Sunday, March 17, 2013

ChingJing & LuShan Hot Spring

day 4 : 16th Dec 2012


We woke up to a bright & cool morning in Frog Castle. The kitchen was bustling serving up breakfast for the castle's guests. Sun light poured in from large windows bringing everything to life.












The naughty but extremely cute doggie



While waiting for our breakfast, we walked out into the garden. It was so dark when we arrived yesterday night. Lesser did we know the castle is soooo beautiful!


I didn't come up here but I guess Fumi or Hobs found the door leading to the castle's terrace



The garden! So pretty and whimsical :)





What a cozy nook to have an outdoor afternoon tea while enjoying the breeze



Tempted already? Call to book your stay.




The princess is served with a delicious castle-cooked breakfast :p



Remember this resident doggie? 
He was busy going around tables looking for weak souls that will succumb to his cuteness...



... that will feed him with those yummy dried pork floss. 
I tried to cuddle him but he slipped away each time. Apparently, he's not here to be friends but just for the food.



The super customer service boss entertaining us with doggie's tricks. 


It was such a wonderful experience staying over at Frog Castle. Not like a typical accommodation, we only have to pay as we leave. We had cute frog soaps as a souvenier and the boss personally sent us off.

Friendly staff, delicious home cooked meals, clean spaces & pretty things to look at. This is definitely a girls haven. Not sure about the guys but Fumi & Hobs did looked very, very contented as well :)



As we left the castle's gate, I gotta snap out of my fairy-tale encounter. Nooo....

We stopped by at a shop selling Taiwan's famous sun biscuits. Tried it and hmm...it's not my cup of tea



Next stop is the famous 18 Celcius chocolatier in Puli. It is famous for its wide array of hand-made chocolates and one have to queue up to get into the shop.




They serve free coffee and tea too. Yes, it's absolutely FREE and absolutely sugar-free. That makes one crave for some sweet stuff and what could be better than to pair it off with some 18 Celcius chocolates :)

Unfortunately, the line was too long and we cant afford to waste our precious time. We have lots of things to see today! 18 Celcius, maybe next time...



As we headed to Ching Jing, I saw a huge golden building perched up at the hill. With it's dome like top, it looked like a mosque. But it wasn't. 

This is the Chung Tai Chan monastery. 



Mr Chen was so nice to drop us for a short visit at this monastery. The monastery is a work of art with impeccable architecture and perfectly manicured gardens. One may need a map to explore this place.

Source: http://www.ctworld.org/english-96/html/a5guideMap.htm










Every step we took was an "oooh" and "ahhh". I've never seen anything like it.

This is the hall of the four Heavenly Kings. With four heads each,  they stood at 12 metres tall at the four corners of the hall.



Puny me...





We went up the stairs and met Lord Buddha. Sitting serenely while tourists clamoured to pray and take pictures with the Buddha. 




Peering out the window of the 2nd floor, we were awed again by the architecture of the monastery. Monks were seen pacing around attending to their daily affairs.




The garden





I am not very good in naming plants. In fact, I am really really bad in naming plants and trees. I wonder if this is a Sakura tree? 


It's around 12 noon, we gotta hurry. Else we will miss the sheep show up in CingJing. I fell asleep like usual as Mr. Chen drove up to CingJing.

"Wake up! We arrived in CingJing" 
Mmm...so tired. Don't wake me up. 

There were lots of cars in Ching Jing. Mr. Chen stopped at the park's entrance. Cars were waiting behind us so we gotta jump out of the car. Still groggy, I grabbed my coat and got out. Cool wind slammed my face. OK, I am awake now!

Walking in the tunnel with CingJing's history lined up on the wall. We got our park tickets (NT200 each) and begin our expedition. At first, I thought CingJing is a hill open to the public to enjoy its green grass fields and play with free roaming sheep. Well, naive as I can be, nothing is free! LOL


Breathe...




The supposedly free roaming sheep




People started to gather for the sheep show hosted by a New Zealand shepherd talking in Mandarin. Yes, in Mandarin! Not only is he fluent but he speaks like a train and tells jokes. Shame shame on someone. Heheh!


The shepherd dog rounding up the sheep. The sheep ran fast down the hill towards the spectators drew loud cheer from the crowd.

This brought back memories when we're in Pete's farmstay in New Zealand. We had a private sheep show back them. We had the sheep shaving all to ourselves. (abrupt CD stop). This sounds wrong!



Hills of human as the crowd dispersed after the sheep show.


Fumi is hungry. Need to get some food. Hmm...ain't it sheep pellets?


Aww...cute kiddo



So now it's time to sink in the beauty of CingJing Green Green Grassland :)








Fumi, take my picture please



Eh Fumi, where'd you go?




   


I still remember a couple. Hogging the best spot at the top of the hill making me lose my chance to get a shot here. Grrr....Woosah....Breathe...I am suppose to relax here, right?


                                                                       Linolin from the sheep






The other side of the CingJing farm. I remember the windmills in photos my friends took while in CingJing. So excited to finally find them.





OK, to be frank. It's not that easy to walk up and down the hills in my boots. At one point I thought my toes are going to bleed.





"Chang Shen Guli-Guli!" Welcome to the horse show arena where horsemen and a lady did tricks on the horses. I got a bit dizzy looking at the horse running in circles and decided to walk around.



There was where I found a cute little pony at the back of the arena :)





And got a personalized shot with the pony before he's being brought into the show.


The horse show just ended and everyone gets to take pictures with the horse and the horsemen. I found this horseman's feature so exotic. Like someone from the Mummy movie. Oh yeah, wasn't my genuine smile as I was trying not to suck in too much horse shit smell inside the arena. Meeks...




The sun is setting. The hordes of tourists disappeared and the park is closing. Since Hobs & I were clueless of the way out, we let Fumi guide the way.




I still remember the feeling of walking among the sea of clouds and the breezy freezy air of Cingjing. Although my feet hurts like mad at that point, the tranquility of the place and its panaromic sights kept me crawling. I mean *going



Stairs again? Fumi, for real?


Apparently, we had to descend the CingJing hill using this stairway. OMG! Feet-Dead!
It's actually not so bad as we spectate the changing colours of the sunset as we descended.



I slowly squealed my way down. How many more steps? The numbering of the steps gave me some motivation. 487, 400, 350, 300 more steps to go.

Since I was so slow, by the time we reached the last step, it was already pitch dark.


We continued the darkened pathways as I continued to #$%^&  ;*( 

I can't feel my toes anymore. 

We were supposed to dine in Carton King but it seems like the walk is like eternity! Finally, I saw lights. Yay! we're back to civilization but where is the restaurant? We wandered around and I thought of just to call up Mr Chen and pick me up from that spot. Then I saw a sign. Carton King!

Fancy restaurant it is...the chairs, tables, decorations, plates and cups are all made of paper! Food's yummy too but a little bit on the expensive side for those on a shoe string budget. 











Since we dined more than the minimal amount (TWD960), we got free passes to the Swiss Garden just next door of the restaurant. Suddenly, we saw Mr Chen. 

"Hi, Mr Chen", we exclaimed

Mr Chen looked worried. Apparently, he has been calling us but we didn't hear him. Just to found out our battery was dead. We are required to check into our hotel by 7:30PM but here we are, 7:30PM, and we have not even started on our dinner. 

As usual, Mr Chen sorted things out with the hotel and we get to have our dinner in peace. However, the catch is...we don't have time left to visit the Swiss Garden. Noooo..... (sad). Mr Chen said it's just a small garden and nothing much to see there especially after dark. But I am still sad ...


Fumi said we can see the Swiss Garden from the balcony here, so I followed. Oh, so this is the Swiss Garden. Hmm....it's not that big after all.



Probably the highest and cutest post shop in the world.



There are many paper stuff and other stuff to see here but we can't let Mr Chen worried any much longer.





Lu Shan is midway down from Ching Jing and known to be the earliest hot spring spot during the Japanese era. In Taiwan, Beitou is the most popular hot spring spot but we didn't mind checking out another hot spring. Besides, I dislike overly touristy places.

Unlike the hot spring in Hakone, Japan, Lu Shan's hot spring is odourless.

Tonight, we're staying over at Hejia Hotspring Guide hotel. We stayed at the highest floor and guess what? We had an private open air hot spring pool all to ourselves! Due to some issues, we almost lost our hot spring opportunity until Mr Chen saved the day again. We booked this hotel for NT2800 per night. That's a steal judging by the fact we booked this hotel at the very last minute.

Lu Shan is really cold. I can't wait to jump into the hot spring.



The hotel also has its own public hot spring



Hobs & Fumi wandered around the hotel. Aunties and Uncles were singing Karaoke in the lounge



The hotel mistress with the cute hotel mascot


Welcome kisses from La-Mei






PC with internet!!! Folks like us couldn't get a day off without it. Amazingly, I've managed to go on without it for 4 days now!



Hobs & Fumi decided to check out outside of the hotel. The whole place is pretty old school. I didn't get out of the hotel but looking from the hotel's window, the whole place has the "Spirited Away" vibe. Old fashioned buildings with neon lights flashing about. I felt like I've been transported back to the 50s.

 This is the shot of the place in the morning. 














Back in my private hot spring, it's time to soak away my worries and tired feet. Listening to the stream outside and echoes of laughter as I stare at the starry skies of the night.


5 comments:

Dev said...

Lovely blog!

www.blog.thednalife.net

Jobless Girl said...

Great holiday.

Wendy Lim said...

Hi, the frog castle looks really nice! But I don't seems to be able to find it online, you do know is it still in business? Can you send me the contact details and website link (if available) of the frog castle? Hehe~ if possible, can you send me a copy of your itinerary too?? Thanks so much! my email is: wendylimlx@gmail.com =)

Author: QQ said...

For those interested in the Frog Castle stay, this is their FB: https://www.facebook.com/puliwasbao/info?tab=page_info

Sorry guys for the late replies as I was so busy that I didn't get into my blog as often as I wish :)

Have fun guys!

jeslene yap said...

Hi

How was the Hejia Hot spring stay?