Here’s the itinerary for our Taiwan self-drive trip in May 2015 (a brief one):
Day 0 – Singapore to Taoyuan airport by Scoots
Day 1 – Self Drive from Hsinchu to Nantou
We arrived the Taoyuan airport before 6am. After clearing the immigration, we went to T2 to purchase the SIM card (open at 7am). Transfer via the shuttle train to T2.
Note : T1 Telcom shops open at 8am.
After purchasing the Chunghwa SIM card, we went to take the shuttle bus to Taoyuan HSR. Our car pick-up was at Hsinchu HSR. Why we didn’t pick the car at Taoyuan airport ? Simply to reduce the driving distance and the car rental office opened at 830am or 9am.
The HSR ride to Hsinchu was pretty fast, about 10mins. Picking the car from the counter was a breeze and soon we were driving to Taichung.
We covered the following places in Day 1:
– 寶島時代村 (Taiwan Times Village) http://www.twtimes.tw – Replicia of Taiwan olden days.
– 紫南宮 (Zhinan temple – popular temple in Nantou)
– Scenary cafe
– 妖怪村 (Monster Village)
Taiwan Times Village – a retro attraction.
This scenary cafe 啡常哲學 at Xitou was featured in the Taiwan travel variety show (食尚玩家 20150429).
Our accomodation was nearby Monster Village – 聽濤園山莊 (www.tingtau.com.tw).
The package included breakfast, dinner as well as firefly tour at 730pm. Dinner looked great – two vege, chicken and mushroom soup. Delicious, especially the rice.
We had a good dinner and we went for a firefly tour (abt 30mins). Pretty interesting !
I think we will see more fireflies if we go in April.
These are the newer rooms – exterior looks nice !
The picture below (top) is the entrance to the reception and restaurant. There is a big cosy seating area near the reception.
The last 2 pictures (bottom) is the washroom entrance and the washing basin.
Day 2 – Self drive from Nantou to Hsinchu
After breakfast, we set off to Puli. There was a small attraction that displayed the Transformers 金鋼基地 made from spare car parts. Pretty interesting ! The entrance fee can be exchanged for drink.
We went to a nearby place to buy mochi 草屯大姐麻糬, also recommended by taiwan variety show. Freshly made, nice & soft mochi ! Here’s the website : http://sister.emmm.tw/?ptype=info. (Bought the long shape ones)
After that we had lunch nearby and went to a antique car cafe 復古車莊園
Lastly, we went to Hsinchu Neiwan Old Street 新竹內灣老街 for some shopping and eating.
Our accomodation that night was at Hsinchu Minsu – 登美山莊
We had a hard time driving there as the GPS routed us for a long mountain way.
The minsu also provided dinner and breakfast. Nice surrounding with mountain view.
They operated more like resort style, rather than minsu feel (hope you know what I mean).
Day 3 – Self drive from Hsinchu to Yilan
We drove about 2 hour plus to Yilan. Our first stop was at Jiaoxi – a German restaurant Zum Adler. They were famous for the German pork knuckle. We were extremely full after the meal. Too much meat !
After that, we visited the ‘Hello Peter’. The restaurant is decorated like Harry potter scene and they also sell bread and food stuff too.
Soon it was time to check-in at our Yilan minsu – 灣曲時尚渡假會館, a resort style minsu. Read my fabulous stay here.
At night, we went to Luodong night market and had our dinner there.
Day 4 – Yilan
After checking out from minsu, we went to Jiaoxi. We were going to have lunch with Mr Zhu, our driver whom we engaged a few times. I wanted to try the famous hand tear chicken (Weng Yao Ji) in Jiaoxi.
The chicken is specially cooked in the olden days earth made urn !
An advise is that don’t order so much dishes as the portion is really big ! We were super full after the meal !
After that, we went to the nearby Tangweigou Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park to soak our feet (free public hot spring). You can also go for a fish foot spa at a minimal cost.
There is a interesting museum that offered the ‘chilli’ ice-cream, with different level of spiciness. Try one if you can take the spiciness !
Our accomodation for the night was at Kimptonbnb – Read my fabulous stay here. Added advantage for those who need English speaking hosts.
For dinner, we settled at a Japanese restaurant 武藏坊 near Luodong night market (recommended by minsu boss). We ordered a chirasi-don and a ‘no menu’ Japanese set meal that comes with 8 dishes. You can imagine how full we were after the sumptuous dinner !
Day 5 – End of Self-drive
We returned our car at the Luodong car rental branch in late morning. After that, we took the coach back to Taipei main station.
Day 6 onwards – Free & Easy in Taipei
Taipei Hotspring that comes with meal, frog porridge and cabbage (400 twn per pax and can redeem the value for meal). The porridge can serve at least 4 persons !
Exploring Zakka stuff at Natural Kitchen
This Japanese restaurant located near Ximen station served good set meal, comes with drink and dessert too ! Really full after the meal !
To sum up, driving in Taiwan is pretty easy, however you need to do some homework to plan your itinerary and driving route.
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