Tuesday, August 1, 2006


I next hopped on the train from Tainan to Changhua, which is about half way between Tainan and Taipei. Trains leave almost every half hour and go up and down the coast at varying levels of urgency. The cost is quite reasonable - about US$10 for the two hour trip, while people under 115cm (just under 4 feet) get to ride for free. After getting off of the train in Changhua, I crossed the street and transferred to a rickety old bus that took me to the little town of Lugang.

Lugang, or Lukang, depending on how you want to romanize it, has a history similar to that of Bruges, Belgium. Once an important port, the river silted up. Meanwhile, they prevented the railroad from passing through, leaving the town to age graceful into a rustic little historic anomaly. While Bruges has an overwhelming charm and character to it, Lugang is much less of an historic artifact. There are a few interesting old alleys, with quaint little houses and shops lining the walk. There are a couple of interesting temples. But after seeing the temples in Tainan, there's not much new left to see in the way of temple architecture. There are also numerous craft and art shops which line several old style streets. The wafting aroma of saw dust and lacquer and the handicrafts do provide some semblance of atmosphere, but crafts are not really my interest.

Even though the Taiwanese like to flock there, it's not really a must see destination for the foreign tourist. The narrow alleys of Taipei are just as interesting, albeit a little more congested and urban. Temples are everywhere in Taiwan. And if you're seriously into acquiring Chinese objets d'art, you'll go to mainland China, where the price would be a fraction of the cost that they are in Taiwan.

A small memorial in one of the old alleys

Ghost money - in addition to food, they also leave small plates of dried flower petals and ghost money. The ghost money is burned and used by the dear departed ancestors in the afterlife.

1 comment:

upa said...

it looks like those houses in China town in Incheon.