My Day 2 in Taiwan wins hands down in terms of photos because I snapped almost 600 within a day! Well, no surprise as the plan for today was to go sightseeing at Xinshe (新社)! Due to the massive number of photos, this post will be split into 2 – Day 2 (Part 1) & Day 2 (Part 2)!(:
- You can read all my previous posts on my Taiwan trip here:
- Preparation for my Taiwan Trip
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 1 (Taichung)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 2 (Part 1) (Taichung – Xinshe)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 2 (Part 2) (Xinshe – Taichung)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 3 (Part 1) (Taichung – Sun Moon Lake)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 3 (Part 2) (Sun Moon Lake)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 4 (Part 1) (Sun Moon Lake – Cingjing)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 4 (Part 2) (Cingjing)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 5 (Part 1) (HeHuanShan – Cingjing – Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 5 (Part 2) (Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 6 (Part 1) (Taipei – Shifen)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 6 (Part 2) (Shifen – Houtong – Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 7 (Part 1) (Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 7 (Part 2) (Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 7 (Part 3) (Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 8 (Taipei)
- mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 9 (Taipei – Singapore)
[PS: I understand from feedback that for some reason, many of my photos are not loading; but while I will try to attempt to fix them..you might want to check out my album HERE instead!]
Let’s start off with a photo of the bf staring down from our hostel balcony at 8.45am in the morning. If you were wondering, we were staying at Eiffel Tower Hostel (逢甲艾菲爾 ), you can read my review somewhere HERE!
We were waiting for our hired cab driver, Mr He to pick us up at 9.00am for a full day trip to Xinshe so the bf was trying to spot his cab from the above, luhs! Our original driver was Mr Liu but he was fully booked that day so he sent Mr He instead
All our drivers were contacted while we were in Singapore and these are the 2 highly recommended ones from the forums. Of course, there are more but I whatsapp-ed these 2 in the end. Note that they only speak Mandarin!
*Mr He (0937210079) is Mr Liu’s friend.
~To whatsapp the numbers above, remove the 0 and add 886
Actually, to get to Xinshe, you can opt to hire a cab like what I did (highly recommended), or you can always take the shuttle bus within Xinshe here.
For your reference, this is a map of Xinshe with it’s FULL ARRAY of attractions. Of course, it’s impossible to finish visiting all of them within a day so plan wisely. You can always check out the places I visited at Xinshe by reading this post (and my next one coming soon!).
My random OOTD for Day 2 with the lift’s mirror as we headed down to start off the day!
I had forgotten to take a photo of our hostel (Eiffel Tower Hostel (逢甲艾菲爾 )) from the outside the day before, so here’s how it looks. Pretty much like an apartment right?
After making the introductions, Mr He whisked us off for breakfast as we mentioned that we didn’t eat it yet.
He drove us to this rather popular breakfast joint a few minutes away from our hostel, I’m not sure what is the exact name but it seems to be called 满点速食早餐? Or in English – Mei & Mei Fast Food & Coffee.
The various food offerings there from baos to a hearty breakfast of jian bing, etc. There were so many choices but we didn’t want to waste too much time there eating when we could explore before the sky turned dark at 6.30pm.
Mr He recommended us to try their soup bun (湯包), not to be confused with xiao long bao 小籠包. Take note that in Singapore, our xiao long bao comes with soup, but their version doesn’t. If you want the normal xiao long bao with soup, order the 湯包 instead, it’s basically the larger version of the 小籠包.
They also have 豆漿 & 米漿 but to be safe, we ordered a 豆漿!
Their 豆漿 is so different from Singapore and tastes much better too! It’s like..a MUST DRINK in Taiwan for breakfast!(:
Stop #1 – 台中彩虹眷村 (Rainbow Village)
This was not on my original itinerary that we agreed on previously, but I was asking Mr He if a short stop at the Rainbow Village was alright – and he agreed!(:
On the outskirts of Taichung, there lives a man by the name of Rainbow Grandpa, or Grandpa Huang (Huang Yung-Fu). He lives in an old military dependents village, made up of houses built in the late 1940s-1950s, used as housing for Nationalist soldiers, which were later converted into permanent housing. One day, the Taichung government announced that they wanted to demolish the place. But Grandpa Huang was having none of that. He immediately grabbed some brightly hued paints and a brush, and set to work. He would save the village, and save it he did. And not only did he rescue it from demolition, he also created an incredible rainbow village. The government decided to shift their urban renewal plans around to help preserve the whimsical little world that this passionate old man brought to life.
Our first glimpse of the Rainbow Village once we stepped out of Mr He’s cab. I understand from Mr He that 彩虹爺爺 spent about 2 – 3 years painting the entire village and here are photos of his amazing and whimsical / aboriginal paintings for your viewing pleasure(:
There is only 1 entrance and exit to Rainbow Village which is through this path here.
Hehe, 彩虹爺爺 even painted famous Taiwanese celebrities such as 張菲!
If I’m not wrong, only 彩虹爺爺, his helper and 1~2 villagers are the only ones left at Rainbow Village.
If you’re there, don’t forget to give a small donation to 彩虹爺爺) at this corner here.
It’s only a short walk to reach the area where you get the opportunity to meet 彩虹爺爺 and buy some of the souvenirs available at Rainbow Village. Even took a photo with him!(: Hehe, can you guess his age?!
He’s 93 years old this year and still looks so fit and healthy!(: Unfortunately, age is catching up to him as he now needs the helper for assistance. So if you were wondering – he painted all these when he was 87 years old(:
Wrote a little wish and hung it up at Rainbow Village – see if you can spot it if you’re there HAHA!
The whole village will take less than 30 minutes to cover inclusive of photo taking and it’s a great pitstop if you are able to squeeze it in your itinerary! I was really glad and thankful that Mr He was willing to bring us here!(:
Driving off from Rainbow Village, Mr He took a little road trip off the beaten path and showed us some padi fields. We were like “sua kus” as it was our first time seeing them up close live rather in textbooks or photos – lol, we don’t have this in Singapore =_=
And he went through this freaking tiny tunnel to get to the main road after that.
An interesting mini trip as we sped off to Xinshe from the outskirts of Taichung!
Note: All the attractions/places to visit at Xinshe are located at a mountainous area so get ready for winding roads etc. You may want to prepare some motion sickness pills if you are prone to giddiness!
Stop #2: Summit Resort (新社庄园/新社古堡)
Summit Resort is known by many names – Summit Castle Resort / Summit Resort / Xinshe Castle / 新社庄园/新社古堡 and basically it is a very popular scenic spot where you can take plenty of photographs and be awed by the gorgeous view in front of your eyes. It is also a perfect place for wedding photography in Taiwan because of the picturesque landscape! Scroll down to see more photos(:
All attractions in Xinshe require a admission ticket of 100 – 250 TWD depending on the attraction, but the good thing is that it usually comes with a voucher that you can utilize!(:
For example – for Summit Resort, the ticket cost 250 TWD and it comes with a 100 TWD voucher that you can use at all the shops available there to buy food/drinks/souvenirs(:
But here, this is what I mean about Summit Resort being a scenic/picturesque spot. Some travel blogs have said that it was a boring visit, but I beg to differ. I think that it is FREAKING gorgeous from all angles and the bf and I were just captivated by its beauty!
We followed the path that Mr He kindly marked out on our map (before we left his cab) that would ensure that we covered everything in detail, but within the time frame as we had many other attractions to visit that day. And no, he didn’t rush us if you were wondering – I wanted to make sure that I could visit everything on my itinerary before the day grew dark at 6.30pm!(:
In the end though, we spent almost an hour touring the place and snapping photos – and here they are for your viewing pleasure!
Mandatory tourist shots. And you’ll see the bf carrying my bag in this fashion – he’s weird ~_~
Small patch of lavender, took some random shots but didn’t stop by to admire as we were going to Lavender Cottage next(:
Summit Resort’s souvenir shop! Didn’t buy anything as there wasn’t anything that caught my fancy ~_~
This is the main fountain area of Summit Resort and you can even walk across it! We didn’t do that as I decided to go ahead to the next stop!
I think this is like one of our few couple shots. Generally we were too lazy to ask people to help us take a photo, but it so happened that Mr He was around so he volunteered to help us to take it!(:
Mm, in general, I think that Summit Resort is a great place to add in your itinerary if you plan on visiting Xinshe – just spare an hour strolling the grounds leisurely and enjoy the scenery and fresh air!
Also, if you have the time, you can opt to dine at one of the numerous restaurants here at Summit Resort as well. I was debating between dining here, Moncoeur (my last stop~) and Lavender Cottage but I decided to go with the last option instead~
Along the way to our next stop, Mr He remembered that I wanted to see cherry blossoms as I have never seen them before and so, he purposely stopped his cab at a spot where some of the late cherry blossoms were still alive. They were so pretty! 😀
He also stopped by a tangerine plantation alongside the road and I quickly snapped my photos. Heh, you don’t often see such sights in Singapore!
Stop #3 – Lavender Cottage Farm (薰衣草森林) – LUNCH
Next stop, the famous Lavender Cottage at Xinshe! I had read reviews online that lunching here was a great experience so I had mentioned this during my conversations to Mr He and he arranged my attraction visits from my itinerary thusly.
The Story of Lavender Cottage (薰衣草森林)
There were two girls who love coffee and herbs, and they drew their story and recorded their feeling into music while traveling. After years working in Taipei and Kaohsiung, they decided to quit their jobs and started being farmers. They tried to grow lavender but bought a hill in nowhere, where there was no cell phone signal and no tourists. It was harsh, but they wanted the aroma and the beauty of purple lavender surrounding a coffee shop in the hill. After years effort, they made their dream came true. These two girls are the hosts of Lavender Cottage (薰衣草森林).
Read more HERE
The ticket price is 200 TWD inclusive of a 200 TWD voucher so – this means we kinda entered it for free!
One of the souvenir shops at Lavender Cottage. I decided to come back here on the way back as Mr He recommended that we had our lunch first before exploring. In the end though, I didn’t. That’s alright because there are about 2 more of such souvenir shops inside!(:
These are the two girls which I mentioned in the story of Lavender Cottage. Heh, they should be doing really well because Lavender Cottage is located in a very remote area away from most attractions in Xinshe but yet, people still flock to visit it(:
The iconic teddy bear at Lavender Farm. And after I took a photo with it and hugged it, the bf was like – wonder how many people did the same thing with the bear…? Lol, better not to think about it that way right? Oh, have to say that the Taiwanese love teddy bears too! You’ll see why in my next few posts (especially the one where I visited Sun Moon Lake!)
The map of Lavender Cottage for your reference. I know it seems like a big place, but like most attractions in Xinshe, it can be easily covered within 1 hour by strolling. But if you include lunch, pictures and really appreciating the sights, then probably 2 – 3 hours(: Also, luckily Mr He had told us in advance the best route to take and as with Summit Resort earlier on, we followed his advice.
Apparently it was the Lavender Festival 2014 when we went – which probably explains the larger than expected crowd at Lavender Cottage that day – even Mr He was surprised!
Following the main path of the attraction, we passed by this interesting spot where you can press the button that will emit a lavender spray. Very pleasant and yes, it’s manual (button is behind you – awkward much?!)
Do note that you have climb a really, really steep hill to get here =_=
There was a long queue for the Lavender Cottage Restaurant so we took a number and proceeded to check out the surrounding area nearby instead. Located next to the restaurant is this outdoor souvenir place where you can buy a variety of lavender / lavender cottage themed items as below.
Oh and here is Lavender Cottage Restaurant Menu for your reference. The main draw of the restaurant here is for its herbal meals which I hear is rather nice – so that was the reason for selecting to dine here. The menu is all in Chinese and the bf had to painstakingly translate everything for me. Poor guy HAHAH!
Oh and you know after the bf painstakingly translated the menu in Chinese for me..we were given the proper menu with ENGLISH words and pictures to boot! HAHAHAHHAA
What I see most people order – the Lavender Milk Tea / Roasted Chicken Leg / Whole Chicken (you have wear plastic gloves to rip the meat).
Also, there are various seating spots at the Lavender Cottage Restaurant scattered around the area and this is one of them. There are others that are fully outdoors, some that you must remove your shoes for and some are rather private dining areas. It was really crowded that day so we weren’t able to pick where we could sit, but I was pretty happy here!
Here’s our order and how much we paid – a total of 740 TWD (S$31.00) after the 200 TWD voucher discount. Definitely one of our more pricer meals in Taiwan but it’s still quite cheap compared to Singapore!(:
We ordered Combo C which comes with a salad + soup + bread + chef’s special to share. And this is how it looks, lol. But yeah, everything was extremely fresh and delicious!
The soup of the day was pumpkin soup – I enjoyed it!(:
The bf ordered a Pork Rib with Mozzarella Cheese Served with Rice. It was not too bad and very tender but I preferred mine!(:
This is my dish of Gratined Beef and Vegetables with Cheese served with Rice! Oh, this reminds me, I particularly enjoyed eating rice in Taiwan — I’m not sure if they use Japanese rice but it is HEAVENLY! And back to my topic, my dish was great, a good option to order if you like beef but it’s slightly more expensive. Alternatively, order the chicken! Notice most people ordered that, should have done so 😛
Back to our visit around Lavender Cottage with our next stop being the Lavender House. There’s a small garden area once you pass by this arch but we didn’t really spend much time there and headed straight to the house.
This portion here tells the story of the 2 girls who opened up the Lavender Cottage and the reason why they built this Lavender House here. My Chinese is pretty bad and I didn’t want to have the bf waste too much time translating everything for me so we just had a quick tour around the house.
It’s a pretty hands on experience, you can press and smell the different scents. Note that some of the scents are super overpowering!
We skipped this area mainly because everything was in Mandarin. It won’t take more than 10 minutes to walk through the house if you don’t plan on reading everything that is on display but at the end of it, you will end up at another small souvenir shop. It sells similar items to the outdoor shop that I bought from earlier with a few extra items – mostly handmade.
We were finally on the way to see the lavender! Oh and we spotted 小熊的家 along the way!
Our first glimpse of the hill where all the lavender plants are planted.
And yes, there’s a very pretty carousel here too(: It’s functional btw, you have to pay though!
Uh, I only just realized that the uncle seems to be checking out either the lavender behind or my butt in this photo. HAHA!
That’s not all of course – you can walk up to the top of the hill. But mind you – it’s a steep one with plenty of steps!
It’s all worth it to make the short 5 minute climb though. You’ll be sweating if it’s summer, but luckily the temperature is pretty cool when we were there!
Here – you can hang your wishes at the Lavender Cottage wishing tree and pray for your dreams to come true!
The same wish I wrote everywhere HAHA, but this was the last time I wrote it down for the trip as I was too lazy to write it at the other attractions after that.
And the next must do thing is to ring the bell and admire the beautiful scenery from the top of the hill(:
Then you head downwards. And see what I mean by the steps being steep? I was so scared that I would trip and roll down – lol!
Finally reaching the bottom of the hill at the carousel area!
Our last task was to get ourselves a scoop of lavender ice cream from this Lavender Cottage Coffee House/Cafe here!
The different flavours available – lavender, rose, peppermint chocolate, lemongrass and blueberry yogurt at 90 TWD each!(:
When at Lavender Cottage – you must of course EAT LAVENDER ICE CREAM!(: It’s a very interestingtaste though – I don’t know how to describe it but the first bite was very weird. The bf didn’t like it but I found that the taste improved drastically after the first few bites of the ice cream! Not a huge fan but it was a good experience trying it out! Lol..plus I later tried mushroom ice cream (my next post!)
On the way back to the carpark area, we spotted these shetland sheepdogs posing for pictures with the Lavender Cottage bear! SUPER CUTE and everyone were just snapping photos of the sight!
Oh and remember I mentioned about the Xinshe shuttle bus? I believe this is the Lavender Cottage bus stop but I’m not too sure!
Well, that’s it for my Part 1 of Day 2. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Day 2 in Xinshe! Can’t believe how many hours I spent writing and it’s only Day 2???!!! I still have like 7 more days to write and I’m heading to Japan in June..lol, anyway I hope I can finish up my travelogue in time before I fly though >_<~
- Continue Reading: mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 2 (Part 2)