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Taiwan – Experience a Scandinavian Getaway at Yilan’s North Zart 北方札特

Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿
From natural environments, cold/hot springs to a wealth of scenic attractions, Yilan is one of the best areas in Taiwan for a leisurely getaway with loved ones, and North Zart is one of the most unique and beautiful minsu in the region. Made entirely out of wood, it feels as if you were momentarily transported to the cabin lodges of Europe.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿North Zart is located about 15 minutes away by taxi from Yilan Train Station. It offers 13 rooms for doubles all the way up to 6 persons in a room split between two buildings. If you are travelling in a big group (more than 10), you can consider booking a whole building exclusively.

Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Santa Claus greets you as you approach the entrance of the wooden cabin building. Feels like Christmas all year round!Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Amazing sunshine smiling down at us. The minsu can help to organise BBQs outside here at night.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Lovely outdoor area to chill outYilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The minsu built the palace theme building a year after the opening of the wooden cabin theme building. The owner conceptualized the design of the entire area, including the landscaping and gardens outside. Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Amazing living hall which comes with a deepsea aquarium and a TV capable of playing 3-D movies.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿For the literary ones, pick up a book from its library and immerse in a good read at a favourite corner in the minsu.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Lovely decor all aroundYilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The fragrance of Chinese fir used to build the minsu permeates the spaceYilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The owner Mr Lin, is a coffee aficionado – you definitely have to ask him to make you a cuppa coffee. We enjoyed chatting with him as he shared with us more about the minsu. I must say he is very meticulous, as you can see the thought and effort that was put into setting up the place, and all the little things done to give the place a warm, homely feel. His family helps to run the minsu too.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿How I am feeling right now – happily contentedYilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Breakfast is served at the basement of the wooden cabin building.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿It offers a typical Taiwanese breakfast.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The double room was spacious and well-stocked with beverages and snacks.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The bathroom was just as spacious.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The Rrom for four persons came with a fake coconut tree lolYilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿I loved the balcony which overlooks the garden.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿Some of the rooms also overlook the rice paddy fields behind the minsu which belongs to Mr Lin.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿And one of the highlights of the minsu – a cold spring! What an amazing treat!Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿The minsu by night looks surreal, and I am tempted to laze my vacation away all day.Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿We got into a little mischief at Luodong Sports Park nearby (you can borrow a bicycle from the minsu for a nice ride in the morning) – with some fireworks and sparklers :)Yilan: 北方札特 North Zart 民宿We enjoyed our stay at the very pretty North Zart as well as exploring Yilan’s attractions. As public transport is not readily available in Yilan, I would suggest you book a car or take a taxi. By day you can explore numerous scenic areas such as Meihua Lake, Wai Ao Beach (black sand!), Turtle Island or attractions such as Lanyang Museum and Jimmy Plaza while by night you can visit Luodong Night Market for some local eats. Jiaoxi Hot Springs is also not too far away.

北方札特 North Zart
Address: 269, Taiwan, Yilan County, Dongshan Township, 廣安村廣興路682巷132號
Email: espcat@gmail.com
Tel: +886 918 612 581
Website: http://www.northzart.com.tw
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NorthZart
View Map https://goo.gl/maps/WgqGJNMR7pS2
Booking website: http://www.kitravel.com.tw/booking/northzart/index_en.html
Room Rates: http://www.northzart.com.tw/contact-fee.html
Getting from Taipei to Yilan

Bus
1) Kemalan buses (葛瑪蘭客運) at Taipei Bus Station Taipei Main Station. Fare: About NT$129 Travel time: About 50 mins. Website: http://www.kamalan.com.tw/route.php
2) Capital Star buses (首都客運) at Taipei City Hall MRT Station near exit 3. Fare: About NT$120 Travel time: About 50 mins. Website: http://220.128.122.55/businfo.html

Train
Taiwan Railways to Yilan Train station. Travel time: About 1hr 30mins. Fare: TWD 200 – 250
Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA): new.twtraffic.com.tw/TWRail_EN/index.aspx
Train ticket prices: service.tra.gov.tw/tw/ticketprice/excel.aspx


Getting from Taoyuan International Airport to Yilan
By Bus:
1) Take Kuo Kuang Express buses from the airport to Taipei Main Station. Travel time: About 1hr 10mins. Fare: About TWD 115
2) Transfer to buses to Yilan (See Getting from “Taipet to Yilan” above)


Getting from Kaohsiung to Yilan
1) Take THSR train to Taipei Main station. Travel time: About 2hrs. Fare TWD 1,490.
2) Transfer to buses to Yilan (See Getting from “Taipet to Yilan” above)

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Taiwan – A taste of Yunnan at Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理 Cingjing Lumama Yunna Restaurant

Tuck into a feast of authentic Yunnan dishes at Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Apart from enjoying the ubiquitous steamboat meals at their minsu, visitors to Cingjing can also visit Lumama Restaurant, a popular eatery serving authentic Yunnan/Shan tribe cuisine. Located just above Cingjing Farm 清境農場, the restaurant boasts a scenic view of the Central Mountain Range.

清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理 Cingjing Lumama Yunnan Restaurant

Lumama is housed in a pretty stone mansion. At 2044 metres above sea level, come in long pants and a light sweater, especially during night time. You’ve been forewarned ;)

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

The spacious restaurant occupies two levels
Mama Lu, who was originally from the Bai Yi tribe, settled down in Cingjing with her veteran husband who fought alongside Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces. The family decided to open a restaurant featuring Mama Lu’s Bai Yi cuisine which gained popularity with visitors. She now runs the dining establishment with help from her children. They also make regular trips to Yunnan to source for ingredients and special soup pots 汽锅。

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

客似云来
What’s special here is that the restaurant combines authentic Yunnan recipes with local produce from the nearby farms, ensuring a unique taste found nowhere else.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

You can order ala carte or if you have enough people (or are REALLY hungry) set meals which includes their specialty dishes. The portions are hearty.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

香酥包料魚 Crispy Stuffed Fish
God is fair – You are so ugly, but so tasty. LOL. Herbs and spices are stuffed into the Wu Guo Fish/Taiwn Lu Fish 吳郭魚/台灣鯛魚, a cichlidae species, bound with a string to keep the ingredients from falling out and then deep fried to a crisp.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Crispy Stuffed Fish 香酥包料魚
Super yummy – this is a must-order.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

It’s Fear Factor time – Crispy deep-fried Bamboo Worms 香酥竹蟲
One of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, these critters are imported from Burma and Thailand inside bamboo cylinders. Once you get over the initial hesitation and pop one inside your mouth, trust me – you will not stop. It was like eating crispy, airy French Fries, minus the fats and pile on the protein and fibre!
I could have easily polished off an entire plate by myself. Just don’t stop to examine the worms – I did that for 3 seconds, looking at the many legs and almost gagged. Just eat and don’t think, don’t look, lol.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

 Cold Appetizer 凉拌薄片
A crunchy and spicy cold appetizer of pig’s head skin 猪头皮, peanuts and spices

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Spicy Mung Bean Cake 凉拌豌豆粉
A popular cold appetizer, this is a green jelly served with cucumber, coriander and ground peanut dribbled with a sweet, spicy sauce.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Home-made Yunnan preserved meat 腊肠 + 腊肉

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Cold Pork Jelly 水晶凍
Think collagen-rich and start eating

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Tang Kwei Chicken Soup 當歸鸡汤
This was one of my favourite dishes. The wholesome soup warmed me up nicely and the tang kwei 當歸 so fresh, it was grown in their own backyard.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

We even asked the restaurant to dig up a fresh tang kwei to show us since we have never seen this plant in its natural form lol. It is more commonly found as a dried herbal medicine, and best for women. :)

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Thick Vermicelli in Soup 傣味米干

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Yunnan Chicken Stew Pot 云南汽锅鸡
This is another star dish, do note advance order is required for this dish. Go for it.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Fried minced meat with Preserved Sour Vegetables 酸菜肉丝

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Fried Local Cabbage 炒高麗菜
Another simple dish well done. The locally grown cabbage was sweet to the taste, no extra condiments were needed.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Yunnan Pepper Chicken 云南胡椒鸡

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant 清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理

Jin Sa 錦灑 Minced Pork with Herbs wrapped in Cabbage
A popular Shan dish, it is eaten by wrapping the savoury minced meat with raw locally-grown cabbage. I love the crisp of fresh mountain produce which paired very well with the meat. Best part – low carb! ;)

We were all very satisfied with the hearty meal – it was value for money at TWD3,500 (est. S$148) for 12 dishes + 1 soup. I never thought I could savor authentic Yunnan cuisine at Cingjing, cleverly adapted to make good use of locally-grown produce. The ingredients were fresh and dishes unique, I would think it’s worth a visit for any visitor to this part of town.

Cingjing Lumama Restaurant清境魯媽媽雲南擺夷料理
Address: No. 210-2-1, Renhe Rd, Datong Village, Renai Township, Nantou, Taiwan
南投縣仁愛鄉大同村仁和路210-2-1號〈近松崗博望新村〉
(Just off No. 14 Jia Provincial Highway 省道台14甲線 above Cingjing Farm 清境農場)
Opening Hours: 11:00AM to 9:00PM (kitchen closes 8:00PM)
Tel: +886 4 9280 3876
Email: lumama2003@yahoo.com.tw
Website: http://www.lumama.tw
Cash only
Getting Here

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Taiwan – Baroque Splendor at Cingjing’s Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊“This is a minsu 民宿? You gotta be kiddin’ me – it looks more like a castle!” I told my Taiwanese friend when we first arrived at Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊. The Italian-themed minsu is no doubt one of the best accommodation that Cingjing has to offer, coupled with a breathtaking view of the scenic mountains and lush grassland of Cingjing. It’s no wonder they are always fully booked by both local weekend trippers and overseas guests.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The humble entrance along the road belies the grandeur of the resort which is made up of two main buildings – main Italian Rural Castle 義大利鄉村城堡(一館) and Constantinople 君士坦丁堡(二館).

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The main Italian Rural Castle 義大利鄉村城堡(一館) and stairs leading to the second building Constantinople where most of the larger rooms are. They offer spacious lofts which can comfortably accommodate the whole family.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Catch a view of Bihu/Emerald Lake 碧湖, part of Wanli Reservoir 萬大水庫 running through the mountains of Cingjing from the villa. Mesmerizing.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

With such gorgeous scenery and weather, even I am tempted to go for a morning jog :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Farms co-exist harmoniously with the numerous minsu in this area, providing delicious local mountain produce 山菜 for visitors

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

I got hungry by just looking at those crisp-looking leaves!

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The view is so surreal, it’s just the perfect place to relax and forget about the cares of the world.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

You can find floral blooms almost anywhere…along the roads, growing out of crevices, anywhere.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Cute figurines welcome you as you enter the lobby of Florence Resort Villa

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Da Xiong (which looked more like a lion) the resident Golden Retriever is also at the lobby to welcome you. We woke him up from his nap haha.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Venetian carnival masks line the the stone wall in the lobby. I wonder if I can borrow one for the night :p

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The decor of the villa is heavily Italian-inspired

Florence Resort Villa

The villa organises special programmes for guests as well depending on the season, such as this star gazing activity. It would be really cool to photograph the Milky Way adorned with Cingjing’s mountains.

Florence Resort Villa

There’s a library of DVDs and books which you can borrow, so no fear of boring nights :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

A little cafe area beside the lobby where you can relax and have tea.

Florence Resort Villa

Florence Resort Villa

Coffee, tea or me?

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Nice little area for guests to relax just outside the main Italian Rural Castle building

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Go round the corner down the slope, and you will discover a whimsical little hut, much like Hansel and Gretel’s. It’s actually Nina de Chocolate 妮娜巧克力工坊, a popular little chocolate atelier set up by the villa owners for their daughter Nina who loves to eat chocolate (lucky girl!). People specially come here to buy hand-made chocolates, while we went a step further – we took a short lesson to make some :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

I shall take my hand-made chocolates and eat them here, and pretend I am in a magical forest :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Here is where we are staying – Constantinople.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

It’s no wonder people call Cingjing Little Switzerland – for a moment I thought I was in Europe!

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The guestrooms are named after the renowned cities of Italy, including Venice, Milan and Firenze. Here’s our friend’s spacious Baroque Double Room, an ideal choice for couples and honey mooners. You can almost play hide-and-seek here.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

This is home for the trip, also a Baroque Double Room in another colour scheme.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, can I stay here for good? :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Super huge bathroom with a stone tub to soak in. The only gripe I have is that only a thick curtain separates the room and the toilet, so I will get a little conscious when I am taking a dump lol. Well, I guess if you are a couple, you gotta take each other’s good and crap – literally, haha.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Super plus point for me – heated toilet seat! Yeah, I like my bum warm and cosy, especially in a place where temperatures are 10-14 degree celsius in general :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Most of the essential toiletries are provided

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

All the information you need is conveniently documented in a red book. You can also take the villa’s shuttle services to visit attractions in Cingjing, or charter one of their vehicles to bring you around.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

They even provide ambient music to get you into the relaxed mood.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The villa provides every room with their own coffee machine, a tap to dispense hot/cold water (right) as well as hand-made chocolates from their chocolate atelier.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Even Dottie the bunny can’t wait to get to bed :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Gorgeous view from the room balcony. I don’t want to go out.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Hang out at Starry Bar with your loved ones and watch the stars dance above you during the night.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Dining area

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

The villa provides steamboat meals as well as Western/Italian dishes with buffet.

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Oooo…many choices of beverages for breakfast! I love soya bean milk :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Part of the breakfast buffet

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

Bon appetite :)

Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊

We had a very pleasant and luxurious stay at Florence Resort Villa. There was much to do, we never felt bored. The warm hospitality of the service staff made us feel welcome as well, and we were blessed with good weather to take in a superb view of the scenery from the villa. I would recommend this place for couples and families looking for a special, fuss-free holiday or celebrating something special. While it’s not the cheapest option out there, we didn’t feel short-changed from the entire experience. Afterall, it’s not everyday you get to feel like an Italian princess :)

Florence Resort Villa 清境佛羅倫斯渡假山莊清境民宿
Address: No.8-3, Rongguang Ln., Ren’ai Township, Nantou County 546, Taiwan
南投縣仁愛鄉榮光巷8-3號
Email: florance568@yahoo.com.tw
Tel: +886 4 9280 3820/3832
Website: http://www.florance.com.tw
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/floranceresort

Searching for a minsu in Cingjing? Here’s some you can consider:
The Old England Hotel 老英格蘭莊園 (Creme de la creme of the lot; 6 months advance booking)
– Florence Resort Villa 佛羅倫斯渡假山莊 (Gorgeous Italian-themed villa; very popular too)
– Starry Minsu 清境民宿觀星園景觀山莊 (Highest-located minsu in Cingjing; good aerial view)
Misting Minsu 雲濛仙境民宿 (Convenient location)
Qingjing Xiaozhu 清境小築 (Homely place with nice scenery)

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Taiwan – Xitou Monster Village 溪頭怪物村

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町“You definitely have to visit Monster Village when you are coming to Nantou!” my Taiwanese friend excitedly recommended. Thinking it was a haunted theme park, I went with much trepidation. The fear turned into pure glee when I realized that Monster Village is a kooky Japanese-style village located at the entrance of Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區). And the monsters were cute ones – 大好きな!This monster-themed attraction is especially popular with domestic day trippers to the Nantou area since it opened in 2011, drawing more than 200,000 visitors monthly.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Entrance of Monster Village

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Before its fame, the place was originally Ming Shan Hotel (明山森林會館) serving mainly domestic visitors. A food vendor selling sausages nearby decided to use a giant red Japanese Tengu face with a long sausage nose for publicity. As more and more people got to know about the humorous publicity gimmick via social media, the hotel got so many calls asking about “this monster sausage place 妖怪村” that they decided to re-build the resort into a monster-themed village. As for the sausage seller – he shut down just months before the hype materialised so he never got to cash in on that success. He did try to set up stall again, but wasn’t able to compete with the other sausage stalls which had also set up. Well, that’s life sometimes…

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Here’s the famous “sausage nose” lol

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Village Square

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

There are lots of good photo points, so be sure to bring your camera, and smiles :)

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The attraction adds a new monster to the village every year, and these greenies are this year’s latest additions. Not sure if they are ducks, relatives of Shrek or whatever haha.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

There are regular shows at the village, such as this fortune-telling monster.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Making a wish and sending it over to the monster for advice

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Fancy a ride on the Monster Train?

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Cute shuttle bus

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Off we go to explore the shops and eateries!

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Even the dads get into the ‘act cute’ moments

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Erm, excuse me but there are 2 monsters above you…

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Oopsie!

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Monster Mail
I wonder if they get delivered, or devoured in monster speed too

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Play a game with the Lucky Lion 招财狮, and collect your prize at its very strategic location! *shy* So shy my photo was blur lol

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The nostalgia started flowing when I saw these game stations

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Drum up a monster tune

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Or flaunt a monster fortune

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Mountain King 山大王
The story goes that the Mountain King is an unlucky but kind man who becomes a mountain guardian to protect the good and punish the bad.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Get your fortune told by the Mountain King for TWD10, that’s definitely a bargain haha

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Japanese-inspired elements are prevalent at the attraction, such as this pool which you will find at most Japanese temples.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Bubbles are fun

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Decorative carts which make good photo points

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Scheduled music performances at the centre of the village

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Look around you and you may spot something tongue-in-cheek – such as this movie poster for “Anus Man.”

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Boo!

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Food stalls and shops line this road leading to the Xitou Forest Recreation Area

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

They do not have KFC here, but they have KEC with a geisha hen as mascot

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Fancy an eyeball dumpling?

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The Black-Hearted Shop sells black sesame and matcha soft serve, licky licky!

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Happy food vendor

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Even the drinks are packaged so interestingly

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

A lot of locals will go hiking at Xitou Forest Recreation Area in the morning, and stop by here to buy some local vegetables on their way home. They are really fresh and cheap.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Drooling at the peaches…I want to dive right in and eat them all up

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Get a photo taken with Kuma 枯麻 (a sun bear) and Badou 八豆 (a clouded leopard), the two main mascots of the village.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

We spotted a long queue forming in front of Kubota bakery久保田面包店, waiting for the freshly baked ham and cheese bread called咬人猫面包(man-biting cat bread) which is sold only at 10.30AM and 2:30PM daily.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Start queuing 20 minutes before if you wish to try, and each person is only allowed to buy 2 pieces to ensure enough supply. You may want to keep the bread wrapper too – there’s a serialised number which you can see if you have won a prize from the village.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Ta da, the famed ham and cheese bread

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Be sure to stop by the Monster Post shop to grab some souvenirs. They are all designed and produced in-house, so they make really good presents.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The items are all very tongue-in-cheek, so come with your sense of humour and you will definitely enjoy your visit :)

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Cheeky snacks

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Blood Pack Lamp

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

A cheeky take on the country’s famous Kinmen Kaoliang – this one is Gangmen (anus in Mandarin) Kaoliang lol

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Sweets with very witty packaging

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The many ways to say good bye
Give it to your frenemy or an admirer who cannot get the hint

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Hmmm…

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

This, was an instant hit with my male friends who asked me to buy for them lol. Sorry to disappoint, I don’t think the milk sweets really work that way :p

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The ladies will know what this is… it’s actually just tea with an alternative packaging

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

This one is interesting – it’s instant cup noodles packed in a rocket carton haversack

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

A good gift to get for your branded female friends – cakes with LV-inspired packaging

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Feeling hungry? Try their signature wood fire-roasted chicken

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The ambiance of the restaurant is retro 60s, quite cool

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

八豆妖?
The Hokkien for “Are you hungry?” And yes, Taiwan Beer is “very song” haha

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

We had the set menu for 10pax. At TWD2500, it worked out to be about only S$10.50/USD7.80 per person, very affordable and we ate like kings and queens.

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

The chef (yes dressed in soldier uniform) helping to cut the chicken for us

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Mmmmm…the fragrant smell! Can’t wait to start eating!

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Preserved Vegetables with Braised Pork Belly

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Braised Yam

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Fried River Shrimps

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Fried Pumpkin with Basil Leaf

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Hotplate Tofu

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Fried Mountain Vegetables

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

Sweet Sour Fish

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

And of course, beer!
These are Taiwan Beer with the attraction’s own branding

Monster Village 溪頭怪物村 / 松林町

I had so much fun, I am turning into a monster myself! lol

Monster Village is not really big so you can cover it quite quickly, but the beauty of the place unfolds when you take time to go around and appreciate the little touches and effort put in to make the place fun. It’s also a great place to buy souvenirs home (I had many requests from friends when I uploaded the cheeky snacks on social media). I would recommend setting aside 2 to 3 hours to visit Monster Village.

 

You can combine Monster Village with nearby attractions in Nantou, or go hiking at Xitou Forest Recreation Area in the day time. The forest belonging to the National Taiwan University houses a great variety of trees including cedars, rare redwood species as well as bird / firefly watching activites during the right season. Go on the Skywalk for an aerial view of the nature reserve.

 

 

 


Xitou Monster Village
溪头松林町 妖怪村溪头妖怪村
No. 2-3, Xingchan Rd, Lugu Township Nantou County, 558, Taiwan
南投縣鹿谷鄉內湖村興產路2-3號, 558
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10:00AM – 8:00PM; Sat & Sun: 10:00AM – 9:00PM
Free Admission
Website: http://www.mingshan.com.tw
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/TheMonsterVillage

 

Getting There

1)
Sun Moon Lake – Xitou Shuttle
Take the Sun Moon Lake – Xitou shuttle bus line which covers attractions in the Nantou area.

 

2) Taiwan Tourist Shuttle 台灣好行
Take Taiwan Tourist Shuttle at Taichung Gancheng Bus Station (台中干城車站), Taichung Train Station (台铁台中站), or Taichung HSR Station (台中高鐵站). Get off at the last stop- Xitou (溪頭) and walk about 5 minutes to Nantou Monster Village. A one way ticket costs NT175 per person, and round trip is about NT330. Take note that the last bus from Xitou to Taichung is 1720hrs, so it will be wise to get your bus tickets back once you reach Xitou to avoid missing the last bus.

 

3) Public Bus
Take Taichung Bus or Yuanlin Bus from Taichung Gancheng Bus Station (台中干城車站) directly to Xitou (溪頭)/Shanlinsi (杉林溪). Get off at Xitou and take a 5-minute walk to Nantou Monster Village.
Read more of my travels in Taiwan


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Photography – Bada Tower 小金門八達樓子

Bada Tower 小金門八達樓子

Bada Tower 小金門八達樓子
Bada Tower sits in front of Xizai Village in Little Kinmen, Taiwan. Sculptures of seven armed soldiers stand atop the fortified walls. In a battle against the Japanese at Gubeikou in 1933, seven Chinese soldiers of the Changcheng(Great Wall)troop fought and lost their lives in a die-hard defense of the base. In 1963 when the Great Wall unit was garrisoned on Lieyu, a recreation of the Bada Tower and statues of the seven heroes were installed to inspire future arrivals.