Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Taiwan Travel with Children - Flying Cow Ranch 飛牛牧場

Visiting a farm is one of the interesting things to do with children in Taiwan. Initially, I was deciding between Flying Cow Ranch  (飛牛牧場) or Toucheng Farm (頭城農場). It was a tough decision as both farms look fun. In the end, we decided to visit Flying Cow Ranch.




How to Get Flying Cow Ranch by Public Transport

Take a train (Taiwan Rail) to Tong Xiao Station (通霄), then take a taxi which will cost about NT250. Please take note of the schedule of the train, as the frequency is about every two hours.

We took a train  from Taipei to Tong Xiao, which took 2.5 hours, it was scenic along the way, especially when the train reached Miaoli area, we saw a lot of windmills, and I shared with the children how windmills work.


[Update in 2016] You can also take High Speed Rail to Miaoli Station, and then take a taxi to Flying Cow Ranch. The time taken is shorter than that of taking Taiwan Rail, but of course, it is more expensive.

Things to Do at Flying Cow Ranch

The signature activities include parade of ducks, milking of cow, feeding of calf. Take note of the schedule of these activities by checking their website. We reached there by lunch time, so we had lunch first then walked to the cow's house (乳牛媽媽的家) by 1.45 p.m. to experience all these 3 activities until 3+ p.m.



The ducks were not afraid of people. But my children were afraid of them!



While queuing for the milking the cow activity, we witnessed how much urine that a cow could pass! Milking the cow was not as easy as I thought, even though I was breastfeeding mum! For children below 130 cm, they are advised not to milk the cow, but they can stand next to their parent to observe the process.



Don't underestimate the calf's suction power! The main person to hold the milk bottle is DaDi or me, Pei Pei and Hao Hao were just to pose for photo!



In between these activities, the children had fun time feeding the goats, sheep, and baby ducks. The feed is not free, we paid NT50 for a small bottle of goat baby's milk, NT20 for feed for baby ducks, NT10 for feed for sheep, and NT10 for feed for rabbits.

The children found it too ticklish to use hands to feed the baby ducks, so they decided to use the tool provided.



They picked up things from the ground to feed the sheep, and the sheep gladly ate everything, including the paper bag that contained the feed! Hope the sheep would not get sick....



The clever goat went up the ramp, so that it received its feed through the pulley system.



The rabbit looked so cute when it stood on its hind legs!



If you / your children have energy, you can climb up a long flight of stairs to visit the butterfly house. It seemed that there was only one type of butterfly....



Outside the butterfly house was a wooden house that was said to be the setting of a Taiwanese drama series, What a pity that it was closed when we were there. Anyway, the children had fun playing with the swing!



The children had a great time at the sand play area! I heard that there were sand-flies during summer time, so bring along insect repellent if you are visiting there in summer!



There are also DIY activities like making ice-cream, biscuits, cup cakes and so on, and you need to pay for those activities (NT80 - 150 per pax per activity). We decided to give those a miss, as our accommodation package included a night DIY activity (at 8 p.m.) - making pencil case.



During the activity, the emcee asked the audience questions and those who answered correctly would receive a small prize. Hao Hao raised his hands N times, and even stood right in front of the emcee, but somehow the emcee ignored him loved to pick the guests sitting at the back. Luckily he was finally noticed by the emcee, and received a key chain!


What to Eat at Flying Cow Ranch

There are a variety of food to choose from 3 restaurants. We had our lunch at 紅穀倉 which serves western food. The food was decent, I just felt that the soup was too spicy to me.

Spaghetti with chicken fillet in pesto sauce (NT280) 

Pan-fried mackerel with milk whey (NT300)

Each set meal came with a dessert - milk pudding. It is very interesting, as the pudding is wrapped inside a small balloon, we had to poke it with a toothpick before we could eat it! It tasted like milk ice-cream!



For dinner, we had hot pot at 犇牛牛火鍋餐廳. The minimum purchase is NT200 per person, but they did not have minimum charge for our children. We ordered one set of milk hot pot with Australian top chuck beef (NT380) and one set of original kelp hot pot with pork shoulder (NT330). Each set comes with a bowl of vegetable, your choice of meat, dessert (the balloon milk pudding) and drink (taste like Yakult).




We like the milk hot pot! The milk does not make the vegetable and meat taste funny. After eating the food, don't forget to drink the milk soup base, it tastes like cream soup, very delicious!

Our accommodation package includes breakfast at 飛牛餐廳, it is buffet style, with a decent spread of food like rice, porridge, bread, bacon, fries, noodles, salad, beverages and so on.




Our accommodation package also includes free bottles of milk. We redeemed in the evening, to my disappointment, there was no more malt flavour which I was looking forward to drink!



We also bought biscuits and ice-cream from the shop. The milk flavour ice-cream is yummy!



Accommodation at Flying Cow Ranch

During a travel fair, a travel agency offered some farm packages, but based on my calculation, it was overpriced as compared to booking it by myself on Flying Cow Ranch's official website! (Ok, I know it is nothing surprising...)

I emailed Flying Cow Ranch, and was informed that the booking for December would be opened on at 9 a.m. on 1 September, that is, 3 months in advance. The surprising thing was, when I clicked on their official website at 8.50 a.m., almost all the cheaper rooms with two double beds (標準雙床) were taken up for December! I thought I was "kiasu" enough to attempt booking 10 minutes earlier! Anyway, we managed to book the cheaper room by adjusting our itinerary.

Lesson learnt: If you want to get the cheaper room, be at your computer early, not on time!

Here is where we stayed!




Remember to check whether the window grill is locked. Ours was not, I was thankful that I discovered early before anything happened. And also take note that there are no shampoo and shower gel dispensers inside the bathroom, but you can find small packets of sample size shampoo and shower gel in the toiletries package.

The room was generally quite ok to stay for a night.


Our Thoughts about Flying Cow Ranch

Flying Cow Ranch is clean! If you / your children love animals, this is a nice place to visit. We would suggest that you book one night of accommodation in the farm so that you can enjoy the farm at a leisure pace.

When we visited there, we met many Singaporeans, Pei Pei even met her friend there! And I saw many of my friends who visited Taiwan during that period of time posting photos of Flying Cow Ranch on social media. So you can tell how popular this place is among Singaporeans!



How to Get from Flying Cow Ranch to Dahu (大湖) strawberry farms

After visiting Flying Cow Ranch, our next destination was Dahu (大湖), which is famous for strawberry picking during winter. I tried to search for train and bus, but it would take hours from Flying Cow Ranch to Dahu! So we decided to spend a bit more in order to save time - taking taxi. I wrote to Flying Cow Ranch a week before we went to Taiwan, they offered to call a taxi for us, and quoted us about NT1200. When we took a taxi from Tong Xiao Station to Flying Cow Ranch, I asked the driver about the fare, and he quoted us NT1000. So I asked him for his name card and contacted him about 1 hour before we left Flying Cow Ranch. The taxi trip took about 1 hour.



Flying Cow Ranch 飛牛牧場
Address: 苗栗縣35750通霄鎮南和里166號


Our Taiwan Travelogue:

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34 comments :

  1. I was about to ask you if the place was teeming with Singaporeans, until I read the last part about Pei Pei running into her friend.. Haha!

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    1. Haha, we were really surrounded by Singaporeans at Flying Cow Ranch!

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  2. I've been hearing so much about Taiwan and how popular farm stays are with families with young kids. The farm stay does look interesting and bookmarking it for when Bubba is slightly older. :)

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    Replies
    1. Farms are must-go places for the children! Back to nature!

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  3. The Flying Cow Ranch sounds lovely. I am just curious as to how they come out with the name "Flying Cow"... haha!

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    Replies
    1. It is said that the farm has butterflies and cows, so it is called Flying Cow!

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  4. Looks like a very cool place to visit and eat! Thank you for the recommendation!

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    Replies
    1. The food is quite nice, especially the milk hot pot!

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  5. have been hearing about this place very often but haven't read about it in detail. sounds like fun! my kids had a good time at a farm in Melbourne and have been asking to go visit farms again. shall keep this in mind too!

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  6. We visited Flying Cow many years back and loved the milk pot too :D

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  7. Looking at your pictures! I am making a mental note to make plans to go too!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, visit there if you are going to Taiwan!

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  8. Hi, can I get the Miaoli taxi driver's contact from you? I will be going to Taiwan this year end. Intend to call the taxi to send us to Tongxiao station from the Flying Cow Ranch. I enjoyed reading your Taiwan travelogue. This will be our 1st trip to Taiwan, hope we can handle with 2 kids and 2 lugguages doing free and easy. :)

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    1. Pauline, thank you for reading our travelogue. Sorry, I tried to find the taxi driver's name card but could not find it. You can approach the customer service counter at Flying Cow Farm to call a taxi driver for you. Hope you have an enjoyable trip! :)

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  9. Where do u book the accomodation from? And are they strict in term of number of ppl in the room? We r family of 5, (include 3kids 8, 6 and 4yr) thinking of just getting room for 2 adult... do they allow this?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, I booked through Flying Cow Ranch's official website:
      http://www.flyingcow.com.tw
      If I understand correctly, you have to book at least a triple room for your family of 5, because it is stated on their website that for each type of room (twin, triple, quadruple), number of people exceeding is maximum 2, and need to pay for them too.

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  10. Hi, may I know if the room you booked had a heater? Otherwise, is it cold in December?

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    1. Hi, there is no heater, just an usual air conditioner, which we adjusted the temperature to 26-27 degrees to keep us comfortable.

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    2. When we visited Taiwan last year, the lowest temperature was 18 degrees. It was not really cold during our visit, unless there was wind - very cold!

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  11. Hi, can you share with me your itinerary and email to me for my reference ? I am planning a trip for my family which includes one active boy and one toddler.
    Thanks ! my email address is chrislee@ktfoundation.com.sg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got a mail! Our Taiwan itinerary is in this post: http://www.peipeihaohao.com/search/label/About%20Taiwan%20with%20Children

      Hope it is useful for your planning!

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  12. Hi,
    Can I know wat time u reached the strawberry farm? Wat time it closes? Tia

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    Replies
    1. We reached there at about 10am. The one that we visited closes at 8pm. There are many strawberry farms in the area, each closes at different timing.

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  13. Hi, can i check if you saw any cats in the farm? And is the farm smelly? I guess you went during winter so the smell may not be so obvious ;)) My family is planning to go in June.

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    1. We didn't notice about the presence of cats. The farm was not smelly when we visited in winter, so can't comment about summer.

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  14. Hi.. do you know if they provide baby cots at the hotel? Thank you

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    1. Hi, I am not sure if they have baby cots. You can email them to check.

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  15. Hi, would like to check whether is it easy to get taxi from Flying Cow Ranch back to Tongxiao?
    we are going in October, and we supposed there is no strawberry at that time. so maybe will just head back to Taipei.
    so maybe it's better just head back to Taipei?

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    Replies
    1. Hi, you can ask the staff at customer service counter to help you call a taxi to Tong Xiao. There will not be strawberries as the season starts only in December. Enjoy your trip!

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  16. Hi, would like to ask when you stay for the night, are there any activities the next morning? Should I stay for any kind of morning activities or I can leave the ranch early in the morning. I'm planning for my next year's April trip! Thanks in advance!

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    1. Hi Aimei, there are some DIY activities like ice-cream making, cookies making, etc in the morning (at extra cost), if you are interested, then you can consider staying there in the morning.

      For us, we decided to visit strawberry farm at Miaoli and return to Taipei after that, therefore we left Flying Cow Ranch early in the morning and gave those DIY activities a miss.

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