The Gaoping Old Iron Bridge (aka Lower Tamsui River Iron Bridge 下淡水溪鐵橋) is a disused railway bridge across the Gaoping River, formerly connecting Kaohsiung to Pingtung. The bridge was retired in 1987 in favor of a new electrified bridge, and the center section of the bridge was washed away during Typhoon Haitang in 2005. At the time of construction, it was the longest bridge in Asia and the first overland pathway created between Kaohsiung and Pintung. Originally planned to be torn down, it was saved by concerned residents on both sides of the river and now stands as a monument to the past.
The Gaoping Old Iron bridge began construction in 1910 and was completed in 1913. A rail link was needed to ship sugar cane and related products from Pingtung to Kaohsiung Harbor.
During the Japanese era, the Gaoping River was known as the lower Tamsui River, hence the name of the bridge was the Lower Tamsui River Iron Bridge.
Due to the river's wide banks and strong current, it was a great engineering feat of its time. Along the way many floods halted and destroyed construction. Two months after construction was complete, the railway from Kaohsiung to Pingtung was officially opened.
The bridge was 1,526 meters long, 7 meters wide, with trusses 15 meters high. At the time of construction, it was the longest bridge in Asia and the first overland pathway created between Kaohsiung and Pintung.
The current trusses on the bridge were built in 1964, to replace the corroding old trusses from the Japanese era.
The bridge was retired in 1987 in favor of a new electrified bridge with two tracks as part of the electrification of Taiwan's railway. The bridge was officially retired in 1992. Originally planned to be torn down, it was saved by concerned residents on both sides of the river and was named a national historic monument in 1997.
The center section of the bridge was washed away during Typhoon Haitang in 2005, washing out the No. 9, 10, and 11 pillars. No. 12 and 14 pillars were also wiped out in a Typhoon in 2006, and another fell in 2008.
In 2018 the wooden cross beams were replaced, which had begun to rot.
Currently there are parks on both sides of the river commemorating the bridge, with more people visiting the Kaohsiung side due to its proximity to down town Dashu.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 29 north to Dashu. Stop when the road goes underneath the railroad. There is plenty of parking nearby. You can also cross the provincial highway 1 bridge to Pingtung and drive to the park on the other side of the bridge.
By Train: Take the TRA to Jiuqutang Station. The park is about a five minute walk away. You can also take the TRA to Liukuaicuo Station and walk back west to the park on the east side, but it is about a 3 KM walk.
Map: Please see below:
Xiaoliuqiu (aka Little Liuqiu, Lamay Island, or Lambai Island) is a small island paradise off the southwestern coast of Taiwan. The island is known for its clear water, amazing coral reefs, white sand beaches, and quiet laid back atmosphere. Only a short half hour boat ride from the Taiwan mainland, the island is easily accessible. In addition, the island is small enough that you can round the entire island by scooter in a matter of minutes.
In 1622, a Dutch ship crashed on the island, two years before the Dutch began to rule Taiwan, and all but one of the crew members were killed by the aboriginal tribe living on the island at the time.
In retaliation, the Dutch sent a force to massacre the natives on the island. 300 men, women, and children were suffocated alive in a large cave, and the rest of the people were put into slavery by the Dutch. This was known as the Lamey Island Massacre. Later Chinese people began inhabiting the island in 1645.
Later the island fell into Qing, Japanese, and ROC rule.
Currently the island is a township of Pingtung County with a population of over 10,000 people. Most of the people on the island rely on fishing and tourism for a living.
The island also has one of the largest concentrations of temples in Taiwan.
Xiaoliuqiu started to become a major tourist destination after 2004, reaching over 400,000 tourists per year.
Regulated Inter-tidal Zones:
in 2015 restrictions were placed on the inter-tidal zones in Xiaoliuqiu so that only those with a licensed guide could visit them and swimming is prohibited. These restrictions apply specifically to the Dafu Harbor inter-tidal zone (north of Dafu Harbor), Yanziping Beach, and the Shanfu Harbor Inter-tidal zone (north of Shanfu Harbor). Although there are other inter-tidal zones, these are not regulated.
How to get there:
The only way to get there is via ferry from Donggang's Dongliu Ferry Terminal. The ferry ride takes about 30 minutes. There is a ferry leaving from Donggang roughly every hour from 7 AM to 5 PM.
Parking: There is free scooter parking and paid car parking at the fishing harbor (30 NT per car), but the fishing harbor does not allow overnight parking. Overnight parking near the fishing harbor can cost up to 180 NT per day, so consider parking further away if you want to save money on parking.
Public transport: There are many shuttles to and from Zuoying HSR station that leave hourly. The cost is about 200-300 NT per trip.
Ferry ride: about 410 NT per round trip, about 30 minutes. The public ferry goes to Dafu Fishing Harbor (大福漁港), and private ferries go to Baishawei Fishing Harbor (白沙尾漁港). There are ferries that leave at least hourly from about 8 AM to 5:00 PM.
Scooter rental: about 300 NT per day. There is a gas station on the back side of the island.
Snorkeling: about 300 NT per hour
Scuba diving: around 2500 NT for 2-3 hours
You can purchase a tickets at Donggang Fishing Harbor (東港漁港), or through a tour agency such as My Taiwan Tour or a similar website.
When to go:
Anytime! Xiaoliuqiu is a tropical island that has warm water and temperatures (above 25 degrees Celsius) year round. However it is a little cooler and more windy during the winter, and you should be sure to avoid Typhoons during summer (ferries will be cancelled if there is a Typhoon).
However, it can get really crowded during summer break in July-August, so go during the off-season to avoid the crowds.
Map: Please see below:
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.