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.

Taiwan 2016 Day 6 – Arrival To Cingjing Farm And Swiss Garden

The sunlight shone into the room through the big windows, I woke up at 6 to close the curtains and made milk for K. As he coughed, we sprung into action to catch puke, but he didn’t.

The usual routine of waking up to prepare meals while waiting for K to wake took place. By the time we were ready for breakfast it was already 8 but the buffet would stop service at 830. I went to ask if I could bring the food back and was approved on condition of returning the plates. Took a plateful of mostly Taiwanese cuisine and return to the room where mommy  ate while I ate at the restaurant with a view of the mountain.

Breakfast restaurant at Tian Xiang youth hostel
Many tables available
Sitting area inside the hostel

After returning to the room from my breakfast, K woke soon after. Fed him some porridge and got him to change clothes before  we started to move out. It was already 945.

View from our room

Drove the same route yesterday on the journey to Cing Jing. After 15mins of driving, we met yet again another road block. We had to stop for 1hr as the work crew had to clear loose rocks on the cliff side. We had nothing to do and had to entertain baby in the car and fed him yoghurt. Upon the completion of 1hr as indicated, the road was cleared and we were on the move again.

Workers removing loose rocks

K got cranky along the way but finally fell asleep and it was a relief thereafter because it was a super long drive with a lot of bends. After he slept, I could drive faster and it wouldn’t give him car sickness. I felt for most part of the journey we were always climbing. The highest we got up to was 3k above sea level as indicated by the signages while on the way up. Although there were some attractions along the way, such as Hehuan mountain (合歡山), we didn’t stop at all because we want to reach Cing Jing before K woke. Still there were short stoppages along the way as some construction was ongoing. The higher we went, the more foggy it became and had to drive with caution as we couldn’t see too far ahead. The fog totally cleared while at the top and it was clear blue skies with a lot of sun. I then started to felt headache due to altitude sickness and rapid ascent and descent.

Driving above the clouds
Elevation above sea level

We finally arrived in Cing Jing at 2pm and k also just woke up. The accommodation was on the slope of the mountain and I had to drive on a narrow single lane to get to Euro Country Villa. Checked in and took a short rest before proceeding to the Old England Manor for tea, 5mins drive away.

Euro Country Villa
Euro Country villa eating place
Balcony with a view
Bathroom with a tub
Beautiful view of the grassland

Parked at the large but almost full parking lot there and went into the medieval design hotel. It was quite grand looking and had lotsa feels. K ate his lunch there and was quite cranky. We had a 3tier cakes and pastries with 1 large teapot of earl grey, costed 550NT each. After our lunch-tea meal, we then went out to take photos.

Old England Manor
Corridor of the England Manor
Fruits before the pastries
3 Tier pastries tea
Luxurious set up
Decor on the external walls
Huge clock and bell at the top of the building
View from the Old England Manor

Left the manor and reached the Green Green Grassland at 4pm, 10 mins drive away. The closing time of the farm was at 430 so we skipped going in. As we got back down to the carpark which was at a level below, we saw from outside the fenced up grassland some sheeps grazing and showed K. He wasn’t very interested though.

Green Green Grassland sheep area
Green Green Grassland
View of sheep on the grassland

Then we drove to the Small Swiss Garden and visited for 130NT. It was a small garden with fake flowers and a not so impressive lake. It wasn’t fantastic but at least K had fun feeding the ducks, walking on stones and taking some photos, and thought it was funny trying to wave off irritating tons of flying bugs while we were walking back. As the sun set, the garden started to light up in colourful lights.

Swiss Garden
Entrance of Swiss Garden
Inside Swiss Garden
Fountains in the lake
Pumpkin faces
Windmill display
Ducks and swans
View of lake
Many man made exhibits complement the flowers
Under sheltered plants with fake lighted tulips

We left for Carton King store (紙箱王) just next door but it was a very tiny store. Spent some time to look at what’s on display and bought something home.

Carton king miniature displays
Animals made of carton paper

While K and I went back to the car to wait, mommy went to Mos burger to buy dinner. It took very long so I brought him to buy his favorite bread snack from 7-11 when mommy finally returned. Seemed like Mos was crowded and popular as a dinner choice.

Swiss Garden area at night

Drove back to hotel and because of its rural location and its low number of street lamps, it was dark. On the way in, some cars needed to exit so I had to reverse and wait for them to pass. Went back to the room when we finally could rest. I then popped 2 panadols to ease off my day long headache.

Mommy cooked while I laid in bed feeling feverish while thankfully, K had fun all by himself. After resting a while with the panadols taking effect, I felt much better and ate my Mos dinner, burger with taiwanese special taste, which was not too bad. Then we fed K who waited very long for his pasta but he should be still ok as earlier he had snacked on so many pieces of bread already.

Mos burger Taiwan flavour

After dinner, I bathed K in the tub and we prepared for bed after some TV and video on HP. Fell asleep at around 10, me included to end off a really tiring day.

Escape plan to Taiwan November 2016

A brief summary on the itinerary

Escape Plan to Taiwan 2016:

Total duration 9D9N
There is no time difference between Singapore and Taiwan.
Flight time is 5hrs 35mins on Scoot from Singapore to Taipei.
Return is almost 5hrs on Tigerair from Taipei to Singapore.

Flight from Singapore to Taipei at 1255am, arriving at 530am in Taipei. Return flight from Taipei to Singapore is at 155pm and touching down in Singapore at 650pm.

Day 1 Arrival in Taipei and some shopping
Day 2 Cat Village, Jiufen and Shifen
Day 3 To Hualien and Qi Xing Tan
Day 4 Tokoro Gorge
Day 5 Landslide on the way to Cingjing
Day 6 Arrival in Cingjing farm and Old England tea and Swiss Garden
Day 7 Cingjing farm visit and arrival in Flying cow ranch
Day 8 Flying cow ranch, Leofoo village and stay
Day 9 Home Sweet Home

This trip was planned to celebrate our boy’s 2nd birthday. Therefore, most of the destinations in the itinerary were more catered towards his interests ( but since he arrived, most of our trips were already like these).

Budget – affordable most of the journey until the visit to Leofoo village which was quite expensive.

Taiwan was a country known to be affordable if we want it to be. Taking public transport such as the trains and staying in Airbnb helps keep the costs down. However, travel in less developed areas required us to book a driver or self drive which was not too bad. The only big spendings we had was the Flying cow ranch farmstay in a private villa and safari hotel in Leofoo village which was expected to be expensive.

Complexity – High without car. Ours made easy due to car and Google maps on data plan.

The public transportation in Taipei city was easy to use and therefore getting around was straightforward. Out of the main city and into the mountains and farms then a car is a must or private car is a must as public transportation would require quite a bit of planning and a lot time. Road signs would require a little to get used to but it’s not too difficult if you know Chinese. When going through the mountains, we learnt to read road blockages due to landslide. Knowing where to get the most updated news is essential as most of the mountainous roads are single lane and only one way there and planning ahead helps to avoid a long detour. Sometimes there are no data signals on the mountainous area but it is not difficult since there is only one road to navigate.