Friday, October 20, 2017

Taiwan: Taichung Travel Guide

Taichung is a municipality located in center-western Taiwan and is approximately 2 hours away from Taipei via bus. In Taichung we visited several places such as Chungshe Flower Market, Summer Resort, Master of Mushroom, Rainbow Village and Fengjia Night Market.
Sunflowers at Chungshe Flower Garden

How to get to Taichung from Taipei

1. Via Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR)
Pros: Fastest and comfortable
Cons: The THSR stop is out of the city and more expensive compared to bus/train
Travel time: 40-70 minutes
Fare: NTD650 - NTD750 (Standard Class)

2. Via Train
Pros: Comfortable and reliable
Cons: Slower compared to THSR
Travel time: 2 - 3.5 hours
Fare: NTD241 (Local); NTD 375 (Express)

3. Via Bus
Pros: Frequent and comfortable
Cons: Slower compared to THSR and may be affected by traffic jams
Travel time: 2 - 2.5 hours
Fare: NTD220-260 (depends on the number of stops)

I chose this means of transportation but I made sure I chose the bus with the fewest stops to Taichung. The actual travel was around 2 hours only. The Taipei Bus Station was located in L3 of the Taipei Mall. Also, my hotel in Taichung was just walking distance from one of the bus stops and Ubus Bus Station. This was the most economical and convenient option for me.

4. Via Taxi
Pros: Point to point service and available anytime
Cons: Most expensive and may be affected by traffic jams
Operating hours: 24 hours
Travel time: 2 hours
Fare: NTD3500 - NTD5000

Summit Resort
You have the same options in going back to Taipei. Just make sure that you checked the schedules of THSR/Trains/Buses.

Where to Stay
There are several hotels, hostels and airbnb accommodation in Taichung. I chose Chance Hotel because of its proximity to the city and Taichung train station.

Chance Hotel
Address: No 163 Jianguo Road Central District Taichung 400
Price: NTD3000 for 4 persons

Breakfast is included in the room price. Also, the room has complete amenities and toiletries. It is near Taichung Railway Station and Bus Station. They also allow guest to leave their luggage in the reception area after check-out time.
Chungshe Flower Garden

How to get around Taichung
You can travel Taichung through trains, buses and taxis. I opted to hire a taxi due to time constraints and for the reason that the places I intended to visit are away from each other. I did my research and some place are not reachable by public transportation and will take around 2-3 hours of travel time. 

You can book a taxi beforehand but this comes with a fixed predetermined price on for a maximum of 8 hours service. I hired a taxi and haggled for the tour price since I have only 5 place to visit. 

Most of the people in Taichung do not know how to speak English and it is a bit difficult to communicate. Google translate app would be your best companion. Also, some places I researched  in the internet have different names in Taichung. For example, I saw Xinshe Castle in Google but the castle is referred to as Summit Resort by citizens. Our taxi driver, though he is unable to speak English, is very accommodating and kind.

Taxi Driver Contact Details:
Contact number: 0987-910120
Line: 0987910120
Wechat: p556630
Taxi rate: NTD3500 for 9 hours
Taxi capacity: maximum of 6 persons
Summit Resort

Weather in Taichung
During my visit in October, it was sunny and windy in Taichung. They said that it rarely rains in the place.
With Rainbow Grandpa

Places to Visit in Taichung

1. Summit Resort
If you are dreaming of castles with roman pillars, chateau or the view of all-green garden with touches of flowers, this one is really a good place to go. Every place is instagram-worthy
Chateau at Summit Resort

Other name: Xinshe Castle
Address: No 65 Xiezhing St Xinshe District Taichung City 426
How to get there: There is no public transportation available going to this place except for taxis.
Entrance fee: NTD250 which includes NTD100 of consumable food/drink voucher at the restaurant inside the resort
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 09:00 to 18:00; Sat-Sun 08:00 to 18:00

2. Master of Mushroom
Our kind taxi driver took us to this place for lunch. Well, you must love mushrooms if you come to this place. Taichung has an abundant harvest of mushrooms of all kinds. Master of Mushroom is a restaurant with a souvenir shop. One of their chefs is a Filipina and she explained thoroughly the menu and gave us free rice and pork viand. We ordered a shabu-shabu like meal for NTD950 that is good for 6 persons. Also, the restaurant gives free lunch to taxi drivers who take tourist to their place.
Master of Mushrooms

Address: No 287 Xiezhing St Xinshe District Taichung City 426 (near Summit Resort)
How to get there: As with Summit Resort, public transportation is not available in the place
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10:00 to 21:00; Sat-Sun 10:00 to 22:00

3. Chungshe Flower Garden
This garden is home to hundreds of flowers overlooking a view of mountain. This place is lovely in every angle and corner. It is another instagram-worthy place where you can enjoy your photo walk. After a good walk and thousands of pictures, you can enjoy their barbecue zone and karaoke spot.
Lavanders at Chungshe Flower Garden

Other name: Houli Flower Garden
Address: No 469-13 Sanfeng Road Houli District Taichung City 421
How to get there:
- If you are driving from the South on National Highway No. 1, take the Houli Interchange, then travel along Houke Road Sec 3, make a left turn at Sanfung Road and continue for approximately 2 kms
- If you are driving from the North on National Highway No. 1, take Sanyi Interchange then travel toward Houli for approximately 7 ams
- If via bus, take Fengyuan bus and get off at Chungshe Flower garden
- If via train, take west line trains to Houli Station then take a taxi to Chingshe Flower Garden or take west line train to Taian Station then walk toward west for 20 minutes
- You can also hire a taxi for convenient and faster means of travel
Entrance fee: NTD120
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 09:00 to 18:00; Sat-Sun 09:00 to 21:00

4. Rainbow Village
Rainbow Village
It is a village that used to house veterans soldiers. It was almost empty and dying when the last resident of this village, Mr Huang, started to paint it with animals, dolls, airplanes and other characters. With its vibrant and colourful designs, it became one of the tourist destinations in Taichung. It is a small place that you can visit for about 10-20 minutes. 

Other name: Caihongjuan Village
Address: No 56 Chun'an Road Nantun District Taichung City
How to get there:
- If via bus, take bus 26-70-99 to Lingtun University and alight at Nantun Tingan House then walk about 240 meters along Lane 19, Zhongyong Road.
- You can also hire a taxi for convenient and faster means of travel
Entrance fee: None. They accept donation.
Opening hours: No particular time but take note that the village is the home of Mr Huang.

5. Fengjia Night Market
It is a street full of food, clothes, stuffs and souvenirs. If you are on a shopping spree, you will have plenty of things to choose from and food to try.
Fengjia Night Market

Address: Fengjia Road Taichung City
Opening hours: Starts at 18:00

6. Sun Moon Lake
I have created another blog post about Sun Moon Lake Travel Guide. Please click here.

Actual Itinerary and Expenses
Summit Resort

Itinerary - Taichung Day Tour
06:00 AM to 08:00 AM - Wake up/Breakfast/Prep for Day Tour

08:30 AM to 05:00 PM - Taichung Tour via Taxi

Places visited were Summer Garden Resort, Chungshe Flower Garden, Master of Mushroom, Rainbow Village and (drop-off) Fengjia Night Market

05:00 PM to 07:00 PM - Walk around Fengjia Night Market

07:00 PM to 07:30 PM - Went to Decathlon via Taxi

07:30 PM to 09:00 PM - Explored Decathlon

09:00 PM to 09:30 PM - Travel back to Chance Hotel

09:30 PM onwards - Freshen-up/Lights off
Rainbow Village

Expenses - Taichung Day Tour (NTD)
Entrance at Summer Garden Resort - $250
Lunch at Master of Mushroom - $190
Entrance at Chungshe Flower Garden - $120
Rainbow Village Donation - $20
Taxi Hire for the Tour ($3,500/5 pax)- $700
Fengjia Night Market Milk Tea - $36
Taxi to Decathlon ($250/5 pax)-$50
Taxi to Chance Hotel - $40

Total Day 2 Expense - NTD 1,406/PHP 2,601.10

This trip is Day 2 of my 4 days and 3 nights Taiwan Tour.
For complete itinerary and expenses, please click here.
For Taiwan Travel Guide, please click here.

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