Sunday, October 8, 2017

How to get to Gaomei Wetlands (高美濕地) [Travel in Taiwan 171007: Going to Gaomei]


Gaomei Wetlands.  The most amazing place in Taichung.  If you want to visit this place then read carefully everything that I have written on this blog post. It will help you save time, money and effort. 


Most people come here in Gaomei to watch the sunset and enjoy the golden colors of the sun as it slowly disappears in the sky.   There are just things that you need to know to get the most benefit of your trip on this wonderful place in Taichung. 

1. The weather forecast.    I had been here in Gaomei back in 2015 and I was so excited to see it for the first time.  But when I came, the sky was cloudy!  The forecast was initially sunny to cloudy and then it became full cloudy at my arrival.  Anyway, I still enjoyed my trip after dipping my feet into the cool waters of the wetlands.

To know the weather on a particular day and prevent a misadventure.  Go to the website of the Central Weather Bureau and follow this series of clicks:  Forecast -> 368 Townships -> Taichung -> Qingshui District.  Or you could also try this:  Forecast -> Major Ports -> Taichung.




To get the best pictures of the sunset, the prediction should be a sunny day.  A sunny to cloudy forecast will probably give a hazy sky but still good to take photos.   

2. Weekday, weekend or holiday? Expect heavy traffic during holidays like Chinese New Year.  During this merry days, you will need to come early to enjoy your tour.  If the weather is very good during weekends, then expect also a lot of people.  Few visitors visit the wetlands during the weekdays.  But during the Xinshe Sea of Flowers Festival which happens every November, special buses take tourists from the flower farm to Qingshui District, so anticipate also a lot of people. 

3. Qingshui Station.  This is the main gateway to Gaomei Wetlands.  Taichung City has two lines of the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) running through the province.  The one running across the city center is the Mountain Line.  Taichung Station is part of this Mountain Line. Parallel to this railroad is the Coast Line in which Qingshui Station is part of it.   

Since the place is located on the western coast of Taiwan, you will need to travel to the beach in a westward direction if you are coming from downtown Taichung.  However, this is not the case.   If you board a local train from Taichung Station, it will go southwards to Chenggong Station and then continue the journey to Zhuifen Station until it goes in a northward direction.   It will take you 40 minutes to reach Qingshui Station from Taichung Station but this is the fastest and most efficient way to get close to Gaomei Wetlands. 




Take a look at the departure times of the train from Taichung Station to Qingshui Station: 6:14/8:48/11:08/13:03/14:26/17:09:17:53/19:01/20:48/21:36.  If you want to see the sunset, then 14:26 is the right time to board the train.   You will arrive in Qingshui Station at 15:06.  Take note that the timetable of the TRA can change anytime so double check the train schedules at this website:  http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw/twrail/English/e_index.aspx#

4. Bus 178, 179 and 688.   These are the buses that will take you to the wetlands.  Qingshui Station is their terminal stop and they are located a few meters from the train station [Google Map].   If you need to load your EasyCard, there is a convenience store nearby and it will solve your problem immediately.  Take note of the bus schedules below.  If you boarded the 14:26 train, then your next adventure will be at Bus 179 which leaves the station at 15:50.  The bus ride can take 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on the traffic conditions.   The timetables of Bus 178 and 179 did not change after two years and I think this will be the same for a very long time.  Both Bus 178 and 179 are minibuses while Bus 688 is a low-floor bus and only runs during holidays and weekend.

Departure times of Bus 178 at Qingshui Station
[Weekday] 6:00/7:20/10:00/11:40/14:00/16:20/19:20
[Holiday] 7:00/8:20/9:50/12:20/14:20/16:20/18:20/20:20

Departure times of Bus 179 at Qingshui Station:
[Weekday] 6:40/8:40/11:20/15:20/18:00
[Holiday] 7:20/8:50/11:20/13:50/15:50/17:50

Departure times of Bus 688 at Qingshui Station (during holiday/weekend only): 9:00/9:30/10:15/10:45/11:20/12:00/12:30/13:00/13:45/14:15/14:45/15:00/15:30/16:15/16:45/17:15/18:00/18:15/18:30/18:40/18:55

If you want to get near to the boardwalk, then board Bus 178 or 179.  Bus 688’s terminal station is at least 1.5 kilometers away from the wooden platform so you will need to walk along the levee if you want to dip your feet in the water.

The terminal station of Bus 178, 179 and 688 is at the Gaomei Wetlands Tourist Center (高美濕地遊客中心).   This bus stop is near the windmills.  [Google Map]

Going back to Qingshui Station after the trip, you can board the three buses at Gaomei Wetlands Tourist Center or at Gaomei Wetland (高美溼地) stop [Google Map] (for Bus 178 and 179 only).

Departure times of the last bus going back to Qingshui Station from Gaomei Wetlands Tourist Center
[Bus 178] 20:00 (weekdays) / 21:00 (weekend and holiday)
[Bus 179] 18:40 (weekdays / 18:30 (weekend and holiday)
[Bus 688] 19:36 (weekend and holiday)


Question and Answer

1. Q.  The train going to Qingshui already left TRA Taichung Station.  What should I do?
A. Board Bus 303, 304 or 305 at Tai Wan Da Dao (臺灣大道) stop [Google Map].  Get off the bus at Qingshui Station stop along Zhongshan Road [Google Map].  Transfer to [Google Map] Bus 178, 179 or 688 to get to the wetlands.

2. Q:  I will be arriving in Taichung at the High Speed Rail (HSR) Station.  What is the best way to get to Gaomei Wetlands?
A:   You have two options:
a. Board a train at TRA Xinwuri Station going to Qingshui Station.  This is possible only if a train will be travelling from Xinwuri to Qingshui a few minutes after your arrival at the High Speed Rail Station.   

Based on my experience, a time difference of 9 minutes between the your arrival time at the THSR Taichung Station and the departure time of the local train going to Qingshui at  TRA Xinwuri Station, will require you to walk fast at the station hallway just to get to the TRA Station.  Those who had been to THSR Taichung Station before can do this but first-timers will probably get lost in finding their way. 

Departure times of the train from TRA Xinwuri Station to Qingshui Station
6:24/8:58/11:18/13:13/14:37/17:18/18:03/19:11/20:58/21:50

The trains that left TRA Taichung Station are the same trains that will make a stop in Xinwuri Station.  There might be special buses going to Gaomei Wetlands or Qingshui Station from the HSR Station during holidays but these probably won’t be available during weekdays. 

b.  Ride a train from TRA Xinwuri Station going to TRA Taichung Station.  Bus 303, 304 or 305 -> Qingshui Station -> Bus 178, 179, or 688 -> Gaomei Wetlands

3. Q:  I overslept during the ride in Bus 303/304 because the travel time from Taichung Station to Qingshui Station is more than one hour.  The driver just dropped me off at the terminal station at Taichung City Seaport Art Center at (Zhen Zheng Rd.) 港區藝術中心 (鎮政路).  Can I still go to Gaomei Wetlands?
A:   Yes, just transfer to Bus 688 and alight at the Gaomei Wetland Tourist Center (高美濕地遊客中心) stop.



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