Taiwan Trip Day 4 : Miaoli – Hao Wang Jiao Minsu (好望角民宿) > Fruit Picking

Day 4:

I choose a minsu in Maoli as there were very few good and affordable options in Miaoli. We almost went with F Hotel Sanyi but I cancelled the booking after I had good correspondences with the owner – Mary at Hao Wang Jiao ( 好望角民宿). I chanced upon good reviews on Tripadvisor and thought this will be a good alternative to hotels. Wendy, our travel guide, recommended hot springs hotels/accommodations but we are not huge fans of hot springs so decided to go for a mountainside minsu. Smile

Mary and her husband run Hao Wang Jiao minsu together. Their relatives run a camp site just down the hill – more suitable for locals.

We took 2 attic rooms which came with pine wood flooring, walls and stairs. Our room has a real attic room which can sleep a total of 7 to 8 pax; whereas my in-laws took the room next to ours with 2 huge beds good for 4 pax. The rental is very affordable as compared to Flying Cow Ranch and others nearby.

The downside: There is a flight of stairs to climb up to the rooms. And the rooms/bathrooms are a little dated in look and feel. Cleanliness and condition of the place is about 8/10 but still acceptable for a short stay.

The upside: The hospitality of the hosts – Mary and her husband – is superb! They welcomed us warmly when we reached. Helped to carry our luggage up the stairs and invited us downstairs with hot tea and some biscuits. We had home cooked breakfast on 2 mornings and it felt like they are relatives after a while! Their black dog was shy but otherwise all of them were a pleasure to mingle with. After the 2nd day, it felt like home!

There are 2 other rooms on the ground floor, but Mary said the attic rooms are better. Smile Mary’s husband (I can’t remember his name!) did most of the improvement works around the hill which are interesting when you looked closely.

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Mary’s husband and sister-in-law (we needed 2 cars) drove us to the Flying Cow Ranch (more about that on next post) and thereafter we requested to go fruit picking. They kindly picked us up after lunch and drove us to a local fruit picking farm. My mum is a huge fan of fruit picking. I can’t say it’s a proper farm; but more of a random, neighbourhood sort that only the locals might know. We paid a nominal fee to enter the land with plastic bags to pick up to a few kgs each. There were only oranges and persimmons in session; and they were grew on steep slopes. But we had good fun cutting, eating and selecting the best to pack. My two city kids were fighting to be the one to cut the fruits; clearly city kids. ^_^

We picked more than enough and feasted on yummy oranges for the next few days; and had bags to bless our driver and left some for the next guests at Hao Wang Jiao.

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After our fruitful fruit-picking-cum-eating session, we decided to eat in for the night and Mary offered to help us buy local noodles. We ordered a few variety but there weren’t any vegetarian options in the noodle shop (my mum is a vegetarian). Mary kindly offered to go to her sister-in-law’s house down the hill to grab some vegetables to stir-fry for my mum!

Xi En and I tagged along to harvest the greens – it’s a fun adventure for the city kid! And my mum – she simply loves from field-to-plate food produces. Smile

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We had a relaxing evening at Hao Wang Jiao; chatting and sipping tea with the hosts. The kids either ran around the compound or up and down the stairs.

There were nothing much to do, no high-technology cable TV to watch but that’s the whole point – we didn’t want to do much except to laze around and enjoy the fresh air.

Our hosts are really sunny and down-to-earth people and that made the whole minsu experience a pleasant one.

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Will recommend this place if you don’t mind roughing it out a little in a more rustic place. You will need to speak Mandarin as hosts are not proficient in English.

Their website: http://www.8898go.com/hwj/

I communicated with most Taiwanese via WeChat or LINE. Some use whatsapp as well. Will be useful to have those communications apps if you are planning to stay in minsu or Airbnb. Smile

Next up: Day trip to Flying Cow Ranch

Read more about our Taiwan trip below:

Day 1: Taipei (Taoyuan) > Yilan

Day 2: Yilan (Happiness 20 Farm > Crayon Art Factory > Traditional Art Center > Luodong Night Market)

Day 3: Yilan > Miaoli

Day 4: Miaoli (Hao Wang Jiao Minsu > Picking of seasonal fruits)

Day 4: Miaoli (Flying Cow Ranch)

Day 5: Miaoli > Taichung (Xinshe Sea of Flowers > Master of Mushroom > Go-Kart > Carton King > La Vida Hotel > Feng Chia night market)

Day 6: Taichung > Taipei

Day 7 & 8: Taipei

Taiwan Trip – Day 1 (Singapore > Taipei > Yilan)

We decided on a Taiwan trip end of Nov 2015 because it was to be a  “graduation trip” (kindergarten only!) for Xi En cum an extended family trip with my in-laws.

I find Taiwan a very suitable place for families and big families! There are many suitable activities for young and old. And the best thing: you can travel comfortably in a mini-van with hired drivers cum guides.

Before we head off, I visited the Taiwan Tourist Office at Raffles Place/Chevron House. Bring along a flight ticket print out or accommodation booking confirmation to redeem free gifts for everyone on the trip. For that month, there were free metro passes which came in really useful as we needed them on the last leg of the trip. There are different freebies every month so don’t miss out. There are some maps and brochures to pick up at the office too.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TTBSIN/ 

Address: 30 Raffles Place, #10-01 Chervon House

Tel: 62236546

Here’s sharing our itinerary for last year; Nov 2015. I know. I procrastinated! If I don’t write now, I probably will never. Confused smile

With Taiwan set as a year-end travel destination, we decided to go with Eva Air because there were decent deals and we I wanted to try the Hello Kitty airplanes! Smile If you are interested in the Hello Kitty planes you can check their route availabilities on the EVA Hello Kitty website.

I have 2 boys so it didn’t exactly thrilled them. But the novelty still worked (more on me than them). Winking smile

Our flight plans were:

To:

BR 215 SIN – TPE (Taoyuan Airport): 1545hr – 2015hrs

Return:

BR216 TPE – SIN: 955hrs – 1430hrs

We decided to travel with the constraints of the plane being a “Hello Kitty” plane as I heard the other EVA planes were older.

In any case, both plane flights went well with no major events unlike our Melbourne trip. Xi En learnt now that he has to take a break after watching the entertainment TV and he needs to eat moderately and he needs to sleep. He did it with clockwork! *thumbs up*

Hello Kitty Airplane photos galore; too cute! :

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Upon arrival, there was a miscommunication that I thought our prearranged driver will be waiting at the arrival area. Only to realise, after buying our prepaid cards, that he is in his car circling around the airport. Maybe it is expensive to park and walk to wait for us? In any case, glad we found each other and started our long drive to Yilan – our accommodation for the night. We took about 1.5 to 2 hours to reach Yilan from Taoyuan Airport.

Note: It is useful to buy the telco cards/packages at the airport if you need connectivity on the go. It isn’t too expensive and there are different no. of days packages. It is useful to connect with your drivers.

Our accommodation for the next 2 nights was at Full Sweet Inn. It is a “minsu” (民属) – otherwise known as a homestay/B&B. Talking of which, it can be somewhat difficult if you don’t speak/read/write Mandarin. Though I do have mandarin education, I still face trouble trying to read the mandarin instructions on some of the localised hotel/minsu’s websites. One small tip: you can use google translate or type in the chinese names of the minsu and you might be able to find the original minsu’s website or someone who wrote about it in English.

There are just too many options in the Taiwan for minsu – reviews on Tripadvisor/Agoda/Expedia – might be able to give good indication of the place.

Full Sweet Inn was nested among paddy fields giving it an idyllic feel. The hosts – Jonanthan and his wife – were friendly and helpful from answering questions to booking, payment and hosting. Rooms were clean and spacious. Breakfast was homely and yummy. There was little to complain about. As we hired a driver, it was easy to move around. Otherwise, I think you do need a cab to get in and out.

Photos of Full Sweet Inn and their reviews on Tripadvisor.

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As our flight came in late, we didn’t do much on the first night except to stock up at the nearby Family Mart. We started Day 2 with proper itinerary which I will share more on the second Taiwan post. Smile

More details on our each day’s itinerary as below:

Day 1: Taipei (Taoyuan) > Yilan

Day 2: Yilan (Happiness 20 Farm > Crayon Art Factory > Traditional Art Center > Luodong Night Market)

Day 3: Yilan > Miaoli

Day 4: Miaoli (Hao Wang Jiao Minsu > Picking of seasonal fruits)

Day 4: Miaoli (Flying Cow Ranch)

Day 5: Miaoli > Taichung (Xinshe Sea of Flowers > Master of Mushroom > Go-Kart > Carton King > La Vida Hotel > Feng Chia night market)

Day 6: Taichung > Taipei

Day 7 & 8: Taipei