January 2017: Taichung – Highlights

I was planning to go back to the Philippines as soon as the semester ended (January 13), but I had to delay it to one week later because I couldn’t stay out of Taiwan for more than 30 days. If I did, it would affect my eligibility for the national health insurance. Anyway, I saw this as an opportunity to see other parts of Taiwan that I haven’t had the time to explore, such as Taichung.

I have always planned on going to Taichung but I never got the chance to go, so I decided that winter break would be the perfect time to spend a few days in this city. It was supposed to be a solo trip but I figured that it would be more fun to go with someone, so I invited a friend of mine from class who was an exchange student from Thailand and has not travelled outside Taipei since she arrived.

My friend and I mostly spent our time walking around the streets and getting a feel of the city. Just getting lost in the city’s streets was really fun for us because Taichung was very different from Taipei in so many ways. Sometimes we even felt like Taichung was more like Southeast Asia than Taiwan; in other words, we felt at home. Lol! While we enjoyed our trip, we wished it could have been longer so we would be able to visit more places in and around Taichung. We wanted to see lots of places but only had time to visit a few. Well, there’s always next time! 🙂

1. Xinshe Castle

My favorite place out of all the spots we visited during the whole trip! Xinshe Castle is actually a resort in Taichung called Summit Resort. For some reason, it was built with Western-style architecture in mind, so the place looks like a European manor or castle. It’s a bit far from the city and the trip took quite a while, but when we saw the place we knew it was definitely worth the trip! It’s a very relaxing and photogenic place; I actually told my friend that I would like to get married here, lol!

The castle has a little flower garden in front of the lake. It was my first time to see lavender flowers! Looks like they’re about to bloom!

2. Maple Garden

When I travel, I mostly like looking at architecture and learning about history, so when I’m in Taipei I usually visit temples, museums, and iconic buildings. I didn’t encounter lots of these in Taichung, but the city does have a lot of parks – beautiful ones. My favorite is Maple Garden, a refreshing spot of nature between the city’s tall office and residential buildings. It’s not too big, but we spent a lot of time here just chilling.

It’s refreshing to see a park like this in a place full of buildings and cars.

Those colors!

3. Chun Shui Tang

My friend and I love pearl milk tea, so it was a given that we would visit the birthplace of this famous drink in Taichung! We went to the main branch, of course, which looked so fancy both inside and outside that it actually looked intimidating, especially for budget/student travellers like us. Lol! The food is a bit on the expensive side, but it’s worth it and the pearl milk tea is great – of course, expect no less from the original!

It looks really fancy!
Mochi with peanut powder. Sooooo good!
Pork and shrimp shu mai. Both flavors are good!
Of course, the star of the night!
Yes, it is that big!

4. Charlie Brown Cafe

We discovered this one by chance. We didn’t know that there was a Charlie Brown Cafe in Taichung, and we didn’t know that it was right across Maple Garden, so we were surprised to see it. I love Peanuts so much and it was lunch time anyway, so we just had to go in and try it!

The World War I Flying Ace is one of my favorite Snoopy alter-egos, so I was pleased to see it featured so prominently in the restaurant’s interior.
A Snoopy pillow!

According to their menu, this is actually breakfast food… But okay. Lol!

5. Sun Moon Lake

My friend suggested this one. Sun Moon Lake is the largest body of water in Taiwan, as well as a popular tourist attraction for locals. The surrounding area is home to an indigenous group in Taiwan called the Thao, and it was said that the place was named Sun Moon Lake because the east side of the lake resembles the sun, while the west side resembles the moon. It’s actually outside Taichung (it’s located in Nantou), but we had to go through Taichung to get here. From Taichung HSR Station, we had to buy a bus ticket to Sun Moon Lake. The ticket includes vouchers for several activities such as bike rental, boat ride, and ropeway access to an Aboriginal Cultural Park at the other side.

It was too bad that it was drizzling when we got there, and it was really foggy. But still, the lake and the surrounding areas were really pretty. I just wished we had a sunny day during our visit so we could have had brighter photos and a nicer sunset!

Oh, and before I forget, we dined in this one restaurant in the Sun Moon Lake area which was said to be Chiang Kai Shek’s favorite, and we tried his favorite dish in the restaurant, called the President’s Fish. It was really good and I recommend it. Actually, everything we tried in the restaurant was delicious but the President’s Fish is definitely a must-try!

As I said, we stayed for just a few days and we regret not extending for a few more days because we still had lots of destinations we wanted to visit, but it just means that we have a good reason to come back to this lovely city. Till next time, then! 🙂

15 Comments

  1. Oh! What was your major? How come you have to take law classes?

    Xineshe castle looks so nice! That cup of bubble tea makes me want to drink it right now too!

    1. I majored in Financial Management in undergrad so we also had to learn business law 🙂

      Haha it’s really one of the best I’ve tried in Taiwan! And it should be, because it’s the original! 😀

  2. Omg, you’re a Filipina too! I’m also one 🙂
    The castle and the garden look peaceful and relaxing, I’m glad you turned your 30 days of waiting into travelling.
    I wish we have the size of that milk tea here in the Philippines!

  3. I’m glad you found a great way to spend your time, it would’ve been awesome to go back to the Philippines though – oh well, next time, right? I’ve been missing Philippines so much recently so would love to see photos and a blog post when you do go back! 😀

    Taiwan looks amazing. It’s still one of the places I’m planning to go to, maybe after I graduate. I’m already planning a trip to Korea so why not! 😀 Travelling and seeing new places with someone is so much better – I agree! 🙂

    Sounds like you had a blast! I’ll keep in mind these places you recommend so that when I plan trips I can look back at this ^_^ Xinshe Castle is gorgeous, dang! 😍

  4. I’ll be visiting Taiwan this weekend! Unfortunately, Taichung is not part of the itinerary since we’ll be there for 3 days only. 🙁 I would have included that castle if I knew about it! Oh well, next time.

    xo, Richel V.

  5. Taiwan! I wanted to go this winter as well but I thought I’d have an easier time traveling on foot in Hong Kong! Taichung looks wonderful though! It’s beautiful – especially that lake – though was it cold? It looks chilly.. 😛

    Xinshe Castle is so beautiful! I didn’t know Taiwan had Western architecture like that. The Maple Garden looks more like how I’d imagine Taiwan, but what do you know? 😀

    Oh myyy, pearl milk tea! The father of bubble tea.

    I know Taiwan has the cutest cafes so the Charlie Brown one definitely makes the cut!

    1. It was freezing in Sun Moon Lake! It still looks beautiful but the timing was just wrong… Haha the view was covered in fog during our stay!

      I didn’t know Taiwan had buildings like Xinshe Castle too, but I guess we all learn something new every day! 😛

  6. Claudine!!! Thanks for bringing me in Taichung with this! AHAHAHAHA!

    I’ll make sure to include this place on my travel abroad list! I’m just starting 😀

    OMG!!! That rice shu mai! My mom makes that twice every year! New Year and my birthday! It’s her specialty and my favorite <3

    1. Yay! Taichung is really nice! 🙂 There’s lots of other places in Taichung that we heard were really nice but haven’t visited such as the flower market, Gaomei Wetlands, and Wuling Farm (if you come in the right season you’ll see cherry blossoms!) 😉

  7. That’s interesting to find a European-style castle in Taiwan! It looks beautiful there. I also love to see the juxtaposition of nature and urban environments like your photos of Maple Garden. It’s always nice when a city has good parks inside of it.

    I also didn’t realize that pearl milk originated in Taichung! I love getting boba tea too, and I often crave it, haha. The Charlie Brown cafe is really cute! We saw that there was a Peanuts cafe in Japan, but we didn’t get to go to it. Sun Moon Lake looks pretty too. I like how it was named!

    Taichung looks like a lovely city to visit!

  8. It’s great that you took the opportunity to visit other place sof Taiwan- even more when you get to explore with a friend! The castle looks pretty amazing. It does have the western look rather than the traditional Taiwanese architecture. It somehow gave me a sense of medieval times, aha. I love the natury feel from the city! Chun Shui Tang looks petty neat too. The food looks delicious! The Charlie Brown cafe looks cute too :). The Sun Moon Lake is absolutely gorgeous!

    Glad to see you having fun out there :)!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *