Family’s first experience at Yunomori Onsen & Spa

Therapeutic and invigorating, that was our experience at Yunomori Onsen & Spa (Google review). Yes, bucket list untick for family.

We were invited to soak in Yunomori Onsen’s latest bath. When we step into the secluded premise in our Yukata, we were transported into another dimension 🙂

We are still in Singapore, but we got imbued with a bit of Japanese culture and ambience.

Yunomori Onsen

We need to keep our shoes before registering for our session. A wrist tag will be issued for the second locker to keep our clothes and stuff.

The same tag will be used for payment at the cafe too.

I told the kids that Yukata must be wore (right to left, then left over right). Wearing it opposite is considered bad luck as it is meant for dead person!

Happy ootd posing, this is our virgin Onsen trip.

We made our way to the cafe for a sumptuous dinner.

Pretty easy to navigate in Yunomori Onsen & Spa, Onsen one side and everything else on the other side.

Let us enjoy our dinner first. On hindsight, I would have preferred to soak first before eating. Food always taste nicer when we are hungry 🙂

Japanese cuisine to get us into the mood, introducing 2019’s menu.

Nigiri Platter

Plum Rose Sparkle – this will definitely cool everyone down, love the refreshing scent of plum and mint

Chuka Snack – yummy baby octopus and jellyfish

Mentai Gyoza

Salmon Sashimi Don – Refreshing and satisfied my salmon craving

Ume Ochazuke

Yee loves his Ramen.

Tonkotsu Spicy Ramen

Salted Egg Mix Tempura

After a satisfying meal, we are ready to 泡湯 soak.

Everything about Yunomori Onsen and Spa was a novelty for my family:

-Being stark naked with 30 others
-For females, disposable panties and bra are available
-Kids felt weird sitting on stool and scrubbing ourselves clean? But I like the repeated process of scrub rinse and scrub again

-Dipping from pool to pool, different water and temperature (always start from the least hot)
-Told them beforehand that we should not spend more than 15 minutes in pool, let the body cool down before soaking in another pool

-First timers can read up about Onsen etiquette on Yunomori website

I was just curious whether there is a difference to the Onsen experience between tropical Singapore and cool Japan.

Image credit Google Map

A pity our kids are a bit too short, Boon Yee had to squat in the pool and could not sit down on his butt. Otherwise, he was game and joined me in all the pool, except the cold one .

Do not leave your child wandering alone, they might jump into the 42 degrees pool or they might start swimming! Besides, you never know what sort of folks are in an onsen.

He find it more cool to walk stark naked, whereas conservative Dad use towel to cover crotch. I would not be so shy in Japan 🙂

Jacuzzi, jet and the new Yufuin pool. Each pool was a new experience. Onsen pool is hottest but most original, but too hot for kids.

Each pool has a different quality, from joint muscle relief, improving blood circulating, to skin improvements and detoxification.

Finish each “lap” with a dip in the 17 degrees cold bath! The extreme temperature dip between hotand cold will jolt your body and close all the pores (shiver! )

You will definitely feel chilled and rejuvenated.

image credit Yunomori Onsen

Steam room and Sauna proved too hot for kids but Yee was curious to pop in the rooms and experience. He commented “Cannot see anything and the steam irritated his nose whenever he breathes”.

Yufuin bath is the latest addition to Yunomori Onsen & Spa. We heard the district (same name) in Southern Japan is famous for the hot spring water, which is clear or bluish and are known to have a natural moisturizing effect on the skin.

After the bath, we wore our Yukata and headed back to the cafe. I wanted my family to enjoy some fresh milk, but alas all milk sold out!

If you have been to Japanese onsens before, the milk always taste sweetest after a soak 🙂

Image credit Yunomori Onsen & Spa

Some might choose to relax in a comfortable lounge and snooze away.
Nothing like an Onsen to drive away all our stress and fatigue.

One can actually feel tired and dehydrated after an onsen, drink up.

Image credit Google Map

Massage anyone? We heard Yunomori Onsen and Spa’s massage services are highly recommended.  Treat the spouse to an aromatic rub, Thai massage might be too harsh on the joints hee hee.

Till we fly to Japan, Yunomori would be the next best option to enjoy a good Onsen experience.

Thank you Yunomori Onsen for the rejuvenating invite.

Do pop by Yunomori Onsen & Spa website for the other baths details.
There are more photos and videos on Yunomori Facebook.

 

You might be interested in my Sento post too (Tokyo link).

ps.. our Onsen trip was sponsored by Yunomori Onsen & Spa

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, and the evening temperature was a cool 12 degrees! The wind along the corridor was chilling.

With a full tummy, we rested 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
-Day 7 Ruifang, Jiufen and Shifen
-Day x Taipei HomeAway and Neighbourhood
Day 8 永康, Xi Men Ding, 象山, 饒河 Raohe
Day 9 and 10 北投 Beitou, Toyshop, 士林 Shilin

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 Cycling Taichung 台中 
Day 4a 台中 Taichung  attractions
Day 5a 台中 Taichung food Ice cream and Bubble Tea
Day 5b 台中 Taichung Fengjia night market
-Day 6 基隆 Keelung
Day 7a Jiufen attractions
Day 7b Shifen attractions
Taipei Neighbourhood around our HomeAway Vacation Home
Day 8a Yong Kang Street and Xi Men Ding
Day 8b Raohe Night Market, Wu Fen Pu and 象山 Elephant Mountain

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