Hello again everyone, this is the fourth out of seven posts about my fourth day trip on Taiwan in Last April 2018 to May 2018. You can read my first post on the previous days spent in Taiwan here:
On my third day in Taiwan, I explored Sun Moon Lake by taking bus from Taichung and went back to Taichung on the very same day. On the fourth day, I explored all the beauties in Taichung, be it in the city center or beyond before taking the train to Hualien for Taroko Gorge adventure.
Planning the Taichung City Tour Trip
When I planned Taichung City tour, I was torn between using public transportation and taking an organised tour. Based on google map, there was no frequent bus or train between places that I wanted to visit (Gaomei Wetland, Luce Memorial Chapel, Rainbow Village, National Taichung Teather, and National Taiwan Museum of Arts). So, I went to Tripadvisor and found an alternative to book a taxi driver for a day. I had searched at least two taxi drivers that were recommended in Taichung and contacted them through email and WhatsApp. I got the email and number from Tripadvisor.
All of the drivers were Chinese speaking driver, but I contacted them in English since my Chinese was zero. The taxi Driver “A” that I contacted via email replied my email using Chinese (I copied them to google translator to understand the meaning). At the same time, I used WhatsApp to contact Taxi Driver “B” since there’s only phone number given in Tripadvisor forum. I managed to proceed bargaining with Taxi Driver “B” for NT 3500 for 10 hours. But, nearing my travel to Taiwan, he did not make any contact nor question where I wanted to be picked up whatsoever I was beginning to doubt him and had a plan B in mind: Using taxi (hop on any taxi available in each spot – instead of renting them for 10 hours) and Plan C: Using Buses and Taxi whenever suits the itinerary and utilize google map for the recommended bus number and route. (Note: I bring my own portable wifi so that I can use google map to help with navigation).
On D-Day minus one, I tried to contact him but he did not seem interested, only said that he was available. So, I formally cancelled the trip and decided that Plan D must be executed: Using Uber.
When I read about renting a Taichung Taxi in Tripadvisor, I stumbled upon stories by some traveler that used Uber. He/she said that it was cheaper than renting a Taxi for the whole day. I was very doubtful since I had never used Uber. So, I downloaded the application the day before and start using it that morning.
However, if you want to explore attractions within Taichung city and have days to explore, you can consider using Taichung Bus. Taichung is actually a big city. It is Taiwan’s second most populous city since July 2017, and part of Taichung-Changhua Metropolitan area which is the second largest in Taiwan. Despite this claim, it has not yet had MRT Station by the time of this writing (June 2018) – Kaohsiung & Taipei does have MRT. The MRT in Taichung is actually underway and expected to be completed by the end of 2018. So, the only possible means of transportation in Taichung is its extensive bus network. These are some useful website to learn about Taichung Bus and its route.
The bus in Taichung is free up to 10 km ride, although it is said to be slow and time consuming. I must admit I was kind of lazy AND running out of time to carefully learn about Taichung’s bus network. I did though, open some of their routes and looked for ones that pass the attractions I wanted to visit, but looking one or two routes, combined with google map directions search got me a conclusion that riding a bus was not suitable for that day trip plan. Why? because Gaomei Wetlands, Luce Memorial Chapel and Rainbow villages are not close to each other and the bus does not come that frequently, especially during weekdays.
The Taichung City Tour Itinerary
This is the route that i took on that day. I travelled using Taxi and Uber in combination. The starting point is Taichung Railway station since i stayed near the Railway Station.