Lougang is an old town just over an hour from Taichung by scooter... that is... if you know where you're going.
Before we left, and did some research on Lugang (if you're looking for a nice guide to sight-seeing in Taiwan check out this site: http://www.taiwanese-secrets.com/), and planned out our driving route. I spent a good amount of time on Google maps making sure I knew how to get there... but of course, nothing is EVER as easy as we think it will be here.
Navigation was my job and as a direct result it took us twice as long to get there as it should have (Nick's new nickname for me is Magellan). But in my defense, 1/2 of the streets aren't properly marked and when they are you get things like the sign pictured here... can you really blame me!? (yes that is apparently a street with two names)
We basically drove around in circles for two hours, it was ridiculous. Although there are signs to mark the way to the town, their sketchy at best. For example, we were driving down a road when we saw a sign that said "Lugang -->" so we followed the direction on the sign and turned right. After driving only 100 meters we came to a T in the road, and were left to guess which way to go. Only 100 meters after a directional sign... a FREAKING T, and NOOOOO follow up sign! WTF is that!? And, of course, we chose the wrong way!!
After about 2 hours on the road, Nick was just about to turn around and head home when we finally managed to find the town. Hallelujah!
Lugang is an old town with tiny brick streets lined on each side with vendors peddling their wares, mostly little toys, souvenirs, and a wide variety of local cuisine.
The buildings are really old and the streets are very narrow. It's obvious that they were never meant for cars, and there were so many people and vendors that you would think the streets would be closed to automobile traffic... but apparently they aren't:
One of the cool little sites here is the half-sided well (. The well, in the bottom-left of this picture, was built half inside this property and half outside. In the past, only the wealthy could afford their own wells. So, out of generosity, the owner of this estate kept only half of the well inside their walls and left the other half open to the public as a water supply for those who could not afford their own wells.... pretty cool!
Another neat little area is called Nine-turns lane (. It's basically just this tiny, windy road (you could even call it an alley maybe) lined with really old houses. It's pretty cool to see how the old-style villages were set up.
Due to the weekend and the holiday, Lugang was pretty crowded and Nick wasn't feeling in tip-top shape, so we didn't explore the town to the fullest extent, but we had a nice day walking around and checking things out. We will definitely go back on a less busy day and take some more time soaking it all in. There are tons of temples and artists working on ancient Chinese art forms and it seems like the kind of place where you never know what you'll find hidden in the nooks and crannies of the town. Here are some random pictures that I took throughout the day: