Day 4 of our Taiwan Escapade brings us to our 2nd stop of our 5-day backpacking tour
– Taichung 台中!
And this was our plan for Day 4.
Similarly, we found 2 ways to get from Jiufen 九份 to Taichung 台中. The online portals of Taiwan’s train schedules makes it easy for travellers to check the train timings and even book their tickets online prior to their travel dates.
Due to our planned tight budget, we decided to take the cheaper route to Taichung 台中 – catch the Keelung Transit bus back to Ruifang Station, and take the Taiwan Railway (TRA) to Taichung 台中. It allowed us to save half the cost of going by the luxurious way. Although the train journey duration doubled (3 hours in total), we didn’t mind as we could sleep and rest during the journey :)
However, this also meant that we had to wake up very early. The train that we hope to catch was scheduled to arrive at Ruifang Station at 7.13am, so we had to wake up at an unearthly (holiday) hour, at about 5.30am!
When we stepped out of the inn where we put up at in Jiufen 九份, it was about 6.30am. Having about 45 minutes till the train’s arrival at the train station, we believed we could make it for the train. While waiting for the Keelung Transit Bus, we started to worry as no bus came along in the next 15 minutes!
Luckily, the bus came at about 6.50am, but it didn’t ease our mind.
True enough, the journey was a mere 10-15 minutes. And once we got off the bus, we rushed to the train station to purchase our tickets for the 7.13am train. With our backpacks, we continued to rush to the platform as the train station staff mentioned that the train was coming soon.
It really felt like as if we were participants of the Amazing Race, running to catch the train, while hoping to be faster than the rest of the teams, haha!
We only stopped and heaved a sigh of relief when we reached the platform and sat on the stone chairs.
Quickly finding a seat, we were separated cause there were no empty seats that were side by side. We were fine to sit separately as we planned to sleep through the journey :)
Halfway through the journey, someone woke me up to say that I was sitting in her seat! I was taken aback and scrambled to get up from the seat. I was embarrassed too.
I then took out my seat ticket and examined it. To my realisation, we were actually allocated seats when we bought our tickets too! How funnily silly can we get! LOL.
I quickly went over to wake my travel buddy up and we quickly went to find our allocated seats to enjoy the rest of the journey to Taichung 台中, with no more interruptions to our slumber :P
Finally, after slacking and sleeping in the train for 3 hours, we’ve arrived at Taichung 台中! :D
The hotel that we’ve picked for this leg of the trip is Cityinn Hotel Plus @ Taichung Station Branch. Exiting the station from the rear, the hotel is just less than 5 minutes away! (Go straight after exiting, turn left, and 10 steps later, you’ll be at the entrance of the hotel.)
Cityinn is a popular budget hotel, which services aren’t at all budget! They have branches all over Taiwan, having 3 of their hotels located in Taipei which are always fully booked. It’s the first time we’re staying in Cityinn and we were awed by the design of the hotel. This Taichung branch has each level designed to a different theme. We had fun taking photos at our allocated level and going to every level to take a look, hehe :D
Cityinn is not for the fussy, but it is fully equipped with the usual toiletries, like toothbrush, toothpaste, ear buds, hair dryer, shampoo, body soap, etc. The hotel is neat and clean (this review on cleanliness is reliable, considering the fact that we’re clean freaks, esp towards the toilets :P), with self-laundry services and even free-to-watch latest movies! What more can you ask from a budget hotel?! I shall let some photos do the talking.
As usual, we arrived early and the room wasn’t ready yet. So, we checked with the receptionist on a few things, as well as places that she would recommend us to go.
Hungry us agreed to try out the cafe that the receptionist recommended – 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang @ Mode Mall, just a 7-10mins walk from the hotel. She said that many guests tried her recommendations – 春水堂 Chun Shui Tang’s beef noodles and pearl milk tea, and were full of praises.
No pictures of the drinks but the pearl milk tea really went well with the food.
After our stomachs were filled, we window-shopped around the Mall. The receptionist mentioned that the mall is just like a neighbourhood mall and it’s small. We were thinking that it will be really small, BUT it was actually big, comparable to Woodlands Causeway Point, haha!
To side-track a lil, when we entered the mall, it was in the late morning so we believe that we were the first two to enter the mall. All the service staff were standing like statues, and each one that we passby, they bow 90-degrees to greet us, but without expression :/ we were initially amused by their level of service (in terms of greetings), but it got kinda eerie after a while ._.
So, we were window shopping and we found a foodcourt and some food outlets at the basement, including Cold Stone. If you have not heard, the Cold Stone in Taiwan is much cheaper than those in Singapore. My friend actually bought a cup of Cold Stone everyday when she was in Taiwan for her holiday, that’s how cheap it is! We couldn’t resist the cheap price and bought a cup to share, although we were still full from our brunch :P
After lunch and dessert, we went back to the hotel to do our room check-in. It wasn’t a big room, just enough walking space for 2 person, a comfortable-shiok bed, clean toilet and a TV filled with many free-to-air movies for you to choose from (must repeat this point, haha!).
We started to play the movie ‘Pitch Perfect’ on the TV and got so hooked to it, we only left the room around 5pm and headed off to 一中街 Yizhong Street. Unlike 台北 Taipei, the main mode of transport here in 台中 Taichung is bus. We had to take a 8 minutes bus journey from Taichung Railway Station to get to 一中街 Yizhong Street.
From Taichung Railway Station to 一中街 Yizhong Street
Board either buses at front of Taichung Railway Station and get off the bus one bus stop before “Chung Yu Dept Store” stop.
- Taichung bus (台中客運) 9, 14, 35, 88; United bus (統聯客運) 61, 73, 83;
- Renyou bus (仁友客運) 1, 21, 25, 29, 31
一中街 Yizhong Street is a bustling street, somewhat similar to 台北 Taipei’s 西门町 Ximending. It’s young people everywhere. We were told that this street is cheaper than the famous 逢甲夜市 Feng Jia Night Market. (Indeed it is after visiting both streets…)
As usual, girls being girls, we shopped like no tomorrow again (hehe). Cheap apparels, cheap handphone covers. Like most streets, there is a corner building like a tiny shopping mall, and the stuff sold in there isn’t cheap. But, Taiwanese being dog lovers, we saw a cute white doggy which was hair-dyed by her master. She wasn’t shy of strangers and kept coming to us, along with 2 other of her companions, but her owner looked freakish :/
After shopping happily, we ended the day with supper bought back to the hotel room :)
Due to the delay during the day, it was too late for us to make a trip down to 逢甲夜市 Fengjia Night Market. Below is the directions on how to get to the famous night market from 一中街 Yizhong Street.
From 一中街 Yizhong Street to 逢甲夜市 Fengjia Night Market
Board either bus along Sanmin Rd Sec 2
- Taichung bus (台中客運) 35
- Renyou bus (仁友客運) 25
This marks the end of our first day in 台中 Taichung.
Look out for Day 5! :)
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,