Day Trip to Cingjing from Taichung in Summer (June)

Cingjing day trip from Taichung - Bumble Bee Mum

In Summer 2015, we visited Cingjing as a day-trip from Taichung in Taiwan. Cingjing is a small town located high up in the mountains, known for the beautiful mountains surrounding it and some European cottage and castle inspired Minshu (a.k.a. homestays / B&Bs) located there.

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The nearest major city to Cingjing is Taichung.  So what we did was to hire a private driver to bring us up the mountains and around Cingjing from Taichung.  A cheaper option would be to take a bus from Taichung to Cingjing, after which there will be plenty of cabs around which you can hail to bring you around.  But with two young kids, we opted to get a private driver.

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Our driver picked us up from Taichung THSR station.  As we drove towards Cingjing, he pointed out the Betelnut (bin lang) plantations that dominated the region.

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Matina Mill

It was approximately 1.5 hours drive from Taichung to Cingjing.  Our first stop was for breakfast at Matina Mill.

This was our first and favourite destination in Cingjing.  The food was great and the scenery was great.

Click here to read more about our visit to Matina Mill.

Small Swiss Garden

Our next stop was a popular destination in Cingjing – Small Swiss Garden.  We felt transported to another world, having came here from Matina Mill.  It was extremely quiet and secluded at Matina Mill, but once we hit Small Swiss Garden, the place was flocked with tourists!

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Nevertheless, with a lot of patience (plus the fact that we were here at 12 noon and everyone was hiding somewhere cool having lunch), we were considered lucky to be able to take some photos without being photobombed.

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The flowers were in bloom in June, which made it a beautiful time to visit Small Swiss Garden.

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There were also many windmills put up all around the garden.  They were so colourful and pretty!!

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We managed to catch a short fountain show when we were there.

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Visit: Small Swiss Garden Official Website

Carton King

Just beside Small Swiss Garden was a Carton King store.  Carton King is a famous chain store in Taiwan selling, well, all things carton.

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There were many cardboard displays within the store for you to take photos of, including the Carton’s Mini Zoo.

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And yes, you can even go inside that little carton house.

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What was more interesting was the restaurant on the second floor.  It was a carton themed restaurant! Like you know how much I love themed cafes and restaurants? I coudn’t miss a chance to dine there.

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Never mind that we just had breakfast at Matina Mill and was planning to have high tea at The Old England after that.  I was not missing a chance to dine (and take plenty of photos) at this cool themed restaurant.

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Check this out, even the high chairs were made of carton!

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And like I said, we were going for high tea after this, so we only ordered 1 set of adult food and 1 kids set to be shared between the 4 of us.  Look at that – everything was served in paper and carton! I love that cup holder the most!

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When we paid the bill for our meal at Carton King, we were stumped when they gave us free entry tickets to Small Swiss Garden.  We had earlier paid for our admission to Small Swiss Garden! *pulls hair out*

So remember:  Dine at Carton King FIRST, then use the free entry tickets from them to enter Small Swiss Garden.

Visit: Carton King Official Website

Recreation Center

Our driver drove us to The Old England next.  High tea at The Old England was extremely popular, we couldn’t get a table when we arrived and had to write our name in the waiting list.  So while waiting, the driver drove us to the recreation center.

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The recreation centre was actually just across the road from Small Swiss Garden and Carton King.  (Our driver was absolutely da bomb, I tell you.  Driving us to and fro like that with no complaints.)  This is where you can find Starbucks on a mountain.  But food was the last thing on our mind, so we just wandered around.

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We came to a lovely shop selling colourful and fragrant soap.  MF was pretty intrigued by the soap and went to smell all of them to see which was nicest.

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At the back of the shop, there was a herb garden which gorgeous view of the mountains.

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Before we knew it, it was time to head back to our allocated time slot for high tea at The Old England.

Visit: Official website for Cingjing Recreation Centre

The Old England

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The Old England is a minshu (homestay) that looks pretty much like a castle. The reason high tea at The Old England was so popular was not because the food was great.  It was because it was the only way you could gain access into the castle without having to pay for a night’s stay.

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Happily, we trotted past the exclusive garden towards the high tea venue.

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The high tea here was charged by head count.  So we couldn’t say that we only wanted 1 set because we were full.  Even kids had to pay for a kids set.  But at least they were kind enough to allow us to have just 1 kids set instead of 2 since our kids were still pretty small.

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The 3-tier high tea set was for the adults, while the small plate in front was the kids set.  The food was okay, nothing to really wow about.  We were here to sleuth around the interiors of this mysterious minshu.  But disappointingly, we were only allowed to roam the high tea venue and the garden outside.  We couldn’t go up to the rest of the castle – which remained exclusive to staying guests.

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We took our time taking photos at the garden.  We paid good money to be here, might as well make it count.

Green Green Grasslands

Our last destination at Cingjing was Green Green Grasslands.

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We were running behind time because we couldn’t get a table initially at The Old England, and we took our time to have our high tea and take photos.   This resulted in us missing the sheep shearing show.  Which I really didn’t care much about. I have seen enough sheep shearing shows from my countless Australia visits. And gosh, THE CROWD.  Are sheep shearing shows really THAT fascinating?

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Instead of wasting time squeezing with the crowd at the show, we just went around to admire the scenery.

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This place was not called Cingjing Farm for nothing.  It was teeming with sheep. Meh….

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Green Green Grasslands was full of shit.  Literally. There was sheep poo EVERYWHERE.  So I can’t say I was a fan of the place.  But I was a fan of the surroundings.

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And it was no joke trying the maneuver a stroller through Green Green Grasslands.   Just ditch the stroller if you are coming to Green Green Grasslands please.  Unless you think it’s fun pushing a stroller across super steep slopy grass patches that are covered with sheep poo.

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We took our time to breath the fresh air.  Wait, do I smell sheep poo?

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At the end of the day, it was all about soaking in the view of the mountains.

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Besides the sheep shearing show, there was also a horse stunt show.  We made it to the show venue and watched like, 5 minutes of it, when we noticed the weather starting to get gloomy.  The last thing we wanted was to be stuck at the top of the mountains IN THE RAIN with 2 kids and a stroller.  So we started heading back.   Thank goodness, because within a few minutes, mist has totally shrouded the area we were standing at earlier.

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With that, we ended our visit to Cingjing and counted our lucky stars that we had such good weather the whole day!

Visit: Official website for Green Green Grasslands

Feeling 18 Degree C Chocolate Factory

If you think our day trip had ended, you are wrong.  After we left Cingjing, the driver drove us to Feeling 18 Degree, a popular chocolate shop in the region.

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By now, our driver was working OT, so we just grabbed some quick ice-cream.  They had both gelato and soft serve ice-cream here.

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What we did not know was that, if we had purchased something from one of the shops, be it the chocolate shop or gelato shop,  we could have redeemed a 1-for-1 soft-serve cone from the soft-serve kiosk! By the time I realised this (while I was queuing for soft-serve and saw people in front getting free soft-serve), my hubby had thrown away the receipt for the gelato.

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So remember: If you have a purchase from any of the stores at Feeling 18 Degrees C, KEEP THE RECEIPT.  Then head to the soft-serve kiosk and you will be entitled to 1-for-1 soft serve!

Visit: Official Website for Feeling 18 Degree C Chocolate Factory

Ruyi Sunny Cake

And believe it or not, we were still not going back to our hotel! During the earlier part of the day, my husband just making conversations with the driver and asking what souvenirs were popular in Taichung.  The driver said they were famous for Suncakes (Tai Yang Bing).  So my husband asked if he knew which shop was good.  We weren’t asking him to bring us there, we could have gone the next day on our own.  But in the end, he drove us there before sending us back to the hotel.

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Not sure if the driver received commission from bringing us there.  But honestly, I hope he did.  He totally deserved commission.  We were HOURS behind schedule, and this cake shop he brought us to was fantastic! They stuffed us with sample after sample, which were mostly delicious, and we bought SO many boxes eventually.   But just in case the driver did not receive commission, we bought an extra box for him because we felt so bad that we exceeded our agreed timing by so much.

Visit: Ruyi Sunny Cake official website

Our Driver

By now you should be wondering who our wonderful driver was.   I didn’t do much price comparison etc. on drivers in Taichung.  I was too lazy and just googled ‘Taichung driver’ or something like that and saw people on TripAdvisor forum recommending him.  His name is Xie Zhiming.  You can whatsapp him at +886 937 216 180 to book his service.   Not sure if he knows English though, we communicated in Chinese throughout.

I have nothing but good things to say about him.  He was patient with our rowdy boys (because he has two sons himself).  He advised us to make reservations for Matina Mill and brought forward our original meeting time so that we could get there in time.  He kept to the itinerary, bringing us to 18 Degree C, despite us way exceeding the 8 hours we initially agreed on.  He drove safely and his car was very clean.  He offered to take photographs for our family throughout the day. And he was forever so happy and cheerful!

So do look for him if you need a driver in Taichung! 🙂

Find an accommodation in Cingjing (Renai)!


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Cingjing day trip from Taichung - Bumble Bee Mum

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  • Lydia C. Lee says:

    How quaint! And a little kooky!!

  • Great views and there is nothing like finishing off a fun family day trip with a stop at the chocolate/ice cream shop.

  • Another awesome place in Taiwan that I had never heard of! It totally looks European! The windmills are soooo pretty! You are making want to visit Taiwan again!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I think Taiwan tends to copy a lot of architecture from Europe for their homestays. They have homestays in the southern region (Kenting) that look totally like Santorini. And Small Small Swiss Garden is… well, obviously Swiss-inspired.

  • Adeline says:

    Wow we really need to go back to Taiwan! So many things to see and do. I love the Carton King! Makes me wanna buy stuff.

  • Meen C says:

    My favourite country to visit. Taichung will be next on my list after my dec trip. Hehe! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Susan says:

    We missed visiting the Old England on our last visit to Cing Jing and it looks lovely! We were so bummed that it rained so much when we were there and missed riding the horses and the performances. But we enjoyed the cool cool weather up there.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yeah, we were really lucky to have good weather during our trip. On my first trip to Taipei, it was raining cats and dogs the whole time and I remember walking through a flood in Danshui. Terrible. And my husband said we would never come back to Taiwan again in June. Good thing we forgot about that and came back anyway, to be blessed with good weather throughout the trip!

  • Wow! This place is so cool! I wouldn’t have thought that it was in Taiwan just by looking at the photos. The Swiss Garden looks too tiny and cute, I feel like it’s a Hello Kitty garden. The castle looks remarkable though. I wonder how the rooms would look like inside. I think they did a very good job replicating European buildings in this area. I love it!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      It’s the closest we can get to Europe without having to go to Europe. I would love to know what the rest of the castle looked like too, which was the main reason we went for high tea there. Too bad even then we couldn’t gain access to the upper floors. Not sure if I would ever pay to stay here there though. I would rather save the money to go to a real castle in Europe.

  • Phoebe says:

    i have heard so much about CingJing Farm! Love the sheep !!! I would have thought the grass land was a beauty if you have not mention about the poo poo!! I can imagine how challenging it is to avoid stepping upon one. 🙂 Would really love to visit there some day!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Yah! The grasslands look so beautiful and fairytale in photos. But when you are actually there and stepping on poo poo everywhere (there is really no way you can avoid it because it is EVERYWHERE), it kind of destroys the image. Not a place I would go back to again very frankly – once is good enough for me.

  • Angie.S says:

    We visited CingJing in Dec and totally regretted it. Too cold and scenery dreary….Would love to visit it in Spring when flowers are blooming. Your driver really brought you to a lot of places which I didn’t even know existed. What a bonus to meet such nice people while on holiday!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Haha.. I have a friend who goes Taiwan all the time (like same frequency as I go Japan).. So I asked her about Cingjing Farm and she showed me her photos from end of year. I was like.. errr, nice meh? She assured me if I go in June, it will be very different. I think we were really lucky to have good weather – because later on the weather took a turn and the whole place became shrouded in mist – dreary is precisely how I would describe it. So even in the right season, if weather is not on your side, the trip will probably still be miserable.

  • How cool is the Carton cafe and shop? Such a novel idea! I haven’t been to Taiwan yet, but if I go, I would have to check this out. Also love the gelato shop as I’m rather partial to gelato! 🙂

  • Such a gorgeous view of these pretty windmills and the fountains. Love the small zoo inside the cafe a brilliant thought of keeping kids engaged.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Oh, the small zoo was not inside the cafe. Carton King occupies two storey – the shops on the first floor and cafe on second floor. The small zoo was on the first floor. But there were many larger carton animals within the cafe – super cool.

  • Love that windmill Swiss garden, so cute and I would have spent ages marvelling in carton king.

    Thanks for joining in #wednesdaywanderlust this week

  • Jessica Ang says:

    Hi BumblebeeMum, can help to share your iternary with me on your Taiwan trip, and the contact for the driver, you got for Taichung?Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The contact for the driver is at the end of the post.. :p. Anyway spare you the hunt, here it is:
      His name is Xie Zhiming. You can whatsapp him at +886 937 216 180 to book his service.

      As for itinerary for the rest of my Taiwan trip, I’m working on it. Should be up on next week’s Travel Tuesday!

  • jessica says:

    Hi bumblebeemum. Did u stay in taichung hotel? I was thinking to stay in taipei. And take a day trip to taichung monster village

  • It’s so strange… pretty, quaint and a little out of this world… High tea, windmills and amazing views. I think we would love it here! Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi so the driver pick you up from your Taichung hotel and send you back to the same hotel at night? I’m interested in a day trip from Taichung to Cing Jing. May I know what is the start time and end time? How much it cost in total?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      He can pick up / drop off anywhere in Taichung and Cingjing. For us, we arrived by THSR, so we picked us up from the station and dropped us off at the hotel at the end of the day. If you are doing a day trip from the hotel, he can pick up and drop off at the hotel. Or many people like to spend the night at a Minsu in Cingjing, so he can pick up from a hotel in Taichung or the train station, and end the trip at a Minsu in Cingjing.

      We paid NT4000 for the whole day. The standard day trip is about 8 hours. You can arrange the start / end time with the driver.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi, may i check with you how much were you charged from Mr Xie for your trip to Cingjing?

  • Ng May Nar says:

    I love your posts and I am planning a trip to Taiwan.
    I have three days in Taichung. Need your advice, do I stay in Taichung for 3 nights or spend a night in CingJing instead?

  • Peter says:

    My family n I will visit Taipei taichung n cingjing in late Dec. I am still thinking if I should stay 2 nights at cingjing. Any advice? On drivers, should I hire 1 or 2 drivers to bring us thru these areas.

  • David Wong says:

    I plan to stay 2 nights in Cinjing. Is mid October a good time to visit?
    Do you have any good hotel or minsu to recommend (USD 70-80/night)
    If I am in Taichung city ….where do we find a driver to drive us to Cinjing.?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I haven’t stayed in Cingjing before so I can’t recommend any hotel / minshu that I have personally experiences. October seems to be autumn, it should still be a nice time to visit:

      You can try contacting the driver we used, he drove us from Taichung to Cingjing and around Cingjing. His name is Xie Zhiming and you can whatsapp him at +886 937 216 180 to check his rates and availability.

  • Milanick says:

    Ill be going to taiwan thid march. Hopefully the weather will be on our side. Nice blog! Cant wait!

  • Clive Yuan says:

    Hello, Im planning a trip in Feb 2017. Do you know if the free entry ticket to Small Swiss Garden after dining at Carton King is a seasonal promotion? Means it may not be the case for my group?
    Same as for Feeling 18 Degree chocolate factory, the free-with-purchase soft serve ice cream?

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Hmmm… Not sure if it’s ongoing, but no harm asking them when you are there. So before you visit Small Swiss Garden, just pop into Carton King to ask if you can get entry tickets to Small Swiss Garden if you dine there. Same for Feeling 18 degrees, just pop by the soft serve counter to ask if you can get a free soft serve with a receipt from another shop at Feeling 18. 🙂

  • Yi Lin says:

    Very informative blog you have there, Bumblebeemum. Am trying to follow some of your itinery in Cingjing. Can i just check if the route to Matilda Hill is very winding? Is the driver skilled? (was car sick coming down ALishan some years back cos driving was trying not to get caught in a fog)
    Thanks much.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      Do you mean Matina Mill? Yes, the road to Matina Mill was very winding and narrow. But it was just a small stretch of dirt road. The main road around Cing Jing was not too bad. Our driver was very experienced, we didn’t feel any car sickness when we were there.

  • Lawrence says:

    Hi can i check with you how much did you pay the driver for?

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