Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Okinawa Travel: Car Rental and Self Driving

For our upcoming trip to Okinawa, we have decided to rent a car and do self driving so that we have more convenience and freedom to go where we like as a family of four with children!

After searching around, we decided to rent a car from OTS because their website has the option for English, as well as I read that their rental representatives can speak mandarin because they have a lot of customers from Taiwan! It will be easier for us to communicate and clarify any issues or ask for help!

There are many cars for you to choose from, depending on your group size and needs!

We booked ourselves a Toyota C-HR and topped up with their Premium Safety Pack (Better Insurance on top of basic one) as well as opt in for the ETC (Toll Card for faster travel on expressway) and car seats for our children! We are only paying approximately SGD60 a day for all theses! It's so cheap!

Driving Rules In Okinawa, Japan

Japan carries traffic on the left and the driver is on the right side of the car,  just like Singapore!

The rules are about the same in Singapore too:

  • All passengers must fasten their seatbelts
  • Drinking and driving is absolutely prohibited
  • Using your mobile phone while driving is absolutely prohibited. Specifically for the driver, using a mobile phone while driving is subject to a penalty of 50,000 yen or less. Sending and receiving texts are subject to similar penalty for gazing at the screen. Please beware.


Do note that their traffic lights are different from Singapore. You must always stop when the light is red. Vehicles traveling straight as well as those turning right or left must stop. However, even when the light is red, you may go in the direction a green arrow indicates.
Green Light / Go
You can go straight or turn right or left when the light is green.
Yellow Light / Stop
However, you can go if you cannot stop at the stop line or if stopping may pose danger.
Red Light / Stop
Please stop. According to Japanese traffic laws, turning right or left is prohibited when the light is red.
Only Right Turns Allowed
Even when the light is red, if a green arrow is lit, you may go in the direction it indicates.
Only Left Turns Allowed
Even when the light is red, if a green arrow is lit, you may go in the direction it indicates.




































It will be great to familiarise with the below Japanese Traffic Signs before you go too.
Maximum speed
Stop before Proceeding
Vehicle entry prohibited
Road closed
Closed to vehicular traffic
U-turn prohibited
Slow down
No parking
Priority to pedestrians
Time restricted parking zone
Traffic restricted to indicated direction
Traffic restricted to indicated direction
Traffic restricted to indicated direction
One way
Crosswalk / bicycle crossing zone
Parking allowed
Priority road
Center line
Stop line
















































































































In Okinawa, they have bus lanes like in Singapore too! Especially in Naha City area! During the regulated hours, only designated vehicles and authorized vehicles are allowed to use these lanes. The bus lanes are in effect every day during commuting hours in the morning and evening, except for Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and Jan 2-3.
If you get into an accident, remain at the scene and call 110!
Even if it is a single vehicle accident, call 110 right away!
If you are using a car rental, please be sure to contact the rental company.
The asphalt in Okinawa contains limestone, and the roads are said to be slippery. They’re particularly dangerous after rain, so be careful not to go too fast.
About 80% of accidents occur in car parks. Take particular care when entering and leaving hotels, convenience stores and so on.

Navigating Around

The rental vehicle will come will GPS which you can use to navigate and get around. However, it seems like Japan uses Map Code unique to themselves, create by the company called Denso. To find the map codes for the places that we will be driving to, I used various sources like https://www.mapion.co.jp/ as well as http://japanmapcode.com/en/, however i notice that the Map Codes are different from different sources! 😓 I also read reviews that Google Maps does not work very well and it may be difficult to find the place you want to go to.

On the OTS website, it is recommended that you use Navicon Apps to search for the places you want to go on your mobile phone. I found the app is called NaviBridge by Denso. You simply just search for the place and send the command from your phone to the GPS system to go! Do note that the app only works when you are in Japan though. Haha, so I am not able to test it out before we go!


TIPS: 

  • Please book in advance
    Book your car online in advance for they have early bird discount rates! Sometimes they have sale going on, so you can check out which rates are better. You can look for coupon code on their mainpage to apply (remember to apply your coupon code!) at checkout for additional discount! 
  • Make good use of the expressway!
    The expressway in Okinawa is an attractive option because it offers smooth traveling from Naha to the resorts in Central Okinawa compared to local roads that are prone to traffic jams. They offers discounted rates during designated hours too! 
  • Beware of Bus Lanes!
    One of the things to be aware of when driving in Okinawa are the bus lanes. Common vehicles including car rentals are prohibited from driving in these lanes during rush hours in the morning and evening for the purpose of relieving traffic and ensuring that buses remain on schedule. The hours vary by area, so please be sure to check before renting a car. 
  • Choose a Car Rental with ETC
    Toll booths that accept cash may get congested during certain hours when utilizing the expressway, but you can get through smoothly using ETC. ETC is an attractive system, as it also offers discounts during designated hours. Save money on your trip!

More about Driving In Okinawa can be found on
https://www.otsinternational.jp/otsrentacar/en/guide/user-info/#sec05. Be sure to read them and get familiarise before your self-driving trip in Okinawa!

Other Posts on 7D6N Okinawa Family Trip: 


Interesting Facts and Recommended Hotels
Getting Around in Okinawa
Car Rental and Self Driving in Okinawa

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Okinawa Travel: Moving Around in Okinawa

In my previous post, I shared about the accommodations that I booked for our upcoming Okinawa Trip. As i continue to research and plan for our trip, I will update and share our plans along the way! Bookmark this page for more update!

Here, I will be sharing about how we are going to move around on the relatively small island slightly bigger than Singapore!

Interesting Facts:


Singapore has a total land area of 719.1 square kilometres (277.6 sq mi). The Singapore area comprises mainland and other islands. The mainland of Singapore measures 50 kilometres (31 mi) from east to west and 27 kilometres (17 mi) from north to south with 193 kilometres (120 mi) of coastline.

Okinawa Island is the largest in the Ryukyus, being about 70 miles (112 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide and having an area of 463 square miles (1,199 square km).

Getting Around in Okinawa

In Okinawa where there are many sightseeing spots, so transportation is important. Okinawa doesn’t have any trains, and apart from public transportation such as monorail, bus, and taxi, they also have rental vehicles: cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

By Monorail

The monorail is called Yui Rail, something like our LRT in Singapore. It starts at Naha Airport Station and travels through Naha city and goes all the way to Shuri Station, the last stop. It is 13km in length and has a total of 15 stations; it travels to many sightseeing spots such as the international street (Kokusai Dori), city center and Shuri Castle. Please visit here for more information for travelling on the Yul Rail.

If you are travelling by the Yul rail for more than 3 times in a day, you can consider buying the 1-day and 2-day tickets for unlimited travel via Yul Rail. It will be convenient to sightsee the city area. Since the Naha Airport Station is connected to the domestic terminal of the airport, the monorail is also used by tourists visiting popular sites around Naha. It also offers a beautiful view of the Naha cityscape through the windows.

Things to take note if you are travelling on the Yul Rail



By Taxi

Okinawa taxis are cheaper compared to ones in mainland Japan and you can ride in groups to make it even cheaper, which is one of the mostly used way of transportation in Okinawa. You can reserve a shuttle taxi that allows you to travel from the airport to your hotel smoothly without having to wait. Also, there are sightseeing taxis with guides. Please visit here for more information for travelling on taxi in Okinawa

Base fare: JPY 530-550 (additional fare: JPY 70) as of 1st of November 2016

Estimated Taxi fare from Airport


By Bus

Many types of buses run in the mainland of Okinawa. There are express buses connecting the airport and main hotels, bus tours with guides that run consistently, and buses that you use to go to work or school. Take advantage of the Airport Limousine Bus that directly links between the airport and your hotel, scheduled tour buses that are popular for visiting popular tourist destinations efficiently, and fixed-route buses that service all regions on the island. You can visit here for more information about the buses.


By Rental Car

It’s a general form of transportation, since many people drive in Okinawa. It's especially convenient for those travelling in groups or with children as you will not be bound by time to freely go to places you’d like! Surprisingly, the car rental rates are very affordable too!

Most rental companies have a shuttle service included, if you reserve your car in advance, the car rental companies will pick you up at the main entrance of the domestic terminal lobby and bring you to their agencies via their shuttle bus service.


Estimated Travel Time from Naha Airport to Tourist Destinations by Car Rental

In order to drive in Japan, you will prepare the below in advance

  1. Your Passport 
  2. An international driving permit based on the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva Convention). You can walk in to AA Singapore to apply for the IDP and collect it within one hour. The fee is SGD20. 
  3. Your Driver’s license from your respective country


Tips for Self Driving in Okinawa

Make good use of the expressway! 
The expressway in Okinawa is an attractive option because it offers discounted rates! The expressway offers smooth traveling from Naha to the resorts in Central Okinawa compared to local roads that are prone to traffic jams.

Beware of Bus Lanes! 
One of the things to be aware of when driving in Okinawa are the bus lanes. Common vehicles including car rentals are prohibited from driving in these lanes during rush hours in the morning and evening for the purpose of relieving traffic and ensuring that buses remain on schedule. The hours vary by area, so please be sure to check before renting a car.

Choose a Car Rental with ETC 
Toll booths that accept cash may get congested during certain hours when utilizing the expressway, but you can get through smoothly using ETC. ETC is an attractive system, as it also offers discounts during designated hours. Save money on your trip.


For our trip to Okinawa, we have decided to rent a car for 5 days of our trip and we will travel by the Yul Rail for the last two days. Please read our next post for more information on our car rental experience!

Other Posts on 7D6N Okinawa Family Trip: 


Interesting Facts and Recommended Hotels
Getting Around in Okinawa
Car Rental and Self Driving in Okinawa

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Okinawa Travel: Accommodations

We are going to Japan - Okinawa in the upcoming school holidays!

Two years ago, my friends from Hong Kong strongly recommend us to go to Okinawa (沖縄島). But then, there were no direct flights available from Singapore to Okinawa! In this sense, I am so jealous of my Hong Kong or Taiwanese friends! They can always have a short getaway to those awesome neighbouring countries! But we are always going to Malaysia or Indonesia. 😂

Late last year, Jetstar launched the first direct flight from Singapore to Okinawa! I put myself on the notice list for cheap fares and one fine day I managed to book the flights for our family of four (all-in) at slightly above SGD1500 only! That's so cheap right! Woohoo!

While doing my own research to build our own itinerary, I think Okinawa is one great place you can consider as your next family holiday spot!

Bookmark this page as I will update more about our Okinawa Trip along the way!

Interesting Facts about Okinawa


Accordingly to a Be.Okinawa brochure that I picked up,
  • Okinawa is the only Prefecture in Japan of which the entire area belongs in a subtropical oceanic climate and consists of 160 islands! Woah! Temperature of around 29 Deg C in summer and warm winter of 17 Deg C makes any season a great time to visit this place! 
  • Okinawa is closer to Taipei than Tokyo! Thus it has a very different culture from the rest of mainland Japan~  
  • While Okinawa can be enjoyed all year round, May to Aug are the most popular months to go for summer activities, although be sure to book accomodation in advance as many Japanese tend to head to Okinawa especially during their Golden Week
  • If you want to catch some Cherry Blossom, Okinawa's comparatively warm climate means the cherry blossoms start blooming in end Jan to first week of Feb, the earliest in Japan! 
  • Okinawa is one of the places with the highest number of centenarians, people over a 100 years old, in the world. The Okinawan diet is a healthy one with lots of vegetables, tofu and seafood. There's a saying, nuchi gusui, which means "food as medicine" that the locals believe. A wide variety of vegetables and herbs in Okinawa have been proven to contain more minerals than those in mainland Japan!
  • The population in Okinawa is only ‎1,301,462 as of Dec 2014! 
  • Okinawa Island is the largest in the Ryukyus, being about 70 miles (112 km) long and 7 miles (11 km) wide and having an area of 463 square miles (1,199 square km). There is only a Yul Rail on Okinawa island, which is something like a LRT that connects the airport to locations within Naha. 
  • Car rentals are also surprisingly cheap in Okinawa! The cars in Japan are right hand drive, just like in Singapore! Having a car is really convenient to travel around, especially for families! Plus being a moderately small island, Okinawa makes it a perfect place in Japan to rent a car for a self-drive holiday! 

Accomodations that I have booked for our upcoming holiday! 


Since we will be renting a car out of 5 days of our 7 days trip, we are changing hotels over the 6 nights that we will be spending in Okinawa! Hubby gave me a budget of SGD1800 for 6 nights stay. He told me that anything below this amount I can go ahead to book our stay without consulting him (my hubby is good hor!? haha) I was eyeing an onsen hotel experience but it's very expensive! Lucky me, in fact I am Super Duper Proud that I managed to secure our accommodation as below, within our budget!

1. Ryukyu Onsen Senagajima Onsen Hotel



I would feel the visit to Japan is not completed if I do not get to experience Onsen! I was searching around and was very excited to find this exclusive Onsen Hotel! Located near to the airport and right besides the sea, I am looking forward to having our own private soak right in our room, or at the public onsen overlooking the beautiful sunset of Okinawa!

Damages: SGD450 per night including breakfast for 4 pax!


2. Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort



This beautiful beachside resort is simply just irresistible! It has its own beach, lighthouse, yacht club, and many beach activities like the mega zip which allows you to zip over the sea! If you go to Tripadvisor to check their reviews, you will realise that many Japaneses actually stayed there! That must means it's good right?!

Damages: SGD308 per night for 4 pax. No breakfast.


3. Okinawa Marriott Resort and Spa



To be honest, I am quite surprised to be able to book this 5 star hotel at such a low rate! Haha. I was looking for a hotel that is further north to ease our travel to the attractions in the north. Among all, I am quite happy with my find! I think my children will love the pool as well as the bathtub in the room! Plus, all the rooms have great ocean view!

Damages: SGD250 per night for 4 pax. No Breakfast


4. Mercure Okinawa Naha

Superior Room for fitting our family of 4! 

This 3 star hotel is located right next to the Tsubogawa Station of the Yul Rail that makes it easy for us to explore Naha and it's only 5 stations to the Airport! This makes it easy for us to get to the Airport on the last day of our trip without burning a hole in our pocket!  The OTS car rental used to be located within this hotel lobby, but it has since moved! :(

Damages: SGD258 per night for 4 pax. No Breakfast

We are so looking forward to our trip! 

Note: 

  • Having had a bad experience with AirBnB in our Taipei trip last time even though the reviews were really good, so we steer clear of AirBnB totally. Our top concerns are safety (somebody there to assist if we have any problems) and cleanliness (daily housekeeping) as we travel as a family with small children, which we felt that AirBnB cannot provide. The apartment in Taipei was our first and last AirBnB experience.
  • The hotels on Okinawa get fully book really fast as Japaneses love to go there for holidays too! So do remember to book your top choice hotels early!
  • Most hotels in Okinawa charge by headcount and not by the type of room. So please remember to indicate your children in your booking or else you might not be able to check in!
  • While some bloggers recommended booking directly with the hotels, I find it really difficult even with Google Translate! Many of the booking forms were filled with Japanese words in picture format which cannot be translated. The last thing I want is to make some mistakes in my booking to ruin our holiday there! So I booked my accomodations with Hotels.com instead! It's easy, and some of the booking you can choose to pay upfront or pay directly at the hotel! Plus... you can earn free stays with your nights booked!


Here's Other Interesting Stays I Come Across


1. Churaumi Village 美ら海ビレッジ

Located 5 minutes away from the Churaumi-Aquarium, Churaumi Village are actually a clustered of landed "homes" managed by a young family! There is also a newer Churaumi Village 2 (2号店) where the facilities are newer! You can also park your rental car right in the the porch of your "house"! This can kinda fulfil the dream of staying in a landed property ya? haha



I had lotsa fun browsing through the 360 degree views of the different rooms type! You should take a look too!


2. Condominio Makishi Annesso コンドミニオマキシ アネッソ

I wanted to book this for our Naha stay, however the room that can fit 4 of us were already sold out! :( The greatest draw for this 3 stars hotel is that it's just 2 minutes on foot from the Makishi station, a 10-minute walk to the international street and Makishi public market! It will be so convenient to explore Naha City via the Yul Rail! Also, it has a Penthouse twin bed room that is able to accomodate 4 pax comfortably!





The penthouse twin bed room measures 33 m². It comes with a bedroom and separate living room, a spacious terrace, bath and toilet are separated and there is a washing machine with dryer functions included!


Other Posts on 7D6N Okinawa Family Trip:

Interesting Facts and Recommended Hotels
Getting Around in Okinawa
Car Rental and Self Driving in Okinawa

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Breathe Clean Air in Your Car with 3M Vehicle Air Purifier

As the boys and myself had sensitive airways and Singapore being prone to seasonal haze, we have two air purifiers at home to clean our indoor air daily. But having clean air at home is not good enough for us. I find that we always sneeze easily in our car. The situation is worse for Little Brother, he usually starts coughing as soon as we starts our car engine. Do you have anyone with such sensitive airways at home too? 

I had been looking for a car air purifier for the longest time. However the car purifiers on the market are usually ionizers without filters, which is not what I want to have. One Christmas, we were gifted a Maier car air purifier which works by generating large quantities of negative ions to neutralize unpleasant odor and sterilizing the air. It works to stop the spreading of germs inside the car, however our car interior is still as dusty as we do not wash and clean our car regularly. 

Two weeks ago, I attended "3M Health Talk: Indoor Air Quality vs Outdoor Air Quality in cars" by Dr Philip Eng. Professor Philip Eng is a Senior Consultant of Respiratory at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre who specialises in Respiratory & Critical Care Management and he has published more than 120 peer reviewed articles and books! At the event, Professor Eng shared an overview of indoor air quality against outdoor air, and highlighted pollutants and materials that cause discomfort, which include bad odour, germs, PM2.5 dust particles, formaldehyde, and pet dander. Significantly, there were observable impacts of indoor air pollution on individuals across different age groups, and correlations to respiratory ailments such as asthma and the like. Preventive measures one can take to increase comfort and well-being for themselves and their loved ones were shared.


There were two articles that Professor Eng has shared and are deeply etched in my mind. In 2014, WHO has released a report that estimated that in 2012, around 7 million people died - one in eight of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk! 
Also, a top scientist Prof Sir David King, wrote on the Guardian and warns that the air pollution is more harmful to children in cars than outside. In fact, the indoor air quality in cars in can be nine to 12 times more polluted than outside air on the same stretch of road! 


What does this mean for children or adults with sensitive respiratory systems? Now that's explains why we always sneeze or cough only when we are inside our car! 

A box of 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus, launched in late 2017

I am glad that we had the chance to test and review the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus. We have been using it for half a month now, and we can feel the immediate difference in our breathing from the first time we turned it on! The boys were intrigued by the indicator lights and had fun informing me of our car's air quality as I drive! We also sneeze or cough lesser when we are in the car! 

Built on 3M’s leadership in non-woven technology, this device removes up to 99% of PM2.5 particles and up to 93% of harmful gases in cars. Its has a good clean air delivery rate (CADR) of dust at 11m3/H and of Formaldehyde at 10m3/H. Which means it can effectively clean all car sizes, from sedan to MPV within minutes!  

The 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus can removes 99% of dust, pet dander & PM2.5 particles, as well as 93% of harmful gases found in cars. It can also help to remove odor caused by food, sweat or other sources. 

Inside the box: The 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus in Black Color, an anti-slip pad, in-car power cable, and an attachment belt 

To replace filter, you just need to press gently on the 3M logo on the device to remove the top cover and you will have access to the filter

This device is truly plug and play! It works as soon as you plug the power cable in, it detects and monitors the air quality and auto adjust its purification rate accordingly! There's no need for any maintenance. You will only need to replace a new filter when the Filter Replacement Indicator light comes on to remind you to replace one! Each filter can lasts between 9 to 18 months depending on your car's indoor air quality.

Replacing a filter is so easy! A replacement filter is retailing at only SGD30 each

The purifier measures at 20.6cm x 17.6cm x 7.3cm, it is slightly bigger than my palm. I was looking for space to place it in our car and being quite an OCD neat freak with nothing on my dashboard, I found the most perfect spot for it is behind the passenger's headrest! I hung it there securely and neatly using the attachment belt that was provided in the box. 

Space saving by putting the purifier at the back of the passenger's head rest with the attachment belt. 

Other locations that you can place your 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus recommended by 3M

The 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus is also equipped with a smart sensor panel that automatically adjusts the purification rate based on the air quality within the car. For optimal use, the filter replacement indicator provides a reminder when it is time to change the filter cartridge.

The multi-colored LED indicator shows the level of chemical pollutants within our car (Blue is detection state, orange means poor quality)

Other features of the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus

We are really happy users of the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus. I feel glad that now I managed to keep the air clean within our car too. For one, it's distracting to hear Little Brother coughing non-stop while driving last time, but the situation has improved greatly! 

More About the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus

An advanced four-layer filtration system that purifies the air in your car in minutes, the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus is small enough to be installed virtually anywhere in cars. A small companion measuring 20.6cm x 17.6cm x 7.3cm, the purifier combines multiple proprietary filtration technologies from 3M and is able to remove up to 99% of pollutants and airborne particles such as dirt, pollen, and smoke, which can be detrimental to the health of you and your loved ones. 

Made of permanently charged polymer fibers, the first layer of the filter attracts and captures hair and larger particles, while the second layer traps unwanted micro-particles like PM2.5 particles. Odors from food and sweat, and harmful compounds are also removed from the air as they pass through the latter layers. 

The device is able to remove, in a matter of minutes: 

● Up to 99% of dust, pet dander and PM2.5 particles 

● Up to 93% of harmful gases in your car 

● Bad odor caused by food, sweat and other sources 

The 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus is also equipped with a smart sensor panel that automatically adjusts the purification rate based on the air quality within the car. For optimal use, the filter replacement indicator provides a reminder when it is time to change the filter cartridge. 

Pricing and availability:

3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus (PN38816) is available online on Lazada and Qoo10 via Aveon Living (an authorized 3M distributor), and from Autobacs stores in Singapore. It retails for $299 (including GST).

Replacement filter cartridges for the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus (PN38716) are also available via the same channels and retail for $30 (including GST).

About 3M 

3M Singapore, www.3M.com.sg 
At 3M, we believe the right science applied the right way touches people worldwide, generating breakthroughs that make lives better, easier and more complete. Across the globe, 3M is inspiring innovation and igniting progress, all while contributing to global sustainable development through environmental protection, corporate and social responsibility and economic progress. You’ll find us enabling the delivery of electricity to the world's urban centers, facilitating connectivity for society’s critical data centers, helping prevent infections, protect wounds and restore healthy smiles, and boosting the brightness of the screens in your connected life. With $32 billion in sales, our 91,000 employees are applying our science and innovation to make a real impact in every person’s life around the world. 

Disclaimer: We were gifted a unit of 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus (PN38716) for review purposes. No other form of compensation is involved and all opinions and photos are my own, unless otherwise stated. No part is to be copied or reproduced without permission.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Play At Home: Magic Snow

It's the winter weekends in Singapore (where temperature hovered around a chilly 21 to 23 degree celsius) and we stayed home rather comfortably without using the aircons! 

I remembered about the Snow Magic which I purchased from the Curiosity Shop at Science Centre and so, we had a little snowy fun right at home! It wasn't expensive at all! And it's reusable! 

It's so easy~ we just need to add water!

Ok, it does feels a little messy and yucky on my hands.. haha! Reminds me of what's inside a full diaper! 😂

Do you see the little snowman at the corner?

But really nothing is stopping the fun! 

You can store the magic snow in the freeze and play them again on another day! 


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Saturday, December 23, 2017

9d8n Taiwan in Pictures (Day 3) Exploring Taichung

Day 3 Itinerary: Exploring Taichung

Travel Period: 31 Jan to 8 Feb 2015
Group consists of: Hubby & I, my two boys aged 1+ and 5+, and my parents aged 60+

Day 3 Itinerary:
Rainbow Village 彩虹村 --> 新社古堡 --> Go Kart --> 新社花海 --> Carton King 大坑纸箱王 --> Gaomei Wetlands 高美湿地

P/S: As mentioned in my previous post, I planned the itinerary together with 金鸿运 and book a 9 seater car (spacious and can accomodate our luggages with winter wear!) with Xiao Li our driver who drove us around. You can contact them via Whatsapp and the lady Wenny can converse in English very well. They had car seats for my boys and even told us that we do not need to bring our stroller for the 1 year old, they loan us for our stay there, even though there were a few days in between that we didn't require the tour service!

After a yummy and filling breakfast provided by In One City Inn, we headed downstairs to meet up with Xiao Li our driver, who was already waiting for us downstairs.

First stop, we headed to the infamous Rainbow Village! Rainbow Village consists of a few houses painted by Rainbow Grandpa Huang Yung-Fu (彩虹爷爷) with vibrant colours of animals, cute characters, chinese wordings, etc. It is one of the veteran villages which the government deferred the demolition as it became one of the popular attractions in Taichung.

Well, when we arrived there, it's easy to see why it's a popular attraction! The whole place is painted in very bright and vibrant colours and you will get many super instagram worthy pictures!

So good that our driver Xiao Li offered to help us take a whole group photo!

There were street performers that transform the place to a lively happy retreat!

We took so many photos at every nook and corner at Rainbow Village!

While you are there, there are some Rainbow Village merchandise for sale too! Do buy some to support the Rainbow Grandpa who is really old now!

When i started to feel that we have taken too much photos and my memory card is threatening to run out of space (help! I am only at the 1st stop of the day!), we quickly scrambled back to our rented car and our driver took us to the next stop --> 新社古堡。

This place is out of this world. At least I didn't expect it to be so beautiful, like a scenic castle out of nowhere!



We were treated to so many Cherries Blossom the whole time we were in Taiwan!







After this, while we were boarding the car to go to our next destination, Xiao Li told us that he saw a Go Kart place while we were turning to here. He suggested why not we bring the kids for some Go Kart so that they can have fun in this trip too. I am glad that he is so thoughtful and nice! Some other drivers might be grumbling if you tried to adjust your itinerary but Xiao Li is definitely not like this! 

So we spent some time at the Go Kart!

Next, we were supposed to do to 新社花海, but i understood that it was not available during the month we were there, so Wenny helped to google and suggest this place (which i can't remember it's name.. I think it's called 台头)which is blooming with beautiful 梨花! I am glad we came here too!





When we were done with photo taking, we headed to Carton King next! The whole place is separated into different zones with themes and decorated with many items made out of carton, like the zoo with carton animals etc! Even the restaurant where we had our late lunch at, we were surprised that their dining tables and chairs we ate at were totally made our of carton too! There is also some different shops within different zones that sold so many interesting stuffs that we purchased many interesting items like a carton lobo camera where you can transfer your pictures out via usb, and coin banks etc!






We overspent the time at this place because of the shopping, and by the time we left, it's also evening. Xiao Li tried his best to bring us to Gaomei Wetlands, he really wanted to bring us there early because it said the place was very stunning during sunset. In fact, it was true, as we were finally arriving from a far, we kept wowing and cooing in the car, because the view was magnificent! There were so many windmills and the wetlands stretches all the way to the sun which was setting! I was so busy seeing that I didn't take any pictures. Sunset was happening and it ended very fast! Xiao Li drove us very near to where the windmills were and by then the street lights were already on! Although i couldn't take any nice pictures because of the darkness, but the experience was so good that as I am typing this now, I can still remember how tall each windmill was up close (it's way taller than normal street lights!) and the swooshing loud sounds it makes! It was super windy and super shiok! I felt that it's so amazing that humans can think of theses ways to harness nature's power to generate electricity!


With this, we end our third night in Taiwan. Thank you for reading! If you are keen to continue reading about our adventure in Taiwan, please follow me on Facebook or bookmark this post. :) I will update it along the way.

9d8n Taiwan Family Trip with young children and grandparents

Day 1: Touch down in Tao Yuan and Transit to Miaoli Hotspring stay
Day 2: Exploring Miaoli: 採草莓--> 明德水庫--> 獅頭山--> 薰衣草森林--> 勝興車站--> 龍騰斷橋--> Check into In One City Inn in Taichung--> Explore FengJia Night Market
Day 3: Exploring Taichung: Rainbow Village 彩虹村 --> 新社古堡 --> Go Kart --> 新社花海 --> Carton King 大坑纸箱王 --> Gaomei Wetlands 高美湿地

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