The t-shirt sticks to my back. Too impatient to figure out the correct bus route, I have started walking up a hill outside of Hscinchu in 35 degree heat. Only a very stubborn (or more accurately: foolish) scandinavian would think to do so. "Good thing you are not made out of sugar", I can literally hear the deep northern accents of my elderly relatives in my head. It is indeed a good thing I am not made out of sugar, for I would have melted in my own sweat long time ago.
So how do I find myself here? Even the Taiwanese girl working at the hostel where I stay in Taipei gasps "WHY HSCINCHU?" when I reveal my travel plans.
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looking for the needle in a haystack
Well, I have taken to the internet for my travel inspiration lately. Pinterest, more specifically. Which is where I stumble over a photo from an Ink + Adventure blog post. It is of a gathering of seemingly random statues behind a temple site, one that springs my mind to the Oku-no-in graveyard in Japan. After reading her post the photo is immediately pinned to my Taiwan-board and I search the internet high and wide on information of how I may get to this statue garden.
Which seems a litte like looking for a needle in a haystack.
a graveyard for statues
This place certainly has something mysterious about it. Most visitors will stop by the grand statue of Guangong Deity hovering over the main temple. But if you continue through the temple yard, and down a set of stone stairs, you walk into a right treat. It is a difficult place to describe. My closest attempt would be "graveyard for abandoned statues".
Further reading: Houtong - Taiwan's Cat Village
From geishas to the statue of liberty
From Geishas and Ganeshas to smiling Buddahs, Chinese warriors, tiny dragons, galloping horses, Egyptian phraohs and even a looming statue of liberty replica. There seems to be no end to the variety of treasures lurking in this overgrown garden. I cannot help but wonder (and without reaching any real conclusion) how they all ended up here, on this particular little corner of Taiwan's west coast.
But regardless of how, walking through this eerie garden all to myself, is one of those experiences I am sure to remember for always.
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From Taipei Main Station, get yourself on a train to Hscinchu. This takes roughly one hour.
I paid TWD177 for my outwards ticket including a seat reservation, and TWD132 for the slightly slower train back to Taipei.
Once in Hscinchu, either make the ~30 minute walk uphill or get yourself on bus no 20.
Suggested lunch stop for vegans
Seemingly the vegan version of McDonald's, Vegeter is a burger joint offering all vegan menus. TWD80 for a burger and fries, respectively. It is located opposite of the FE21 department store, and bus no 20 will stop just outside of there as you return to Hscinchu.
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