Day Four: Taichung

Hello all,

Apologies for the short hiatus, back here for my Day Four at Taiwannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn 😀 As mentioned in my previous post, traveling in Taichung is not as user-friendly as compared to Kaohsiung and Taipei, since they do not have an internal train service. But anyhoo, we managed to find our way around and got to some places of interest in Taichung!

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And yes, we headed for Xinshe District for our Taichung Tour! Xinshe District is a rural district in Taichung, formerly a township in Taichung, and also home to military bases. We were recommended by some locals to head to Xinshe Flower exhibition, which coincidentally was newly opened on the day when we were in Taichung. We also wanted to check out Xinshe Castle and Lavender Forest@Taichung, hence we decided to visit Xinshe District!

It was a pretty chilly day, with light drizzle when we set off for the day; definitely not the best weather, but we were still all set for our tour in Taichung!

P.S. Check out the wooly boots Shuwen and I bought at Yi Zhong Night Market!!

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Had brekkie at the nearest traditional soya milk and youtiao shop and headed for the bus interchange! Taichung bus interchange has soooooooooo many ‘bus stations’ that will bring you to different parts of Taichung, and some will even bring you to different parts of Taiwan. So it is important to know which is the exact bus station that will bring you to the destination you want to go.

Shuwen and I were lucky to meet a Taiwanese from Nantou while we were shopping the night before. She was a really nice and friendly salesperson! She recommended us to some places of interest, and even gave us detailed directions to the place we planned to go. The Taiwanese are REALLY friendly and helpful, something that really make this trip so much better.

So we headed for Fengyuan Bus Station (Feng Yuan Ke Yun) for our bus to Xinshe!

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We met another friendly Taiwanese! We met her when we were at the bus station checking out for the bus to Xinshe District, and this aunty was so helpful, she helped us to check the bus timings and direction to Xinshe. This aunty owns a coffee plantation or some coffee business, and she gladly invited us to a coffee exhibition in Taipei and even gave us her namecard. laughs.

We found out she also stays in Xinshe district! She wanted to bring us around Xinshe initially; however, she was on her way to meet her father, somewhere near Taichung. I know it’s a really random conversation, but the aunty was really bubbly and cute. She was telling us how she is really close to her 80 years old father, and even showed us a photo of her father and her. She also shared with us about her son, and reminded us to constantly not forget to share our love with our parents. What an adorable aunty!

The bus soon came, and she took the same bus with us! She kindly helped us to let the driver know the destination we were heading for, so that he will stop the bus for us when we reached. Ain’t she such a nice lady? laughs

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After about 45 minutes bus ride, we reached Xinshe District! Yes I know, 45 minutes is a very loooooong time, but traveling in Taichung is either by bus or by cab. So it will take a while for us to reach from one place to another.

It started pouring when we reached Xinshe and I was freeeeeeeeeeezing. I didnt thought it would be that cold, since I was in a pretty thick knitted top. But the rain and the wind combination was the cause of it! Boohoooooooooo. Laughs. Thankfully Jo brought extra sweater, stole it from him because I was really really cold.

Once we were at the bus station in Xinshe, we were looking for ways to get around Xinshe. We were considering to either head to Lavender Forest or the Flower exhibition in Xinshe; we saw the shuttle services available for Xinshe Flower Exhibition, so we headed for the latter! And because we were there on a Sunday, the exhibition had free shuttle service to bring us around the Xinshe District. The flower exhibition is an annual affair that stretches for a month from mid November to mid December! So we were somewhat lucky to be there for this.

Xinshe Flower Exhibition/Sea of Flower in Xinshe

Xinshe District, Taichung

More information of the annual event can be found here: http://flowersea.coa.gov.tw/

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You can’t really tell from the photo, but it was raining when we reached, and because of the rain, the place was slightly flooded. So the first thing we did was to head for a place with shelter! This sheltered exhibition had some really interesting stuffs – I bet you didn’t know dragon fruits grow on trees! I sure didn’t until I saw it in the exhibition. They also had their famous guava! I supposed guava is one of the popular fruit in Taiwan, they sell guava almost everywhere!

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My favorite flower gotta be the bright and cheery sunflowers! hehe. It never fails to brighten up my day each time I sees it. Saw a patch of  ‘sunflower plantation’ when we were in the shuttle bus earlier, but the rain prevented me to head over to take photos of it. Besides, since we were at the flower exhibition on the first day, we figured most of the flowers have yet to blossom, so it was not the prettiest view.

The exhibition stretch for a month, so it will be best if you visit it in early December? The period where the flowers are more or less in their mature period (if there’s such a term for it. laughs). We expected much more from the ‘sea of flower’ exhibition, but when were we there, it was just a little far from what we have expected. laughs.

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Settled our lunch at the exhibition since they had quite a few tentages selling food and native products. For Xinshe, they are well known for their mushrooms, fruits and coffee powder. Since it was really cold, the first thing I got was a bowl of warm mushroom soup, and some deep fried tempura mushrooms. It was really yummy, as anything hot is best for the chilly weather! The guys bought some noodle and other local delights to share too.

Bought another pack of mushroom as it was really nice when we had it, but the second pack was a little too much for all of us, and everyone felt quite sick (literally!) of it after a few bites.  The rain subsided a little after lunch and we headed for the area where we can witness the ‘sea of flowers’. laughs

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As mentioned earlier, it was not the prettiest view since we were there prolly too early (since it was day one of the exhibition)! It will definitely be much better if it’s mid-way of the exhibition. Despite the chilly weather, we just had to take our “We are here” photo!

We braved the storm, bumpy bus ride and muddy water over to this place, definitely need to take some photos to mark our visit! laughs

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Photo taken using the awesome panorama shot once againnnnnnnnnnnnnn. And yes, it started raining again, that explains why everyone is carrying their brolly! And not forgetting our group photooooooooooo.IMG_5102DSCN9953

Ended our tour at the flower exhibition after 2-3hours! The rain somewhat dampened our mood when we were there, we skipped some exhibitions within the sea of flower as it was pretty hard for us to get around, because of the rain. But oh well, like I say, the company is what matters most, had a good time at the place, thanks to my traveling comrades!

Next up, headed for Xinshe Castle! As mentioned earlier, because we were there on a Sunday and it was also the period for the flower exhibition, they had a free shuttle service that brought us around the different attractions in Xinshe. I’m not too sure if they have such services during the weekdays, you prolly gotta check out the websites on how to get over to these places!

So we took the shuttle service at the exhibition and headed to Xinshe Castle!

Xinshe Castle

 Xie Zhong Street of Xinshe District

Entrance fee: NTD$250 (slightly more than S$10), which include a NTD$100 (S$4) food voucher that can be spent at restaurants within the castle.

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It’s a place with pretty European-style castle, and the architecture looked really good on photos! laughs. Yes, only on photos! We expected quite a bit from it when we saw the castle online, and thought the place will be big, but it’s not as big as we think it would be. They only had one proper “castle”, which is the one you see below!

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They also had some waterfall that YY liked! He had this theory that a place is regarded cold if he is able to blow out mist/cold air. What a weird theory! So he regarded the waterfall cold since he was covered with mist when we walked through it! And as seen from the photo, the rain did not stopped when we were there. Boohoooooooooo

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Despite that, it didn’t stop us from taking our mandatory shot as the tourist attraction! Just that the brolly looked really unsightly in the photos. laughs

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Chilled at some coffeehouse for some coffee since we had the NTD$100 food voucher! Finally had the time to rest and just not do anything. The best thing about the attractions in Taiwan, like Xinshe castle, is that we don’t have anything like this in Singapore; it was really nice to be away from the hustle and bustle, and to be chilling in Taiwan.

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Let me end our tour in Xinshe Castle with our epic group photo! The #photooftheday. hahahaha. Check out YY’s expression before and after Joseph enters the photo. And their poses are ULTIMATE MANS. Oh yes, in case you’re wondering why those poses were so familiar, they are poses inspired from the old school boy band & some of Haha’s (Running man host) poses!

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By the time we were done at Xinshe Castle, it was nearing sunset, which was about 5pm, so we decided to head back to Taichung! Initially we thought of taking the shuttle bus back to the bus station and take the public bus back to Taichung main station, but one of the staff at Xinshe castle suggested to us to take a cab back to the main station instead. It will cost us about NTD$500 (less than S$25) back! It definitely cost more to cab back, but since it was raining, and we were also tired from all the waiting and walking, we decided to take up her suggestion and took a cab back to the main station.

Apart of Taipei, I think most of the taxis in Taiwan usually quote a price for the taxi fare instead of using the meter. When we were at the bus stop earlier in the day, a taxi driver quoted us NTD$2000 for a day trip, where he will drive us to the attractions and back to our hotel. I think this is quite common in Taiwan. Most tourists will opt for this as the taxi driver doubles as a tour guide and driver.  But we didn’t thought it was necessary so we didn’t take up this option.

Reached Taichung main station about 45 minutes later! And man, I really don’t like cab rides. It’s probably cab in general that has this particular weird smell in it, that causes one to be nauseous after each ride. Except for YY, we were pretty nauseous from the cab ride. Boohooooo. We wanted to go to the famous Fengchia Night Market for dinner! And since Fengchia is a distant from our hotel, we decided to head over via public bus near our hotel. Unfortunately or fortunately, the bus took forever to come, so we gave Fengchia a miss, and went for some Japanese teppanyaki & steamboat at Yizhong instead!

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YY looking all excited for dinner!!! He was prolly starving and all already, cause it was about 830pm when we were there. It was not the best dinner for Shuwen, Joseph and I as we somehow lose our appetite on our way back! It was the combination of excess tempura mushrooms, the rainy weather and the bumpy cab ride that causes us to be like that. Poor Joseph fell ill after that too. But we did had a good heart-to-heart-talk (HTHT) session over dinner, we speak more than we ear I guess! laughs

P.S. It’s really important to stay warm in the cold and chilly weather, so for those who are going in November/December, please bring enough warm clothing to stay warm!!!

Oh gosh, I can’t believe this marks the end of our stay in Taichung! The time somehow passed really fast as days progressed, and we will be heading to Nantou next! A piece of advice from me: Do spend at least 2-3 nights (3-4 days) in a city you are covering. If you only have one night in a town in Taiwan, you would not have sufficient time and energy to cover the attractions within the place. So do take note of this!

I’ll be back for more of my Taiwan adventure, do stay tune for ittttttttttttt!

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