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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Taiwan 台湾 2014 Day#3 - Taichung 台中 Strawberry Farm 牛奶草莓园 + Sun Moon Lake 日月潭+ 18 Degree C 巧克力工房

Hello Foodies, long time no see!




This marks the last entry for my Taiwan 台湾  travelogue! I would love to cover Taipei 台北 area as well, but somehow I don't think I will be as honest because I'm totally in love with Taichung 台中!

Our itinerary for Taiwan 台湾 Day #3:
Ino Home -> Strawberry Farm -> Sun Moon Lake -> 18 Degree C -> Taipei


If you land yourself here for the first time, you can go to my previous entries for Day #1 and Day #2 Taiwan Travelogue:

Aspoonfulofsoul Taiwan Travel Diary:
Day #1: Taichung 台中 Ino Home minsu 民宿 + Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市

Day #2: Taichung 台中 Flower Market 中社花市 + Lavender Cottage 薰衣草森林 + Ah Ming Shi Tai yang Biscuits 阿明师太阳饼 + Miyahara 宮原眼科









My whole family was spoilt rotten by Ino Home! Even though all of us were served similarly with sets of sandwich with fillings, they were mighty delicious. I had the vege toast while the boyfie had salmon toast.


My parents' and lil bro's ham & cheese sandwich.

Boyfie's salmon sandwich, super good without the fishy taste!
I really like their choice of bread, it's crunchy without being too dry and the fillings used were fresh and really tasty. I like the simple touch of the side salad tossed in balsamic vinaigrette dressing and cold tofu served together with the sandwich. Their freshly made coffee is DA BOMBZ man. My dad still craves for the coffee sometimes. 

After a satisfying breakfast, we continued our tour in Taichung and our first stop was my mom's absolute favourite - Strawberry Farm 牛奶草莓园!

I engaged a driver for 2 days in Taichung and he's really helpful and humorous! My whole family was tickled pink during the whole trip by him and his charges were really reasonable. Some of you have asked me about the number of hours that we engage him per day, and the thing is, we initially agreed to 8 hours a day, but as the day goes by, we had so much fun that we exceed 8 hours every day, and he did not charge us extra at all! Though we tipped him a bit at the end of the trip cos we really had a good time and his service was very good in our opinion. I'm not paid to do this, but here's his contact:

Mr Lin 林先生
HP no.: +886 925 580 202
He's very tech-savvy, able to Whatsapp and send voice notes!



Although I have seen them on the internet while searching for the most convenient farm to head to, I was still vowed by the rows and rows of strawberries! There is no entrance fee to visit the farm and you only pay for the amount of strawberries you want to take back. We could eat (for free) while we collect the strawberries, so my mom was the only hardworking one collecting the sweet, sweet strawberries! 



These strawberries are also called 'Milk Strawberries', only because the seed was mixed together with milk when they plant them. I did not really taste any hint of milk, but they were so, so sweet and juicy! No insecticide was sprayed on these precious fruits either, which was why we could eat them fresh. It's still a tad dirty technically, but well, we're Singaporeans, we survive. ;)




Check out how big this strawberry is! I think this is another highlight of our trip because I had so much fun just going around looking for the biggest strawberry to nom on. 




I wish we brought back this much of strawberries (to sell)! But no, these were to be packed and sent to markets. I can't remember how much we paid for the strawberries, but it's definitely cheaper than when we buy locally. :)

I don't have the exact address for this farm as it's recommended by Uncle Lin (our driver), but feel free to ask him to include this in your itinerary when you talk to him!


Our next stop was Sun Moon Lake 日月潭 and we were a bit suay (unlucky) for the fog was quite terrible that day! Hence, we were a bit sian and had to stay at one of the 'stations' for a damn long time. The whole place is developed into a tourist attraction and it's quite systematic. We were given a map after we paid for the entrance fee of NT$300 (SGD$12.50) per pax. On the map, we will be able to see all the attractions at one glance and we can choose to hop onto the ferry to take us to the next stop. The ferries go around the island in a very systematic manner, as in, we could only go from Point A to Point B to Point C, we were not able to skip from Point A to Point C, for example. It seemed quite inflexible of them, but as tourists, a system in place is good! 

Check out the fog!

A few must trys at Sun Moon Lake!

1)阿婆茶叶蛋 Ah Po tea egg at Xuan Guang Temple 玄光寺 

Credits x

Credits x
 I wasn't able to capture a photo so I searched around the WWW for these to show you guys! The tea egg was quite nice to me, it's fragrant and slightly salty and I love the firm texture of the egg white.

2) Chicken wing stuffed with Glutinous rice 饭饭鸡翅



Mr Lin highly recommended this chicken wing to us and I didn't regret queuing for this a single bit! The chicken was succulent and nicely marinated and the chewy rice goes very well with the meat, making it a dish of its own! We also ordered the ebi tempura but it's so-so and nothing much to shout about.


Sun Moon Lake 日月潭
No. 599, Jhongshan Rd., Yuchih Township, 
Nantou County 555, Taiwan
Sun Moon Lake Website

The next stop was one of the locally made chocolate factory in Taichung - 18 Degree C (18度C). It's really too bad that we had to rush off to take the high speed rail to head to Taipei right after this stop, otherwise I would have dabao back the chocolate! It melts within a few hours I think, and we didn't want to risk wasting the expensive chocolate so we did not buy. If you do, let me know if it's good ok!




Sponge cakes and 'homemade' jams are available for purchase too. I tried the sponge cakes, and they taste pretty good, though I prefer more moist cakes. As this is still very much a tourist attraction, I find them slightly more pricey than normal shops. 





Not wanting to leave without trying nor buy anything, we got ourselves ice cream! I like the combi of green tea and chocolate flavours! The green tea is not too sweet and retain the matcha taste without being too bitter. I know this doesn't help in describing the taste, but trust me when I say it's worth a try! 


Feeling 18 Degree C 巧克力工房
No. 20號, Cí'ēn Street, Puli Township, 
Nantou County, Taiwan 545
545 南投縣埔里鎮慈恩街20號
Feeling 18 Degree C Website | Facebook


So right after 18 Degree C, we headed back to Ino Home to pick up our luggage and bid our goodbye to Uncle Lin at the high speed rail station to Taipei. 

After travelling in Taichung 台中 for 3 days, I prefer this part of Taiwan 台湾 so much more than Taipei. My next places to visit in Taiwan 台湾 will be the southern part like Kaohsiung 高雄 and Kenting 墾丁. But first, I need to fatten up my piggy banks!

I hope you guys liked my Taiwan travelogue so far and do let me know if there's any way I can help! :)


 Aspoonfulofsoul Taiwan Travel Diary:
Day #1: Taichung 台中 Ino Home minsu 民宿 + Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市

Day #2: Taichung 台中 Flower Market 中社花市 + Lavender Cottage 薰衣草森林 + Ah Ming Shi Tai yang Biscuits 阿明师太阳饼 + Miyahara 宮原眼科

40 comments:

  1. Hi, I was reading up on Taichung and chanced upon your post.

    Would like to enquire how much approximately was Mr Lin charging for 2 days trip? And, how much time did you spent at the Sun Lake Moon?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Desiree! Mr Lin charges NT3,500 per day for about 8 hours. I spent half a day at Sun Moon Lake, but we were not able to hop around the attractions as fast as we wanted cos of the fog and the ferries stopped operation for a bit. Hope this helped!

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    2. Thank you! I didn't managed to contact Mr Lin and got another driver instead, was quoted a much higher price for family of 6 :)

      Hopefully it would not be foggy when I visit in December *fingers crossed*
      Thanks once again!

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  2. Hi sandy! Would like to ask how many people can Mr Lin's car accommodate? Thank you:)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Audrey! Mr Lin's car can accomodate 6 passengers without luggages. Hope this helps! :)

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  3. Hi sandy is it hard to go around without renting a taxi and are u with a tour or going by yourself, and find you book your hotel that??! Because I planning to go Taiwan with my family. Can you gave some suggestion ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Yes it's hard to go around in Taichung without a taxi. I like to plan my own itinerary as I'm skeptical about the tour groups' choice of hotels and food. However, if you are quite easy going on such things, you can go with tour groups and just let them do all the work! I will suggest you concentrate on Taichung because there's more attractions and food are nicer and cheaper (at Feng Jia Night Market, the biggest in Taiwan)! :) Hope these help.

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  4. Hi

    I happened to chance on your blog. may i know how u made your way from taichung back to taoyuan airport? u alight at taoyuan hsr station?but is there any bus or shuttle to get to taoyuan airport terminal one?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mabel! Yes you can take hsr from Taichung to Taoyuan station! After you alight from Taoyuan hsr station, you will need to take a short shuttle bus #705 to Taoyuan airport. Hope this helps! :)

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  5. Hi,

    i enjoy reading your blog! very useful for my trip in Jan next year. I have also booked Ino Home and Mr Lin the driver for my Tai Chung stay. Just curious, what time you start ur daily trip with Mr Lin? he suggested 9am, but Ino Home only serve Breakfast at 9am, the breakfast looks really good, and i HATE to miss them! haha

    Thanks in advance

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome that you get to book Mr Lin!! We usually start our day quick breakfast at 9am by Ino Home and our time with Mr Lin at 9.30am. Ya you have to have the awesome breakfast! Request for coffee, worth the additional cost. :)

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  6. Hi Sandy,

    I would like to know if it is hard to travel for 2 around tai chung?
    I like your itinerary! so awesome haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! It's not as accessible by public transport in Taichung, so I recommend hiring a driver to drive you around the area. There's quite a lot of attractions in Taichung, so it'd be worth the money to hire a driver for your trip. Thanks for the kind words! I really enjoyed my trip in Taichung. :)

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  7. Hi Sandy,
    May I know which time of the year did you go on this trip? Feb or March? I also hope to pick strawberries and see the tulips. Thanks for your great posts!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! I went in April actually. You can still pick strawberries, but it's nearing the end of the season, so I recommend going in March!

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  8. hello i would like to know how early must you book with mr lin to make sure he is available?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there. Hmm.. I am really not sure because it really depends on the seasonality as well, you can just whatsapp him to check if he's available on the dates you are travelling to Taiwan!

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  9. Hi Sandy,

    Prolly the best and most informative blog I've read up about Taichung!

    Will like to ask if you feel that Sun Moon Lake was worth the visit? And do you think it's possible for me and my partner to travel around Taichung (thinking of visit Hehuanshan and prolly Sun Moon Lake) in one day? Or best to stay at least 1 night in Taichung?

    Yvonne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yvonne! I say Sun Moon Lake is worth the visit because it's quite a scenic attraction but do cater more time to visit the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village Theme with indoor amusement area! I only had half a day to visit and was unlucky enough to meet the heavy fog so didn't have enough time for the cable car ride to the village.

      Hmm. I will recommend more days spent at Taichung cos there's really a lot to explore in the city. Best is to stay at least 2 nights. But it really depends on your preference, cos my family like to experience the attractions like strawberry farm, lavender cottage, sun moon lake, mushroom farm etc. that we don't really have in Singapore. So we spent 3D2N in Taichung. I heard Cingjing in Taichung is also a really nice place. Hope my 2 cents help you in planning your trip and thanks for the kind words!

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  10. hi, is the strawberry farm very far from taichung HSR?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it's quite far... You may want to consider hiring a driver for your trip in Taichung. :)

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  11. Hi Sandy, I happened to chance upon your blog while 'researching' for my Taiwan trip next year. It is a really lovely blog you have there and I was hoping if you would know if there would be the strawberries and the lovely flowers in early Jan?Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Thanks for the kind words.. :) Yes there will be strawberries & the lovely flowers in early Jan. If I'm not wrong, the strawberries season start in December. As for the flowers, if you're going to the same flower market that I went to, they have flowers all year round. Just that different flowers bloom in different seasons. Hope these helps!

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    2. Hi I'm glad I chance upon ur blog. May I ask which part of taichung city is best to stay that is near to the HSR and fengchia night market?

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    3. Hi Ming Gwee! Erm... Honestly I didn't research about the convenience on the particular part of Taichung city to stay at because I really liked Inohome and I hired a driver who stayed near Inohome. So he pretty much send us everywhere, including our trip to HSR from Inohome on the day we leave the city. Sorry I can't help much on this!

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  12. Hi Sandy! What an awesome blog you have! Kudos! Im actually planning a trip to taipei with my bf. it would be our very first trip there so would need some advices from you. For example, how much money to bring for lets say something similar to your 3 days in taichung and 2 days in Taipei? and how much is the extra hour to be charge if we exceeded the 8hrs with Mr Lin? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Serene! Thanks for the kind words! Hmm. I set aside about SGD70-80 a day for the trip for food and transport expenses in Taiwan and there's some extras left for tai yang bings. Haha! But cos I went with my whole family, food was cheaper as we shared all the dishes and night market snacks and stuff. Mr Lin is not that particular with timing, he usually set aside one whole day for his passengers, so I think you don't have to worry about that! :) Hope all these helped!

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  13. Is the lavender cottage available whole year round or its seasonal?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff! It's seasonal so do check the opening hours before heading there!

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  14. Hi Sandy,
    Read your post over and over again. Superb!
    May I know if Mr Lin speaks English? Sadly, we dont speak mandarin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thanks for the kind words! :) Mr Lin doesn't speak English though.. hope you are able to find an English-speaking Taiwanese driver!

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  15. hi Do you have email for Mr Lin? can email me at paulinehanlim@yahoo.com.sg. tks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Danzal Han! I don't have his email. Kindly refer to his phone number and whatsapp or Line him. :)

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  16. Dear sandy,
    Stumbled onto your blog and am most excited by your reviews! Makes me rethink my Dec options.

    My daughter is doing her psle this year and the early Dec trip is meant as a reward. Was toying with the idea of japan but as we are travelling in early to mid Dec, I'm afraid it could be too cold.

    I'm now looking at Taipei and Taichung. Is there enough to do 5d4n in Taichung? You hired a taxi guide for 2 days. Is that enough or will thrre be more to see if its 3 days?

    Thanks for help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mrs Lee! I will definitely recommend 3 days because there's really a lot to see and eat in Taichung. You can contact the driver and ask him to plan the itinerary for you!

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  17. Hi Sandy,

    Thanks for your informative blog. Can you share how do you book ino home? I saw that they require a 50% deposit, so how do you do that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Daniel! I paid in full when I checked in, you can try asking if they allow this form of payment term as well as they may have changed the policy since then.. Hope this helped!

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  18. Hello Sandy! Stumbled upon your blog and am interested to head to the Strawberry Farm! Contacted Mr Lin but he told us it is impossible for us to get there as the strawberry season is around Feb. May I know which dates did you went? My friends and I are going around 8th Apr next year! And we hope we get to experience some strawberries plucking! Thank you in advance!! :)

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  19. Hi Christina! I went in Apr as well, but I remembered it is nearing the end of strawberry season, maybe that's why next year it may be pushed earlier? Can trust Mr Lin on his words!

    ReplyDelete