Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. And so, it was yet another early morning for us, checking out of Child Story (童年往事莊園民宿) at about 8.30am.
The naked one
As we did not opt for breakfast at Child Story, our choice venue for the first meal of the day was this modern Western-style eatery, The Naked Café.
Having had my breakfast at The Naked Café, one question lingered on my mind. What is naked? Is it the chef, the customers, or one of the many bears that sit around the café? Guess this will be a 64 million dollar question forever.
Although The Naked Café is not a conventional eatery for tourists to patronise, as they would prefer to go for traditional Taiwanese breakfast instead, it was a refreshing change for us to try a local hipster café. I really enjoyed its teddy bear theme, which provided plenty of photo-taking opportunities.
Once our tummies were filled, it was time to continue exploring Taiwan. Bye-bye Lukang (Changhua County), hello Huwei Township, Yunlin County, after 45 minutes’ drive south.
As you can tell, this is a textile company, with towels as their main products. SL Towel as commonly known, offers educational tours which allow guests to learn how towels are produced, including the different qualities available.
Similar to the many factories in Lukang industrial area, ShingLong (SL) also conducts DIY workshops that give visitors hands-on experience to create souvenirs from towels. At our workshop, the instructor taught us to shape a dog out of a napkin. The pup was our souvenir from the visit as we could take it home with us. It was fun.
Our next stop was a ceramic factory, that is also a craft studio, some 30 minutes’ drive south to Xingang Township, Chiayi County.
Bantaoyao was set up in 2005 with the main objective of upholding the traditional craft of ceramic pottery. Over the years, Bantaoyao has developed and expanded to become a tourist destination, where visitors marvel at the sheer sizes and creativity of ceramic art.
Do participate in a guided tour to learn all about the two different methods of making traditional Chinese pottery: Jiao-Zhi and Chien-Nien.
This art village also offers DIY ceramic classes for visitors to try their hand at, and take home their own masterpieces.
A lunch of fish
Feeling hungry already? What do you say about a fish meal? We were taken to the newer, larger Smart Fish branch restaurant for lunch in Chiayi City. Smart Fish headquarters is also in Chiayi City, just round the corner, in fact.
We had to queue up for about 30 minutes before we managed to get a seat, but it was fine. If a restaurant is packed with locals, it has to be good! As Smart Fish is famous for its casserole fish head, of course, that was what we ordered, among other dishes.
We weren’t done exploring Taiwan yet, as our final destination for the day was Tainan. Don’t worry, as it is just 1.5 hours’ drive southwest.
Our first stop upon reaching Tainan City was Koxinga Museum. This is actually a family shrine complex dating back to 1663. Featuring traditional architecture, it was built to honour Zheng Chenggong, Prince of Yanping (27 August 1624 – 23 June 1662), who defeated the Dutch outposts on Formosa Island.
The House of Koxinga was a dynasty established by Zheng Chenggong who ruled the island, essentially as the Kingdom of Tungning from 1661 to 1683.
The Koxinga Museum, although a major landmark in Tainan City, is only worth visiting (in my opinion) if you are a history buff, a shutter bug, or one who admires intricate architecture. To maximise your visit to Koxinga Museum, preferably read up on Koxinga (Western name for Zheng Chenggong) preceding your trip.
It’s time for tea
More than tea, actually, but a crash course on Tainan and its history at Eirakucho Drum Tea House. This 3-storey building features documentary on Tainan, alongside exhibits from a generation ago.
The highlight of Eirakucho Drum Tea House is a stage performance, also with a story line focused on Tainan and its history.
To watch the show or not, Eirakucho Drum Tea House is an awesome place to lepak with friends and to take photos, while we enjoy the ambience. The only problem, Eirakucho Drum Tea House may be a tad difficult to locate, as it is only accessible via a side lane.
A night in the heart of Tainan City
Staying overnight at the 4-star Tainan Fushin Hotel, situated in the heart of the bustling city, 3 minutes by car from Eirakucho Drum Tea House, would put one on a good footing to sample local delicacies offered by street hawkers at the nearby morning market at the crack of dawn.
Did you know that many well-known Taiwanese dishes originated from Tainan? So, what are the food that one should try while in Tainan? You can find them all at the morning market, just 5 minutes’ walk from Tainan Fushin Hotel.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post….
Read next post: 6D/5N Taiwan Small Town Ramble: Days 5 & 6
This trip was arranged by one of Ipoh’s top travel agencies, Golden Century Tour & Travel.
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