Houli, Taichung: Beautiful Day Out With Flowers At Zhongshe & Tai’an 台中市后里区:中社泰安春意盎然的赏花之旅

Located in northwestern Taichung City, Houli District is a rural district known for its large flower farm & railway cultural park. Who doesn’t love beautiful things? 😉 So naturally I had to check out the Zhongshe Flower Market, a large flower market that spans across 6 hectares of land. This is the place for travellers who wish to immerse themselves in the fascinating sight of beautiful flowers, & also the only place in central Taiwan to be able to grow tulips successfully at low sea levels. Even if you aren’t a flower lover, I’m sure you will agree no one rejects pretty sights. 😛 Moreover, the flower market is open all year round, featuring different types of flowers as the season changes. Hence there is always something different to look forward to for your next visit. 🙂

后里区是台中市的市辖区,位于台中市西北端,大甲溪与大安溪之间,以壮观的花市及铁道文化园区为游客所知。试问,有谁不喜欢美丽的事物?所以知道后里有中社觀光花市这个占地约6公顷的大园区,展示各式各样的花种,怎能不心动?在这里,游客除了可以常年欣赏不同季节的花朵外,也可以近距离欣赏色彩缤纷的郁金香,因为这儿是中部后里地区唯一低海拔种植郁金香成功的花市。就算不是爱花之人,因为也不会抗拒美景吧?况且,这里种植的花种随着季节而改变,每次到访都可以欣赏不一样的花海。

Zhongshe Flower Market

In addition, although I have sort of become a railway fan convert, the railway cultural park near Tai’an Station in Houli District was not the first thing that brought me to explore around Tai’an. It was because I accidentally discovered that we would still be in time before the 2018 Tai’an Cherry Blossom Festival is over (the festival period was from 24 February to 18 March 2018). Apparently, this festival is 1 of the prime districts in Taichung City to view cherry blossoms. Being an avid fan of spring season & cherry blossoms, of course this is a must-visit in Taichung too! So in this article, I will share more about my day trip to explore this rural district in the outskirts of Taichung, including how to get there without hiring a private car. 🙂

另一点吸引我前往后里的原因是,虽然我已是半个铁道迷,但并不是泰安铁道文化园区让我想到那里走走。在出发前的一个偶然机会下,我发现我们竟然还赶得及2018年泰安樱花季的最后几天(樱花季从2018年2月24日至3月18日)!泰安派出所一带的樱花号称是台中市的主要樱花区之一。因此,超爱春季赏樱花的我,当然不会错过这个大好机会啦!我将会在这篇文章里分享更多关于我们到台中后里区的赏花一日游的点滴,包括如何不包车也可以轻松愉快地出游。🙂

2018 Tai’an Cherry Blossom Festival

How To Get There 交通指南

For those who don’t mind spending more on transport so you can check in more sights in a day, it’s easy to just hire a private driver to bring you in & around Taichung. It takes about 40 to 55 min to travel from Fengjia in Xitun District or Taichung Station if you drive to Zhongshe Flower Market up north. But as I mentioned in earlier article, if you don’t mind going on a more leisurely pace to enjoy Taichung, you can make use of its extensive public transport network & save some money to spend on other parts of your travel (click here to read more about how to travel in Taichung City on a budget). That was exactly what we did throughout the 3-night stay in Taichung, see below for the detailed directions. 🙂

如果你不介意花多一点钱,但一天跑多个景点,包车游应该是你最方便的选择吧。从西屯区逢甲一带,或台中火车站开车到中社觀光花市,车程大约是40到55分钟。不过,如果你不想砸钱包车,也不介意一天只慢慢地游几个景点,可以利用台中市完善的公共交通系统出游,好省点钱花在旅程的其他部分(想知道如何利用台中市公交轻旅行,可以点击这里阅读)。以下是我们如何利用公交到后里的方式:

1. Took a 20-25 min bus (free) ride from Xitun District’s Shin Kong Mitsukoshi / Top City Dept. Store bus stop to Taichung Station.

1. 从西屯区的新光/ 大远百公车站搭乘大概20到25分钟的公车(免费)到台中火车站

2. Thereafter, got on the 4-stop 22-min train ride to Houli Station (also the terminal station for the Xinying-Houli line we took) that cost only 31 TWD (~S$1.40) each. It is slightly cheaper (think 2 or 3 TWD cheaper) if you tap in & out with the Easy Card.

2. 转乘火车到后里火车站四个站的车程只需31台币(如使用悠游卡付款会便宜2至3台币),时间方面为22分钟。

3. Outside Houli Station, grab a taxi to head directly to Zhongshe Flower Market, which is just a short drive about 10 min away for 200 TWD (~S$9) per taxi. Note that in general, the taxis here do not run by meter. We were a bit concerned if we would have difficulty getting out of the flower market & checked with the taxi driver while on the way. He said there should be many taxis available just outside the market so it shouldn’t be of concern.

3. 到了后里火车站,可以在站前搭乘计程车直接前往中社觀光花市。车程约10分钟左右,200台币。一般上,这里的计程车都是喊价的,没开计程表。我们上车时有向司机询问在花市那里会不会难叫车回去,不过他告诉我们花市外常常会有计程车等候,所以不必担心。

4. After we were done with the flower market tour, we got a taxi at its entrance again. This time, it was to Taian Police Station, where the Cherry Blossom Festival was. Again, it was a quick drive around 10 min for 200 TWD (~S$9) too.

4. 逛完花市后,我们又截了一辆计程车前往泰安派出所,就是樱花季的所在地。这次的车费也是200台币。

5. We took a leisurely stroll to the nearest Tai’an Station from the railway cultural park area to return to city area (Taichung Station) so that we could also explore the quaint village along the way. Note that there are fewer trains that ply Tai’an Station, which is 1 stop north of Houli Station, hence the wait for the next train out may be longer than you hope for. Be patient. 😉 Our wait for the train was almost 1 hour but the ride back (5 stops) took only 26 min, & cost 34 TWD each (~S$1.55). 😅 If you think you will die if you wait so long, then do your homework before heading there by checking the train schedules & plan your time ahead. 🙂

5. 到了泰安,我们都是用步行的方式游览景区。之后,再徒步到最近的泰安火车站(大概也要20分钟的路程)搭乘火车回台中火车站。这里先提醒你,比起后里火车站,以北的泰安火车站的列车班次不多,所以可能得花上更长的时间等候列车到来。我们等了将近一小时才得以坐上火车会台中,但乘车时间其实只需26分钟(34台币,五个站)。😅 因此,如果你没什么耐性,请先做好功课,查一查台铁时刻表,安排行程才不必等太久。😜

The total transport cost spent for the whole day trip for 2 persons was only 530 TWD (~S$23.90), versus at least 3,000 TWD for a private car hire (sits up to 4) for 8 hours. I’m sure I don’t need to spell out the cost difference, but you decide for yourself if you want to go budget like us, visiting only a few sights & travel like a local, or pack in as many sights as possible to make your money worth. 😉

一日游的费用算下来,两人在交通方面总计只花了530台币。如果是包车8小时的话,一辆四人座的车起码要3000台币或以上啊。不用说,你也看得出交通费用的差距。😄尽管如此,我相信一分钱一分货,要清楚你到底想怎么玩,才能决定以什么方式出游为佳!

Our Flowery Experience In Zhongshe Flower Market & Tai’an 中社觀光花市与泰安的赏花之旅

I think it’s a no-brainer what you can expect to see in a vast flower market & cherry blossom festival haha. What else but colourful sight of pretty flowers in season? 🤣 But before I bring you on a fascinating photo tour of the various kinds of lovely flowers in bloom, do note that you will need to pay admission fee at Zhongshe Flower Market, while it was free admission at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Tai’an. 😉

来到这么大的花市及樱花季景点,当然就是尽情地赏绮丽的美景啦!在带你进入我的“花花世界”之前,你必须知道,到中社觀光花市是得付费的,而泰安樱花季则是免费的。

Huge conspicuous signboard at Zhongshe Flower Market entrance to remind you of the admission details

There are 2 sections in Zhongshe Flower Market. Upon entering, you will see the BBQ restaurant area on the left & flowering equipment/ bonsai etc on the right. If you decide to enjoy a BBQ meal before entering the flower viewing area, you will not need to pay to enter the exhibition area. Otherwise, you will need to pay 150 TWD (~S$6.75) per adult (including children above age of 12) & half price for children between the ages of 3 & 12, senior citizens above 65 years old & the disabled. Buy your tickets at the ticket booth then present it to the staff manning the exhibition area entrance. Now it’s time for cam-whoring! 😁 I took a short video of the exhibition compounds & posted on my IG on the day of visit, see below:

中社觀光花市分为两个主要园区。一进门,左边是烤肉区,右边则是器材与盆栽区。这里是免费开放的。走到最里面,会看到售票处,先在这里买票然后在花海区入口向工作人员出示入门票,才能进入花海区。票价为每人150台币(成人与超过12岁的青少年)。3至12岁的孩童、65岁以上的乐龄人士及身心障碍者只需付半价。如果有到烤肉区享用烤肉餐的话,即可免费赏花。好了,说了这么多,现在是尽情谋杀菲林的时刻!先看看我当天在IG分享的花海区录像:

Romantic hearts in the middle of the sea of colourful flowers
浪漫的心形摆设,让你边沉浸在色彩缤纷的花海中,边拍美照留念

Snapshot of the beautiful varieties of flowers at Zhongshe
春天花海的花种一览

How can we forget the highlight of the exhibition – the awesome Tulips from Jan to Mar?
绝不能忘记中社花市一至三月的季节限定 —— 郁金香!

With all the lovely flowers & exhibits in the market, & a scenic mountain backdrop, everywhere is a great place for awesome photos!
有各式各样的漂亮花种、特别的造型摆设以及绮丽风景为背景,这里绝对是拍美照的好地方!

My favourite seven dwarfs are here too!
我最爱的七个小矮人也在这里!😍

Reenact the romantic piano scene in many Chinese pop MTVs
试试在这里搬演许多浪漫音乐录像的弹琴场景🙂

Now then you know I can play the piano too 😛
你现在才知道我也会弹琴?(哈哈才怪😜)

好梦幻的弯月花海!

There’s even a colourful small “chapel” surrounded by lovely flowers
也有极具童趣的小教堂被花海围绕

We spent about 1.5 hours here going through every corner of the exhibition to take photos to our hearts’ content. 😛 How long you take to complete the tour depends on how detailed you wanna be, but I guess half a day should be sufficient, even on weekends when more visitors are expected. So, let’s move on to the next attraction at Tai’an, where the fascinating cherry blossoms were!

我们在花海区待了约一个半小时,慢慢地寻找拍照的好地方。到底要在这里呆多久,真的就看个人需求吧。不过,我估计把半天时间留在这里,应该是非常充足的,即使是假日比较多人应该也没问题。接下来,我们就一起到泰安赏樱花去!

In case you are wondering where to cure your hunger pangs in between the 2 sites, other than the BBQ area at Zhongshe where you can enjoy a BBQ feast, you can also have a simple meal at the street food stalls located along the street at Tai’an Police Station. That was what we did. Therefore, you can walk around the village, starting from the carpark next to the police station, to view the alluring cherry blossoms. See below for a photo tour of the village.

你是否在想,在后里区游玩一天,有哪些地方可以解决午餐呢?除了中社的烤肉区之外,如果你想吃些简单的,可以在泰安派出所那条街上的小吃摊贩解决午餐。我们就买了一些小吃,然后坐在派出所外的长凳上享用。之后,就可以开始游览泰安赏花去。

White cherry blossoms are also very pretty!
洁白的樱花景色也一样迷人!

& then we reached a cross-road junction where we made a wrong turn (because of the misleading sign) 😌
来到分叉路口,因为误读指示牌而走错方向 😑

Chanced upon this beautiful iron bridge because of the wrong turn (which I realised later is Taiwan’s longest existing iron bridge – Daan River Iron Bridge)
错有错着,意外发现这已被废弃的花梁吊桥(原来是台湾现存最长的大安溪鐵橋)

Returned to the right track & saw an artist hard at work
终于回到赏樱区的路上,看到壁画家在用心彩绘

Because it was the last few days of the festival, there weren’t as many cherry blossom trees left. This was another site with more of the blossoms
因为已是樱花季的尾端,无法看到处处是樱花的绝景。这里是另一处还有较多樱花的地点

& then we caught sight of the elementary school along the way to Tai’an Station. This is said to be a great spot for viewing fallen pine leaves in autumn 😉
在回程往泰安火车站的途中,经过被誉为是秋冬赏落羽松的秘境点的泰安国民小学😊

Although there’s only 1 miserably thin cherry tree here, the atmosphere here with the clear reflection of the pinky tree is really idyllic 🙂
虽然只有一颗瘦小的樱花树,但这里的氛围格外地令人感到窝心😊

Because the next train out to Taichung Station would only come about 50 min later, there was a lot of time to laze around & enjoy the tranquil countryside views along the high-rise platform at the station. So happy to catch sight of a patch of pink cherry blossoms at the platform! If you visit Taichung in spring, Tai’an is certainly a place not to be missed!

由于下一趟前往台中的火车在大概50分钟后才抵达,所以我们有好多时间在火车站的高架月台上发呆、放空,享受悠闲宁静的乡村氛围。在月台上意外发现一大片的樱花美景,好兴奋吖!如果你下次到台中时是春天,记得到访泰安,欣赏优美的风景。😊

Post Trip Thoughts 后里区一日游的感想

Maybe you wanna ask, there is also another district famous for viewing lovely flowers in Taichung – Xinshe, so what made me decide to choose Houli over Xinshe? Well, indeed, Xinshe was in my consideration prior to the trip too. The famous castle & beautiful lavender cottage had got me in a slight dilemma then. But not only was it further than Houli in terms of travelling time by public transport, I reckon that it would be more worthwhile to visit Xinshe in November/ December when the annual Xinshe Flower Exhibition will be held. Furthermore, it’s spring time in March, I should grab the opportunity to view the charming cherry blossoms in 1 of the best sites in Taichung.

也许你会问,台中市不只有后里可以赏花,还有新社区啊,我为什么选择后里呢?没错,我也考虑过到访新社区,探访那里的热门景点如新社古堡及薰衣草森林。原本是有一点小苦恼的,但进一步查阅两区的资料后,我发现,要搭公交到新社区,时间较长,公交班次比起到后里区也没那么密。而且,三月去新社区,又看不到每年11至12月才有的新社花海。比较起来,春天到后里区,好像能欣赏到更多的花啊,特别是樱花。

After making this day trip to Houli, I must say I didn’t regret my decision to visit Houli. It was truly a beautiful spring day out surrounded by flowers, & it’s not difficult to do so on your own without hiring a private driver. Try it should you visit Taichung in spring next time! 🙂

所以,我没有后悔选择到后里区,因为这一日游,真的是春意盎然的赏花之旅,自行搭公交前往也不会太难。下次如果你在春天到访台中的话,记得把后里列入行程里哦!

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