Taichung Map
Day 1:
Taoyuan Airport –> Airbnb in Taichung –> Dinner at Chun Shui Tang (春水堂)

From Singapore to Taoyuan Airport

We booked Jetstart flight from Singapore to Taoyuan Airport, which departed on 3rd June at 9am and landed at 1.50pm. Early that morning, my sister started singing the song ‘人生要失败几回…‘ by童安格, and it got stuck in our minds throughout the flight. Never did we realise that this song literally became the theme song of our trip. Firstly, our flight was delayed by 2 hrs that morning. Secondly, when we landed, it was pouring outside and we had to brave the rain to get on a shuttle bus that will bring us to the main building. Both my brother and father commented that it was the scariest flight they had, because our small plane experienced turbulence and dipped twice as it descended through the dark grey clouds. Honestly, I think we were very lucky to be able to land safely in Taoyuan at all, because we saw in the news later that many flights were cancelled at various airports in Taiwan due to the heavy storms.

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Happy to land safely!

From Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

After passing through the customs, we followed the signs down to the bus terminal.

airport direction 1
You will see this directions towards your left once you come out of the arrival gate. Follow the signs and take the lift or escalator down to Basement 2 where the indoor bus terminal is.
airport direction 2
Once you come out of the lift, you will reach the indoor bus terminal, where you can take either the highway bus or shuttle bus to Taoyuan HSR station

From there, we had two options to reach Taichung:

  1. Take a highway express bus directly to Taichung. This will take about 1.5-2hrs depending on which area of Taichung you are staying in. There are various buses such as Guoguang, FreeGo and Ubus. Average price is about NT 240 per pax.
  2. Take the High-Speed Rail. This method is more complicated as you will need to change transport 3 times:
    (a) take shuttle bus 705 to Taoyuan HSR station
    (b) take HSR to Taichung station
    (c) take bus from Taichung HSR station to wherever you are going in Taichung. Total cost is about NT 670 per pax. Total travel time is about 1hr 15 mins excluding waiting time.

Stupidly, we opted for the second option because I was worried about traffic conditions in the rain and my brother wanted to eat the HSR bento. To add to our list of misfortune, the pop-up store selling the bento sets was closed when we reached the station. We ended up eating bento sets from the convenience store which were horrible.

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Interior of shuttle bus to Taoyuan HSR station (NT30/person). Each person will be assigned seat, so no standing in the bus.
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You can purchase reserved seats from the counter. If you purchase tickets using Easycard from the ticketing machines, they will not be reserved seats
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Very interesting carriers for the bento sets
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Riding the High Speed Rail to Taichung. The seats are really spacious.
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酱烤风味鸡排便当
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Beautiful scenery along the way
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Once you arrive at Taichung HSR station, follow the instructions until you reach the platform for city shuttle bus. (Tip: Easy card can be used on these shuttle bus)

Since our airbnb accommodation was located along one of the bus routes, I decided to take the shuttle bus from Taichung HSR station. This was a BAD mistake. I would NOT recommend public buses if you are carrying big luggages because there is simply no space for luggages on the bus. Taxi in Taiwan is cheaper than in Singapore, so take it for the convenience (especially on a rainy day). If you still want to experience taking the bus, please at least get the Easycard (our version of EZlink card) first. The Easycard can be bought from any convenience stores and used (as far as I know) in both Taipei and Taichung for transport and in convenience stores. As we did not purchase the cards, the driver had to tap his own card for us first. Before we get off, we tap the card on the reader again and pay him the amount stated. Please ensure that you have small change first, else suffer the wrath of the bus driver!

Taichung Airbnb

By the time we reached our hotel, it was 6pm and POURING. We were drenched and miserable when we finally located our apartment. That was a freaking 4 hours after we landed in Taiwan! Thankfully our Taichung Airbnb house provided free biscuits, coffee and teabags which brought some warmth and comfort to our cold shivering bodies.

 

taichung airbnb collage
Photos from Airbnb website

Our Taichung Airbnb house is actually a studio service apartment that is located within Park Lane Inn (金典绿园道商旅) in a complex 中港晶华大楼 that houses another 5-star Splendor Hotel (金典酒店). It is located very centrally in Xitun District (西屯区) with a shopping complex directly below and SOGO diagonally opposite with an underground link. The airport bus stops directly in front of the hotel. If you choose the HSR route, bus 159 from the station stops in front of SOGO, and from there, it is a short 5 mins walk to the hotel.

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View from our 28th floor. SOGO is diagonally across our accommodation, connected by an underground link.
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The bus shelter where the highway bus from Taoyuan airport stops is directly below our house (Photo taken from Airbnb website)

Since the house is a studio apartment, it was good for only a one night stay for 4 people. What I really like about the house, besides the superior view and cosy design, is the concern that the owner has for her guests. Many of her guest reviews in Airbnb mentioned about this, and after experiencing it myself, I must say that everything I read was true! Our initial plan was to stay in Sun Moon Lake the next day, and then move to Cingjing on the 3rd day. When I told her we might be cancelling our plans to Cingjing, she was willing to reserve her place for us without any deposit even though I told her I could only confirm the next day. When I informed her the next day that we were returning to Taipei instead, she readily agreed to cancel our reservation without pressing us to stay at her place. Even after we reached Taipei, she continued to keep in touch and even recommended us places to eat (by providing us files with directions)! When she knew that we could not go to popular Fengchia Night Market because of the rain, she offered to bring us to her favourite eating places nearby. She also sent me dozen over files of indoor tourist attractions that we could go if we continued our stay in Taichung. No words can express how amazed I was with her hospitality. If you are a group of 4 people or less looking for a place to stay in Taichung, I strongly recommend her place! (Click here for the link)

Chun Shui Tang 春水堂

One perk of staying at our Airbnb house is that the apartment is located directly above a shopping complex that houses Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) franchise outlet. If you do not already know, Chun Shui Tang is the founder of Taiwan’s most popular beverage – bubble tea. The original shop is in Taichung Siwei Road (四维路),which is somewhere near Taichung railway station. If you are keen to make your own bubble tea, you can visit their branch at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (国立台湾美术馆).

Chun Shui Tang was highly recommended by our host for dinner. I was initially quite perplexed about what there is to eat, since my knowledge of the place stops short at bubble tea. Turns out that the Chun Shui Tang outlet below our house is a proper restaurant selling chinese food. We had not done our research beforehand, so we randomly ordered small dishes to share.

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Chun Shui Tang (春水堂) at 金典綠園道
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Classic bubble tea (珍珠奶茶). 看, 谁比谁大?
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Hot bubble tea
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Homemade Thin Noodles with Sesame Oil (手工麻香面线)
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Noodles with XO sauce (顶级XO酱辣拌面)
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Kung Fu Rice Noodles (功夫米粉)
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Braised Bean Curd & Blood Rice Cake (招牌卤味豆干米血)
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Mochi with seaweed flakes (sorry, can’t find the original name!)
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Signature Braised Bean Curd (招牌豆干)

Our conclusion is that Chun Shui Tang is really worth a try! The mochi with seaweed was slurpsssss, even better than those we tried at Itashao Pier at Sun Moon Lake *drool*. My family really liked the Braised Bean Curd and Blood Rice Cake (招牌滷味豆干米血), and it was gone after I took just 2 pieces! The milk tea was just the right amount of sweetness and the pearls were the right amount of softness and chewiness. The Noodles with XO sauce was fragrant and palatable. Overall, it was a really good dinner to end off the day 🙂

春水堂 (金典店)

Address              :台中市西區健行路1049號4樓
Telephone          : 04-23261805
Opening Hours :平日11:00~22:00 / 假日10:30~22:00

 

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