First a week in Taipei, and by scooter to the famous Taroko Gorge.
Busy Manila, and 5* dive courses in Puerto Galera.
One of the most beautiful tropical beaches in the world.
Fascinating city, dressed up for the millennium, and a visit to Macao.
Taipei is a fascinating city. Very eastern, polite people, incredible food and many cultural highlights. Scooters everywhere, so later we decided to rent a scooter and see the famous Taroko Gorge, about 80 km south of Taipei.
We indulged in the street life, busy everywhere.
Really shocking to see the shops stacked with shark fins,
Foodstalls everywhere. Especilly the evening food markets were a fest.
Snake alley was not nice, animal cruelty at its best.
Public transport is everywhere. But, everything is in Chinese, and there was not yet anything like Google Translate (not even digital cameras) ...
Lungshan Temple in Wanhua, Taipei
Grand Hotel Taipei
This museum has the largest collection of Chinese artifacts in the world. Very popular is the jade cabbage.
A lunch in this majestic place is a visual and gastonomic feast.
The Taroko Gorge (in Taroko National Park) runs through pure marble. The roads are carved out leading to spectacular views, tunnels and dangerous curves.
So much nicer to do this with a scooter. In a tourist bus you do the road in a few minutes, but the appreciatiation of the stunning road is best from the hanging bridges over the river, and from the curves in the marble carve-outs.
The clouds gave a majestic atmosphere to the approach of the Xiande Temple and its pagoda.
A nice local meal, and back to Taipei, to fly to Manilla.
On the way back, it was not trivial to find gas for the scooter. We did not see a single gas station. Nobody speaks English, everything is in Chinese, but luckily we found a tiny grocery store with some bottles of gas.
We were there with Christmas, so we could admire the simple Nativity scene.
Lucky to see a traditional Philippine wedding in the Minor Basilica, the cathedral of Old Manila.
From Manila we flew to Batangas, from where we took a small boat to Puerto Galera.
Rudy's Dive Center
Rudy's Dive Center (archived webpage here)
Puerto Galero was an excellent base from where to explore.We did it all by jeepney, the local bus. They were all impressively decorated, fun!
Borocay Island has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The sand (i.e. mostly very fine coral grit) is white and soft, like flour.
In 1999 we almost had the beach for our selves.
From a tranquil tropical paradise to glittering, noisy gastonomic and worldly Hong Kong.
The view from the world-famous Felix Bar on top of the Oriental Hotel on the skyscrapers with their special millennium light show was fascinating.
Right time, right place.
By fast ferry to Macao,
with old Portuguese buildings,