Day 8 dawned and we found that what we considered to be hot and humid weather in Taipei was mere child’s play when compared with the conditions in Kaohsiung. In such conditions, any normal person would want to stay in the share or, better still, in an air conditioned room but not us: this was a day for a hike! Yes, I realize you may have doubts about our sanity but rest assured we did as well, though that didn’t stop us.
At first things didn’t seem so bad as we caught a cab from the Just Sleep hotel to the Yuanheng Temple at the base of the hiking trails.
The complex was very impressive as the temple is massive and has several large buildings flanking it that are equally as large. It is perched slightly up the mountain with a view of the city. The photo below was taken near the spot above but turned around 180 degrees.
As you can see, it was a bit smoggy that morning. Before heading off to Shou Shan (“Longevity Mountain”) and Chai Shan (“Monkey Mountain”), we took a look at the temple itself. No photos were allowed inside but I did catch a detail of the overhang outside.
I really like the elephant motif and bright colors. We started on our hike (not many photos) and slowly ascended the mountain. There were quite a few mountain bikers on the trail as well as more normal pedestrians. Most mountain bikers were polite and some even wore bells so that hikers could more easily hear them coming. Here is a view of the city as we began to ascend.
The smog doesn’t look much better from this angle, unfortunately. My host told me that the local government was taking steps to clean up the pollution and, though it will take years to get there, I think the city will look amazing without the smog hanging in the air. 🙂
After about 1.5 hours of hiking solidly uphill in the heat and humidity, we decided we had best turn back to make sure we could shower and pack before our hotel check out at noon. We had seen a few monkeys on the way up but not the packs my host had seen in his previous trip. We were lucky on the way down, though, and came across a large pack of monkeys.
I say “fortunate” because we had wanted to see them and also by that time there were more people on the trail so the monkeys would be less inclined for mischief or an attack of any kind. It was neat to be able to see so many together and up close. These are just a few of the photos I took.
It was a great way to wrap up our hike.
We arrived back at the hotel just in time to change out of our sweat-soaked clothes and shower before checking out and heading to lunch with some of my host’s relatives. We then caught the HSR back to Zhubei and a bit of a rest to pack up before our next day trip to the east coast – more on that in the Day 9 post.