After our trip to Liushidan Mountain (六十石山), we headed back to the train station and took a train down to Taitung (台東). As always, I will be keeping the food part to the last 😉
While we were in Taitung (台東), we found out that there was a hot air balloon event held at Luye Goutai (Luye Plateau / 鹿野高台), about 1 ½ hour bus ride from the Taitung train station (台東火車站). Since we have never seen a hot air balloon in real life, we decided to go and experience the fun!
Before our bus ride, we bought a Chi Shang Bento (池上便當) - Chi Shang (池上) is a location south of Taiwan near Taitung, and is extremely popular for their bento due to the quality of their Chi Shang rice.
The bento is packed in a tiny wooden box and there are so many ingredients inside! The meat and vegetables are flavourful and delicious, it's a definite must try if you are in Taitung / Chi Shang.
From the Taitung train station, we boarded the Dintung Bus (鼎東客運) and bought a one-day pass for NT$150 (includes the ride back to Taitung train station). The pass gave us unlimited rides up and down along the route, but we didn't utilize it as we just spent the rest of the day at Luye Goutai.
I'll let the photos do the rest of the talking!
Luye Goutai is famous for its tea - all the fields down the hill were most likely tea plantation. Luye Goutai is a also a popular spot for paragliding and camping.
Taitung hot air balloon festival first started in 2011, with about 10 countries participating in the event. The event was held during the summer and it attracted many families as well as tourists. It was estimated to have attracted 350,000 people in 2011 and 880,000 in 2012!
While waiting for the festival to start, we saw many families and couples playing this really fun slide down the hill. However, the queue was insanely long so we couldn't be bothered to queue.
There was a major delay - probably due to weather conditions. We waited, and waited and waited...
Finally! They are inflating the first balloon!
The hot air balloon representing Taiwan.
Taiwan hot air balloon up in the air while other countries' hot air balloons are also being prepared.
After about 3 to 4 hours of wait, finally the balloons were up! Everyone was busy snapping photos.
One last shot before we rushed to queue for the bus back to Taitung.
We weren't able to stay any longer as we had to catch the last bus back to Taitung. It was quite an amazing sight, if only all the balloons are high up in the sky, it'd have been a lot more beautiful! Though we spent most of the time waiting for the balloons to be up in the sky, it was still an amazing and memorable experience.
For the rest of the posts on Taiwan, see our Taiwan travel itinerary here!
|Getting there:|| |
1) Take the Dintung Bus (鼎東客運) from Taitung train station (台東火車站) and alight at the last stop.
2) Take a train down to Luye train station (鹿野火車站) and take a taxi to Luye Goutai (鹿野高台).
|About the event:|| |
1) The event is held in the summer - the dates for the 2013 hot air balloon festival have not been fixed, so do check out the website for more details - currently the website has not been updated.
2) As summer is also the typhoon season for Taiwan, do check the website regularly to see whether the event has been cancelled due to unfavourable weather.
3) There are generally 2 shows - one very early in the morning like 5+am, and the other in the late afternoon at about 4+pm.
|What to do:||There's not much to do there, except to relax and watch the hot air balloons.|
|Getting back:||Same as "getting there", but opposite.|
|Other notes:|| |
1) If you're there for the late afternoon show, you are mostly likely going to take the last bus back to Taitung. Do queue for the bus earlier - like 15 to 30 minutes before the bus is scheduled to leave as the bus will be extremely crowded. I'm not kidding - some passengers weren't able to squeeze up the bus at all!
2) If you take the last bus back, it is likely there will be a massive jam as everyone is also heading back...