbing opportunity so I was working until 4:00pm and had to catch a local train to get on a bigger train in Taichung at 4:22pm. I cut everything very close, but I managed to get on all of my trains in time. I ended up standing through half of my trip, but the train ride wasn’t so bad. In Taitung I caught a cab to my hostel, walked to the Family Mart to get some snacks and food to eat, and then settled into my bed to pass out. Luckily, I was only spending one night in this hostel. The room was fine, but the hallway and bathroom resembled something out of a horror movie for me. It was run down and needed serious repair.
I got up early the next morning to catch a shuttle bus that would take me to the Taitung Harbor (Fugang Fish Harbor). When I arrived there was a little confusion because I didn’t know if I was on a wait list or if I had a reserved ticket (my hotel manager had booked the ticket for me). It was finally sorted out and I was in line for a 40-minute ferry to Green Island. This ferry and a plane that I was on to Thailand are two of the worst experiences I have had with transportation. The water was so choppy that I immediately started vomiting. Since I had been warned about the rough ferry ride I made sure my stomach was empty, but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t still dry heaving and having body sweats the whole way there. I will leave the rest of the details out, but by the time I arrived to Green Island I was a sweaty, hot mess and desperately needed a shower. My hotel manager, Lily, and her husband picked me up from the harbor and took me to the Shabondi Guesthouse. If you are ever on Green Island I definitely recommend staying here versus a regular hotel. The place has a more homier feel because the family lives there and Lily whips up a great breakfast for the cost of only 100NT (3USD). At Shabondi I was able to shower and take a nap. Then I made my scooter rental and hot spring ticket purchases from Lily. I ate lunch in the main village of Green Island. All the seafood there is great, but most of the places to eat on Green Island are family sit-down style and when you are eating for one buying a bunch of food and then wasting it is not my ideal situation. I ended up eating at a restaurant twice, which I hate doing when I travel. Green Island is not a place for a foodie. With a clean body and some food in my belly I was finally able to start wandering around the island.
First stop was the Green Island Lighthouse. This lighthouse was actually a gift to the island from the United States; cool! Human Rights Memorial Park was next with several small stops for one to wander around the memorial, prison, and transition buildings. Overall, this place had a weird eerie feeling; like if I stayed there something bad would happen to me. However, it was nice to see that Taiwan was willing to be honest about the mistakes they had made during a conflict-communist era. I made my way down to a place called Swallows Cave. It gets its’ name from the bird, but it is a landmark due to the prison using it as a place for the inmates to put on performances. Why anyone would want to have performances in a cave I have no idea. I continued my venture around Green Island. I stopped whenever I wanted to look at something. A lot of beach areas and hiking trails are spread around the island’s coast. I was still so weak from the morning that I could barely manage the walks that I was already doing, so I decided to save hiking for the next day. I ended my round-the-island-adventure with a stop at a diving area. There was a siting area so I decided to sit there and read while I waited for the sunset. I ate a yummy seafood fried rice dish before I went back to my hotel, but made sure to pick up some lotion before. I was sunburnt badly. The main goal of this trip was to be by myself and just relax. That is exactly what I did. I laid around and read and watched TV the entire rest of the evening. Green Island isn’t that hopping at night and I wasn’t in the mood to venture out and drink anyways.
The next morning I ate breakfast and then prepared for a hike across the island. Green Island has an Ancient Across Island Trail. I scooted to the beginning and made my way to the other end. It was warm, but the end of the trail was located almost right next to the ocean so you can enjoy some ocean breeze before having to walk back to the beginning. After finishing that trail I ventured onto another portion of the trail, but this one was narrow and full of spider webs. I eventually reluctantly turned around because the amount of spiders and spider webs I was running into were overwhelming. Back in the village I ate lunch and then was back on the road again for more venturing on paths. I stopped at this one area that had a stretch of beach, dry coral, and then ocean water. I walked through the dry coral until I got to a portion I could sit on and just sat there for a while in reflection. Not a single person was around. Just me and the crystal clear ocean water. Reluctantly, I got up and walked back to my scooter. My next stop was the hot spring. Green Island’s hot spring is one of the few known hot springs in the world that contains salt water. Because I went during off season I had most of the hot spring to myself. It was a little difficult with my sunburnt shoulders, but I managed. By this time I had officially done all the things there were to do on Green Island besides diving. Beings that I am kind of afraid of water I wasn’t going to go diving. I went back to my hotel and took a nap! I can’t remember the last time I got to take one of those. I also spent some time reading. Eventually I got ready to go into the village again for dinner, but before I could leave Lily invited me to dinner. That was some of the best traditional Taiwanese food I have eaten! I got to spend another evening relaxing and slowly packing to leave the next morning.
Getting up early again I ate breakfast and said goodbye to Shabondi Guesthouse. Lily’s husband took me to the small Green Island airport so I could wait for a plane to Taitung. I was 7th on the wait list, but still managed to get a spot on the airplane. This plane was insane! It was a 19-person propeller plane. From the time we took off to the time we landed it was maybe 15 minutes. While I kind of feared for my life on that plane (they still make propeller planes!) it was a cool experience. I was able to take a cab to the Taitung Train Station and buy a ticket to Taichung with a seat! I told all my friends that I was so lucky I needed to buy a lottery ticket. By the time I got back to Fengyuan it was before 5:00pm. I had a delicious Indian meal from Ganga with my friends Sean and Laura before I headed home.
Besides getting sick I had a relaxing time on Green Island. It was a great time for me-time before my dad and sister were to arrive the following weekend.
Two 6-hour train tickets – 1,612NT (54USD)
Taitung hostel -13USD
Green Island hotel – 54USD*
Round-trip Ferry Ticket -800NT (27USD)
Two day scooter rental – 600NT (20USD)
Hot Spring Ticket-150NT (5USD)
Airplane Ticket -1,027NT (34USD)
*Thanks to credit on my credit card I didn’t have to pay for this hotel. 🙂 Thank you Capital One!