Taiwan Day 2 – Cing Jing Farm and Bnb

We only knew that  Cing Jing Farm (or Green Green Grasslands) is famous in Nantou, we were clueless about other attractions.

I can come up with 100 activities in cities, but I was clueless about Cing Jing.  I could not find a good review about Cing Jing restaurants too.

 

The other popular attraction is 合歡山 (He Huan Shan) see Sunrise or 云海 (sea-like cloud) . During extreme coldness, we might get to see snow too(or leftover of snow), but you need to wake up at 3 am and endure shivering and windy 0-5 degrees, and a winding road (I believe a daytime visit of He Huan Shan would not be disappointing)

 

We had planned for 2 nights,  I needed to find some activities to keep everyone busy. Many visitors  stay for one night, or do a day trip.

My intention was to slow down our pace and enjoy some fresh air. Read our Day 1 post at Aowanda and Mist Plaza here (link).

Introkducing our 民宿 minsu (好家寨 from Airbnb), not your usual 3 stars resort, but comfortable for us. The bed, shower facilities are decent, and we chose this because of the short 8 min walk to Mist Plaza (aka 7-11 and Starbucks,  GPS 24.043918, 121.157100).

 

Fyi, Minsu prices in Cing Jing are second in Taiwan, after Sun Moon Lake!

By the second night, kids understood that we should totally chill (pun intended) in 清境 Cing Jing. Soak in the cool weather and fresh air, enjoy nature. Learn to relax.

Most bnb beds will be heated, the temperatures can drop to zero in the early mornings. We did not want to get out from our comfortable bed in the morning!

青青草原 Cing Jing Farm (also known as 清境農場) is one of the most popular venue in Cing Jing. Imagine sheeps roaming over the hills, beautiful scenery etc.

I would say it is a must to visit this farm if you are in Cing Jing. Even adults will enjoy the scenery.

Castle in the clouds.

Warning, there might be more tourists than sheep during peak hours :p
Tickets allowed you to enter and exit multiple times.

 

We would recommend that you start at the top of Cing Jing Farm (gps 24.058568, 121.163454) and slowly walk down 3km to reach Swiss Garden or Starbucks.

Maybe  your Minsu owner can drive you up, or take a public bus. Our Toyota Wish taxi charged us NTD400 for one way.

The December mist and 12 degrees temperature greeted us. Cold, but we were eager to explore the grounds. Expect 2 to 3 hours of leisure exploration.

In sunny days, vast expanse of green and mountain would greet you, you should be able to  spot more sheep. This is why Cing Jing Farm is also known as 青青草原 (Green Green Grassland).

(checkout images from our friends BPDGtravels)

Introducing the stars of Cing Jing, free roaming sheeps. All fat, and adorable. Do not look at their bums!

Do not “meh meh” to them, sheep only understand the language of food.

Once they hear visitors shake the “feed”, they will approach you.

Heads up, Cing Jing brochures will not mention of sheep poo, tons of them. It is almost inevitable that someone will step on the poo haha :p

Go on, take more photos in the misty setup.

 

Cing Jing Farm
Cing Jing Farm

Two of my kids are already teenagers but they still enjoy the feeding experience. Hey, I enjoy taking the photos of family too.

The mist would constantly float in and out during the colder months, too cool!  The windmill was here one minute, and hidden the next 🙂

It can be challenging the spot the camouflaged sheep!

Instagram Video (#SengkangBabiesTaiwan) :

 

There is a new 清境高空觀景步道 “skywalk bridge” parallel to Cing Jing Farm, but go only if there is no mist. You are supposed to get a nice view of the mountains.

Photo above, stable with real horses. We did not catch the sheep shearing or pony shows.

At the mid way point, warm up with some bbq sticks. Everyone will pass by this path. Honey and cookies are on sale too.

There are many trails in Cing Jing. Photo below (right) is the Cherry blossom trail, I can imagine pink and white Sakura lining the paths in Spring!

Please walk the 499 steps ladder to the base too. Relaxing, unless you climb in opposite direction. Love the “modelling” photo here, kids look stylo in their Uniqlo jackets (#notSponsored)

Reached the base at around 2pm, famished. 7-11, and some cafeterias. Beef noodle soup would be nice  for this weather. There are a few stalls selling steamboat meals.

 

After lunch, we walk a leisurely 20 min to the next stop, Swiss Garden.

 

 

 

Do take note that Carton King had moved to another location since 2018 Jan. It is no longer at Swiss Garden.

 

Could not resist the pretty umbrellas.

As mentioned in our earlier Taiwan Itinerary post, it is challenging to navigate around Cing Jing Farm. Waking distance would be too long for kids, self drive might not be recommended due to winding road and sometimes low visibility.

A 10min taxi trip might cost between Ntd 400 to 600.

 

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆

Blog posts :

**Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
-Day 4 Tai Chung

Taiwan Day 1 – Reference our Google Map for GPS and Aowanda National forest

We took 3 to 4 months to plan our Taiwan trip. After zooming down the number of days we can spare, we focus on the areas which we wish to visit.

(do read our 10D9N summary here)

Both me and Mrs wanted to explored the less touristy area, for a more memorable experience.  I planned for too much hikes and cycling, kids wanted some “shit” I-mean-Fun-novelty cafe, but the only thing we all agree was to sample more street food. Yes, Night Markets 🙂

aowanda national forest
Aowanda National Forest

 

Besides Taipei and Kaohsiung, many other cities have lesser developed public transport system, or the Metro is not as wide spread.
One good example is Taichung, which is better served by bus network rather than train.

You should plan to visit attractions which are nearer to each other. Taichung is huge and contain many attractions (Not including those in neighbouring Miaoli, Nantou, Tainan yet!)

Do visit our itinerary (Google sheet) and sample proximity maps for Ruifang and Tai Chung. The itinerary (with GPS) would help you pinpoint the attractions and rates, the maps will help plan your travel route.

** The Google Sheet and maps are in our GDrive folder.

1)Google Sheet link  (This reference is 95% accurate, as we improvised along the way). Column “G” contains the GPS, and Column “H” indicates the “location markers” .

2)Taichung Map (link) below. Please stay at least two nights in Taichung!

Example below, we should plan to visit (roughly) attractions denoted by location “1,”2″,”7″ and “10”.

3)Ruifang Map (link) below.

Refer to Google sheet link and get an idea of distance between Jiufen, Shifen, PingXi, Keelung Night Market etc. Once you decide on your “focus” area, plan nearby accommodation for easy hop.

 

Back to Day 1 Taiwan, we arrived at Taiwan at 0600.

Our driver 小李 picked us at Taoyuan International Airport and we headed towards Nantou, destination Aowanda National Forest (奧萬大國家森林遊樂區, GPS 23.954341, 121.169178)

A 2 hour + journey, we stop for breakfast at one of the traditional breakfast eateries. 豆浆油条 is nice. (not related to JJ’s song)

 

The highlight was 蛋餅 Egg Crepe (bottom right pic). Humble appearance (and price NTD20) with slight pepper powder, but the crunchy and chewiness soft egg taste so good!

What greeted us along the highway was endless ridges and more mountains, and marvelous skyline! Somehow, it is setting our expectations for more hilly roads ahead!

Google Map of hilly zig zag terrains! Our kids took turns to vomit in the van (ooops), plastic bags alert!

 

Reach Aowanda National Forest at a cool 15 degrees. This nature reserve is famous for Autumn maple leaves and a 180m suspension bridge.

Ticket pricing (Adult NTD 200 child NTD 150)

 

Leaves are still green and yellowish, with few turning red.

We underestimated the distance to the suspension bridge, and it was a brisk 60 min walk for the boys. Normal relaxing pace will take you 90 mins.

Mrs and girl was intimidated by the endless flights of stairs! It will be challenging to climb up on the return trip 🙂

They decided to wait for us near the carpark.

The steps are long, no wonder called “好漢坡步道” (Heroes trail).

While we enjoy the fresh air, we found some acorns along the way.

The plaque at the gate  indicated that not more than 110 person should walk the bridge simultaneously. Who’s counting?

Many Taiwanese were out to enjoy the beautiful park too.

180m long, but surprisingly the bridge did not rock too much, unless the kids purposely run or hop :p

Visitors can walk the whole length and admire the valley on both flanks. 

Patches of Autumn are in view, when will they turn Red?

At the other end of the bridge, pine trees greeted us.

 

Saw some campers on our way back. Although it was a cool 15 degrees, we had to remove our jackets along the walk. Tiring to climb stairs and brisk walking with Daddy.

However, we felt autumn leaves at Aowanda National Forest are not too spectacular (maybe wrong season?) and the meandering route might not be suitable for younger kids. If you really like to explore this forest, expect to spend 3 hours.

We love the photo opportunities, but there are many other National Forests which are easier to access. Taiwan is really blessed with nature and a dreamland for hikers.

On our way to our Bnb, we pass by this scenic dam and reservoir. As we climb higher, mist will float in and out out the road.

Lunch was Urn chicken (甕仔雞) on the way up to Cing Jing. 伊拿谷餐廳 (Inako Valley View) (gps 24.036825, 121.146705).

You will see many shops selling this type of chicken in Nantou, or in general Central Taiwan.

The chicken are roasted in the special urn,  We love the chicken and side dishes so much we went for dinner the second night! Many folks will actually takeaway the chicken to enjoy in their own room.


Soup is always welcome in the cold weather, kids love the crispy prawn (水晶虾)

A hearty meal, but the evening temperature to a cool 12 degrees! The wind along the corridor was chilling.

With a full tummy, we reseted in our Bnb before soaking at 廬山 Lu Shan later in the night. Taiwanese call soaking in Hot spring, 泡湯 (literally dipping in soup).

維多利亞溫泉會館 (Victoria Spring Resort, GPS 24.022925, 121.186482) , this is not the Japanese type on (naked) Onsen, but family friendly. We book two tubs for about TWD 1000, the big pool was unavailable then.

*take note transport fee could be NTD 1000 and above for the estimated 12 to 15km trip, we had a van to and fro for NTD 1500.

**All the resorts around has some sort of Hot Spring facility. Business was roaring until a devastating earthquake shattered the town in 2013.

Victoria was recommended by our BnB, our initial Hot Spring venue was “廬山正揚溫泉渡假飯店” because it has fish spa :p (those doctor fish which can nibble at your feet)

We noticed many tourist coaches were packed to Ming Lu, which has a much more luxurious exterior. Glad the kids enjoyed their Hot Spring soak in the cold weather 🙂  #TheirFirstOnsen :p

Hungry again after our dip, we walked 8 mins from our Bnb to Mist Plaza 清境商場 (GPS 24.043918, 121.157100).

This is actually a mini shopping area with limited food options. The dishes are decent and not too expensive (I had expected tourist pricing).

 

Maybe it is winter period, the blue dim leds and the mist added a fog of surreal experience for us.

The highlight for us was hot Chocolate and cheesecake at Starbucks 🙂
The 星巴克 Starbucks (GPS 24.043685, 121.156977) and 7-11 here are landmark for gathering points.

 

Enjoying Starbucks in cold weather is simply different from tropical Singapore. Hot chocolate and Cheesecake always taste nicer and warmer 🙂

Mist Plaza, really misty 🙂

 

We will share more about BnB and 清境 Cing Jing Farm in the next post.

Tip : The average rate for booking a car and driver ( full-day) is around NTD 6500 to 7500.

Photo albums :

Day 1 Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing
Day 3 Xitou Nature Education Area, Monster Village, Sun Moon Lake
Day 4 Taichung (Zhongshe flower, ShengXin station, Cycling, Fengjia)
Day 5 Taichung (Animation Lane, Rainbow, Miyahara)
Day 6 Keelung 基隆

Blog posts :

** Taiwan Itinerary for families 
Day 1 Google Sheet, Aowanda, Cing Jing
Day 2 Cing Jing Farm
HomeAway Recommendations for Taiwan
Day 3a Xitou Nature Education area (溪頭)
Day 3b Monster village 妖怪村 and Sun Moon Lake
-Day 4 Tai Chung

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I am a traditional buyer, I still prefer to poke the spikes, admire the racks of durians and throw the husks into the huge baskets. Eating with friends at a side table seems to be more “original” and joyful 🙂

Besides, how do we know online vendors will pack the best durians for us? Who can assure that the packed durian flesh are of premium quality?

Durian Delivery might just change our Durian shopping habit.

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How do Durian Delivery ensure their Durian’s quality?

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Considering congestion of 2 hours are not uncommon at the customs, this 6 hours delivery time frame is even more admirable. The trucks are air conditioned so your durians reach you in the best condition.

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Our Mao Shan Wang (貓山王) delight.

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We all love the “Hand-Picked Royal (Old Tree) MSW Durian”. Slightly sweet with a bitter after taste,  delightful. Durian Delivery is proud of their signature durian, read more here.

If you need fresher Durians,  visit a Durian farm :p

Durian Delivery
Durian Delivery

On a side note, anyone eats Durians with their rice? You should try it once, the white rice taste so much better with a coating of durian flesh 🙂

(The Mrs and kids did not agree with me)

 

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*Last two images credit Durian Delivery