Taichung – Tomato Rooms and Fengjia Night Market | Taiwan Day 5
Travel from Taipei to Taichung
We were due to travel from Taipei from Taichung on Day 5. Exploring another part of Taiwan!
Checked out of Taipei CityInn Hotel II and weighed our luggages. We had only 20kg of check-in baggage allowance each for the home bound flight and had already hit 16kg and 17kg respectively. We were only into half of our itinerary! Honestly, we didn’t do much shopping and most of the weight went to the food that we bought.
HSR to Taichung
We bought our High Speed Rail (HSR) tickets online. If you can plan your itinerary early, buy the tickets early too so you can enjoy early bird discount.
The Taipei HSR Station is located together with Taipei Main Station (MRT). Go to the HSR station and look for the machine above to redeem your tickets. Key in your reservation number and a personal detail, and the tickets will be printed out for you.
TIP: Do NOT be late! The HSR trains leave on time, and I really mean on the dot. If your train is scheduled for 2.00pm, you have to be on the train at 2.00pm. The HSR train waits for no man.
The HSR train cabins are very clean and neat. There are baggage sections for you to place your luggages in so they don’t block the passageway.
The maximum speed of the trains can go up to 300km/h! With that kind of speed and probably a slow shutter, this is the kind of photo you may get.
Arriving at Taichung
It was about an hour ride to from Taipei to Taichung and the time passed very fast.
We tapped out at Taichung HSR Station and went out to enjoy the fresh air and scenery. We definitely don’t have this luxury of space here in Singapore.
How to Get There
We booked a two night stay at Tomato Rooms which is located near Fengjia University. You can take a free shuttle bus from Taichung HSR Station to Fengjia University, which is the second last stop. The bus terminates at Overseas Chinese University.
The journey takes about 45 minutes. You can refer to the bus schedule above to plan your itinerary. It can be quite confusing as some bus timings don’t operate on weekdays, while others don’t operate on weekends. Scrutinise the colours in the schedule to make sure you get your timings right.
Tomato Rooms Review
I have quite a bit to share about this hostel, so please read on.
We alighted at the Fengjia University stop, which is on Fushin North Road (福星北路). After that, we used a navigational app to find our way to Wenhua Road. After much searching while lugging our two heavy luggages around, we managed to find Tomato Rooms’ reception. It is actually a shop on the right side of the street (as per photo above) and has neither “Tomato Rooms” signboard nor a single indication that it is actually Tomato Rooms’ reception area. No wonder we had such a hard time finding it!
We were brought to this room that seems to be in a condominium. The security was tight and we had to scan our access keys twice to enter, scan it again to take the lift, and finally use another key to unlock our room door. The room was simple and clean. It also looks like it’s replicated from the IKEA catalogue. At the rate of about NT$1,500 (≈S$65) per night, the room was indeed affordable.
However, I wouldn’t recommend this place as I think the rooms are rented by students who “rent” it out again to tourists, and I believe they aren’t supposed to do that. In fact, we even had several policemen and personnel from the tourism board knocking on our door! They asked us some questions such as where are we from, how many nights were we staying, how much we paid, and etc. They discouraged us from patronising Tomato Rooms as it is run by students and they have no licence to “rent” out the rooms i.e. operate like a hotel.
Hence, I would also not recommend Tomato Rooms as it’s not pleasant to have the police knocking on your door questioning you. Obviously, Tomato Rooms are threading on some legal issues and I would prefer to steer clear of it. There are rumours that they were to close down end of 2012, but their Facebook page seems to be still alive. I’m not sure how is the situation now, so book Tomato Rooms at your own risk.
No. 30, Lane 162, Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung, Taiwan
Tel: +886 923 696 599
UPDATE (Nov 2013):
I received information from a kind reader that Tomato Rooms has ceased operations. Their Facebook page was last updated in June 2013 with a post that directs to their new place called “No Parking Hostel (諾帕金宿舍)”. You can give it a try! 🙂
We were so exhausted from the travelling, lugging the two enormous luggages around, and searching high and low for Tomato Rooms. Rested in the room and went out only in the evening to hunt for dinner and visit Fengjia Night Market.
We didn’t plan what to eat and just walked around in search of a place to try out. We passed by R&B Curry and it was filled with university students, so should be not bad right? Haha, typical Singaporean mindset. If there’s a crowd, it must be something good!
The most expensive item in the menu was just NT$100 (≈S$4)! Basically, they serve fish, pork, and chicken with curry. Tick your order on the menu sheet and hand it in. You can help yourself to free flow of water in the eatery.
The cute poodle whose name is Ah Sa! She’s featured on the menu, if you noticed. Ah Sa would just walk around the eatery, mingling at customers’ legs, and sniffing here and there. Super cute!
Both of us ordered chicken with different curry gravies. They were generous with the rice and gravies. We were also given broccoli and corn as side dishes. Overall, it’s a quick and affordable meal at under S$4!
Tel: +886 910 562 964
Fengjia Night Market
After dinner, we walked over to Fengjia Night Market. Don’t worry, it’s just a stone’s throw away.
Sweet potato balls! We saw many street hawkers selling this and we gave it a try. They are freshly fried on the spot and it was piping hot! It costs NT$20 (≈S$1) for a small packet. Cheap and good!
I’m not sure which breed is this, but they look like poodles? They are dressed so hip, many of us were snapping away with our phones and cameras. They were also unleashed and I couldn’t determine who was the owner.
Bought instant noodles for supper and headed back to Tomato Rooms to retire for the night. Had to recharge for the next day where we went to Taichung Confucius Temple and bought the famous Ah Ming Shi tai yang bing (阿明师太阳饼). Speaking of which, I’m really craving for the 太阳饼 now!