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.

Taiwan 2016 Day 1 – Arrival in Taipei

Our trip started with quite a bit of traffic as we made our way to Changi airport, for after midnight flight to Taipei. There was already a long queue and it took about 15 mins before our check in at the Scoot counter. I knew we couldn’t make it at the time of packing and complaining to the wife, as the weighing scale gave us away at an overload 4kg – let off lightly as the staff gave a “don’t do it again next time”.

Wife was interested to get an Apple Watch and thought that by purchasing from the duty free, it would be cheaper. But the variety was pathetic and the model was out of stock at iStudio. K was having fun though, hyped up by the knowledge that he was about to take a plane and was running around. The Pokémon craze was still on and these colourful monsters could be seen displayed everywhere in the airport. While killing time before boarding, we went to Wang’s to eat a small supper of egg and coffee, something to last our entire flight later.

The flight to Taipei was a big plane, a Dreamliner Boeing 787. I was impressed by the spaciousness but the seats were rather simple, expected of a budget flight. It must be the school holidays and the air traffic was bad, with our plane taking off 15mins late, after a queue of planes. The flight was nice and smooth, benefits of a large plane. Although K resisted sleep for a while, he eventually snoozed, lying across my lap. While the flight had 2 instances of air turbulences, there weren’t much of a biggy.  My only qualms were the irritating light buttons on the armrest that was all too easy to be pressed upon, and so frequently it activated because my arms were accidentally hit them while I adjusted after a while due to discomfort from K sleeping on my arms. We managed some sleep before landing.

Huge internal of Dreamliner 787
Irritating light buttons on the armrest

Not too long after, we woke up at 5am, ready for landing. The jumbo jet landed so gracefully without a bump, indeed a very stable plane. We gained some time as the plane was 13mins early but the plane had to taxi quite a distance till the gate. We didn’t rush to get off and we’re in fact one of the last few, taking our time to fill up the immigration cards. After alighting, we proceeded to transit lounge B, where there was a very well equipped baby care room (to change diapers for K), one that came with a tissue warmer!

Tissue warmer in the baby care room
Free diapers too
Cosy baby care room

After taking care of our personal needs, we got to the immigration and was shocked to see so many lines of people, at this early of the day! The lines were very slow moving but luckily for us, we were spotted midway by an officer and proceeded to the counter. Retrieved the luggage at waiting on the belt. Moved to the arrivals halls and prepared milk for K, at some sitting area and then washing the bottles in the baby care room.

To get from Taoyuan International airport to our Airbnb in Taipei, we were going to take a bus on the first floor. The bus 1819 tickets costed 250NT to Taipei train station. As we waited in line and the bus came, we couldn’t get onboard as it was full. The second bus came late and we managed to board at 745am. All this time I kept K busy having him explored the airport.

Ground level to take the bus
Bus 1819 berth
Bus tickets to Taipei station

We boarded the bus and fed K some bread before falling asleep, a result of the lack of sleep on the flight. Only woke up as we approached our stop at east gate of the Taipei station. Then we walked through the underground to exit Z3 and climbed the steps before crossing the road to 24hrs McD, all the while K still sleeping in my arms and mommy had to lug the luggage around. Found ourselves some seats in McD and had our breakfast for 130nt while waiting for the landlord to our Airbnb. As it was still to early to check in, we were only allowed to leave the luggage at the apartment, handing over the luggage to the landlord first who picked them up from us at McD. With K still sleeping, we just sat at McD, played phone games and chatted until he woke up briefly at 10 before dozing back, and finally at 1020.

24hrs McD next to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall

We wanted to get a data plan and proceeded to the ground level stores near the McD where there was one selling phones and SIM cards. There were a couple of options available but none that fitted the 9days itinerary that we have, so we got 2×5 days card instead. Activation of the card took some time, requiring to send an SMS and what not, but the storekeeper sorted it out for us.

There wasn’t anything planned for the city visit as we would expect ourselves to be tired. First we went to the nearest mall Shin Kong Mitsukoshi‘s supermarket to see if we could stock up on some groceries for K’s meals but we didn’t get anything – not much variety and we didn’t have a fridge to keep our groceries yet.

Our next stop was the K underground shopping mall with Eslite stores. Window shopped the bookstore where they were some interesting moving toys on display, K was throughly amused with the hanging gorilla. Mommy bought a peppa pig book before leaving for the Taiwan Railway Administration to get our train tickets for a train trip out of Taipei planned at a later date. Mommy booked the tix online and we only had to collect at counter. The station was decorated in anticipation for the Xmas coming in another month’s time, a big xmas tree and some walls deco caught the attention of K slightly while we waited for mommy who had to wait in queue for collection.

Eslite at K underground mall
Big Xmas tree
Taipei main station

The data plan didn’t seem to work while we were trying it out at TRA and decided to return to the store after lunch. Within the huge station on the 2nd floor was a gourmet heaven, entire floor full of restaurants and eating places. Our choice was a Chinese restaurant Long Tang that had porridge in their menu, so that K could eat that. Other than that, it boosted a view overlooking the main ground floor of the train station and also baby seat was available. We ordered Zha Jiang Mian and fried rice eventually because as we picked the porridge item twice, twice we were informed that the items were sold out. Thankfully K ate some fried rice. For the so-so food, we paid 280NT for the lunch. We tried to look for other alternatives with worry than K hadn’t have enough of food, we went downstairs where they were quite a few other food outlets. Thought of getting waffles but they came with honey, something K hadn’t tasted before. Bought him a totoro bun instead.

Zha Jiang Mian
Fried rice with chicken
Long Tang restaurant
Floor of food outlets

Upon return to the shop, the lady owner checked the phone and sorted out the APN which was the cause of the problem, taking of time for troubleshooting. After that, we visited Shin Kong Mitsukoshi mall again, this time going to the 8th floor, where the entire floor was dedicated for kids stuff. Changed out K’s diapers while spending a little time time, as there was a climbing structure in the shape of a train and loose Lego bricks and pad for K to play around. We finished the visit at the same supermarket we visited earlier to buy groceries and milk and the remaining time till the agreed meeting time of 315pm sitting around near the mall.

The landlord of our Airbnb agreed to meet at 315 on the 6th floor.  We ended up waiting at gloomily lit corridor till 330pm, all the while not knowing what to expect as the landlord didn’t show up nor did she informed. Even at 330pm, she only gave us a temporary room as she said that the cleaning of our room was still in progress, blaming the earlier guests for being too dirty. We just rest in the room and K fell asleep on the bed drinking milk.

At 4pm, we shifted to the right room but we were disappointed to find the apartment small and didn’t have a kitchenette. K continued to sleep and mommy also took a rest while I took the time to clean up the milk bottles. As the apartment was kinda run down, I had doubts on the sterility of the tap water and whether it was safe for consumption, I sterilized the bottles with boiling water. I took a nap myself  till 5ish while mommy woke up to prepare dinner for k.

Dark corridor to the Airbnb
One of the beds
Living room with another hidden bedroom
Sofa and table
Toilet with washing machine

K slept till nearly 730 and woke up grouchy. I gave him a bath and afterwards, left the apartment at 830 to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi again, this time for dinner. Went to 8th floors after looking at the floor directory and found only a few restaurants there and were not too affordable. We then went to the food court at B2 as mommy wanted some food quick as she was famished. Bought omurice and cheese baked rice for 318NT and had our dinner in the sparsely crowded food court.

Omurice with curry
Baked rice

After dinner, we spent the last bits of the night catching region specific Pokemon. While out on the street, we stopped at a shop selling accessories, we bought a candle in the shape of the number 2 for birthday cake. After successfully catching the monster, we went back to the apartment, sweaty.

The night time was spent washing up the dishes, as expected of all trips and frankly used to it already. Sleep happened at only 12MN.