Taiwan always topped my favourite countries list. With it’s amazing street food and friendly locals, I looked forward to visiting Taiwan and this time round, my third. I have included Taichung into my itinerary, as my family and I have never been there before and we heard so much about Feng Jia Night Market – one of the biggest night markets in Taiwan. I can say the shopping in Taichung is so much better as compared to Taipei! Got most of my loots from Yi Zhong Street and Feng Jia Night Market.
Did I also share that I got my air tickets at a steal? REAL STEAL! SIN – TPE with luggage was $80 only! Why? – Cause I got an eDM from Jetstar on it’s Friday Frenzy Deal and there was no time for consideration whilst booking these tickets, it was at $0! Dates plugged in and paid immediately!
I will be sharing my itinerary on how I plan and where I go during this 7 days in Taichung and Taipei;
Singapore to Taichung, Day 1 –
We made our way to Taichung via the High-Speed Rail (HSR) which took about an hour and so. There were many other bus and train transfers however it was the fastest route southwards. We stayed at Plaza Hotel, it was highly recommended by a friend who was a frequent Taiwan traveler, it is centrally located and very convenient!
Miyaharu (Gong Yuan Yan Ke)Love the interior of Miyaharu, it’s very vintage-looking with many wooden structures. It is well-known for their pineapple tarts and other pastries in pretty boxes. We tried their ice-cream too, in my opinion I thought it was mediocre. Worth visiting for photo-taking and souvenir shopping.
It’s just like Orchard Road but in Taichung version! This street suits the young, funky crowd and they have many Korean-looking outfits in very good quality. Me like!
Feng Jia Night Market
I cannot stop raving about the street food in Feng Jia Night Market! They are so good, unique and fresh! Those prawns and squid are fantastic, I have never tasted anything like that in Singapore or Malaysia. We eventually found the highly-raved water pudding too! Noms. Felt that Feng Jia Night Market has the widest range of shopping varieties, from sneakers to clothing to accessories. I spend most of my money here though, heh!
Taichung Day 2 –
The story of Taichung’s Rainbow Village and its famous creator Mr. Huang Yong-Fu has become quite well known throughout the country and is a fitting example of how a battle resist having his home torn down. Vibrant and lovely place for photo-taking!
Cing Jing Farm (Green Green Grassland)
Cingjing Farm is best known for it’s green pasture and fresh air. I think anyone visiting Taichung should come here! The downpour cleared up as soon as we reached the peak, thankfully. It’s scenic wild greenery and cloud mountainous view was breath-taking.
The Old England
We dropped by Puli Winery along the way, they are known for their Shao Xing wine. Personally, I thought we could skip this place of attraction as it’s really small and we can’t appreciate Chinese wine.
At last, dinner was authentic local mee sua with oysters. I really enjoy Taiwanese mee sua as compared to conventional local mee sua in soup. Their broth is thick and very flavourful. I’m totally blown away with this mee sua our driver drove us to, he said if it’s not good, we don’t have to pay for it! I guess, he’s right. Too good we wanted nothing but more. Off to Yizhong street for more night market shopping!🙂
Taichung, Day 3 –
921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan
921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan is dedicated to the 7.3 earthquake that struck the center of Taiwan at 01:47:12.6 TST on Tuesday, 21 September 1999. They preserve some of the remaining from the earthquake to serve as reminders to the public for them to be prepared in the future if such event happens again. Visiting this museum arouse many insights for me, especially fortunate Singaporeans. How natural disasters can be so close to us and how blessed it is to live in a safe country.
Sun Moon Lake
Sun Moon Lake is the largest lake in Taiwan with it’s scenic clear sparkling blue water set against a picturesque mountain backdrop. I am mesmerized with it’s beauty, that’s no wonder its amongst one of Taiwan’s top tourist destinations. We went with the boat tour and I tasted one of the best tea braised egg (金门阿么茶叶蛋) – at Xuan Guang Si pier.
Sun Moon Lake Wen Wu Temple (文武廟)
Along the way, we stopped by a temple namely Wen Wu Temple – on the Northern bank of the lake. The exterior was magnificent and we were in awe despite the rainy evening.
Transport in Taichung:
We booked a vehicle for Day 2 and 3 transport and 张师傅 is really kind and friendly, he brought us to many additional places out of our itinerary and was very fast to react on our requests. He is highly recommended and you can reach him via Whatsapp or Line at (+886) 919-037251.
Taichung to Taipei, Day 4 –
Time for Taipei!❤
We departed Taichung to Taipei via High-Speed Rail (HSR) and Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) with a traveling time of approximately 1 hr 45 mins with all the waiting and transferring which is very much comparable to buses which takes about 2.5 hours with smooth traffic. One-way HSR from Taichung to Taipei costs SGD29, not that cheap thou. So I would advise anyone traveling to check on the traffic conditions before deciding which option to take.
Xi Men Ding Shopping
A definite must-go place in Taipei. The day and night crowd buzzing and the main point is our favourite must-eat Ah Zong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線)! We did most of our masks shopping in XMD as there were many big brands here! Shopping in Taipei is as cheap as compared to many years back, but relatively still affordable as compared to Singapore.
Shi Da Night MarketImage Credits: Google.com
Shida (師大) night market is named after the nearby university of the same name, the crowd is definitely geared to the younger adults. That also brings out the shopping bug in us as there were many trendy and inexpensive shopping choices. As it is relatively smaller than other night markets, there were lesser food choices around however we did tried the best Polo Bun ever! It’s so crunchy on the outside on a soft bun! (The one with the longest queue, should be easy to find!)
Taipei, Day 5 –
One of the attractions that I stay truly fond of is Jiu Fen. I enjoy strolling through alleys of shops with many eateries and they were all selling my favourite handmade taro balls dessert! Yums! Along the way, we tried out the famous shaved peanut ice-cream and rice cake too!
Golden Waterfall & YingYang Sea
As we are heading to our next destination, we dropped by Golden Waterfall and Ying Yang Sea – it was indeed a splendid sight for us! The origin of the name was attributed to the contrasting colours of blue and yellow of the sea.
The most well-known place for sky lanterns in Taiwan is definitely, Shi Fen. Along this railway track, you can find many shops selling food, souvenirs and mainly lanterns. Soaking up the sky lantern atmosphere and joining the fun was so easy. Most shop owners even offer free photo-taking services too!
Shenkeng Old Street is best known as Tofu street! It was my first time visiting and we could all smell stinky tofu from afar! I really thought this is a less touristy place and nice to explore! They have really special tofu food you can never find them elsewhere! I had the most delicious tofu mochi ever!! Too yummy we bought a few back home!
Wu Fen Pu Shopping Street
I was utterly disappointed with the shopping at WFP, unlike 4 years back. Things were cheap and there were many quality clothing! But why?! There were literally nothing to buy as the service and clothing quality was bad, really bad! All the prices were jacked up and shopping at night markets were so much a better experience and enjoyment!
Rou He Night Market
One of my favourite night market in Taipei! They have the yummiest and freshest barbecue seafood such as prawns, oysters and clams! Not forgetting grilled abalones, scallops, mushrooms and the most delicious long-queue pepper bun! Love the filling! Noms.
Taipei, Day 6 –
Addiction Aquatic Development 上引水產
Heard so much about this large Japanese-style supermarket with it’s fresh seafood and aquamarine products and many restaurants and kiosks! We just had to see what’s in deal for us! We waited for our turn at the Seafood bar and literally drooled over this huge plate of Uni that cost less than SGD50! There’s no seats at all for Seafood & Sushi bar and the crowd management could have been better I thought.
Best advice: Avoid public holidays and weekends!
Shi Lin Night MarketOne of the most renowned night market in Taipei, it’s indoor food area seems very much like Singapore’s food court. Shilin is the longest and largest standing night market! Oh and that’s the popular street food called the 棺材板 – Coffin Toast Bread!
Get ready to spent about 2-3 hours shopping and eating here!
Exploring Taipei on foot was really easy with our pocket wifi router, we even had our morning run around town! But I must say the air in Taiwan isn’t as clean as compared to Singapore and it could be the amount of motorcycles on road or the petrol they used. Therefore we concluded Taiwanese always had masks on them! With lesser greens around, their air quality is really not too good. So, before heading out for a jog – think again okay!
Happen to chance upon Pablo Taiwan near Taipei Main Station and we packed 1 back! This cheese tart is so huge and 4 of us struggle to finish it off! It was soft and delectable but I prefer savory cheese dessert! Boo😦
Traveling seems to be my best stress reliever and being happy is so easy. I truly enjoy traveling with my loved ones, it’s nothing but blissful. Traveling need not be expensive and the truth is – it can be really cheap if everything is well-planned and budgeted for!
*Top tips for budget traveling –
- Sign up for airlines eDM (Electronic Direct Mailer) and grab the promotional deals soon as possible! Return from Taiwan at $80, trust me! Plus, don’t miss out without calling respective tourism bureau to check if there’s any travel freebies up for grab! For Taiwan, you can reach Taiwan Visitors Association via phone 6223 6546 or visit this blog for more information!*
- Do as much research as possible! Know which route to take before heading out aimlessly. By having a plan, you will be able to tell which is the cheapest route to your destination!
- Wifi router is so important for free and easy travelers! Always check for the best deal on renting or the cheapest SIM card that provides sufficient data roaming while traveling. Having a wifi router allows you to search and navigate like a local! Uber VS Exorbitant taxi fares! We saved quite a bit on this too! (Changi Recommends offer great discounts on certain travel location and we got UNLIMITED WIFI for $5 per day only!)