Sunday, July 30, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Zhong She Flower Market (中社观光花市)

Day 2 into our Taiwan Trip. We engaged a driver to take us from Taoyuan to Taichung. If you wish to know the driver's contacts, visit our itinerary link here. Our priority was to visit the places of interest first before checking in to the hotel in Taichung in the evening. Hence, we started travelling out early in the morning after checking out from Audi Garden Business Hotel (Taoyuan).

We arrived at Zhong She Flower Market at 1020am. It took us about 1.5 hour to travel from Taoyuan to 中社观光花市 (Taichung). We thought that the weather will be cooler in the November months but it was exceptionally sunny and hot! Nevertheless, if you are flower lovers, this is one of the place to be.

Depending on your day of visit, the flowers bloom at different months. For example, you can catch Tulips between January to March and Sunflowers between May to October. You will be amazed by the myriads of flowers at the fields.

Zhong She Flower Market has breathtaking gardens with a zesty European flair. Many are surrounded by the theme of love with backdrops suitable for wedding photo shots. We may not be in our pretty gowns or smart suit but love is in the air.

The main attraction is the flower fields. Each plot has different vibrant colours of flowers in full bloom. Visitors love to walk into the center of the field and take gorgeous shots of themselves in the midst of the flower bed.

Love the swings and piano that they place in the middle of the flower field. Giving an extra romantic feel and touch. 

Apart from admiring the flowers, children get to feed fish by the pond as well. You can purchase fish feed on the spot and the fishes can be clearly seen in the waters. With the cloudless blue sky at the backdrop, the clear waters gave a nice mirror image of the beautiful scenery.

We were extremely lucky to meet a friendly guy with an iron mask on. I called him "彩虹达人" as he is in a colourful rainbow suit bringing joy to the visitors with his creative and wacky photo shots.

Its a bird... its a plane... its.....

Pick us up!

We spent about 1.5 hours at Zhong She Flower Market before heading out for lunch. Plan your itinerary and check out the website for more details.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary

Zhong She Flower Market (中社观光花市)
Address: No.469-13, Sanfeng Road, Houli District, Taichung City 421 

Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm (Mon - Fri), 9am - 9pm (Sat - Sun)
Entrance Fee: Adult (NT120), Child (NT60)

Date of visit: 13 Nov 2016

Friday, July 21, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Gaomei Wetlands (高美湿地)

When I was planning the itinerary for our trip to Taiwan, Gaomei Wetlands (高美湿地) was top on my list. It was a little off from the central area in Taichung and not as accessible or near to public transportation. Qingshui district is probably the nearest for tourists to get to Gaomei. Nevertheless, we were determined and arranged for transportation to bring us to our destination.

Gaomei Wetlands is located on the south of the mouth of Dajia River and more than a thousand hectares in size. Its land has a special mix of both sand and soil textures providing complicated yet rich wetland ecology. This is the perfect place to observe crabs, mud-skippers, fishes and migratory birds.

Apart from its biological diversity, the enchanting landscape is what makes Gaomei Wetlands popular among locals, tourists and photographers.  The rows of turbo windmills with the setting sun as the backdrop is simply romantic and mesmerizing. As our vehicle drove past the windmills, I cannot help myself to exclaim with joy and excitement!

As we took a longer time visiting the other places of interests, and then got caught in the traffic, we arrived at Gaomei Wetlands a little later than expected (~4.40pm) and the sun was almost setting!

Tips: Sunset in Taiwan has different timings than in Singapore so you do have to make sure you plan your itinerary well to arrive before the sunset and when the tide is the lowest if you wish to walk on the wetlands.

Beautiful patches of sedges growing on the wetlands. 

The wooden boardwalk stretching 800m into the wetlands was recently constructed to preserve the delicate environment of the sedge grassland. During high tides, you can walk out towards the sea. At low tides, take a walk down to the wetlands to catch crabs, mudskippers and even shellfish!

It was pretty crowded when we arrived. Make sure you don't lose sight of your children especially the younger ones. Thankfully the weather was rather cooling in the November month and we got to enjoy the evening breeze and catch the sunset!

Many stopped to take pictures of the setting sun.

Windmills, wetlands and the sunset. :)

If the tide is low, you can take off your footwear and soak your feet into the waters. Many left their footwear on the boardwalk. If you are not afraid of losing it, you can do the same. We follow suit and left our sandals among the multiple pairs on the platform praying hard that they are still there upon our return. Thankfully we found our pairs after our walk.

Tips: If you are planning to visit Gaomei Wetlands on a low tide, suggest that you wear light, avoid long dress, pants or jeans. Wear slippers or sandals instead of sports shoes. You can bring along a plastic bag and put your slippers into your bag and carry along.

View of the boardwalk from the wetlands.

Many little crabs can be found on the wetlands. We spotted families carrying buckets and spades and digging through the sand looking for crabs.

Hubby is always awesome with crabs.

The wetlands is incredibly clean! The waters feels cool and it did not leave any mud particles on our soles. No worries about having to wash your feet later at all!

Gaomei Wetlands is a great spot for taking photographs. The backdrop is beautiful and we enjoyed the fresh air. Indeed a rare gem to visit in Taichung.

Don't miss out taking the reflective mirror images on the wetlands. The waters is so clear and you can take many fun shots!

We ventured pretty far out into the wetland and the sky is turning dark very fast. Despite wanting to stay a little longer, we have to make our way back to the boardwalk and bid farewell to the wetlands.

As we were walking back, the boardwalk were off limits for visitors to enter. It was very dark and we have to watch our steps. Do take note of the timings of the tides to avoid disappointment.

Gaomei Wetlands is simply gorgeous! Truly a great wonderland where the land meets the sea. Next time if you are in Taichung, do set aside some time to visit the wetlands and enjoy the natural beauty of nature.

- Check out the tide timings -
- Wear light and comfortable clothing (avoid long dress/pants)
- Wear comfortable footwear (recommend slippers/sandals)
- Bring along your cameras for best photo shots.
- Visit in the evenings for sunset view!
- Plan your time of arrival and check out the weather.

More photos at BPDGTravels Facebook Page
Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.


Friday, July 14, 2017

[JB] Fun Day Trip to UK Farm Agro Resort @ Kluang

Our first close encounter with the sheep was at CingJing Farm in Taiwan. The weather was cooling and the children enjoyed feeding them and being up close with the sheep as they roam around the farm freely. We missed that memorable experience and with Taiwan being over thousands of miles away, we can only look out for farms nearer to home.

During the June school holidays, we drove across the border and visit UK Farm Agro Resort. Don't be misled by the name. the farm is not located in UK but in Kluang, Malaysia. UK Farm is about 6km away from the main road, slightly further ahead from Zenxin Organic Farm. You will see a big signboard to direct you to make a left turn. We stopped at the gantry to register our name and vehicle number on the booklet before taking the 6km drive on the gravel road into the farm.

UK Farm offers various Farm Tour and Stay packages for visitors. At the recent Travel Malaysia Fair at Singapore Expo, we tapped on the promotion and purchased 4 farm tour tickets at S$36.

What does the package includes?
- 2-3 hours tour around the farm on a mini bus
- An in house guide
- Free feeds to feed the animals
- Free sampling of goat milk

Photo captured using mobile phone

UK Farm Map
Photo captured using mobile phone 

Before the start of our tour, we took pictures with the Lucky Aries (许愿羊), also called Etawah Aries. The owner of the farm brought it all the way from Indonesia. It was said that in 1974, Indonesia's former president went to a small town in India, called Etawah and brought pure breed Jamnapari Etawah goats back to Indonesia, and then breeding with the local goat. Surprisingly, only the village located at the foot of the Senduro volcano can nuture it, and weigh up to 170kg. Etawah Aries not only provides high nutritional value of local lamb and goat's milk, it is also consdiered to bring good fortune. In the 1956 volcanic eruption in Indonesia Senduro, while more than 1000 people died, only the 30 over farmers who reared Etawah Aries were left intact and survived.

The mini bus that took us on our farm tour. There is an in house guide that goes along with us on our tour. 

Station 1: Sheep Grazing - The herd of sheep was released and guided to the field for their meal time. Do note that there is a fixed schedule for this and the time is 10am, 1pm and 4pm.

Station 2: Feedstock Processing Factory - We were the led to the feedstock processing factory where the guide gave us an introduction on how more grass feed is mixed and produced.

Station 3: Goat Pen - Our favourite stop as we get to feed and carry the goats! Even though there is a foul smell, we got used to it very soon. Everyone was given an packet of dried grass and the goats immediately popped their heads out ready to chew on the food.

It was our first time feeding the goats with milk. They must be very thirsty as they suck very hard and fast! Soon, the bottle was empty before I can take more pictures. 

There are many goats in the pen but this one caught my eye. I thought it has a very nice feature and sharp looking.

The workers carried a few young goats out of their enclosure and visitors who like to carry the goats can give it a try. We wasn't very confident at first but the goats are very gentle and its really easy to carry them.

The young goats feel warm and not heavy at all! 

Station 4: Goat Milk Processing Centre- Hopping back onto the mini bus, our next station is the Goat Milk Processing Centre. This is where goat milk is expressed and processed.

After viewing, we are given goat milk sample to taste and visitors can purchase bigger bottles if they like it. We bought a few bottles without needing to worry to carry them with us on our tour as we can collect the bottles of goat milk that we purchased when we are back at the main entrance. Goat milk ice-cream is also available and it comes in three different flavours - vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. Personally, I prefer the chocolate goat milk bottle instead.

Station 5: Duck Pond - Next feeding station - the ducks. Initially we were just throwing the feeds down into the waters without realizing that you can also drop your feed through the long tube. I guess this will prevent food wastage?

The ducks gathered around the end of the tube and gobbled on their food

Station 6: Chicken Feeding - located slightly further ahead of the duck pond, we met the more aggressive group where they were busy and engrossed pecking food on the ground.

Station 7: Ostrich Enclosure - The last time we were so up close with the ostrich was during the visit to the Ostrich Farm in Desaru years ago.

The children placed the corn feed on their palms and the ostrich swiftly poked on it. The kiddos got a shock and was a little intimidated. Hubby took the lead to demonstrate how to feed the ostrich without even twitching his eyes.

Compared to the ostriches, children prefer the deer. It feels a little ticklish and be prepared to have some saliva on your palm.

Station 8: Rabbit Farm - Another favourite spot at UK Farm. Who can resists the cute little furry bunnies! Plus, the cages can be opened where you can feed and carry them.  Don't worry about running out of feed as you can purchase extra packets.

This brown furry bunny stood out among the rest of the rabbits.

The rabbits are so adorable that children and adults could not resist carry them. 

Station 9: Jakun Village - We watched a traditional dance performance and see how the performer shoot down a balloon from the tree top. We spent most of our time taking pictures around the village while waiting for the mini bus to pick us up.

Station 10: Tropical Arcade/Fruit Farm - Our resting point. We bought coconut drinks and it was absolutely heavenly! Meat is soft and the coconut drink is sweet!

Photo captured using mobile phone

Station 11: Mini Zoo (Sheep Challenge) - We are finally back at the main entrance area and visitors can explore the Mini Zoo and Lavendar Garden at their own pace on their own. The children wanted to take on the Sheep Challenge at the mini zoo zone - an optional activity that cost RM5.30 per person (purchase at the main counter). The objective is simple - catch a sheep and win a UK medal.

The task sounds really easy but it was tougher than it looks. Denver and Gladys ran around the enclosure with the sheep for minutes, yet they can barely even touch them. Thankfully I brought along Canon Powershot G9X camera to help me capture the fast moving shots of the sheep running about!

Whenever the children tries to get up close to them, the sheep ran off. 

It was an unsuccessful attempt but I believe the children had a great experience and workout. 

Enjoying every bits of nature and fun in the midst of lush greenery. 

UK Farm is great place where children can get a closer touch to the animals and enjoy the beauty of nature. Away from the city buzz and get more insight about farms. Thankfully I brought along Canon Powershot G9X camera with me and was able to capture many moving shots clearly. The animals would not be able to stay still and pose, and wait for me to take their pictures.

All photos taken using Canon Powershot G9X unless otherwise stated. 

Address: Plot 8, Project Pertanian Moden Kluang, KM13 Jalan Batu Pahat, 86000 Kluang, Johor, Malaysia. 
Tel : +607-759 7555 Fax : +607-759 7991 H/P : 013-778 7235 / 013 - 722 2299 

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