Catching the scooter ferry to Cijin Island

Today I walked in a different direction, and ended up drinking gin & tonic at the beach…

Palm trees next to an expansive sandy beach, with sun umbrellas in the distance.
The beach on Cijin Island, a five-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Photo: Zhen-Kang.

This past weekend I’d completed an apartment rental application form, so today I had time to spare while waiting to hear from the real estate agent. Here are some phone pics from my meandering journey to Cijin:

A near-empty boulevard next to the harbor.
This is the site of the Original Craftsman Market I saw yesterday—much quieter on Monday morning.

View of the harbor from Great Harbour Bridge. The water is calm, with two coastguard vessels tied up at the dock, and the cityscape in the distance.
The air was hazier today.
Grumpy-looking statue holding a broom.
Walking around the edge of the Pier 2 Arts Center, I came across a grumpy guy with a broom…
A sculpture of a large, bright red, dog-like creature with fierce teeth and eyes.
…Who was facing off against this. (Don’t look between its legs.)
A rainbow crossing with the word ‘Kaohsiung’ written on it, and a large sculpture made of shipping containers in the background.
Further along, the Kaohsiung Rainbow Crossing and some shipping containers.
A long straight path under trees, with a sculpture of a Transformer-like robot watching from the other side of the tram tracks.
I liked walking on this shaded path, watched over by a giant robot.
I came across a keyboard warrior. Note the very small railway track in the background…
A tiny ride-on tram, modeled after the Kaohsiung LRT, at a station labeled ‘Platform Eight and Two-Fifths’.
…It leads to Platform 8²/₅.
Wooden crate seating under a large tree on the edge of the park, with a historic train and various metal sculptures in the background.
Trains are a theme at this end of town. This is the edge of the Kaohsiung Railway Cultural Park—a vast sculpture park on the site of a former railway yard.
A historic locomotive at Kaohsiung Railway Cultural Park.
Here’s the historic locomotive seen in the background of the previous shot.
A sculpture of a suitcase on wheels, approximately 5 meters tall, with a giant horn sculpture in the background.
A giant suitcase resting on the tracks, and a giant horn to the right.
A metal sculpture of a giant spinning top, approximately 5 meters tall, resting on disused railway tracks.
A giant spinning top…
Wireframe sculpture of a giant armchair and sidetable with lamp on top.
…And a giant armchair and sidetable, complete with lamp. (See railway tracks for scale.)
The Kaohsiung LRT tram driving past two stationary historic locomotives, one on either side.
A detail I really like is that the actual commuter trams pass between the historic locomotives.
A CPC petrol station.
Nearby, I passed this CPC petrol station and noticed 95 fuel is NT$30.60 per liter (NZ$1.55), roughly half what it costs in New Zealand.
A typical two-lane street with three- and four-level buildings lining either side.
I recalled reading about a good vegan cafe in this part of the city, and looked it up on the map. It was less than 1km away so I started walking in the general direction.
A row of approximately 40 scooters on the side of the street.
I passed this line-up of colorful scooters. Happy New Year!
Scooters angle-parked in an alleyway.
There were more scooters parked in the alleyways. Note how clean the ground is: a few times I saw elderly people sweeping the alleyway outside their homes.
Scooters parked on private parks off an alleyway.
Some appeared to have reserved parking (at left).
The exterior of Mottainai Cafe, on the ground floor of a historic urban building.
After being distracted by the alleyways, eventually I found Mottainai Cafe—but it was closed.
The exterior of Yi Gou Liang Gou cafe in Kaohsiung.
However, a few blocks away I stumbled across Yi Gou Liang Gou cafe…
A young dog chewing on a toy next to the cafe counter.
…Which turned out to be dog-friendly. This is the owner’s dog next to the counter. There was one other dog present, but it was sitting immediately under a customer’s skirt so I wasn’t about to photograph it.
Close-up of a vegetable pasta dish with a glass of strawberry juice and a glass of water in the background.
I had a quality vegetable pasta and strawberry juice.
A row of pastel-coloured three- and four-level houses overlooking the harbor, with a naval vessel on the right.
Looking at the map, I saw I was a few hundred metres from the Cijin Island ferry terminal. I decided to take the five-minute ride to the Island. This is looking back towards Kaohsiung from outside the terminal. Note the naval vessel on the right.
Interior of the Cijin Island ferry.
I sat inside the ferry to have a break from the sun.
Scooters being driven off the Cijin Island ferry.
It’s literally a ride-on ride-off ferry. Here you can see scooter riders disembarking at Cijin Island. Riders stay on their bikes during the five-minute journey, holding on to hand straps that hang from the ceiling. When boarding, they tap on with their Easycard transit cards, just like walk-on passengers.
A small temple on the side of the street.
This temple was just around the corner from the ferry terminal.
The main street on Cijin Island, with red lanterns hanging above the road and stalls and shops on either side.
This seemed to be the main shopping street. The site of the original Kaohsiung settlement, Cijin Island is around 8km long and 400m wide, and has 27,000 residents. Note the enormous church in the background…
A tall church rising up behind some four-level buildings.
…Here it is from the other side. It’s something like 10 stories tall.
The exterior of a locksmith business on Cijin Island.
I found this locksmith on the main street, which was handy because locksmiths create personal seals (also known as name stamps or name chops). In Taiwan, personal seals are used instead of signatures on official paperwork like bank documents and rental agreements. I’m looking for an apartment to rent, so a personal seal is essential rather than optional at this stage. The locksmith said I was his first foreign customer in three years.
The blue logo indicates that personal seals are made here. The locksmith talked me through the various options. He recommended a larger size (because I have fat hands!), and to have one made of ox horn rather than wood. He said wooden seals degrade over time so aren’t suitable for business applications, where they have to be used regularly. I was given a choice of fonts, and picked a calligraphic style he said worked well with the characters in my Chinese name. He told me it would take 30–40 minutes to carve, so while waiting I continued my walk down the main street.
Cijin Island sign, with palm trees in the background.
At the end of the street, this sign marked the entrance to Cijin beach.
Cijin Island beach.
The beach was expansive, stretching as far as I could see in the distance. It was around 25°C with a very gentle breeze, and people were resting under umbrellas made of coconut leaves.
A glass of gin and tonic on a table at a beachside bar.
I wandered along the boardwalk and came across Cijin Sunset Bar, were I sat under palm trees drinking gin & tonic. In this moment, life could not have been better.
A personal seal in a black case.
I was offered another drink (of course), but had to leave to collect my personal seal. Here it is, in its black storage case with integrated inkpad. I’m delighted with it, and have been told I must guard it with my life. This is because it’s apparently difficult to register a new one if it gets lost or stolen. (And because if someone steals it, they can use it to commit identity theft.)
An example of a personal stamp.
For obvious security reasons I won’t share my personal seal here, but it looks similar to this example, with given name on the left and surname on the right.
Scooters being driven onto the Cijin Island ferry.
I wandered back to the ferry terminal, where scooter riders were already boarding.
View of Kaohsiung from the top deck of the Cijin Island ferry.
This time I sat outside to enjoy the view.
Arriving at the ferry terminal, as viewed from the top deck of the Cijin Island ferry, with two other ferries tied up at the dock.
After arriving back on the mainland, I walked the few hundred metres to the nearest station and rode the tram back to my hotel. Soon after, the real estate agent called to request my LINE details so he could send me links to suitable apartments. Tomorrow the search begins.