Xiao Liu Qiu – Trip Report – 16th October

I talked about being inspired to explore more of Taiwan in my Northern Taiwan trip report, and it was always a case of ‘where next?’

My initial thoughts were to head back to northern Taiwan, but having being indecisive over the early part of the week, I left myself with my few options. It was too late to book travel for a trip north, so it had to be a short distance trip. The week progressed and I still hadn’t decided on anything and it looked as if the weekend would be wasted. For one, I was a bit stuck for ideas having done a lot of things in southern Taiwan.

Things changed late on Friday. Initially the idea was Alishan Mountain, but that was put off on time taken to get there. My second thought was ‘Xiao Liu Qiu’ a small island off the coast of Pingtung County that I’d researched before. So I went to bed, and 3 1/2 hours of sleep later, my alarm went off, I snoozed. At 5:45am, I panicked thinking I was up too late for the first bus, and went back to sleep, day wasted.

It was not to be deja vu, as even though I couldn’t get to sleep until 2:45am, I beat my alarm. A quick check on Taiwan’s bus website, and the first bus was 6:30am. I was out of bed at 5:55am, and stupidly dawdled despite my bag being packed the night previously. At 6:18am, I checked the website again and the bus was due in 7 minutes and I had to run!

Fortunately, I was a couple of minutes early and was at Tainan station at 6:40am. There were a surprising amount of people about, and Tainan was not the ghost-town like many British cities would be at 6:40am on a Sunday morning!

I got a seat on the train down to Kaohsiung and I arrived about 7:45am, now for the interesting part, getting a bus to Donggang in Pingtung County! I knew where the bus stops were but no idea on what time a bus would show up. I got to the bus stop and waited, and waited, and waited. It was 8:25 and I was considering going to another stop, when a 9117 turned up and for 105 dollars purchased a ticket to ‘Donggang’ 東港

The bus journey took a while, and even with my earphones it was a drag through the southern suburbs of Kaohsiung City and into Pingtung County. The scenery was dull and the industrial landscape in the Linyuan area was particularly awful. 90 minutes after leaving Kaohsiung, the bus arrived in Donggang shortly before 10am, which had me wondering how much time I was going to having on Xiao Liu Qiu island itself!

I didn’t know where the port was, but knew if I turned right after getting off the bus and followed the road I’d be heading north west. Sure enough, I got to a crossroads with a bridge over the water, I turned left and the port was on the right hand side. I attempted to buy my ticket in Chinese, with partly failed because I fluffed it and partly because the woman spoke a little English!

I attempted to say “我想要往返票小琉球” or Wǒ xiǎng yào wǎng fǎn piào xiǎo liú qiú” or I want a return ticket to Xiao Liu Qiu which is probably incorrect Chinese anyway!

With my ticket purchased for 410 dollars, I had about a 20 minute wait for the 10:30 crossing. Given that the previous one had been 9:00am, arriving earlier would only made me wait longer for the ferry.

The ferry journey wasn’t too bad, but there was nothing to see due to the morning haze. As ever, there didn’t appear to be any other white tourists and I’ve got used to the novelty, of being the 外國人 ‘foreigner’ or at least, the obvious one!

On arrival on Xiao Liu Qiu, my first thoughts were to put suncream on, and then find a bicycle, but couldn’t find anything and I wasn’t trying too hard anyway. Why? Maybe, because I subconsciously knew I was about to commit myself to walking round the entire island. At 6km2 Xiao Liu Qiu is not a big place, but I knew it would be a lot more than 6km round the island.

I was heading right, but didn’t know where I was on the island so found a board with a map on it indicating I was at the northern tip. The obvious thing to do, would be to go anti-clockwise round the island. A quick stop at 7 Eleven for some water and it was onto the first sight, Flower Vase Rock one of the symbols of the island.

I walked up behind the temple next to Flower Vase Rock, and there was a road, clearly the main road round the island and I followed as it headed uphill, away from the port area. The road was shaded, typically there were no pavements but they were hardly needed given the light traffic. I walked down on the partly closed Flower Vase Trail, which had been closed at the port end but it wasn’t that long and ended 5 minutes after I got onto it.


About 1.4km from the port, I came to Beauty Cave the next attraction after Flower Vase Rock. There was a charge of 120 dollars but it gave admission to all the sights on the west coast.

The Beauty Cave Trail was quite beautiful, which few other people and there was a feeling of tranquility. The trail was quite narrow, making its way in front of the cliffs and occasionally through narrow, low passages with some excellent views out to sea.

It was about 15 minutes walk, before there was a pavilion on the main road and opposite, another shorter section of trail.

I started to realise walking round the island was going to be a bigger task than expected and walking was proving to be sweaty, hard work! It didn’t help that it was uncharacteristically hot for October, at 33C!

I continued along the round island road, but made a mistake. I went left onto instead of right at a fork and ended up a bit inland. Fortunately there was a crossroads and I could turn right, and head back towards Shanfu Fishing Harbour back on the coast. About half an hour after leaving Beauty Cave Trail, I’d arrived at my next stop: Wild Boar Trench.

Wild Boar Trench was another trail area, a maze of paths with tropical vegetation and it felt more like a jungle in places than a small island off the coast of Taiwan. The area was littered with caves formerly used as air raid shelters, I remembered back to Pingxi and going to caves there, also used as air raid shelters!

There were main paths and ones that were unsignposted and turned out to be gluey mud passages between the cliffs.

I left Wild Boar Trench and carried on for a short distance to Geban Bay Beach which was crowded by Xiao Liu Qiu standards. Not much to see, and I moved on towards Black Devil Cave about 10 minutes further down the coast.

The road climbed high above Geban Bay then started to go steadily downhill, with the entrance to Black Devil Cave on the right. I first purchased a Pocari Sweat drink for 30 dollars which I guzzled pretty quickly before starting the trail.

This was another trail in front of the cliffs, twisting between the coral with plenty of low passages. It reached a small temple, before going in in front of it and winding along the coast, then came back around the back of it.

It was an enjoyable circular walk but I was starting to get a bit worried about time. It was 14:10 by now and I had 7km to walk back to the north of the island. I knew that 7km was only around 4 miles, but in the heat, it would take a long time.

I made it to Sunset Pavilion and there was only a couple of tourists there.

The sea views were good, and I decided to carry on around the southern part of the island at Haizikou Harbour.

At the southern tip there was a choice of a water crossing, or about 400m up and then down, round some houses. I decided on the latter, forgetting I had flip-flops with me. I’d also realised I was low on water, and as I made my way towards Guanyin Rock.

It was only a 1.2km walk from Sunset Pavilion to Guanyin Rock and it took around 20 minutes which was quite a nice pace.

The rock formations on the east coast where different and I got to a corner, which is one of more photographed sights of Xiao Liu Qiu, where the road goes between two rocks.

My concern was now not time, but liquid. It was at least 1.5km more onto Dafu, where I knew there was likely to be a shop but it could not come soon enough. As I walked along the quiet road up away from the coast, I started to feel dizzy, shiver even though it was 32C and I knew that heat exhaustion was imminent. I took my time, but had to trudge on as cursed myself for not ensuring I had enough liquid with me.

Fortunately Dafu was just 15 minutes walk away and there was a small gas station selling water. I took my time, knowing I had about 3.7km to go. I sat down in the pavilion, drank a bottle of water and rested for about 15 minutes.

Feeling better, I carried on and from here, it was to be a fairly dull walk back to Baisha Port in the north of the island.

I made my way through Dafu and then followed the coast road up past a power plant up to Sunrise Pavilion which was about halfway back. The views were yet again stunning and I could see the central mountains on the mainland.

The feeling of dehydration and glumness I’d had 50 minutes previously had disappeared. I’d done just over 5km in 1 hour 20, and had taken my time, and managed to rest for a while. The road carried on up hill after Sunset Pavilion for a short period before dropping away, and I knew that it was ‘job done’ and the walk was nearly completed.

Just after 4:00pm, I arrived back at Baisha Port after a 4 hours and 45 minutes walking round the island, the feeling was one ‘job well done’ but it was also a relief.

Walking round the island had been a silly idea but it was quite fun. It was definitely a very ‘me’ thing to do, go against the grain and do something nobody else would.

I only had 30 minutes until the next ferry back and it was back to the sinks in front of the ferry terminal. I had a quick wash down and changed t-shirt. I quickly bought some skewers from a stall opposite and it was straight in the queue for the return crossing.

I managed to get a seat up near the front but not near a window which allowed me to stand up before the ferry docked back in Donggang.

I made a quick get-away and after visiting 7 Eleven to break a 1000 dollar note to be able to pay the bus driver, was at Donggang bus station just after 5pm. It turned out there was a bus due and I was on my way out of Donggang in minutes, shortly after getting out of town, I snapped this photo…


The bus made good time, going by the freeway but then got stuck in traffic, trying to get on the sliproad off and back into Kaohsiung City. The journey was about 1 hour and 30 in the end, getting back into Kaohsiung at 6:35pm.

Into Kaohsiung train station and there was a local train due at 6:50pm. I bought myself a couple of beers and made my way to the platform.

Sadly the train was completely crammed, but it didn’t stop me putting me headphones on and cracking open a can. It was a more elaxed journey back than I expected, and I was back in Tainan an hour later. Another quick connection, into the 1955 bus home followed and I was therefore back home 4 hours after leaving Xiao Liu Qiu.

I got back and had a think over, it was good feeling to having walked round the island, it was an unorthodox thing to do but it allowed me to see the island at a slower pace. It was well worth making the effort to head to Xiao Liu Qiu, somewhere that I’d been told was worth a visit. It’s somewhere else done, but there is still plenty for me to do in Taiwan.

Next up? I’m not sure. I’m heading to Taipei for football on the 5th November, rain is expected this week and I may well be headed out on 29th October. My next tourist trip may not be till the 12th November. I certainly will not be going anywhere on 19th November as it’s my birthday two days later.

Until next time,


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Final CPBL weekly round-up.

The CPBL regular season is all but over, and it is time for one last proper CPBL round-up. The identity of the second side in the play-offs is now known and there are just two regular season games left. Here is how the table looked at this point last week.

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 32-23-1

2 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 28-26

3 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 24-27-1

4 ) Uni Lions – 24-32

On Wednesday evening Lamigo Monkeys kept their faint play off chances alive after an incredible comeback v EDA Rhinos in Taichung. The Rhinos would have presumed after scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the 6th and to take a 9-1 lead that that would have secured victory. It did not! They conceded 3 in the top of the 7th and 5 in the top of the 9th, as Lamigo Monkeys levelled at 9-9.

Neither side could score in the 9th or 10th inning, but Wang Po Jung hit a 2 run homer in the top of 11th to put Lamigos 11-9 ahead. The Rhinos could not reply, and the Lamigos remained in the hunt for a play off place for at least another day.

In Tainan, Uni Lions secured a 4-2 victory over Chinatrust Brothers. Brothers led 1-0 after 3 but then Brothers starter Chiang Chung Cheng gave away 4 in the bottom of the 4th as the Lions stormed 4-1 ahead. Brothers would only get a single run back in the top of the 5th and in the end it was a comfortable victory for the Lions.

Onto Thursday and Lamigo Monkeys play off hopes started to fall away again as they were easily beaten by Chinatrust Brothers in Taichung. Brothers led 1-0 after 4 but then turned on the style, adding 4 in the 5th and once in the 6th to lead 7-0. Both sides scored 2 in the 8th, with no score in the 9th, final score Monkeys 2-8 Brothers.

On Friday Lamigo Monkeys and Chinatrust Brothers met again, with the Lamigo Monkeys play off hopes all but ending. Their miserable run of form continued, and after going into the bottom of the 9th leading 4-3, they presumably thought they had a chance of winning the game.

Lin Chih Shiang tied the game up at 4-4 before Wang Sheng Wei sacrifice flied to give Brothers a walk off 5-4 win. This result left Lamigo Monkeys needing to win every game and hoping the Rhinos would lose the remainder of theirs.

There was a full weekend of action scheduled and Chinatrust Brothers secured an easy 8-1 win over Uni Lions in Tainan on Saturday. Brothers continued their impressive run of form heading into the play-offs and only conceded in the bottom of the 9th when the game was well out the Lions reach. Strangely, the Lions run in the bottom of the 9th kept their run of scoring in every game going!

Congratulations to EDA Rhinos who finally secured their place in the Taiwan Series play offs and the 2nd phase title courtesy of victory over Lamigo Monkeys in Douliu. They led 2-0 going in the bottom of the 7th before smashing 6 runs to lead 8-0. Monkeys would pull back 3 but it was nowhere near enough and the Rhinos ended a 3 year wait for a play off place.

Jared Lansford gave away just 2 hits over 6 innings and struck out 11 as he deserved got MvP. It is now a very long time since Lansford lost a CPBL game and Rhinos pitching has been a major part of why they are in the play-offs.

This result meant the final games were dead rubbers. Sunday’s game between Chinatrust Brothers and Uni Lions was postponed due to rain but Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos went ahead.

Lamigo Monkeys 4-1 after 5 but then their bull pen gave away the game. They conceded 1 in the 7th and 2 in the bottom of the 9th as the game went to a 10th inning. Wu Chung Chun won it for the Rhinos in the bottom of the 10th with a walk off single, final score Monkeys 4-5 Rhinos.

Monday’s rearranged game between Chinatrust Brothers and Uni Lions went ahead with both fielding mostly back-up players. The Lions led 4-1 after 3 but then conceded single runs in the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th, going down to a 5-4 loss. The Lions record in Tainan has not been great, and in the second phase they have produced a home record of 10-0-19, which is simply not good enough.

EDA Rhinos ended their regular season with a 9-2 defeat to Lamigo Monkeys in Taoyuan on Monday. The game only lasted 5 innings due to rain, but it was more than enough time for the Lamigos to secure an easy victory.

Here is how the table looks with the season coming to a close:

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 34-25-1

2 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 32-27

3 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 26-31-1

4 ) Uni Lions – 25-34

There are just two final fixtures to go, and here they are:

Chinatrust Brothers v Lamigo Monkeys – On Wednesday in Taoyuan

Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions – On Thursday in Douliu.

The Taiwan Series begins next Saturday, the fixtures have been released but tickets are not yet on sale. I’m hoping to get to one of the games in Taichung next weekend, but given Brothers huge fan base, I’ll have to keep my eye on ticket info.

EDA Rhinos v Chinatrust Brothers – On Saturday 22nd/Sunday 23rd in Taichung

Chinatrust Brothers v EDA Rhinos – On Tuesday 25th, Wednesday 26th and *Thursday 27th in Taoyuan

EDA Rhinos v Chinatrust Brothers – On *Saturday 29th/*Sunday 30th in Taichung

*= if needed, it is a best of 7 series.

I will be writing a quick report on the final two games as part of an extended look back at the regular season. It will be an end of season review looking back at the season, and all of the teams, strengths, weaknesses and what went right, and what went wrong. That will be published at some point before the Taiwan Series begins next Saturday.

Until then, bye for now,


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Timor Leste 1-2 Chinese Taipei – Football returns… for one night only!

Let’s be honest, since I moved to Taiwan 13 months I haven’t seen that many football games. Just the one international friendly between Chinese Taipei and Macau, and 4 Intercity League games. I didn’t see any after the start of 2016, primarily because what I saw wasn’t all that entertaining.

Since 13th December 2015, the date of my last game of football in Taiwan I have seen 4 football matches, all on my Hong Kong weekend and 27 games of baseball. It’s been a long time in coming. Finding out about this fixture was quite the accident though.

I have been browsing the CTFA (Chinese Taipei Football Association) website for weeks in search of this season’s Intercity League fixtures and came across this match about 2 weeks ago. Chinese Taipei or Taiwan (as I will call them through this post) usually play on Thursdays and Tuesdays but this was a rare Saturday international match. It was better still, being played at the National Stadium in Kaohsiung.

Both Taiwan and Timor Leste both won their first round matches of qualifying for the World Cup 2018 and Asian Cup 2019, but then finished bottom of the group. Their World Cup dreams were over, but their Asian Cup chances were not. They played in the first of two play off rounds in June, but lost to Cambodia/Malaysia respectively. This wasn’t the end of the road, as they got a second chance in the 2nd Play Off Round. Due to security reasons, Timor Leste have to play both games in Taiwan, hence the first leg on the Saturday and why Taiwan were the away side in a match on Taiwanese soil.

I bought my ticket in midweek via the iBon machine in 7 Eleven as tickets were 200 dollars in advance as opposed to 300 on the night. The iBon machines do not have English on them, but using them is as simple as finding out which buttons to press as you go through the screens. It was rather easy and the ticket was printed there and then in 7 Eleven, you get a receipt from the machine, the cashier scans it and your ticket prints, ta-da, it took a matter of seconds.


The plan on the day was to head to Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Shrine but upon getting up checked the forecast and it wasn’t good. Instead I stayed at home for another 4 hours, and the plan became lunch, then down to Kaohsiung for the game.

I left shortly before 3 for my first destination, Shanghai Haoweidao Tang Bao, a restaurant I occasionally visit and it’s famous for it’s soup dumplings. It was about a 30 minute walk from home which wasn’t the most pleasant of walks. A stadium condition forbids umbrellas so I hadn’t got mine with me and the humidity made it far too hot for a coat, so I got a bit wet.

Lunch at the aforementioned restaurant was good as ever, I had pork & pickled tuber soup, a huge bowl of shrimp wanton soup and shrimp dumplings.


The bill came to 285 dollars, I paid up and walked the remaining 1.7km through to Tainan train station in more drizzle.

I arrived at Tainan station in plenty of time for the 1644 local train down to Xinzuoying and as ever, I stood the whole way. As we got nearer to Kaohsiung, the conditions didn’t change and on arrival at Xinzuoying I decided to find a 7 Eleven and sit down with a beer.

Given it was only 5:30 and kick off wasn’t till 7, I didn’t fancy sitting around in the stadium for an hour before kick off! Free wi-fi taken advantage of and beer consumed, I left shortly after 6pm.

Disappointingly my iPass was having issues, and I had to buy a token for the one stop MRT journey to the World Games Stadium instead. Stupidly I ran onto the train on the platform, but as soon as the doors closed the announcement “this train is bound for Siaogang” was played, and I was going the wrong way! Luckily it wasn’t an issue, I got off at the next stop and waited about 90 seconds for a train back in the right direction. I lost about 5 minutes, hardly a problem.

On arrival at the MRT it was straight forward walk up World Games Boulevard to the stadium. I had of course been before, back in December 2015 for 2 Intercity League games. If you want the post from that day out, it is here… https://chapeltom1516.wordpress.com/2015/12/15/a-second-taiwanese-league-double/

I got to the entrance at the south end of the stadium and it quickly became apparent there wasn’t going to be many people in attendance.

The stadium was almost empty with 35 minutes to kick off. Outside there was a couple of stands, and a programme seller. Now I’ve never seen programmes being sold in Asia and I asked for one, I was surprised to be asked for 150 dollars – about £3.80 but it looked high quality.

As ever with international games there was a bag check with wasn’t thorough as my bottle of green tea got in, which made me wish I’d taken a few cans of beer with me. Beyond that was a table giving away posters and I took one of everything.

I took a seat near the halfway and towards the back of the lower tier, covered by the roof in case the rain continued. I’d been on the opposite side last time and was surprised the vast majority of the crowd were sat on the east side of the ground.

I didn’t expect much from the game between the sides 183rd and 178th in the world but after no football I was just grateful to be at a match.

I was therefore pleasantly surprised to be entertained in a game of football that contained plenty of chances from the first whistle. I expected Taiwan to win but with just 5 minutes gone, Timor Leste took the lead against the run of play. They countered and the ball was shifted into 17, who cut inside and placed a low shot inside the bottom left hand corner from about 15 yards out, 1-0 Timor Leste. It felt like deja vu of when I’d seen Taiwan fall a goal behind to Macau on 9th October last year!

The early goal seemed to stun the passionate. home crowd, but it was soon 1-1. Timor Leste failed to clear and Wu Chun Ching took advantage of the loose ball, stabbing in from about 15 yards out, 1-1.


Taiwan or ‘Chinese Taipei’, always looked the better team against a limited Timor Leste side but it was Timor Leste who almost went ahead on 24, the ball was fired just over on the angle after a pacy run down the right. Taiwan then had a chance of their own, 12 and 15 played an accidental give and go, and 12’s 20 yard shot was deflected just wide of the post.

Taiwan took a deserved lead on 38, Timor Leste put 11 behind the ball but were too narrow, 12 was played in down the left, he found space and cut the ball back from the by-line for Wu Chun Ching to slide home his second, 2-1 Taiwan.

During half-time I had a walk around and took a few shots of the stadium…

The second half started slowly but it was an entertaining half. Taiwan’s 17 had the first real chance of the second half on 56, his curling left foot shot was deflected off the bar and out for a corner.

Around the 70 minute mark there was a real flurry of chances, first on 67 Timor Leste’s no 9 curled just wide from 20 yards. Taiwan then went up the other end, and 9’s 30 yard strike stung the palms of the Timor Leste keeper. 9 was then involved again for Timor Leste on 69, he cut inside and played in 8 who turned and fired just wide. Taiwan’s 17 then saw a one on one tipped over, the flurry of chances was over but the game remained interesting.

Timor Leste always looked 2nd best but they gave it a real go. Given it was their home leg, they knew they needed at least a second home goal, with Taiwan scoring 2 away goals. They threw everything at Taiwan, but it was always the ‘away’ side who looked more like scoring. 4 minutes of stoppage time passed and Taiwan saw the game out comfortably in the end. Final score, Timor Leste 1-2 Taiwan and the ‘away’ supporters went more happy.

Taiwan had the opportunities to kill it off in the first leg but given Timor Leste need 2 on Tuesday, I think Taiwan should end up going through. That’s not to say Timor Leste looked all that bad. They simply had few chances and looked less capable of finishing off the chances they had.

I left and headed back to the MRT where my iPass still had issues. I then managed to miss the first train, due to going to the wrong platform again! MRT trains travel on the right, but trains travel on the left, hence my mix up!

I got back to Xinzuoying about 2110 and my iPass wouldn’t open the main TRA gates. Not willing to buy a ticket when I had 127 dollars on my iPass, I tried again inside the main station. It worked on the 3rd go, but then I realised I had no beer for the train back! I had about 8 minutes to spare before the 2126 Tzu Chiang Express back to Tainan.

Luckily given it was an express, and not a local train, I only had 24 minutes on the train and not 50!

Back in Tainan and my iPass wouldn’t work. Without a working iPass, I had no ticket and could have probably got fined a small sum, but luckily on the 3rd gate tried, it worked! I was relieved, not least because I’d got a few locals behind me who didn’t seem too happy with me, given about 200 people were wanting to get through 5 ticket gates!

I have to admit, my iPass fell out my pocket about 6 weeks ago and I hadn’t realised I’d lost it. I found an iPass on the way to work and I checked my wallet, mine wasn’t there. An animal had clearly chewed at it, and it’s a bit ‘bent’ but it has been working without issue until this point!

I was back in Tainan at 2150 and after establishing there were no more buses back, I thought why not just get a taxi home? I usually walk back from the centre of Tainan these days, 4.4km/2.7 miles but I wanted to get home and crack home a can. Taxi it was, and key in lock about 2225, 90 minutes after leaving Kaohsiung. The 4.4km journey costing 160 dollars or £3.20 more than the 90km return journey on the train and MRT tickets combined but still very cheap!

Next up, I don’t know. CPBL weekly round-up to follow on Monday though.



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CPBL weekly round-up

The end of the season is nigh and as the CPBL goes into it’s last full week of action, two of the four sides will take no further part after next Wednesday. One side will join Chinatrust Brothers in the play-offs and despite another weather disrupted week, we are closer to knowing the identity of that team.

Here was how the table looked at this point last week…

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 29-22

2 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 25-24

3) Lamigo Monkeys – 23-24

4 ) Uni Lions – 23-30

The week started last Monday as Lamigo Monkeys traveled to Chinatrust Brothers in Taichung. Things were looking good for the struggling Monkeys until yet another late show by the Brothers which saw them erase a 7-1 deficit by scoring 7 unanswered runs in the bottom of the 7th. Brothers went onto complete the victory, and in doing so, further jeopardised Lamigos fading play off hopes.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays matches were postponed due to Typhoon Megi, and it was back to action on Thursday. Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions was postponed due to typhoon damage to Tainan Municipal Stadium but Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos went ahead in Taichung.

EDA Rhinos continued their rampaging form as they eased to a 9-1 victory over their only challengers for the play off spot, Lamigo Monkeys. They scored in every inning except the 6th, to lead 9-0 after 8, the Lamigos pulled one back in the top of the 9th but it was a mere consolation.

Friday’s meeting between Lamigo Monkeys and Uni Lions in Douliu was postponed but Chinatrust Brothers registered their 10th win in 12 with victory over EDA Rhinos. In a battle between the two likely play off contenders, Brothers snatched the tight encounter 5-3.

The weekend’s weather was better, and in a reverse in fortunes, EDA Rhinos beat Chinatrust Brothers in Taichung on Saturday as the away side. The Rhinos are currently without a permanent home, and have shared Xinzhuang Stadium/Taichung Intercontinental with Brothers since August.  Brothers scored twice early but Rhinos came back to win with single runs in the 5th, 6th, 8th and 9th, final score, 4-2 Rhinos.

The leagues out of form sides Uni Lions and Lamigo Monkeys met in Taoyuan and it was Lamigos who came out on top to register just their 3rd win in 14 games. It was a close encounter that the Lamigos edged 6-4. It was the Lions defeat was their 14th in their last 18 a run which has seen their hopes of the play offs fizzle away, and make them likely to finish bottom of the table.

Onto Sunday and Chinatrust Brothers got another win to ensure top spot in the overall standings. They did it in brutal fashion too, with the score 6-5 Brothers after 5, they bludgeoned 5 in the 6th and 6 in the 7th to go 17-5 ahead. That would be the end of the scoring, final score: Brothers 17 Lions 5.

In Taichung, EDA Rhinos all but secured their place in the end of the play offs with a 5-1 victory over Lamigo Monkeys. The result also made it very likely, the Rhinos will secure the 2nd phase title. It was their 17th win in 22 games, a quite stunning run of form and such a contrast to their 1st phase collapse.

Due to giving priority to my Northern Taiwan trip report, I have only started to write this on Tuesday and here is what happened…

Lamigo Monkeys and EDA Rhinos played out an incredibly rare scoreless tie in Taichung. 12 innings and 3 hours 40 minutes couldn’t separate the two sides who pitched extremely well. Lamigos managed 7 hits to Rhinos 3, with 9 walks in all thrown. Zack Segovia took MvP honours for pitching 8 and conceding just 2 runs and a walk for Lamigo Monkeys.

The tie game makes it all the more likely EDA Rhinos will be in the play offs. EDA Rhinos remaining 4 games are all against the Monkeys, and two wins should secure their place in the play-offs.

In Tainan, Chinatrust Brothers went down a 5-3 defeat to bottom side Uni Lions. The Lions led 3-2 after 1 inning and added 2 more in the 4th, there was no comeback this time for Brothers who managed just a single run back in the 6th.

Here is how the table looks after this week and a bit of action…

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 32-23-1

2 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 28-26

3 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 24-27-1

4 ) Uni Lions – 24-32

As mentioned, it’s likely EDA Rhinos will take top spot and secure their place in the play offs. Here are the remaining fixtures for the week:

Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos – On Wednesday in Taichung

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – On Wednesday in Tainan

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – On Thursday in Taichung, on Friday in Douliu

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – On Saturday/Sunday in Tainan

Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos – On Saturday/Sunday in Douliu

Until next Monday, bye for now,






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Trip to Northern Taiwan – 1st October – Part Two

As mentioned in part one, I hadn’t really had much of a plan and for the second half of the day, it was a case of just making it up as I went along.

I took the 1247 to Haikeguan station and I arrived in bright, searing hot sunshine at Taiwan’s most northern train station, at the end of the Shen-ao branch.

It was the home to the National Museum of Science and Technology but my concern was getting over to Keelung and making the most of the afternoon there.

I found that that Keelung East tourist bus left from the bus stop on the main road but I had a fair wait for it. It was 1330, but the bus wasn’t due until 1400, and according to my phone, it was running 15 minutes late on top of that. I decided to take a walk to the bridge over the harbour area and got a glimpse of the stunning coastline.

One of the things Taiwan’s tourist authorities have done incredibly right, is develop the Tourist Shuttle Bus system. They run in every county, and there are over 40 routes. It makes planning trips easier, and allows tourists to hop on and off, seeing what they want to. The buses also get people to some pretty remote areas, that wouldn’t otherwise be covered by normal buses.

I digress, the bus turned up at 1415 and it was onto Heping Island Park. It was about a 10 minute walk from the bus stop but I was immediately impressed. The rock formations were almost alien like, Keelung is Taiwan’s most northern and wettest city and the shapes/sizes of the rocks took some getting used to.

Sadly most of the island appeared to be closed, but I had a walk up the side of one of the hills, on a trail to find a gazebo and the views were absolutely stunning.

Given the good conditions it was possible to see right down the coasts and across to Keelung Islet. In a city where it rains over 200 days a year, I’d got lucky with the weather!

The second half of the day was shaping up to be very good and I took the 1520 bus onwards, without much idea of where I was going…

The bus ended up going UP! Right up the hills to Yizheng Park then Zhongzheng Park. I decided to get off at the latter, and whilst I didn’t have much idea what I was going to do, knew it would be worth having a walk around.

I immediately found there was a temple in front of me, and seconds later the Guanyin statue came into view.


I was at one of the higher points in Keelung City and I’d realised, I had previous read the views from Zhongzheng Park were stunning, and so it proved.

The temple area was interesting to look at, but sadly I knew I was getting burnt in the afternoon sun, so had to keep to the shade. I was wishing that for once I had worn suncream!

After I come down from inside the statue, I was stuck as there was 3 rings of 3-4 people wide circling the statue. It was some kind of ceremony and whilst I had to wait about 15 minutes to get across, and away from the temple area, it was a nice add on.

It was now getting towards 5pm and I started to move downhill towards the centre of Keelung City. My sightseeing wasn’t done and I got a few pictures on the way down to the harbour area.

At the bottom, I wasn’t really sure where to go but there was a map showing my location in front of a building, opposite the bottom of the steps in bottom right photo. I walked onto the plaza area AND after a disappointing morning, it had turned into a very good day-trip. Yet, I still hadn’t done what I come to Keelung to do, which was to visit the famous night market.

I wasn’t sure what time to get there, and given 6pm is early in Tainan, thought I’d aim for then but ended up there at around 5:40.

I had a walk down the main street and tried 3 dishes in the end, Oyster Omelette, Chicken Roll and Braised Spare Rib Soup. Every stand had some English and I found some of the vendors also spoke it too.

It was a real cultural experience, and I was disappointed to leave at 6:45, as I was running out of time before my 8:50 bus back to Tainan from Taipei. There was a lot of dishes I wanted to try and I promised myself I would be back in the near future.

I headed back to Keelung station, taking some time to stop at the plaza again on the way back. I had dithered a bit too long, and ended up missing a train by 5 minutes so had to wait 25 minutes until the 7:37 back, and whilst I waited had a beer.

Back in Taipei, I found a 7 Eleven that sold full cans of beer after visiting one that sold just mini cans. I’ve found station 7 Elevens can be hit and miss with regards to alcohol and I’ve never been totally sure on the legality of drinking on trains/in public but I’ve never once been told not to.

It was going to be a long journey back and I fancied a couple of cans to make the journey go by a bit quicker. It helped and I managed to doze off for about an hour.

I was back in Tainan just after 1am, and went to a 7 Eleven to get a drink, but then didn’t see a taxi to flag down and ended up walking over 4.5km back home. It took around 50 minutes, and I picked up some food from Family Mart as I was starving hungry by the time I got near home.

Key in door just before 2am and it had been a successful trip. A new bit of Taiwan visited and a day that got better as it went along. I will be back to Keelung to visit the forts there and visit the North East Coast of the island.

I’m sure I’ll be doing another trip with the next few weeks before winter sets in in the north.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the 2 part post, I’ve published a total of 128 photos and tried to keep the word count down. It has still taken about 4 hours but it was a good trip, and nice to be writing about this wonderful island again.

Until my next trip, bye for now,


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Trip to Northern Taiwan – 1st October – Part 1

I’ve been in Taiwan for over a year now but I’ve not done quite as much exploring as I would have liked.

In my early months, I went to Lukang, all round Tainan, up to Taipei and down to Kaohsiung. Since December last year I’ve been to Hualien, Kaohsiung and not really done a great deal else. Part of that has been down to baseball, part of it down to lack of motivation and part of it down to the climate.

Taiwan is hot from about March through to October, with temperatures regularly above 30C but these months are also the wettest. It’s not always easy to plan a trip out around the weather, and there has always been a question of where to go. I had been to a lot of places in the south but was clueless about the north, Taipei City aside.

With the baseball season in it’s final couple of weeks and my Uni Lions side having faded away, I suddenly found myself wanting to get out again and explore this beautiful country. With winter approaching I knew I needed to get a trip done soon, and I started to do my research.

Fast forward to two weeks ago and I booked some bus tickets to Taipei. I’d got a few ideas, Keelung, the north coast, Yangmingshan, the Pingxi area and I realised why I’d not bothered before. I live in Tainan in southern Taiwan and is the north isn’t on the doorstep and any trip to the far north either requires an overnight stay, or in my case, a very early start!

It came down to Friday evening and I’d been invited out to go bowling with colleagues after work. I got home from work, showered, and went out. I stayed with my friend to play pool after, but approaching 1am, I said I had to go… not for sleep but for the 2am bus north to Taipei.

Home again, shower again, bag packed and at 1:30am, I was in a taxi to Kuo Kuang bus station on Beimen Road. In spite of a slight panic over time, the taxi ride took under 10 minutes and I made the bus with 20 minutes to spare.

The journey up to Taipei was OK, I closed my eyes but really struggled to get any kind of sleep. I have been struggling with insomnia in recent weeks, and most nights I’ve been falling asleep well after 4am. I didn’t even manage that, I may have dozed off for 10 minutes but that was it!

The bus arrived around 6 and after no sleep, I was half awake and in a daze, not ideal when you need to navigate through the enormous and confusing, Taipei Main Station. It took at least 15 minutes to get over to the Taiwan Railway section and after topping up my iPass at 7 Eleven, only had 5 minutes to spare to catch the 0630 to Ruifang.


I have to admit, I had done my research but had got several sets of plans. It was only when arriving at Taipei Main Station I had decided where I was going to go and that to the Pingxi area. The journey to Ruifang on the 0630 Tze Chiang Express was done standing up but it was pleasant weather which helped to keep me awake with my body now deciding it wanted sleep.

On arrival in Ruifang, I tapped out and purchased a One Day Pass for the Pingxi train line. I’d read about the Pingxi area, and been told it was worth a visit. It’s an ex coal mining area, rich in both history and culture and it sounded appealing to me. Ticket bought and it was onto the 0723 to Jingtong.

The journey was nice and given there was not many people on the train, there was plenty of chance to look out the window and enjoy the views.

On arrival in Jingtong at 0810, I began to realise that in trying to beat the crowds, I’d arrived way too early. The old train station was worth a look at but the old street itself was rather limited. I took a walk around, and found about 0840 that there was little else to do. I could have walked onwards to Pingxi but instead waited for the 0915 train.

I got into Pingxi at 9:15am and there was more to see. I took a walk along the Old Street then high above the station, to where there was a temple, and some caves, which were used an air-raid shelter during the last World War.

On entering the caves, there was a distinctly eerie feel that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and it felt as if I was watched or followed. I took a turn inside one of the room where there was old stone tables and chairs, and one room led to another. I didn’t know whether it headed to a dead end or not, but I was immediately freaked out, as a colony of bats came from nowhere and flew past me, then came back again and again at least 3 times. My sense of curiosity had got the better of me and I panicked, dashing out the cave as quick has possible.

I made my way back to Pingxi’s quiet old street but very quickly had to find food and drink. A mix of no sleep and no food in 24 hours had taken its toll, and I needed 20 minutes to sit down and get some energy inside me. I’d finished work and not had chance to eat, it had been a manic 21 hours since I’d started work at 1pm the day previous.

I left Pingxi with mixed views, it had a slightly rustic feel but there wasn’t a great deal to see. It was adequate for an hour and I moved onto Shifen.

This was the supposed highlight of the area and that was obvious, given the number of people that greeted me as I got off the train. Both the Jingtong/Ruifang trains had arrived at the same time and there was at least 200 people getting on/off the two trains.

On leaving the station I found an old street dissected by the train line running through the middle of the village and a mix of food stalls, tacky souvenir shops and lantern sellers. I quickly extricated myself from this busy spot and on the road to the waterfall.

The road out to the waterfall was quiet and it took around 15 minutes or so to get to the entrance of the trail. Once on it, it was wooden decked and after just 5 minutes, you could see the waterfall through the trees. There was a hairpin left turn downhill and at the bottom was the first viewing platform.


I moved along and onto the next platform, which was down opposite the falls themselves.

I was actually really impressed after such a drab morning, this was a real highlight and having not seen any pictures of the falls before I visited, hadn’t known what to expect.

I continued along the trail, up the side of falls for more photos before sitting down at top of the trail where there was an information centre/food stalls.

Upon leaving it started to rain and the walk back to Shifen wasn’t fun despite having a coat.

I got back to Shifen, and I had about 45 minutes until the train back towards Ruifang. There was nothing to really do. I could have chosen to release a lantern, but given I wasn’t keen on polluting the local environment, decided against it. I settled on a watermelon smoothie and a walk around.

I left Shifen on the 1247 train and I was disappointed. Whilst I had arrived a bit early in the day, I just didn’t enjoy my time in the area. The waterfall aside, I had been underwhelmed and the experience was ‘meh’ at best. Shifen seemed a bit of a tourist trap, over-rated but I was glad I had gone. It was time to get on with the second half of the day and it began with the 1247 train to Haikeguan.

Part Two to come…

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2 weekly CPBL round-up

Good evening to you all and I am back after a one week absence. Last week’s CPBL weekly round-up was never researched, written or published. My mind was not in the right place and unfortunately I skipped a week. I will quickly look back at that missed week before going straight into last week’s action.

Here is how the table looked two weeks ago:

1 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 21-18

2 ) EDA Rhinos – 23-20

3 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 19-21

4 ) Uni Lions – 20-24

Last week, EDA Rhinos seized the initiative after losing their game on 13th September to Chinatrust Brothers 10-7. Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys on 14th September was postponed and it was at the point I published my last round-up.

On Thursday 15th, EDA Rhinos took revenge on Chinatrust Brothers with an 11-8 win in New Taipei. They led 3-0 after 3, were pegged back to 3-3 after 4 before seizing a 7-4 lead in the 5th. The Rhinos then scored 2 in the 6th but conceded 3 times, to leave it at 9-7. Brothers pulled another run back to leave it at 10-9 after 7 before the Rhinos sealed it their 11th run in the top of the 8th, final score Rhinos 11 Brothers 9.

Elsewhere, Lamigo Monkeys consolidated top spot as they brushed aside Uni Lions 11-1 in Taoyuan. Lin Chih Ping hit 3 runs and made 4 hits in an impressive display, Wang Po Jung also impressed with 2R, 3H and Lin Hung Yu made 2R, 2H and 5 RBI.

Onto Friday 16th and EDA Rhinos went back to the top of the table after a 5 hour thriller in Taoyuan.  2 Lamigo Monkeys runs in the bottom of the 9th leveled the game at 7-7 and took the game to a 10th. No runs in the 10th and a run apiece in the 11th saw the game taken to a 12th inning. It was EDA Rhinos who prevailed, smashing 3 runs without conceding and they took an 11-8 win.

In New Taipei, the Uni Lions continued to falter as they lost 8-7 to Chinatrust Brothers. The Lions took a 5-1 lead in the top of the 2nd but then failed to score again until the top of the 8th, by which time they were 7-5 down. They leveled it at 7-7 but then conceded in the bottom of the 8th and went down 8-7.

Due to Typhoon Melakas, both games were postponed on Saturday and on Sunday EDA Rhinos v Lamigo Monkeys lunch-time meeting was also postponed.

The Sunday lunchtime game in New Taipei did go ahead and it was more bad news for the Uni Lions. They led 3-0 after 2 but then conceded 5 in the 3rd and 6th, before conceding a further 2 in the 7th. 4 runs back made it 12-7 after 8 but it was too little too late, final score Lions 7 Brothers 12.

Into Sunday evening and conditions have improved enough in Taoyuan for EDA Rhinos v Lamigo Monkeys to take place. The Rhinos once again impressed with the bat, taking a 5-3 lead after 3 innings. The teams then shared 8 runs in the 5th and 6th to leave it at 9-7 after 6. A further Lamigos run pulled it back to 9-8 after 7 but the Rhinos pulled away, scoring 4 in the 8th and they went onto take the game 13-9.

In New Taipei, the Uni Lions ended a miserable week with an 11-6 win over Chinatrust Brothers. It ended a 6 match losing streak but after a collapse in form that has seen the hopes of the play offs ended, it was scant consolation.

Here is how the table looked at this point last week

1 ) EDA Rhinos – 26-20

2 ) Lamigo Monkeys – 22-20

3 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 21-23

4 ) Uni Lions – 21-27

Going into the week of 19th-25th September and the last week of arranged fixtures, EDA Rhinos held an 11-2 record for the month. It could not be more different to the Rhinos finish to the 1st phase, when they faltered spectacularly, blowing 2nd place in the 1st phase after winning just 2 of their last 16 games.

Lamigo Monkeys knew ahead of the week that they needed wins, and after a poor run of form, losing 5 in 6, now sat behind the in form Rhinos.

We start on Tuesday 20th as Lamigo Monkeys hosted Chinatrust Brothers. The visitors delivered another blow to Lamigos play off hopes as they took a fairly easy 12-4 win. It was a close affair until the bottom of the 5th, as they score sat at Brothers 4-3 Monkeys. 5 runs in the 6th and 3 more in the 7th took Brothers into a 12-3 lead and the Lamigos could only manage 1 in reply, final score Brothers 12-4 Monkeys.

For the second time in a three games, EDA Rhinos won a game in the 12th. They hosted Uni Lions in Taichung on Wednesday and after taking a 6-3 lead after 4, the Rhinos conceded single runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th to leave it at 6-6. No score in the 10th and 2 apiece in the 11th to leave it 8-8.

No score in the top of the 12th and step forward Lions pitcher Lin Tzu Wei. He conceded 2 hits and a walk, before a further walk on bases loaded to give the Rhinos a 9-8 win.

One fun fact about this game, was despite only registering 9 hits all night, the Lions made 4 home runs. Lo Kuo Long picked up 3 of these homers, scoring 5 runs, making 3 hits and 3 RBI but it wasn’t enough as the rest of the Lions side faltered.

Onto Thursday and Brothers another crushing blow to Lamigo Monkeys play off hopes with another big win in Taoyuan. It was another close run game until Brothers pulled away late again. It was 7-5 to Brothers after 6 innings, but they scored 1 in the 7th and then 6 in the 8th to take a 14-5 victory.

Things got worse for Lamigo Monkeys and their play off hopes as EDA Rhinos crushed Uni Lions in Taichung. Mike Loree gave away just 2 runs and 5 hits in 8, whilst Lions starter Darin Downs conceded 10H, 8R in his 6 innings. The game ended 10-2 Rhinos, and further cemented their place at the top of the 2nd phase table.

Onto Friday evening and Chinatrust Brothers delivered EDA Rhinos first defeat in 10 days as they pulled away late for the 3rd game running. It was a familiar story, a close run game with the score 3-3 after 6, before 4 in the 7th and 1 in the 8th to take the game away from the Rhinos. One run back was secured but it wasn’t enough, final score Brothers 8-4 Rhinos.

In Tainan, the Uni Lions fell to another defeat as for the 2nd night running a foreign pitcher silenced the Lions hitters. Orlando Roman conceded just 5 hits and a single run, whilst the Monkeys scored regularly, the final score, Monkeys 11-1 Lions.

Onto Saturday and Chinatrust Brothers crushed EDA Rhinos 16-4 in Taichung. They led 4-1 after 5 before conceding 8 in the 6th and 4 in the 8th to go 16-1 ahead. Brothers 6th/7th/8th/9th hitters all managed to get 2 runs and managed 9 hits between them as Brothers eased to victory. EDA Rhinos did pull back 3 in the bottom of the 8th but the damage had already been done.

Elsewhere and Uni Lions picked their first win of the week after a closely fought game with Lamigo Monkeys. The Lions were cruising ahead at 5-1 after 6, partly thanks to Su Zhe Jie’s 2 big home runs in the 1st and 4th. Lamigos got back in it after a run in the 7th and then 3 in the 8th to level it at 5-5. The Lions relievers once again almost dismantling the work of the starting pitcher and the game went to a 10th inning.

Fu Yu Gang saw off the Monkeys without so much as a hit or a walk before Pan Yan Ting gave the Lions a 6-5 win with a walk off hit to centre field in the bottom of the 10th. Relief all round for the Lions, who picked their first win of the week.

Onto Sunday and EDA Rhinos showed why they are top of the 2nd phase table, as they eased past Brothers 6-1 in Taichung. Tsai Ming Chin gave away just 4 hits and a run off 7 in an impressive display from the Rhinos starter.

Lamigo Monkeys play off hopes are starting to disappear, they went down to the 9th win in 11 as they were crushed in Tainan by Uni Lions. 7 runs in the opening inning started things off as the Lions pulverised the Monkeys, making 26 hits in the 3hr 50 minute contest. Lamigos pulled it back to 9-5 after 4.5 innings, scoring 3 in the top of the 5th before the Lions replied with 9 runs and took a 18-5 lead.

Amazingly, no further runs were scored and that was that. Lo Kuo Long, Su Zhe Jie, Kao Kuo Ching, Liu Fu Hao, Tang Chao Ting and Chen Jie Xian all managed 2 runs or more, and managed 19 hits between them. 26 hits for one team is likely to be nearing a league record.

So at the end of this marathon CPBL 2 weekly round-up, here is how the table looks:



1 ) EDA Rhinos – 29-22

2 ) Chinatrust Brothers – 25-24

3) Lamigo Monkeys – 23-24

4 ) Uni Lions – 23-30

EDA Rhinos now look very likely to take the second spot in the play offs as whilst they have picked up an impressive 14 wins from 18, Lamigo Monkeys have picked up just 5 wins from their last 15. At this stage in the season, it is not good enough and despite having a very capable batting line-up and good starting pitchers, their bull pen has been their weakness.

Here at this week’s fixtures which is a mish mash of rearranged games but it is likely that Tuesday/Wednesday will be affected by Typhoon Megi.

Lamigo Monkeys v Chinatrust Brothers – On Monday in Taichung

Chinatrust Brothers v Lamigo Monkeys – On Tuesday in Taoyuan

Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos – On Wednesday in Taichung

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – On Thursday in Tainan

Chinatrust Brothers v EDA Rhinos – On Friday in Taichung

Lamigo Monkeys v Uni Lions – On Friday in Douliu

Uni Lions v Lamigo Monkeys – On Saturday in Taoyuan

EDA Rhinos v Chinatrust Brothers – On Saturday in Taichung

Chinatrust Brothers v Uni Lions – On Sunday in Tainan

Lamigo Monkeys v EDA Rhinos – On Sunday in Taichung

A real mix of fixtures with 5 games in Taichung, 2 in Tainan, 2 in Taoyuan and 1 in Douliu. Lamigos play 5 times, against all 3 sides and I think they would need to win 4 of the 5, to keep their play off hopes up. EDA Rhinos and Chinatrust Brothers meet twice, and it will be interesting to see how those fixtures pan out.

An interesting week of action ahead, I’ll bring you a full round-up next week! This extended edition has taken me too long to produce, until next time, bye for now!


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