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The Northeast Coast – Healthy Fun under the (So Very!) Warming Pacific Sun (Day 2)

November 6, 2013 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Day 2

We overnight at Longmen Riverside Camping Resort, and in the morning walk over to the section along the Shuangxi River. Our host this morning is John Sun, head of the resort’s kayaking operation. We get our life-jackets and paddles, are introduced to our guide, Wang Yu-wei (“Wei Wei”), and receive instructions in kayaking basics. I note that all the kayaks are open-faced and are for two people (with a middle seat for kids), and John informs me that originally all craft were the “Eskimo” kind that seal around the waist, but that Asian folk are not as experienced as Westerners on/in water, and customers were always nervous they could not handle rollovers.

We head out with Wei Wei, first visit the long sand bar that runs almost completely across the river where it meets the sea, enjoying the sweeping coastal-mountain panorama, then head upriver for a run of about 8 km (return), enjoying the egrets, herons, crabs, jumping fish, and other local inhabitants.

Note: You’re out on open water for quite some time, so if pale-skinned like myself, cover up well and bring sunblock, which is regularly washed off exposed skin by paddle-splashing.

Just upriver from the kayaking center you’ll see a picturesque suspension bridge, for bikers and walkers. This is part of a long, easy-grade route stretching a few km south of Fulong town and north to Yanliao village. Most people start out from Fulong; there are bike-rental shops before the train station, the daily rate just NT$100 (the Longmen campground also has rentals for guests).

Our final outdoor challenge before heading home to Taipei is surfing – well, attempts at surfing, anyway. We first went to Wushi Harbor, where there is a decided party atmosphere at the beach near the northside breakwater. The narrow road before the beach, with a wooded area between, is lined with surf-gear shops, cafés, and other outlets creating to the beach-bum crowd. Our host and instructor this afternoon, Xiao Gu (“Little Gu”), is owner of G-Cool Surf, a shop/café/bar selling and renting gear. This and other shops give group surf lessons on the beach, and Xiao Gu gives us a private lesson, kindly refraining from chuckling as we endlessly fumble about and perform comic flips and tumbles. Telling us that the crowds at this popular location make it hard for more accomplished surfers to find much open water, he takes us a bit north to the less- or undeveloped beach of Honeymoon Bay where hard-core surfers hang out. It is at Daxi town, directly across from the highway-side railway station. There are far fewer people here and waves at the area’s surf beach are about four feet.

Getting There & Getting Around
A number of stations on the North Link Railway, which runs from Taipei to Hualien, are on the coastal strip we’ve explored here, and trains run often enough that you can use it like a bus to explore the northeast coast. Taiwan Tourist Shuttle (www.taiwantrip.com.tw) buses on the Gold Fulong Route also cover much of this article’s area, running between Ruifang Railway Station and the Tourism Bureau’s Fulong Visitor Center.

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