Monday, July 3, 2017

Longdong Cape (龍洞岬) - Longdong Bay Promontory (龍洞灣岬步道) - Dragon Caves (龍洞岩場) [Travel in Taiwan 170702: The Dragon's Lair]


Be careful. A Taiwanese woman gave me a warning after I struggled to climb down a portion of a cliff. “Are you alone?”, she asked. “Yes”, I replied. “You need to put your tripod inside your bag. Your hands must be free because you will use the ropes”, she added. This conversation started my adventure in Longdong. Fear and horror replaced my excitement and ecstasy as I stand in front of a high cliff. Beneath is the blue waters of the East China Sea. The sound of its waves crashing against the rocky shoreline in Longdong Bay was like a song from hell. 

Longdong Four Seasons Bay

Taiwan Tour Bus Golden Fulong Route (Bus 862) 1-Day Pass (50 NTD)

From the police station near Ruifang Station, I boarded Bus 862 and alighted at Longdong Four Seasons Bay stop.  I walked 600 meters uphill to Xilingyan Temple where the Longdonwan Cape Trail starts.


Xilingyan Temple (西靈巖寺)

The thin line dividing life and death is very clear here in Longdong. The home of the dragons. Who would have thought that it could be found in Taiwan? For Asians, the dragon is a god. A powerful mythical creature. In the West, it is an enemy and brings chaos. A fire breathing animal with a long tail and two large wings. Whatever it may be, I must find it. I must find its home.

A very safe hike in Longdong Cape


Looking down 

Local fisherman climbing down the rocks.


using the ropes at Longdong Cape

The universe was waiting for that moment. That point in my life where I will lose my grip on the rope and fall below. There is no one that will catch me. There is also no one that will help me. All I have is myself. My hands are strong and my determination too. I trusted the Lord as I embraced my tripod on my right arm. I struggled to go down. Thank God. I survived!

Longdong Cape as seen from the Longdong Four Seasons Bay

The deep blue East China Sea and Luo-Mu Jie.

Longdong Cape.  Warnings are given to those who dare to go down!



I managed to go down even I'm alone!

Yehey!




Longdong Cape (龍洞岬). It was the name of the place of that I went to. Here, the land tilts to an angle similar to a cuesta rock formation. Setting my tripod for the 10-second timer was easy but running to have a good pose wasn't. There are rocks with unusual shapes and puddles that can make your shoes wet. If I really can't get a good picture then a selfie will do the trick. 


Looking into the direction of Bitou Cape from Longdong Cape.  I was actually standing on the edge of the rocks and below it was the sea.


Everything was fine until the sea whispered something in my ear. It told me that the Dragon Cave that I was looking for can be found beneath the cliff in the direction of Bitou Cape. I went to that area where I can almost meet Death. I stood above the rocks with the deep blue sea below me. The view was tantalizing on a calm summer day. But when there's a typhoon or during winter, giant freak waves suddenly appear here claiming the lives of innocent visitors. They are swept to the sea and returned to the shore in their lifeless body.

A warning in Chinese

A local fisherman walking on the cliff

Visitors climbing uphill.  If you fall down then it's over.


Final destination. lelz


This place is not a playground. Not even a paradise. It is a deathtrap to those who ignore the warnings. From the year 2000 to 2015, 241 people were found dead or missing. The woman was right! I really have to be careful. Searching for the home of the dragons in Longdong Cape is not a child's play. It is a death-defying stunt that only experts can win. 

In order to go back to where I came from, I need to climb using this rope again.


Before I started to climb using the rope



I placed my tripod on the side pocket of my bag to keep my hands free when holding the rope.

I returned to where I came from. It is above the cliff where the outlook observatory was located. Below, I met the rope again. Before I started climbing, I placed my tripod in the side pocket of my bag. With its strap around it, my travel paraphernalia was tightly fastened to the knapsack. My hands were free then and I was able to hold the rope with my two hands. I have to trust this thing or else I would be stuck here forever. I made a successful ascent but the travel adventure was not yet over because I still haven't seen the Dragon Cave.

Longdong Cape Trail

There is no land beyond the plants on the left side of this photo.


A walk in the Longdong Cape Trail is an illusion of being cradled in the arms of the gods and goddesses of Taiwan. Look at the sea and imagine how far your eyes can see. The place where Heaven and Earth meet every day is in front of your eyes. They crossed their paths at the horizon with the moon above as an eyewitness of their love. 



standing at the Longdong Bay Promontory

Longdong Promontory

The entire trail was a mirage. Plants cover its side as if there is a land beyond them. I continued my walk until I found an outlook observatory. Here, you can see what's on the cliff. Layers and layers of rock are exposed to the elements like a big wall of a house. But where is the Dragon Cave? I could not see it. 



Walking towards another scenic outlook platform


walking to the scenic outlook platform where one can see the Dragon Cave
Wow!


The Dragon Cave.  I found it at last!


Beware of the dangers in the dragon's lair


There is another outlook observatory not far away from the Longdong Bay Promontory and a walkway led me to that place. There I found what I was looking for. A giant hole was on the cliff wall! No one told me that it was the Dragon Cave but I knew that it was. It has a large opening big enough to fit a dinosaur inside. Or should I say a dragon? I wonder what's inside. I was thinking of a plan to visit Longdong again until suddenly I remember what the Taiwanese woman told me. Be careful. Beware of the dangers in the dragon's lair.
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