Monday, 28 March 2016
Just back from my long awaited Taiwan trip :) I'll share this post in two parts with the first being Cingjing. My initial preference was to just blog about the food in Taiwan but given the lack of information during my research on Cingjing, I decided to help provide some.
Cingjing is a farm area located in the mountains of Taiwan. To head there from Taoyuan Airport, I took the Ubus 705 to Taoyuan HIgh Speed Rail (HSR). There we purchased tickets to Taichung HSR. This journey is rather manageable taking about 15mins by bus and 40mins by train. Train tickets can be purchased online or directly at the station. To purchase UBus ticket, head to ground floor and follow the signages. It's pretty clear.
Thereafter, you have the option of busing up to Cingjing or taking a cab. I travel with the mentality that if it's too troublesome or time consuming, just spend! So I booked a cab before even flying to Taiwan. The driver's contact is here: Xie Zhiming +886 937 216 180. A lot of travelers use him and on the day he picked us up, his wife and son was with him so I felt safer! They are nice people who even bought us Taiwanese popular buns to try.
In Cingjing, you can either walk or take their internal bus or call their internal drivers. I tried walking and the distance between attractions and where I stayed is far! Honestly I picked a minsu much closer to the attractions than all the other available options in Agoda so you can imagine the inconvenience. Internal bus on a rainy day is also relatively difficult as the waiting time is uncertain and walking distance isn't exactly the friendliest. The preferred option is to call their internal drivers but it's 50TWD per person per ride. So it's the most convenient but the priciest. See your preference. All minsu should be able to give travelers the number to call.
The key attractions in Cingjing are mainly the Green Green Grassland and Small Swiss Cottage. It's hard to take pictures when it's pouring otherwise I thought it'll be fun. Both locations can be walkable if you are in a trekking mood but otherwise it's considered far in my opinion.
One of the places everyone tells me I must visit is the Old England Manor. It's also the most expensive place to stay in Cingjing and much pricier than even many of the 5 star singapore hotels. In my opinion, it's a overhyped place. To enter, you either stay there or eat there. But if you eat there you are only limited to a few places linking the entrance to the dining area.
Worthy of an English King? The afternoon tea set cost about 500 TWD per pax. It's food are interestingly agreeable with my palate even though they are much simpler than many other high tea sets I've eaten. I particularly like the raisin scones which I normally won't eat. Vain pot felt that the food was just so-so, I guess it's really dependent on individual preference. We both had a very pleasant afternoon though.
Another must try in my opinion is Urn Chicken. I tried mine at Yi Na Gu, taking the minsu's recommendation. My initial choice was Ah Dong chicken. The difference is that both are really far away and Yi Na Gu provides transportation to and from the place for free! In any case, it taste like a very tasty chicken. I wasn't very impressed with Taiwanese food in general, but this chicken is probably the tastier chickens I have eaten.
Pretty much this sums up my Cingjing trip and stuff you need to know about the place to have a good time there. The minsu I stayed is Star Villa. It's considered pricey for a minsu at $150 a night. But the rooms are very big and clean. They provide star gazing sessions at night daily. Sadly I failed to experience the sessions due to the rain. They have this observatory tower for star gazing. To get back to Taipei, just do a reverse of everything. You needn't hire a driver again because Star Villa provides a cheaper transportation back to Taichung HSR.