We wake up reaaaaally early to catch our train from Hualien to Ruisui – this time the hostel kindly gives us a lift all the way to the train station. It’s about 1.5 hours by train to a dinky little station.
Rui Sui ??
It’s pretty early still when we reach, so not much is going on. Ruisui (or Juisui, not sure why it translates like that) is a little township still part of Hualien county. (they have a website! It’s in chinese though)
We hadn’t actually booked any accomodation here since we couldn’t find any online, so we thought we’d spend the morning just walking around and finding a place since it was only for one night after all.
Just around the corner from the train station, we chanced upon Yang He guest house ???? – the owner actually ran a betel nut factory below and a guest house on top, and it was one of the nicer places we stayed all trip long. A single room with damn comfy mattresses on the floor and an attached toilet, including toiletries! It was pretty nice. Also, the best part is the owner organized all our activities for us.
So we dumped our bags and a little van came to fetch us to the Hsiukuluan ??? river. Ruisui is famous for its white water rafting, which is what we hoped to enjoy, but man the waters were LOW. Really unfortunate timing. Instead of getting carried along by the rapids, we spent most of our time paddling to get through the placid waters and given that the other people in our group were a couple with a little girl and an old granny, we were pretty disadvantaged on the paddling front. Half the time we had to get pulled along by the speedboat.
Also, we were decked out Singapore style in singlets and slippers, which were not the right gear at all for rafting! We ended up having to tie our slippers to our feet with raffia and getting really sunburnt at the end of it all. No pix because all our energy was spent paddling furiously…
So yes, if you do plan to go whitewater rafting, pick the monsoon seasons in August or so. And be prepared!
The best part of this whole experience? Seeing the red bridge end point and sinking our teeth into a great bian dang! After a quick shower, the little van whisked us off to a hot spring place. It was a little place out in the ‘farm’ area – the smell of manure and plants was in the air. The water here was carbonated, as opposed to being sulphuric like the other hot springs, so it didn’t smell so strongly.
The outdoor pool was looking really dingy so we opted for the indoor ones, with each of us taking a cubicle each. It’s a small stone bath, not too big – I had to cross my legs and sit in there. Also, since I was a bit sunburnt from the rafting, my skin was pretty sensitive. There were 2 taps – 1 with the carbonated hot spring water, the other with cool water so you could adjust the temperature to your own liking.
After the hot springs, we head back to the guesthouse for a proper bath and take a little walk around the town to find dinner. Ruisui really has only one main street, so we just grab a quick bite before heading back to rest.