Flowers, Hakka-snacks, Kitesurfing, and Making Ice Cream: 5 reasons to drive between Taichung and Hsinchu
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The drive between Taichung and Hsinchu offers the traveller numerous delights. While the journey by public transport (regular train or coach) takes around 90 minutes, by car this is cut down to a smidgen over an hour. While there is a High Speed Rail service between the two cities the stations are situated a good 30 minutes from downtown in both cities which considerably lengthens the 20-30 minute ride to around 90 minutes.
However, aside from time-saving considerations, there are also several places enroute between the two cities which can easily be accessed by car and make pleasant stop-offs along the way in one of Taiwan’s most underrated counties.
Flower lovers may enjoy stopping off at either the Zhong Shi Tourist Flower Market (中社观光花市), Lavender Cottage, or Xinshe Sea of Flowers. The first is open year-round and despite the name is not a market but a permanent flower exhibition. Lavender, tulips, sunflowers and many other flowers bloom here at various times of the year in various themed setups making for some lovely photos. There’s a small entrance fee of NT$120-150 depending on the season. It is close to Sanyi Wood village which would make a nice stop for lunch afterwards. Lavender cottage is a small operation growing lavender up in the mountains (entrance NT$100; comes with NT$ 100 dollar coupon for onsite purchases). There are a few simple carts selling lavender-related wares and a fusion restaurant, however the main attraction is the seclusion as it is situated quite high up in the mountains and only accessible by car. Each November the seasonal display at Xinshe Sea of Flowers draws crowds to meander amongst the fields full of various flowers at this old Japanese era nursery. Entrance is free, but expect crowds and congestion at the weekends.