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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

✈ Day 3 in Taiwan: Cyuanji Temple (勸濟堂), Baoshi Mountain (报时山) and Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park (金瓜石黄金博物园区)


Getting to know more about the history of Jinguashi (金瓜石) - Cyuanji Temple (勸濟堂), Baoshi Mountain (报时山) and Gold Ecological Park (黄金博物园区). This marks the last day staying in Jinguashi and we will be traveling back to Taipei later in the afternoon. Since we wanted to go to Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園) while on the way back to Taipei and we both were carrying big luggage, we decided to hire a driver and took this opportunity to visit places which we didn't get to go in the past two days. So we started off our journey by visiting Cyuanji Temple, the perfect location overlooking the whole Jinguashi area and one historical site here.


Commonly known as Qitang Temple (祈堂廟) to the locals, Cyuanji Temple (勸濟堂) was built in 1896 and is considered as one of the three main temples in Jinguashi, alongside Jinfu Temple and Baomin Temple. Cyuanji Temple has a very distinctive design with an amalgamation of Eastern and Western elements. The wooden carvings throughout the temple's exterior and interior, such as the shrine, table, beams and even pillars are the masterpieces of national treasure folk artisan, Huang Gui-Li during his prime.




This gold and bronze Guan Gong statue holding the Spring and Autumn Annals in hand on the roof of the temple is the largest statue in the world, weighing more than 25 tons and 35 feet in height.


From the highest floor of Cyuanji Temple, one can overlook the exquisite panoramic view of Jinguashi here including the well-known Yin Yang Sea (阴阳海), the Little Jingua Gold Outcrop (小金瓜露头) where Jinguashi got its name from, Benshan Fifth Tunnel (本山五坑) and etc.


Located 250m away from Cyuanji Temple, there's one wooden platform on Baoshi Mountain (报时山) offering breathtaking view of the bay below. When I first saw it in a travel book, I swear to myself that I must visit this place and I'm more than happy to be here! This place is way too gorgeous! Baoshi Mountain is a tiny mountain peak - its name originated during the Japanese Era when large air raid sirens were installed on the mountain; the alarms went off in regular intervals, hence the name Baoshi Mountain.


As I've mentioned previously, there are so many abandoned factories and remains of the mining industry here in Jinguashi and this is one of them; remain of a cable car which used to transport mines from the tunnel above to Shuinandong Smelter (水湳洞精鍊廠).




Coming down from Baoshi Mountain, we decided to visit Gold Ecological Park (黄金博物园区) as one last stop before leaving Jinguashi. The Gold Ecological Park is Taiwan's first museum planned as an eco-museum, the aim being to combine community power and completely preserve the precious natural resources, mining relics, landscape, historical memories and cultural property of Jinguashi.


The first thing I spotted is this Four Joined of Japanese-Style Residence (四连栋) which was formally called Living Art Experience Workshop (生活美学体验坊). Four joined house Japanese buildings are very rare in Taiwan hence it's a precious cultural asset in Jinguashi. If you do notice, this building has actually appeared in Show Luo's drama "Corner with Love" (转角遇到爱) as his residence.



In the Gold Ecological Museum, the first floor exhibitions include a history tour of the mining regions of Jiufen and Jinguashi and its artifacts. The contents include a model of the mining tunnels, displays of the ore seam, old mining equipments and other utilities, along with a history lesson on the Japanese WWII camp. The most popular exhibition is the newly added gold sphere - it truly embodies the prowess of the private gold refineries in Jiufen.








While the second floor's theme is gold. You can spot this map of gold mines around the World once you enter the exhibition, addressing the history of gold, chronicling stories about gold from both Eastern and Western cultures.



They also display how the role of gold has played through mankind - how it is used in different occasions in one's life, such as weddings, funerals, ceremonies and etc. There are also films on gold artisans sharing notes on their creations and display of gold artworks created by local artists.


The main attraction on the second floor is this 220kg gold ingot - the treasure of this museum, featuring an electronic sign displaying today's gold prices. Tourists are allowed to touch it and get a feel the value of this 220kg ingot. Besides, it's mentioned that anyone who can lift up this 220kg gold ingot can bring it home but obviously no one has yet to success.



Among the 9 tunnels in Benshan Minefield, this Benshan Fifth Tunnel (本山五坑) is the most well preserved tunnel in Jinguashi and open to public where tourists can see and feel the mining work done in the past.


NT 50 each person per entry and we were given a safety helmet before entering the tunnel as there might be some water dripping from the top.


To realize the eco-museum ideas and give tourists an experience of being in an actual tunnel and a better understanding of the working conditions underground, Benshan Fifth Tunnel was renovated and partly re-opened to the public as the tunnel experience area.


There are lifelike wax figures and information boards inside the tunnel to show you the process of the ore mining and how the miners worked in the past. Audio guided tour services are also provided through the conversation of an older miner with a younger miner, tourists can get a better understanding of how the blasting, cleaning wasted rock, collecting and excavation were done.



While you walk along the pathway, there's a small booth setting up specially for gold mining experience (costs NT 120) where tourists can get a lesson on how to pan for gold and they're allowed to bring it home of which they accumulated through panning.


Before we going for lunch, we make a quick visit to Crown Prince Chalet (太子宾馆) which was built in 1922 during the Japanese colonial period in anticipation by a visit by the crown prince of Japan but he didn't actually visit in the end. Being the finest Japanese style wood building surviving in Taiwan today, the building and the gardens are arranged in a goose flight formation with red cypress building material forming a pure Japanese style house.


It's getting late when we're done visiting the Museum of Gold, Benshan Fifth Tunnel and etc, we decided to have our lunch here at Golden Impression Cafe and Restaurant (矿工餐堂之黄金印象意式餐厅) and go to Yehliu Geopark right after.


Being the most popular restaurant here in Gold Ecological Park, how can we not order the star item on their menu, Mineworker's Lunch Box (矿工便当) for NT 290 which consists of Taiwanese pork chop with tofu, pickled vegetables, rice and black tea and you can actually bring back the container, handkerchief and even the chopsticks as souvenirs. Honestly, I don't really fancy the food here and I guess people only come for this Mineworker's Lunch Box as momento.


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Recommendations/Tips:
It is not necessary to hire a driver to get around Jinguashi and those places I've visited like Cyuanji Temple, Baoshi Mountain and Gold Ecological park are all easily accessed by public transport (eg. bus). I'm not saying tour guide is a waste of money but I personally prefer to explore like the locals and not rushing from one to other attractions meaninglessly. Tour guide is good as well because they can explain everything to you in details so you can know more about the history of the place and they know which specific point offers the best view. For my case, we wanted to visit Yehliu Geopark on our way back to Taipei and we both were carrying big luggage, it will be very troublesome for us to take public transport and change station from one to another.

For those who need touring, I would recommend my driver, Mark Lin 林冠宇, he is very friendly and he does very detailed explanations in every single aspects. I love the effort he puts in that he even print out some materials like photos for us to understand better the history of Jinguashi. Mark is staying in Jinguashi hence he's very familiar with this area and he speaks fluent English (he used to be an English teacher). You may contact him at 0920416332 or drop him an email at mark0918@gmail.com. WeChat or LINE are also available at @marktouring. I'm not paid to write this but I truly think his excellent service is worth to be credited.

Back to my itinerary, I would suggest one to plan a half day trip here in Gold Ecological Park because there are too many things to see and experience it on your own especially if you're a person like me who is curious of everything and my mum who will actually read every single thing on the information board provided. We only managed to stay here for about 3 hours and made a quick visit to the Museum of Gold, Benshan Fifth Tunnel, Crown Prince Chalet and gold mining experience. The area is so big that there are many stuffs we didn't get to see yet so we will definitely revisit this place in the future!


Sneak peak of my upcoming post of Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園) and I will be holding my very first giveaway soon! Stay tuned for more :)


Other posts of Taiwan:
[Accommodation] Levite Villa (利未庄园民宿): www.yuhjiun09.com/2014/10/accommodation-levite-villa-new-taipei.html
[Accommodation] Cloud Village (雲山水小築民宿): www.yuhjiun09.com/2014/10/accommodation-cloud-village-new-taipei.html
Day 1 & 2: Keelung Miaokou Night Market (基隆庙口夜市) & 891 Goldwater Romantic Shuttle Bus (891金水浪漫号): www.yuhjiun09.com/2014/11/day-1-2-in-taiwan-keelung-miaokou-night.html
Day 2: Shifen, Jingtong and Jiufen (十分, 菁桐, 九份): www.yuhjiun09.com/2014/11/day-2-in-taiwan-shifen-jingtong-and.html

32 comments:

  1. I am a fan of these huge statues. This one in your picture looks so imposing and grand. I am not sure I want to go into the mine though, feels creepy. Hehe.

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  2. This place looks like a lot of fun to visit... I love all of your pics! The eco-museum seems like a must do in this place!

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  3. I personally love the wooden platform! The view is breathtaking and it's a very nice place to contemplate for a while. I agree, it's much easier to have a tour guide (though sometimes it costs a lot) to tour us around and for us to know the stories behind each place or thing we see. We could also ask questions which is usually my favorite part of the tour! Hehe.

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  4. I went to Yehliu Geopark the first day. It was the first destination we went to Taiwan! The rest you went, I have never been there. Seriously, Taiwan has a lot of places to go. One week isn't enough to explore the whole island. =(

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  5. The Baoshi Mountain (报时山) view is truly breathtaking! I thought it will be very nice to have wedding photoshoot there! But will it be weird? haha

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  6. The views are gorgeous! I'd love to go there in the future. It looks so calm and relaxing, like it can take away all the stress in the world.

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  7. What i love most about the your article is the graphics, its just too excellent. I have never been to thaiwan but i believe its a beautiful place to be.

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  8. I've been to Yehliu and love the rock formations. I like to trek the baoshi mountain since it has really breathtaking views.

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  9. This really is something that one must visit in lifetime! I'm loving it.. Nature, food, Crown Prince Chalet,.. All !

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  10. Absolutely stunning images! The temples are so opulent!! Very jealous of your trip! Simone x

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  11. nice scenery places that i didnt get to go during my taiwan trip!
    So syok one you go so many places!

    #Yummy Japanese Food here

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  12. Taiwan is a great country and I am so glad that I can enjoy a virtual visits through your beautiful posts :)

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  13. You made me want to visit Taiwan more! Thanks so much for sharing them! You've taken some great pictures!

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  14. Thanks for sharing your awesome trip. R u going free n easy or tour ya? So much to explore at Taiwan.

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  15. What a beautiful place to visit! I love your photos and the tour of Baoshi Mountain. Your gorgeous tour photos make me want to visit Taiwan soon.

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  16. Picture of heavy post with amazing site scene :) Beautiful pictures x

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  17. Taiwan is very rich in culture. I also heard that it's also an exciting place for a food trip ! hope to be able to travel there and experience the adventure myself!

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  18. Again an amazing place! and love your pictures too, makes me want to visit the place! :)

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  19. This is beautiful place and you again took amazing pictures :)
    GlamupGirls

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  20. The 220kg gold is the intersting part for me! Hopefully someday I'll get to visit this place and experience it for myself ! :D

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  21. Love your pics!! The scenery is really pretty! =)

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  22. aww, i didn't visit these places when i went taiwan! looks so fun! i gotta revisit taiwan someday!
    giglove

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  23. You are so lucky to be able to travel there... The scenery is so damn beautiful... I wish someday I'll get the chance to travel there... :)

    ~gig
    www.fiarevenian.com

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  24. Wow!!! So many places to explore in Taiwan, and even Yehliu itself. The scenery is really beautiful.

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  25. The pictures look soo lovely!! Glad that you had a wonderful time and I do love those wood carvings as well!!

    GIG Love
    New Post - xoxo Chaicy - Style..A Pastiche!
    Facebook

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  26. absolutely beautiful! i love going on walks like this

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  27. The photos are absolutely stunning! The Cyuanji Temple looks amazing.

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  28. The good museum seemed really cool! I love your travel stories! Gig

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  29. Looks like a wonderful trip, thanks for sharing your pictures. Love your skirt too - So cute! <3 GIGLove

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  30. what a lovely picture that you have made..
    so great experienced holiday with your family ..

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  31. The view from that platform is ridiculous. And that gold block is awesome too. As always I'm envious of the food you had. Yum!

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