Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Taiwan Trip Day 2 - Changhua (彰化) | Fangyuan Oyster Harvesting | Fangyuan Lighthouse

2 December 2018

Day 2 (Part 1) - Taiwan Itinerary (Fangyuan)
1) Breakfast - 天津苟不理湯包
2) Oyster Harvesting Experience (芳苑潮間帶旅遊)
3) Lunch - 真好呷蚵仔炸
4) Fangyuan Lighthouse
5) Wind Turbine Windmills

Woke up feeling more rested that the night before. Sun rise and sun set in Taiwan is earlier than in Singapore. You can see the clear blue sky at 6am. Everyone washed up and get ready for yet another day of fun and adventure.

6:50am - Even though free breakfast is provided by the hotel, we made our way to this famous stall selling dumpling (湯包). 天津苟不理湯包 is a very popular breakfast place among the locals. Only less than 3 mins walk from Mini Hotel - Taichung Station, it is definitely a must-eat for us!

Long queues have already formed early in the morning. You can see stacks of bamboo steamers at the front counter steaming the dumplings and the staff making more dumplings. Why is it so popular? The corner shop starts business as early as 5:30am and closes at 11:30am (operating only in the mornings). Many came here to grab a bite or packet their breakfast before heading off for work.

The menu is simple but the price is very attractive. 湯包, 素包 only cost NT16 (~SGD75cents). Each cup of soya milk, red tea is NT12 (~SGD55cents). Omelette pancake at NT20 (~ SGD90cents). Very economical to enjoy a hearty breakfast.

Even though the queue is long, the staff are very efficient as well. We got our food served piping hot pretty fast. The bigger-sized dumpling is delicious and we enjoyed having a warm breakfast in the cold morning.

The locals seems to like their omelette pancake to go with chill sauce but I like it as it is. 

7:10am - Spotted interesting Chinese Zodiac floor murals as we walked around the neighbourhood after breakfast.

7:20am - Back at Mini Hotel for our second round of breakfast. It is going to be a long day ahead and having a filling meal is important for us to start our day. Mini offers basic and simple breakfast for their guests. Main dishes, porridge, salad, bread and assorted drinks.

Prior to our vacation, I have engaged drivers to drive us around for 5 days out of our 2 weeks trip in Taiwan. Generally it is to take us to places that are harder to get to by public transport and moving from one hotel to another at different areas.

8:45am - Our assigned driver arrived much earlier than our agreed time. Months and a day before our trip, he also contacted me for updates. We were delighted to know that he happens to be a licensed tour guide and I must say thanks to him, we were able to see many more beautiful places of Taichung.

Here is the route to the first half of our Day 2!

Mini Hotel > 芳苑潮間帶旅遊-阿進帶你採蚵趣 > Lunch @ 真好呷蚵仔炸 > Fangyuan Lighthouse (芳苑-王功灯塔) > 王功小型风力发电厂 > Lukang (鹿港镇)

We had an awesome experience at Gaomei Wetlands on our previous trip. This time, we decided to go a little further and learn more about oysters harvesting! Found out that Wanggong Fishing Port (王功), Changhua County, has rich natural landscapes and most of the residents are mainly engaged in offshore fishing and coastal culture, producing clams, squid, shrimp, oysters, and mullet. The fishing village has farms that host tour trips for visitors to learn and experience harvesting of the oysters and the opportunity to taste fresh oysters that is grilled on the spot!

10:15am - It was a long ride from Mini Hotel to Wanggong (王功) in Fangyuan Township (芳苑). Thankfully our driver kept us engaged through the ride sharing the wonders of Taichung and its history.

We picked 芳苑潮間帶旅遊 as the reviews from Facebook has been very positive and they are also very responsive to all our queries. The entire tour takes about 2-3 hour and it cost NT350 per pax (~SGD16). (Free for children under 3 years old)

Ox oyster-pulling cart - one of the rarer ones left.

The farm has adopted cross hanging method for their oyster cultivation based on the intertidal ecology. 

We spent near to 3 hours learning about oyster farming and had fun catching crabs, picking clams and sample fresh oysters and fish!

Will write a separate post about our Oyster Harvesting Tour experience

1:20pm - Thankfully we were well-prepared and took a heavy breakfast else we will be famished by this hour. Being near to the sea, there are many restaurants and eateries selling fresh seafood dishes. Our driver brought us to 真好呷蚵仔炸 which is very famous among the locals. 

Signature Dish : Fried Oyster Cake - crispy outside and lots of juicy oysters within!

Taiwanese style oyster omelette (蚵仔煎) - This is a popular street food in Taiwan topped with a sweet and sour sauce. I still prefer our local version but we ordered a plate for our kiddos to try.

Stir-fry Asparagus with Clams

This is our favourite dish! It is a type of fish and the meat is so tender and delicious. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of this dish but it is definitely the first plate to be cleared off from the table

This is probably our least favourite cos of the assorted flavour. 

We spent NT1200 for our lunch which comprised of 5 dishes (~SGD55). 

Onward to our journey after lunch!

1:55pm - Fangyuan Lighthouse (芳苑燈塔) is an iconic building in Wanggong Village. Built in 1983 at the eastern side of the fishing port, the octagonal shaped lighthouse painted in strips of black and white,  guides and ensures the safety of the vessels.

The youngest lighthouse in Taiwan

From afar it looks like a pencil :)

More oyster farm along the coast

10 units of windmills by the shoreline

2:10pm - We stopped by and admire the gigantic windmill. Lovely reflections from the waters.

2:20pm - 王功小型风力发电厂 has become a hot IG spot recently. Many came to take photos with  the wind turbines (more than 400 of them) that looks like 'eggbeater' and some even said 'trophy'. 

We are also one of them that came to leave our footprints here.

We stopped by briefly and continued our road trip to Lukang (鹿港) which we will share more in our next post.

More photos @ BPDGTravels Facebook page
Check out our 2 Weeks Taiwan Itinerary Family Trip here

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Taiwan Trip Day 1 - Taichung (台中) | Miyahara | Calligraphy Greenway | ZhongXiao Night Market

1 December 2018

It was a long awaited trip to our year-end holiday as we will be spending 2 WEEKS in Taiwan - Our longest vacation ever that we have planned for a year!

Arrived at Singapore Changi Airport at 10pm and we proceeded to check-in. Embarking on a mid-night flight was not easy as we were pretty tired after a long day at work and not able to sleep well on-board. However, we also feel good to know that we have the whole day ahead to pace ourselves and tour the country.

We touched down safely at Taoyuan International Airport, Terminal 1 at 5:35am. Surprisingly there was a crowd and it took us awhile before we collected our luggage and clear the immigration at 7:15am.


First thing on our to-do list is to purchase our data sim cards.  Upon exiting the arrival hall gate, turn right, walk ahead and you will find counters selling data sim cards. We purchased from Chunghwa to keep us connected throughout our trip.

It will be a couple of hours more before we reached the hotel, hence it is ideal to purchase some drinks, food and snacks. After purchasing your data sim cards, simply walk further ahead to the end and take the travelator down to Basement 1. You will find a 7-Eleven store on the left. Turn right, walk straight and you will reach the Bus Parking Bay where travelers can purchase the bus tickets to Taichung or other areas.

Prior to our trip, I have already checked the timings of the buses that can take us from Taoyuan International Airport to Taichung Train Station.

UBus (1623) -
Kuo Kuang (1860) -

We bought Ubus tickets (NT$280 per adult) and waited for bus number 1623 at bus bay 13 which  departs at 8:05am sharp. Do note that the buses leave on time and make sure you arrive punctually.

The total journey from Taoyuan International Airport to Taichung Train Station took about 2 hours plus. I thought it will be quite tiring but surprisingly it was a comfortable and pleasant ride as the leg space between seats are wide and Hubby and I were able to catch some sleep! Our teens are happy as well as Ubus provide free WIFI onboard and there is also charging point at each seat! They get to stay connected and mobile devices charged at the same time!

10:30am -  Arrived at Taichung Train Station!

Taiwan Railway Bento Box (台铁便当) seems to be very popular among the locals and we decided to join in the queue to purchase a box to try. I picked the fish set selling at NT80 which is delicious and filling.

My initial plan was to purchase the Sun Moon Lake pass (which is a package deal for you to take the ropeway, boat and bus ride at a cheaper price) at Taichung Train Station but apparently it was only on sale at Nantou Bus Ticketing (南投客运) which is located a few streets away.

Map provided to us by the kind staff at the train station

We decided to make our way back to the hotel instead. Thanks to Google Map, we found our way and reached our destination safely. It was still too early to check-in to our room hence we drop our luggage at the lobby area.

11am - Reached Mini Hotels - Taichung Station Branch

Read more about stay at Mini Hotel (Taichung Station Branch) here -

After loading off our baggage at the hotel and go for our toilet break, we set off to tour Taichung city by foot. Below is our route that for Day 1.

Mini Hotel > Taichung 3rd Market > 85°C Daily Cafe > Miyahara > Fourth Credit Union > Nantou B Bus Ticketing > Calligraphy Greenway > Taichung Station > Mini Hotel

Mini Hotel > ZhongXiao Night Market > Taroko Mall > Mini Hotel

11:30am - Our first stop is Taichung City 3rd Market (臺中市第三市場) which is walking distance from Mini Hotel. Our stomachs were pretty empty since arrival, hence we planned to 边走边吃 (walk and eat) along the way.

Taichung City 3rd Market is a local street market less visited by tourists. Apart from the wet market stalls selling vegetables and meat, there are also stalls selling assorted local food delicacies and clothing.

Love the colourful streamers as it not only brightens the market but also helped to block the sun rays, and provide more shade. 

12pm85°C Daily Cafe, an international retailer chain selling coffee, tea, assorted cakes and bakery products. Pit stop for us to buy some drinks and boost our energy.

12:20pm - We missed visiting Miyahara (宮原眼科) on our previous trip! Hence I am making sure we do not missed it this time! Formally a ophthalmic hospital during the Japanese Occupation, Miyahara has transformed into a retail store selling souvenirs, tea, pastries with the most popular being its ice-cream.

As expected, there was a long queue for the ice-cream and I am totally clueless what to pick as there are so many assorted flavours to choose from! Price is not cheap but we decided to go for 2 ice-cream scoop + waffle cup + toppings at NT240 which is about SGD11! At least the children were happy with their ice-cream treat.

1pm: Further down the street is Fourth Credit Union (台中市第四信用合作社). This is actually the second outlet opened after Miyahara in 2013. The three-storey cafe and restaurant was formally an old bank and it offers a larger dining space within. Hence, if you want to avoid the crazy queue at Miyahara and have a place to rest your feet, give Fourth Credit Union a try as it sells exactly the same thing as Miyahara!

Posing in front of the original bank vault doors 

We found a seat and decided to have our second round of dessert! Set of Waffle + Drink (NT320).

1.50pm - It is time to burn off some calories. We walked to Nantou Bus Ticketing to purchase the Sun Moon Lake passes. The super-value vouchers will enable us to take on the various transportation to scenic spots around Sun Moon Lake at a discounted price. Worth making a trip down to save some cost.

For more information, visit :

3pm - It took us awhile asking around before we figured our way to Calligraphy Greenway (草悟道廣場). First time taking the public bus (Bus 81) in Taichung and thankfully we purchased our Easy Card (悠遊卡) at 7-Eleven which enables us to travel on Metro and Buses conveniently in Taiwan.

Calligraphy Greenway is a green corridor in the heart of the city, with open space dedicated to arts and culture. There are street performers, organic food vendors and stalls selling assorted artworks. A lovely place to hang out, slow down to spend a quiet afternoon exploring the artsy neighbourhood.

Spotted these beautiful leather key chains and accessories and kinda regret not getting one.

3:50pm - Chun Shui Tang Teahouse (春水堂), believed to be the origin of bubble tea. True or not I am not certain but it is a must-try in Taichung for us since we have heard so much about it. We ordered a bubble milk tea for NT110 (~SGD5), waited for more than 10 minutes before we received our cup. Tea is delicious and fragrant but price is on a higher side.

4:30pm - Sun sets earlier in Taiwan and we decided to hop on back on the public bus to bring us back to Taichung Train Station. The brick building, formally Taichung Railway Station is a product of the Japanese government's Meiji-period reform movement. The city landmark has witnessed through the development and transformation of Taichung city and is now preserved as a historical site.

We stopped by to enjoy the beautiful performance by this talented Japanese street performer - @Shinshin1512 

4:50pm - Checked-in to Mini-Hotel and settled in comfortably in our family room.

6pm - ZhongXiao Night Market (忠孝夜市)

Walking from Mini Hotel to Zhong Xiao Night Market takes about 10-15 minutes. We followed Google Map and only figured that we have reached our destination seeing the food stalls along the sides of the roads. Unlike the other night markets, it is not cordoned off hence you have to keep a look out for motorbikes and vehicles while exploring your food options.

Hubby and our girl had craving for stinky toufu as it is not easily available in Singapore.

Crispy and hot Stinky Toufu for NT40

徐徐大姊炸香香 seems to be pretty popular among the locals. Assorted sticks of meat and vegetable that looks like our Lok Lok style.

正老牌麵線糊 - A famous stall in Zhongxiao Night Market selling stinky toufu and vermicelli noodle paste for over 40 years. It has been passed down to the third generation and you can locate the stall easily by looking out for the Thumbs Up signboard.

We had a plate of stinky toufu (NT50) and Oyster vermicelli noodle paste (NT55). The stinky toufu is crispy and topped with cucumber slices and Taiwanese style kimchi vegetable with salty and spicy garlic sauce. A combination of sweet, sour and salty taste all within.

Oyster Vermicelli Noodle Paste has big oysters and the vermicelli is smooth and silky. Taste a bit different from the one we had in Taipei - Ximending, but worth to give a try.

I love sugarcane but what if it is mixed with milk? We bought a cup from Ming Yang Sugarcane Milk King (茗陽甘蔗牛奶大王) and I must say I still prefer the original sugarcane drink.

沙茶魷魚焿 - Hubby spotted the long queue for this (till now I not sure what it is call in English) and we decided to join the line. After waiting for more than 15 minutes, we started to realise the queue is for take away. If you want to dine-in, you can try to find a seat within the small shop space and order directly from the owners. We figured out too late and end up waited more than 40 minutes for our orders. It is a bowl filled with lots of ingredients but I guess we were not very accustom to the taste.

Feeling thirsty? This drink stall is very famous for selling 1000cc drinks at NT25 only!! What? It is less than SGD1.20 for the big cup! 

Exploring Zhong Xiao Night Market

8:25pm - We walked our way back to Taroko Mall which is a few buildings next to Mini Hotel. One of the biggest shopping mall in Taichung, it comprises of six basement floors and eleven floors above. Entertainment, dining, retail, lifestyle, cinema, fashion and hypermart are all house within the shopping mall.

9:30pm - Back at Mini Hotel to rest.

We utilized our day to purchase our data sim cards, easy cards and sun moon lake passes while touring around Taichung city. A good start to kick off our 2 weeks vacation ahead.

Day 2

More photos @ BPDGTravels Facebook page

Check out our 2 Weeks Taiwan Itinerary Family Trip here

Useful Links

Easy Card (悠遊卡) -
Nantou Bus Ticketing -