Taiwan Travel 2015 [Day 1] – Taipei Taoyuan Airport and Lavender Cottage in Taichung

IMG_9822

As I said in my prior post, we flew PAL because we wanted the comfort and convenience of flying non-budget. We compared the rates of PAL with Cebu Pacific (no promo) and EVA Air and of the three airlines, PAL actually offered the cheapest rate.

When we got to the NAIA Terminal 2 and just before we checked in, I realized that I forgot to print our Taiwan Travel Authorization Certificates. Note that NAIA Terminal 2 does not have Internet kiosks nor business service desks. Fortunately, PAL has a business office and that’s where I was able to print my certificates for free.

IMG_9819

It was around 9:50AM of April 8 when we arrived at the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport. It’s the largest airport in Taiwan and is located in Taoyuan County which is outside of Taipei. The airport is connected conveniently with different modes of transportation such as buses, High Speed Rail, or taxi service. An extension of the Taipei MRT is currently being constructed to serve Taoyuan Airport.

Undeniably, it’s a whole lot better than the airports we have here in Manila despite having undergone some major facelift. However, the Taoyuan Airport is still not as grand as the ones in Hong Kong, Singapore or South Korea. But regardless, it’s clean, huge, and did I say a lot better than the airports in Manila? Oops, there I said it again 🙂

IMG_5634

The first thing that we did after getting our bags was to exchange our money to Taiwan Dollars. We had a mix of Philippine Pesos and US Dollars and exchanging them at the airport was easy. Note though that there is a service charge for every currency that you exchange. Just before we reached the immigration booths, we saw a foreign exchange counter and at that time, the line was so long. We did not bother falling in line and went ahead until we got to the baggage carousel. And there near the carousel, we found at least two foreign exchange counters which were not crowded at all.

The next thing we did was we got a data plan at the arrival hall. There are so many providers and we got ours from Wi-Ho. We paid NT$795 for 5 days of unlimited wifi and the router can accommodate up to 4 users at a time. The NT$795 rate though was what they charge if you’re paying by credit card. If you’re paying by cash, they’re requiring that you pay a refundable deposit for the unit but I can’t remember how much (but I do remember it’s like a few thousand Taiwan Dollars).

And after that, we’re off to Taichung!

IMG_5636 
We were picked up by Jerry Travel at the airport. I have contracted Jerry Travel to drive us around for 3 days where out of town trips were scheduled. Jerry Travel had two different drivers serve us in two different legs of our trip. For the Taichung leg, we had Uncle Jack who I highly recommend because he’s kind, nice, helpful, thoughtful, and resourceful. His cellphone number is  +886933179143. While he’s not fluent in English, he went the extra mile to download an English translator app so that we can communicate better.

Because Uncle Jack knew beforehand that we’re traveling with a toddler, he prepared something for my baby. It’s a pack of Doreamon mini cakes! It’s a yummy snack that even us, adults, enjoyed very much.

IMG_5640So our first stop was at Lavender Cottage and it’s about 1.5hr drive from the airport.

Lavender Cottage was built out of its owners’ love for coffee and herbs. They worked separately in Taichung and Kaohsiung and they decided to quit their jobs to start building their dream of having a lavender farm. The place is not as big as the lavender field in Provence but the aroma of lavender wafting through the air can easily pull you into appreciating this place. It’s a pretty place where you can also make soaps, shop for hand-made products that use lavender as a main ingredient, and eat. In fact, we had our first ever meal in Taiwan in Lavender Cottage and we were not disappointed.

Entrance fee is NT$200 with a voucher that you can use when you purchase merchandise or eat inside.

IMG_5639

At the entrance

IMG_9828

We ordered a set meal that has bread, salad, soup, main dish and dessert.

IMG_9838

Baked chicken with wild rice, vegetables, and French fries.

IMG_9840

Iced grapefruit tea

IMG_9829

Chamomile tea

IMG_5643

View from inside the restaurant

IMG_9870

The restaurant

IMG_5645

Lavender! The field was not in full bloom but glad that we saw a couple of blooming lavender plants around.

IMG_9878

IMG_9879

My son loved this girl statue so much – he wanted to play with her and get that bunny doll in her hand!

IMG_9894

We went all the way up to get this view of the farm…

IMG_9893

Same view on landscape mode 😉

IMG_9874

IMG_9877

Free stamps! Use your old passports though 😛

IMG_9896

If N Seoul Tower has locks of love, Lavender Cottage has these.

IMG_9908

Soaps using natural ingredients

IMG_9909

Bath salts

That’s it for now. I’ll be posting more of our Day 1 in Taiwan so please drop by again soon! Xiexie!

Advertisements

One thought on “Taiwan Travel 2015 [Day 1] – Taipei Taoyuan Airport and Lavender Cottage in Taichung

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s