Hsinchu 2019 Day 6 – Home Sweet Home

Woke up earlier than usual as I thought I would take a morning run in this city. After much contemplation on the bed, I got up to get dressed only to find that I didn’t bring the tee for running. Went back to bed instead but I was surprised to see the sky brightly lit at 6 in the morning.

The next time I woke up it was already 9 and we quickly we got out of bed to get ready for breakfast. At the breakfast table, K was again taking in some toasted garlic bread as other items didn’t interest him. I tried some of the small dish items that I didn’t take yesterday and they were ok.

Breakfast for the last day

Even though we didn’t really have any itinerary today, we were all checked out by 1030 and on the vehicle as the driver was going to bring us to a few more stores to shop before getting onto the plane home. First stop was to a local peanut butter jam store, called Fuyuan peanut butter store (福源花生醬).

We arrived shortly after a drive to a shop that looked like any other shop around the area. Everyone got off except K and I as we stayed in the vehicle since we weren’t all that interested in peanut butter. This was supposedly one of the best peanut butter store that produce their own peanut butter. As usual, there were some shopping for the in-laws and mommy didn’t get any.

Peanut butter store

Our next stop was to the Central market as that looked very much like the one where we visited the temple. Similarly, we stayed behind while the rest got off to some marketing, in the hopes to get some fresh fruits to bring back to Singapore.

Central market area

The last but the most important of the stops was at a meatball store, called Hai Rui Gong Wan (海瑞貢丸). This time we all got off to visit the store which had a small area with tables for visitors to eat immediately after the meatballs were cooked in the pot. While the in-laws got their purchases, we managed to try one of the meatballs and I was really impressed by the bounciness of the meatball! Even the picky K took another bite! Unfortunately we were too far to eat and I couldn’t get a picture of the meatball.

Hai Rui Gong Wan store
Inside the store

After getting some batteries for K’s camera from a nearby convenience store, we left for the airport. We arrived into Taoyuan airport after about an hour of driving and bade the driver, whom had been a very friendly and diligent driver guide, goodbye before lining up to check in. Mommy did the machine check in while we lined up with 4 trolley full of luggage to check in, half of these were boxes of shopping items bought (by the in laws). The check in was thankfully ok with the boxes being distributed amongst all the ticket holders, but amongst the chaos K lost my pokeball and I had to reprimand him.

Before going thru immigrations, we found that one of the luggage was rejected due to prohibited item being found inside the checked-in luggage. Returning to the check-in counter, we realized that it belonged to my father-in-law whom left a rechargeable torchlight inside the luggage.

After meeting up with K and mommy at Starbucks who were there to get some food, probably because the MIL thinks that there were a lot of time and her grandson needed to eat something, we quickly return to pass through the gate to immigrations. Our family was given the short cut as K was identified by the security as a small child in tow and thus given priority to pass.

We passed through without much problems and soon found our way to the gate where we met the others there. While waiting to board this codeshare plane that would fly towards Surabaya after Singapore, we were informed that the flight would be delayed by 30mins and so we took the opportunity to return to the shops to have a look since we did have quite a bit of NT left to spend.

It was a short while before we returned for the boarding, and I had to bring the stroller onboard since the airline staff could not pick it up. We had to wait for them to decide on the sitting arrangements (again) before settling in. The rest of the journey was not much drama, except for the time when K was asking for food as he got hungry and the main meal was only served at about 3pm and another time when he had to take a dump near the end of the flight.

This was a second time in a year that we attempted to travel with the extended family, partly as a way to spend time with the in-laws and mostly for the kids to go together. I personally didn’t enjoy this compared to the earlier one as we didn’t have a lot of flexibility since a big part of the time we were together whereas we had more smaller family time / kids time during Korea. While we were spending time back as a smaller family, each of us at least get what we wanted and thus everyone was happy whereas in Taiwan, we all had to go thru all the activities together and unfortunately 3 generations of people would have 3 different expectations of what fun was and most of time, it wasn’t fun for the kids. As much as how proactive the driver was, what he catered for the group was mainly for the interests of the adults and although that was welcomed by the in-laws, it didn’t played out well for the kids who were bored. This was made worst when we had to spend so much time outside and left little time back at the room and K was left frustrated not having enough play time for himself. For this, I would think twice about another trip with them, taking into considerations the trip itinerary and country of visit as most important deciding factor.

Hsinchu 2019 Day 5 – Window on China Theme Park, Leofoo Village and Hsinchu City God Temple

The dreadful weather continued into day 5 with the overcast clouds stubbornly dripping droplets till day broke. We were all up by 9 and pretty smoothly with the morning routine – I used in Korea seemed to work here as well.

We managed to get ready and go for breakfast on the 4th floor. There weren’t many people and the variety was limited as it was only serving continental breakfast. K was struggling with his cereal but I found the garlic spread that when applied to sliced bread and toasted, gave the perfect formula for K’s fussy tastebuds.

My breakfast

At 10, we all gathered on the ground floor ready to board the vehicle for our last day trip. We were going to the Window On China theme park to see miniature models of famous landmarks. It was an open air theme park so the bad weather was going to be a bummer to the visit. We paid the price of 5 full price tickets of NT499 and 3 at reduced price of NT399 for the seniors and K.

Window on China theme park
Gigantic bugs

The theme park was quite well done I thought as the models were pretty realistic and there were quite a variety of buildings that I could relate too. It also garnered the interest K’s interest.

Miniature train that moved!
Building with an army parade
Panoramic of the little buildings
Model of a interesting builiding
Forbidden city in tiny size
Fountain in the WOC

After the landmarks of Taiwan and China, we took a mini train that brought us to the other section. Here we found an indoor theme park, an outdoor one which was mostly closed and a theatre. There were also European miniature landmarks and American ones.

Train to the other section
Egyptian theme section

We saw the European ones and proceeded to look for the NASA space rocket in America before returning to the theatre for a show that had magic and comedy and the Chinese traditional art of face changing. It was interactive show as the performers came down from the stage and got close to the audience, giving the kids high fives and at times requiring “help” from the kids to do something.

European building
Moscow famous church
Outdoor them parkl
NASA space shuttle
Inca pyramids
Indoor theme park
Performers up close!

After the show, we went to the restaurant serving fast food nearby to have our lunch. K had not much of a problem eating that as there were his favorite fries.

Ferris Wheel restaurant
Our lunch

We headed for the exit after our lunch after deciding to pay Leofoo village theme park a visit, considering that there would be not much time left as it would close at 5pm and that the rain would limit the amount of outdoor activity at the park. It would have been fine too if we had chosen to stay as there were also indoor and outdoor rides at the Window on China.

Store from Window of China

The drive to the park was quick since the distance between the 2 parks was really close. I made a purchase quickly on Klook and plus entering a promo code ended up with us paying only $157 for 5 adults, 1 child and 2 seniors, less than $20 per pax. Got my tickets from the customer service office and we entered the park that wasn’t crowded (because of the weather of course).

Leofoo village entrance

The target visit was the animals and thus we checked out the white tigers, and the many many types of monkeys there. Later, we returned to board the safari bus ride that brought us to see bear, lions and tigers, these animals were free roaming as the bus entered their compound thus the experience felt like a safari. It was an interesting experience with the animals very close by.

Monkey running
Another type of monkey
Inside the safari bus
Tigers roaming about
Lion lying around in compound

K wanted to visit the birds enclosure while mommy and the rest went on to take the train. While at the enclosure, one of the staff handed K a syringe to feed the parrots and that ended up with parrots standing on both of our heads, fearless of getting close to humans when it comes to food.

We walked to the goat enclosures and saw them baaing at the visitors waiting to be fed with goat feed that could be purchased there. K wasn’t interested since he had done a lot of that at the Flying Cow Ranch. We walked to the Alcapa enclosure but couldn’t see those animals as they might have gone into the shelter.

Baaing goat on a elevated rock

Then at one time, the meerkats were out in full force as the staff fed them. It was easy to identify the one on guard duty as it was doing that role diligently up atop a rock. Soon mommy returned with the rest to join us and we walked out of the animal theme section to have a look at others.

Meerkat on the rock as a lookout

Barely touched the palace section before I brought K to the America section where he vaguely remembered playing an arcade machine of firefighters and wanted to see that again. As I ran there, we found that place was closed and instead, we tried our luck at the air rifle games instead. That gave K some experience with a air rifle (not a real one) of loading the cock and shooting, though we didn’t win any prizes from that game. Mommy joined us and tried as well but also in vain.

Hippos with fountains
Shooting carnival games

Before leaving, we watched the last fountain show and that was pretty disappointing compared to the various fountains that we have seen in throughout our travels. The unimpressive water fountain that had some of their nozzles choked ended up with a messy and lazy kind of a water display. They would need something better than that to attract people.

Disappointing fountain show

We exited the park at closing time and got aboard our vehicle for a visit to another adhoc location, recommended by the guide, the Hsinchu City God Temple.

It was about a 40mins drive back to the city and we arrived into a busy place that was lined with lots of food stores. We got off to the temple walking through a doorway that seemed too obscured to know that it leads to the main temple. While in the temple, we lighted up the joss sticks and did the prayers before visiting the toilet and looking around.

Busy central area where the temple was
Hsinchu City God Temple
Within the temlple compound

K and I returned to the vehicle a short while later while mommy and the rest visited a store selling meatballs to get some local food before joining us.

Next we were off to our dinner location, a popular roast chicken store that originated from Yilan, where they would roast their chicken in dome shaped kilns, Weng Yao Ji, 甕窯雞, . We arrived at the restaurant which quite empty though, however the many Taiwanese celebrities photos on the walls convinced me that it should be quite good to garner the interest of these people.

At Weng Yao Ji restaurant
Kilns for roasting chicken

Our food came and the main dish of the roast chicken came last since it had to take time to roost. Being a fan of roost chicken, I did find the chicken tasted better than those I am familiar with because the meat did feel juicier, even at those sections that were particularly dry. The rest of the other food was ok but the free soup tasted bad.

Fried prawns
Fish fillet
Roast chicken

Before returning to the hotel, we informed the driver that we regretted not getting any bubble tea and so he made a short detour to drop us off to get our boba milk tea from 50 Lan, aka Koi in Sg. With just NT50 we got to satisfy our milk tea cravings before we went back to the hotel.

50 lan
Huge boba milk tea

Night was the usual stuff plus some packing. There wasn’t anything planned for the next morning before flying home so we just chilled for the night.

Hsinchu 2019 Day 4 – Flying Cow Ranch and Little Ding Dong Science Theme Park

The entire night was raining and it continued through day break. We awoke to drizzling sounds that alternate between soft and loud. The most problematic weather of any holiday trip – rain. It went on till everyone was awake and we couldn’t even go out for breakfast so we ate in the room, having the yummy Hong Rui Zhen (洪瑞珍三文治) sandwiches from Taichung and instant noodles that we bought yesterday which also tasted really good.

We called the reception to check whether activities were still going to proceed and were informed that it was. So we borrowed umbrellas from the staff and suited up K in his yellow rain coat and went to the farm.

The distant whistle for the duck parade urged us to walk faster and we managed to see the ducks waddle towards us and had the chance to feed them. After they retreated back to their rest area, we walked towards the baby goats and ducklings area to feed them too. I remembered fondly the mountain goats that would walk up the ramp to the top to wait for the can of food being pull up to them and this time it was no difference. There wasn’t any goats up at the ramp at first but I called out to them with one of the packet of feed in hand and sure enough one started to climb the ramp up to the top. Then it was about pulling the can up the pulley that K enjoyed doing for the goat at the top. We were even surprised when the can went up by itself, only found out that it was the goat that had taken matters into own hands (feet) and stepped on the wheel to move it up!

Ducks following the bells
Up close for feeding
Fenced up area for little ducklings
Baby goats
Deer up close
Goat on the ramp
Feeding goats

We went to the rabbit house for more feeding but eventually K returned to the mountain goats to spend time there while I returned to the room to pack and get ready for check out by 11am.

Rabbit in the barn

I informed the staff for help to pick up the luggage with their pick up truck that and quickly got ours ready for collection. Then I returned to look for K and mommy who was still at the same location and we continued with a few more feedings. We returned to the main entrance before heading to the DIY classrooms.

We didn’t expect those classrooms to be so far, which was down the hill and as we rushed to the ice cream class, it was too late by the time we arrived. Had to climb all the way back up the hill before K had a meltdown for being too tired and disappointed that he couldn’t go back to the playground due to rain (as he so wanted to reminisce how it was when he was younger).

DIY classes at the bottom of the hill

We ended up in the fast food joint to get burgers for the kids. It was not too bad I thought although it may not be something that the in-laws were interested in. We stuck around for a bit there before going to the loo and boarding the vehicle for the next destination.

Fast food for lunch

We drove to the Little Ding Dong theme park. I didn’t realized that it wasn’t Doraemon until we arrived to find that the Little Ding Dong was another character locally. However the more disappointing side of this visit was the weather as the drizzle was relentlessly going on and on.

We got the tickets and proceeded in, going to the sheltered area first, which was the science museum. We made our way quickly and entered the mildly crowded area. It was a rather small area but quite a few interactive games that we could play together. One of which was a pass-the-ball game that we had to balance with rotation ladles across the entire length from one starting point to the hoop at the other end. There was also a space game that K and his cousin H had fun playing before leaving for another location. One that got my attention was a staff led exhibit that allowed people to get a feel of static electricity by making their hair stand which was really funny.

Little Ding Dong science theme park
Display at the entrance
Water play
Inside science museum
Old style game of ball and luck
Inside the dark room where there were space related stuff

We went on to the next sheltered area which was the ski area but stopped short of entering because nobody wanted to get cold.

Indoor ski park

Thought we would try something outdoor and walked towards the Alice maze. We made it there but did not try entering because suddenly there was an influx of mosquitoes attacking us (my wife and the rest cause I wasn’t aware until they screamed in terror). I managed to try a couple of the water related exhibits there and I thought it could have been fun if not for the rain or the mosquitoes. We were soon walking quickly back towards the exit.

Water related display
Panoramic view of the maze

We arrived and walked through the shop of the park leaving behind a huge area unexplored. K chose something that he wanted from the store and his grandma bought it for him. Then we boarded the vehicle towards our hotel to check in first.


Our accommodation for the night was Dar Lon hotel, situated in a not so convenient location as it seemed very distant from the hustle and bustle. The check in was done quickly and we were given rooms on the same floor. Mommy had booked a supposedly better room and we were rewarded with one that had a huge bathroom with integrated steam room function and a nicely decorated room. There was a fruit platter too which I conveniently placed into the standard size fridge. We didn’t have much time there before we had to leave the room for dinner.

Bed with sitting corner
Standard size fridge
Tub and toilet
Mini bar
Fruit platter

The driver brought us to a Moon of Wind City restaurant, a restaurant was designed in the oldies theme and the design was really impressive. The Hakka food served for dinner was not too bad and better then what we had the compared to the one we had at the train station. But the walk around the restaurant after the dinner was even better and quite an eye opener for both K and ourselves as we explained to him what those stuff were and how things looked so different now.

Moon of Wind City restaurant
Hakka restaurant
Inside the restaurant
Fried vegetables
Fried tofu
Braised meat
Steamed fish
Old convenience store
One of the display on the 2nd level
View from the 2nd level
Post man figurines

After dinner, the driver drove us to a CD store and a shoe store as our in-laws wanted to buy some stuff. There weren’t anything interesting for me though but we just went with the flow until it was time for us to return to the hotel.

Hsinchu town at night

The room was nice and we spent the night playing the toys that was bought (at the theme park and the restaurant) and quite some time at the huge tub. Then it was lights out after the usual routine.

Miaoli 2019 Day 3 – Sheng Hsing Station, Long Teng Bridge and Flying Cow Ranch

The morning started about the same, we had started packing the night before and thus left with a bit more to pack in the day. Mommy went off to breakfast first while I stayed in bed with K as he snoozed to 9ish. I had to wake him up but he was quick to cooperate and soon we were on our way to breakfast.

I was able to get some other food for breakfast since there were some that I didn’t try the day before. Nonetheless it was filling enough and we returned to the room to check out.

It wasn’t a smooth morning to say the least but something I wouldn’t want to jot down as I would rather forget the incident. Our first destination was to get some stuff that the in laws was searching for, the driver brought us to the wholesale store. After a couple of visits later, we went to the Ruyi Sunny cake store which had the number 1 Sun Cake (太阳饼) for the 4th year. It was an interesting store whereby there was introduction by the staff followed by sampling. Kids had a box of toys that they entertained themselves throughout at a smaller table. We bought so much that these were packed in boxes to be checked in as it was physically not possible to lug them in the luggage.

Ruyi Sunny cake store
Champion pastry
Inside the store

After that, we were driven to Sheng Sing Train Station. Spent some time watching a street performer spinning tops, with different ways of doing it. The highlight was spinning a super big one which was quite impressive given his age. K got 2 souvenir tops in exchange for some cash donations.

Sheng Sing train station
Around the train station
And the highlight of the show…
Giant spinning top

For lunch, we went to one of the supposedly best Hakka restaurant called Seven Sister Eight Brother (七姊八弟山城小店). We had to wait for a bit to get a round table at the back of the restaurant. The dishes came quickly and again lots of dishes packed the table as we chomped down the food. The food unfortunately was too salty for us (but maybe ok for people who liked these).

Seven Sis Eight Bro Hakka restaurant
Steamed chicken
Braised tofu

After lunch, we explored the streets to see what other food there was. Bought a bowl of stinky tofu with pig internals and rice blood from what seemed like a makeshift stall caught Old Metal Horse handmade stinky tofu (老铁马手工臭豆腐), which I thought was ok but mommy didn’t like. K also got to get himself a ice stick for dessert.

View of the railways from the top
Old Metal horse stall
Bowl of stinky tofu with other innards
Cute little post box

We went to the railway to get some photos and the ring the train bells but couldn’t take the railbikes because we couldn’t get the tickets before they were sold out. That was still ok because we had the railbike experience before while in Korea. The driver helped to take many photos for us before we returned to the vehicle.

History of the train station
Restaurant with lots of cats
Panoramic view of the long railroads

A short 10 mins drive later, we found ourselves at the Long Teng broken bridge. It was a bridge that crumbled during an earthquake and that was an interesting sight for K. We took some photos before taking a short walk to another part of the broken bridge that had more dramatic look with trees already growing on it.

Long Teng bridge

K walked the entire journey to that section and back, mostly inspired by his cousin. After returning to the starting point where there were a couple of shops, we rewarded ourselves with ice cream and drinks to cool ourselves in the warm day.

Directions to the south
View along the way
Had to cross this bridge
The south section with overgrown trees
View of the Long Teng bridge from the south section

The driver then recommended a cultural visit to a Sanyi Wood Sculpture museum to let us see Taiwanese wood carving work. When we arrived, we found that we were too late as the museum has already closed. We took a photo with the wood carving on the outside and walked along the street to find many stores that sold wood carving furniture. That didn’t last long before we were back in the vehicle.

Sanyi Wood Sculpture museum
Elephant sculpture that occurred naturally
Street near the museum lined with shops
One of such shops on the inside

Then 30mins of driving we arrived at our rest stop for the night, the Flying Cow ranch. Checked in and we were back to the same rooms that we had when we first visited some years back. Later after dropping our bags, we walked to the farm to see cows feeding and fed some goats but mostly the place had already close for the day for the animals to rest.

Our room at Flying Cow
Grazing cows at Flying Cow ranch
All animals welcome to eat together
Some flower

We walked back to the children’s playground to play a bit and for K to reminisce the last time he was here. He couldn’t really remember but had fun still digging sand with the manual excavator machine.

For dinner, we had to settle at the only restaurant there and we ordered not many dishes as these were actually quite huge portions. I had to eat from K’s dish and FIL chicken including the shared portion with mommy plus the driver gave us some famous and tasty sandwiches from Hong Rui Zhen (洪瑞珍三文治), and ended up being pretty full too.

Kids western meal
Popular sandwich wrapped
Unwrapped – yummy!
Where we claimed our free milk or yoghurt

We picked up the free milk bottles (per pax) from the store there before returning to the room for a quick bath. Then we popped over next door to the cookery class to make rice balls. It was quite a fun activity as K was very enthusiastic about it rolling the little balls of flour. These resulted in a bowl of colourful rice balls in milk based soup with red bean which I thought tasted pretty good. This depended on other participants from the other tables since we were making a colour at each table but cooking all in the same pot. Thankfully they tasted ok, just of different sizes.

After the cooking
Final product, including balls from other tables

Back at the room, I went to bath since I was the only one who had not done that. Then it was a quick run thru of the night activity before lights off.

Taichung 2019 Day 2 – Natural Science Museum, Farm visits and Gao Mei Wetlands

It was quite a restless night as K woke up and couldn’t return to sleep somewhere at 4 in the morning. I am unsure what the actual cause was but the bed was quite hard making it not as comfortable as it seemed.

Morning came and we allowed K to sleep in for as long as he could. Mommy went downstairs to have her breakfast first while I stayed in bed with K. K woke up only at 930 and both of us went downstairs together to have our breakfast.

The buffet breakfast had quite a good variety of food from international to local cuisine and I wasn’t able to get all into a plate. I didn’t have time for it as well and quickly finished up the food before returning back to the room. The breakfast wasn’t included in the booking.

Quite a lot of seats at the restaurant
Long buffet line


What I had

We left the room at about 1030 and walked about 10mins to the National museum of Natural Science. Thankfully for most of the shaded path but uneven path, it was not too hot before we arrived. Entered the Science Center first because it was free admission for all and there were two kids sections, one on the 5th floor called discovery section and the other call Dada magical land on B1. Asked about what was there in the science center but the staff kept asking us to visit the galleries instead without really answering the question, leading me to think that they were hard selling the galleries.

Nation Museum of Natural Science
Science center
Free tickets but not sure for what
Directory within the science center

We went on to the 5th floor to check it out ourselves and although it was opened, it was meant for one parent to one child admission and since we were a big group, we were turned away. Didn’t spend much time there and went to the 3rd floor where they had a section on space and we spent some time exploring the exhibits.

Kids Science on the 5F
Solar system model
Space science on the 3F

Dada magical land at B1 had some interactive exhibits and we also spent some time there especially on the camera where the kids were fooling around.

Dada magical land at B1

There were still time and thus we made our way to the galleries. Paid NT470 for 4 adults and 1 child since those under 6 and above 65 didn’t require a ticket and we were soon walking amongst gigantic exhibits.

Tickets to the galleries

I must admit what you pay is what you get and we got 2 levels of exhibits and lots of walking around, ranging from dinosaurs to evolution of man to human body. There were more and better looking exhibits here though the interaction part was not as much. After more than an hour there, we visited the shop before leaving the place, with the driver picking us up at the main road.

Skeleton of the mammoth
Giant jellyfish display
Giant skeleton of a dinosaur
Panoramic view of the dinosaur exhibit
Woolly mammoth
One of the other sections about early man
Exhibit on Egyptian burial
Other places to explore
Taiwanese culture section
Our ride for the day

It was first to our lunch stop where he recommended a mushroom specialty restaurant called Gu-Gu House. About 30mins drive and we arrived at a restaurant in the suburb. The in-laws ordered the food which was all related to mushroom except for one plate of green vegetables and there were a lot food, so much that we didn’t finish (typical when with the in-laws). The food was nice but too much of something was not good too.

Saw a giant golden Buddha along the way
Arrived at the mushroom specialty restaurant
Fried mushroom with veg
Deep fried mushroom
Spicy mushroom
Some more mushrooms

There was a shop where we could get more mushroom products and also right beside the shop was a sheltered farm where mushrooms were grown. It was interesting to see how these mushrooms were farmed but there were also a couple of blood sucking insects there and one landed on K’s face which I swiped off, leaving a trail of blood! Thankfully he was ok.

Store with lotsa mushroom products
Mushroom farm
On the inside of the farm
Mushroom sprouting from small soil packages

We left for the grape farm called Shin Feng Farm (新峰農場) next, a 30mins drive and we drove thru a super narrow 1 car width road when closer to the farm. Everyone got off and went to the farm that was pretty popular, judging from the coaches and people that were there. It was NT100 per person for picking the grapes but not everyone of us wanted to pick so we only went in to take photos. Unlike picking strawberries which can be done by hand, these require sharp cutting tools to cut off at the stem. K had a feel of it which resulted with the bunch of grapes falling onto the steps he was on. At the end of the activity, the owner will weigh the grapes and minus off the entrance fees.

Rules and costs
Grapes everywhere
Up close and ready to pick

Next stop was to a flower garden called Zhong She Flower Market (中社觀光花市) which was another 30mins drive. This time K fell asleep on the way there. So when we arrived, the rest of them got off the vehicle leaving behind K and myself. I was dozing on and off and didn’t know how long it took before they returned.

Our last stop of the day was to Gao Mei Wetlands. Another 30mins and arrived at yet another popular stop but we were too early for the sunset! It was a hot day but windy as evident from all the wind harvesters that were in operation.

Gao Mei wetlands information board
White fiddler crabs
Red fiddler crab
Wooden pathway to the mud at the end
Mudskipper…if you can see it
Line of wind mill
Mudskipper statue to take photo with

We walked on the wooden plank walkpath towards the end where people could get a feel of walking onto the mudflats and together with us was a steady stream of like minded tourists. Along the way we could already see fiddler crabs along the path, red ones and white ones and further down there were also mudskippers.

We made it to the end of the walkpath after several stoppages along the way to take photos and U-turn back to the start since we didn’t want to get dirty. Close to the start there was a toilet where we visited before getting back to the vehicle. The in-laws didn’t want to visit the wetlands and were waiting for us at the vehicle.

Then it was a 45mins drive back to Taichung where we chose to stop at the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall for our dinner. Proceeded to the 10th floor where we ended up at Ippudo for dinner. There was a pop up Pokemon Center and we were going thru the small shop that we didn’t get anything but took some photos with the display there.

Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall
Variety of food options on the 10F
Pop up Pokemon Center on the same floor
Place of pokemon toys and photos

After that, we gone down to the 6th floor where the entire floor was for kids stuff. There were tons of stuff there, from clothes to toys and even the toilet was designed for kids with tiny cubicles and small urinals. However we didn’t have much time left so we went to the ground floor and took the vehicle back to the hotel.

Giant teddy on the lift landing on 6F
Floor catered for children
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall on the outside

The night was spent in the room, similar to the night before. It was some playtime as K so wanted to have some play time with his toys, some TV, a long bath time and eventually lights off, an end to a long day out.

Taichung 2019 Day 1 – Arrival into Taiwan, drive to Taichung and Feng Chia Night Market

It’s the first time I was going on a trip that I didn’t plan at all, it was because this was an extended family trip that was planned by others and I am just a participant. Felt weird as it wasn’t as busy for me to worry about getting from destination to destination, just needed to take care of K.

It was still the June school holidays and leaving home at 8am had us arrive at the airport at around 840am, enough time for us to check in after meeting up with the in laws. The traveling group was a much smaller 7 people group, comparing to our Korea trip we had earlier in the year.

Had our breakfast at one of the many eateries in the departure of T3 and soon we were boarding the China Airlines flight on the way to Taiwan, no drama except some seat changes for the boys to sit together.

I was thoroughly disappointed with the entertainment system on the plane, with a tiny screen and not much choices to watch (only one Captain Marvel with a couple of other older shows). There were no games for K, who was looking forward to it since his last flght, so he survived on watching Lego 2 and 1 episode of Paw Patrol and countless Dora on repeat. Food was ok though and K had quite a mouthful of the meal.

Tiny screen

We landed after a relatively smooth flight and a last min pee emergency where K had to pee into a potable pee bag as there was a line queuing for the only 4 toilets available in the economy section.

Taoyuan airport

We waited just outside the tunnel for our stroller but it was brought to the belt instead, wasted our time waiting there but we were only informed after everyone left.

The immigrations was having a long queue and we took 40mins to snake thru it all before getting our luggage from the belt. We met our driver for the entire trip who brought us to the 7 seater vehicle, across the road from where the coaches usually depart to the carpark where our ride was parked.

After loading up, we then spent the next 2.5hrs on the road to Taichung. K was convinced to take a nap on the way there and he did. I fell asleep myself until we were in Taichung, and we decided to go to Feng Chia night market first before checking in.

Feng Chia Night Market not so crowded when early

The driver let us alight at the McDonald’s and we visited it’s toilet before going down the street to eat the street food. We had been to this night market long time back, and we saw the familiar entrance to the Feng Chia University before turning into the street full of food stores. Bought the big intestine wrap small intestine first, which we had the same some years ago. And then bought a BBQ chicken before entering a stall with sitting area selling soup based kuay tiao like yong tau hu. There were not many people now as it was weekday and still early.

Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang store
Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang
Chicken rolls on skewers
Chicken skewers
Food store
Yong Dao Hu
Dragonball paradise

The food took a while to come and the MIL was getting impatient. It did finally arrive and K had no problem slurping up the food. It was quite nice especially the Tau Hu with the meat in the middle. We were also eating chicken on the skewer which was quite juicy.

After this, we went to one of the many claw machine store to try our luck. Per game was only NT10, which was pretty cheap compared to Singapore. After just a couple of tries, mommy managed to score a Charmander plushie! However, after trying out further, we couldn’t manage another one.

One of the claw machines stores that were a common sight
The prize

Walking further down the street, we got more street food like red tea from 50 Lan (the originator of the popular milk tea store Koi in Sg), onion pancake and so on. There was also stinky tofu which K responded by blocking his nose with his fingers. We only managed to walk from one street to another before going back to McDonald’s to use the toilet and wait for our vehicle. This was just a small part of the entire Feng Chia night market.

50 Lan
Frothy red tea
Onion pie store
Onion pie eaten before photo

The journey to the Splendor hotel was a short 10mins drive. We arrived at the drop off and the staff of the luxurious hotel were first to the vehicle helping with the door and the mountain of luggage. We bade the driver farewell after aligning on the next day meet up timing and proceeded to check in on the 12th floor.

Grand looking hotel hall

We had 3 rooms on the same floor and ours came with a huge bed but only a restricted view of the pool. The night was spent mostly in the huge bathtub and some tv. K snacked on some Taiwanese Doraemon pastry that he used to have while he was here two years ago and then after a packet of banana milk and books, we were off to bed.

Our room
Inside the toilet
Separate shower
Separate toilet
Limited pool view

Escape Plan to Taichung June 2019

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Taichung:

Total duration 6D5N
Singapore is on same timezone as Taiwan.
Flight time is 4hrs 45mins on China Airlines from Singapore to Taipei. Return flight is 4hrs 45mins on China Airlines from Taipei to Singapore.

Morning flight on 20th Jun at 1030am and arrival in Taipei in the afternoon at 310pm. Return flight from Taipei on the 25th Jun at 230pm and  arrival in Singapore at 715pm.

Day 1 Arrival into Taiwan, drive to Taichung and Feng Chia Night Market
Day 2 Natural Science Museum, Farm visits and Gao Mei Wetlands
Day 3 Sheng Hsing Station, Long Teng Bridge and Flying Cow Ranch
Day 4 Flying Cow Ranch and Little Ding Dong Science Theme Park
Day 5 Window on China Theme Park, Leofoo Village and Hsinchu City God Temple
Day 6 Home Sweet Home

This escape plan was the first time that we travel with my wife’s extended family. I didn’t participate in any of the planning and just went with the flow. As such, some parts of the trip didn’t turn out to be as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

Budget nature: Not too bad 

The bulk of the costs were the plane tickets and accommodation which was paid off by extended family members and I only had to pay for the attractions which weren’t all that expensive. Food was affordable too (and paid by FIL).

Complexity: Easy

As it was planned with a daily driver, we didn’t need to know how to move around since the driver would bring us around. We only need to know where we wanted to go.

Also, we targeted attractions within Taichung and northwards towards Taoyuan, it was easy to cover these with the driver.

Taiwan 2016 Day 9 – Home Sweet Home

We woke up at about 730 and prepared for the trip home. Beyond the curtains was a muddy scene in a dark drizzle. We only managed to see zebras. Mommy prepared to cook porridge and k wanted milk. He couldn’t return to sleep so we got him to look outside the window to look at the zebras. They weren’t close.

Morning view of safari

Zoomed in on zebras

We hurried to breakfast but was stuck at the walking path as there weren’t enough umbrellas. We waited a while for some people to return. After we arrived at restaurant we were informed that the restaurant was full and we had to go to the restaurant in the theme park to have it. They have a shuttle bus but we had to wait for a while. As it was going through a side gate, we couldn’t drive there ourselves too.

Bus to the breakfast area

On board the bus it took just 3mins before we arrived at the back side of the restaurant. The restaurant was crowded as well and it was a huge western cowboy design hall. There was a buffet line as well and had a variety of food. Got K some bread and cereal and he was happy munching on them. Coffee machine was making a line and I gave up lining for it. Had to wait for the bus back.

Breakfast vouchers

Breakfast hall

Breakfast table

The same route back and it was still drizzling. The giraffes were out and at the sheltered feeding zones. From our room we could see them away from our window. We had to pack for the airport and by the time we were done, it was about 11. Checked out and loaded the luggage and as we left, we were greeted with some African dancing at the main entrance, in the light drizzle.

Giraffes awake for breakfast

Animals and people out in the open

Drove to the car return which was in Dayuan, 5mins drive from Taoyuan airport. Pumped at the gas station at 50meters before the rental company for 200NT to get back to the original amount when it was handed over to me. The staff did a final check and charged us for the 1hr overtime of 204NT and usage of expressway fees 377NT, these fees to be paid in cash. I didn’t have anymore cash so had to go over to 7-11’s ATM to draw a minimum of 1000NT to pay it off.

They offered a free shuttle trip back to the airport but we had to wait for another group of customers before leaving. By the time we arrived at the terminal 1 for Tigerair, it was already 1230. Quickly checked in and left for the gates after some last minute shopping at Godiva. Fed K his porridge before boarding the plane back, the flight was on time. The flight back had a couple of turbulence as it left the cloudy region of Taiwan and en route to Singapore but K was well behaved and even slept 2 hours on the flight, now 2 had his own seat.

Godiva ice cream

Taipei airport

At the gate

This was a trip to celebrate K birthday by going for farmstay and also an experience at the safari hotel. It was however not going well as expected due to the week long drizzle and road closures and the constant vomiting of K. However he was still happy with the cake and with our company and I guessed this met the objective of our trip.

Taiwan 2016 Day 8 – Flying Cow Ranch and Leofoo Village

Woke up at 530 to make milk for K and stayed awake to check that he didn’t puke. Too be more certain, I made much less in quantity as well.

It was very much the same routine again but we had to pack for the last change of accommodation for the trip so packing was included in the morning. K woke up at about 9 and quickly we had to get him changed so that we could meet the breakfast ending timing of 930. It was his birthday today and hopefully we wouldn’t get frustrated with his whining. He woke up fine.

The breakfast was buffet style held at a big dining hall just opposite the accommodation, a short walk there. We saw quite a crowd of people on the ranch grounds, kinda expected of it since it was a Saturday after all. The buffet table wasn’t having a lot of variety, mostly Taiwanese cuisine, typical of the Min Su that we have been staying. K had some of this and that and soon he was about wanting to get out of the baby seat already.

Breakfast buffet area


Cows statues in the restaurant

After breakfast, we first went to the big tractors that K was playing the evening earlier to play on it again. While on the way there, we saw a real tractor pulling a passenger carriage parked nearby, waiting for people to board for a tour around, for 50NT per adult. We skipped.

Tractor pulled carriage

Next we brought him to the playground nearby as we didn’t had time to go the day earlier. There were a couple of interesting things such as a kids manual excavator on sand, a couple of bells that he was very fascinated about and a slide that was designed to look like a huge tractor on the outside. We stayed for a while and then proceeded to the animals.

More cows statues


Early in the morning, there were more animals to see that we didn’t see the day before. Young goat kids and ducklings were out in the fence where we could buy feed to feed them and give the kids milk. There was also an activity called the duck march where the staff rang bells to bring the duck towards them to feed them and it was lovely to watch them flock here and there. We also fed the mountain goat and the rabbits before leaving, K feeling tired with all the feeding.

Duck march

Ducks gathering for the food

Goat kid drinking milk from a bottle

Feeding ducklings

Feeding rabbits

We returned to the room to pack the lunch and luggage and checked out at about 11am. Our next destination was the fun place known as Leofoo village, about an hour away. It was a short drive and K didn’t fall asleep although there were signs.

The weather wasn’t playing ball and it was getting cloudy. We arrived at Leofoo resort, past the main parking for the theme park (free when we were guests of the resort) and many cars were found parked there already. Got off the car to check in at about 1215 but rooms weren’t ready. While waiting, we managed to catch some lemur in action, jumping here and there and saw some rhinos. One of the lemur actually jumped onto the walking path to the hotel rooms. We then decided to buy tickets to the theme park as there weren’t much we could do at the resort. The tickets were sold at the resort shop at a price of 900NT per adult (99NT less). Then it started to drizzle.

Leofoo resort

Safari next to the rooms

Giraffe and zebras feeding

Jumping lemurs

And onto the walk path

We then drove to the game room just 100meters away from the main reception to have our free photo taken. Then as we were shown the samples for the free tiny calendar, we couldn’t help but purchased another 2 photos for souvenir at 500NT.

Library next to the photo souvenir center

Then we drove to the theme park and got mommy and K to alight first before I found a parking spot in the crowded car park, that was available behind a bus parking area. The drizzle wasn’t heavy but wasn’t letting up either. We entered while many were seen leaving.

Leofoo village entrance

The theme park was arranged like the RWS in Singapore with different areas representing different continents. Went to the west first, of cowboy themes and got ourselves some lunch near the condor ride ( one that the running men took as one of their punishment if I remembered). K had his lunch too and as we tried to finish our big meal pack, mommy brought K to the nearby arcade to keep him happy. It was getting chilly as we had our lunch in a those tables with a huge sun umbrella – it only shielded us from the rain but not the wind.

Wild West side

Cute lunch box

Sumptuous meal

Where we bought lunch

Screaming Condor ride

After I was finally done with my lunch, we then walked around the shops and also took K onto a kids ferry wheel. He was interested for a bit before wanting to get off, maybe because it was constantly stopping to let passengers on and off.

South Pacific zone

Ferris wheel for kids

We proceeded to walk to the next area and got in line for a ride featuring big birds which went around but also upwards and downwards. As the queue was long, K fell asleep waiting and so I got out of the queue. Mommy and I decided to just roam around to see what were the other rides available, with reference from the map that gave a recommended ride route to follow.

Bird ride that we didn’t have a chance to take

Water rides

and down

We walked through the glamorously designed Aladdin world and then finally the Africa theme where it was a mini zoo cum theme park. We saw Alcapa in real life which looked adorable and there was a enclosure with 2 huge white tigers, which allowed people to be able look at them very closely (unlike our zoo). Then we sat in one of the sheltered cafe to just rest and chat while K snoozed.


4 horns goat

White tiger

The next time K woke was already 415pm and we brought him to the huge carousel of horses at the Aladdin world as he liked that. I sat with him on a horse that could go up and down as mommy took photos from the outside. There were 4 rows of horses and many could get onboard.

Nice looking place, better if not raining


Then we walked towards the flying horse ride but it was closed already at 445pm. It was disappointing as K said he wanted to take it but he didn’t seem to show. Then we proceeded to the exit since the theme park official closure was 5pm, which was very early in my opinion.

We got ourselves some popcorn and souvenir from the gift shop near the entrance and I picked up the car to fetch mommy and K, minimizing exposure to the rain. While we headed in the opposite direction towards the resort, many cars were heading outwards.

I let mommy and K off at the entrance first for mommy to do the check in while I parked the car. We got a room from the Giraffe wing, room 112 which was said to be one of the better ones (according to some online blog like bumblebeemum and tips), as there was ample space below our room for animals to walk and that gave us a chance to see the animals up close if they do choose to roam around.

The staff helped with our 2 huge luggage and as I carried K with an umbrella and mommy carried some other bags with another umbrella, as the path was unsheltered and it was still drizzling. The room was huge as it was designed for a family of 4, having one huge King and 2 singles. The toilet was big too with 2 showers and 2 sinks. This was of course with a price, 11900NT to be exact. We managed to see zebras silhouette nearby as the sun had already set at 6 and have to switch off all the lights to see them better.

Big room

Toilet with double sink


View from the room at night

Zebra silhouette at the foreground

We had earlier reserved to dine in the resort at a time slot of 715pm. In the meantime K was watching his YouTube videos on bells on my Hp while we relaxed on the beds. I called reception to asked for baby tub and it was delivered to our room after a while. It was great as I didn’t even need to pump up the air tub for the entire trip. Got K to bath in the tub and changed before we headed to dinner.

There was a huge dining area on the 2nd floor near the reception and a buffet line again. This time there were more choices, a small part for kids and a small area for vegetarians. Still mostly Taiwanese with some meat and Japanese selection and pastries and a free flow of San Miguel but I wasn’t having any.


Dinner hall

Dinner buffet

K was a little cranky and didn’t want to eat much nor did he want to sit there for too long. He made a ruckus sometimes. We left to join one of the activity that was supposed to be at 830pm but we only finished dinner at 850 and didn’t know the time. After checking with reception and they called the staff in charge of the activity to hold it just for us! We were embarrassed but K had a lot of fun, throwing the triangular cushion for mommy to catch, most often throwing everywhere else except towards mommy whom was supposed to catch it with a newspaper and folding it into half every time she was successful. It didn’t carry on for too long as K was not focusing and throwing it anywhere and we called it a day, not to take too long of the staff’s time.

We went to the cafe below to buy a piece of cheese cake to celebrate Ks birthday and they didn’t have any matches. We asked the reception and they arranged for a staff to help us with it. After setting up the candle on the tiny cheesecake, the staff lighted the candle for us and we all sang the birthday song. K was happy constantly chuckling and very interested in the fire. Pity that he couldn’t blow out the candle as we took too long and it burnt through.

The night was spent cleaning up and packing and then going to sleep, a nice finish to a fun filled day, a weary taiwan trip and a welcome of the terrible age of 2.

Taiwan 2016 Day 7 – Cingjing farm and Arrival to Flying Cow Ranch

It was only 430am and K asked for milk. Made him a bottle and after drinking, he coughed and vomited. Managed to catch most with plastic bag, that was kept by my side due to his recent vomiting spell. Cleaned up a bit before going back to sleep. He was feeling uncomfortable but soon slept too.

Mommy was feeling tired so she didn’t cook. All we woke up much later, proceeded to clean up and pack. After K woke, we quickly dressed him up and went down for breakfast which was ending at 830. Initially we wanted to sit outside as the view was so inviting but the sun was shining too brightly so we chose inside. As it was already quite late, there wasn’t much left , though there was not much variety to begin with. There was just porridge and the things to go with it. For the porridge, what was left in the pot was almost near the bottom and thus a lot watery. There was milk tea available.


Bright outside

K ate some of the porridge and egg. And we had ours as much as we could before the buffet was cleared. Afterwards, while I went back up to the room to bring down the luggage, K who was quite grouchy, cried loudly when I left for the carpark, so loud that the whole building could hear him.

After I returned, we checked out and drove to Green Green Grassland to see sheeps. No free parking as all the carpark slots were filled so we drove up a level above the road level and parked at a paid parking area, for 200NT per entry. Paid the fees of 160NT per adult and 20NT for K. We followed the walkpath and walked to windmill for pictures and scenery and went to the shop nearby to get a bottle of goat milk for K who was asking for milk.

Path to parking up the slope to the left

Map of Cing Jing farm

Windmill at Green Green Grassland

Statue of a squirrel

Goat milk

Next we proceeded to walk over to the performance tentage to watch a horse riding show, performed by Mongolian riders. We didn’t stay long as we were siting outside the shelter and it was getting hot sitting in the sun. The riders were quite skilled, there a lot of acrobatics done with/on the horse as they ran within the stage.

Horse riding show

Horse rider on a big horse

Team of horse riders

Performance tentage

We trekked back the same road and exited the west part of the park and entered the east one. Since we already got stamped on our arms we could just enter without showing the tickets.

Stalls lined the sheltered walkway to the grassland

Before us was a huge grassland with free roaming sheep. We climbed the steps and got close, touched some of them and took photos of them and with the surrounding. K was not very interested in them though. When we reached the middle of the park, there was a tree sheltered area and stalls where we took a rest. After the short break, we continued towards the castle for more photo taking and to use the toilet outside the east entrance. Bought some souvenirs from the souvenir shop near the entrance and returned to the car all the way back.

One sheep near the steps

Another one with more wool

Grassland with free roaming sheep grazing

Black sheep

Pavillon with a view

Looked like a castle

Cute castle

Walking trail

Drove to 7-11 to buy some milk and drinks and then we were on our way to Puli Carrefour. Downhill for some 30mins drive and K fell asleep. The route down was so much easier than the route up from Hualien.

As we arrived, we parked at the car park at Carrefour behind the supermarket. Mommy got off the car herself to buy while I stayed with sleeping K.

After mommy returned we continued our drive to Flying Cow ranch, pumping 300NT of petrol and getting onto the highway. It was another 1.5 hrs drive and it was very easy. Speed limit of 100 and 110 on different highway and there were speed cameras that GPS would warned. A lot of lorries on the highway and some were hogging. Saw one lorry didn’t allow an ambulance to pass.

The small road leading to the ranch was also mostly empty which made it easy to drive. While at entrance, we were informed to Uturn up the hill for our accommodation and parking. After we parked the car and mommy went to carry out the check in first as K was only just awake.

After a while mommy came back with staff to help with luggage while I brought K later. It was a cabin for 3 as mommy didn’t know if K was counted. Although it wasn’t fantastic for that price but it was definitely more spacious and private then the other rooms we passed along the way.

Inside the cabin

Toilet and shower

Accommodation cabin at Flying cow ranch

We got out to eat first at the restaurant next to the service center where mommy checked in. Ordered rice with meat set and spaghetti which came in huge portions, even though we were all sharing with K, it was a little too much especially for a meal at 4pm. There was a food item in the set that looked like yoghurt then didn’t taste like one, but more like milk curd.

Inside the restaurant

Meat with rice


Milk tea and juice

After the meal, mommy went to exchange her coupons from the check in for milk products and bring back to the room to store first. Then we all walked towards the barn where we saw cows feeding on grass. At the barn, we saw goats and rabbits also but the rabbit enclosure ran out of feed. When it was time for the activity at the barn there was already a queue that we found out was for milking the cow experience which we didn’t want to do. Looked around the souvenir shop nearby and bought some grass to feed goats. K had fun on one of the used stationary tractor which was exhibited for kids to ride.

Flying Cow Ranch

Walk path to the barn

Cows eating grass

Sheep again


Rabbit house

Mountain goats on the bridge

Goats close to the fence

The sun was setting quickly and soon the sky became dark. We walked quickly back to the room to pick up K water bottle before I brought him to the 3 tractors at the service center to ride on them while mommy stayed in the cabin to cook. After a while of riding on each and changing frequently, he had enough and we went back to the room.

Having fun on the used tractor on display

Called the reception to asked for baby bathtub which they have and had it delivered to us. Bathed K and spent some time on YouTube and TV before I went out to pack fried rice for dinner from the restaurant there as it closed at 8, but because it was still too close to our lunch time, we had decided for takeaway. By the time I returned from the restaurant, K had finished his dinner. Mommy went ahead to participate in the 8pm activity of DIY cookie making and baking while I change out K diapers.

Dinner menu

Joined mommy when we were done and she was already making the dough. A lot of people were there, filling up the big room. We watched as mommy kneaded and placed the flatten pieces on the baking tray. Then we sent it to the oven for baking. I contributed some efforts by washing the oily metal bowl while we waited for the baking to complete. The finished product looked a little charred on the sides but overall they tasted nice, and K loved it.

Dough ready to be baked in the oven

Finished product

After the activity, we returned to the room where we had our dinner and then followed by washing up. K watched more TV and I did more cleaning up as he crapped again, while mommy visited the internal supermarket to buy milk. The night ended on a happy note for K with the usual bedtime story reading and milk followed by lights off.