Our flight back to Taiwan wasn’t until 6:50PM so there was plenty of time to do something else other than diving. Since there wasn’t really much else to do around town in terms of self exploring and Koror isn’t really known for its beaches so I thought it’d be perfect to do a kayaking excursion with Sam’s Tours.
After packing all of our bags, checking out and leaving our bags at the hotel we walked over to Sam’s for breakfast. It took a bit of time for the crew to load up the boat with the kayaks so there was a good amount of time to eat and get our equipment ready. The group ended up being a lot bigger than expected with 9. We were happy that Roland and Katja were doing this with us as we had sort of coordinated with them to do the kayaking on this day but they also tacked on a bunch of older folks (some professors from California). As a result, instead of kayaking in an area we thought we were going, we ended up with an easier one in Nikko Bay.
Our guide was Jayden, a local schooled in the States and captain Ashley. Joanna and I opted for single kayaks though I think Joanna would’ve rather had me do all the paddling in a double kayak hah. The areas we kayaked weren’t too far from the dock as our first stop was about 15 minutes away. We entered this one cove area first but it had been overtaken by Chinese tourists so Jayden told Ashley to go to this other place he called Einstein/Darwin Cove because of all the coral (BS’d the name I’m sure). There isn’t much aquatic life here and to be honest I wasn’t too impressed with the coral life here. There’s a good variety of it and some interesting brain coral but that was about it.
Next we got back on the boat and drive to a place called Tropic Cove. Here we pulled out the kayaks off of the boat and kayaked a bit before stopping at this one spot where we beached our kayaks on an island to do a bit more snorkelling to see a lettuce coral garden. There was supposedly a Japanese bunker at the top of the mountain but the tide was too low for us to climb up.
We then kayaked back to the boat and had the usual bento. After lunch we got straight back onto our kayaks and headed across a big stretch of water to get to this low ceiling entrance where we had to play a little kayak limbo to get to “Disney Lake”. The water here was really shallow so you didn’t even have to do any swimming to see some of the coral. We basically made a full loop around the lake before heading back out.
For our last stop we were going to head to this big cave but literally right at the lip of the entrance I was kayaking and minding my own business when we go through an area with tree branches overhead. I make a quick move to duck out of the way but of course I loose balance and tip over and into the water. As I landed in the water my left leg scraped some coral and immediately I could feel a bit of pain. I pulled myself into the kayak and looked and found some bleeding behind my leg. There wasn’t much to do except to finish off the last bit of the excursion. We snapped a few shots though I was pre-occupied with what the hell I was going to do with this wound.
Back on the boat Jayden helped me out with the on-board first aid kit. What I didn’t expect was a little Palauan flavor to the first aid kit. I was expecting alcohol pads or iodine but instead the guy douses my wound with vinegar first which for the record stings like a MOTHER. After screaming out in agony and throwing out a few F-bombs he finished it off with some peroxide and alcohol. Thinking positively I figured it wasn’t so bad since it was our last day and I didn’t have any water activities for the rest of the trip so if I was to get injured on any day in Palau, today would be the day.
Back at Sam’s we hung out with our German friends for a bit before saying goodbye. We got a shuttle back to the hotel and from there waited for our van ride to the airport at 4. There was a bit of a mixup with the drivers but eventually we made it to the airport at 4:30. I have no idea why the hotel told us to leave for the airport so early because when we got there the check-in desk wasn’t even open yet. We ended up waiting about another 30 minutes before we checked in. The strange thing was that the boarding passes were already printed out so the guard at the front door was just handing them out as we moved through the queue into the room with the check-in desks.
The flight this time was maxed out and mostly Taiwanese. We got a perfect seat for taking photos but unfortunately by the time take-off started it was already 7PM and the sun was down.
After landing in Taiwan at around 9:30 we opted to do the cab. The rain was already coming down and it wasn’t until we got to the hotel when we got an update on the typhoon situation.
The W wasn’t available for these three nights so I opted for cash & points with the Sheraton instead. One of the weird things about Taiwan is that there are no Hiltons. Since I figured I might as well take advantage of the Platinum status I looked at the SPG site and found out a few of these hotels had the cash and points option. Now I basically had no SPG points left since I used it up earlier on the trip so I ended up having to convert my AMEX points into SPG. Not the best use of AMEX points but whatever.
After settling into our room we wanted to stick to our original plan of going to a night market since we resisted the urge to eat in Palau before we flew out so we asked the concierge which one might be open still. He recommended Ningxia night market but urged us to hurry because it was already 11 ish by the time we cabbed back out again. When we got to the night market all the vendors on the main street were either gone or starting to pack up. Determined to have good food, we marched along the covered part of the street for the normal restaurants that line the streets. We started with oyster omelet and scarfed that down fast. We then found a fried dumpling shop so picked a box to go. Beef noodles were a thing to have here so we found a shop and finished that and the dumplings quickly. I don’t know if I was just hungry but everything was so tasty. To finish it off, I had to try the shave ice so I got one with 4 toppings (but was disappointed they were out of mochi). The shave ice was a bit average but more on that later on in Taiwan. Again what amazed me was just how cheap this stuff was. On average everything ws only $2-$3. Ridiculous and delicious!
With Typhoon Saola barging its way into Taipei we pretty much had to scrap our original plans of either figuring out a way to Juifen or Tamsui. With the uncertainty of the next day’s conditions we figured we’d just play it by ear and if anything just focus on food and shopping…which is exactly what we did.
- Travelling in the summer near and around Hong Kong and Taiwan means typhoons so just keep that in mind
- If you’re in desperate need of points, there’s always the AMEX point conversion if you hold any AMEX points. They can convert to anything from Aeroplan to Hilton Honours to SPG.
- Vinegar is apparently a great antiseptic particularly for coral wounds.
- Breakfast at Sam’s Tours
- Kayaking in Nikko Bay
- Transport to the airport
- ROR -> TPE (6:50 PM -> 9:30 PM)
- Cab to the Sheraton Taipei
- Eat at Ningxia market
Check out the Next Day
Our trip back to Taipei took an unexpected turn when Typhoon Saolo made its way. Find out more on Day 72 – Taipei – Brace for Typhoon Saola.
Curious what else I did on my trip to Asia? See the full itinerary and all 89 days.