Sunday, May 01, 2011

, ,

Puli 埔里, Nantou County

5/01/2011 Taiwan Explorer

Puli 埔里 (lit. Wharf village) is a lovely small town in Central Taiwan. It's the biggest town (almost a small city with nearly 90.000 inhabitants) in the vicinity of the geometric center of the main island. My wife and I arrived here after taking the bus from the Sun Moon Lake (it took us about 30 min). Puli was very hot that day, it truly felt like summer to someone like me, who had to suffer under a cold and rainy Taipei in the previous weeks. Apart from the hot weather, the small town had not a lot to offer. It has a certain charm, but compared to some other Taiwanese small towns I've visited, it didn't really excite me. It looks like many other towns in the Western part of the island. However, the Puli Basin 埔里盆地 is probably one of the most beautiful parts of Taiwan.

We asked some people in town about what to do and see here and most said: "Nothing. You need to go out and visit some temples or scenic spots in the wider area, the town itself is pretty dull." Great. So there we were, with big backpacks in the middle of a hot day in the exact center of Taiwan. This is what we first saw:

A statue of Sun Yat-sen, I think, in the middle of a roundabout.

A street in Puli.

Another street in Puli.

Right next to the central roundabout I spotted a very popular restaurant.

There were like over 50, maybe even close to 100 people waiting or eating at the spacious restaurant. It's called 胡國雄古早麵 and it serves all kinds of dishes, from noodles to rice. We always believe, if a place is popular, the food must be good. It's not always true, but most of the time. Here we had to wait for a while, before we could sit at a table, probably 10 minutes. After getting seated, we had to wait another 10 minutes to get served. The waiting was long, the place was crowded, but I gotta tell you: The food is top! Definitely worth to wait. It was the best meal of our trip, truly delicious. See for yourself:

I took some photos and caught a lot of attention. Hello, cute girl! :)

This is the food we ordered: Everything was really yummy.

The pork was so tender, the soft boiled egg was very tasty (a must-try), but the best must have been the vegetables with some kind of a mayonnaise sauce: Be sure you don't miss to order that. If you wanna find the restaurant, it's very close to that big roundabout and the Sun Yat-sen statue.

After we finished eating, we decided to walk along the main road.

And we soon saw another big roundabout. Very colorful.

This building is the tallest structure in town. I'm sure the tip reaches 100m.

A lovely church nearby.

We decided to take the bus to Nantou City, our next destination.

After we finished our lunch and walked around town, my wife wanted to go to a famous chocolate store, but we realized it was too far, so we decided to have a drink and then find the main bus station and leave. The station is small and doesn't smell good, the stench from the toilet was unbearable (seriously, keep your distance from that place). As for the people in Puli, I found them very nice and not intrusive. They didn't look at me (a foreigner) a lot, everybody mostly minded their own business (unlike people in Nantou City). Life is very slow there and one thing you really need to keep in mind, when you travel to Puli is the lack of good transportation. Some buses to Sun Moon Lake, Nantou City or Taichunng go once in an hour or once in two hours. Better plan well ahead, when you visit here, don't get stuck like we got, because we didn't think that the buses will be so scarce. The cabs are expensive. We wanted to see the famous Chung Tai Chan Monastery 中台禪寺 (tallest Buddhist temple in the world), which is right outside Puli town, but there were no buses available that day, only expensive cabs. So we skipped it, also because of our tight schedule. But all in all, we had a good experience in Puli and I would probably return here again, but hopefully with a car, so I save money on the transportation cost. Exploring the Puli Basin by car must be the best option.

My 2011 CENTRAL TAIWAN Tour - NEXT: Nantou City>>

• Explore all my Central Taiwan posts at once.