Day 238 : A Day at Jibei Island

The great thing about visiting Penghu is that the surrounding islands possess unique characteristics and attractions so there are always things to see and explore. The highlight of today was a trip to Jibei Island (吉贝岛) and spending the night there in an immaculate postage stamp sized hotel.

But before leaving the main island, we paid a visit to Penghu’s Reclamation Hall and the old village where two of Taiwan’s most beloved singers, Zhang Yu Sheng and Pan An Bang, grew up in…

Entrance to Penghu Recalamation Hall, a bungalow built during a period of Japanese occuption of the island.

Retro voguing… Adopting a yester-year pose to fit the environment.

I would make a very bad Japanese because my legs fell asleep sitting like this for less than 5 minutes. The Reclamation Hall has a very strong Sino-Jap flavour.

Hometown of Taiwan’s respected muscial talent Tom Zhang Yu Sheng (张雨生) and the man introduced Penghu Wan to the world, Pan An Bang (潘安邦).

Zhang Yu Sheng’s family kitchen.

Sculpture in front of Pan An Bang’s house depicting his maternal grandmother looking at him while he played by Penghu bay. A scene that inspired his evergreen hit, 外婆的澎湖湾 (Granther’s Bay).

At about 4pm, we took a boat from Penghu main island to Jibei Island.

The bumpy boat ride took about 15 minutes.

Woohoo! Haven’t rode a scooter in a long time. Jibei island is very small and the best mode of transport would be by renting a scooter.

MY FIRST TIME DRIVING A SCOOTER that is not in an arcade. Love the feeling!

Our accomodation at Jibei Island – Down Home, a pop-up residence that stood alone on the face of a gentle hill. A really relaxing and great place to stay!

The biggest draw on the island is the seemingly endless stretch of coral beach called Jibei Shawei (吉贝沙尾).

We had the very, very rare opportunity of having the beach all to ourselves. Usually the place would be crawling with beach-goers and holidaymakers. The beach was deserted because of the typhoon threat looming over Taiwan.

The tip of Shawei beach. The beach and water are pristine clean.

Cheers! A BBQ dinner with high-energy karaoke wrapped up a super fun trip to Chiayi, Alishan and Penghu. And this marked the end of the trip as I’ll be heading home tomorrow…


Day 237 : A Generous Taste of Penghu

The surprises continue today at Penghu with a visit to the island’s city centre and heritage old street (澎湖老街) where we got in touch with our creativity and sampled some pretty wacky snacks only found here.

Penghu’s main island’s city centre is pretty compact and consists of just a few streets.

Tucked within the city centre is the old street that kept the heritage of Penghu alive where old trades still flourish, abett only as tourist attractions.

The 3 words read as Mo Ru Cha, which translates as ‘Caress Breast Tea’. I thought it meant tea with milk but no, the origin behind its name is an anecdote I found most amusing!

Got milk? Olden days streets were very narrow and barely accomodated 2 persons. So when 2 people cross each other in the alleyway, they’ll have to pass through by facing each other, thereby causing their breasts / chest to rub against each other. Kinky isn’t it?!

One of the best souvenir to bring home is one made ourselves. Here at Ah Fu’s Shop (阿福的店), we can exercise our creativity and tailor-make a personalised memorabilia of Penghu.

Angry owls? To the Taiwanese, owls are a symbol of good luck and protection from dark forces. These were made from pebbles found at Penghu.

Near Ah Fu’s Shop is the legendary four-eyed well (四眼井). There are a few reasons why this originally single well was split into four. Will share the wisdom over at Explore Life Lah!.

Next to the four-eyed well is the famous medicinal egg. I was told everybody in Penghu knows this store. Tried the egg and tofu… very flavourful indeed!

One of the must-trys at Penghu are these chocolates. What’s so special about them you may ask. Well, they are made from powdered seashells! The texture is somewhat different.

If you have a passion for love letters (egg rolls), getting a bite of Li Yang (丽洋) Handmade Confectionery is a must. The shop makes these gigantic love letters that are big on taste and stretches your jaw to the max! Here’s Anja, Producer of Yahoo Taiwan, showing us her hidden talent.

For a comprehensive shop to get local snacks as gifts, we came to Xin Tai Peng Hai Can where the tastiest tidbits are all gathered in one place. And the lady boss is quite a dish herself too! Heh heh. So shy taking photo with a pretty gal…

This cat was such a high strung pussy. Was wandering the old streets and came to an interesting guarded by this sulky feline. As I got close, it sat expectantly for me to open the doors so it can slip out. When I just stood outside and took its photos, the cat gave me a ‘smelly face’!

Penghu is rich in volcanic deposits, one of which is the mind-blowing Wen Shi (文石). The best place to admire these rocks is at Shih Yuen, a family-owned museum and gallery showcasing the wonder of these natural phenomenon.

Wen Shi are sedimentary rocks coloured by mineral deposits over thousands of years. The concentric circles look artificial but they are really natural formations. Amazing!

Fate. It’s such an abstract yet convenient concept to explain the randomness of life. Was given this peddle with the word ‘Fate’ engraved on it by the creator of this roadside stone gallery. I like this word.

Day 236 : That Childhood Song of Penghu

阳光 ,沙滩,海浪,仙人掌。。。 I was introduced to Penghu at a young age through 潘安邦’s (Pan An Bang) jovial remembrance of his grandmother in his hit song 外婆的澎湖湾 (Maternal Grandma’s Penghu Bay). Being young and innocent, I’ve always thought that Penghu is a figment of the singer’s imagination, a non-existent place beaming with sunshine, beaches, ocean waves, and cactus.

That was until I visited Taiwan recently and went to the place the song talked about… and oh boy, what a fascinating group of islands Penghu has! Here’s a glimpse of the places I went to today…

Stayed at the beautiful 5-star Yentai Hotel (元泰大飯店), a 15-minutes walk from Penghu city centre.

元泰大飯店, Yentai Hotel, Penghu

The rooms are generous in size and service was excellent! I left a bottle of perfume behind and the hotel kept it for me till I went back to collect.

Yentai Hotel’s Presidential Suite gets a nod for style, space and substance.

A group photo with the Director of Penghu’s tourism board.

Behind me is a mural of the popular Shawei (沙尾) beach at Jibei Island (吉贝岛). Jibei Island is one of Penghu’s collection of about 100 islets.

This mural of Penghu’s Old Street at Penghu Visitor Centre provided a perfect backdrop to start getting acquainted with the island’s colourful heritage.

This photo taken at the Penghu DFS shop is very meaningful for me because today is Qi Xi Jie (七夕节), also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day! And Penghu is famous for its double heart stone weir (双心石沪), which was the design inspiration for the blue LED hearts above us.

My version of Arc de Triomphe at the entrance of Penghu’s Kua Hai Da Qiao (澎湖跨海大桥).

One of the best ways to explore Penghu is through cycling. We didn’t get to cycle lah, just posing with a bike at Er Kan (二坎), a living museum that preserved the architecture and lifestyle of early Penghu.

Do you notice anything interesting in this photo? Hint : Look at the lower left wall. Still can’t see it? Mouseover the photo for the answer.

Eken, my trip coordinator from Yusan PR, striking a dashing pose on the picturesque old street of Er Kan.

Er Kan Village kept olden days’ design and elements in tact for visitors to immerse themselves in a different world.

Old days new ways… Took this photo because of the contrast between the historical bench and the modern technology in Haruka’s hands.

Penghu has a colourful military history and various old forts have been converted into attractions on the island. Behind me is an upcoming fort attraction slated to be completed by early 2013. We got to preview it first before its public opening.

This is just a brief browse of a few sights and attractions. It is only the tip of the iceberg. More details and info will be posted in Explore Life Lah!. Penghu is definitely as beautiful and poetic as Pan An Bang’s song makes it out to be!

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