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This is part 2 of our Taiwan travel blog, you can check out part 1 of our Taiwan post at Taiwan travel blog Part 1: Taichung, Xinshe, Cingjing
DAY 4: SUN MOON LAKE日月潭
We had our complimentary breakfast in the guesthouse. The food is simple but nice, and Jas especially liked the milk tea. Taiwanese milk tea, no matter how simple, is just different man! We don’t know what the golden ratio of tea to milk to sugar is but it’s just woah. Jas of course, has made it her personal goal to have milk tea everyday, and just the morning alone, I think she had 3 cups of it. 11mo Ray also got a rare chance to eat some plain porridge with eggs, vegetables etc. He has been surviving mainly on breastmilk, fruits and some homemade puffs baked by his wonder mama, Jas (back at SG) as most of the food we had so far were quite oily, but OH! So delicious haha. After breakfast, we made our way out to Sun Moon Lake.
日月潭 (SUN MOON LAKE)
Jashuat says: Can go/can skip too
Sun Moon Lake is one of the most famous attractions in Taiwan, and you should probably visit it as a “Been there, done that” attraction. However, if you need to plan a big detour just to come to Sun Moon Lake, we reckon you can give it a miss as it’s just a gigantic quarry (oops, not a very romantic description for a romantically named place huh). We bought a ferry ticket to travel to the various piers in Sun Moon Lake, and it was pretty scenic, but not exactly breath taking, you know? In essence, it is basically just a big lake with a nice view, and we’ve seen more gorgeous views so it was pretty meh in our opinion. Moreover, the place was teeming with tourists, to be exact, lots of Chinese tourists (who aren’t generally known for their wonderful etiquette), so you can imagine the usual loud chatter in mandarin, pedestrian jam etc. Still, we did bump into some nice Chinese aunties and had a short but friendly chat with some of them, but Sun Moon Lake had waaaaaaay too many tourists for us to truly soak in its tranquil beauty.
集集車站 (Jiji Station)
Jashuat says: Can go/can skip too
After getting out of Sun Moon Lake, our driver brought us to Jiji Station. This is a very old train terminal station with lots of roadside stores, not unlike our favourite pasar malam. Being the aunty that she is, Jas had a happy time looking at the different food products and insisted that she needed to buy every single one (or so it felt), while I tried my very best to restrain my wife. Obviously wife 1, husband 0. Still, it’s not too bad, but not a destination place, if you know what I mean.
車埕 (Che Chen)
Jashuat says: Must Go
Che Chen is another old train station, the last on the Jiji line. It has a museum (Che Chen Logging Museum) depicting its history as an important hub for log transportation which is quite cool. There are also classes for children to learn how to make wooden stools and tables, (not really for us tourists, but cool nonetheless). When walking around the Che Chen Old Street, the scenery feels as if it has been brushed in nostalgic hues of the past. There is also ample space for kids and adults to wander around and be amazed by, so all in all, a lovely place to explore. If your kids love transportation as much as mine, they’ll go into berserker (the happy kind!) mode here.
HOTEL STAY: Talmud Hotel
Cost: NT3000+ for 2 rooms/night
The Talmud branch that we stayed in was newly renovated at that time, so it was very clean, right and well-maintained. Not sure whether it was due to the fact that it was new but to OCD Singaporeans, Talmud should be a pretty good fit in terms of hygiene. We should have booked the Yi Zhong Lu branch though, which has a night market beside it. From what we read on reviews on it (2016 reviews), people have raved about its cleanliness, so go for it! We paid about NT3000 plus for 2 rooms per night for ours, which is pretty decent.
DAY 5: LU GANG鹿港
鹿港老镇 (Lu Gang Old Town)
Jashuat says: Can go
Lu Gang is an old town which is very near to the sea, hence, the reason for the many temples in the vicinity, including the famous Ma Zhu Miao (which worships the goddess of the Sea), which we visited of course. The temple was huge and spacious, so it’s a nice place for religious folks like my in laws to see what temples overseas are like. We also headed to the morning market near the temple, which was a really huge market (it took up long streets!) selling a wide variety of things, including delicious morning street food and other barang barang like toys, household items, birds in cages etc. You name it, you see it! Hehe. We thoroughly enjoyed walking in the market searching for yummies to fill our tummies. Because the market is crowded though, and because we Singaporeans are easily distracted by yummies, we gotta hold on tight to our kids, because they get distracted by the bright and colorful barang barangs sold on the streets!
宝岛时代村 (Times Village) https://www.rtaiwanr.com/nantou/taiwan-times-village
Jashuat says: Must Go
Opening Hours: Wkdays – 10am – 6.30pm, Wkends – 9.30am – 6.30pm
Wkday Pricing: Wkdays – 150TWD, Wkends – 350TWD
(Opening Hours and Pricing are current as of 2016)
As Lu Gang is a rather small place, we finished visiting all the major attractions by the end of lunch. Our driver then suggested bringing us to Taiwan Times Village, which we agreed to, and boy, was it a great suggestion!
Taiwan Times Village is an entertainment village which seeks to recreate the Taiwan villages of old. There are plenty of food stalls inside, artificially created settings depicting olden day Taiwan (which are totally instagram worthy), such as a huge rickshaw, old stalls with the triangle hats and shoulder poles with baskets at either end. There are also many old game stalls which kids and adults alike will love. In fact, you will encounter a magical phenomenon where the adults shave twenty years off their ages and revert to excited little kids showing off their games skills (which they will suck at with their gangly, awkward adult bodies LOL). There are also stalls selling funky items such as those chinesey hats with fake pigtails, and also local snacks.
Bonus – included in the entrance ticket is a voucher which you can use to make purchases within the compound, and you will have no problems spending it cuz there are so many items to ogle/drool over!
Initially though, we had not planned on going to the Times Village as it looked like some ripped off museum with little to do, but we are so supremely glad we finished up Lu Gang early and took a chance on Times Village. It is really a wonderful place to head to with lots of different little entertainment, and there was even an aboriginal dance performance which was pretty awesome. Our group ranging from 11mo to 60yo all enjoyed ourselves immensely, so you can rest easy that it’s a great stop that caters to all! A definite Must Go in our opinions.
一中夜市 (YI ZHONG MARKET)
Jashuat says: Must Go
Address: Yizhong St., North Dist., Taichung City 404, Taiwan
We ended the day back in Taichung city’s Yi Zhong Market, located centrally in the CBD zone. Compared to Fengjia market, it is on a smaller scale but hey, Fengjia is ridiculously big so it can’t be compared! Yizhong has a wide variety of delicious yummies, and is the second busiest market around here, so be assured you can find plenty of food and shopping to keep yourselves occupied! Jas bought a couple of shoes here, so ladies, be prepared to go wild! Shoes are very cheap here compared to what you find in Singapore, and there are so many designs available. Jas bought a couple of shoes that are slightly more expensive (some shoes have the soft padding version and the non soft padding version, of which Jas bought the former. Totally worth it for the extra few bucks because they are oh so comfortable!).
DAY 6: TAICHUNG
Before leaving for Taichung, we went to explore central Taichung.
中友百貨 (CHUNG-YO SHOPPING MALL)
Jashuat says: Can Go, if only to check out the funky loos!
With a hired driver in Taiwan, moving around saved us a lot of time, so we were pretty much done with all our checklist items earlier, yay! Hence, we decided to hit this shopping mall (Of course we didn’t buy anything, since we could buy cheapies from the night market) because it is renowned for having very funky toilets. And indeed so! Chung-Yo Shopping Mall is a major shopping center similar to Takashimaya (but quieter) and every floor has different funky toilet designs. If you need to hit the loo in comfort, this is your toilet haven!
Jashuat says: Can Go,
Miyahara used to be an old eye hospital (owned by a Japanese named Miyahara, who else! during the Japanese occupation). It later converted into an artsy fartsy store selling its own brand of confectionery such as ice cream, chocolates etc. The packaging and decor in this place is gorgeous, but IMO, the food items can be a tad pricey. Makes for great gifts for pals back at home though. The décor of the place is rather special but all in all, if this place is out of the way, we feel that there isn’t much of a need to make a special trip here. Unless you are a dessert lover, Ahhh then that’s different. With the wide array of chocolates and ice cream flavours here, you can pretty much go wild!
END OF TAICHUNG LEG:
After our little central Taiwan tour, we boarded the local train for the High Speed Rail (HSR) to Taipei. We had tie lu bian dang for lunch, and it made our little foodie hearts very excited to see such a wide variety of convenience food, which tasted pretty good too! Seriously, the stuff sold at our 7-eleven can’t even compare, sniff.
Upon reaching Taipei, we took the metro and traveled to our Airbnb accomodation. The apartment was rather spacious and fit us all (7 Adults and 1 Child and 1 Infant) nicely. My Bro-in-Law volunteered to sleep in the living room though, which erm suits us fine hahah. As long as I don’t sleep in the living room LOL. Do note though, that similar to Singapore, AirBNB is illegal in Taiwan, so don’t go about acting all touristy or get all noisy, or you may get your hosts in trouble. With 7 adults and 2 kids, it was a little tough to act all like locals, but thankfully, kids are such a happy distraction hehe, that nobody actually looked accusingly at us. Phew!
Do check out our part 3 of our Taiwan trip on Taipei, which erm, will be out soon! Fingers crossed!
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