Visiting Taichung was like traveling in time or entering a whole new dimension. They had so many interesting spaces that it left my heart dumbfounded. It may have been somewhat a obstacle to get here, but I am glad I added it to my Taiwan go-to list. It was sight to see. In millenial terms – it was instragram-worthy! haha.
If I were to summarize our trip to three key points, I would narrow it down to three things I admired about Taichung, that I wish to see more of in my own country:
I am a very visual person and I am drawn to pretty things; just as I fancy scrolling lovely images on the internet, I furthermore enjoy taking stunning photos and having a collection of my own. When I planned our visit to Taichung, I knew I needed access to beautiful architecture, one that was best displayed in Miyahara Formosa (宮原眼科) – an ice cream shop constructed inside a historical building.
It was once the largest opthalmology clinic in Taichung during the Japanese colonial period. Miyahara Takeo was an eye doctor back in 1927 and this red-brick dream of an assembly was his piece of work. The interiors were inspired by Hogwarts and indeed, stepping inside seemed like I was hurled inside a Harry Potter novel.
Whenever my husband would go through bouts of childhood nostalgia, Goku would always come to mind. He would recall his make believe antics with his classmates as they take their place in the fictional universe of Dragonball and save the world before the bell rings. We are kids of the 90’s and we grew up with these juvenescent TV shows that inspired us to do our homeworks right away. While children these days are soaked up in their gadgets, we would bust out of our household doors and the reenactment of these cartoons will be underway. To be a kid again.
AND to be a kid, we did.
A friend told me about Taichung’s Animation Lane and that it should not be missed! It was this cute city alleyway showcasing animated characters of our youth. Like young ‘uns, we trailed behind a group of nursery students who were out on a field trip in the same vicinity.
After a day’s search for fountain pens, my dad did not and could not say a word about our tourist choices. Sorry daddy.
Like channels on a television set, we flicked through one cartoon group to the other – Dragonball, Ghostfighter, Looney Tunes, MY HERO ACADEMIA haha it was an explosion of illustrations. IT WAS A KID’S and KID’S AT HEART PARADISE. Ang cute ng asawa ko eh, nag-popose! He knew which position to take up and how to assume the attitude. I knew nothing of these things except Sailormoon. SAILORMOON WAS RIGHT UP MY ALLEY.
I want to start this series with telling you how to get to Taichung. The city is two hours south of Taipei but could be more depending on which mode of transportation you will be choosing. We were thwacked with all these technicalities when Klook sent me an e-mail telling me that our driver could not pick us up in Taiwan but could however meet us at Taichung station. With that, we started winging our way around Taipei main station on the day we were to start our Taichung itinerary. It was not so bad, really, in fact getting lost and finding our way around the was half the adventure itself.
First things first.
Purchase a ticket at Taipei Main Station which we did on the day itself. The automated ticket machines are in mandarin and english, therefore it will not be a problem for foreigners like us. Keep in mind that you will need to ride the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR), that will shorten your cruising time from 2.5 hours to 40 to 60 minutes, assuming that you want to get there at the shortest amount of time possible.
If you do choose THSR, there are two kinds of tickets: reserved and non-reserved. Andre told me that if we chosee the non-reserved and were caught at a rush hour schedule there is a possibility that we will NOT have a seat and will be forced to stand up during the entire duration. It is a first come, first serve arrangement. That kind of sealed the deal when we were deciding between the two options last December 31; New Year’s eve meant a lot of people were trying to scurry their way to Taipei to watch the fireworks. The advantage of the non-reserved seating is that it IS relatively cheaper. The reserved on the other hand meant that you have a specific seat and car, all you have to do is to line up at your designated stand. All train platforms are labeled so you know exactly where to position yourself when it’s time for boarding. It was amazing how the Taiwanese were so organized so rest assured this will all be a breeze when you get there.