Sunday, November 6, 2016

Xinshe Sea of Flowers Festival (新社花海) [Travel in Taiwan 161105: Wonderland Part 2 "Swimming in a Sea of Flowers"]



Posted by Travel in Asia on Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Posted by Travel in Asia on Wednesday, November 22, 2017
2017 Xinshe Sea of Flowers: November 11 to 26


How do you swim in sea of flowers? Do you just jump in a pool of petals and let yourself be washed away by its strong current? Travel Buddy Teklu and I wanted to know how so we went to Taichung to learn at least the basic stroke and become a champion swimmer in the annual Xinshe Sea of Flowers.

First and foremost, let’s start with the basic equipment. Your camera! Bring a tripod or a selfie stick to help yourself take photos. But a good digicam is not enough to capture all the colorful memories in Xinshe. Take note on where is the location of the sun at the time of your visit because the natural lighting would definitely affect the brightness of your photos. Don’t also forget to bring extra batteries.

We boarded bus 1827 at Taipei Bus Station.

Regular tickets costs NTD 260 but we were lucky to have it for only NTD 220.

Next, if you are already complete with your “swimming” paraphernalia. Go to the nearest bus or train station and go to Taichung. The biggest flower festival in Taiwan is held every year in Xinshe and the Taichung train station is a good place to start looking for that mystic pool of petals. I live in Taipei so my Travel Buddy and I boarded Bus 1827 from Taipei Bus Station to reach Central Taiwan. It was hard to book a train ticket so riding a bus became our last resort. It took us three hours to reach Taichung Station and we slept along the way dreaming of how a splash in a sea of flowers would look like.

The train ticket for the Taichung Station to Taiyuan Station trip.  It was only NTD 15 and EasyCard can also be used to pay for the fare.

I asked the woman at the Visitor Information Center in Taichung Station to write for me the Chinese name of the Taiyuan Parking Lot.  I showed this to the taxi driver at Taiyuan Station and we reach our destination in a few minutes.
The free shuttle bus going to Xinshe at Taiyuan Parking Lot.





Reaching Taichung Station is just the first part of the training on how to become a good swimmer in Xinshe. Amateur swimmers must hurdle the changes had been made in reaching the event location. The classic way of boarding a train from Taichung to Fengyuan Station is no longer valid and visitors must now board a train going to Taiyuan Station to transfer to a taxi that would take them to Taiyuan Parking Lot. The taxi fare costs NTD 135 to NTD 150 and it was relatively cheap because I travelled with a friend. A shuttle bus will be waiting there in Taiyuan Parking Lot and it will take you directly to the festival area.






Travel Buddy Teklu made fun of my selfies. Haha!

Proper timing is needed so as not to include photobombers in your photos.
Yeah!
battle of the white flowers versus the colorful ones






Sunflowers! I didn't see them last year.



lavender








Once you’re in Xinshe, prepare yourselves to jump into the sea of flowers. Thousands or maybe millions of tourist visit this festival every year. They are like fishes that will compete with your chosen spot so learning to float freely is a big plus. Be courteous enough to wait for a few seconds if you’re going to walk in front of someone who is supposed to have his/her photos taken. Be also patient enough if there is someone on the spot that you want.








Just like any body of water there are lifeguards that keeps an eye on the sea of flowers. If you are an expert “swimmer”, then you might find some areas where you can get so close to the field of petals. Some places don’t have ropes to restrict the visitors in getting near to the blossoms so if you’re lucky then you might get the photo that you want. But if you’re not fortunate, then a whistle will be blown and you have to get out or else you will be in big trouble.

Aside from the flowers, there were also exhibits in the festival grounds.





One of Taichung's agricultural products are grapes.

This pavillions is from the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau.  Rice hays and scarecrows added a brown color to the flower festival.

rice hay

a haystack


An interesting display was this giant egg made up of bamboo sticks. 
And what's inside the giant egg will amaze you. There were hens and chickens made up of loofah.


Before I left the exhibit of the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau, I made sure that I have a group photo with the scarecrows.

Greater things are about to come in Taichung because of the county's hosting of the 2018 World Flora Exposition.

Another reminder is to explore the pavilions in the festival grounds. They are like islands that provides shelter to those who got tired of floating in a blooming field of cosmos blossoms. This year, there was an exhibit about the different agriculture products of Taichung and rice hay decorations from the Soil and Water Conservation Bureau. The Taichung government was also promoting its hosting of the World Flora Exposition that will happen in 2018 and I bet that its preparation is very big.



It was really fun to be at the Xinshe Sea of Flowers festival!
cosmos flowers








Before you leave Xinshe, make sure you have a photo with the giant peacock. It was adorned with beautifully and it was most eye catching structure this year. Don’t also forget to explore the whole field. You might discover a panoramic view that you will not find if you just stay in places full of people. Lastly, watch also the cosmos flowers sway gracefully in the wind and imagine diving into its oasis of petals. Take a deep plunge and find yourself swimming in a sea of flowers.
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