Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Honeymoon Bay 蜜月灣

This is a low key surfing beach. It isn't a gorgeous beach, and the waves are higher than just about anywhere else in Yilan, so it's not the place to go if you just want to sit on the sand or splash around in the ocean. But if you surf or bodyboard, you will want to give this beach a try.

Honeymoon Bay is fairly big, but most of the coast here consists of big rocks. Only the south edge of the bay has sand, and that's where the surfers are. Above the beach are a few tents where you can rent boards. The guys there also offer lessons for kooks. There aren't any showers or other facilities, However, there is a fantastic view of Guishan Island, which seems very close when you're this far north. And on the other side, mountains loom close behind the bay, so there's a beautiful natural backdrop in both directions. Unfortunately, the town of Daxi which surrounds the bay is basically a concrete eyesore.

The town has done a remarkable job in failing to
capitalize on its surfing beach. If you walk up the
sea wall to the town, there are a few places that offer cheap accomodations and food for the surfers, and a couple of littls shops selling surf gear. But there isn't much to draw surfers over to the town. Overall this is still a remarkably low key surf spot that still has quite a few rough edges.

Probably the best thing about Honeymoon Bay is the train station right across the street form the beach. To get here from Taipei, just take a train to Daxi. (Make sure you go to the right Daxi, or else you'll end up in Taoyuan.) Because of the nearby train station, you can easily get here on the weekend for a day at the beach without dealing with the usual traffic jams.

Honeymoon Bay is also close to one fantastic mountain hiking trail (Taoyuan Valley) and not very far from
another (Caoling), so you can climb a mountain in the morning and then cool off in the ocean in the afternoon.

The big quesiton is - if you want to go surfing in Yilan, should you go to Honeymoon Bay or Waiao? The environment at Waiao is much nicer, and there are complete facilities there. However, there will probably be twenty times as many people over there. This is the beach for people who don't want to share their wave.

The big disadvantage of Honeymoon Bay is the danger. There are some rocks hidden in the sand, and if you hit one you're toast. I know a guy who hit a rock here while surfing and ended up limping around Taipei covered with casts, so the danger is real. But I'm sure that for a certain kind of person, the danger adds to the allure.

The easiest way to get here is to take the train to Daxi and walk across the street. Otherwise you take the Number 2 Road north from Toucheng. The beach isn't marked, and it isn't even obvious from the main road how to get down there. The path to the beach is next to the temple on the south edge of the bay - just south of the school. There is a little path down to the beach just to the right of the temple. If you're driving a car, you should park at the entrance of the path and walk down. If you have a scooter, bicycle, or 4 wheel drive vehicle, you can continue down the trail and park right above the beach. Alternatively, you can park in the little parking lot behind the temple, walk past the temple restrooms, and then get on the path that goes down to the beach.

If you can't find the path (it's easy to miss) you can just park anywhere in Daxi and walk south along the seawall until you get to the beach. (Those weird black insects scuttling across the seawall are called sea cockroaches - 海蟑螂).

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