Monday, November 05, 2012

Checheng Village at the End of the Jiji Railroad Line


     This night I escaped from my husband and home and arrived at this small remote village that I had visited more than 30 years ago. This was the first time I traveled alone in my entire life. It was a challenge for being independant and a mind testing for being a brave female traveler. Also I experienced the disadvantages of being a single female traveler in Taiwan.  
     Arriving at this small village after 8pm, there was no one walking on the streets. I was totally not oriented with this village. The image of this village was out of my memory. I tried to drive around this village to get my memory back, but it was difficult for searching the out of date database in my brain.  
     It was not easy to find a safe and reasonable hotel or bed & breakfast place to stay here. I was rejected because I was a single female who asked for a single room. I found there were only 3-4 bed & breakfast in this village. They charged for a standard 2 people room. Even if I was only one person, I still had to pay for a 2 people fee. So what choice would I have?
After visiting the police office and getting some information, I decided to take a walk on the trail along the lake. Sometimes there were some wood cutting and woodworking sounds from somewhere in this village. Other than that, it was a quiet night. 
Appreciating the beautiful and tranquil with the smell of Gingerlily on the trail, my fear of being alone was getting less. I had a small company which was a beautiful kitten sitting not far from me. It followed me on the trail. At this moment I was regret for not bring a tripod and a cable release with me. I had to try my best to take good night shots.  
The moonlight, trees, and cables mirrored in the lake. It was late at 10pm in the countryside.  I had to give my last shot to look for one night stay in the village.  
After a late night bargain, I stayed at this B&B. It offered a 4 people and a 6 people room with a share bathroom and living room. The entire house was only myself. My night was sleepless because stray cats cried and fought all night. Every tiny sound at night was loud in this small and isolated village .  
Cellphone number for the B&B I stayed: 886-916-313-585 Non English Speaking available    
I decided to get up early to survey this village. One of villagers who just finished his early excise showed me a trail to see the entire village. 
I followed his direction which took me about 10 minutes to this lookout area next to the main hwy 131. It was an easy trail. The village was surrounded by the mountains which made the village an important lumber collection center.  
I walked along Nantou Hwy 131 to the Mingtan reservoir which was opened to the public at 9:30-11 am and 1:30pm daily. It was not in my plan to visit it.

GPS: (E)120.859526 (N)23.841339
This was the first pumped storage power plant system in Taiwan and Asia. which was finished in 1985. The water would pump from this reservoir to Sun Moon Lake at night (off-peak) for generating power during the high peak period in the daytime.   
A kindergarten van came to pick up kids at 7am while I was walking back to the village. There was only one elementary school with less than 100 students in this village. There were 4-5 small schools along hwy 131 which encountered  problems of not enough students and lack of budget for students and facilities. Therefore, when this district was designed to include into Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area, these 4-5 schools were developed and integrated with their unique and specific local cultures for students' field trips in other school districts.    
This was a railroad artist's house in the village. 
Food signs hung all over the store.
2-3 little kittens played together in the early morning. I wondered if these kittens   which kept me awake all night crying and fighting at night. I thought about bring one back to my apartment, but I thought they had a better environment which was a free roaming area with their friends here.   
These buildings belong to the private lumber company. 
I had just found the lake which I walked along the night before was actually a log pond which was heavily used in the 1960-70's. This pond made the village more attractive. 
This was one of the trail sections which was built over the pond. 
Birds, ducks, and fish were out for their breakfasts in the early morning. I was curious why I didn't see any villagers on the beautiful trail. Were people still sleeping or already finishing their early excise?  
This was an abandoned housing area at the end or at the beginning of the trail. I had to return to my homestead for my breakfast which was a simple sandwich and a cup of instant coffee.  I had a good chat with the female host.
The history of the Checheng
The village had more than just a log pond. I was ready to explore this small village more. 
The green building was a 7-11 store which was very unique than other 7-11 in the cities. It was not my target place. 
This was next to the parking lot and also next to the visitor center. A bus of students was already here for their field trip.
Do you understand the sign for the male and female restroom? One way to make sure that you are at the right place is that you meet the same sex guests in the room. 
Another groups of visitors arrived by the tourist train. 
Train parts were displayed in an old train car.  
My next stop was to visit one of the souvenir shops. This one sold products which were made by paper like wallets ects.   
I picked up this hat and tested if I could take pictures without remove my hat. The hat was made by paper and made in the town of Puli. Because of its flexibility, I got myself a nice souvenir. 
Students were here to learn how to make a wooden stool which were already cut  to pieces. They just needed to assemble their chairs together. 
Here was the logging museum which displayed how lumberjacks transported the lumber from the mountains to the collection station.
This was the (DIY) do it yourself area for woodworking. 
I wandered around the village and came here which looked like an old housing area. 
I could feel free to walk around without encounter any visitors or locals. 
According to the workers, these houses belong to the Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area. They rebuilt these houses with its original architectural forms. I  took a walk around these houses and saw signs which indicates the employee and their families of the railroad station stayed in these buildings before. My guessed was that it might be a railroad museum. The workers said it would be a B&B place which would be sponsored by Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area. Well, we would see in the future.
I was talking to the workers who were working hard to break these big stones. They told me that these small broken rocks would be laid on the ground as walkways.   
They gave up temporarily for drilling this big rock to small pieces. I laughed and they were sighs!  Said goodbye to them and wished them a good luck! 
Checheng Railroad Station
Train Schedule from Checheng to Erhshui 
Erhshui to Checheng 
The one day round trip train ride is NT $ 78 during the promotional period from Erhshui to Checheng. Passengers can get on and get off  at any station. My suggestion is to stop at Jiji and Checheng. If you have time, you can walk around the town of Erhshui. Another alternative is to take train to Jiji and Checheng then take a public bus to the Sun Moon Lake area.   
Mingtan Reservoir and Shueli River
My memory was back that we played in the river when I was a teenager. It was quite different than my memory. 

The homestay female host asked me that why I write this blog for no purpose(money making)? My main purpose is to maintain or keep my English ability alive when I live in a non English speaking country. Also Taiwan is a great and wonderful place to promote its tourism. But, there is not a lot of English information for travelers. That is why I write this blog. 




5 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos, thank you for sharing. I wish I had the time to explore more of central Taiwan, but unfortunately I am somewhat constrained to Taipei :)

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  2. 你拍攝的照片十分不錯,很有台灣小村落的特色!
    你也可倒我的網站看看,介紹香港的好去處

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  3. The viewpoints are wonderful, I definitely like observing all over the globe so much that is why I find travel agents that was acquiring a magnificent encounter in way of lifestyle that will not take some time on my vacation with my loved ones members colleagues .

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  4. Thank you for sharing. This is the third year my husband and I have come to Taiwan to visit our daughter who is working in the country. Taiwan is a beautiful island with so many things to explore. Blogs like yours make it easier for those of us visiting for a limited time.

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