December 4th, 2022

I’m off to Taichung!

The map above shows the distance between Taipei and Taichung (165 km). Taichung and Kaohsiung are vying to be the second city of Taiwan; currently Taichung is losing, demoted to the third largest city in Taiwan. The two cities both have 2.8 million population.

I bought my train ticket a week in advance, for the Taiwan High Speed Rail. The HSR train gets me there in a little over a hour.

I went on YouTube to find a clip of travel from Taipei to Taichung. Unfortunately the clip I selected has the person going the other way, from Taichung to Taipei. It still gives you a good feel of travel by HSR train.

That Sunday it was a low overcast sky and rain. I packed my bag; the people in International House stored my belongings until I came again; said goodbye to the mother and daughter who run the cafe next to Qizhang MRT station. They don’t let you in to Taipei Main Station’s HSR terminal until an hour before your train, so I had to wait.

The HSR train approaching, right on time.

Thee interior of the carriage. I had a window seat, so these next photos were taken through the window.

The above shot was taken still in Taipei while crossing the bridge over the river.

The scenery was rapidly going by – HSR trains operate up to 300 kilometers and hour. Taiwan imported the technology from Japan.

After just over an hour we reached Taichung HSR Station. The above photo was just after getting off the HSR train. In contrast to rainy Taipei, a watery sun shone on Taichung – they do get better weather here. The sun was just a little hotter in Taichung.

The HSR train station, the TRA train, and the Taichung metro are adjacent. The HSR train station’s scale was impressive – such light and air (above). Feeling like an ant, I walked towards the TRA train section and bought a ticket at the automated vending machine.

I passed through the turnstiles and descended to the platform. A local train was already waiting, so I got on, and took this photo (above).

The local train trundled through the city on an elevated track to Taichung main station (above).

I went to YouTube to get some clips of sightseeing in Taichung (above).

I walked down and out of the station into a wide traffic circle. The first impression was of a laid-back, unpretentious, but stylish city.

Immediately next to the station there was an older station, built by the Japanese (above).

I stumbled upon this river. It’s 綠川 (Lǜ chuān), the Green River. “Originally an irrigation canal known as the Xinsheng River, the 6-kilometer waterway flowing through downtown Taichung lost its agricultural function as the city developed around it. With domestic sewage seeping in unchecked along its banks, it became an odorous ditch. … A rehabilitation project launched in 2015 has breathed fresh air into the Green River. Facilities including a new water treatment plant have cleaned up the sewage and improved flood controls. A highlight of the overhaul is the Xinsheng Green Waterway, where the city government uncovered a stretch of the river near the old Taichung Railway Station so that people could have access to the water.”

My hotel – the Kiwi Express Hotel – Taichung Station Branch II.

I couldn’t check into the hotel as it was too early, so I left my bag and went to eat. This is my room after I checked in. It’s on the second floor, or the first floor in British-derived countries.

The view from my window, showing the Green River and an artificial pond.

Every morning, on the top floor, breakfast is served buffet-style.

I met up above with an old friend, Guóqìng (國慶). Here’s the two of us by the side of the Green River.

Another photo of the Green River, showing lovely scenery.

I met 國慶 studying at NTNU; he now works in Taichung. He’s the main reason I stopped in Taichung. We spent a long time catching up over coffee in a cafe, while the sky grew dark.

The next day, late in the afternoon, I went to the Zhongxiao Road Night Market.

The stalls are along both sides of a busy road. I took a picture (above) as the sun was setting. I went into a restaurant just at random, on a corner plot, with servers bustling about; but it turned out to be various varieties of hot-pot, which I’m not fond of, so I left.

I ended up at a stall selling xiao long bao, and only xiao long bao. They were delicious!

Next: Taitung and Green Island.

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