Day 4: Taichung Day Tour

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Hello again everyone, this is the fourth out of seven posts about my fourth day trip on Taiwan in Last April 2018 to May 2018. You can read my first post on the previous days spent in Taiwan here:

​On my third day in Taiwan, I explored Sun Moon Lake by taking bus from Taichung and went back to Taichung on the very same day. On the fourth day, I explored all the beauties in Taichung, be it in the city center or beyond before taking the train to Hualien for Taroko Gorge adventure.

Planning the Taichung City Tour Trip

When I planned Taichung City tour, I was torn between using public transportation and taking an organised tour. Based on google map, there was no frequent bus or train between places that I wanted to visit (Gaomei Wetland, Luce Memorial Chapel, Rainbow Village, National Taichung Teather, and National Taiwan Museum of Arts). So, I went to Tripadvisor and found an alternative to book a taxi driver for a day. I had searched at least two taxi drivers that were recommended in Taichung and contacted them through email and WhatsApp. I got the email and number from Tripadvisor.

All of the drivers were Chinese speaking driver, but I contacted them in English since my Chinese was zero. The taxi Driver “A” that I contacted via email replied my email using Chinese (I copied them to google translator to understand the meaning). At the same time, I used WhatsApp to contact Taxi Driver “B” since there’s only phone number given in Tripadvisor forum. I managed to proceed bargaining with Taxi Driver “B” for NT 3500 for 10 hours. But, nearing my travel to Taiwan, he did not make any contact nor question where I wanted to be picked up whatsoever I was beginning to doubt him and had a plan B in mind: Using taxi (hop on any taxi available in each spot – instead of renting them for 10 hours) and Plan C: Using Buses and Taxi whenever suits the itinerary and utilize google map for the recommended bus number and route. (Note: I bring my own portable wifi so that I can use google map to help with navigation).

On D-Day minus one, I tried to contact him but he did not seem interested, only said that he was available. So, I formally cancelled the trip and decided that Plan D must be executed: Using Uber.

When I read about renting a Taichung Taxi in Tripadvisor, I stumbled upon stories by some traveler that used Uber. He/she said that it was cheaper than renting a Taxi for the whole day. I was very doubtful since I had never used Uber. So, I downloaded the application the day before and start using it that morning.

Taichung Bus

However, if you want to explore attractions within Taichung city and have days to explore, you can consider using Taichung Bus. Taichung is actually a big city. It is Taiwan’s second most populous city since July 2017, and part of Taichung-Changhua Metropolitan area which is the second largest in Taiwan. Despite this claim, it has not yet had MRT Station by the time of this writing (June 2018) – Kaohsiung & Taipei does have MRT. The MRT in Taichung is actually underway and expected to be completed by the end of 2018. So, the only possible means of transportation in Taichung is its extensive bus network. These are some useful website to learn about Taichung Bus and its route.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taichung_City_Bus
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bus_routes_in_Taichung
http://citybus.taichung.gov.tw/cms/en/driving-map
https://www.taichung.guide/taichung-bus

​The bus in Taichung is free up to 10 km ride, although it is said to be slow and time consuming. I must admit I was kind of lazy AND running out of time to carefully learn about Taichung’s bus network. I did though, open some of their routes and looked for ones that pass the attractions I wanted to visit, but looking one or two routes, combined with google map directions search got me a conclusion that riding a bus was not suitable for that day trip plan. Why? because Gaomei Wetlands, Luce Memorial Chapel and Rainbow villages are not close to each other and the bus does not come that frequently, especially during weekdays.

The Taichung City Tour Itinerary

This is the route that i took on that day. I travelled using Taxi and Uber in combination. The starting point is Taichung Railway station since i stayed near the Railway Station.

Gaomei Wetlands

I booked an Uber exactly at 5 am since I knew it took about 50 minutes ride to Gaomei Wetlands (It cost NT 900 for one way and I think it was quite expensive). I went in the morning to chase the sunrise, which wasn’t quite strong since it was quite gloomy that morning. If you want to go by bus or train to Gaomei Wetland, you can read it here. The website is quite extensive in detailing how to get to Gaomei using public transportations, the timetable, as well as the best time to visit Gaomei Wetlands.

​Gaomei wetlands was established in 2005 and it spans about 300 hectares. There are wind turbines as well in the area, which makes it very beautiful during the sunset/sunrise. The place is good for bird watching and wildlife encounter.

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The vast wetlands

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The bridge on the side of the wetlands to the arrays of wind turbines

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Still quiet in the morning, only few people passing by

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The wind turbines in Gaomei Wetlands side roads

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That bridge in Gaomei Wetlands

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You will find many crustacea in the lands, just look closer and you will find many of them

Getting to Gaomei is one thing, but getting out from Gaomei is another thing. I booked an Uber to Gaomei without thinking how difficult it might get to fetch another one for coming back. Uber usually searches for nearest driver and there was no Uber driver around the Gaomei Wetlands, understandably so! At 8:00 am I tried several times to book an Uber to no success. So, I started to wander looking for someone who might be able to help me calling a taxi. That didn’t work since most of them were tourists as well.

But, I did google a taxi number in Taichung and made a phone call – although the lady on the phone did not speak English. Eventually, I said hi to one of the tourists that I thought may speak in Chinese and I gave my phone to him in the hope that he could help me booking taxi by phone. He spoke on the phone with the taxi operator for some times, then he said what I thought as: No Taxi coming here. So, he helped make another call and gave me another number before he went back to his tour bus. I thought that maybe the number that I dialed did not have a car that coming to Gaomei, and I called new number that the tourist guy gave me. Turned out it was tourist hotline service! Well, I did not quite expect that, I was hoping he gave me another taxi company that have cars coming to Gaomei.

The operator lady on the Tourist Hotline Service understood what I said though she could not help me making any call to taxi. At that time, I had lost my phone credit calling several taxi number and Tourist Hotline Service! my hope was running thin.

Suddenly, an invisible hand helped me. There were tourists arrived in Taxi to Gaomei, and I immediately ran into that taxi and asked him to drove me to Luce Memorial Chapel. Fiuh!!!!! It was quite intense! I did not know what to do if there were no taxi, except to wait a Bus at 14:00 pm (according to google) and that was not an option!

Tips: Go to Gaomei in the afternoon, and not in the morning. The bus coming to Gaomei are more frequent in the afternoon.

Luce Memorial Chapel

After about 35 minutes lucky ride, I arrived at Luce Memorial Chapel. It cost about NT 680 if I’m not mistaken.

Luce memorial chapel is built inside the Tunghai University Complex. The chapel was named after Henry W. Luce an American Missionary in China in late 19th century. The construction of the chapel took place from 1962-1963. (Source: Wikipedia).It was a quite morning, with most of the students were in the class, it was a perfect moment to have a picnic near the Chapel, except for the hot weather.

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Luce Chapel front view

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Rainbow Village

After Luce Memorial Chapel, I booked an Uber for NT 216 from Luce Memorial Chapel to Rainbow Village (Caihongjuan village). Rainbow village was a veteran village that were start being torn down one by one. Then one day, one last village resident painted the empty and dying village with animals, dogs, with vibrant colours, filling the alley and the walls. The village then started to gain attention and government suspend it for demolition. Nowadays, it has become one of famous tourist attractions in Taichung (source:Taichung Guide)

Rainbow village was quite small, but it was full with tourists. It was really hard to take picture with the murals alone. I had to queue several minutes before other tourists took the spot. I think it would be best to visit the village really early in the morning. However, this is one of my favourite spots in Taichung. I love the murals, the colour, and the dominant red painting everywhere I look. It was such a beautiful and vibrant little village.

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Found a hot spot but quickly filled with other tourists

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Love this painting on the wall

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isn’t that lovely? all the paintings and the colour

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see? it’s full of people


National Taichung Theater

At about 10:30 I left Rainbow Village to National Taichung Theater by Uber (NT 167). The theatre opened at 11:30 so I wandered on the outside of the Theatre until the admission time. It was such a beautiful and exquisite building from the outside. I love every curve carved on the seemingly regular rectangular building.

I had to keep my jaw closed all the time. Getting inside the theatre made it worst for me. The curvy pillars and and edges inside of the building were endless and dancing. It buoyed all the senses and brought me momentarily out of this world. That’s what good interior and architectural wonder impact on me. The ceiling, the walls, all have those eclipse and circle nuance, and it’s tall and grandeur. Things were just keep escalating after I discovered more room, more space, and more windows. If I were to pick one favourite spot to be in Taichung, that would be National Taichung theatre. I could just sit there and ogle the crazy interior. If architecture is your element, spent at least two hours here and enjoy the Theatre café as well.

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Exterior of National Taichung Theatre. Just wait until to come inside. Tighten your jaw please

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And speaking of its rooftop, is another matter. The theatre rooftop is to die for. Its still filled with curved ornament and your can see the beauty of Taichung city from its rooftop.

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National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art

I arrived at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts around 2 pm. This was like another party to me. Outside the museum were lots of wood sculpture that was inspired by aboriginal Taiwan arts. The interpretation of the sculpture to the original creature was amazing. This museum also had crazy amazing handcraft store. I bought several souvenir here.

National Taiwan Museum was my last destinations in Taichung. I went back to fetch my luggage at the Hotel around 3 pm, and directly went to Taichung Railway Station. Earlier on the trip, I bought train from Taichung to Hualien at about 7 pm, but I could change my departure time in the station and I departed from Taichung to Hualien at 4 pm instead. That why I didn’t have to arrive at Hualien very late. Hualien was my next transit point to reach Taroko Gorge the next day.

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That giant statue you greet when you’re about to enter the museum

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Another sculpture outside the building. Feel like i was in New Zealand

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It looks like a horse, don’t you think?

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I think this art museum is a must-visit place in Taichung if you love arts and contemporary arts in particular

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Where did I stay in Taichung

I didn’t quite sure why, but on the two days in Taichung, I stayed on a different accommodation. On the first night, I stayed in Airbnb just right across the Railway station (link: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/18904678 ). It was near to Taroko Shopping mall, and near another shopping center as well. On the second night, I stayed at Mini Hotel Taichung, not far away from this Airbnb room. The hotel was chic, modern, squeaky clean, and cozy and so much more!!

With that, i see you on the Fifth day!!! Just drop me any comment or questions!

Previous articleDay 3: Sun Moon Lake
Next articleDay 5: Taroko Gorge
Asana Kusnadi
I'm Asana Kusnadi from Semarang Indonesia. Some of my friends call me Mei, it is taken from my Chinese Name. I was born in Semarang, capital city of Central Java and lived there until I graduated from University. After graduated i worked in Sumatera island and it's been almost 9 years now i live in Riau Province

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