Here we are, on to our Day Six in Taiwan at Hsinchu City
Hsinchu City is about an hour plus drive from Nantou/Taichung City. We were supposed to take a bus back to Taichung, and take the TRA to Hsinchu. However since we only had a night at Hsinchu, we decided not to waste any additional traveling and waiting time, we chose to book a cab to go straight to Hsinchu City instead.
The owners of our minsu kindly helped us to contact a cab driver whom she knows, so it’s prolly pretty reliable too (Not that Taiwanese are not reliable, just that it’s always better to be referred to a trusty someone. Laughs). The ride there cost each of us about NTD $400 (S$20), a total of NTD $1600. It was slightly more expensive, but consider the amount of time saved from all the traveling, we felt this was the best option for us.
After about an hour plus ride from Nantou, we reached Hsinchu City! My fellow comrades felt Hsinchu looked like a town in China or something, Hsinchu City is probably not as established as the city in Taichung or Kaohsiung?
Am starting this post with some ‘swag’ photo of the “coolest and hippest boyband” (plus their fangirl) in town. hahahahahahaha
By the time we were in Hsinchu, it was already in the afternoon. And since we had brekkie earlier in our Minsu (which served pretty delicious home cooked traditional Taiwanese breakfast), we were still full from our breakfast. So we decided to hang around at the mall near our hotel, a mall somewhat like the famous Sogo departmental store.
Oh yes, our itinerary for Hsinchu was:
1. Neiwan Old Street
2. Lavender Cottage @ Hsinchu
3. City God Temple Night Market
A good thing about Hsinchu is that they have an internal train service (YAY), hence traveling from one place to anther ain’t difficult. BUT, their trains are pretty slow, so it took us a while to travel from Hsinchu Main Station to Neiwan Station (our destination for the day!).
Neiwan Old Street 內灣老街
Nearest MRT station: Neiwan Station
Neiwan Old Street was not our intended destination, we were on our way to Lavender Forest and chance upon this beautiful place while waiting to go over to Lavender Forest. Found our Neiwan Township is actually one of the main attractions in Hsinchu County (off the city area); Neiwan a beautiful county that is surrounded by hills, mountains, and waters, with mostly Hakka people residing today. They have shops selling traditional local delicacies like their mochi, cactus drink, peanut candy (and much more), and also ‘foreign snacks’ like the Indonesia’s prawn cracker.
We only had about 30 minutes to check out the street since we were waiting for a cab to send us to Lavender Cottage, which is situated up the mountain near Neiwan. As mentioned earlier, we took quite a while to reach Neiwan from Hsinchu, train ride was close to an hour, so by the time we reached Neiwan Station and the Lavender Cottage, it was around 4 plus in the afternoon (which was nearing sunset).
Lavender Cottage 薰衣草森林
There are three Lavender Cottages in Taiwan: Taichung Xinshe, Hsinchu and Miaoli
We wanted to visit the one at Taichung Xinshe when we were at Taichung, but we had to give it a miss since it raining when we were in Taichung. So we decided to head to the one at Hsinchu! For those who are intending to visit Lavender Cottage, it is advisable to do a booking at least a day before you head down, this way you will be able to request for complimentary shuttle service to Lavender Cottage. We overlooked this and thus gotta pay for a cab to drive us up.
More information can be found here: http://www.lavendercottage.com.tw/forest3.htm
Ticket Fare: NTD $250 (S$12), which includes a NTD $100 food voucher
The pretty shop that we didn’t get to go since we were rushing for time. Laughs.
We were pretty eager to look for the ‘Lavender Forest’ (since the chinese name for the place is Xun Yi Chao Shen Lin, aka Lavender Forest), thinking there will be a plot of land or a forest filled with Lavenders. But…..we were disappointed once again. Laughs.
No forest, no plot of land with Lavenders, only some patches/shrubs of Lavender plantation….
But they have this really pretty cottage that is their famous Lavender Cottage Restaurant, probably a slight consolation for us!
Self entertaining once againnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Teehee!
There you go, the not very pretty panorama shot since there wasn’t much Lavender in this Lavender Cottage.
THIS IS US ATTEMPTING TO GET THE LAVENDER FOREST FEEL. It was really really REALLY funny mans! This is the Lavender Forest we picture in our mind, with a sea of Lavenders that will probably cover us or something, so they are trying (keyword: trying) very hard to capture the feeling of it. Laughs
Yes I know, it’s no where near the Lavender Forest feel, but A for effort yeah? The Lavenders are pretty, but we probably expected more from the place. laughs
Our individual shots once again!! It’s been a while, isn’t it? Laughs. Taken right in front of the prettiest thing in the Lavender Cottage: The Lavender Cottage Restaurant.
This was taken by a passer by, the boyband was really going all out mans! Laughs
Lavender Cottage is actually a really nice place for one to enjoy the scenic environment together with the subtle Lavender scent. But we were prolly there a little too late, so we didn’t get to see the scenery surrounding the cottage. It was all foggy when we were there, and the sun was setting at the same time. Oh well, probably some other time!
There was also this place where you can send self-stamped postcards home!
Since we skipped our lunch earlier on, we were starving after we walked a bit in Lavender Cottage. We intended to have our dinner here at Lavender Cottage as we googled and check the menu before we visited the place, and saw that the food was pretty decent. It was pretty good, and the portion was actually quite huge. 3 ala carte meal was sufficient to make us full, but we bought another since we had the food voucher to spare. The meal turned out to be pretty affordable since we had our food voucher earlier on. 4 ala carte and we paid an additional of about NTD $300 ($13).
We were really satisfied with our meal (our lunch plus dinner)! Headed back to Neiwan station, and it was already really really dark by 7 pm. Thankfully our cab driver waited for us to drive us down, so we manged to catch the train back to Hsinchu!
Yo, it’s us from the Lavender Cottage!!!
So after an hour train ride from Neiwan Station, we were back to Hsinchu! Since we have been traveling together for the past 6 days, we talked about practically almost everything. I could still remember our conversation on palm reading, it was prolly on our ride back from Neiwan when we were suddenly in an intense discussion on palm reading. Laughs. Do Google on palm reading to find out moreeeeeeee! Google is no doubt our best friend, we can find practically everything on the internet. Awesome mosome.
So on to our final destination at in Hsinchu: City God Temple Night Market (Cheng Huang Miao Lao Jie)
City God Temple Night Market 城隍廟夜市
The night market itself is about a century old and is probably the heart of Hsinchu today. It is a less than 20 minutes walk from Hsinchu Station. Once you are outside the train station, you can clearly see the sign directing one towards the Night Market. Alternatively, you can check with the friendly locals for directions!
I saw the first Gongcha in Taiwan at City God Temple Night Market!!! And it’s prolly the only Gongcha we saw in Taiwan. Boohoo. I love the gongcha in Taiwannnnnnnnn. They have a bigger sized cup, which cost the same as the regular cup in Singapore. Since we were full from our dinner (as usual), we decided to just ‘busk in the night market atmosphere’ of City God Temple. Laughs
Unlike the usual night market we saw in Kaohsiung and Taichung, the night market here is a pretty small one, which are street food stalls that surround the City God Temple. If I’m not wrong, they are famous for their meatballs (bawan), oyster omelette and some pork soup. But we were too full to try all their local delights, so we gave those a miss! But do check those out when you’re there!
The above ‘bear paw burger’ is another local specialty of City God Temple Night Market! I remember seeing this on the Taiwan variety show “Wo cai wo cai wo cai cai cai aka Ni cai ni cai ni cai cai cai”, where they recommended this street food on their show!
It’s a pretty cool ‘burger’, where you get to customised your bear paw burger in accordance to your preferred bun flavor (Milk bun and some 2 other flavors), type of patty (fish filet, chicken chop and pork chop) and your favorite sauce (from Italian to mayo to mustard sauce). It’s pretty unique since we don’t since such stuffs elsewhere, but it tasted like a zinger burger! Probably a zinger patty in a mantou bao. Laughs. Anyhoo, YY was the one who bought the burger!
After our short walk at the night market, we headed back to our hotel! Thought we gotta take a shuttle bus from the night market to the mall near to our hotel, but we realised the night market was actually REALLY NEAR our hotel. What a joke! Laughs
And this marks the end of our day in Hsinchu City, and man was it really really fast! Like i mentioned in my earlier posts, it is advisable to stay at least 2 nights or 2 full day in a city. 1 night is surely not enough cause we had to rush and all, so it’s a lesson learnt 🙂 But again, there isn’t much attractions in Hsinchu either, so ultimately, it is up to individual to decide. By the time we were done with Hsinchu, we realised HOW QUICKLY TIME PASSED. We were done with 6 full days of our Taiwan trip, another 7 more days to go, and the remaining full 7 days will be at Taipei City!
And yes, more on my adventure in Taiwan sooooooooooooooon. Before that, HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS EVERYONEEEEEEEE.