Cingjing Itinerary: Puli King Garden, Guangxing Paper Mill, Feeling 18C, The Old England, Green Green Grassland, Small Swiss Garden, Dreamtown Minsu.
I can’t believe I took so long to write up our Taiwan trip in June last year. Hopefully, I could finish it before we head for another vacation this coming school holiday. To speed up this series, the subsequent posts will be more pictorial than words as I’ve forgotten some of the details. Jiayou, Emily!
Due to the crazy summer heat (never expected it to be any hotter than Singapore but it really was!), we were so looking forward to a cooler weather in Cingjing. On Day 5, we left Taichung after breakfast and our driver drove us up to Cingjing mountains.
On the way, we visited Puli – a town at the geographic center of Taiwan in Nantou County. It is located in a very lush and beautiful valley with many hiking trails, and its central position makes it a logical base for visiting the mountains and lakes in the area.
Our first stop was Puli King Garden. This place is more like a convenience store, restaurant, gift shop and rest area “all-in-one” designed with a castle-like exterior. There are lots of local delicacies, desserts and snacks sold here.
I was amazed to see Ipoh White Coffee here.
The front part of the castle is perfect for photo-taking. There is nothing much to do or see except walk around, take some photos or do some souvenirs shopping. Admission is free though.
Puli King Garden
No.219, Sec. 4, Zhongshan Rd., Puli Township, Nantou County 545, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Our next destination was Guangxing Paper Mill. Puli was also called “The Hometown of Handmade Paper” in Taiwan. Its unique climate and exceptional water quality made it an ideal place for paper manufacturing. The Guangxing Paper Mill has been producing handmade paper for 50 years.
We went on a short factory tour. We were demonstrated the process of making papers from pulp. I couldn’t believe it took so much time and effort to hand-made a piece of paper.
Guangxing Paper Mill
No.310, Tieshan Rd., Puli Township, Nantou County 545, Taiwan (R.O.C.).
We stopped by the famous Old England Manor for some photo-taking. Standing tall on the highlands of Nantou, this traditional English Mansion with its white marble facade, gigantic clock on the main tower coupled with detailed wall sculptures is a majestic sight to behold.
The Old England
No.20-3, Shouting Ln., Renai County, Nantou, Taiwan 546
As I was told by my friends, one of the must-have experiences in Taiwan is staying in a minsu (民宿), also commonly known as homestay or bed-and-breakfast. Minsu owners are usually very friendly and make their guests feel at home. Some of them even drive their guests to nearby attractions for free, or help to arrange trips around the vicinity for a nominal fee. Best of all, the guests get to enjoy a sumptuous home-cooked meal.
It was a public holiday in Taiwan that weekend (Dragon Boat Festival). All the hotels on Agoda were fully booked, so we decided to give minsu a try. However, booking a minsu online isn’t an easy affair if you’re not good in Traditional Chinese.
Luckily, I found one that has English words on its website and their photos look quite nice too. So, I booked a room in Dreamtown Minsu. Will share more on that later.
We reached Green Green Grasslands just in-time for the sheep shearing and horse show. There are some food stalls but they didn’t look too appetizing for us. The show, according to Edison, was somewhat boring. He compared it to the animal show that he watched in Gold Coast previously, and he lamented that this show is more “talking” than “real actions”.
I agreed that it was quite boring. Furthermore, the place was so packed with visitors (both local and from overseas). The star of the show, an angmoh who speaks fluent Taiwanese-accent Chinese, was able to keep the audience entertained with his jokes. He also sheared the sheep in front of the audience.
After the show, our driver drove us to our minsu. We booked a twin-room in Dreamtown Minsu (李白大夢二人房), that’s the last available room. Our driver told us that we were lucky to be able to book a minsu on a public holiday long weekend as it’s usually fully-booked. Lesson learnt – avoid public holiday when visiting Taiwan!
The room has a queen-sized bed, small and looked quite old – which is a far cry from the pictures that we saw on their website. The interior of the minsu looked very outdated too. Worst of all, we had to walk down flights of stairs to our room with our heavy luggages!
Luckily, we ordered steamboat dinner from the host. We didn’t see much eateries around the minsu. That night, we enjoyed a home-style piping hot steamboat dinner in the cold weather. That wrapped up our not-so-fantastic visit to Cingjing. Especially at night, there wasn’t any activities to do. Within walking distance from the minsu, there’s only a 7-11 convenient store.
The home-style steamboat was nice though
The minsu lobby that was really outdated
The breakfast was a simple affair too
Nonetheless, the hosts of Dreamtown Minsu were warm, friendly and helpful. If you’d ask me, I still prefer to stay in a hotel than minsu. Since this was our first time, it’s good to experience staying in a minsu in Taiwan at least once.