It is my fourth time in Taiwan and still there is so much more left for me to explore. Taking it a little at a time; I decided to skip the usual Taipei City this time and head straight to Miaoli county which is close to Taoyuan Airport, just after Hsinchu county.
When searching for attractions in Miaoli, many are attracted to the old railway station of Shengxing Railway Station located in Sanyi Town. But where else to go, what else to see, other than this historical railway site.
I took a trip to West Lake Resortopia which is approximately a 10mins drive from Sanyi Train Station. There are many scooter-rental shops right outside the station if you want to get your own transport and if not, Taxis are widely available.
Once you enter, you will arrive at this huge beautifully decorated outdoor garden filled with European-style architecture. By huge, I mean there is probably ample space to hold a few wedding ceremonies at the same time.
And sure, this bright pink Garden Chapel is where they hold Group Weddings during the season of Aegiceras. If you are interested in the fragrant, small, white flowers of the Aegiceras corniculatum, they bloom around April~May each year.
On normal days, they provide a hall which holds wedding banquet and this gentleman was kind enough to invite us into this wedding that was taking place at that time. Spreading the love and joy on behalf of newlyweds – who you choose to be your wedding doorman is so important (: NOTE: free entry for those attending weddings, with invitation card as prove.
And still within the same outdoor garden!!, there are few rides for children to play with – pedal boat, jumping frog, pirates ship, merry-go-round etc. – and though I am no longer that age, it was such a pleasure just looking at them having fun. The innocent sound of laughter kids possess does really lifts one’s mood.
Just this garden itself probably kept us occupied for an hour with so many Instagrammable spots. Lucky that it is the low season, and there weren’t many people around as I couldn’t be awkward enough posing for the camera *yikes!*
Finally leaving this garden towards other attractions, we arrive at the BBQ spot. Just how many people can they hold at a time!? And why of all times do they have to do this when we are here. All those food got me drooling and how I wished they will invite me to join them. Sadly, they did not.
West Lake Resortopia is not only a place that is fun to be at, but it also educates at the same time. Around the theme park you will find many “thinking hat” booths that fills you with information about the nature and its environment, such as the rare cat which could be found in Miaoli county, shown in picture below.
We also caught one of their 3 daily shows, and it was a performance filled with introduction to the Hakka culture. We can see how hard they are trying to preserve it, and if you are into learning about the different cultures in Taiwan, this might be of interest to you.
And as you may have notice from my pictures, being surrounded by nature, West Lake does provide a good outdoor classroom. You might even have a chance to join them for a night tour to see the fireflies during its season. As they say, the best teaching material is not the book but the outdoors itself.
And for the adventurous ones, this jungle spot is for you.
From atop the viewing platform: the gorgeous lake from afar, where we are going next to take a well needed rest after walking for a long time, and I think we have not even covered half the park by then. I was about to go cray cray.
Was kind of surprise, as items sold in places like this are usually of highly marked-up prices but here at West Lake it was reasonable. Thank You, for this budget backpacker got to enjoy an ice cold lavender milk tea with such view.
Felt so peaceful just sitting by the lake and enjoying the view. And off we go for round 2 after replenishing our energy, to one of the best dinosaur world I have been to, maybe because of the surroundings. There are some where they just place the dinosaurs in the middle of nowhere, on empty ground. How dull could it have been if not for the nature.
The other main area is the fairy-tale world surrounding Hans Christian Andersen’s stories such as The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling, and many more. For those that have yet to read these fairy tales, they have an interactive museum that holds a few electronic books and a movie theatre, allowing the young and old to get to know Andersen’s stories and his adventures, whom was also a traveller.
It has been a long time since I have been to a theme park like this, and though I am sure kids would love it, I was uncertain about 2 adults visiting. But we spent an unbelievable 3 hours in the end and definitely did enjoyed our time there.
With so much to look forward; such as the fireflies interactive centre, and the bloom of Aegiceras corniculatum in April, you are bound to have a great time visiting with your family and friends. Do visit their website for more information on ticket prices and how to get there etc. if you are looking for a theme park to visit in Taiwan, especially for families with children (but not limited to. Just look at us ^) 😀
On a side note: my phone is now showing “running out of space” after this trip. Ha!