Qué ver en Taichung

 

Para comenzar nuestra aventura taiwanesa vamos a visitar la ciudad de Taichung. Un lugar maravilloso que, aunque desconocido internacionalmente, ha sido elegido como mejor destino turístico por los propios taiwaneses.

Taichung es la segunda ciudad más grande de Taiwan con 2.700.000 habitantes y es conocida por ser el lugar donde se creó el famoso bubble tea (¿Todavía no conoces esta bebida tradicional? Sigue leyendo para descubrir más 😉 ).

Gracias a su esfuerzo por modernizarse constantemente y, al mismo tiempo, por mantener las tradiciones taiwanesas, Taichung trata de convertirse en la segunda ciudad más importante del país. Actualmente, esta posición la ostenta la ciudad de Kaoshiung.

Qué ver

Hagamos un pequeño tour por la ciudad para descubrir cuales son los lugares más increíbles:

Distrito central

El templo de Confucio

Construido hacía 1976, el templo de Confucio es un oasis de paz en medio del centro de Taichung.

Este precioso edificio sigue el estilo arquitectónico desarrollado durante la dinastía Song, donde se mezclaba la sobriedad con colores alegres y techos llenos de simbolismo. En las salas adjuntas al edifico central se pueden encontrar una gran variedad de bibliotecas y aulas donde se imparten clases sobre arte tradicional taiwanés.

Este templo también es utilizado por jóvenes parejas que van a casarse y quieren tener un bonito álbum pre-boda. Si, en Taiwan los futuros matrimonios suelen hacer una sesión de fotos antes del gran día.

 

Yizhong Street Night Market

El mercado más tradicional de Taichung se encuentra junto a la Universidad de Taichung en un área rodeada de residencias universitarias. En el mercado podrás degustar todo tipo de comida taiwanesa tradicional como el “stinky tofu” ó el “baozi” y, al mismo tiempo, podrás perderte entre cientos de tiendas de moda y tecnología que se mezclan con los puestos de comida callejera.

Entre las especialidades culinarias encontrarás también zumo de sandía, té frio y bubble tea.

¿No conoces el bubble tea todavía?

Esta bebida se inventó en Taichung en los años 80. Aunque hay distintas recetas, la original está compuesta por té, leche, bolas de tapioca (conocidas como “bubbles” – burbuja) y gelatina de frutas, como por ejemplo de lichi.

Distrito norte

Templo Paochueh 

Paseando por el centro de la ciudad podrás llegar hasta el templo Paochueh.


¿A que es precioso? Bueno, pues espera a descubrir su estatua de Buda, la más grande de Taiwan. Me enamoré de la misma en cuanto la tuve delante.

¿Qué te parece?

Feng Chia Night Market

Descrito por los locales como una “experiencia sensorial para los ojos y el paladar”, este mercado es el más largo (cerca de 1km) y turístico de Taichung. Siempre está lleno de gente, de hecho los fines de semana suele recibir unos 30.000 visitantes.
En este mercado vas a poder encontrar un gran variedad de comida como por ejemplo crepes, “stinky tofu”, patatas con queso o pan con pasta. Además, debido a su proximidad a la Universidad Feng Chia podrás encontrar un montón de puestos de ropa barata y de tecnología.

 

Distrito Shengang

Museo de los globos 

El “Taiwan Balloon Museum” es una fábrica con más de 50 años de vida situada en la zona residencial de Shengang. Aquí podrás disfrutar de un tour para descubrir cómo funciona el proceso de fabricación de globos. Además, este museo ofrece talleres para aprender a hacer distintas formas con los mismos.

Un plan diferente para los niños y los no tan niños 😉

Distrito Taiping

Museo del terremoto 

El 21 de septiembre de 1999 Taiwan sufrió uno de las mayores catástrofes naturales de su historia. Un terremoto de magnitud 7,3 en la escala de Richter destrozó la parte central de esta preciosa isla dejando miles de personas muertas y desaparecidas.

Para recordar a las victimas de esta catástrofe se creó el “Earthquake Museum”, un museo donde no sólo se explica lo que ocurrió aquel fatídico día, sino que también sirve para concienciar a la población y mostrar como hay que actuar en caso de que algo así se repita.

Distrito Oeste

National Taichung Theater

¿Te apetece pasear por el tejado del edificio que alberga la ópera de Taichung?

Antes de llegar a la última planta me gustaría explicarte lo que vas a encontrar en este moderno edificio. El teatro nacional de Taichung “National Taichung Theater” es un espacio multifuncional que incluye:

  • Grand Theater: Un teatro decorado en colores rojizos con capacidad para 2.007 personas.
  • Playhouse: Un espacio de color azul océano donde se llevan a cabo musicales y conciertos.
  • Black Box:  Un sala negra donde se representan obras de teatro experimental.
  • Outdoor theater: 1.000 metros cuadrados llenos de árboles que forman un espacio verde único conectados con el Black Box.
  • Sky Garden: Visitar el Sky Garden es entrar en otra dimensión. Este espacio, situado en el tejado del edificio, es el lugar ideal para disfrutar de un buen concierto al aire libre rodeado de grandes rascacielos. Para acceder a este jardín es necesario montar en ascensor hasta la sexta planta.

National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

Impresionante museo con exposiciones permanentes centradas en artístas taiwaneses, aunque también se pueden encontrar exposiciones temporales más internacionales. El edificio es espléndido ya que fue reformado tras el terremoto de 1999.

 

Dónde dormir

Love I

Situado a tan sólo 4 minutos a pie del “Feng Chia Night Market” este hostal es un lugar acogedor dónde las habitaciones disponen de baño privado.

Talmud Hotel

Este hotel se encuentra en el distrito central a tan sólo un minuto andando de “Yizhong Street Night Market”. Su estilo recuerda bastante a cualquier hotel europeo, salvo el desayuno, que es totalmente taiwanés. Cada habitación cuenta con un baño privado.

Wowwow House

Este apartahotel se encuentra junto al parque “Taichung” y está rodeado de restaurantes. Cada planta cuenta con varias habitaciones con baño privado y un salón central para las mismas. Es una manera de conocer gente nueva :).

Dónde comer

Street food

  • Fengchia Night Market
  • Yizhong Street Night Market

Recomendación: Prueba tanto el “stinky” como el “spicy” tofu. ¡Buenísimo!

Hot Pot

  • Modern Toilet

Comida europea

Comida japonesa

  • Chung You Department Store

La semana que viene continuaremos esta aventura taiwanesa visitando el precioso Sun Moon Lake.

 

 

Tu turno

¿Te ha gustado el post? ¿Conocías esta ciudad taiwanesa? Si quieres compartir algún otro lugar para visitar en Taichung no dudes en dejar un comentario aquí 😉

 

 

 

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8 razones para visitar Taiwan

Después de 22 horas de viaje (incluyendo tres vuelos con Cathay Pacific), 3 horas de sueño, 2 películas y 3 episodios de Sexo en Nueva York, por fin llegué a Taiwan.

He de reconocer que el viaje fue muy cómodo. Era la primera vez que viajaba con Cathay y me da a mí que no va a ser la última 😉

Otra confesión que debo hacer es que Taiwan nunca había estado en mi lista de viajes. De hecho, nunca había pensado visitar esta isla de no ser porque una muy buena amiga mía se mudó allí. Es por esto que cuando decidí llevar a cabo este viaje no tenía ni idea de lo que me podía encontrar en Taiwan, y eso hacía esta escapada todavía más emocionante.

Ahora que he vuelto y que ha pasado un tiempo desde mi viaje, me doy cuenta de que Taiwan debería estar en la lista de países por visitar de todo el mundo, de hecho, mi recomendación es que consideres Taiwan como tu próximo destino de vacaciones.

Para entender mejor las razones por las que digo esto, te animo a que visites mi blog en las próximas semanas, ya que voy a contarte más cosas sobre este gran país a través de distintos posts.

Hoy empiezo este “post series” sobre esta increíble isla resumiendo mis 8 razones principales para visitar Taiwan.

1. Su gente

No tengo palabras para describir la amabilidad de los taiwaneses. Aunque muchos de ellos (bueno, casi todos) no hablan inglés, siempre están dispuestos a ayudarte.

2. Sus preciosos templos

Los taiwaneses son bastante religiosos, lo que hace que puedas encontrar diversos templos repartidos por todo el país.

Es interesante visitarlos y descubrir más sobre su religión y tradiciones. De hecho, los ellos mismos agradecen que te intereses por su cultura y no tienen ningún inconveniente en abrir las puertas de sus templos a los turistas. Sin embargo, no olvides que estos son edificios sagrados y hay unas reglas que deberás cumplir.

En las próximas semanas te voy a mostrar algunos de los templos más impresionantes de Taiwan.

3. En Taipei vas a encontrar el octavo edificio más alto del mundo  

Taipei 101 (que como su nombre bien indica tiene unos cuantos pisos) era el edifico más alto del mundo hasta 2010.

Esta torre no es sólo un centro de negocios, sino un lugar muy interesante para los turistas, ya que desde la planta 91 podrás disfrutar de unas vistas impresionantes de Taipei.

Próximamente te contaré más cositas sobre este edificio 😉

4. Sus paisajes unicos 

Cuando los marineros portugueses avistaron Taiwan por primera vez, allá en el año 1500, se enamoraron de tal manera de esta isla que la llamaron “Ilha Formosa” (isla hermosa). Este nombre permaneció como nombre oficial de la isla hasta la llegada de la dinastía Ming.

5. Tienen un museo dedicado a los globos y otro a los terremotos

¿Conoces algún museo del globo? La primera vez que oí hablar sobre este museo ¡no podía creelo! ¡Me parecía tan genial…!

¿Y el museo sobre los terremotos? Todo un descubrimiento para descubrir más sobre el “anillo de fuego” donde se sitúan países como Taiwan, Japón y USA.

De hecho, la razón por la que se creó este museo fue porque en 1999 Taiwan sufrió un terremoto de magnitud 7,3 grados en la escala de Richter, el peor de su historia, que mató a 2.400 personas.

Con este museo se pretende concienciar y educar a la población para que, en caso de que un acontecimiento así vuelva a ocurrir, sepan como actuar.

¿Conocías la existencia de este tipo de museos?

6. La comida taiwanesa está considerada una de las mejores del mundo 

¿Te animas a probarla?

En la próximas semanas te daré pistas sobre dónde comer en las distintas ciudades taiwanesas que visitaremos juntos 😉

7. Sus senderos 

Taiwan ofrece una gran cantidad de senderos donde pasear o hacer escalada, dependiendo de la dificultad del mismo. Entre los lugares más conocidos para perderse se encuentran los senderos del Parque Nacional de Taroko y el precioso Parque Nacional de Kenting.

8. Los mercados nocturnos 

Aunque Taiwan es un país con mucha vida, sobre todo a partir de las 10 de la mañana, no es hasta el atardecer cuando se despierta de verdad y comienza a mostrar su cara más tradicional.

Esta preciosa isla está llena de los famosos mercados nocturnos, dónde podrás encontrar tanto deliciosa comida tradicional como productos textiles y tecnológicos.

Si de verdad quieres descubrir el estilo de vida taiwanes, debes perderte por estos mercados.

Taiwan Post Series

¿Te animas a visitar este increíble país?

En las próximas semanas empezaremos un viaje a través de distintas ciudades como Taichung, Jiufen o Kenting.

Juntos descubriremos cosas muy interesantes sobre la cultura taiwanesa, su historia, su gente, su comida y sus diversas tradiciones. Si estamos conectados vía IG seguro que ya has visto todas las fotos que he ido subiendo de mi viaje a Taiwan 😉

Nuestra primera parada será la espectacular ciudad de Taichung.

En los próximos días descubriremos más sobre la tercera ciudad más poblada de Taiwan que, a su vez, es la metrópoli más tradicional de la isla.

Pasa una buena semana y nos leemos en breves 🙂

 

*  cuando hablo de “turistas” ten en cuenta que Taiwan es un destino muy apreciado entre locales y personas que viven en China, por lo que casi siempre estaré hablando de personas de ambos países.

Discover Kenting

To continue our taiwanese trip we decided to drive to the southern part of the island.

Therefore, after spending a couple of days in the beautiful city of Kaohsiung, we took the Kenting Express bus to go to Kenting.

It took us less than two hours to arrive to this picturesque seaside town, whose lively streets welcome visitors with lights and music.

This part of the island is a tourist attraction for taiwanese and chinese people who want both, to enjoy some peaceful days at the beach and to discover natural parks.

If you are planning to visit Kenting, I highly recommend you to avoid chinese new year and summer season, since the national park can be really crowded and hotels can duplicate their prices.

Ready to find out what to visit in the unique seaside town of Kenting?

Kenting National Park

Kenting National Park (Eluanbi Park) is open from 7 am to 5:30 pm.

This area is a great spot if you are into hiking. I would recommend you to choose a non-rainy day to visit the park, otherwise, the path will be wet and slippery.

If hiking is not for you, you can always either rent a scooter or get a tourist bus to visit the National Park.

A nice spot located at Kenting National Park is the renowned Eluanbi lighthouse, nestled on a green grassy hill. Built during the Qing Dynasty, in 1883, this unique lighthouse suffered serious damages during the World War II and had to be re-built in 1962. Today, this iconic place is still functional and, at the same time, is held as a historical monument admired (and photographed) by tourists who visit the National Park.

Kenting Beach

A nice place to chill and get some sun while practicing different water activities such as kite-surf or snorkel. If you like calm crystal waters where to explore the deep sea, Kenting Beach is the ideal place for you.

Little Bay Beach

A more hidden, quiet place. Little Bay Beach is a small beach located not far away from Kenting Beach, however, this beach is more quiet and familiar than the previous one. Most of people visiting it are just families or couples looking to chill and swim in the warm sea.

This place is also interesting during the night because the snack bar located at the entrance offers live music until midnight.

If you are looking forward to eat chips and finger food while you get a tan, this is your place. Otherwise, you can always enjoy a nice sunset or a drink in the evening.

Sail Rock

Known as Chuanfan Rock is a huge piece of coral reef rock. The name “sail rock” was given to the rock due to its from,because, from a distance, the rock looks like a sailboat protruding out on the sea.

Situated next to the Sail Rock, there is a small sandy beach popular to practice snorkel, since the area is rich of aquatic life and coral reefs. If you are not into snorkeling, you can always lay down and enjoy the warm water.

Kenting Main Street

How many food stands and restaurants can coexist in one street? If you want to get an answer, come to visit Kenting Main Street where delicious traditional taiwanese food stands and occidental restaurants live together among traditional buildings, which turned into modern hotel rooms.

Something that I really liked about this street was the good vibes you could feel in it. Most of the people knew each other already, in fact, many locals owned a food/drinks stand together with other friends, as a way to earn some money during the weekends, and they were super nice with visitors 🙂

Your turn!

Have you ever been to Kenting?

This southern point of Taiwan is a unique place with a lot to offer.

Kenting National Park is the main attraction, however, Kenting beaches and the town itself have some special charm that makes the visitor feel somewhere else.

This part of the island is far from noise and pollution. It is the perfect place to disconnect from daily crazy routine and to re-connect with yourself and with nature. If you plan to visit Taiwan, I highly recommend you to spend a couple of days relaxing in Kenting. Furthermore, locals are super friendly!

Enjoy your time at Kenting and feel free to send me a photo via IG or Twitter. Share this post or comment below if you want to share your experience with us.

Next time we will travel to the north of Taiwan, to the capital of the island: Taipei. Meet you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discover Kaohsiung – in (almost) two days

It took us around 2 hours to travel from Taichung to Kaohsiung in the rapid train. Once we arrived to our destiny we left our packages at the hostel and we started to explore this amazing taiwanese city.

What to visit in Kaohsiung

Kaohsiung 85 building

This dramatic 378 meters high building, called “Tuntex Sky Tower” was constructed from 1994 to 1997 and it had the honor to be the tallest skyscraper in Taiwan until the building of Taipei 101. Its elevator is one of the world´s fastest elevators reaching the 75th floor in only 43 seconds, at 600 meters per minute.

From 75 View Deck, the observation deck, visitors can enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the entire city and harbor. A good idea is to go there in the late evening to enjoy the sunset of Shou Mountain (promised we tried to do it, but we didn´t mange to arrive on time…) or to go early in the morning to admire the vitality of this incredible city.

Love River

Known as Dagou River in Qing Dynasty, this beautiful river gained the title of “Love River” due to its developed green park areas, which makes Kaohsiung Canal one of the most romantic places for lovers to date. At night, visitors can take boats on the east or the west coast to enjoy the charming views among the river.

Good news for bicycle lovers: A very long bicycle way was constructed, to wander on the pathways while admiring the beautiful landscape.

Lotus Lake

One of my favorite parts of the city is the well-known “Lotus Lake“.

Located in the old section of Zuoying district, this lake is surrounded by buildings close related to the ancient Chinese culture.

How is this possible? Easily. Lotus Lake is, as I previously mentioned, located in Zuoying district. This section has always been a historical one because it was established as a military fortress during the Qing Dynasty, to later on become a community of nationalist Chinese who fled to Taiwan when the Communist took over of China.

The lake is surrounded by a 3km path. There is also a road for tour buses, since this place is becoming very popular among tourists. Here it is easy to find visitors enjoying the pretty views of the lake and walking along the different temples in the area.

Starting at the southwest part of the lake, visitors encounter the beautiful Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Following locals traditions, the dragon’s throat is the entrance and the tiger’s mouth is the exit. It is said that entering a dragon’s throat and coming out a tiger’s mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune. From the top of the pagodas visitors can enjoy beautiful views of the lake.

A little further down you can visit the Spring and Autumn Pavilions and the Wuli Arbor, which welcomes the visitor with a nice, ancient foot bridge. Spring and Autumn Pavillions, built in 1951, are dedicated to Kuan Kung (the God of War).

Confucius temple

Wandering along the path you will find the beautiful Confucius Temple. This is not 100% the original temple, since the original one was built in 1648 in a different location of the city. In 1960 the government decided to renovated and reopened some old temples around the country (abandoned during Japanese siege). The mayor of Kaohsiung mandated to build the temple next to the beautiful Lotus Lake.

To be honest, the mayor had a great idea! This place is seldom busy – most of the touristic buses do not arrive until here – and it is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the view.

Rose basilica

This church was established during the Qing Dynasty, when Spanish missionaries arrived to Taiwan. It suffered a reformation in 1860, when it got its current name “Rosa Basilica”. Again in 1928, the basilica was reformed into a Renaissance-style architecture. The current Rose Basilica is the result of another reformation which took place around 1931.

Night Markt

Liuhe

Liuhe is the most touristic night market located in Xinxing District. In fact, this market is one of the most popular ones in the country. 

During the day, Liuhe 2nd Road looks like any normal road with tons of traffic, however, after 18.00pm things change a bit there…

The whole street turns into a crowded pedestrian market full of stands selling crab, shrimp, octopus and squids. Although this market is know due to the quality of its seafood, here you can also find other traditional dishes such as beef, papaya juice or snake meat.

It takes around 30 minutes to visit the whole market (always depending on how hungry you are and how many stands you want to visit 😉 We spent almost one hour there).

Guanghua

Located on GuangHua Road, this local night market is around 60 years old. At that time, street vendors gathered in from of GuangHua theater, where people went to the movies. After years of prospering, this night market expanded and it became the local night market of nowadays.

Over hundred vendors and shops are located here. Known for its cheap price and quality food, this night market is the favorite of locals.

Ruifeng

Doubtlessly the most popular and busiest night market in Kaohsiung. Located in the north part of the city, this night market is the ideal place to find all kind of food and shoppings choices.

Take the subway!

Does the name “The Dome Of Light” sound familiar to you?

This public art is the largest glass work in the world. Its vivid colors and unique design are located at the Kaohsiung MRT transfer station for the Red and the Orange lines (Formosa Boulevard Station). The renowned artist Narcissus Quagliata took four years to complete this piece of art, which tells the story of human life in four themes: Water, Earth, Light and Fire.

The immensity of this design cause tourists and locals to simply stop and to admire this unique monument.

Of course,it is becoming the “selfie place” of Kaohsiung by far.

Your turn!

Have you ever been to Kaohsiung?

This city is a charming place with a lot to offer. Discovering dramatic skyscrapers, cycling/wandering around Lotus Lake or trying taiwanese food at the local markets is an experience I highly recommend. Kaohsiung and its citizens are amazing!

Enjoy your time at Kaoshiung and feel free to send me a photo via IG or Twitter. Share this post or comment below if you want to share your experience with us.

Next time we will travel to the south of Taiwan. Meet you there!

 

Discover Sun Moon Lake Taiwan

Just 64km away from Taichung (2 hours by bus) lies the unique and dramatic Sun Moon Lake.

The largest body water in Taiwan is also home to the Thao tribe, an aboriginal taiwanese tribe, and a tourist hotspot, mostly during Chinese New Year.

This area offers some accommodations for those who want to spend some days discovering this enormous lake and its surroundings. In our case, we spent a whole day enjoying this majestic place before coming back to Taichung.

First thing we did after getting off the bus that drove us to the lake, was to take a plan of the area at the tourism information office and to check which activities we could enjoy.

Following you can find some information about Sun Moon Lake attractions:

What to do in Sun Moon Lake

Sun Moon Lake Circular Walk

After grabbing a coffee at a local cafeteria we decided to explore one of the walking trails at Shueishe Pier (the main pier of the lake). We figured out that we could have a nice walk among nature and take some nice pictures of the clear turquoise waters.

On our way we found some local fishermen and a couple of adventurous who, like us, were enjoying an early morning walk.

 

Sun Moon Lake Shuttle Boat

The quickest way to discover this beautiful lake and its green mountains is to take one of the various ferries that you will find at the Shueishe pier.

Since there are many different ferry companies I recommend you to take a look at this website “Taiwan Sun Moon Lake Boats“. Here you can find all the information related to the different boat operators, their prices and schedules.

If you decide to take a boat tour you will be able to see and visit the following places:

Shueishe Pier

Although Shueishe is the most tourist-oriented part of the lake, it is also a great area to have a nice walk, to enjoy nature and to visit some traditional places such as Longfeld Temple.

Ita Thao Pier

You can get off the boat at Ita Thai Pier and discover the old village of Thao tribe, the aboriginal taiwanese tribe. Here you can get lost among the narrow, colorful street and their food markets. If you want to try some traditional food and buy some souvenirs, this is a nice place to do it.

From the wharf you can enjoy an amazing view to the sun moon lake cable car.

Xuanguang Pier

From my point of view this is, by far, the most interesting spot in Sun Moon Lake.

Once you get off the boat you can enjoy a nice, an maybe crowded, walk until you reach Xuanguang Temple. This beautiful taiwanese temple was built to honor Xauanzang,  a prestigious monk who devoted his whole life to promote Buddhist teachings and it is still one of must-go places for many visitors to Sun Moon Lake.

However, this is not the only temple created to honor Xuanzang. At the top of the mountain, visitors can discover one of the most magnificent temples I have ever seen: Master Xuanzang Memorial Hall.

To be honest, you can reach the temple either by walk or by bus/Car.

I highly recommend you to discover the trail on the mountain, surrounded by nature and wild animals (Do not worry, they are afraid of people, so they tend to hide when you make noise).

We decided to invest some time at Xuanguang and to walk up the mountain until Xuanzang Memorial Hall. Surrounded by nature, we did not find any other tourist on the way – which was a huge surprise for us.

The first image that comes to my mind when I think about the temple is the dramatic views that the visitor can enjoy from its esplanade.

The temple is also really special. On the first floor, it is easy to find solo monks praying on silence. On the second and third floor, the visitor can learn more about Xuanzang story and the importance of this monk  who brought back the original Buddhist sacred texts to translate them himself.  This journey took him twenty years and, since then, his contributions to the Buddhist community were innumerable.

Lalu Island

Located in the middle of the lake, this tiny island was inhabited by Thao people. It is too small and fragile for tourists since it has been half disintegrated due to the building of a dam around 1930, as well as due to the 921-earthquake in 1999. However, you can have a great view of it from the boat.

You can dock the boat at either Shueishe, Xuanguang or Ita Thao Pier and get back when you are done with visiting each part of the lake.

Sun Moon Lake Bikepaths

At the very beginning I talked to you about the Circular Walk. If you prefer to ride a bike instead of having a walk, I recommend you to do not miss out this amazing bikeway that covers half of the lake and allows the visitor to enjoy great views as well as to take beautiful pictures.

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway

Sun Moon Lake Ropeway, with around 1.877 meters length, runs between Ita Thao Pier and Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. The cable car travels over two mountains with altitudes around 1000 meters.

This ropeway is used as a public transport by locals, as well as a touristic attraction by foreigners ready to enjoy a dramatic view of the lake. The cable cars are designed with three different colors: red, yellow and blue, which represent the sun, the moon and the lake.

Your turn!

Have you ever been to Sun Moon Lake?

This lake is a beautiful area with a lot to offer. Cycling, having a nice walk around the lake, getting ourselves lost among the streets markets and discovering dramatic temples is a unique opportunity you should not miss. This place is stunning!

Enjoy your time at Sun Moon Lake and feel free to send me a photo via IG or Twitter. Share this post or comment below if you want to share your experience with us.

Next time we will travel to the colorful city of Kaohsiung. See you there!

What to visit in Changhua

Located around 2 hours by train from Taichung, Changhua county is the fourth smallest by area and Changhua city is the second largest city in central Taiwan, with a population of around 230.000. The county embraces incredible people, abundant resources, dramatic spots and delicious cuisine.

To continue our trip to Taiwan we decided to spend one day in Changhua in order to visit its famous Great Buddha Statue. However, once we arrived there we discovered that Changhua has a lot of different things to offer.

What to visit in Changhua

Confucius Temple

Built in 1726 to worship Confucius, this beautiful temple hosts the renown Baisha Academy, one of the four most famous academies in Taiwan. The front gate remains always closed except during worshipping day (28th of September), therefore visitors must enter through the side gate.

Lukang Old Street

One of the most popular streets in Changhua. Full of traditional taiwanese food stands, Lukang Old Street hosts many historical buildings such as Yanchanghang.

Buddha Statue of Baguashan

Built in 1961, the Great Buddha Statue of Baguashan used to be one of the biggest Buddha statues in Asia back in the days. This around 25 meter high statue is located in the hill 74 meters above sea level and its interior is separated into various different floors, each of them containing colorful dioramas representing the story of Buddha´s life.

Yes, you can actually walk around inside the monument!

It is very interesting the fact you can climb the stairs up and down to learn more about Buddha and his life. If you are a religious person you can use the ground floor to find some inner peace and pray.

Around this dramatic Buddha you will find various different statues, each of one representing something different. The most symbolic ones are the different Buddha statues (Laughing Buddha, Wise Buddha…) and the 12 Buddhist Zodiac Signs (the rabbit, the rat…).

 

Following the the statues you will find to the Great Buddha Temple, located behind the huge Buddha statue and built in 1972.

This temple is quite special since it is a combination of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian beliefs in one single community. Divided by three floors, always accessible for the visitor,  the first one is dedicated to Confucius, the second one enshrines the Taoist God of War (Guan Yu) and the third one is dedicated to the practice of Buddhism. Beside the temple you will find two beautiful 9-floor pagodas.

From the balcony located at the third floor you will enjoy from one of the most beautiful views ever. Starting from the whole esplanade, in the middle of which you will recognize the draw of a lotus flower, and finishing with the panorama of the whole Changhuan City. This area is known as the highest point of Changhua and it is the ideal place to find some inner peace, to have a relaxing walk and to discover more about the asian culture.

Behind the temple you will find a pond full of enormous, colorful fishes and beside it you will find more nice Buddha statues and some private areas only accessible for monks and Confucius students.

Never mind if you are not religious at all. This place is so dramatic that I recommend you to spend at least half a day discovering it. If you go during the weekend, you will probably find locals enjoying the beautiful sunset and dancing traditional music nearby the lighted water fountains located all over the place.

How to arrive to the Buddha Statue of Baguashan

There are two different ways to arrive to the top of the hill.

To go up we decided to take the “nature walk”, which means that we started from the Changhuan City Library and we followed the path up to the hill. During the walk we discovered a small old house from where we could take nice pictures of the city (some locals where have lunch and enjoying a nice talk there) and the Baguashan Silver Bridge.

To come back to the downtown we took the most touristic walk, let´s call it the “city walk”. From the Buddha Statue we descended the whole way nearby the parking. This is also a nice walk since the way is full of ancient God statues, some of which we did not know before.

Lukang Mazu Temple

Another historical temple that you should visit is the Taoist temple dedicated to Matsu (the God of the Sea). Here you will appreciate the image of black-faced Matsu, and a huge display of weapons.

This area is pedestrians only and if you decide to visit it during the weekend, you will find out a really nice market where local vendors will gently offer you some local Taiwanese snacks.

What to eat in Changhua

Visiting Changhua, as well as visiting Taiwan, means getting lost among its multiple food markets. So, if you want to enjoy the Changhua experience you should try some traditional meals including the tasty Changhua Meatball.

How to arrive to Changhua

  • If your first travel destination after landing in Taipei is Changhua, you should know that there is a bus (less than 3 hours journey) that covers the route Taipei Airport-Changhua.
  • If you are planning a day trip from Taipei the best option is to travel by train. You can choose between Taiwan High Speed Rail and regional trains. The price you will pay in case you take the THSR can be twice as the regional trains price (around 400NT$).
  • If you are enjoying some time in Taichung – do not hesitate to take a look at my last post containing some tips about what to visit in Taichung – and you want to escape from the city, I recommend you to take a regional train from Taichung HSR Station (less than one hour journey).

Your turn!

Have you ever been in Changhua? Do you know any other interesting places to visit in this area? If so, feel free to share your thoughts leaving a comment below 🙂

 

Trip to be continued….

What to visit in Taichung

To start our taiwanese trip we will travel all around the city of Taichung, a taiwanese hidden gem chosen by locals as the best destination in Taiwan. The attractiveness of the city originates in its architectural mix, its lively streets, its mild climate and the kindness of its citizens.

Taichung is the second largest city of Taiwan with 2.7 million inhabitants and it is known to be the house of the famous, tasty bubble tea (still don´t know the taiwanese bubble tea? Just keep reading then 😉 ).

While endeavoring to achieve modernization with the construction of new, modern buildings as well as remember the past, Taichung strive to position as the second most important city of Taiwan (today this honor belongs to Kaoshiung).

What to visit

Let´s make a tour around the city to discover some amazing spots you should take into account when preparing your trip to Taiwan:

Central District

Konfunzious Temple

Built around 1976 Confucius Temple is a peaceful oasis in the middle of Taichung´s downtown.

This incredible temple follows the construction-style of the Song Dynasty by mixing sobriety and simplicity together with vivid colors and decorated roofs and beams. In the galleries located at the side of the main courtyard the visitor can find various classrooms and a library, where traditional arts are taught.

This temple is usually used by young couples as the perfect landscape for their pre-wedding photo album.

Yizhong Street Night Market

If you want to experience the real, ancient Taiwan lifestyle you CANNOT miss this unique night market.

Located closed to Taichung´s University, this area accommodate thousand of students willing to enjoy its young, trendy culture with many fashion stores and tasteful finger food such as stinky tofu (you can feel its smell since the moment you approach the market), baozi or fried chicken.

Among its specialities you will also find cold tea, watermelon juice and the famous bubble tea.

Haven´t you ever heard about it?

Bubble tea was invented in Taichung in the 80s. Although there are many varieties of this unique drink, the original recipe contains a tea based mixed with milk, tapioca balls (know as bubbles 😉 ) and fruit jelly such as lychee.

North District

Paochueh Temple

A nice walk from the city center will lead you to Paochueh Temple.


Beautiful isn´t it?. Wait to discover its dramatic (laughing) Buddha statue (the largest in Taiwan). I fell in love with it! 🙂

 

Feng Chia Night Market

Described as a “sensory feast for both eyes and palate”, this is the most touristic and large (around 1 km) market in Tiachung.  Always full of people (during the weekend around 30.000 people usually visit it), this market boast about exotic and delicious food such as crepes, stinky tofu, cheese potatoes, low-calorie ice-cream, bread with fried noodles and many more. Furthermore, due to its proximity to Feng Chia University, visitors can also find a wide range of low-cost fashion and tech stores.

Shengang District

Balloon Museum

Taiwan Balloon Museum is in fact an over-50-years-old balloon factory located in the residential area of Shengang. Here visitors can take an informative journey to discover how does the manufacturing process of balloons work. In addition, the museum offers rubber balloon DIY workshops and guided tours.

An original plan for children and not so children 😉

Taiping District

Earthequake Museum

On September 21, 1999, Taiwan experienced one of its worst natural disasters ever, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that destroyed the central part of this amazing island. The earthquake museum was built in order to honor the victims of this catastrophe, as well as to raise citizens awareness and show them how to act in case of earthquake.

West District

National Taichung Theater

Ready to walk on the roof of an opera house?

The National Taichung Theater is an opera house and multifunctional space which includes:

  • Grand Theater: A 2007 seats cozy, red-themed theater
  • Playhouse: An ocean blue space where musicals and concerts usually take place
  • Black Box:  A black interior space for experimental theater performances
  • Outdoor theater: Covering 1000 square meters, the theater is surrounded by transplanted trees that creates a beautiful natural space, which, by the way, is linked to the Black Box
  • Sky Garden: Visiting the Sky Garden is like entering a different world. The space, surrounded by skyscrapers, is a great area for outdoor concerts. This sixth floor venue is accessible via elevator

National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts

Great museum with exhibitions mostly focused on taiwanese art, although all the time there are temporary exhibitions. The building itself is splendid and it has been  rebuilt after the 921 earthquake.

Where to sleep

Love I

Located just a short 4-minute walk from Feng Chia Night Market, it is a pretty cozy place, nicely decorated and with own private bathroom.

Talmud Hotel

Located in the central district, 1-minute walk from Yizhong Street Night Market is an ideal european style hotel with private bathroom and taiwanese breakfast.

Wowwow House

Located near by Taichung Park and surrounded by restaurants, Wowwow House is a taiwanese cozy hotel whose rooms own private bathrooms.

Where to eat

Street food

  • Fengchia Night Market
  • Yizhong Street Night Market

Hint: Try both stinky and spicy tofu. Tasty!!!

Hot Pot

  • Modern Toilet

European Food

Japanese Food

  • Chung You Department Store

Did you like the post? Motivated to include Taichung in your bucket list? If you want to share more information about this dramatic city feel free to leave a comment below 😉

To say goodbye I want to share more pictures with you (Remember: Next stop Sun Moon Lake 😉 ):

 

 

 

 

8 reasons why you should visit Taiwan

 

After 22 hours travel (including three flights with Cathay Pacific – first time with them and I fell in love with the company), a 3 hours sleep night and two films + 3 episodes of Sex and the City, I finally arrived to Taiwan 😊.

Let me confess that this wonderful country was not in my bucket list. In fact I had never thought about visiting it until a good friend of mine moved there. So, I basically took my decision based on a good friendship. What am I trying to say? Well, let’s be honest: I had no clue about what I could expect from Taiwan. I had no idea about the country, its people, its culture…

Now that I am back in occident I can strongly say that Taiwan should also be in your bucket list, in fact, you should consider Taiwan as your next holidays destination.

To understand why I am saying this I want to invite you to visit my blog within the next weeks, when I am going to tell you more about this amazing place and I am also going to give you a lot of tips to prepare your trip.

Today, to start this blog series about this idyllic asian island I would like to share with you the 8 main reasons why you should visit Taiwan.

Are you ready? Then… Let´s go!

1. The people

No words to describe the kindness of Taiwanese people. Even though most of them do not speak English, they are always willing to help you.

Yes! This trip allowed me to improve my chinese skills 😊

2. The wide amount of beautiful temples

Taiwanese are quite religious with many beautiful temples dotted all around the country.

Do not feel a little intrusive when visiting them, locals are extremely welcoming to tourist that do. However, do not forget that temples are sacred buildings where some rules should be followed.

In the coming weekends I will show you some of the most amazing temples in Taiwan.

3. Taipei is home of the 8th biggest building of the world

Taipei 101 (the figure denote the number of floors) was the tallest building in the world until 2010. This is not only a business building, but also a great place for tourists. From its observation deck on the 91st floor the view is dramatic (I will tell you more on a post dedicated to Taipei 😉 )

4. The dramatic landscapes

When Portuguese sailors first saw Taiwan in the 1500s they literally fell in love with the landscape of the island. In fact, the called it “Ilha Formosa” (beautiful island) and the name remained until the arrival of the Ming dynasty.

5. They have a balloon and an earthquake museum

Can you believe it? I was so amazed when I found out about the balloon museum… I couldn´t even imagine the existence of such a museum!

And the earthquake one? Thanks to it I learnt that Taiwan sits on the same earthquake “ring of fire” as Japan and California.

In 1999 Taiwan experienced a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, its worst in recent memory, which killed 2.400 people. Apparently, the museum was created to inform and raise awareness on how to act in case of an earthquake.

I have never heard about this kind of museums. What about you?

6. Taiwanese food is considered one of the best of the world

Ready to try it?

Within the next weeks I will give some hints about where to eat in the different cities that we will visit together 😉

7. The hiking trails

Taiwan offers tourists a wide hiking trails opportunities, from light treks to real climbs. One of the most known places to hike are Taroko National Park and the beautiful Kenting National Park.

8. Their night markets

While the country is pretty lively during the day (let´s say from 10.00 am onwards), it is when the sun goes down when the island of Taiwan really wakes up and becomes alive.

Taiwan is full of night markets where you will find delicious street food, clothes and tech products. If you really want to understand the Taiwanese way of life, you must definitely visit its night markets.

Taiwan Post Series

Ready to visit the country now?

Within the next weeks we will start a trip visiting many different places such as Taichung, Jiufen, Kenting or Taipei on the blog.

Together we will discover more about the taiwanese culture, its history, its food, its people and its traditions. (If we are connected via IG, I am sure that you have already seen some of my taiwanese pictures 😉 )

Our first stop will be the dramatic city of Taichung.

Next week we will discover more about the third largest city of Taiwan and, at the same time, the most traditional one.

Have a nice week and see you soon! 🙂

 

* when I talk about “tourists” you must take into account that Taiwan is not known for being an international holidays destination, so most of the tourists visiting the island are local or chinese ones.