We took the early flight to Taoyuan International Airport and I’m so glad that Scout napped for quite a long period on the flight, although it wasn’t long enough for me to finish watching a movie. I love how at the Taoyuan Airport they have immigration queues (for both arrival and departure) for families with kids because I dread having to queue with kids in tow, actually I just hate queuing, period, so do look out for the dedicated counter.
We proceeded directly to the Schokolake Chocolate Factory before heading to the famous Flying Cow Ranch in Miaoli, which on hindsight was a good idea because the airport is already like one third or fourth the way to Miaoli. The tour agent had actually suggested we spend one night in Taipei then proceed to Miaoli then head back to Taipei, which I thought was a ridiculous suggestion given kids we’d have to lug the kids all over the country. We flew with my MIL to meet my SIL and nephew who had departed for Tiawan 2 days earlier.
At Schokolake Chocolate Factory, we did chocolate DIY which basically was pouring melted chocolate into moulds. I can very well do this at home, and the name “Factory” is such a misnomer because we didn’t get to see any kind of production, which would have been so much more interesting. It was nothing like what you might read about the chocolate factories in say, Australia. Please give this a miss unless you’re dying to pour chocolate into a mould, and if you are, perhaps you can contact me and I’ll charge you half the price to do it at my home :p. And yes, they do have a lovely website, but let me tell you that the place isn’t all that well maintained, and even the swans in the pond there looked like they were trying to get away – their feathers didn’t seem to be in a good condition and this sometimes is a telling sign of stress.
At Flying Cow Ranch we stayed in a family room that sleeps 6 with 2 queen size beds and 2 single beds in a maisonette. It was a lovely room that was clean and comfortable! The kids really enjoyed staying here, and were disappointed to leave. Although there is only 1 toilet, it was fine since we’re all family. They provide an air port and bottled water in the area outside of the rooms, and because we actually had 8 bodies and they don’t provide baby cots or roll away beds, they were happy to provide us with extra pillows. I think we had 8 extra ones! I didn’t take any (decent) photos of the room because we were so darn tired from a whole day of travelling taking photos was really the last thing on my mind, but I did Google up some very nice photos from a blog here!
The breakfast at the farm is sufficient to fill the tummy, although the porridge was my favorite, and the kids’ favorite was the French fries (I had to close one eye about that!). They do have some food options at the farm which are decent. If you go for the hot pot, the beef is a good choice – all the kids loved it!
They provide a lot of activities on the farm, which are all scheduled, so do check them out before you visit so you can go from duck feeding to goat feeding to cow milking, then proceed to the DIY activities. Do be early for the DIY activities because if you’re even 5 minutes late you’ll have to wait for the next allocated time slot.
If you go in a group it’s worth finding out what you’re paying for at the activities. For the ice cream making, we paid for 5 pax and saw that we received only 1 ice cream maker and (according to them) 20% more cream than the other group of 3 pax. Now, I’m no maths whizz, but if I’m paying for 2 more people, shouldn’t I get, oh 67% more everything and not just 20%?? Otherwise I might as well just tell them we’re splitting the groups into 2, and get 2 makers/ingredients? Doesn’t make any sense to me. In the end after complaining and them speaking to someone on the phone, they gave us another kit. Maybe milk and cream and scarce on a FARM. Oh, whatever.
Also to get to the breakfast venue from the Family Villas, we were told to walk up the red brick steps which was quite tedious carrying a toddler. There was no way I was going to do that every morning, and on the way back found that we could walk down a gentle slope, a short flight of stairs, across one bridge, take a lift down three stories to the second floor, then walk across another bridge instead of having to walk up three or something flights of stairs. Do I look like a vertical marathoner or something??
Stay at Flying Cow for their clean and quaint rooms (that come with free wi-fi), fresh air and animal experiences.
Look out for the other parts of the trip in my next posts!
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