Kid playing in rock formations as the sun sets
Yehliu is a small fishing town - and an ugly town at that, sorry - on the northeast coast of Taiwan.
To get there, take the MRT to Taipei Main Station. Exit on the Zhongxiao side of the railway station - 4 or 5 should do, I can't remember which is better. Walk west along Zhongxiao (if you're facing the railway station, turn left) until you come to two bus stations - one for the airport and one for long distance buses. Pass both of these and make your first right, walking away from the Shinkong Life tower that is prominently on your left. On the left, you'll see another bus station servicing Ubus. enter and turn right, walking past the UBus section into the Guo Guang section. On the left, find a departure terminal labeled "Jinshan". Buy tickets to Yehliu from the counter across from that, and get on a Jinshan bound bus. Make sure to have the driver tell you where to get off. About 1.5 hours later, you'll arrive in Yehliu. Turn right and walk down the hill to the harbor and past it. The good seafood restaurants are here. Turn away from the harbor when you see a V in the road, and you'll come to the Geopark. There's a market selling dried fish and tacky souvenirs as well.
It has two attributes that make it entirely worth a visit, if not a repeat visit: gorgeous eroded rock formations and the best damn seafood you've ever had in your life.
We went for a day last weekend - a second visit for me and Brendan, and a first for my sister and a new friend. As we had all slept in, we didn't arrive until an hour or two before sunset. As it turns out, this is the best time of day to take photos of the compelling rocks that dot the coast, and the staggering cliffs above. The warm sandy color of these formations lends itself particularly well to the orange rays of the setting sun.
The rocks, coast and parts of the cliffs were formed - and are still being formed - by wind, water and sand erosion and (apparently) seismic activity. My students say that this last factor is false - it has nothing to do with the movement of anything below, and everything to do with the unique erosion conditions above.
The rocks are classified by their shape - there are "tofu rocks", "ginger rocks" and apparently even "brain rocks". The most famous is nu wang tou, or Queen's Head, shown below. We personally found the odd "garlic"-topped mini-volcanoes at the other end to be more compelling.
After the sun properly set we made our way to a seafood restaurant, choosing based on the abundance of plastic bins holding live seafood. "You guys got a menu?" I asked in Chinese.
"This is our menu," the owner answered, gesturing to the bins.
We had cuttlefish sashimi with a spicy dipping sauce, a plate of basil clams, a steamed fish, four barbecued crabs and a plate of stir-fried cabbage. The entire meal came to under $2000 NT for four people. Delicious!
My sister enjoying the local marine life
Fishermen flagrantly disobeying the rules