The Taiwan Tales continue as we move from Taipei to Hualien and finally headed into Taitung, the rural eastern region of Taiwan. Our destination for the day was Lyudao aka Green Island, an offshore island about 1 hour away from Taitung by ferry.
THE WORST FERRY RIDE OF MY LIFE
The best and cheapest way to get to Lyudao is to take the ferry – you can see more in my Essential Guide to Lyudao – but on this day back in 2007, it was also the first time I ever got off a boat feeling absolutely green.
I think we might have just hit a bad day or bad weather conditions, but the boat ride there was really choppy. I was wondering why there were so many cleaners standing around with plastic bags in gloved hands and carrying buckets, and after the boat started moving, it became evident why exactly. Talk about a shitty job though.
The ferry was one big enclosed air-conditioned cabin, and you could smell the puke when people started throwing up left, right and centre. The worst thing though was a guy in the seats behind us who was making the worst retching noises – like just puke already but the sounds he was making definitely made things worse. I’m not the sort who gets motion sick but that stereo-sound retching and the smell was making even me queasy. There was a very small outdoor platform that we hung out in for awhile that helped just a little, but my more seasick prone friends were having an even more miserable time than I was.
We were thoroughly disheveled and disoriented as we stumbled off the boat, and right away we were accosted by all sorts of touts at the pier offering us every kind of service – not the welcome we were looking for at all. Luckily, we ran into the nicest Taiwanese lady who was waiting for the next ferry out, and she helped us fend off all the touts and even called up the guesthouse she had stayed at to come help us out. We had not made any plans for accommodation and transport, and that was all settled thanks to this one nice lady – we definitely lucked out that day.
I never did catch the name of the guesthouse in all the time we were staying there – this was a time before I was a more conscientious travel blogger – but it was located directly opposite the visitor’s center, right next to the tiny Lyudao airport. We were put in a fairly roomy place on the 3rd floor, with 3 double beds between the 5 of us and our own ensuite toilet.
CHECKING OUT LYUDAO
After taking some time to recover from the hell ferry ride, we decided to walk around nearby and see what there was. The thing we realised quickly was that no one walks around Lyudao – everyone gets around by scooter. Unfortunately none of us could ride a scooter so we decided to rent a car the next day. Meanwhile, we checked out the tiny airport next door – there are 3 flights daily from Taitung to Lyudao – it takes only 15 minutes but costs about 3x as much, but if you get really seasick it might be worth the cost.
We then walk over to the lighthouse, the nearest landmark that we could get to about 1km away from our guesthouse. It’s still an active lighthouse so we couldn’t climb up, but the beach area was just nice and peaceful to hang out in. We met some snorkellers who were really friendly and they recommended us lots of things to do, including showing us these ‘starry rocks’ on the shore, pieces of coral that have star-like shapes on them.
We headed back to the hostel as it started to get dark. Our lovely hostel lady owner Xiao Lan jie recommended a great seafood restaurant in the main Nanliao town area that served up cheap and yummy food – it cost us just S$13 each for a whole lot of seafood. We definitely needed the treat after such a rough journey here.
After dinner we wandered around the souvenir shops a little bit before deciding to call it an early night.