Let the new year holidays begin, being very wary of king kong, and a stunning hike over logs.

Day 240: Taichung, Taiwan. This morning we headed out to walk some trails, just outside the city in Dakeng.

The streets seemed eerily quiet, compared to usual weekday mornings. Then it dawned on us – the Chinese New Year holidays have already begun, and today was a public holiday.

New Year here seems to revolve around a lot of eating with friends and family. There are heaps of different foods consumed, but the one that we’re both really keen to try out are pineapple cakes. Hopefully there will be some left by the time we get to a shop tomorrow (assuming some shops are open).

After topping up our travel passes, we waited at the bus stop and Lil commented that someone must have been legless after a big night out.

We caught the bus to start of trail, and when we tapped off with our EasyPass, we were puzzled by the fact we didn’t seem to have been charged for the trip. It turns out that if you use your EasyPass, all bus journeys under 10km are free in Taichung – how good is that?

When we reached the trail entrance, there were groups of people hanging about, but thankfully it still wasn’t too busy.

We read all the usual warnings, which today included King Kong insects, a tiny 1mm long biting midge native to Taiwan. We’d checked them out online beforehand, and apparently they deliver a nasty bite that itches for over a week. We slathered ourselves in 80% DEET which is saved for special occasions just like this one.

We had a lovely chat with a guy and two girls who had already completed their hiking for the day, then we started our own walk.

The walk is pretty unique as it’s a floating path constructed using logs, with large gaps in between the rungs and a space underneath. Four parallel trails head up the hill on top of the ridges created by earthquakes.

We did three of the 10 trails (of the five at this end of the valley only three are open just now anyway, the others are closed for repairs). Continuing earthquakes and landslides mean the trails are constantly under repair.

There are lots of rest pavilions where people were stopping to eat and brew up pots of tea and just sit and enjoy the view. It’s a very social trail with lots of ‘ni hao’s and little chats with the other trekkers.

The weather was crystal clear today and there were superb views across the town, almost to the sea, and the nearby hills.

The maple trees were also out in force, creating splashes of red and orange alongside the trails.

With our jelly legs and sore feet, we headed down the valley to catch the bus back home, passing stalls in the nearby village selling New Year goodies.

Tomorrow is Lunar New Year’s Eve, so it will be fun to see what’s happening around the town. And hopefully we’ll manage to get our paws on some pineapple cakes before they’re all sold out.

More then.