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:
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.
The Taichung City Tour Itinerary
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!