#jygoessolo - Taichung (Day 5, 6 & 7)

4:28 PM jiayg 1 Comments


As mentioned in previous post, I followed Uncle Wu to a organic food (& vegetarian) exhibition since he had a little booth there (together with other farmers I saw at the Farmers' Market). It's quite an eye opener to see the different innovative new products Taiwanese came up with for organic and vegetarian consumers! (Mushroom floss tasted almost like pork floss!)

Anyway, so I bade Uncle Wu goodbye when he drove me out to the main road to catch a bus to Taichung city. Honestly, it is a must and a blessing to have access to data 24hour on my phone - helped me a lot to know which bus to take! (because the bus stations are in chinese, and though I can read perfectly well, the words are really tiny and cramped together!) Google maps is the best guide. 

Got onto a really packed bus and that's when I realised I lost my EasyGo card *sobs* There's still a few hundred NT in it! So the bus captain gave me a temporary tap card (this is given to passengers who doesn't have an EasyGo card), and when you reach your stop, you tap the card and it'll show how much to pay in cash. 

I'll digress a little bit: It was so packed I left my backpack beside the bus captain (thankfully he's a really nice guy) - every one was staring at my backpack and I'm glad I'm a backpacker. Imagine towing a luggage up the public bus. Halfway through the journey, a guy kept staring at my daypack. That's when I realised my bag was dripping water. And then, I remembered the pack of durian (YES DURIAN) that Aunty Wu bought for me in the morning because I told her I love durians. (How sweet of her!!) But I didn't consume it in the morning as I just had my breakfast. So thankfully (or not) there was ice pack. So the ice pack melted on my journey, hence the leakage. AND my whole bag smelled of durian! That's the worst thing that can happen on a trip! (other than losing your belongings. choy!)

So when I got down at my stop, I immediately finished up the durians. Being a little clean-freak, (and obviously no one can stand the durian stench lingering in your bag/around you), I was so thankful for the hostel I booked! 

Kiwi Express Hotel - Cheng Gung Branch (奇异果快捷旅店成功店)
Rates for 3 nights: S$56
Single bed in female dorm (up to 8 pax)

  • The exterior looked really nice and new (and I realised it IS new when I stepped in and saw the interior and room). 
  • Since I was early for check-in (downside: check-in only at 5.30pm), I decided to wash my dirty clothes and the smelly bag! What I love about this hotel is for the washing machine (at only 10 NT!) and free usage of the dryer (and this is the only hostel in the rest of my trip with a dryer!). PLUS, you can get a free little pack of washing powder from the counter!
  • When I could finally check in (thankfully the countar staff was friendly enough and allowed check-in at 4pm), the room was quite small with a really tiny small common area in the middle of the room. BUT the bed was really comfortable! The comforter was awesome too! I definitely wouldn't expect such a comfort from a hostel-hotel.
  • Each bed came with a curtain so you can have your personal space.
  • The beds were on fixed "shelves" to the wall and not the bunk beds kind of metal frame. This definitely matter to me because I wouldn't want the bed to creak when I go up and down the bed or when I turn during my sleep - disturbing the lower deck neighbour (or vice versa).
  • The toilets are well maintained (really clean) and because they probably only have 3-4 dorm rooms on that level (with few females staying during the period I was there), 3 showers in the female toilet were enough. A downside: there weren't hooks/shelves to place my clothes. So, having S hooks would definitely be handy in any future trips I go!
  • Less than 10-minute walk to Taichung Train Station/ bus station. (means buses to the night markets - so accessible!)
  • Definitely worth every cent I paid for!

This hotel do offer double/twin rooms if you aren't travelling alone! Should be quite worth the money too! There were a few Chinese travellers staying when I was there as well. They were friendly, but inconsiderate with regards to their noise level. But I can't choose who I'm staying with (beggars can't be choosers), so oh well!

Since it's my second time in Taichung (read about my first Taichung trip here), I went on to check out places which I haven't been in the last trip. Thanks to Google Maps on my handy dandy iPhone (again), I walked down to my first stop (took me about 20-30minutes!). 

刑武馆 (道禾六艺文化馆) 
Natural Way Six Arts Cultural Center

This used to be a place where prison officials and police have their martial arts and judo training during the Japanese occupation. Just probably 10 years ago, it has been conserved as a historical architecture by the Taiwanese government. There are still martial arts lesson being conducted every week (for kids and adults). 

The buildings have been maintained by the government but even so, it doesn't lose the Japanese architectural style. The whole area was filled with strong Japanese cultural atmosphere. There's a little place in the area for tea lovers to chill and immerse oneself in the perfect setting.

Under the old (banyan?) tree - probably at least 150 years old.

Took a couple of touristy photos and left for 


Okay so apparently I was handed a nice brochure and got to know the whole area (not just 绿光计划) is known as Fantasy (story), 范特西. It is like an arts and cultural area, with the main objective of bringing people together to enjoy arts and encouraging dreams and creativity. The project sprouted among the old streets and lanes, which adds a lot of warmth to a bustling yet cold city. 

Starting from Zhong Xing Street (中兴街) and walking down towards Taichung Port Road Sec.1 (台中港路一段), there's many lanes on the left and right which can be explored, filled with cafes and pop-up stores.

Enjoyed a waffle ice-cream before strolling down Zhongxing Street. It was a Saturday and Taiwanese had a long weekend because of Dragon Boat Festival on the following Monday. Hence it was really crowded around. Landed myself at a park near Eslite (勤美诚品), while there was a little flea market going on, what attracted me was the huge field where many people were just chilling around and having fun - with some playing games among their friends, dogs chasing around and 2 guys sitting at the edge of the field, with a sign that reads "a cup of coffee, and a story". I thought it was interesting, inviting people to have coffee with them and sharing stories of each other's lives. 

Decided that it was a hassle to take a bus to my next stop at Arts Street (I literally translated that from 艺术街),  I hailed a cab down. Was a little disappointed with what the place has to offer. Well not sure if I was there late (it was around 7.30pm) or it just wasn't what I expected. Anyhow, it was 10 minutes walk away from Dong Hai Night Market (东海夜市), so I headed over to the night market in half an hour's time. It was really crowded with cars and people but the atmosphere was great! I was famished as I didn't have any proper lunch and survived only on the waffle ice cream.

Being a natural Singaporean, I queued wherever there's a long queue. Ordered a chicken thigh bun (below), piping hot and it was juicy!

Same for this desserts stall. Well I wanted to get the Grass Jelly with Yam ball but it was so popular it got sold out after I walked one round around the night market. Hence settled for the red bean one which was nice too!

Wanted to queue for ducks' legs (which again has a very long queue) and I was being lazy so I didn't manage to try that. But it's just diagonally opposite this desserts stall and has a huge signage so probably you guys can try that!

Verdict: I personally think there's more nice food than shopping at Dong Hai Night Market. It is definitely smaller than Fengjia Night Market and I find it more difficult to walk around because the stalls are just beside the main road, which means lots of passing cars and bikes. Of course this might be due to the long weekend. 


The best thing about solo trips is that you can wake up any time you like! (oops, did I already mentioned that in the very first post?) Anyway, I left the hotel at 10 and ate the corn that one of the farmers gave me while walking over to find the bus to bring me to Lu Gang (鹿港). I've heard a song (okay just the title) about the little old town on the west of Changhua (which is just below Taichung City) and I decided to check it out. 

yes I ate it raw. It's so juicy and sweet! (Though I felt like a primate whilst walking and munching)

I spent almost an hour looking for the bus to the place because apparently it isn't operated by Taichung bus. Looked on my google and google maps and spent a long time looking for the correct bus operator. By the time I found the bus, it was already past 11am!

So this is the correct bus operator. 
和欣客运 (Ho-Hsin)
There's a bus leaving for Lugang/Lukang every 30 minutes, one-way fare NT94

The journey was about 30 minutes - 1 hour so it was past noon when I reached the place. As it was Dragon Boat Festival, there were quite a few activities going on (and it was CROWDED). Since I was there late, I missed the dragon boat race! (booo!) 

 Lugang Old Street (鹿港老街)
Walk along the main street and allies of the town that's filled with cultural atmosphere of old houses, folk arts and friendly locals. It was really hot (no kidding!) and I got myself a cup of watermelon juice which was my savior. The street was also lined with little shops - some of which are right in front of the shop owner's houses. 

The old houses of Lugang.

The generous and big-hearted well-to-do owner wanted to share clean water with the villagers and his neighbors. So he built half a well outside and the other half inside his house area. 

Nothing beats a bowl of ice on a hot day.

Old-school stuff.

Full of Taiwanese' childhood memories.

Lugang Tianhou Temple (鹿港天后宫)
There are 2 Tianhou temples - old and new. The one located along the old street is the new one. I managed to catch the old one (the first Goddess of Sea temple in Taiwan) when I was randomly walking around. I was also lucky enough as well to catch the ritual/ceremony of the temple volunteers shielding the Goddess of Sea out of the temple. As mentioned, the Taiwanese were celebrating Dragon Boat Festival and apparently it is one of the main festivals there. (Unlike in Singapore where at most of have dumplings and friendly dragon boat races). 
The new temple

The old temple and the ceremony that was going on (see the volunteers in pink)

Some sort of ritual for blessings from the Goddess.

The nice interior of the main hall.

While walking over to the Folk Arts Museum, I was lucky again to catch the performance along the main street of the town. Very much similar to our Chingay parade during Chinese New Year, different religions and groups put up 3-5 minute performances. 
Five loud shots to signal the start of the parade!

The famous Santaizi (三太子) and more famous for the techno - 太子音

Lugang Folk Arts Museum (鹿港民俗文物馆)
Established in 1973, the museum houses a collection of Ming and Ching dynasty artifacts: vintage photographs, lacquer ware, porcelain, carved stones, embroidery, musical instruments, and other items. The building is an unusual combination of Asian architecture and Western architecture (Taken from Wikipedia)

With only one exhibition hall about Lugang, the other 3 halls exhibits general items from the 2 dynasties. Very much like any cultural museums. Probably can be missed if time is an issue!

See the little pots/vases on the top of the short building? These were used as decorations and served as some kind of support for the houses back in the olden days. These used to carry imported goods or medicine.

Tonghua Lane桐花巷
I was in fact on my way back to Changhua City when I saw a map that I missed out this area. So I walked back. It's actually a nice little area showcasing some art pieces.

Lugang Long Shan Temple (鹿港龙山寺)

Breast-touching Lane (摸乳巷)
The origin of the name came from locals because this lane is so narrow that when 2 people walk past each other, they will have to walk sideways and their breasts will be touching each others'.

I think the width of the lane was exaggerated (so wide lor!)

Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Glass Exhibition Musuem (which is also a must see as told by a taxi driver) at Lugang. So do check it out if you are there!

Wanted to head to Changhua City to see the magnificent Great Buddha statue but by the time I reached the city, it was dark. So I took the railway back to Taichung city (just 3-4 stations away) and settled my late dinner.


One of the reasons for stopping by Taichung is to visit the Lavender field at Xinshe which I wanted to go during the previous holiday with Fish.

Lavender Cottage (薰衣草森林)
This is located about 1 hour from Taichung City and 20km from Xinshe-Zhong Xing Ling (Shinshe, 新社区中兴岭)
  1. Hop onto FengYuan (丰原客运) on the left (facing the station) of Taichung Railway Station OR RenYou (仁友客运) on the right as you walk down ZhongZheng Road (中正路) towards LuChuan East Lane (绿川东街)
  2. Alight at Xinshe Zhong Xing Ling and take a cab from there OR call for a pick-up (a service by Lavender Cottage, not sure if it's free. There are 2 numbers in the middle of the page. Again, not sure if have to call in advance and I'll explain why I have so many un-sures.) 

It was raining in the morning and this was mood-dampening, especially when it's a "road-trip" day out of the city! Found the bus stop for Feng Yuan (you can google the station too if I'm not wrong, that's what I did!) and realised I have to wait at least half an hour for the next bus. Just as I was waiting, (be prepared), there were a few cab drivers who came over and asked where I was heading. (These drivers are great at picking out who are the tourists!) All of them quoted me the same rate to go up to the Lavender Cottage (and other places, which is probably just 2 other spots, along the way) - NT2000-2500. Obviously this is an absurd rate for a lone traveller and I told them I can't afford it, while most turned away, one insisted and explained to me why I should hop onto his cab. 
  1. Lavender Cottage is 20km from Xinshe- Zhong Xing Ling, there are no buses going in to that area. 
  2. He mentioned there are hardly any taxis at Zhong Xing Ling (being a random weekday - Tuesday and it isn't the peak period for tourists to visit)
  3. I can't possibly walk the 20km. 
  4. It is raining.
  5. He said that I didn't call in advance for the pick-up service, and no one will drive out to pick me. (Well I don't know how true is this, if you'll need to call in advance. But the website didn't mention anything about booking in advance). 
Anyway, being the easily-swayed person I am, I succumbed and hopped onto his cab for the half-day service at NT2000. I know this sounds mad because I'm travelling along and yes, I do have budget. So this was where a rather big amount of my money went to. 

Okay, on a better note, I'm glad I took a cab because the rain was on and off. There were really no cabs at Zhong Xing Ling (in fact it was so quiet). 

While I went in to the Lavender Cottage, the taxi driver waited outside. Pay NT 100 for the admission ticket which you can then spend on something in their souvenir shop later on! (smart tactic to get customers to bring something home!)

Cleanse yourself in the nice smelling Lavender mist

In a little house (I don't mean the telephone booth) where visitors get to learn the different origins and uses of different plants (Lavender, Mint, Lemongrass...)

Agapanthus; 爱情花/百子莲

And here I present to you the Lavender field

(I can hear "How disappointing!!") YES I KNOW. I was so disappointed as well because prior to the trip, I was looking forward to a whole slope of Lavender. And I even pictured myself  taking awesome selfies with a background full of overwhelming Lavenders. And on my way to the Lavender Cottage, I just thought to myself, "Well at most I will get drenched in this stupid rain but the pictures will be pretty!"

But, this is the reality. 

I then realised it isn't the season for blooming Lavenders yet. (Ouch.) Just when I thought the lavenders are still growing and that's why the lavenders are so tiny. As tiny as my little finger's nail...I saw this board :

(Lightning strikes~)

It reads: Lavenders grow and blooms in cooling seasons and dislikes rainy seasons. As such, during summer (May to September), the owners plant Sage (which is purple and looks like Lavenders). And only in winter to early spring (October to April), will the Lavenders have the best conditions to grow. The best months to view a whole field of Lavenders is during January to February. 

(Thunder roars and lightning strikes)

At this point of time, I felt like I wasted the trip up (argh!*stabs myself). I didn't see Lavenders and only saw the calefare of Lavenders! (puiiiii) Now you guys know the best time to go, so please don't follow my footsteps...

Mushroom Garden (百菇莊)

Xin She is known more its mushroom produce, so there are quite a number of places offering mushroom products. The driver brought me to this little eatery along the way (out from Lavender Cottage). I ordered a mushroom rice, mushroom soup and fried mushrooms. While I try my best to have a first attempt at anything for this trip, I saw mushroom ice-cream and decided to try. (Yes, it does sound weird). The first taste was like vanilla, then the mushroom taste hits the tongue, and that's when I felt like I'm eating cold mushrooms. 

Xinshe Summit Resort (新社莊园)
or better known as Xinshe Castle (新社古堡)

This is also one tourist spot to visit in that area. I was quite disappointed as well because I thought it was more like a boring tourist destination. (I wouldn't say it's a trap but for NT250 admission fee, don't bother). There wasn't much to see either.

Just realised I didn't even take much photos here, and not even the castle! Hahaha...In my honest opinion, unless you're here in this area for the Lavender (during the best season), otherwise Xinshe can be skipped.

Dakeng (大坑)

Since the time was still early and I didn't want to waste the NT 2000 I paid for the taxi driver's service, he couldn't suggest other places to go so I said I want to climb the hill at Dakeng. He said I was mad because it just rained and it's dangerous, plus no one will hike the hill at 2pm after a rain. But I insisted, so he had no choice. 

It was quite a long walk up and it was so quiet because there weren't people around. But the serenity and being close to the nature was a good (though a little eerie) experience. Fortunately when I reached the top, I was greeted with a nice view of the surroundings and there were actually a couple resting at the temple. And thankfully, there was a nice elderly uncle who walked me down/led me to near the bottom of the hill. He was surprised a young girl like me would enjoy climbing the hill and he though I was mad to wear shorts (haha). So yes, I ended up with many bites (adding on to what I had from the farmstay). 

When I reached Taichung city it was only 3.30pm. So I decided to take a rest in the hostel. That's when I met my first new friend, Becky, who's one year younger and from Hong Kong. A really adorable and innocent girl who's still studying Chinese-related course. It was her first day in Taichung and she was also travelling alone. I think this is the good part of solo travel too, you meet new friends who are on the same "mission". So I told her I have no plans and we could go for dinner together at the night market. 

Digress: I didn't know I scratched my contact lens and there's a slit on it. I beared with it for the day before at Lugang and half a day at Xinshe, so I told Becky I had to buy disposable contact lens first. The optician was amused and amazed by how I could bear with the pain! Of course, he "scolded" me I shouldn't wear spoilt contact lens in future...Ooops...

Brought Becky to Gong yuan yan ke (宮原眼科) for ice-cream and landed ourselves at Yi Zhong Street (一中街),  followed by Feng Jia Night Market (逢甲夜市) (all 3 places which I've been and mentioned in my last year's post!). I would still prefer the latter for both variety of food and shopping!

Photos of Becky and I still with her so I shall end my Taichung post here!


Ken said...

So nice! Lovely pics and review! How was the weather there when you travelled?