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South Taiwan Ride 2015: Tainan to Pingtung City

Tainan country roads
Riding through the countryside in southern Tainan 台南. This looks remarkably like the area near where I grew up.

Bicycle touring is one of the best ways to experience Taiwan 台灣. I don’t have an opportunity to go touring as much as I’d like but managed to find some time last year, in June of 2015, to embark upon a multi-day bicycle trip around southern Taiwan 台灣. My intention was to cover some of the same territory that I had rushed through on my first bicycle trip down south in 2013. I ended up racing a typhoon from Kenting to Taitung City 台東市 that year—so the chance to explore the backroads of Pingtung 屏東 at a more relaxed pace really appealed to me. I started my journey in Tainan 台南, my favourite city in Taiwan 台灣, and cycled through Kaohsiung 高雄 to Pingtung City 屏東市, putting about 70 kilometers behind me. Gathered here are some photos from the first day of this trip, continued here.

On The Edge of Agongdian Reservoir 阿公店水庫

Agongdian Reservoir 阿公店水庫
The control tower near the north end of the levee at Agongdian Reservoir, Kaohsiung 高雄.

Agongdian Reservoir 阿公店水庫 (occasionally romanized in the old Wade–Giles style as Akungtien Reservoir; literally “Grandpa’s Shop”) is located amid the low hills of central Kaohsiung 高雄 in southern Taiwan 台灣. Construction began in the Japanese colonial era but was not completed until 1953, largely because of the high amount of silt in the waterways flowing into it. Even now considerable effort must be undertaken to dredge the reservoir every season.

Wushanding Mud Volcano 烏山頂泥火山

Wushanding mud volcano cone

Wūshāndǐng Mud Volcano 烏山頂泥火山 is a modest geological curiosity in the hilly badlands of Yàncháo 燕巢, Kaohsiung 高雄. It is the largest and most impressive mud volcano field in Taiwan 台灣. I first heard about the place through this excellent article by Richard Saunders, who also published an illuminating article about mud volcanoes in the China Post.