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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 10:06 AM
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hkskyline hkskyline is offline
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hkskyline's 2012 in TAICHUNG, Taiwan

Taichung is along the middle of Taiwan's west side. With a forecast of sun and only 40% probability of precipitation, I set off bright and early for my high-speed train ride. There are several ways to reach Taichung, including the long bus and slower train options. At 3 hours, the bus was definitely out of question for a day trip. The slow TRA train would be possible as they do run faster trains that can make the trip in a little over 2 hours. With this limitation, I did a lot of research on the net to find the possible combinations. The HSR website is a lot more user-friendly.

The skies were clear as we took off from Taipei southbound at 0836. The sea soon came into view around Taoyuan and I even spotted a plane taking off from the airport. Less than an hour later, the train pulled into Taichung's HSR station, which is in the outskirts and far from any of the attractions. I opted not to take the free shuttle bus into town but instead headed to the TRA station adjacent to the HSR station for the 10-minute ride into the main Taichung railway station. The TRA trains don't take Easycards, and their automated ticket purchase machines at their stations cannot allow the passenger to buy the next train's ticket or even see what time will the train arrive at the destination. Instead, the passenger needs to select the type of train out of a menu of 3, and then select the station. Clueless and indifferent as to which local or fast train to take since it's only a few minutes difference, I had to check the boards to find the train type, then go back to the machine to purchase the ticket. How annoying and what a waste of time for 18 New Taiwan Dollars.





It didn't help that the thermometer on the platform showed 35C.





It was standing room only.



The OLD train station dates from the Japanese colonial era, completed in 1906. The current look reflects the renovations made in 1917.



Buses are still a popular way to travel between cities. The fares are only a fraction of the high-speed train cost but the trip takes several times longer.









I was susprised to find a lot of southeast Asians, with plenty of stores showing Vietnamese and Indonesian signs. I did not know there was a large foreign worker community in Taichung. Some of the stores frequented by these workers juxtaposed against local herbal medicine shops. The first Chinese herbal shop in Taichung was established in 1948. The shops have congregated here, specializing in herbal teas made from traditional recipes.













Canopies are very popular in Taiwan's cities. These are great during the summer, when the blazing sun scorches the streets and the afternoon thunderstorms roar in. However, many of these canopies are occupied by eateries and motorcycles, which can sometimes be a challenge to navigate through.





Mopeds get their own little waiting box at the front of the line.



Wen Ying Hall hosts cultural exhibitions, including calligraphy and historic artifacts. It was a good air-conditioning break amidst the intense summer heat.





The Mayor's House was built in 1929 and was the home of opthalmologist Takekuma Miyahara. After World War II, the city government took over the building and used it as the mayor's residence.













Several gates mark the entrance to the city's Confucius Temple.









The Confucius Temple was quite deserted. It had the standard features of a Chinese temple, although from the look of the paint, it appeared to have been recently renovated.

























Taiwan is not a very densely-populated island. Due to the persistent earthquake risk, skyscrapers are not that prevalent, which makes this green skyscraper stick out even more.





Mopeds are parked everywhere!







The National Taichung Teachers College



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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2012, 2:56 PM
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Old Posted Oct 23, 2012, 10:43 AM
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The market on Zhonghua Street was not open yet while the sun was still out.



















Part of the "slow" has been painted over.



The Taichung Prefecture Government was set up by the Japanese in 1920, covering the city of Taichung and the surrounding counties. This building was built in 1913 and was gradually expanded until 1934. After World War II, it became Taichung's City Hall. I first expected it would be closed, but I noticed a few photographers crowded around the staircase. Curious, I wandered in and was told I could tour the facility after registering. The offices were closed but the hallways and courtyard were all open.

















Across the street, this historic building was also open. It was an art exhibition and the building has been modernized.



With dark clouds rolling in from the east, I was dreading a torrential tropical downpour much like what I experienced in Zhongli the day before. I didn't carry an umbrella to keep my gear light, taking a calculated risk that 40% chance of precipitation was still quite low. The clouds looked worrying, as the intense afternoon heat would reasonably trigger these storms. I picked up the pace and headed to the other side of the tracks to Stock20, which are renovated warehouses previously used by TRA, but now occupied by artists.















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Old Posted Oct 30, 2012, 2:33 AM
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I first noticed this decommissioned TRA train from across the street. It was open to visitors and had some memorabilia exhibited within. Happily satisfied with its contents, I turned around the corner and found a much larger restaurant with even more memorabilia. The restaurant was themed around nostalgia and they rebuilt a whole street, populating it with all sorts of stuff from children's toys to movie tickets. The restaurant was starting to fill up for lunch, but the workers didn't seem to mind I was walking around photographing.














































I was very impressed they re-created many stores inside the restaurant, and filled them with all sorts of merchandise from the era. Restaurant patrons would sit around these stores and sometimes even within.



Taichung's buses are free for the first 8km. They take Easycards and I happily cooled down for the next 45 minutes as it looped from the temple back towards the train station, and then into the outskirts. It was nowhere near the 2-3km along a straight line on my map.



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Old Posted Oct 30, 2012, 4:45 AM
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Great to see more Taiwan on here. Doesn't quite look up to the quality of life of South Korea though as someone else said in a recent Giallo thread.
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Old Posted Jan 21, 2013, 3:26 PM
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The big department stores tend to have restaurants offering decent views on their top floors. I started with Sogo, where a public dining space opened up towards the west on the 15th floor. Another open window looked towards the north on the 17th, but nothing towards the railway station on the east or south.



A musical show was taking place at Sogo's front entrance as 13:00 approached.



From the food court :









Heading upstairs, I found another rest area with a window.















Frustrated, I went across the street to a hotel, hoping to find some more options. The restaurant fare was not interesting, and the staircase window looked westwards. I ended up finding a conference room with a southerly view, but still nothing looking east.











After lunch, I set out looking for that big green skyscraper.



















Umbrella shade was definitely needed on such a hot day!

















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Old Posted Jan 21, 2013, 7:27 PM
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Great new pics, was this from the same trip or a different one?
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Old Posted Jan 22, 2013, 3:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mello View Post
Great new pics, was this from the same trip or a different one?
All from the same day trip.
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Old Posted Jan 22, 2013, 4:07 AM
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So would you really say that Taiwan has a similar standard of living to South Korea? From these shots and others I've seen I would say it really isn't close. Taiwan still has tons of buildings that look pretty shabby. I lived in Busan for a year and it just looks like more modern and developed city than what I've seen of Taiwan.
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