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 -

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