July 20, 2008
Nantou - Ching Jing Farm
Known for its lush agricultural plains and dramatic mountain landscapes, the central county of Nantou is one of the most beautiful areas in Taiwan to visit. So over the next few weeks I'll be highlighting some of the areas of note.
Ching Jing Farm
The "Yamingshan" (read massively popular tourist destination) of Nantou is this mountainside farm. I use "farm" loosely here, because as far as I could see the "farm" consisted of 6 sheep and 4 cows. Still there is a lot of lamb served up in the restaurants in the surrounding area so one assumes they have a hidden flock somewhere (apologies to vegetarians but fresh lamb is hard to find in Taiwan).
Entrance to the farm costs NT$100 for adults and NT$10 for children under 100cm and animal feed is available at the door should you wish to let a ram get a bite to eat. Actually it is worth watching the tourists feeding the sheep to see the shocked looks on their faces, as most people in the cities never come this close to real livestock. There is also a sheep shearing “show” on weekends and holidays at 9:30am and 2:30pm and the farm is open from 8am to 4pm daily.
The main attraction, at least for me, was the scenery. At over 2,000 meters elevation, the foliage is more European and the views are simply breathtaking.? On a clear day you can see a fair amount of the central mountain range and you really feel like you are on top of the world. The air is fresh and you can easily find an area of grass to lie back on and enjoy the environment. In fact space is something that isn't always easy to find in Taiwan, and the amount of grassy space here is wonderful.
There is a mini adventure playground, which is fun for kids and adults alike. Well okay more for the kids, and in general this is a great family destination.
You can try some sheep's milk ice cream inside the farm, and as you'd expect, there is a lot of food available at the stop before the farm.
As far as parking goes, it is best to park at the main stop before the farm then take the bus up.
The stop is most civilized, and if you are craving a coffee from a well-known brand, you won't be disappointed.
I should mention that if you driving around the area, there are some fantastic views, and it really is worth starting out early and taking your time. There are a couple of reservoirs that are beautiful and there are plenty of places where you can park.
As well as the established coffee shops perched precariously on the mountainside providing fantastic views (see also Lalashan), there are also enterprising coffee vans along the way where you can get some refreshments and soak in the natural beauty.
If you notice that some of the mountains have major scars, then you are witnessing the after effects of one of the greatest natural disasters to hit Taiwan, the great earthquake of September 21st, 1999. More of this in the next post.

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     Malcolm Higgins at July 20, 2008 Post | Reply(2) | Quote(2) | Forward

Reply by Malcolm Higgins
  Hi there and many thanks for the message. <br /> <br /> Minsu means homestay and that is the option we chose. Unfortunately though there isn't very much information available in English which is a shame as they are interesting places to stay. I'll try and find some information for you, and I'll write a future article about how to find them.<br /> <br /> To the farm you will need to take a bus. As far as the cross-island trip goes to Hualien, you will need to check the condition of the roads before you go. December should be fine, but there is always thea chance of a late typhoon. It's a long trip by road mind you, although very scenic. Take some travelsickness pills just in case. Feel free to contact me directly through the contact form for more details.<br /> <br />
  Malcolm Higgins replied at
  Dear Malcolm,<br /> <br /> Great photos shots. Wonder whether you can help me. As, I am planning to travel to Taiwan in the month of Dec 18 - 29 Dec. My Family consists of 4 adults and 1 child. We will be travelling from HongKong. <br /> <br /> Below is our plan (proposed) itinerary ;<br /> <br /> Day 1 -4 Explore Taipei and northern part<br /> day 5-6 Head up to Taichung, Sun Moon Lake for 2 nights stay at Laurel Villa (room tba)<br /> Day 7-8 Head to Hualien, Mt Tarako, to ChingLin (Is Mt Taroka on the way from or to ChingLin Farm). Please recommend place to stay. I read sometime a place called Minsu ? wasn't sure and also confused. Or any farmstay resort. That would be more interesting<br /> Day 8-9 Back to Taipei from ? where CHinglin is. DO we take train bus of HSR.<br /> <br /> Look forward for your valuable advise.<br /> <br /> Thks<br /> Mdm D Ho<br /> <br />
  ho michelle replied at

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