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Sunday, February 28, 2016

CarmenXTW:清境一日游 : 青青草原 & 瑞士小花园 Qingjing Farm

It's part 2 of my weekend trip in Central Taiwan 
This is also the must-go place in Taiwan, Cingjing Farm 清境农场!
Cingjing farm is popular among tourist and also Taiwanese for being a highland getaway spot where there's constant chilly weather and breathtaking nature. It's kinda like Genting Highlands, where there are many holiday resorts and homestays that offers a great view of the mountains. I had seen some photos of the resorts which are European-castle themed and thus people call it 小欧洲 lol. 

Going to Qingjing: We were at Puli 埔里 town which is the nearest city to Qingjing mountains. You can take wither bus 6658 or 6659 from Puli's main bus terminal. The bus stops at various spots in Qingjing and will stop at the grassland 青青草原. (We took a coach no.6899 to Puli from Taichung Railway Station)

青青草原 Evergreen Grassland
Anyways, one of the main attractions here, is of course the wide grassland along the slope with sheep roaming freely around. Admission is TWD120 for students. 
Well to be honest, the grass is not as green as I imagined lol, probably because it's winter? I don't know haha. But I have to say, the weather was lovely, the sky was in a shade of bright and warm blue with a gradient on top the high and lush mountains. The fog at the mountains made it even more dream-like. I've never really seen skies that is totally blue without much clouds.It does look like it's painted in the pictures.   

oh goshh....still can't forget the moment I saw this
just so beautiful

just so you know, there were more people than sheeps lol
most of the sheep are busy entertaining the guests

Some children's fairy tale set

haha super unglam photo of me LOL
the sheep must be thinking "what is this crazy lady doing there"

The sky!!!! omggggg

From Qingqin grassland, there's a hiking trail that connects to The Swiss Garden 
Instead of taking the bus, I think walking down the trail will be a pleasurable experience. 

小瑞士花园 The Swiss Garden
A colorful garden with all sorts of pretty flowers, plants and a peaceful lake. I guess it's great for taking photos? But certainly not really worth the admission which is TWD90. 
Punpkin carriage

These purple and white colored lettuce kind of plants look super pretty and dreamy

Behind me is the autumn trees trail
one of the place you can appreciate the autumn colors in Taiwan

hehe the purple "lettuce" again :D

finally a rainbow hehe

Next, we decided to just chill out, grab some coffee and enjoy the breeze!  
This is one of place where you can get food, there's many restaurants in this complex. And if you're lucky you might even get a nice seat that overlooks the scenery.

and we had coffee from MOS Burger lolll

That's all for Qingjing. To be honest there isn't exactly much exciting stuff that you can do here. Which is why I guess most people are here to relax, take things slow, sip some coffee and take some photos kind of thing. So it would be great if you have more time to explore the place further. 

Some extras:

My youth hostel in Puli,埔里小镇 click here, which has individually parted rooms instead of dorms!
well i guess it does offer some kind of privacy but of course, you can still hear whatever movements inside the next room.

the ground floor restaurant where we had our buffet breakfast
As you can see, it's a European themed homestay and backpackers hostel. 
The staff were super friendly and even gave us directions to go Qingjing.  

I swear coffee, bread with butter is just super satisfying
there's also porridge and local side dishes for breakfast. 

7-11's coffee, yep it looks like Starbucks already seriously, but at half the price! 7-11 in Taiwan truly rocks. 

CarmenXTW:台中休闲旅 高美湿地 + 宫原眼科 + 逢甲夜市 Gaomei Wetlands, Miyahara and Fengchia Night Market

Happy CNY peepo! some spare time here before heading back to Pulau NTU
Gonna quickly complete this post about Taichung
(it's way past CNY I know, blogged this long time ago)

This was in Mid-December last year while I was still living the dream in Taiwan haha...
Here's my story in Taichung, another lively and beautiful province in Taiwan. It was a weekend trip, where we had our first day in Taichung, next day at Qingjing, Nantou. 

Going to Taichung: Took train to Taichung Railway Station on Friday night and our backpackers hostel was within walking distance from the station. 

Getting to Gaomei Wetlands: Take BRT Bus no. 306 to Qingshui Bus Stop from Taichung Railway Station. From Qingshui Bus Stop, take the 178 or 179 bus and stop at Gaomei Wetlands Station. Check out this website for more info, click here. Anyhow, we didn't manage to take the 179 bus as the bus was already full and it will be another hour till the next bus comes. We decided to settle with taxi instead and of course the taxi drivers will reap the most out of you haizzz....100 TWD per person for a 15 minutes journey. (The journey from Taichung Main Station to Qingshui took almost 2 hours! Be sure you take that traveling time into account.)

Gaomei Wetlands 高美湿地 
One of Taiwan's unique scenery. The wetlands connects to the sea, giving a view of infinitely vast blue skies but paired with calm waters that mirrors the sky, serenity is its charm. Sunsets are great to be observed here. The bright yellow sun kinda dyed the wide sky with golden gradient. Super pretty. The wind was blowing strongly despite the hot sun, it was really pleasant to stroll on the boardwalk but again I wished there were less people haha.    

Man, i wonder when will I see something like that again...
The clouds are like cotton candy!

Love this shot, see the wave patterns on the water.

failed attempt to take a similing-in-the-wind shot

Miyahara 宫原眼科 (GongYuan YanKe)
Don't worry, my eyes are good and I don't need a doctor haha It was pure coincident that we found this beautifully restored ex-hospital building which is now a desserts and confectionery shop. Funny enough, while we were outside of the shop, one lady asked us where is GongyuanYanke and we really thought she was finding a clinic. Anyways the main reason why this shop caught our attention was because of its enchanting exterior and interior! At first glance, it look like a set from Harry Potter seriously. Later we found out that their ice cream is very popular and attracts crowd every day.    

Address: 台中市中區中山路 20號 No.20, Zhongshan Road, Central District Taichung City

The ice cream stall at one corner of the shop, with loads of naturally flavored ice cream. 

It's packed and it was only 10 minutes passed since they opened the doors. 

and I finally understood what all the queue was for
Damnnnnn so pretty
Sundae Cup -- TWD230
There's two scoops of icecream and a citrus-y sorbet
together with 3 topping of your choice and strawberries.
We chose Lychee flavor and Blueberry Cheesecake flavor. 
The ice cream isn't the the sticky creamy type, it melts rather quickly, thus the taste is more refreshing.  

After our ice cream treat, we visited the Harry-Potter like shop LOL
Okay this interior doesn't just look magic, it is magic
We were just gonna have a tour around but...
it pulls you in and you start throwing away your money haha
be warned, things here ARE PRICEY

pc: gary 

第四信用合作社 Taichung 4th Credit Union
Another branch of Miyahara with similar concept which is just down the road
and this time, they restored a bank/credit union! 

Address: 台中市中區中山路 72號 No.72, Zhongshan Road, Central District Taichung City (Told you it's just down the road haha)
see that bank vault door entrance

over here, there's ice cream and all the cookies that you found from the previous shop
but whats better is that it's a cafe with plenty of seats here for you to indulge in your ice cream unlike Miyahara's ice cream parlor. 

the bank-like interior

there's an open kitchen as well where you can see how all the cookies and confectionery are being produced. 

逢甲夜市 FengChia Night Market
Next, another must-go place in Taichung is definitely the vibrant and young FengChia University district! It's like Hongdae of Taiwan seriously, but much more crowded and you don't just see young people, but pretty much everyone from every stage in life.

Getting to FengChia University District: Most of the buses from Taichung train station do stop at FengChia area, it's a matter of time. I remember I took Bus no. 35 and returned with bus no. 45. The traveling time was almost an hour if i didn't remember wrongly! Do allocate more time and be prepared for the congested traffic in Taichung during the evening.

Sad tho I didn't have enough time to really shop around. Loads of shops from your favorite brands and also local chic boutiques. But we had a speed food hunt at the famous FengChia night market.

oh yes, it was super crowded. Can you see the amount of signage over there? There's just so much food and you surely will find something you like. 

Well for me, I was craving for some noodles hehe
Stir-fry Instant Noodles 炒泡面 -- TWD70
AKA taiwan's version of Maggie Goreng
Loads of crunchy veggies in it and there's one whole piece of crispy pork chop.
The noodles are chewy but still with abit of crunch. 

Black tea Stinky Tofu 红茶臭豆腐 -- TWD 50
Sorry it doesn't look appetizing here haha
but it is delicious!! But to be honest I don't think i tasted any tea, I suppose the tea kinda offsets the stinky smell. Really love stinky tofu lar, crunchy on the outside, soft inside. Generally all the stinky tofu in Taiwan taste delicious!

Next back to Taichung's train station area, wanna intro this yummy and cheap Ramen which was perfect for a chilly night!
Used an app called 爱食记 which actually allows you to search for food around your current location. Best part is all the location they suggested comes with a review from bloggers, so there's a lot of information that you need to know. Like what exactly they sell, the price, the ambience everything
Really recommend this app. Anyways through this app I found this ramen shop which was just walking distance away from the train station and God known how long I've been craving for Japanese ramen. 

日本飞驒高山拉面 (Feidan Gaoshan) Ramen
台中市,台湾大道一段 29号
29, Section 1, Taiwan Blvd, Central District, Taichung City.
高山拉面 "Highland" Ramen -- TWD100
How can you not try ramen when you are in Taiwan. So satisfying to have something that you can really clean the bowl from the noodles to the soup.  The broth is super fragrant and appetizing, the Chashu are tender and the noodles are nice and chewy. Together with the crunchy beansprouts, it just feels like a delicious and refreshing meal. 

Okay that's all for the bits in Taichung. As you can see, we didn't exactly explore many places in Taichung but for some reason the whole trip just felt very exhausting and I guess it's because of the long traveling hours. Almost half of my time was spent in the bus! If there's 4 of you, I guess you can just take cab lar, saves time and you can have more time enjoying the places you go.

will continue with Qingjing!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Chor1 update

Almost forgot d fact dat I have a mobile app. It's first day of cny! Oops i mean 2nd day. Back in PJ from dad's hometown Sagil, coz my parents weren't feeling well. Sad to be leaving so soon. Havent had my dose of cny mood yet haha. But anyhow, seeing news of Taiwan's earthquake really makes me feel grateful of the fact that my cny was a simple and happy one with all the right people around. Had reunion dinner as usual, with amount of food that covered every inch of the table's surface. And today, there's lion dance! I remember lion dance would appear at my granma house's doorstep every chor2 when I was still young. Really forgot how long has it been. Feeling nostalgic, missed the popping red firecrackers, loud cymbals, the cute lion marching into our house and chewing down veggie and Mandarin oranges. Well of course this time the lion dance routine was just a simple one, in fact not as exciting as what I used to watch haha, but i was quite surprised to see the team having Malay and Indian friends. Thanks to them for sacrificing their holiday and providing us with joy on our special chor1.

It's a brand new lunar year. Hope my family and friends will have a fun holiday. Hope me and parents will recover from our minor flu soon. Kk gonna sleep...

Love Nuffnang


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