Saturday, March 30, 2019

Taiwan Trip Day 3 - Nantou (南投) | Xitou Monster Village | Dalunshan Ginkgo Forest | Totoro Bus Stop | Master of Mushroom

3 December 2018

Day 3 (Part 1) - Taiwan Itinerary (Nantou)
1) Totoro Bus Stop
2) Dalunshan Ginkgo Forest
3) Bamboo Forest
4) Xitou Monster Village
5) Lunch at Master of Mushroom

8:30am - It has been a restful 2 nights stay as we check out from Mini Hotel - Taichung Station. Before we journey on towards Nantou, I asked to stop by Totoro Bus Stop (大里龍貓車站) which is only 5 minutes drive away from the hotel. For Studio Ghibli's fans, this is a nice IG spot not to be missed.

Moving on is a 2 hours drive up to Dalunshan Ginkgo Forest (大崙山銀杏林). Driving along Shanlinxi Highway (杉林溪公路), we spotted signboards indicating the distance to Sun Link Sea Forest Recreation Area (南投衫林溪). This is another gorgeous nature attraction in Xitou that you can consider visiting on your way to Alishan.

10:45am - Stopped along the road to admire the green landscape

I love bamboo forest and it is nice to take our first family shot here

11:10am - We finally arrived at Ginkgo Forest (银杏森林) located in Lugu Township in Nantou County. It is hidden in the Sheep bend on the 12 Chinese Zodiac route along the Shanlinxi road.

It was noon time and the sun is blazing hot. We took on the walking trail (银杏林观景步道) where visitors can admire the Ginkgo (Maidenhair) trees on both sides and view stretches of hills in the distance. When entering Autumn, the fan-shaped blade leaves turns to yellow-red in colour.

Click on the video to check out our walking trail.

The beauty of the Ginkgo Forest lies in its depths, overlooking the mountains.

In addition to the rare ginkgo forest, is the magnificent tea plantation.

11:30am - We started our climb from here and it took us less than 10 minutes to reach the highest observation deck of Dalun Mountain Tea Garden. The trail, nicely paved with wooden planks weaved through the tea plantation making the walk a nice and relaxing one.

Scenic view along the way to the observation deck.

Stopping for some family shots.

11:40am - At 大崙山茶园观景台 (observation deck).

The view from here is gorgeous! Between October to the December months, the Ginkgo biloba leaves turn yellow attracting many tourists to come. Ginkgo trees are scattered among the tea gardens giving a different visual sensation. Unfortunately, during our visit, many leaves have fallen and we were not able to admire the sight of the golden fields. Nevertheless, it was still beautiful to stand here and admire the 270 degree view of the mountains, tea plantations, ginkgo trees and the vast skyline.

There are two observation decks and the other platform is slightly lower. 

The second observation deck which also offers a captivating view of the entire landscape. If you are lucky, you may also catch the sea of clouds here!

The sun is very glaring so it was difficult to smile. 

11:55am - Making our way down via the wooden plank foot path. This is also the route where visitors make their way up to the observation deck. Though the path is very steep, it only takes about 5 minutes to make our way down. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and take a step at a time.

12:05pm - On our way out from the Ginkgo Forest, we passed by a bamboo forest. Our driver cum guide kindly stopped the vehicle and we had some quick shots.

Loving the greenery and the sun!

12:30pm - Xitou Monster Village (溪頭妖怪村) is a quirky Japanese-style village built in 2011 to commemorate the friendship between Kubota (Japanese) and Matsubayashi (Taiwanese) who worked together in Xitou when Taiwan was under Japanese rule. Despite located in the remote areas in Nantou county, it is a hot tourism spot which garners many visitors daily!

Traditional Japanese Torii gate standing at the entrance of the village.

The monsters statues within the village are cute and great photo-taking spots.

Food stalls and shops can be found around the village. We did not buy any local snack as we will be moving to our next destination for lunch. 

If you are planning to buy the famous 咬人猫面包 (baked ham and cheese bread), be sure to queue up at least 20 mins outside Kubota Bakery before the freshly baked bread are out from the oven at 10:30am and 2:30pm.

Since we had no luck with food, we spent our time at the souvenir shop instead.

Beside the souvenir shop is the famous Tengu sculpture with a long red sausage nose like Pinocchio . 

Actually Xitou Monster Village is not very big and you can cover the area in a short time. We spent only about 35 minutes exploring the village and taking photos. Visitors come for the themed food like matcha & black sesame soft serve at Black-hearted shop, eyeball chocolate, walk around the Japanese style village and check out its unique souvenirs. It would be a waste to travel all the way for the Monster Village alone. I would think this can be pit stop if you are also exploring the other nature areas like - Xitou Nature Education Area, Sun-Link-Sea Forest Recreational Area or Ginkgo Forest.

1:25pm - Pretty hungry by now and our driver recommended us to dine at Master of Mushroom. As the name suggest, the dishes will be mostly mushrooms so make sure you LOVE them in your meal!

The interior of the restaurant used a lot of wood furnishing. Looking out of the windows is the river stream and mountains, giving diners a homely feel which is cozy and comfortable.

You can also go for alfresco dining by the balcony accompanied with a beautiful view.

Menu at Master of Mushroom

We ordered the black chicken soup set meal for 4-6 persons @ NT1880 (~SGD85) nett which includes 5 dishes, 1 big pot of chicken soup, 6 canned of fungus drinks and unlimited serving of rice. This is probably one of the better meals we had for the past 3 days even though there are mushrooms in almost every single dish! 

Appetizer - cold mushroom dish

Pork Belly - One of our favourite!

Pickled plums and mushrooms - not a big fan for plums and we are not so used to the taste of this dish overall.

Assorted mushrooms to be cooked in the hot pot

Minced pork and mushroom - my personal favourite to go with the rice!

Black Chicken Soup with mushroom - I did not expect the pot to be so BIG and it is pretty tasty!

There is also a section where diners can purchase dried mushroom goods from the shelves. 

I would say it is a pretty decent and nice place for a family meal especially if you have more in the group. We probably over-eat for lunch but thankfully that helped us filled our stomach till late in the night as we continued our journey ahead.

Taiwan Family Travel - Day 3 @ Nantou (南投) (Part 2)

More photos @ BPDGTravels Facebook page

Check out our 2 Weeks Taiwan Itinerary Family Trip here

1 comment:

Mui Choo said...

well-documented and very useful reference for planning own trip. Thank you.

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