From Taipei’s Main Bus Station, you can ride your way to explore Taichung City. The trip would be around 3 hours and would cost you about 10 to 15 US dollars depending on the bus line ( some are a bit expensive but will give you more leg space and a small tv to enjoy for the long hours in the bus– I would definitely recommend the King Bus/ Kuo Kuang Transport)
I stayed there only for a day, although if given another chance, I should have stayed much longer. Like what my co-tour participant in MyTaiwan tour said, I was like on an amazing race- rushing to different cities and staying in the shortest time possible. And yes, that is a bit tiring.
What can you see in Taichung? I was only going there to have instagrammable pictures of the Houli Flower Market. But talking among locals, I realized that there are a lot of beautiful places you can visit ( Guguan Hotsping, Basianshan Forest, Sun Moon Lake, etc)
For now, here are the 6 starters which you may consider for your Taichung stay:
1.) Stay at Ease Single Inn
This hostel is located in the city center. It is very near to most of Taichung tourist spots such as Gaomei Wetlands, Lukang Old Street, Sun Moon Lake, Qingjing Farm, Xitou Nature Education Area, Sun-Link-Sea, Forget the Forest, Jenn Lann Temple, Lihpao Land, and Hou-Fong Bike Path.
The hostel is very clean with a scent of lemon (perhaps because of their free lemon shampoo and soap for guests). I also only paid 2 US dollars for a kilo of laundry which I quickly got after 3 hours. The receptionist also helped me on how I can get to the Houli Flower market and Bella Roma restaurant. I do not have complaints in this hostel except the karaoke club on the higher floor which awaken me in the middle of the night. Anyways, thinking positively, that disturbing karaoke singer gave me a feel of Taichung culture.
2.) Roam in ASEAN square
Coming from Southeast Asia, it feels welcoming that nearby my hostel is the ASEAN square. It was called ASEAN square because a lot of Southeast Asian migrant workers spend their rest days in this park. There is even a special signage in Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Filipino language that fishing is not allowed in this river.
3.) Buy Famous Pepper Chicken and Fries
I missed the pepper chicken and fries in Taipei. Good thing, I still found them in the night markets of Taichung. I wonder why this flavor was not imitated in the Philippines. I hope I do not have a different taste as a Filipino but it would possibly be a good business venture– bringing the pepper chicken and fries to the Philippines!
4.) Get lost in the streets of Taichung
Because of Chinese character signages which I do not understand and of few people who can speak English, you may be lost in the streets of Taichung. I worried of not being able to be in my desired place on time but it was a fulfilling experience once you reach your desired place only through the help of your wit on understanding maps and sign language skills. I rode bus 901 because the hostel receptionist advised me that it is the way to Houli Farm market. I reconfirmed it with my Chinese bus seat mate and advised me ‘Not really that way’ using google translator.
5.) Wander in Houli Flower Market
As I was saying, my original purpose of going to Taichung is because of the Houli Flower Farm market. I am happy to see for the first time lavender and tulips plantation, get a picture of a piano in the midst of lavenders which I only normally see on music videos and experience Netherlands setting with this copied windmill. Philippines is a tropical country that is why it is my first time to see lavender and tulips.
6.) Eat in Bella Roma Restaurant
Instead of eating Chinese food–which I have been doing for the past few days in Taipei, I checked authentic Western restaurants in Taichung. I googled top ten restaurants and appeared in the search results ‘Bella Roma’ – Beautiful Rome. We are so grateful that they agreed for a collaboration. Thus got the meal for free.
I tried Gnocchi in truffle sauce, their special dish for the weekends . Gnocchi is made of flour and potato while the sauce is one of the products from ITAIWINE (import company directly connected with Bella Roma). The sauce is made by Bella Roma’s General Manager Valerio Franchi’s cousin in the mountain near Rome.
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