Xinshe Sea of Flowers and the other flower festivals in Taiwan - How to go, tips and tricks | Travel in Asia

Xinshe Sea of Flowers and the other flower festivals in Taiwan - How to go, tips and tricks

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Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers and all the other flower festivals in Taiwan. When, where, how to go. Everything you need to know about your favorite blossoms is on this page.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers and the other flower festivals in Taiwan - How to go, tips and tricks

1. XINSHE SEA OF FLOWERS

Get drowned in a literal sea of flowers. Swim across the valley of cosmos. Let a rain of petals shower over you on this autumn paradise in Taichung. The Xinshe Sea of Flowers is an annual event you should not miss when you visit Taiwan during the autumn season.

1.1 When is the Xinshe Sea of Flowers?

The 2019 Xinshe Sea of Flowers will happen from November 9 to December 1.

1.2 How to go to the Xinshe Sea of Flowers

1.2.1 from Taoyuan International Airport via tripool taxi:

Use the web app (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji). Pick-up point: Taoyuan airport, destination: "Xinshe Sea of Flowers". If you're going as a group, it will be cheaper than buying High Speed Rail tickets and transfering to a local train and then transfer again to the shuttle bus.

1.2.2 by public transportation:

TRA Fengyuan Station (West bus stop) [Google Map] -> transfer to shuttle bus* going to the Xinshe Sea of Flowers exhibition area.

*The shuttle bus will run daily

Schedule of daily shuttle bus for the TRA Fengyuan Station - Xinshe Sea of Flowers route. The buses usually have a placard in front bearing the chinese name of Xinshe Sea of Flowers (新社花海)
bus stopfirst bus
TRA Fengyuan Station (west bus stop)8:0016:00
Xinshe Sea of Flowers exhibition area10:0018:00

Tripool taxi is offering a 40% off in your cab fares when you go to the Xinshe Sea of Flowers.  Just go the web app (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji) and type "Xinshe Sea of Flowers" as your destination and your hotel or the train station as your pick-up point.  Cut-off period is every 3:00 pm.  Book your ride at least one day before the day of your travel.


Price comparisons of one-way fares in tripool taxi in going to Xinshe Sea of Flowers from the train stations in Taichung. Up to a maximum of 8 passengers can be book in one ride.
Pick-up pointDestinationDistanceTravel timeEstimated fare in tripool taxi
# of passengers
1 or 2348
Taoyuan AirportXinshe Sea of Flowers148.1 kms1 hr 56 minsNTD 2,173NTD 2,282NTD 3,189
Fengyuan Station18.6 kms34 minsNTD 545NTD 572NTD 599NTD 1,088
Taichung TRA Station19.7 kms38 minsNTD 574NTD 603NTD 632NTD 1,121
HSR Taichung Station33.3 kms41 minsNTD 655NTD 688NTD 720NTD 1,210

From Taipei:

A. Taipei to Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Go to the web app and type either Taipei Main Station, Ximending or the name of your hotel as your pick-up point and for your drop-off point type Xinshe Sea of Flowers. (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji)

B. High Speed Rail

Taipei Main Station -> THSR Taichung Station -> TRA Xinwuri Station -> TRA  Fengyuan Station ->  transfer to shuttle bus

C. TRA train

Taipei Main Station -> TRA Fengyuan Station -> transfer to shuttle bus

D. Bus

1. Kuo-Kuang Motor Transportation

a.  Board Bus 1826 or Bus 1827 from Taipei Bus Station -> TRA Taichung Station -> TRA Fengyuan Station -> transfer to shuttle bus

2. Ubus

Board Bus 1617 at Taipei Bus Station -> TRA Fengyuan Station -> transfer to shuttle bus

* First bus at 6:10, last bus at 22:10

* Bus 1617 departs every hour

Fare: NTD 230


3. Fengyuan Bus

Board Bus 6606 at Taipei Bus Station -> TRA Fengyuan Station -> ride bus to venue

Fare: NTD 321

E.  From Taoyuan International Airport:

Option 1: Taoyuan Airport MRT -> A18 THSR Taoyuan Station -> THSR Taichung Station -> TRA Xinwuri Station -> TRA Fengyuan Station -> transfer to shuttle bus

Option 2: Taoyuan Airport -> ride tripool taxi (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji) to go to Xinshe Sea of Flowers. Cheaper and more efficient than riding High Speed Rail if you're going with a group.

1.3 Past Editions of the Xinshe Sea of Flowers

“Help! I'm Drowning in a Sea of Flowers"

Flower festivals had always been part of my Taiwan Day Adventures. From my first flower festival experience in Taiwan Day 127 (As the New Year Blossoms) to the beautiful roses of Madame Chiang in Taiwan Day 581 (Roses are...) they are sure winners for my followers whether the accompanying travelogue was good or not. Add all the flower festivals in Taiwan including the different cherry blossom festivals during spring and they would not even match the flower festival in Taichung. They would just drown in the middle of a sea of flowers in a place in Taichung called Xinshe.


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe District lies within the mountainous areas of Taichung. Its location is perfect for growing flowers under the warm weather of Central Taiwan during autumn. The flower festival is called the “Xinshe Sea of Flowers Festival” due to the vast fields of flowers that bloom across the Xinshe plateau. Imagine rice fields being planted with flowers instead of rice and you would get the idea of a 'Xinshe Sea of Flowers'. It's an annual event that is visited by millions of visitors and I was one of them together with Travel Buddy Kiran. The festival usually starts in November and would last for one month.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers



Private cars, public buses, and tourist buses head towards the location of the festival making the roads a traffic hell. Nevertheless, we reached the place with the amusement of our fellow passengers as we saw flowers swaying gracefully against the wind. Everybody was so excited while still inside the bus and as the bus came to full stop everyone stood up wanting to get out immediately. I just didn't expect that there would be too many people for this flower festival. Taiwanese and foreigners like Thai and fellow Filipinos were there to take photos.


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Travel Buddy "Kiran"

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

The field of pink cosmos flowers were the winners for me. I walked along its field and Kiran took a photo of me from a distance. It was an unforgettable experience to “swim” in a sea of flowers and I have never experienced this in the Philippines. After I have taken Kiran's photo in the middle of the pink cosmos flowers, a Taiwanese lady suddenly came and shouted at all the visitors walking in the fields. Blah! Blah! Blah! She was telling that all the visitors to stop walking in the middle of the flower fields and that the act was prohibited. Haha! We were already done and we successfully accomplished our mission.


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
inside the biotech pavilion

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

The whole Xinshe Sea of Flowers Festival covers an area of more than 50 hectares. It's so easy to get lost and yell "Help! I'm Drowning in a Sea of Flowers".

“Swimming in a Sea of Flowers"

How do you swim in a sea of flowers? Do you just jump in a pool of petals and let yourself be washed away by its strong current? Travel Buddy Teklu and I wanted to know how so we went to Taichung to learn at least the basic stroke and become a champion swimmer in the annual Xinshe Sea of Flowers.


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

First and foremost, let’s start with the basic equipment. Your camera! Bring a tripod or a selfie stick to help yourself take photos. But a good digicam is not enough to capture all the colorful memories in Xinshe. Take note on where is the location of the sun at the time of your visit because the natural lighting would definitely affect the brightness of your photos. Don’t also forget to bring extra batteries.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
We boarded bus 1827 at Taipei Bus Station.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Regular tickets costs NTD 260 but we were lucky to have it for only NTD 220.

Next, if you are already complete with your “swimming” paraphernalia. Go to the nearest bus or train station and go to Taichung. The biggest flower festival in Taiwan is held every year in Xinshe and the Taichung train station is a good place to start looking for that mystic pool of petals. I live in Taipei so my Travel Buddy and I boarded Bus 1827 from Taipei Bus Station to reach Central Taiwan. It was hard to book a train ticket so riding a bus became our last resort. It took us three hours to reach Taichung Station and we slept along the way dreaming of how a splash in a sea of flowers would look like.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
The train ticket for the Taichung Station to Taiyuan Station trip.  It was only NTD 15 and EasyCard can also be used to pay for the fare.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
I asked the woman at the Visitor Information Center in Taichung Station to write for me the Chinese name of the Taiyuan Parking Lot.  I showed this to the taxi driver at Taiyuan Station and we reach our destination in a few minutes.
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
The free shuttle bus going to Xinshe at Taiyuan Parking Lot.



Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Reaching Taichung Station is just the first part of the training on how to become a good swimmer in Xinshe. Amateur swimmers must hurdle the changes had been made in reaching the event location. The classic way of boarding a train from Taichung to Fengyuan Station is no longer valid and visitors must now board a train going to Taiyuan Station to transfer to a taxi that would take them to Taiyuan Parking Lot. The taxi fare costs NTD 135 to NTD 150 and it was relatively cheap because I travelled with a friend. A shuttle bus will be waiting there in Taiyuan Parking Lot and it will take you directly to the festival area.


Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Travel Buddy Teklu made fun of my selfies. Haha!
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Proper timing is needed so as not to include photobombers in your photos.
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Yeah!
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
battle of the white flowers versus the colorful ones
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Sunflowers! I didn't see them last year.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
lavender

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Once you’re in Xinshe, prepare yourselves to jump into the sea of flowers. Thousands or maybe millions of tourist visit this festival every year. They are like fishes that will compete with your chosen spot so learning to float freely is a big plus. Be courteous enough to wait for a few seconds if you’re going to walk in front of someone who is supposed to have his/her photos taken. Be also patient enough if there is someone on the spot that you want.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Just like any body of water, there are lifeguards that keep an eye on the sea of flowers. If you are an expert “swimmer”, then you might find some areas where you can get so close to the field of petals. Some places don’t have ropes to restrict the visitors to get near to the blossoms so if you’re lucky then you might get the photo that you want. But if you’re not fortunate, then a whistle will be blown and you have to get out or else you will be in big trouble.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Aside from the flowers, there were also exhibits in the festival grounds.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
One of Taichung's agricultural products are grapes.
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
This pavillions is from the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.  Rice hays and scarecrows added a brown color to the flower festival.
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
rice hay
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
a haystack
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
An interesting display was this giant egg made up of bamboo sticks. 
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
And what's inside the giant egg will amaze you. There were hens and chickens made up of loofah.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Before I left the exhibit of the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, I made sure that I have a group photo with the scarecrows.
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Greater things are about to come in Taichung because of the county's hosting of the 2018 World Flora Exposition.

Another reminder is to explore the pavilions in the festival grounds. They are like islands that provide shelter to those who got tired of floating in a blooming field of cosmos blossoms. This year, there was an exhibit about the different agriculture products of Taichung and rice hay decorations from the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau. The Taichung government was also promoting its hosting of the World Flora Exposition that will happen in 2018 and I bet that its preparation is very big.

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
It was really fun to be at the Xinshe Sea of Flowers festival!
Xinshe Sea of Flowers
cosmos flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Xinshe Sea of Flowers
Xinshe Sea of Flowers

Before you leave Xinshe, make sure you have a photo with the giant peacock. It was adorned with beautiful flowers and it was the most eye-catching structure this year. Don’t also forget to explore the whole field. You might discover a panoramic view that you will not find if you just stay in places full of people. Lastly, watch also the cosmos flowers sway gracefully in the wind and imagine diving into its oasis of petals. Take a deep plunge and find yourself swimming in a sea of flowers.

2. WHEN TO SEE FLOWERS IN TAIWAN

Taiwan Flower Calendar
©luomujie.blogspot.com

3. TAOYUAN

3.1 Taoyuan Flower Festival

"Daxi District"

If the flower festival in Zhongli District was accessible and situated in a modern city, the venue for the Daxi District was held in a remote town in the province. It was funny to admit but somehow I seemed got lost as soon as I stepped out of the bus. I felt that I was taken to a town that I've never seen before.


A rural town with open fields was transformed into a big garden of cosmos flowers and other colorful blossoms. From the bus stop, I walked for a few meters until I saw some visitors taking selfies. They were having fun in a field of cosmos and I got envy to have my photos as well. All the flowers in the 2016 Xinshe Sea of Flowers were heavily guarded that no one was able to get in the middle of the blooming fields. But here in Daxi, I saw the opportunity!




I set up my tripod and within 10 seconds I was able to pose for a nice picture for my travel blog. The town seemed ordinary. But as soon after I walked for more than a kilometer, the real beauty of the town unfolded in front of me. Vast hectares of rice fields were turned into an oasis of blossoms like the one in Xinshe. There were the usual cosmos flowers of violet and pink shades up to the bright yellow color of the sunflowers. 


As part of the festivity, there were booths and food stalls so that visitors would have other things to do. I saw painted spinning tops on a display table and even if I don't speak Chinese I instantly got the idea that it was for a DIY activity. I searched the entire activity area until I found a group of people with young kids having fun with their painting activity. Daxi is known for its spinning tops and it was not surprising to see this kind of diversion. I also wanted to try but due to lack of time, I just content myself with taking photos. The last bus was scheduled to leave at 5:00 pm and if ever I won't be able to board the bus then I would be in big trouble.


Near the activity area was the Lee Teng-fan's Ancient Residence (李騰芳古宅). Googling for the name of this old house led me to discover that the name of the place that I went here in Daxi was Yuemei Village. Anyway, the roof of the house was black in color and I had never seen such color of a roof in Taiwan. Its odd appearance made me wonder who the owner of the house was and how influential was that person during the Qing Dynasty. I'm not an expert in Taiwanese history so let's just leave that to the experts.

  

Another interesting thing in the flower festival in Daxi District was the poor goat that was being grilled. I was not really sure if it was a goat but based on what I saw it must probably be a goat. Its long legs would not make it qualify as a pig. Fire engulfed its skin and the heat it turned into a delicious meal.




I was walking back to the bus stop when I noticed people in the middle of a large field of cosmos flowers. The sun was setting down but the light was still enough to get good pictures. There was a pathway that allowed the visitors to roam around and no was guarding the flower field. Being in the middle of cosmos flowers sent a great joy to my heart that I got tempted to jump into the field. Haha! I knew that these blossoms in Yuemei Village would only last for a week but next year I might see them bloom again.

"Zhongli District"

The weather during my visit

Temperature: 21°C

Apparent temperature: 22 °C

Wind (Scale): 2

After visiting the event in Luzhu District, I continued my journey by boarding again the Taoyuan Airport MRT to A19 Taoyuan Sports Park Station.  From there, I followed the signs that lead me to the event venue in Zhongli District.

Yuan Kuang mascot beside a QR code of the flower festival

Aside from flowers, there were also food stalls making the place a night market in broad daylight.


I'm not sure if these are lavender flowers.

cosmos flowers again



A large musical box structure stands behind this field of cosmos flowers.  The concept in Zhongli District this year was a mixture of cute creatures and artistic representations of things using flowers.

Visitors enjoy taking photos of zinia flowers.

condos and cosmos

I could not get a good photo of this flower because of the wind so I have to hold it just to take its picture. Haha!


condos and zinia flowers

pink zinia

yellow and orange marigold flowers



"Yangmei District"

The flowers here in Yangmei District: cosmos, sunflowers, white zinia, yellow zinia


The Weather

Temperature: 22°C

Apparent temperature: 18°C

Wind (Scale): 5

To get here, I boarded a local train to Fugang Station and then I transferred to a shuttle bus which only runs on weekends only.
Arrival at the venue.  Visitors are welcomed like entering a marathon rice. 

A viewing platform was set up to let people see the entire flower grounds.

I joined the queue and waiting was only a few minutes.  
The view from the top.  You can see the division of the yellow and white flowers.

There were also art installations that attracts the young and old.

Parents and kids enjoying a field of cosmos flowers.
Aside from the cool breeze on that day, the sound of the Taiwan High Speed Rail running on its tracks broke the sound of petals brushing against each other.


A big yellow art installation was very eye-catching.  Visitors tried to get near to it to take selfies.



At a far distance, they look like horns. But after getting near to them,  they were some sort of unopened ferns.

My shadow with the cosmos flowers
Luo-Mu Jie and the sunflowers
And I have to compete with these guys just to have good photos! Haha!

The sunflowers here were a bit tiny. 


Rattan-like art installations at the flower festival.   The one on the left is a dome with a horned bette on top.


Looking at the ceiling of the dome while inside it.


yellow vs orange


Zinia flowers



A sea of yellow zinia flowers with some orange ones


I placed my camera on top of my tripod and I only have ten seconds to make a pose before my camera captures every memorable scene.


See you again at the Taoyuan Flower Festival. Yeah! 
"Luzhu District"

Taoyuan's Luzhu District graced this year's flower festival with a fantasy concept and with the Taoyuan Aiport MRT in full service visiting this place had become so easy.


The Weather

Temperature: 22 °C

Apparent temperature: 24 °C

Wind (Scale): 2

From A1 Station of the Airport MRT, I boarded a commuter train to A10 Shanbi Station.  A shuttle bus then took the visitors to the event area.

A field of cosmos flowers

Last year only flowers can be seen, but this year fun activities had been provided for children like riding this train.


A field of orange zinia flowers




cosmos flowers


Iron man was also here!
Art installations like these ants tickled the minds of the visitors.  Was that big white ball a sugar?

Autumn perfect!  Ride a broom like a witch.


Parents and their children patiently wait for their turn to ride a carousel.

white cosmos flowers


So colorful!

Hi! Hi! Hi! This year's flower festival in Luzhu District was a success.

3.2. Taoyuan Sunflower Farm

A yellow sea in Taoyuan!  It was a lovely sight to see sunflowers dance against the wind.  While bees feast on their nectar, its giant flower heads face the sky.  They stare at the heavens looking at it in serenity.  A magical scene that can be seen in Northern Taiwan.  I know one place where you can enjoy them for free.



Sun&Green.  The land of sunflowers in Taoyuan's Guanyin District.  Its name suggests what you can expect in the farm.  Sunflower fields!  A greenery with colors of the shining sun.  Every summer, the farmers here plants seeds which will soon rise from the ground.  After waiting patiently, giant heads will open into beautiful blosssoms bearing the rays of the sun.



Private transportation needed.  On what seems to be a nice place to visit for local and international tourists, becomes a headache for most travellers.  Sun&Green is not accessible by public transportation.   Bus stops are far away from the farm and if you are able to ride one, you will have to walk for 2 kilometers to reach the place under the scorching heat of the sun.   Remember that the sunflowers bloom during summer and I bet that you do not want to arrive at the farm sweating and already tired.  Do you?


Sun&Green from Taoyuan Station by tripool taxi.  My greatest solution to this problem!  For long distance travels like going to Cingjing Farm or Xinshe Castle from Taichung Station, it is cheaper than riding a taxi and more affordable than renting a private van for group visitors.   I paid only NTD 635 for a one way fare from Taoyuan Station to Sun&Green for a 31.9 km ride (40 minute approximate travel time).  I was with with my girlfriend which makes the cost per person to NTD 317.50 only.  The fare was already paid online upon booking the vehicle the day before this adventure so there were no hidden charges.  The driver just took us to the sunflower farm and there was no need to talk to the driver in Chinese.  Just enter the legal and licensed private tour car and feel like a rich tourist.  Haha! So gone are the days that you board a taxi from the train station and watch in horror as the fare increase per distance travelled by the car. Bwahaha!

Sun&Green sunflower farm from Taoyuan Station. How to book a car via the tripool web app using your smart phone?

Booking a tripool taxi (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji) is so easy.  Choose the date and time you want to travel plus the number of people joining the car.   Indicate also your origin (ex. Taoyuan Station) and destination (ex. Sun&Green).  Then pay using your ATM credit or debit card.   You will soon receive a confirmation e-mail about the driver's name, car plate number and exact meeting time.  Do not be late and you will have not any problem! Just wave your hand once you spot the car through its plate number at your desired origin.  Additional reminders: You can only reserve a tripool service a day before your desired trip and you also need to book it before 6:00 pm.   Before clicking "Confirm booking", double check your entries for the pick-up date and time.

Sitting comfortably inside the tripool taxi was like riding a limousine.  This discovery of a private point to point transportation technique makes it possible to explore places in Taiwan that are not covered by Taiwan Tour Buses nor public buses.   Being an experienced DIY traveller in Taiwan, I certainly know places that are worth to see but impossible to visit.  And I really wanted to be on those places.  Sigh!  With the tripool taxi, all of my problems are now gone. Clap! Clap! Clap! The challenge now is to maximize the service by designing custom trips with this point to point service.   Remember that you have the power to schedule your tours with this private car.  Go to Point A from the the train station, then go to Point B and then to Point C.  Finally, return to the train station from Point C with a scheduled time frame.  So after this Sun&Green farm visit, I also planned to visit a famous dessert shop near Zhongli Station.  Locals are going crazy combining different fruits and jellies in this shaved-ice restaurant.

My itinerary is as follows:


[1] Leave Taoyuan Station via tripool Taxi at 12:30 pm, arrive in Sun&Green at 1:10 pm.

For my return trip, I booked again the tripool taxi but this time to a famous dessert house in Taoyuan.

[2] Leave the sunflower farm using tripool taxi again at 3:30 pm, arrive at the dessert shop near Zhongli Station at 3:50 pm.

I planned everything and the driver just followed the schedule.  Great!


My tripool taxi as it is parked in Sun&Green.  Its a Toyota Wish car and the inside is the same with the yellow cabs of Taiwan.   The vehicle never left the farm and just waited for me and my girlfriend as we enjoyed the sunflowers.


Arriving at Sun&Green, the hot sun welcomed my girlfriend and I.  There was no one to ask visitors for tickets and it was puzzling at first.  We just entered the farm  and started looking for something special aside from the sunflowers.  The presence of a mini-zoo where kids can feed the animals and a mini-train system to ride makes the place enticing for families.   The sunflower was visible from the carpark and I was very excited to take pictures immediately.

This must be some kind of a DIY activity.

I followed the kids and they went to the field to pick sunflowers with the help of an adult.

The plants are taller than these young Taiwanese.  Haha!


scissors for cutting the stems of the sunflowers



Three cut sunflowers worth NTD 15 each. 

There were parents and kids in a shaded area and they were having some kind of lecture or activity.  Probably, it was a DIY that their summer school had hosted.   Later, the kids went to the sunflower field and started to form a queue.  I had fun taking a video of these young Taiwanese kids as they wait to get their freshly cut sunflowers.  Adult visitors can also pick their own sunflowers.  Scissors were provided for tourists and just chose which flower you want to cut.   However, you have to pay for each blossom cut so prepare to give some money at the souvenir shop before going back home.

Pay whatever sunflowers you picked at the souvenir shop


Kids lining up to have their freshly cut sunflower paid.



The prices of the sunflowers in Sun&Green Farm.


A giant sunflower head

This sunflower variety has longer petals but with a much smaller head.



Another kind of sunflower




This one looks like a daisy.


Bees feasting on the nectar of the sunflowers.


The price of each sunflower depends on the variety that you have chosen.  Some were priced at NTD 25 while others were NTD 45.   I didn't expect the sunflowers to have different kinds, although it was very obvious that some flower heads were very big while others were small enough to be covered by a child's hand.  Examining at each variety and comparing them gave a feeling of becoming a botanist.  Haha!  






Inflorescence.  The arrangement of flowers on a stem.  If you look closely at a sunflower, it is actually composed of many flowers arranged in a disc (which I refer to as the head).  Resembling like the sun,  the “rays” or the yellow petals of the sunflowers are actually blossoms and are called “ray florets”.   The numerous hairs on the disc are also blossoms and they are called the “disc florets”.   Underneath these layer of petals are the  ovaries which when fertilized (through the help of bees that accidentally carry pollen from other sunflowers) will become future seeds.  




Why sunflowers follow the sun?


A young sunflower that is just beginning to open.  Notice the specialized leaves protecting the disc.  These are called "bracts".






Love under the sun.  I pulled my girlfriend to the area with lots of sunflower heads and we enjoyed taking many selfies.   We can only have pictures on one side as the blossoms were "looking" only on one direction.  Scientists called this phenomenon as “heliotropism”.  The sun acts like a stimulus promoting the uneven growth of cells on the left and right edge of the sunflowers' stem.   When the sun rises from the east, plant cells facing the sunny side elongate faster making the flowers turn their heads to the sun.  The reverse happens when the sun starts to set in the west.  It's a masterpiece of mother nature that you will only adore during a sunny summer.


Don't think twice in visiting Sun&Green because the yellow sea of flowers won't stay there forever.  Hurry! Time is running out.  Don't let this beautiful blossoms slip away during summer.  C'mon.  Follow the sunflowers!

*************

Sun&Green (向陽農場)
address: 328, Taoyuan City, Guanyin District, 藍埔里11鄰52號
[Google Map]

Admission is free!

open:  Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm


Sunflower flower season from end of May to October

Peak season from July to August!


How to get here:

A.  From TRA Taoyuan Station -> board tripool taxi (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji)* -> reserve your car one day before (cut-off time at 6:00 pm) your trip.


*Be on time.  The driver will only wait for 10 minutes.


*Wave your hand once you spot the tripool taxi at the rotonda of Taoyuan Station.  The car will just go around at the rotonda in front of the train station.


*The tripool taxi service is a one-way ride only (point-to-point private transportation).  You will need to book your return trip via the web app separately.


*The tripool faxi fare depends on the number of people who will ride the car.  You can check the fare difference by inputting a different number of passengers for the same origin and destination query.


*You can use the tripool taxi web app as a taxi fare calculator and see whether a yellow cab driver is charging you more than what is expected.  Haha!

B.   From TRA Zhongli Station ->  board ordinary taxi to Sun&Green.  The taxi fare is almost the same with tripool because of the shorter distance.

3.3 Hakka Tung Blossom Festival

Where can you find snow in Taiwan? During winter people go to Hehuanshan and other mountainous places to experience the white glow of snowflakes that had fallen from the sky. But when all the ice had melted and the temperatures across the island had started to rise, where do the Taiwanese go to see snow? The answer lies in the hearts of those who believed that they can find it in the white petals of a flower that blossoms only every spring.


Vernicia fordii. That's the scientific name of the white flower that creates the big patches of white in the mountains of Taiwan every April and May. It is locally known as tónghuā (桐花) or the tung blossom flowers in English. Its flowering is celebrated on the island as the Hakka Tung Blossom Festival and it is biggest flower show in the country after all the sakura trees had lost all of its pink petals. During the festivity, tourists visit places where this flowers can be seen and to also have a glimpse into the life of the Hakka ethnic people.


There is no definite time when will these flowers start to appear. It all depends on the weather conditions just like the beautiful cherry blossoms of spring. Last year, the month of December which was supposed to be a cold month in Taipei turned out to be a hot one causing the cherry blossoms to delay the opening of its buds to March from the usual February. Unknown to many, its late flowering also meant that the tung blossoms would also open at a later period.


When and where to see these flowers? Just check the website of the Hakka Tung Blossom Festival (http://tung.hakka.gov.tw/Default.aspx?lang=1) and you will know the answer. You will see a map of Taiwan with figures of flowers representing the status of blossoming in each province of the country. The website is in Chinese but it was very helpful. Just familiarize yourself with the different counties of Taiwan and it will help you a lot in planning your itinerary.


Central Taiwan saw first the reappearance of the tung blossoms this year. I checked the website before April 29 and Northern Taiwan was not yet in full bloom. If you want to know the most popular place to see the flowers in the capital then the answer is the Tung Blossom Park located in Tucheng District of New Taipei City. It was the same place that I went to back in Travel in Taiwan 170429 (Stardust). During that time, Travel Buddy Swamy and I went there at night to look for fireflies. We saw the insects but the sight of fallen tung blossom flowers on the ground was nowhere to be found.


I checked again the website in the second week of May and the flowers in Taoyuan and New Taipei were reported to be in full bloom. Searching the website for the best places to see the tung blossoms, I noticed a photo of a mountain with a serene lake. I got intrigued by it and later found out that I was the Chrysanthemum and Rhizome Road (大艽芎古道) in Daxi District of Taoyuan City. There were many places to see the white blossoms but I was looking for a mountain that looks so magical in the eyes of the die-hard fans of Taiwan. Eureka! The Chrysanthemum and Rhizome Road was just perfect to be featured on my blog.


How to get to the trail? You need to get first to the bus terminal in Daxi District from Taoyuan Station. Bus 5096 from Taoyuan Bus Station will take you there in 30 to 45 minutes. Get off the bus at the terminal stop which is Daxi Station and then transfer to Bus 5097. The first bus that leaves Daxi is at 6:15 and the last bus returning from your destination which is Jhu gao cuo (竹篙厝) will leave at 17:23.




The trail is a one-kilometer walk from the bus stop and with the lake reflecting the view of the mountains seemingly covered with 'snow' you will definitely enjoy your time taking selfies. I was not alone in the search for the tung blossoms. Families and groups of young people had fun collecting the flowers in the trail and leaving them in a heart-shaped formation. The ground had become white in color due to the petals that had fallen from the top of the tree. Its five petal arrangement is its own unique snowflake pattern. Look above and see how the flowers fall. They drop on the floor one by one as trees sway against a strong wind. In a very short time, new areas in the trail would soon be covered with 'snow' hiding any traces of footstep of someone who had been to the mountain before.





But beyond the white color of tung blossoms was its smell. There was just something about its characteristic odor! Walking on trails decorated with the white splendor of the flowers, its aroma will create a special memory in the hearts and minds of those who had seen its beauty. That when you return home after your trip in Taiwan, you will always remember the reason why the hills in Taiwan look white during spring. The tung blossoms! They fall from the sky and cover the mountains as the snow of May.

4. TAICHUNG AND CENTRAL TAIWAN

4.1 Taiwan tulips at Zhongshe Flower Market

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

The luomujie blog makes another giant leap by bringing to you the “Wow lineup”.  Every week Taiwan's most visually appealing attractions will be showcased to excite everyone's senses.  From favorite attractions to the off-beaten tourist sites, the website will surprise its readers with stunning photos that will surely lure them to visit the island.   Are you ready?  Let's start with the tulips of Zhongshe Sightseeing Flower Market.  

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips
Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Taichung's famous flower farm is now teeming with these beautiful flowers.  If you have forgotten to visit Xinshe District during the Sea of Flowers last November, then don't worry because the Zhongshe Sightseeing Flower Market is here for you.   The farm changes its set of blossoms every season to give visitors a reason to come back and create new memories.  For the months of January to the first half of March, the bright colors of tulips takes the centerstage warming the hearts of each person who enters the farm's premises.   

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

There are about 10 different kinds of tulips to be seen.  With the sun shining upon their petals, the flowers glowed like gold as I looked at them in great number.  I can't stop myself from thinking that I was no longer in Taiwan, but in a country in Europe where these flowers are usually associated to. The Netherlands!

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

The cool weather makes the first quarter of the year a suitable time to visit the flower farm.   Adult tickets cost NTD 150 and they also have now English pamphlets to cater to their growing number of international visitors.  How to get here?  Most tourists board the High Speed Rail to Taichung and transfer to a local train in Xinwuri Station.  At Tai'an Station, people walk for 20 to 30 minutes to reach the farm.   Well, that's what I have told in my “Taiwan Day 939:  Flowers will always Bloom” travelogue.  For this visit, I discovered a new way on how to reach the farm.

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips
As an added bonus, there is pine tree forest a few kilometers from Tai'an Station.  The trees start to show their dramatic colors every December.

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips
Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips
Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe Sightseeing Flower Market is conveniently located on a highway where vehicles of the  Fengyuan Bus company can be seen passing by.   So visitors from Taipei now have the option to board Bus 6606 and alight at Gongguan bus stop.  In Taichung,  the Fengyuan Bus Station located beside the TRA Fengyuan Station serves as the terminal stop of the southbound bus.  Tourists going to Gongguan stop can board the northward vehicle at this place.   

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

Zhongshe flower market taichung tulips

So are you now super-excited to see the tulips of Taiwan? You should be!  A ton of flowers will appear in Taiwan at the peak of the cherry blossom season in February and March.  The plum blossoms and other flowers are also waiting for you.  So be there when it happens because the “Wow lineup” is here and it already did a great start.

**************

How to go to Zhongshe Sightseeing Flower Market (中社观光花市)

Zhong She Guanguang Flower Market (中社觀光花市)

Address: 421, Taichung City, Houli District, 三豐路五段333號

A. from Taipei:

1. Taipei Main Station → HSR Taichung Station Get your tickets herehttps://affiliate.klook.com/jump/activity/817-thsr-one-way-ticket-taichung/?adid=39443&af_wid=4386 → TRA Xinwuri Station → TRA Tai'an Station → walk to reach the farm

2. Taipei Main Station → TRA Fengyuan Station via an express train → walk to Fengyuan  Bus Station → Bus 6606 → alight at Gonguan stop.  Travel time depends on the traffic.  

3. Taipei Main Station → TRA Fengyuan Station via an express train → TRA Tai'an Station via a local train → walk to reach the farm

4. Taipei Main Station → TRA Tai'an Station via a local train → Walk to reach the farm after 3 hours of slow train travel.

5. Taipei Bus Station → Bus 6606 → Alight at Gongguan stop. Bus fare is NTD 321.

B.  from Taichung 


1. TRA Taichung Station → TRA Tai'an Station → walk to reach the farm


2. Fengyuan Bus Station →  Board Bus 6606 → Alight at Gongguan stop.  Bus fare* is NTD 35.  


*Prepare exact amount.  EasyCard is not accepted.


By tripool taxi from HSR Taichung, TRA Taichung Station or TRA Fengyuan Station:  Go to the web app: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji . Type "Chungshe Tourism Flower Market" as the destination and for the pick-up point you can type "HSR Taichung" or "Taichung TRA Station" or "Fengyuan Station".  The text on the search form in the app will automatically adjust according to your query.  Don't forget to book another ride for your return trip.

Price comparisons of one-way fares in tripool taxi in going to Zhongshe Sightseeing Flower Market/Chungshe Tourism Flower Market from the train stations in Taichung. Up to a maximum of 8 passengers can be book in one car.
Pick-up pointDestinationDistanceTravel timeEstimated fare in tripool taxi
# of passengers
1 or 2348
Fengyuan StationChungshe Tourism Flower Market9.5 kms21 minsNTD 426NTD 447NTD 468NTD 958
Taichung TRA Station34.5 kms41 minsNTD 659NTD 693NTD 725NTD 1,215
HSR Taichung Station31.4 kms30 minsNTD 579NTD 609NTD 637NTD 1,127

4.2 Miaoli Chrysanthemum Flower Sea

White, yellow and sometimes pink to violet in color.  The chrysanthemum flowers or the "hangju" (Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.) are blooming again at Tonglou Township.  During autumn when the weather turns cold at Miaoli, the blossoms reappear to the delight of flower chasers.  Rice fields turned into a sea of white, the "snow of November" deserves to be included in the luomujie blog's Blooming Autumn travel series.









The hangju is a perennial herb which grows 60 to 100 cm high.  The flower heads measure 2 to 3 centimeters and is the main ingredient in making chrysanthemum tea.  It has various medicinal purposes in Chinese medicine for improving eyesight and a quick remedy for dizziness.



In Taiwan's Tongluo Township located in Miaoli province, two varieties of the flower are planted: the "white snow" and the "golden chrysanthemum".  Sometimes, purple blossoms can be seen in the fields but these are described as mutations in terms of color.


The slightly acidic red soil in Tongluo town and the kind of weather makes it perfect to grow this type of flower.  It's a cash crop that gives farmers in Miaoli a source of living aside from the seasonal planting of rice.



Thanks to its farmer's association, visiting the farms had become easy.  A free shuttle service was provided to take visitors to the blossoms from Tongluo Station.  For 2018, it was scheduled last Nov. 17 and 18.  I know these dates are already over but the hangjus are scattered in different villages and one can be even found at the back of Tongluo Station.


The other flower fields are far away from the station and you will need to walk 3 kilometers just to see them.  But don't worry because tripool taxi is there for you.  Stop wasting your time talking to taxi drivers in Taiwan who can't speak English.  Just go the web app (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji) and book your trip online at least one day before your visit.


九湖休閒農場, the main event area is located here: [Google Map].  450 meters from it is another hangju field and it will be an easy stroll to that location [Google Map]. 

Price comparisons of one-way fares in tripool taxi from TRA Taichung Station, THSR Miaoli Station and TRA Miaoli Station to the chrysanthemum flower fields
Pick-up pointDestinationDistanceTravel timeEstimated fare in tripool taxi
# of passengers
1 or 234
TRA Taichung Station九湖休閒農場53.4 km51 minsNTD 812NTD 853NTD 893
THSR Miaoli Station22.5 km26 minsNTD 513NTD 539NTD 565
TRA Miaoli Station13.4 km25 minsNTD 471NTD 495NTD 518

I don't recommend starting from "Tongluo Station". Tripool taxi is designed to give its passengers more savings if the distance traveled is longer.  Better start from "Miaoli Station" where you will get more value with the service.


The web app is so easy to use. For the pick-up point, type "TRA Taichung Station", "THSR Miaoli Station" or "TRA Miaoli Station" depending on which train station you will be coming from, and for your destination type "九湖休閒農場".  If you can't write Chinese, just copy and paste the word with the help of the button below.


Don't forget to book another ride for your return trip.  I suggest typing "TRA Miaoli Station" or "THSR Miaoli Station" as your destination and "九湖休閒農場" for your pick-up point when you want to return to Taipei.  A few meters from the "TRA Miaoli Station", is the bus terminal [Google Map] where you can ride Bus 1824 back to Taiwan's capital.   At "THSR Miaoli Station", you can easily board the High Speed Rail train going to Taipei Main Station or Nangang Station.  Riding local trains back to Taipei would be a bad idea during weekends.  It will be full of people!


HSR to or from Taipei ticket: https://affiliate.klook.com/jump/activity/816-thsr-one-way-ticket-taipei/?adid=38864&af_wid=4386





Flower chasers from Taichung can get easily to Tongluo.  They can just ride a local train from Taichung Station and they will be at Tongluo Station after 45 to 50 minutes. For people living in Taipei, they can board the HSR to Miaoli Station (Taipei-Miaoli HSR ticket: https://www.klook.com/activity/816-thsr-one-way-ticket-taipei/?aid=23d7629847f30c75&af_wid=4386). Going by the local trains of the TRA is also a good option, but it would take 2 to 3 hours before reaching the town of Tongluo.  Tourists from Taipei can also board Bus 1824 from Taipei Bus Station.  However, the destination will be TRA Miaoli Station.  So you will still have to transfer to a local train going to Tongluo or ride tripool taxi (https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji) to get to the flower fields in no time.



The hangju festival is not only a time to enjoy flowers.  It's also an oppurtunity to eat local delicacies.

Dumping or not dumpling? This food caught my attention.  I imagined them to be sweet so I bought the yellow and the violet varieties. Each piece cost NTD 25.



What's inside are like bamboo shoots but has a taste of real meat and I really like it.


Another Hakka food in the hangju festival.

The main festivity is located at the Jiuhu Village.   There were stalls featuring different kinds of agriproducts and Hakka delicacies to eat.  You will never get hungry if you go there on a weekend.  Haha!

Farmers busy picking the hangju flowers.

The hangju is not planted in Miaoli for its beauty.  It is cultivated in the farmlands to be processed later as a tea.






All the collected flowers are put on a pail and then later transferred to a big net for weighing.

Farmers gathered at one corner to check the total weight of their harvest.




Notice the notebook that is used to record the total weights of the collected hangju.


The best viewing period to see the chrysanthemums in Tongluo is from mid-November to mid-December.  But the flowers become fewer as the days passed by in December.  Farmers harvest the petals once they reached their maturity and turn them into an invigorating tea.   They picked the flowers using their hands and put them in a pail.  Fast but still gentle, so they won't damage the petals.  To determine the amount that the farmers would be paid for,  the collected chrysanthemums are placed in big nets and then weighed on a balance scale.

hangjus being dried on a mat inside the processing plant

freshly harvested flowers





From farm to factory, the harvested flowers would be taken to the nearby processing plant [Google Map].  The freshly picked chrysanthemums are dried on a mat inside the factory, or under a covered area and placed on big trays for further air drying.   I was able to get inside the tea factory and they have this giant oven to hasten the drying of the petals.  Inside, hot air circulates above and below the trays to help reduce the water content of the flowers faster.  Once dried, the blossoms can now be stored in small plastic bags and jars and will have a longer shelf life as a tea.

The processing plant has a rail cart to move a large number of trays with just one push.

Trays of hangju that are on the queue and will be soon dried in the oven






left side: oven, right side: trays of hangju that are on queue for hot air drying



Dried chrysanthemums ready for packing in small plastics or jars as finished products


free taste of the chrysanthemum tea


hangju tea



Each small pack costs NTD 200.

The final product is a bunch of flowers reading for packaging in small plastics or jars.  To create the tea, the petals are boiled to release the natural chemicals that make it special.  At the processing plant, visitors can taste the hangju tea for free and I enjoyed its unique taste and aroma. The liquid was yellow in color and it tasted like pineapple juice but it's not that so sweet nor sour.  It has this distinct sweetness that is just right for an afternoon drink.  I asked vendors on how much a small pack costs and NTD 200 was their reply.





So what are you waiting for?  Plan your trip to Tonglou Township now.  The hands of the farmers are too fast and efficient that they can harvest a large field in one or two days.  Watch them as they pick the flowers one by one and the product of their labor get weighed.  Go to the tea factory and hold with your hands, the flower buds that would soon become tea.  Experience the Miaoli Chrysanthemum Festival.  Get lost in a vast field of blossoms, that the Taiwanese people call as hangju.

4.3 Changhua Bougainvillea

It’s already December but it feels so hot in Changhua province.  With temperatures soaring to 28°C you won’t even think that it’s already winter in Taiwan.  So remove your winter jackets because autumn is still saying hi to everyone.  Haha! The warm weather here makes it perfect to grow a type of plant with specialized leaves called bracts, that are often mistaken to be flowers.   Meet the bougainvillea, our featured plant for the last hurrah of the luomujie blog’s Blooming Autumn Travel Series.






Seeing it is like witnessing a miracle in Central Taiwan and expect to find them in Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House (輝豐園藝-九重葛之家).   It's not an official tourist attraction but it is open for visitors for free. Teeming with tourists from November 1 to mid-December, it is a must-see place when you visit the town of Tianwei,  Changhua’s gardening district.










A garden here, a garden there.  Business in the town is really alive!  Foreigners will become crazy when they realized that Tianwei is a place where gardening is a form of livelihood.  From pots to small seedlings of flowers, up to pine trees,  name it, and they have it.  Locals usually rent a bike to explore the entire town but I just opted to walk to get to my destination.

bougainvilleas in other private gardens in Tianwei

bougainvilleas in other private gardens in Tianwei








Stroll around and you will notice that there are also gardens that have their own bougainvilleas.  But the best place and the most picturesque spot to be is in Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House.   The owners have trimmed the plants to follow a certain shape like a real topiary.   It was easy for the gardener to do that since the bougainvilleas can be “trained” to follow a certain pattern for its growing vines.









Magenta vs white.  It’s a battle with these two colors.  The former makes the bougainvillea very striking while the latter giving it an impression of purity.   Under the blue sky, the purple-reddish leaves dominate the whole place.  Perfect for those taking selfies.





I was lucky when I went to see the bougainvilleas.  It was noontime and most of the visitors were having their lunch, so I was able to get good photos.  The owner has only one reminder for tourists:  As you take pictures, do not force yourself to get in between the small spaces of each bougainvillea.  The branches of the plant are easy to break that it will take a long time to grow them again.  Just imagine the hard work of the gardener to maintain the entire place, only to be destroyed by careless visitors in only a few seconds.



How to go to Huifeng Gardening - Bougainvillea House (輝豐園藝-九重葛之家)? Board the Taiwan High Speed Rail and get off at Changhua Station.  You can can here your HSR tickets to or from Taipei here: https://affiliate.klook.com/jump/activity/816-thsr-one-way-ticket-taipei/?adid=38864&af_wid=4386

Go to Exit 1 and then transfer to Bus 7.  Get off the vehicle at Tianwei Elementary School stop [Google Map] and walk to 1.4 kilometers to reach the private garden [Google Map].  Look at the topiary of magenta-colored bracts.  Colorful despite not being a flower.  Visitors can also board the trains of the TRA.  Just alight at Tianzhong Station and then board Bus 7 at the bus stop [Google Map] in front of the train station.






The tiny white flowers of this bougainvillea are its "true" flowers.  The magenta-colored "petals" are specialized leaves that helps to get the attention of pollinators like bees and butterflies.


A close up of the bracts (specialized leaves) and the true flowers of the bougainvillea



The specialized leaves of the bougainvilleas. False flowers, True beauty.

5. TAIPEI

5.1 Yangmingshan Calla Lily Festival

"Spring in Zhuzihu"

Visitors to Taipei have more reasons to explore Yangmingshan during the month of April. Rain or shine! People will always come to Zhuzihu to pick those white flowers and experience spring beyond the usual cherry blossoms. Just go on the right time when the sun was up, so that the fields will be less muddy. Remember that when it rains, the calla lily farms became an instant quick sand. Oh well! People wont' care.

The Calla Lily Festival usually happens between March and April and visitors are given the chance the pick several flowers and be taken home. I still remember what I did before to pick those calla lilies. I twisted the root portion of the stem before pulling it out of the soil. It was really fun when you do it on a sunny spring day!


For first timers, you might be surprised to see the fields were filled with water, although some would come with their rubber boots. You will admire them for being prepared for this event event. Haha!


The flower fields are very beautiful when you see it on pictures from the internet and on postcards. But manage your expectations. If you come here late, when the flower season is about to end. You might only see leaves with a few remaining petals as the tiny white spots on your photos. Don't worry because those places are the flower picking area. For tourists who want to be surrounded by a sea of whiteness, there is a private farm that suits your need even up to the last week of May.

Comparison of tripool taxi fares from Taipei Main Station and Diary of Taipei Hotel - Ximen Station going to Miau Ban Garden Restaurant. Don't forget to book a return trip back to downtown Taipei.

tripool taxi web app: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji
Pick-up pointDrop-off pointDistanceTravel timeEstimated tripool taxi fare (NTD)Suggested pick-up period at the pick-up point
# of passengers
1,2,3 or 48
Diary of Taipei Hotel - Ximen Station
Check availability >>
Miau Ban Garden Restaurant25 km53 mins7381,4049:00 am to 9:30 am
Taipei Main Station22 km45 mins6221,229

The Taipei City government promotes the calla festival with photos of abundant white calla lilies on the fields in Zhuzihu and I searched the place for that magic spot. I walked along Zhuzihu Road until I saw a farm dotted with whiteness. I entered the gate of the farm until a woman blocked my way and stopped me from going inside. I entered Miau-Ban Calla Lily Garden (苗榜海芋園) and it was a private farm. I paid the entrance fee of NTD 150 and she then gave me a laminated card of the farm with some Chinese instructions at the back, as a proof of my payment which I need to present upon getting out of the garden. Picking flowers was not allowed in the farm and you can just buy the pre-harvested calla lilies from them. Miau-Ban Calla Lily Garden is also a restaurant where you can order Taiwanese food.

The good side of visiting a private garden was the great number of calla lilies that you can see inside. There were less people too! It was a perfect place to take great photos of a calla lily farm. After I left the private farm, I got hungry and a man selling steamed buns solved my problem. We really don't each understand each other since he talked to me in Chinese and I answered him in English but I was able to made him understand that I want the totoro-looking buns.

Another interesting place to visit in Zhuzihu was the Zhuzihu Black Forest (竹子湖黑森林). Fir trees stand tall at this spot in the Yangmingshan with a big art installation composed of large pebbles creating a giant heart shape in the grounds of the forest. The place had been visited by Korean actress Ha Ji-Won during her recent trip in Taipei making it more popular nowadays. Bus 128, 129 and 131 makes a stop at 頂湖 (Dinghu) and you just need to make a short hike up in road until you see the big heart in the woods. Bus S8 and S9 also makes a stop here during the Calla Lily Festival.


How to go to Zhuzihu? It's the same bus routes for my Sakura Series in Yangmingshan. Actually, I boarded Bus 128 from MRT Shipai Station since that bus normally goes to Zhuzihu directly but it made it made a final stop at the Yangmingshan Flower Clock and I transferred to another bus going to Zhuzihu. Traffic has been controlled in Yangmingshan to create an orderly celebration during the time of spring.

Zhuzihu Black Forest (竹子湖黑森林)
Calla Lily Festival

It's still cold here in Taipei during April but everybody knows that winter is slowly losing its grip. The showa and yoshino cherry blossoms have already appeared while the calla lily flowers are now ready for harvest. Take a peek at the sky in the Zhuzihu Black Forest, and the tall fir trees would say 'hi'. Don't just sit there and read this post. Come to Taipei and experience the spring in Zhuzihu.

5.2 Yangmingshan Hydrangea Festival

"Hydrangea Mania"

Yangmingshan blossoms again for another flower festival! As the sun continues to scorch Taiwan, colorful puffy heads have already appeared on selected farms in the national park. Get to know the “hydrangeas”, our flower of the month for this episode of the “My Beloved Taipei” Travel Series. Described by the English-speaking world as the aqua barrels for its love for water. Their ability to quickly absorb water is not what people drive them crazy. It's their round-shaped appearance. Locals have been visiting Zhuzihu just to see these flowers and I went there to know more about the frenzy.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

Calla lily out, hydrangea in. After the calla lily is done with its reign in April, the weather in May makes it suitable to grow the hydrangeas. But unlike the white lilies of Zhuzihu which dominates the scenic area, our featured blossom is mostly found in the hidden corners of the high-altitude valley. Each floral garden is unique in terms of the varieties of the flowers that can be seen as well as the scenery that can be enjoyed. For this travel adventure, I selected two which I find to be the most interesting.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

My first stop. The Terraced Flowers Ecological Farm (大梯田花卉生態農園). Tickets cost NTD 100 for each person. It is a private garden where the entrance ticket can be used as a voucher in the restaurant. The hydrangeas are planted in the terraces which makes it good for taking selfies. Go to the higher levels to see the entirety of the floral paradise. Flowers of different colors can be seen and are mixed making the place pleasing to the eyes.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

Just be careful while walking along the narrow pathway of each terrace level, as some of the tiers were a bit high that careless visitors can easily fall on the bed of flowers below. As the hydrangeas need lots of water, some areas of the garden are wet areas so tourists must check first if they are going to step on mud with a murky liquid.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

But beyond the danger of injuring one's self or getting your shoes dirty. The Terraced Flowers Ecological Farm is a perfect place to take photos of the hydrangea. Go to the lowest level and watch as the sun's rays illuminate the entire place. You would see people walking back and forth busy capturing their precious moments.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

And after enjoying the flowers, why not enter the restaurant and use your ticket? Since it was too hot during my visit, I ordered an iced coffee without sugar to cool myself. The taste wasn't that great but just enough relieve me from the heat of the hot sun. I walked back to the bus stop while sipping my coffee. In a few minutes, I reached the main road. If you are in a hurry to see the hydrangeas, then this farm is a good place to start with since it is only a short walk from the Zhuzihu bus stop.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea
The "Top Lake" offer views of the Xiaoyoukeng sulfur vent
Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea
Dàgōngyuán (大賞園) Farm
Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea
The entrance of the Dàgōngyuán (大賞園) Farm

The second farm that I visited is far-away from the Zhuzihu that people used to know. It's the Dàgōngyuán (大賞園)Farm and it is located in a place called the “Top Lake”. The whole Zhuzihu scenic area is a former inland body of water that had dried up a long time ago and is now the fertile plain that is planted with various plant species.   It has a northern region which is concealed by a mountain. This is the “Top Lake” and it's the most romantic place to see the calla lilies during their full bloom. Couples should go here if they want to have their prenuptial photos taken in Taiwan during April.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

Entrance to the farm costs NTD 100. They have the same blue and violet hydrangeas but their white variety is the most eye-catching. Gazing at Xiayoukeng, the white hydrangeas look like snowballs that glisten under the sun. Taking photos was a bit difficult as visitors are not allowed to go in the middle of the plantation. Strings were tied around the tall bushes of the white hydrangeas preventing people from getting inside. There were warnings of snakes and that might be the reason.

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

Comparing the two private gardens that I have visited, I find the Terraced Flowers Ecological Farm a more suitable place to enjoy the hydrangeas. Its multi-tier landscape allows visitors to see lots of flowers from above without the need of any drone. Here in Dàgōngyuán Farm, the white hydrangeas plus the view of Xiaoyoukeng is what drives visitors to come here. Imagine a sulfur vent emitting toxic gases as a background of blooming flowers. Anyway, I love both places. It was just too hot to wander in Yangmingshan on a sunny weather. Haha!

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

A little trivia. The “flowers” of the hydrangea are actually the sepals or the specialized leaves of the plant. The real flowers are small to be recognized that people mistook the ball of sepals as the entire “flower”. Acidic, basic or neutral? The hydrangea is like a natural pH indicator of the soil on which it grows. The flower is blue if the soil is acidic and it is red when it is basic. Don't let yourself get confused with what you learned in your high school chemistry, that a change of color in a pH paper from blue to red is acidic. The reverse is true for the hydrangea flowers. Farmers use this knowledge to create a variety of colors by adding chemicals like aluminum sulfate or hydroxide salts in the soil to control its acidity. Do you want a pink hydrangea? Make the soil basic. Do you want a blue one? Make the soil acidic. It's all about chemistry!

Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

If you plan to visit during the weekends, then expect a lot of people in Zhuzihu.  You might also be surprised to see hordes of tourists on a busy working day.  News in Taiwan about the hottest seasonal attractions spread like wildfire and locals are quick to join the bandwagon.  I think no one in Taipei wants to be left behind.  Do you? So grab your camera now and go to Yangmingshan.  Surround yourself with a sea of flowers and feel this mania for hydrangea.


***********


Terraced Flowers Ecological Farm (大梯田花卉生態農園)


address: 112, Taipei City, Beitou District, 竹子湖路33-7號 [Google Map]


nearest bus stop: Zhúzihú (竹子湖) [Google Map]


Tickets: NTD 100


Dàgōngyuán (大賞園)


address: 112, Taipei City, Beitou District, 竹子湖路67-7號 [Google Map]


nearest bus stop: Fengjiakou (風架口), tell the driver to drop you off at this stop [Google Map]


Tickets: NTD 100


Comparison of tripool taxi fares from Taipei Main Station and Diary of Taipei Hotel - Ximen Station going to Terraced Flowers Ecological Farm (大梯田花卉生態農園) and Dàgōngyuán (大賞園).

tripool taxi web app: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji
Pick-up pointDrop-off pointDistanceTravel timeEstimated tripool taxi fare (NTD)Suggested pick-up period at the pick-up point
# of passengers
1,2,3 or 48
Diary of Taipei Hotel - Ximen Station
Check availability >>
Terraced Flowers Ecological Farm (大梯田花卉生態農園)25.9 km54 mins7681,4499:00 am to 9:30 am
Taipei Main Station22.8 km47 mins6511,272
Diary of Taipei Hotel - Ximen StationDàgōngyuán (大賞園)24.8 km52 mins7251,3848:00 am to 8:30 am
Taipei Main Station21.7 km44 mins6161,218
Yangmingshan Zhuzihu hydrangea

How to get to Zhúzihú or Fengjiakou


[1] MRT Shipai Station (Red Line)  -> Bus S8 (everyday)


[2] MRT Beitou Station (Red Line) -> Bus S9 (everyday) or 129 (weekend/holidays)

5.3 Taipei Tulips Festival

Move over cherry blossoms, there is a new darling in town.  The showy flowers of the tulips have been capturing the hearts of the Taiwanese from children to the young at heart.  How can you resist them?  They come in a variety of colors.  With a good weather during the Lunar New Year, visiting Shilin was a wise decision to spend the holidays.

I last saw these flowers in the Taipei Flower Test Center during the Camellia Festival and I didn't expect the city government to put up a bigger floral show dedicated to these beautiful flowers.  They were such a beauty!   The tulips festival lasts for two weeks starting in mid-Feb and running until the end of the month so hurry before they are gone.



fringed tulip



Leen van der mark tulips
Jan van nes tulips


Stealing the show are the bulbous flowers of the hyacinth





Bees feast on the hyacinth flowers as they suck sweet nectar from them.




The tulips are displayed at the Shilin Official Residence.  How to get here?  Board the Taipei MRT and alight at Shilin Station.  From Exit 2, walk for 300 meters to reach the entrance of the park.  Continue walking until you reach the European garden.  You will see the flowers after passing by the Rose Garden.



white prince tulips



strong gold tulips

purple prince tulips

jumbo pink tulips



Chiang Kai-shek's former mansion and garden is not known to be a tulips hub in the city.  It was also the first time that a tulips festival is being held at the Shilin Official Residence.   I only know two floral festivals that take place in this park.  The first one is the Rose Garden Show which happens every April and the Chrysanthemum Festival which happens in November during the autumn season.  Both festivals have been covered before by the luomujie blog.





With the inclusion of the tulips festival in Taipei's calendar of endless activities, visiting the city during spring has become more attractive for local and foreign tourists.   So smile when you come to Shilin and enjoy the flowers while you take a selfie with them.  Post the pictures on social media and tell everyone about the good news.  Hey! Hey! Hey! There are tulips in Taipei!

5.4 Plum blossoms in Taipei

While visitors in Taipei are so excited to see the cherry blossoms in Pingjing St. Lane 42, locals had been gathering around tall trees in a park in Shilin District.  Busy with their cameras, I was with them taking nice photos of these flowers called the plum blossoms.



Known in Taiwan as "meihua", the plum blossoms appear during the winter season.  The more the temperature drops, the more the flowers bloom.   It has a deep meaning in the Chinese-speaking world as it symbolizes perseverance and hope during the harshest times of life.   Flowers appearing during the icy and cold winter season.   Got it?



In Taipei, the plum blossoms are not that many but there are certain parks that people can go to enjoy their beauty.  One of these places is the Zhicheng Park.  How to get here?  Board the Taipei MRT and alight at Shilin Station.  Walk towards the Shilin Official Residence and cross the road to get to the park.




It is the best place to see the meihua in the capital.  There are a few trees but their trunks are tall enough to reach the sky.  I was lucky to see the flowers on a sunny day.  The sky was blue and making the petals shine against the bluish color of the heavens.    





Most visitors took photos of the plum blossoms with their bulky cameras.   I even saw one woman with toys in her bag.   She used it as props with the meihua flowers as the background.   Taiwanese usually do this kind of thing like using dolls to take good pictures instead of taking selfies.  






If you are in Taipei and you want to see these flowers, then hurry.  I already saw some leaves on the branches.  Soon all the flowers will fall to the ground as rain and strong wind can easily blow them away.   Such a short life for these flowers! So we should love them just like the sakuras.  See you in the next post of the Plum Blossom Series.

5.5 Lupin Flowers


I have received information that 'lupin' was spotted in the Maokong Mountains in Taipei. It's not the usual anime character 'Lupin' that people used to know. It's a flower that surprises everyone every spring. I wasn't really planning to see this flower but like a real thief it caught the attention of many people in Taipei stealing the spotlight from the beautiful cherry blossoms. My intelligence gathering prompted me to become a Detective Zenigata and catch 'lupin' before it's gone. The Camphor Tree Trail was the reported place of sighting and I hurriedly went there to serve a search warrant.

Searching for this flower in Wenshan District looks easy because you only need to board the MRT to Taipei Zoo Station and then transfer to the Maokong Gondola for an exciting 30 minute cable car ride. Well, that was before! Prices of the Taipei's public transportation system in the Maokong Mountains have soared more than 100%. Before, the ticket price from Taipei Zoo Station to Maokong Gondola Station was only NTD 50. Now, it's NTD 120!

I boarded the Bus Brown 15 and it took me directly to the south entrance of the Camphor Tree Trail. How much did I pay? It was only NTD 6. I was able to ride the bus within 30 minutes from my departure in the MRT Taipei Zoo Station so I was given a 50% discount. Yehey!










Maokong is known for its tea industry and bushes of these plants can be seen along the slopes of the trail. I was actually scratching my head on where to find 'lupin' in the area. The place was just so green. After taking some pictures, I finally saw some yellow spots beside some bushes of tea. Lupin!










The yellow flowers are a member of the Lupinus genus. They are planted by farmers in parallel with the tea bushes to act as natural fertilizers when the flowers started to wither and die. The lupins are not beautiful when you just see them in a single layers along tea plantations but plant them in large numbers in a field and it would surely turn your world into yellow.






















I continued the hike in the Camphor Tree Trail until I found a large number of lupin flowers planted in terraces. The wind blowed and the lupin flowers swayed. It danced in the field with the excitement of the visitors. No wonder why many Taiwanese come here to see these flowers. Now that I have posted this one on my blog more people will come here to capture the yellow color of Taipei spring. They would come and search the mountains of Maokong with one goal of finding lupin.

5.6 Taipei Chrysanthemum Festival

Every year when Banqiao in New Taipei opens its Christmasland, there is another big event in Northern Taiwan that people are waiting for.  Colorful blossoms in different shapes and sizes.  It’s no less than the annual Chrysanthemum Flower Show.  For two weeks, local and international visitors visit the Chiang-Kai Shek Shilin Official Residence to have a glance at numerous ball-shaped flowers.   It’s something not to be missed during the autumn season in Taipei and I did not let the opportunity pass to include it in my “Blooming Autumn” series.










Hundreds of flowers as one.  The chrysanthemum is distinctive because of its mini-flowers called “florets” and the way it forms as one big flower of the plant.  The florets form a cluster creating one ball of chrysanthemum.  Here, in the flower festival, you will have the opportunity to distinguish them one by one by looking at a tent containing different varieties of the plant.   You can see chrysanthemums wherein the florets are incurve.  Others have florets at the edges that dangle on the outside.   While other varieties didn’t form a ball but rather look like legs of a crawling insect.



Themes. Every year, the festival follows a certain concept to make it unique every year.  This 2017, a giant piano was set up in the garden with musical notes around it as decorations.  There was also a landscaping contest for locals to join.  Fun ideas of the organizers made the place interesting and you will find them when you explore the whole area of the Chiang-Kai Shek Shilin Official Residence.









Maleficent. Adding spice to the festival are the beautiful orchids housed inside a Chinese-looking temple. Upon stepping inside, the mask or headdress of the iconic character can be seen and beside it was a mirror.   Using the Maleficent as the central idea, the entire hall takes visitors to a different world where orchids and blue chrysanthemums combine in a bluish kind of universe. Going inside the hall was like looking at the mirror of Maleficent and its reflection is what you see inside the pavilion.





Madagascar. Kids and the young at heart would definitely enjoy taking photos of the penguin, zebra and the hippopotamus.   Christmas tree looking structures adorned with anemone chrysanthemums added some Christmas atmosphere in the flower festival. Chrysanthemums with the irregular incurve as well the ones in spider form can also be seen in this area.




















Colorful inside and out. Even outside the gate, decorative chrysanthemums welcome visitors and passersby, inviting them to get inside to wander in a wonderful floral event.     At the Exhibit of Multi-floral Daliju, visitors are surprised by large structures looking like giant umbrellas that were opened and filled with flowers on its top.   I enjoyed taking photos of each display in this outdoor exhibit.   After seeing all of them, I realized that the hundreds of florets that form one chrysanthemum can still be arranged and grouped as one giant mound of petals. Haha!













The festival is usually open until early December so those planning to visit Taipei will still have a chance to see this colorful event.  Entrance is free and the place is accessible via the MRT Shilin Station.   From the train station, walk for 300 meters to reach the gate of the Chiang-Kai Shek Shilin Official Residence.










Visit Taiwan and enjoy the flowers of autumn. Spread the good news about this Chrysanthemum Festival.

5.7 Taipei Rose Garden Show


When it comes to flowers the roses are the most elegant. Its popular red form has been the symbol of expression of love of men who wants to show their feelings for the woman they love. Have you received one? Have you gave one? Lucky are those women who have received roses on Valentine’s Day and brave are those men who gave it personally to their loved one.























































Here in Taiwan, there was a woman who doesn’t just received roses. She has her own garden of it! Her name was Soong Mei-ling also known as Madame Chiang. She is the wife of Chiang Kai-shek and her garden was within the vicinity of their blue mansion in Shilin District of Taipei. Madame Chiang died long ago but her love for roses still lives. The annual Shilin Official Residence Rose Garden Show makes this possible. It just proves that like diamonds roses are forever.




Chiang Kai-Shek's Shilin Official Residence Park Map



amphitheater







inside Horticultural Exhibition Hall






Chinese Garden

Two flower events happen every year in Shilin and every spring Taipei residents can experience the resurrection of Madame Chiang’s favorite flowers in her Rose Garden. How to go there? Just take the MRT to Shilin Station and then walk for 300 meters to reach the big park.





























There were also other flowers to admire aside from the roses. Unfortunately, the labels were in Chinese but it didn’t stop me in appreciating their beauty. Orchids can also be found inside the New Orchid Pavilion. April Fools’ Day was already over but the red temple look of the building fooled me when I went inside. Colorful orchids amazed the visitors with the unusual color and shape of its petals.




Ticket prices







I also went inside the blue mansion and it was the best place to learn about the owner of the Rose Garden. Madame Chiang was not only a plain housewife. She was a well-read woman and was very good in English. She was also a painter as she studied bird and floral painting. After my short tour in the mansion I concluded that Soong Mei-ling was a real rose with Chiang Kai-shek as its thorns.
















I went back to the Rose Garden to take additional pictures until I found an indoor exhibition. Paintings and bags decorated with roses were displayed. Real roses were also displayed in another hall. I looked at them closely and then I described the flowers with a sentence. I saw a red rose. “Roses are red”. I saw a pink rose. “Roses are pink”. I saw a yellow rose. “Roses are yellow” and then …. “Is this a hybrid rose?” I asked myself as I looked into a rose with a mixture of white and red color. I just said, “Roses are….”

5.8. Garlic vine at New Taipei

The hunt for Taiwan’s most beautiful flowers start again.  Blooming Autumn.  During the fall season, the luomujie blog’s travel series for showcasing the island’s beautiful blossoms, open once more as the northeast monsoon started blowing strong.  As the weather on the island turns colder, certain flowers reappear to the delight of locals.  For this year’s edition, I will be featuring new places.  So enough of the Taoyuan Flower Festival!   I have covered that for two years and there are other exciting places to see.  Are you excited to see them?  Let’s start now the flower viewing.



Our first stop: 楓樹河濱公園.  An unknown park in New Taipei’s Wugu District.  I know you haven’t heard of this place located in the suburbs of Taipei.  Unlike Pingxi, Jiufen, and Yehliu which are well-known tourist attractions, the district of Wugu offers virtually nothing to international visitors.  But there will be places that are just waiting to be discovered and rediscovered and this park is one of them.








Upon hearing a gossip about the story of two tone purple colored flowers that blossoms on the last week of October to the first week of November, I did not let the opportunity pass.  I went directly to Wugu to see and smell the buzz that its petals were creating.  To find them, I boarded the Taoyuan Aiport MRT and alighted at the Taishan Station.  After walking for 1.7 kilometers, I finally reached the hidden flower garden.





Mansoa alliacea. That’s the scientific name of our featured flower.  Commonly known as false garlic vine because it has the same smell like the true garlic vine.  I did not sniff anything unpleasant, rather it has an aroma that matches its lavender color.  Not very strong, but you will love it.  It is said that it originated in South America which adds mystery to its blossoming period in Taiwan, because it is classified as a tropical climbing plant with vines reaching up to 3 meters.



A shrub cultivated on top of a canal. What a brilliant idea of the Taiwanese!  The attractiveness of the flowers helped the locals forget that what they were enjoying was a dirty waterway.   A long tunnel with the light hue of violet, its chain of petals can challenge the pink cosmos of the annual Xinshe Sea of Flowers as Taiwan’s flower of autumn.  What do you think?




The leaves of the plant are reported to have medicinal uses for the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.  In Taiwan, some homeowners plant this shrub at their gardens.  Maybe for its beauty, but it could also be for a quick remedy.   To be used as medicine, the leaves are crushed and then boiled to form an aqueous extract.


Sad to say, the continuous rain in Taipei would have already spoiled the freshness of the flowers.  As time goes by, the violet color changes into a lighter color until everything turns white.  Cross your fingers!  Some could still be left that resembles the same look like the first petals.


*********************


Address: 楓 江 路 河 堤, Wugu District, New Taipei City, 248

[Google Map]

How to get here:

1.  by Taoyuan Airport MRT:

      Taishan Station -> Walk for 1.7 kilometers to reach the park.

2.  by tripool taxi: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji

6. HUALEN AND TAITUNG

6.1 Hualien Daylily

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

I know one love story in Taiwan. It's a romance between the two seasons of the year. A passion so deep that is boundless and repeats over time. There's a magical connection between these two beings even though they try to conquer one another. They look separated but actually just inches away from each other. During the last days of August and the beginning of September, they combine to become as one. They are Autumn and Summer. Our lovebirds in this great affair.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Summer's mood is always hot like the sun while Autumn is as cool as the wind. At those times when they fuse, the blistering heat of the sun suddenly disappears and the cool breeze of the wind replaces it slowly. They do these every year. Summer comes first and Autumn next. Then, they will wait another twelve months to meet again as husband and wife.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

They had been married in the eyes of villagers in Hualien. With the moon as their wedding ring and the constellations of Pegasus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Cepheus, Scorpio, Hercules and Sagittarius as their witnesses, they made a vow in front of Mother Earth that they will always take care of each other. Autumn said, “I love you”. Summer replied, “I love you too”.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers
Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers
Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

The fusion of these two seasons gave birth to a flower that only blossoms in a day. The daylily. It’s a beautiful bloom! Now, the desire of anyone wishing to visit Taiwan from the middle of August to the first half of September. The arrangement of its petals resemble the stars in the night sky that guided their parents for their meetup. They cover the rolling hills of Fuli District to become a wonderland painted with an orange hue.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

A blessing from the unseen forces in Taiwan, the pledge of love between the two seasons of the year is a food for the mortals. The daylily isn't just an attractive flower but it’s also edible. Farmers pick the unopened buds to be dried under the sun and processed into a delicious snack.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers
Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Sixty Stone Mountain. The love nest of our couple. It's nice to come here on a bright sunny day. But whenever our king and queen have a quarrel, a thick fog will suddenly come turning the whole place into an enchanted landed. It will hide the view of the mountains shrouding the hills in mystery.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers
Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers
Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

The fog will stay there until the anger of Summer has subsided. Autumn, on the other hand, will wait for the right time to hug her wife again. A few minutes, a few hours even up to the next day. Their love for each other is so strong that they will soon kiss again. This is the story of the two seasons of the year. This is the affair of Autumn and Summer.

Hualien Sixty Stone Mountain daylily flowers

2. Best time to visit: late August to early September during full bloom (depends on weather conditions)



3. How to get here from Taipei:

TRA timetable: https://tip.railway.gov.tw/tra-tip-web/tip?lang=EN_US


a. Option 1: Taipei City Hall Bus Station → Luodong Station → Hualien Station → Fuli Station → taxi

Buy the combo bus-train ticket (NTD 209) at Taipei City Hall Bus Station. Board Luodong Express Bus 1570 and then transfer to a train going to Hualien Station at Luodong Station. Board another train to Fuli Station then take a taxi.



b. Option 2: Taipei City Hall Bus Station → Luodong Station → Fuli Station → taxi

Board Bus 1570 at Taipei City Hall Bus Station. At Luodong Station, board an express train going to Fuli Station then transfer to a taxi.


Option 1 is cheaper but takes a longer time. The good news is that many trains are running from Hualien Station to Fuli Station.

Option 2 is faster but more expensive. However, there are fewer trains traveling from Luodong Station to Fuli Station.

Roundtrip taxi fare from Fuli Station to Sixty Stone Mountain is estimated to be NTD 1,400.


4.   Hualien to Sixty Stone Mountain by tripool taxi


Suggested tripool taxi itinerary on visiting Sixty Stone Mountain from TRA Hualien Station. Don't forget to book another ride for the return trip. If you are going to travel on a group composed of 8 people, the budget per person will be NTD 1,644 for the entire roundtrip. Regular taxi ride from TRA Fuli Station to Sixty Stone Mountain ranges from NTD 1,200 to NTD 1,800. The taxi drivers there at Fuli Station will try to confuse you, to lure you to ride their taxi even if it's a colorum or not, especially if you can't speak Chinese. So beware! tripool taxi web app: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji
Pick-up pointDrop-off pointDistanceTravel timeEstimated tripool taxi fare (NTD)Suggested pick-up period at the pick-up point
# of passengers
1 to 345 to 8
Hualien StationSixty Stone Mountain106.5 kms2 hrs 23 mins 4,4934,7186,57611:00 am - 11:30 am
Sixty Stone MountainHualien Station6:00 pm - 6:30 pm

6.2. Taitung East Rift Valley Rapeseed/Canola Flower Sea

Hola! Buenos días senyora, buenas tardes senyorito. Mi nombre es Luo-Mu Jie. Hallelujah! I'm surrounded by these flowers of canola.  Haha! In a faraway land in Taiwan lies a sea of blossoms.  Colored in yellow and glittering under the shining sun,  they are the petals of the rapeseed plant.  ¡Uy, Dios mío!  Do you want to swim in this ocean of petals?  Read more to find out.





From December to February when planting rice is not suitable during the winter season, farmers plow their fields for seeds of canola.  The flowers are rich in natural oil and also serves as a natural fertilizer for the next planting season.  I'm not sure whether the plants are left to die an decay on the field or whether the flowers are harvested and processed into organic fertilizers ready for distribution.  The one thing that I'm sure of is that the town of Chishang is the best place to enjoy these unforgettable yellow scenery.

My Luodong - Chishang train ticket

Arrival in Chishang Station
The NTD 100  bike from a bike rental shop located in Zhongzheng Road.  Just walk for a few meters from Chishang Station to get to the shop.

Where is Chishang? The town is located in Taitung province in the so-called East Rift Valley Scenic Area.  You can ride the train of the TRA to Chishang Station and from there you can rent a bike or a scooter to embark on a journey to the famous Brown Avenue.  A one-day rent of the bike costs NTD 100 and I presented my ARC (or passport) as a proof of my identity.  I was also asked to put my Taiwan cellphone number on the information sheet of the bicycle shop and when everything was ok I immediately cycled to the field of blooming canolas.




First timers might find themselves lost on the busy highways of Taitung.  But don't worry, just remember that your destination is the Brown Avenue (伯朗大道) and just show the Chinese name of the place to locals when asking for directions.   I have been here before so my trip was smooth and easy.  The only difference is that I went here not to see Kaneshiro tree but the rapeseed flowers in large numbers.


The town of Chishang is bounded by two mountain ranges and the Brown Avenue runs in between these natural borders connecting them as one soul.  When you are there, do not expect a vast continues field of canolas ala Xinshe in Taichung.  Manage your expectation as there are only certain plots that have been filled with the flowers.  But come closer to the fields and you will be surprised that an armada of rapeseed is larger than your life.  It' a big patch of yellow under the blue sky with petals swaying gracefully in the wind like an ocean of flowers.  Mamma mia! La ola de canola.

THINGS TO DO IN TAICHUNG - CENTRAL TAIWAN



Sakura Series - Taiwan

Sakura Series - Taiwan


Sakura Series - Japan


Maple Series


Yehliu to Jiufen? Yehliu to Shifen? Cheaper than yellow taxis

The "Taipei kong mahal" (My beloved Taipei)


Other attractions in Taipei


New Taipei


3 comments:

  1. Hi! Is it worth it going to the Taichung World Flora Expo? I understand that at least a day is needed to cover at least two of the three sites. Considering time constraints, would visiting Chung-She Flower Garden be enough as a substitute? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chung-She Flower Garden would be enough. The World Flora Expo is more of gardening.

      Delete

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