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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Yehliu Geopark - Taiwan’s Rock Theme Park?

Aside from Taroko Gorge National Park, one of the places that I was really looking forward to seeing in Taiwan was Yehliu Geopark. I had several friends who visited Taiwan before it got popular with the Filipinos and they posted pictures of these oddly shaped rocks that looked out of this world. Do you think I saw them with my two own eyes? Of course I did!

yehliu

Yehliu Geopark 野柳 is a cape that stretches for about 1.7 kilometer located at Wanli District, New Taipei.  It is best known for unique rock formations and landscapes that formed from sea erosion and geological movements pushing Datun Mountains to change its form.

yehliu geopark

How to Get to Yehliu Geopark
Located in New Taipei, Yehliu is not accessible from Taipei by MRT. However, traveling to the park is still quite easy and of course, worth your time. Only option is through buses, but there are different routes you can take. I took my ride at the Taipei West Bus Station, which is located a couple of blocks away from Taipei Main Station. However, I have gone in circles trying to find the right stop for bus 1815. Google Maps kept pointing me to the wrong spot and the people I asked didn’t seem to know this as well. My tip: locate the East 1 Gate of the bus station (don’t go inside the building!) go straight and you will see the bus stop. Took me about 15 minutes to find it. The bus signboard will say Jinshan Youth Activity Center, you’ll notice you’ve reached your destination because many passengers will get off and you’d notice tons of tourist buses packing the main road.

Another way is from Ximen, the other is from Tamsui Station using the North Coast Shuttle Bus that offers a 200 NTD unlimited ride. This will be useful if you plan to go to Keelung, Shitoushan or Baishawan.

yeliou park
a statue of Lin Tien Jen, a brave hero who saved a lot of people from drowning.

Entrance fee
This is one of the few places in the country where I had to pay an entrance fee to get in. As of November 2016, adults had to pay 80 NTD and kids usually half of that. As I enter the park's premises, I saw lots of rock replications, I just passed by it as I was more interested at seeing the real deal anyway.

taiwan yeliu
a replication of a rock that is only visible during low tide
I don’t usually keep track of time and dates when I travel, so I totally forgot that it was Sunday that day! So guess what, it was really crowded. I was there a bit early at around 9AM but this is the time that hordes of tourists decided to come by groups as well. Just a bit of patience needed especially if you’re a fast walker like me. But then again, the advantage is more people to ask for favor in case you wanted to have a picture taken.

this is one of the most visited attractions in the country, so the area is surely packed especially during weekends

Not only was I overwhelmed by the number of visitors in the area, but also of the things to see and which one to pick first! But I have a policy that I always follow in this kind of situations, “saving the best for last.” So I opted to explore survey the section that is less packed and also the nearest from the entrance gate.

yehliu rock formation

There are lots of interesting rock formations that have formed over time due to weathering and erosion, just like what happened to Kapurpurawan of Ilocos. As I looked at the park from an elevated platform, I noticed these tiny rocks that seemed like warts, if the ground is a human’s face – what a weird comparison. Anyway, the proper terminology is ‘mushroom rocks’ and is categorized into three types (which you’d see around the park as well), the thin-neck, thick-neck and neckless. The mushroom rock’s cap is rich in calcium carbonate, making it more invulnerable, so the necks get noticeably smaller. There are several formations that have been named such as ‘The Queen’s Head’.

rock
a rock shaped like an ear lobe

taiwan rock

travel blogger
le blogger posing with this heart-shaped rock or a dolphin's tail - whatever works for you
taiwan rock
Alongside the mushrooms rocks are ginger rocks (all we need is soy sauce and we can now cook a dish). Kidding aside, these are characterized by its intertwining pattern.

taiwan nature
I learned that this type of rock has undergone honeycomb weathering, when the surface are covered in holes in various sizes

taiwan cape

taiwan rock formation
more mushroom rocks

funny rock formation
a hippopotamus looking at the tourists of Yehliu
Some call this the elephant rock, but in my opinion, it resembles a hippopotamus. They have associated a legend with it that says this was an elephant that was a fairy’s pet. She forgot to take her back so the animal is still waiting for her on the waters of Yehliu up to this date. :(

queens head
so it this the Queen's Head?

This is the famous Queen’s Head, however, no matter which angle I still couldn’t figure out how it looks like a head? Perhaps the shape has already changed? I am not sure if I got it wrong because there were definitely lots of people lining up to have their picture taken with this rock. Perhaps, I was looking at the wrong angle? Anyway, this is one of the rocks that the park’s officials are very cautious of. Aside from setting up a queue for picture taking, you are not allowed to touch it as well. If you get near it, you’d hear a whistle and get some scolding from the guards.

taiwan landscape

yehliu taiwan

taipei rock
some area are off-limits to visitors to ensure safety
taiwan blog
Is it just me or does this one look like an alien? The lines look like eyes and mouth

funny rock
a fist doing the stereotyped Italian hand gesture? 

dinosaur rock
looks like a big bird or a theropod dinosaur

A fun activity to do is to think of different things that resemble these rocks

bird rock
another one that looks like a bird, marine bird rock at the wave-cut platform

taiwan scenery
top view of the geopark

blending in with these rocks

So to clarify my title, is YehliuGeopark a themepark? It definitely isn’t. However, the feeling you’d get once you go here is similar to that of going to an amusement park, you’d get excited thinking what kind of views await you.

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