08 November 2015

Taiwan Travel Itinerary for Taichung 臺中市 | Things to do in Taichung

* this blog entry was originally written on 9 September 2014, and has been updated on 8 November 2015*


Taichung is the third largest city after Taipei and Kaohsiung. Chances are that you've heard of Taichung for its famous Feng Chia Night Market. Despite the longer travel distance from Taoyuan Airport (as compared to Taipei), Hubby and I enjoy making Taichung our first destination during our travels





How to Travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

For those of us who are not chartering taxis or minivans to pick us up from the airport, here's two public transportation routes to travel to Taichung:

Taking Bus from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

When we take a particular budget airlines flight from Singapore to Taiwan, we often find ourselves landing in Taoyuan Airport at 6am. By the time we've picked up our luggage from the conveyor belt and find ourselves at the airport basement level where the 客運 bus interchange is, it's already 6.30am. The bus from the airport to Taichung takes about 1.5 to 2 hours, allowing you to reach Taichung around 8am - perfect time for a local breakfast. 

If you are arranging to meet at a local taxi driver upon your arrival in Taichung, the driver may arrange to meet you at Chaoma bus stop 客運朝馬站 instead of the terminus stop at Taichung TRA station. It seems that Chaoma is closer to Feng Chia Night Market vicinity, so the meetup point will depends on your destination.

Taking HSR from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

If you are planning a day trip from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung, you may want to take the high speed rail (HSR) from Taoyuan HSR station to Taichung Wuri HSR station. While the high speed rail may be costlier, the travel is much faster and time is tight when rushing to so many nice places in Taichung within 1 day.

To get from Taoyuan Airport to Taoyuan HSR station, you would have to take a bus from the arrivals lobby. Look for the UBUS service counters. The bus ride is about 25 to 30 minutes.

The HSR ride is about 38 to 40 minutes. Do note that the HSR station is located within the Wuri 烏日 district, away an hour's drive from Taichung TRA railway station. 





Travelling within Taichung

Taxi

Unlike Taipei and Kaohsiung, there is no MRT subway system in Taichung. For tourists like you and me who are foreign with the city, or if you are unable to speak and read Mandarin, the best way to get around would be to charter a local cab. That's how we got about during our first few trips in Taichung.

Nowadays Hubby and I would charter a local cab for one to two days of our time in Taichung to get to our destinations located in the outskirts of the city, or for a day tour to Nantou (Sun Moon Lake, Jiji, Checheng, etc) and Puli. Other than saving us much traveling time, traveling in a taxi allows us to rest and catch some sleep before reaching the next destination, and gives us peace of mind to leave our heavy shopping bags in the vehicle.

Public Bus

We often travel by public bus within Taichung. In case you are unaware, public bus rides within Taichung below 10 kilometers are free of charge!

We were staying at a hotel near Fengjia Night Market and often take buses to and fro Taichung TRA station direction, which is about 40 minutes to an hour. Hence you can imagine our surprise when there was no deduction at all in our Easycard. We also learnt that some elderly folks would plan their longer journeys, alight from the bus before their travel hits 10 kilometers, and then board the next bus to continue the free ride. 

Our public bus experiences in Taichung are quite enjoyable. The most daunting part is probably ensuring we got on the correct bus and got off at the correct stop. Thankfully we are both able to speak and read Mandarin, although we had some difficulties with the Traditional Chinese characters when figuring out bus maps (sometimes the arrows points in both directions!). On the bus itself, there is a lighted panel which alerts you of the next bus stop in both Traditional Chinese and English. This helps us many times to alight at the correct stops when we had trouble calculating the bus stops between destinations. Also, the bus can get pretty squeezy if you're travelling during peak hours on weekdays when people are getting to/fro work and school.


What to do in Taichung

If you are required to pay an entrance fee at some of the destinations, do hold on to the ticket stubs. It seems like a common practice within most Taichung attractions where you can exchange the ticket stub to offset the costs for food and souvenirs within the attraction compounds.

Yichung Shopping District 一中街商圈 

Also known as Taichung’s Youth Street, Yichung shopping district offers a good variety of shopping and food outlets along the few streets. We bought several tops at TWD 100 to TWD 150 (about SGD 4 to 6.50). We didn't eat much within Yichung as we prefer to save our stomachs for Fengjia Night Market.

Chungyo Department Store 中友百貨 is across the street beside the university. During our recent trip in mid October 2015, H&M has just opened not too long ago and were running sales promotions. Managed to get a few tops at TWD 150 (about SGD 6.50). The fitting rooms are spacious, brightly lit, has big mirrors and a stool, and yes - with proper doors. You can tell that I do not feel very secure about fitting rooms with curtains haha! 

You can also find Japanese stores such as Uniqlo and Muji, as well as a supermarket at Chungyo Department Store. If you are lucky, you may catch some performances in the center-stage during the weekends. Oh, and if your shopping bags are getting too heavy to carry around, you can put them in the lockers located at the exterior of the shopping mall. 

There are many public bus services to get to Yichung Shopping District, be it from Taichung TRA station or Feng Chia Night Market vicinity. You can refer to Chungyo's website for transportation details.


Feng Chia Night Market 逢甲夜市                       

Feng Chia night market is the most well-known night market in Taichung. Located within Xitun District, the night market has more than a thousand stores lining the front and left of Feng Chia University along Wenhua Road, Fuxing Road and Hsian Road.

We stayed at a hotel near Feng Chia Night Market in our recent mid-October trip. Across the street is the start of Wenhua Road with many food stores.

If you are taking a bus from Taichung TRA Station, it is about an hour's ride, and you can alight in front of McDonald's. You'll know when to get off the bus when majority of the bus passengers start alighting.

There are many food stuff to try - from Korean style fried chicken to Thai style grilled prawns, Xinjiang-style satay (BBQ grilled spiced meat on wooden skewers), deep fried cuttlefish to takopachi, fried chicken chop, blow-torch beef steak, deep fried tempura mushrooms, various bubble tea shops (we like Double A bubble tea shop, you would have to walk all the way to the end of the night market street), etc




Rainbow Village 彩繪眷村

台中市南屯區春安路56巷(嶺東科大附近的小巷子裡)
Do visit my blog post at http://wendyboey.blogspot.sg/2015/09/rainbow-village-taiwan-places-to-visit.html about our experience at Rainbow Village




Love Moncoeur 心之芳庭

台中市406 北屯區 民政里芳庭路1號(緊鄰國際高爾夫球場)
Open 11am-10pm 



Carton King 紙箱王創意園區-大坑店

台中市406北屯區東山路二段二巷二號〈大坑圓環前〉
Operating Hours 10am to 9pm
We enjoyed dining at the theme restaurant, delicious! The restaurant is open from 11am to 8.30pm and takes reservation at Tel 04-22398868 #9   



Xinshe 新社 

About an hour's drive away, Xinshe boasts of various attractions such as Lavender Cottage, Xinshe Castle, Princess Annie's Garden, mushroom farm, fruit farms, etc. You can find more information from my blog post at http://wendyboey.blogspot.com/2015/09/xinshetaichung.html



Dong Hai Lian Xin Bing Ji Zua Dong 東海蓮心冰雞爪凍

東海商圈 台中縣龍井鄉新興路 1 巷 1 號 (東海大學邊)
Tel: 04-2632-0182
Operates from 10am to midnight daily 
For chilled braised meat and traditional ice-cream



The Luce Chapel

within compounds of Dong Hai University 東海大學, near 東海商圈





Banana New Paradise 香蕉新樂園 

雙十路二段111號 (雙十路與興進路交叉口)
Retro themed restaurant, get a glimpse of how Taiwanese life was like back in the olden days



Dawn Cake

Dawn Cake has a few outlets within Taichung. The outlet nearest Taichung TRA station appears like a European library where you can browse the collection of cheese cake and traditional snacks packaged in CD boxes. Each of this CD package snack costs about TWD 99 to 120, about SGD 4 to 5. There is also an ice-cream shop beside it that always have long queue. Opens daily 10am-10pm
http://www.dawncake.com.tw



Destinations visited in mid-October 2015 

*getting late for an appointment OPPS!, so have to update my blog later.. but here's some of the places we visited in Taichung*

921地震教育園區 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan
台中市 霧峰區 坑口里中正路46號
Ticket $50, Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm
Earthquake affected zone reinforced with steel bars in concrete; earthquake simulator room

老鑼牛肉麵 Laoluo Beef Noodle
台中市 南區 工学路86号 402 (台中高工旁)
Open Monday to Sunday 11am to 9pm, Close on Saturday

康寶十全藥燉排骨(中科店) Kangbao Herbal Stew Ribs 
台中市 西屯區 西屯路三段168-1號 (福林路口)
This is just across the road from our hotel near Feng Chia Night Market

台中文化創意園區Taichung Creative and Cultural Park
台中市 南區 復興路三段362號
Open 10am to 5pm
Old wine factory transformed to Creative Park



台中第二市場 Taichung Second Public Market
台中市 中區 三民路二段87號
• 王菜頭粿糯米腸 (middle door, right hand side, open 7am to 6pm, 糯米腸, 菜頭粿, 綜合湯)
• 老賴紅茶 (middle door, left hand side, open 8.30am to 6pm, 豆香紅茶)
• 阿嬤a相思麵店 (open 7am to 6pm, 招牌白麵(乾), 隔間肉湯, 四神湯)
• 楊媽媽立食 (store #33-35, 供餐時間:11:00~16:00,外帶時間:08:00~17:00,close on Monday, 有名日本料理, 店內是沒有menu的,點餐方式有兩種: 一種是給楊媽媽預算幫你搭配的無菜單料理,兩人1000~1500元間就有海膽或明蝦沙拉或鮑魚,視食材狀況提供, 但如果已有口袋魚種的話也可以自己點菜。另一種是依現場餐點自選,在櫥窗內都有今天的新鮮食材,主要還是以生魚片為主,丸子類都是提供食材零售外帶的)
• 李海滷肉飯 (store #9, go in中正路大門, open 5pm to 5am, 白菜滷搭配魯肉飯, 米粉肉圓湯
Nearby stores include:
• 天天饅頭 (at the street nearby, 台中市中正路182巷巷口, open 9am to 7pm)
• 顏記肉包 (台中市三民路二段103號 Open 8am to 5.30pm, 肉包,餛飩湯, 外帶還要加錢)


春水堂Chun Shui Tang Cultural Tea House
Inventor of bubble tea!
Got other Taiwanese cuisine
創始店: 台中市 西區 四維街30號 (市政府後)
Tel: 04-22297991 | Open 8am to 10pm



Parklane by CMP勤美 誠品綠園道 & CMP Block Museum of Arts
(‘green’ shopping mall with Eslite, outdoor park museum)
台中市 西區 公益路68號
Open Mon-Fri 11:00-22:00, Sat-Sun 10:30-22:00
(Museum free admission, close on Monday)

高美湿地Gaomei Wetlands
台中市 清水区 大甲溪出海口南侧


沙鹿美仁里彩繪村
(building exterior walls painted like shops in the 50s)
台中市沙鹿區四平街新平巷9號 (光田醫院對面的巷弄裡)

Mitaka 3e Café (see night cityscape)
台中市 沙鹿區 東晉東路731號 (Directions: 設定在沙鹿區晉武路上,往沙鹿方向過弘光科大,看見ok商店右轉爬坡,那條就是晉武路了,然後彎小路往上就會抵達- located on way towards沙鹿 from rear of Taichung Metropolitan Park)
look for Totoro sign board.
Tel: +886-4-26318578
Open Tuesday to Sunday 5pm to 12am, close on Monday | skilful latte art and pancake
* note: cash only


Other destinations planned in our itinerary but have not visited

  • 好好gooddays (a popular cafe located at 台中市 西屯區 朝富路232號, open 7:30am to 9pm)
  • Traveler’s Kitchen  秘密旅行 (restaurants in German and Greek Athens themes, http://www.tkitchen.com)
  • Rollin Farm (Wuling district, beautiful scenery, peach blossoms when in season, https://www.agoda.com/en-sg/rollin-farm-b-b/hotel/taichung-tw.html?cid=1653099)
  • 阿財米糕 (財伯米糕, 貢丸湯, 排骨湯, 紅油抄手. Located at 台中市清水區西寧路105號, Open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00-19:00, Close on Monday. Unfortunately this was closed when we head there after Gaomei Wetlands)
  • Stock 20 Artists Village 20號倉庫 (located 6-6, Lane 37, Fushing Road Section 4 at the other side of Taichung TRA station, can be reached by walking through the tunnel beneath the train station, open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday, free entrance)  
  • Taichung Park 台中公園  (located at the corner of 公園路and 自由路 Section 2, free entrance, can paddle boat)

If you are intending to buy 太陽餅 "sun pastry", you may want to head to 自由路 Ziyou Road where you can find many famous traditional pastry stores. As we are not a fan of sun pastry, I don't have a specific famous brand to recommend hehe...