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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Taiwan Trip Day 3 - Nantou (南投) | Jiji Train Station | Che Cheng | The Grove Experience Factory | 明潭茶老爸

3 December 2018 (Part II)

Day 3 (Part 2) - Taiwan Itinerary (Nantou)
1) Jiji Train Station (集集火车站)
2) Che Cheng Train Station (車埕火车站)
3) The Grove Experience Factory (車埕林班道)
4) Sunset View & Ice-cream (水里二坪枝仔冰)
5) Check-in Blue Sky Bay B&B (Sun Moon Lake)
6) Dinner at 明潭茶老爸

3:05am - We are very blessed to have an experienced driver who happens to be a licensed tour guide to take us on our trip. Apart from helping us to look through our planned route, taking us to places that are less traveled by tourists, he went the extra mile to check the train departure timings, making sure we are able to catch the ride on time.

He suggested that we take the Jiji Line (集集線), a short train ride from Jiji (集集) to (車埕) to have a glimpse of the historical towns and tranquil countryside as the train chugs its way through. 





We were just in time to catch the train to Che Cheng (車埕) which is setting off in 5 minutes, plus some buffer time to take pictures.

Jiji Line stretches from Ersui to Checheng. The 30km line, narrow-gauge railway takes about 50 minutes to run through the 7 stations (Ershui, Yuanquan, Zhuoshui, Longquan, Jiji, Shuili, Checheng). Many likes to take on the ride to experience the true charm of Taiwan.


For us, we took the train ride from Jiji (集集) to Checheng (車埕) which takes about 15-20 minutes. It was a short, but quaint and nostalgic rail journey as the train slowly passed through the towns.


The interior of the train is also charming! Decorated with cute Lion handles and colourful cartoon wallpapers! It seems like each train cabin has a story to tell and share.



3:30pm - Checheng Train Station - the final stop of the Jiji Line and is well-known to be the most beautiful rail station in Taiwan. This used to be a depot for trains and center for transportation of timber and logging activities. The old wood processing facilities are not longer in used and has become a local landmark and attraction.


It is a great place to take pictures with the railway tracks and trains without worrying about any incoming trains.






Checheng (車埕) - A rustic, beautiful village surrounded by mountains. 




As you walked further in, you will find a beautiful pond - Cedar Pond (貯木池) is actually a storage pond used to soak the stored logs, which helps to extend the life of the wood. Now it has transformed into a beautiful landscape with fishes and ducks in the waters.


We bought some fish feed to feed the hungry fishes! 

Lots of them swam towards the food

Loving the reflection of the trees in the waters. The setting sun shines onto the trees giving them an orange golden hue. 




Checheng Wood Museum (車埕木業展示館) - (used to be an old sawmill) is a lovely place which is opened to public for free. It houses booths selling assorted food, an exhibition hall displaying the history of the timber industry, souvenir shop where visitors can buy wooden handicrafts and an area for visitors to create and make their own DIY woodwork.


Map of Checheng Wood Museum

Visitors can learn about the logging process here

Our kids love to hide on the second floor as they love the view and breeze from atop


My best buy! Naturally scented wood that can relax the body and mind! It can also act as a coaster too! 

Visitors can go to the woodcraft factory and make their own wooden stool

As we arrived rather late, we were not able to spend a lot of time exploring the streets and the shops due to time constraint. Do allocate more time if you love trains and wish to experience more about Checheng and its logging history in depth. 



4:50pm - On our way to Sun Moon Lake, our guide stopped by 水里二坪枝仔冰 to let us have an ice cream treat while we catch a beautiful sunset! Our guide shares that the ice-cream here is delicious and cheap (NT10 for one popsicle)!

Image source - Google

Sun set

5:40pm - It takes about 30 minutes drive from Checheng to Sun Moon Lake. We check-in to Blue Sky Bay B&B. which will be our accommodation for the next 2 nights. Click on the following link to learn more about our stay experience - https://bpdgtravels.blogspot.com/2019/03/taiwan-family-travel-stay-in-sun-moon.html


6:20pm - Sunset in Taiwan is earlier hence it was pitch dark at around 6pm. After a long day touring around Nantou, we finally settled down and am ready for dinner! There are not many eateries around Shuishe. and thankfully I did my homework and found out that 明潭茶老爸 offers good eats which is just 2 minutes walk away from our accommodation! How convenient!


We spent NT300 (~SGD14) on our dinner which consist of 4 braised pork rice/noodle bowls (NT60 each) and 1 side dish - preserved egg toufu (NT60), which is pretty reasonable.

We particularly love this dish! Just look at the yolk oozing out!

The braised pork rice topped with radish and salted vegetable is delicious as well!

We enjoyed our dinner at 茶老爸

After dinner, we decided to explore the streets of Shuishe. Next to 茶老爸 is a shop selling local cultural products. From souvenirs, handmade products to assorted local delicacies from different places in Taiwan. We spotted delicious Yam ice-cream at NT45 (SGD2). This serves as a nice dessert for everyone.


Our best find was this bottle of plum wine (梅酒) at NT350 (~SGD16)! Initially, I was a little skeptical about purchasing this as I do not really fancy plums. However, after trying a few sips, it got everyone addicted! Not only was it refreshing, we enjoyed its perfect balance of sweetness and sourness. In fact we loved it so much that we returned to purchase 2 more bottles at NT700! This served as our nightly drink before we rest for the night.


As the night falls, there aren't many places to go or activities to do at Sun Moon Lake. I guess that gives us a good reason to return to our B&B and have an early night rest before we embarked on yet another full day of activities ahead.


A video recap of our Day 3

More photos @ BPDGTravels Facebook page

Check out our 2 Weeks Taiwan Itinerary Family Trip here


Useful Links
The Grove Experience Factory - http://grove.com.tw/
Blue Sky Bay B&B - http://www.blueskybay.com.tw/

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