Taipei: 29 Jul – 3 Aug 2010

Travelogue

*** Warning: long post ahead with plenty of photos….

Recently, weร‚ย went forร‚ย our Annual Honeymoon Trip to Taipei, Taiwan. Actually, we were supposed to go Taipei last year, but didn’t make it there due to work commitment at that time. But heck, I need a break, so I finally took 4 days off from work, coupled with weekends we were at Taipei for 6 days.

As usual, we did not engage any tour operators to bring us around, but just free & easy and do a bit of self planning before that. I asked my colleague as well whom has been there several times, contacted a co-worker there as well to meet up with him and off I flew to Taipei.

Day 1 – Arriving @ Taipei

The flight departs at 10am. My 1st time flying with AirAsia X. Check in Q was long as usual. But I really love their Self Check In Booth. Totally hassle free. It took less than 5 mins to complete the whole check in & issuing of boarding pass. Then I just had to dump my luggage at the counter and off I go. So much more efficient compared to MAS Self Check In Machine, which have to key-in so many other details.

Mr. Hon was to meet me in Taipei, he flew direct from HCM to there with VN Airline, but only arriving at 9pm at night.

flight of steps waiting to serve the passengers

The flight to Taipei was rather pleasant. The seats are quite comfortable, I think even better than MAS planes. I seriously wouldn’t mind flying AirAsia X again. I was well prepared, knowing that I’m not gonna spend RM30 renting in-flight movies, hence I downloaded 2 movies into my iphone LOL. So I basically had my own in-flight movie haha…

AirAsia X

View from the plane, about to land in Taipei Airport

Arrived at Taipei closed to 2pm. TPE is rather far from town and it cost RM140 for cab!! Yes, cabs are expensive. Hence I did some checking and got more information from the hotel way before that. I took a bus instead :P. Only cost RM14. It was so far, but I dare not fall asleep as I could not anticipate when it’s gonna reach town. At the same time, I was sms-ing Mr. Hon the bus information so that he doesn’t get lost at night when he arrives.

I took some photos while I was in the bus. Very amazed with their traffic, no jam!! Not many tall buildings. Some part of the city looks rather old. Streets are pretty clean.

Busy street, yellow cabs that are very outstanding

Seriously loving the yellow cabs that stands out in the street

One of the many SOGO Department Store in Taipei

Finally, step down at bus stop No. 10. Was so hungry, I went to 7 eleven to get a quick fix. Their 7 elevens are like mushrooms, every other street you’ll see 1. They range of products they have there are pretty interesting too. They also have benches for you to sit and eat your food :). Nice ya.

The hotel, Ambience Hotel

I took a walk down the street to where our hotel located, Ambience Hotel. A small hotel, but the design is very modern & contemporary. Normal rates: RM400. I got a very good deal, buy 4 days, free 1 day. It came up to RM245/day. The hotel room is rather small, but nicely decorated with sleek looking furnitures & fittings.

the hotel room. Small & compact, but very nicely designed. All very modern. If you bring kids, they can even offer extra bed at no extra charge.

Oh, not forgetting the free wifi in the hotel.

It was already 5pm when I check-in. Tried to take a nap, but sms-es keep coming and was trying to make arrangement with my friend. It was drizzling as well, so I stayed in the hotel till close to 9pm. Then I took a walk from hotel to the bus stop to wait for Mr. Hon. Though it’s 10pm at night, you feel very safe walking on the street. And there are still many people on the street, probably just after work or night class.

Walking up the street from Hotel to bus stop, spotted Pizza Hut.

Some shops by the street.

The shop 50 X, that’s famous for bubble tea.

This the junction where the Eva Air Bus stops. Waited for Mr. Hon here. Next to this is a 7eleven.

Finally met Mr. Hon at 11pm, went back to Hotel to freshen up. Then we went to Huaxi Night Market. This is the nearest night market from hotel. It’s also known as Snake Alley Night Market, a place where they sell snakes & such as food ^.^. Of course we didn’t eat snakes lah…it was pretty late by the time we arrived there, most of the shops were gonna close. Just quickly grab supper & went back to Hotel.

Day 2 – Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Taipei Central & Keelung Night Market

Spotted this mailbox when we passed by some bike shops

Guang Hua Digital Plaza, your 1 stop IT Mall

Well, we were not supposed to go to Guang Hua Digital Plaza on 2nd day, but Mr. Hon insist we must go check it out since it’s so near from our Hotel. He brought along his DIGITAL SHOPPING LIST. We took the wrong route and ended up walking a whole lot more to arrive at this place.

Just like any other IT Mall, but rather organise and the stuff here are cheap!! I bought some rechargeable batteries for only RM30, for the same I paid RM80 in KL!! This place eventually became our hang out place O.o. We came here 3 times & spent most of money here!!

After 2 hours going around the IT Mall, we went back hotel to put our loots & then head to the nearest MRT Station.

The weather: RAIN!!!

All wet when we arrived at the MRT Station, cause I predicted the wrong weather and didn’t bring raincoat along with us.

Taipei 101 from Dr. S.Y.S. Memorial Hall

We went to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. From here, you can catch a glimpse of Taipei 101 as well. Actually nothing much to see here. This place has an auditorium often used for concerts and such.

There’s a big statue of Dr. Sun outside the Memorial Hall.

And on the inside, there’s another big statue of him, guarded by 2 GOH (Guard of Honour?). These guards do not even move an inch O.o. They do the changing ceremonial every 1 hour and we were lucky enough to witness it without having to wait for 50 minutes :P. More photos of the guard changing ceremony.

this the fella standing still for an hour

Oww…so sharp!!

The guard’s feet LOL

New guard taking place

As it was still raining we had our tea at the restaurant in the Memorial Hall. Hi-Tea with nothing much to eat except plenty of veg :P.

See his face, look so bored eating the veg hahaha

Some of the food we had during hi-tea.

I’m a fan of raddish when you simply boil them with soup. I ate a whole lot of this.

Oh, this rice is simply divine. Don’t know cook with what, but yummy.

More veg..erm actually those are non sauces, supposed to be spread for bread. Took it by accident.

Giant Omochi, giant grapefruit

Then we had the chance to walk around the Memorial Hall where there were some wall paintings where we try to figure out who are those characters.

Don’t know what principles is this?

See the far left, Gandhi is there!! That’s like the only person we could figure out LOL

I like this one. Looks like the Expandable Movie Poster. I purposely ask Mr. Hon to stand like one of them.

During the Japanese occupation?

Dr. S.Y.S. Memorial Hall from far

Finally the rain stopped and by 4pm+, we took a walk to Taipei 101. 2nd world tallest building after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It was quite a distance, but Mr. Hon can really walk!!! I’m already limping from behind.

Taipei 101. Clear skies compared to earlier it was so gloomy. Photo taken while we were still far.

Nearer to Taipei 101. The taxis are all parked outside the road, I love the perspective of this photo how the taxis are lined up against the Taipei 101 Building. You can’t see the taxis cause I’ve watermarked that area LOL.

The 1st 5 floors of this Taipei 101 consists of shopping mall. Then you can take the fastest elevator to the 88th Floor where the observation deck is located.

Shopping outlets like Pavillion/KLCC

SInce I’m here, I insisted to go up to 88th floor, but Mr. Hon didn’t want to. He says a waste of money..cis..So I went up there alone, took some photos, and came down.

Steel structure supporting the building. Ruyi shaped don’t-know-what-you-call holding the steel bars. Though the shape of each ruyi at Taipei 101 is traditional, its metallic interpretation is plainly modern.

Think this the 4th floor, before reaching the floor where you hop on to the elevator

Came very close to the damper baby, this building is designed to withstand earthquake & typhoon. It’s a pity that the weather was not so good on that day, hence the 91st floor were not opened. This the outdoor observation deck.

In the elevator…moving so fast I needed time to balance the pressure in my ears.

Taipei view from 89th floor

I like the yellow & green contrast of this shot.

Another view of Taipei from another side.

Look, I spotted a rainbow!! Lucky me ;).

Damper baby at 88th floor

This the floor on the way to see the damper baby. There’s some meaning to it, but didn’t have time to stop and read. It changes every few seconds with different pictures. Cool.

After the quick dive & tour at Taipei 101, I met up with my friend and he took us to Keelung Night Market, very far from the city and not reachable by MRT.

Keelung Night Market

Tried some famous local delicacies, as recommended by my friend. You definitely need a big stomach to take in all sorts of food sold here.

A famous Temple. This is where the start of the Keelung Night Market.

First stop, went here..to eat…

this…notice the white rolled sheet. It’s like thicker version of chu cheong fun rolled. Put in soup with cabbages, raddish (yum yum) & some prawn paste ball, fish paste ball. I likey :).

Then we went to this stall..and had..

this!! Fried eel in soup. Something different, nice too ๐Ÿ™‚

We were so full we decided to stop eating and just walk around the night market.

Hand made popiah skin ๐Ÿ™‚

Walking towards the Harbour. A quieter street away from the Night Market.

Keelung City Hall Building

Night view from the Harbour. Didn’t bring my tripod, just using my shaky hand LOL.

We also took a walk to the harbour as well as to the top of the hill to get a good view of Keelung itself.

We ate this before we left the Night Market. Seriously, I don’t know what’s this. It’s transparent looking like sago+flour. They just scrap it out from a huge tong (like those tau foo fah tong) then add some sauce, some garlic, some veg. That’s it. Not to my liking, but something interesting to try if you happen to go to this market. Yeah, you can only find it here.

View of Keelung from up hill

That’s the end of Day 2.

Day 3 – North covering Beitou & Danshui

Lots of MRT, lots of walking. We walk to MRT everyday to start our journey with. Takes about 10 mins to get there from hotel. On the way, we see some interesting stuff. MRT is really convenient in Taipei. Even more convenient than MRT in Singapore!!! Super many stops, super frequent, super long…I’m very impressed with their MRT system.

The church. One and only church I spotted during my trip there.

A park that we passed by, with Mr. Hon’s name in it ๐Ÿ˜›

Nice building with lovely butterfly motives.

Petrol station, with lots of love :).

This is where we board the MRT

We visited the National Palace Museum in the morning. Take a MRT to Shihlin station. Then take a cab from there.

If you come to Taipei, this is a must go tourist attraction!! It is the national museum of the Republic of China, (erm but located in Taiwan :P) and has a permanent collection of over 677,687 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. Most of these items are collections from the Forbidden City which were moved to Taipei during the Cultural Revolution.

No photos are allowed!!

The National Palace Museum main artifacts categories are:

  • Bronze
  • Painting
  • Jades
  • Ceramics
  • Calligraphy
  • Rare books
  • Documents
  • Curios
  • Pottery

The museum is said to house some 93,000 items of Chinese calligraphy, porcelain, bronzes, landscape paintings, portraiture and figurines from Beijing’s Forbidden City and 562,000 traditional books and documents. There are 6,044 bronzes, 5,200 paintings, 3,000 works of calligraphy, 12,104 pieces of jade, 3,200 examples of lacquer and enamel ware, as well as assorted carvings, fans, rubbings, coins and textiles.

With a collection of this size, only 1% of the collection is exhibited at a given time. The rest of the collection is stored in temperature controlled basement vaults.

Alot of interesting things to see, but you gotta have some patience & able to read Chinese words. So to us, it’s more like jut sweeping thru all the rooms and looking for what is interesting to see.

The notable item:

  • The “Jadeite Cabbage”: A piece of jadeite carved into the shape of a cabbage head, and with a large and a small grasshopper camouflaged in the leaves. The ruffled semi-translucent leaves attached is due to the masterful combination of various natural colour of the jade to recreate the color variations of a real cabbage. Very impressive piece I must say, but so small man O.o. Lucky never miss it LOL.
  • The “Meat-shaped Stone”: A piece of jasper, a form of agate, the strata of which are cleverly used to create a likeness of a piece of pork cooked in soy sauce. The dyed and textured surface makes the layers of skin, lean meat, and fat materialized incredibly lifelike. Yes it look so real, you might have eaten it mistakenly!!!
  • Mini Curio Boxes. There are so many types on display, each of them at the size of less than 30cm. In it comes with all the treasures, so tiny I bet it will be lost if you were to ask me to keep it.

We left this place at about 1pm. Had lunch nearby Shihlin MRT Station, then head to Xin Beitou Station.

My lunch: Some veg, a piece of black pepper pork meat & some vegetarian

Mr. Hon’s lunch. Giant chicken drumstick, some taugeh & some vegetarian.

Went for dessert at another shop. Over ripe mangoes in shaved ice & sago. This one goes really well on a freaky hot day.

We waited for the MRT to Xinbeitou rather long. I guess when it’s non peak hours, the MRT frequency is lower.

Camwhoring at the MRT station.

I’m definitely not modelling for the train. Don’t know why Mr. Hon caught this pic O.o.

Beitou, known for it’s Hot Spring. Arriving at Beitou station, once we got off the MRT, this greeted us.

Some shops @ Beitou

Seriously, during summer, I wouldn’t recommend to come here. It’s freakishly hot walking under the sun to the Hot Spring Museum. Then continue the freaky walk to the Hot Spring for some hot bath. *Sweats*.

The Hot Spring Museum

The Hot Spring Museum from outside

Since we didn’t bring any swimming suit to join in the public Hot Spring, we rented a room for an hour to have a private Hot Spring dip. Almost terpengsan after dipping for 30 minutes. I can feel my heart beating double it’s usual rate.

Danshui

After the hot spring adventure, we head to Danshui. A must go for tourist. A lot of tourist attraction, but since we were there at 5pm, we didn’t go to all those places. We just spent the evening walking along the river where there’s a night market.

Outside the Danshui station

So full of people, so crowded!!

Each night market has its own specialty. This one is A-Gei & Shrimp Roll. Oops..we didn’t get to try A-Gei. But we definitely had some shrimp roll and many other food.

Some food I spotted at the Danshui Night Market.

Grilled sotong…slurps..No, didn’t eat this

Fried shrimp roll..ate this, nice!!

Ate this. Giant scallop cooked in soup.

Fried Japanese Taofu. Didn’t eat this.

Grill taufu with some sauce. Didn’t eat this.

Fried baby crabs & baby prawns. Yes we had these.

Sausages rolled in butter & flour batter & fried. Seriously high cholesterol food!! Didn’t eat this.

Don’t know what is this, giant Omochi?

Like our kaya ball, but this is quail egg version. Looks good eh :P. Didn’t eat this.

Ice cream that is tall enough to topple any time LOL. Didn’t eat this.

Taiwan sausages!! Must eat!! Don’t know the black one is made of what, but definitely prefer the normal ones.

More fried food. Didn’t eat this of course!!

Pororo on sale

Puppies. Taiwanese loves bringing their dogs for walk. They even go to temple, go into MRT. Basically everywhere!!

We continue walking and enjoyed the Sunset. I love the sunset here, beautiful!!

Sunset against the dock. People can board a ferry from here and go to the other side of the river, Bali.

I wanted to have a photo of the sunset & myself, end up having this.

Sunset, closer shot. See the people, walking at the dock towards the ferry.

We had our dinner here at one of the shop selling crabs. Crabs filled with roes!! Only cost RM12 for 2 steam crabs. Eat till you siao. We ordered 4 LOL.

Mr. Hon enjoying his crab.

Crab filled with roe.

Pike

Xiao Loong Pau, Taiwan version. Same as any other Xiao Loong Pau. But this is so cheap, the whole basket were full of it. Our whole dinner only cost us RM50 if I recall correctly!!

We continued walking after dinner. Mr. Hon spotted some beetles for sale at a pet shop. He ended up buying one, thinking of bringing it home for the kids. Unfortunately, it was dead the next day LOL. Poor fella, must have died of coldness in the hotel room.

One of the shop there were so many people lining up, but don’t know buying what.

More shops….

Taiwan roti bom?? Inside is filled with meat & 9 chai.

Cute looking pancake :).

Sausages, stuff with veg..looks yummy, but too full to try anything seriously…

This is for Vyktore, he loves Shark, hence I took this photo to show him :). Think this a sharksfin shop?

A very tiring Day 3. By the time we reach hotel, my legs definitely need massage!!

Day 4 – South East covering Maokong & Taipei Central again

Mr. Hon wants to go enjoy some Taiwan Tea. Hence I did some research and figured that the best place to go is Maokong. We travelled south east, all the way to Maokong Station, the last station on Wenhu Line.

Look how fast the people walking…

It was quite a long journey since Maokong is the last station. We took the MRT from Central.

Nothing to do, taking pics of each other in the MRT

See the boring look :P.

After the raining session on Day 2, it stopped raining till the day we leave Taipei. So hot that you can feel it burning your skin. Wrong timing to go Taipei :P. Somemore people was telling me it’s Typhoon season, no way man…a drop of rain also no where to be seen.

Where do you want to go?

From Maokong Station, we took a gondola right up to the Maokong Mountain.The zoo is also there.

Gondola ride was cheap. Think we paid RM5 per person, and took like forever to reach the top. 4KM apparently!!

From far, the only visible building is Taipei 101.

A temple, built on the mountain!!

Upon arrival, there are many tea house where you can sit down, sip some tea, enjoy some food. There’s a Tea Museum Mr. Hon wants to go. So we walk and walk and walk like no tomorrow and still couldn’t find the Museum. Then later realised we walked the wrong direction..shesshhh!!

Cat statues at Maokong

Dainty tea shop.

Chairs in the teashop.

Spotted some flowers outside the teashop.

Ohh..I love this, wish I could bring it back as my props for newborn photoshoot

Cafe sighboard

A cafe by the mountain side. They converted an old junk to a cafe. Cool…

Temple @ Maokong

Too tired, we had lunch at one of the restaurant, took a rest before continue walking. In the end we took the shuttle bus to the Tea Museum which turns out to be a bit of disappointment. The museum only has 1 floor displaying some teapots made by some famous Taiwanese teapot makers.

Stir fried potato leaves

Century egg fried with taufu, peanuts & dried chilli…Love this!!

Thinly sliced Pork chop in sour plum sauce that is not sour enough :P.

Bitergourd fried with salted egg

Took the bus back to the Gondola station and took the Gondola back to the Maokong Station.

We went to Wufenpu next. This the place to go if you want to buy super cheap Taiwan clothings. Wholesale price even if you purchase 1 piece. As cheap as RM15!! But beware, the quality are rather low and the fashion there is pretty shocking LOL. Not for my age definitely. More suitable for the 20s. Do not go here on Monday because it’s only for wholesalers.

So I didn’t buy anything, just went from shop to shop LOL.

Then couldn’t decide where to go, we end up going to Taipei Central. Went window shopping at:

  • Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi Shopping Mall
  • Eslite Bookstore – heaven for bookworms, but not for us, cause most of the books here are in Chinese ๐Ÿ™

Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi Shopping Mall. This is one of the Shin-Kong Mitsukoshi Mall. There were easily 4 to 5 of them at every corner of the junction!!

Taipei 101 at night.

At night the bright yellow gleam from its pinnacle casts Taipei 101 in the role of a candle or torch upholding the ideals of liberty and welcome. From 6:00 to 10:00 each evening the tower’s lights display one of seven colours in the spectrum.ร‚ย  The colours coincide with the days of the week. We were here on a Sunday night.

Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Colour Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

The cycle through the spectrum connects the tower with the rich symbolism of rainbows as bridges linking earth to sky and earth’s peoples to one another.

Text taken from Wikipedia.

We head back to hotel and had early dinner at 8pm at a restaurant near our hotel. Then we went to Snake Alley Night Market again, hoping to see more things, but seriously, nothing to shout about except watching some snakes skinned alive!!

Day 5 – Ximending

We did some IT stuff shopping in the morning, then met up with a friend to have lunch. After that went to Ximending in the evening. A very slow day.

I brought my camera along to Ximending, only to realised that it was out of battery & I left the spare battery in the hotel..DUH!! So no photos of Ximending.

This place reminds me about Up Down 9 Street in Guangzhou.

Many youngsters hangout here, many shops, many restaurants.

We had some snacks while venturing into each and every shop that is note worthy.

If you want to shop here, you really have to spend time combing thru the shops and comparing prices.

The shops closes at 11pm, pretty late eh.

We spent a long time at one of the shop selling Japanese stuff (like 100 yen) and also Watsons. Mr. Hon bought an Oral B Electric Toothbrush at RM70 only!!

Day 6 – Going Home

Great, finally finishing this post :). Since we have to be in airport by 2pm, we didn’t go anywhere far apart from the Digital Plaza. Yes!!! Again!!! Even had our lunch here.

Then went back to hotel and pack the bag..half the load are IT stuff O.o.

Check out at 1230pm and took the bus to Airport.

Will I go back to Taipei again? Yes, definitely. We have plans to bring the kids here maybe year end. At the Maokong Station, there’s a complex, just for kids!! The Zoo is also located there.

The environment is rather clean, quite kid friendly. The people are very friendly too. Just make sure you can speak some Mandarin and you can survive here.

But definitely must wait for winter to go there. No more summer trips to Taipei.

11 thoughts on “Taipei: 29 Jul – 3 Aug 2010”

  1. nice trip… like those food pictures.. make me wanna go there now…

    You covered the whole taipei hor..

    the giant omochi is deep fried pork blood and the other one is the shark museum…

  2. I saw your blog post title from another blog and immediately clicked this. I’ll be going to Taipei next week for a free n easy holiday so I just loved your post. Absolutely lovely photos too! I’m already drooling looking at the yummy street food. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Nice photos, as usual. I love Taipei, and really wouldn’t mind going again. Sooo love the plethora of street food available ๐Ÿ™‚

    You really want to go during winter meh? Better don’t leh, coz we were there in January, and it rained most days and was sooo cold.

  4. wah, i super love this blogpost. your photos are so so so nice.

    make me yearn for a trip to Taiwan even more.

    thanks for blogging!

  5. u made me drooooool over the photos n foods esp at Danshui… haiya, u didn’t try A-geh meh?? stuffed taufu, quite nice & i had d long ice-cream too!!
    but looks like u didn’t most of the food in the pic, lol!
    i WILL go back to taipeh too & cooler weather is definitely better!!

  6. Nice… all the photos, and like your write up.

    So good ler you, can go honeymoon with Mr Hon.. I’m still waiting for mine.

    I would love to go back Taiwan one day too. The last I was there was before the children.

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