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FYI SOUTH Magazine, May 2006.


-- By Amelie Tseng Translated by Cara Steenstra

Most of us tend to take transport that gets us to our destination in the quickest time. The result is that we miss out on seeing lots of interesting places. Why not spend less money and more time, and take a slow train journey?

Choose any of the slower trains (one every 20 to 30 minutes), because the fast trains like Tze Chiang or Chu Kuang don't stop at smaller stations. There are usually detailed information on train types, time and stations at the ticketing office for you to refer to. Or simply enquire at the counter. Starting from Kaohsiung going north, you can stop at BaoAn Station, close to Tainan, where you can buy one of those popular train tickets, which say "Yong Bao An Kang" (meaning "Health and Safety Forever"), as a souvenir. You can also see Taiwan's oldest railway station, made from cypress wood from Ali Mountain. Continue on to LongTian Station, where President Chen's hometown XiZhuang Village is located, and have a look at the well-preserved old homes.

Next stop is XinYing, featuring a small train that used to transport sugar canes to the Taiwan Sugar Company at the XinYing Railway Culture Garden Center. This will take you to WuShuLin Station, where you can see how sugar was made in the old days, or visit the WuShuLin Museum. Or head on to BaLaoYe Station's Ying Chang Farm and have a go at milking cows and tasting some of the fresh milk and dairy products. On the way back, stop at GangShan for some goat meat or famous spicy bean paste and Longan Honey as gifts for friends and family, bringing your train journey to a perfect end.

For a detailed train timetable, visit http://www.railway.gov.tw/
For relevant travel information, please contact the ShinYing Station Travelers Service Center, ask any railway station service staff members or the friendly locals.




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