Taiwan: Evening in Cingjing Little Swiss

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

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Day 3 Afternoon to Night Itinerary :

  • Nantou (Aowanda 奥万大) –>>
  • Nantou (Cingjing 清境農場)
How We Got There :
Booked a Cab for the whole day to drive us from Sun Moon Lake to Aowanda to CingJing.

First Glimpse of Cingjing Area

(Interestingly, we managed to visit the ‘real’ Switzerland a few months later)

Day3_Cingjing01

Visited> Area outside Small Swiss Garden >> Small Swiss Garden 小瑞士花園 >> Paper Carton Shop / Bee Pollen Shop

#1: Area outside Small Swiss Garden

It was around 5pm when we finally settled in our room. We liked the spacious room and admired the scenery from our balcony for a while.

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Outside, the temperature was very low and we quickly took out our thick jackets. Surprisingly, it felt much colder in Cingjing than Alishan area even though Cingjing was at a lower elevation. Maybe it was near evening. I was wearing a normal short sleeve blouse over a Uniqlo long sleeve heat-tech and a thick trenchcoat and still felt cold. Brrr…. I made sure that Dar wore a thick windbreaker jacket, a thick sweater jacket, a long sleeve shirt over a long sleeve heat-tech in four layers and he seemed comfortable. Immediately, we started heading for the Little Swiss Garden which was very near our homestay.

The tickets were bought at a cheaper price from the homestay owner. She told us that if we visited Little Swiss Garden after 6pm, we could visit again in the morning. We didn’t ask the reason but I expected that it would be very dark and we would not be able to take nice flower photos. One thing we realised in Taiwan is that, it starts turning dark around 5.30pm and at 6pm, it would be like 8pm in our country.

To reach there, we walked along the path towards the 7-Eleven Mini-mart and took a look at some nice shops selling souvenirs outside the entrance before deciding to go in because we were not hungry yet from the late lunch. We would also need to rush for time to visit Green Green Grassland in the morning and thus would not have time to go to this place again.

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The area was beautifully decorated with small windmills and a nice train with seats in a European setting. Everything was visually appealing and there was also a postal shop selling stamps, postcard and providing postal service. This type of shop could be found in several places of interest in Taiwan and is very popular with the Taiwanese themselves as they like to send postcards to their friends.

Entering the garden, the sky was still bright enough so we could still take some flower pictures. They were nicely arranged with little paths and even had cute little cows…We “mooed mooed” along the path with Dar, laughed and enjoyed playing catching with him for a while.

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It quickly turned very dark when it was almost 6pm. It was like someone suddenly threw a blanket over the sun. The surroundings became a magical wonderland as the lights lit up and it felt like one because it was soooo cold even though we were all wrapped in thick jackets. We tried to ignore the chilly air and took some photographs with the nice lighting and hid in the coaches for a while pretending we were Cinderella. Dar loves the pumpkin coach so much and kept getting in and out of it.

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After one round, there wasn’t much to explore as it was a rather small garden and we could not take anymore pictures with the colourful flowers (cos all black…O_O) so we went outside of the garden intending to wait untill it was time for the musical fountain at 6.30pm.




We came back in again when it was time and it was very cold as we sat with a few other tourists in the foldable chairs provided. We can place them anywhere we like and sat right in front of the fountain. There were ducks swimming in the dark and we pointed them out to Dar. We sat down and waited. All of us staring out into the dark, anticipating the moment because there was no person in charge telling us when it would begin.

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Just when I felt myself turning into ice, the music finally came on and our little boy was stunned by his first view of the dancing fountain. We had seen more spectacular views in Sentosa Singapore  so we thought this was just ‘so-so’. He was a bit worried though and asked, “What’s that?” Vin replied, “The water is dancing according to the music.” Boy-boy thought. “Why is the water dancing???” Vin and Me (tired voice): “Just enjoy the music…” (too tired to explain the technicalities to this curious boy). A little while later, we saw the ducks lining up in front too and told Dar that the ducks were also watching the show so he should just enjoy it. After squirming through three/four songs (can’t remember), it finally ended and we were left in the dark again. Well, we didn’t want to just leave without completing the show.

Dar was still alright (He got four layers on him) and wanted to explore the garden again but I was freezing and thus, we quickly rushed out and into the 7-Eleven for hot food and drink. Also, I was afraid we would stumble upon couples making out in the coach/pavilion cos the place was so dark and so romantic. ha.

#2: Bee Pollen Shop / Paper Carton Shop

While waiting for the musical fountain, we decided to go upstairs to check out the popular restaurant, “Carton King” (blogged about on several blogs because furnitures were made of paper carton) but while walking past it, a lady offered us a taste of the bee pollen crackers that she was selling. It was quite tasty and Dar kept wanting to eat it. (the lady must be anxious that the ‘tasting’ became ‘eating’).

Before Dar ate up all the crackers for tasting, we bought a packet ourselves to show our appreciation (the aroma of the bee pollen was really good and it was not too sweet! regretted not buying more). The packaging was really nice too and would make a good gift. After looking through the menu, we didn’t like the western dishes and the hefty prices and went down to sit in the train seats to chomp on the crackers while waiting.

The Paper Carton Shop is affiliated with the Paper Carton Restaurant and had interesting things made of paper.

There was also a nice small little house for photo opportunities to remember our trip. This is what I like about Taiwan’s places of interest. They would do up the surrounding areas with nice decorations too and make it easy for one to take a nice picture of the trip.

After the show, we went to the 7-eleven to eat our Bento Dinner. It was a simple and tasty dinner that did not cost much. (Read the ‘food‘ post)

#STAY . SLEEP  

Misty Villa 雲濛仙境

Coming back from Little Swiss, we had to walk up several flights of stairs to reach our room up on the topmost level.

As we settled into the huge room, we were still excited over the day’s events. It had been a long day for us as we had cycled in the morning, hiked in the afternoon and walked in the gardens at night. It was an amazing feat for our little boy as well. He was still energetic as he had slept in the cab for a while on the way up from Aowanda.

We kept the windows closed this time after our chilly experience in Alishan and thus the room was just right when we entered and not too cold. I got ready the items to wear for tomorrow as we would be moving on to Taipei after visiting the Cingjing Green Green Grassland in the morning.

More Experiences on Accommodation Details here : Travel Taiwan – Accommodation

{ Next Post : Cingjing Farm Green Green Grassland }

  1. Christina Chow February 1, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Hi!

    I was planning a trip to CingJing in March, but was just wondering if there is a need to hire a cab to drive us to various places like swiss farm, green green pasturem carton king, etc.

    1. Cat February 1, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      These two places are quite far from each other so yes, if you are not staying in a homestay or hotel close to them, then you might need to hire a cab to drive you. Otherwise, you have to walk for quite a while since the entire Cingjing Mountainous Area is huge. We stayed next to the Little Swiss so we just need to walk there and got our minsu owner to drive us to Cingjing Farm.
      Alternatively, there is public transport bus available (Nantou Bus) where they would drop outside the Cingjing Farm, but we had not taken it so can’t help you on that.

      1. Christina February 1, 2015 at 10:32 pm

        Thanks for the prompt reply. I was planning to stay in ming qin (明琴), so just wondering how do I go about the traveling as different information online gave very different opinions.

  2. Asha August 8, 2016 at 3:16 am

    Hello,
    May I know how you traveled between Sun Moon Lake to Cingjing? Do you need to book a private driver or you could just flag down a cab? Please also advise me on the cost of you remember.

    Many thanks!

  3. michelle August 24, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    hi can you send me ur itinery for reference?

  4. kelly October 7, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Lovely blog and pics! Planning to go in Jan ’17! Any idea if Swiss Garden is closed on any particular day of the week?

    1. Vin October 11, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your encouragement!

      According to their official website (http://www.cingjing.gov.tw/mien/index2.php), the Little Swiss Garden is open every day.

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