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Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Algarme: Stop and smell the flowers in Taichung

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PINK, red, yellow, white, violet and more. The landscape was filled with vibrant colors. Flowers of different kinds, the Huoyan Mountain at the background, and the blue sky complete a scenery that took our breath away. Such is the allure of the Zhongshe Flower Market, often referred to as the Chungshe Flower Garden at the Houli District of Taichung City in Taiwan.

Tourists from around Taiwan and other countries find their way to this city two to three hours south of Taipei to see the blooms with their own eyes. When we went to Zhongshe Flower Market, there were several Filipino families who were also enjoying the attractive landscape. We took the train that ran for over two hours and a half, stopping at 31 stations before we reached Houli.

It was a sunny day in Houli but the winter wind was chilly. The front part of the Zhongshe Flower Market looked inconspicuous, something like a fusion of a warehouse and greenhouse filled with potted plants. But walking past the storefront through their barbecue area and playground towards the trellis at the back, the wide expanse of the garden appeared eventually before us. Tulips, lilies, marigolds, roses, daisies, and various kinds of flowers, some I could not even name, created an amazing picture that nature itself painted.

What makes the place Instagram-worthy is that they arrange the plants in a way that it creates a good backdrop for photography. There are vertical gardens, columns, and arches of flowering plants, and props like musical instruments, sculptures, benches, swings, bicycles, and other attractions. It’s a place that is ideal for couples, families, children, and friends.

But as we roamed around the flower fields, it reminded us of the many flower gardens in the Philippines like those in Cebu. There are also plenty of flower farms in Negros and it would be good to make them into tourist attractions. Not only that, it will be a good venue to educate people about plants and flowers and how to take good care of them.

A few more minutes of walking around the different fields in Zhongshe Flower Market and taking photos, we stopped in some of its rest areas and marvelled at the sight before us. We allowed the breeze to caress our faces as our eyes feasted on the magnificence of nature. Flowers seem to exude a positive energy that makes you feel good when you see one. How much more a wide expanse of flowers?

Now, if you want to fill your stomach, there are vending machines and a huge barbecue area where groups of visitors can grill their own food. They even have the ingredients, equipment, and utensils available. However, for less than four guests, there is an additional fee for the use of grilling tools. If you plan to eat in their self-service, all-you-can-eat barbecue zone, you can enter the flower fields zone for free.

If you have plans to visit Taiwan in the near future, this is a good place to spend a day outside of Taipei. Also, it was raining in Taipei when we took a trip there, so the sunny but cool weather in Taichung was a welcome respite from Taipei’s rains. That day in Taichung has made our Taiwan trip extra special, thanks to the flowers.*

All photos are by this author unless otherwise stated. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and @firsttimetravelsblog on Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels blog.


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