Archive for – taiwan

2011 Taiwan Day 1 – Taipei

This is our 3rd consecutive year to Taipei. Only difference is this a family trip, with my parents, mother-in-law and sis-in-law. Amber and I love the many things of Taiwan but would love to be having a holiday at another country other than this. It just happened that our parents desire to visit Taiwan, and we ended up there again.

In 2010, we went to Taipei with 2 huge luggages (I hate travelling heavy), so this time round I decided to go light with my equipments. Bought along 35mm and 50mm, that’s all. Not even my external flash unit. As 5D II does not have in-built flash, I was prepared to forgo any photo that requires that.

As usual, we had the itinerary planned out and arrived at 桃園國際機場 at around 3pm. We chartered a 9-seater for NT1200 to ferry the 6 of us with 4 luggages (If this is your first time heading to Taiwan, do reserve a pickup in advance. Those stations at the airport charges much more, such as NT1500 for just a normal 5-seater cab).

We check into Puri Hotel in 西門丁, 台北市萬華區成都路27巷6號. It is around NT2260 per room per night for the normal bedroom. This hotel is newly furnished but the rooms are very small and squeezy. We were searching online and saw their photos, which looks nice and cozy, thus we booked it. So we were shocked to realise that there wasn’t even space to lay out our luggage properly. Nevertheless the hotel is very clean, and with such a good location, we can’t really complain.

After chunking down our luggages, we hit the 西門丁 prime area. This place is flooded with young people, mainly in their teens to 20s. My dad was a bit uneasy with the crowd as he is someone who hardly be seen in our Orchard road.

We had lunch, some snacks from the road stalls, and went back to the 三兄妹 for 雪花冰. They do celebrate Halloween in Taipei, and we came across this shop that does makeover. When the street lights got up, we headed to 士林夜市, one of our favourite night markets. As the ladies look out for clothing, I was once again only interested in food. The one item that I will never miss out when in Taipei, is none other than the 豪大大鸡排.

 

2011 Taiwan Day 2 – Taipei

西門丁 is a ghost town before 10am. We woke up at 9am and hardly could find food for breakfast (or rather first time here at such early hours, thus we do not know where the stalls are). We ended up at this place that sells porridge. My dad was grinning and saying he likes having porridge in the morning, and his expression changed when the item was served. It was the soupy kind, which does not fit his tongue butt. One bowl of that cost NT900, which is consider slightly expensive in a normal stall. The taste was blend and most of us didn’t finish our order.

We planned to have steamboat buffet in the afternoon, so we stayed in the hotel room after breakfast. Come noon, we beat our stomachs in 飛天麻辣 (We tried the 滿堂紅 in our 2010 trip, which we felt is much better than this one), the 二奶店 at 台北市萬華區西寧南路32號1樓.  I kept eating beef and almost nothing else, so much that my mum had to stopped me. At NT439 per person for weekdays price (They capped you for 2 hours, probably to prevent over eating), we walked away bloated and in need for a walk.

 

Since our parents weren’t interested in shopping for clothes, we changed the itinerary and headed towards 猫空. My dad was joking the reason for that name is because there aren’t any cats in this mountain, which surprisingly without our knowledge, turned out to be the real reason.  The cable car journey to the tip of 猫空 cost NT100 each, and takes around 30mins to glide through 4km towards the height of 275m.

猫空 is known for its tea plantation. We sat down at one of the outlets for a round of hot tea, which was perfect in that cooling weather. From the menu it states a small 75g packet of tea cost NT300, which I find reasonable. After enjoying the comfort for an hour, we called for bill and were shocked that they are charging additional NT100 per head for “water money” (it was written in fine prints, which we missed). I paid NT800 (I could buy a 500g with that) in total. Well, it was a nice experience for us, so no complains.

I love cooling mountains with fresh air and could have stayed there for half a day. On the way back, my mum bought some 馒头 that hard as rock. I aren’t kidding. Those bread are so hard that you can smash a glass panel.

 

2011 Taiwan Day 3 – Taipei

This is our R&R day. We arranged for a 7-seater cab (林伟杰, NT4000, Cell Phone: +8869-8110-3148/ +8869-3955-5871) for whole day tour – 野柳, 十份, 九份, 基隆廟口夜市. This cab driver is very friendly and was not bothered even if the trip overshoots the usual 10 hours. He does not bring passengers to unplanned places to “shop”. In fact along the journey he kept treating us to local delights. Do give him a call if you are looking to book a cab for long distance travel.

Before setting off we went down to the famous 永和豆浆. This is one of my famous supper joint in Singapore, and to taste the authentic Taiwan stall is superb.

Our first stop was 野柳, a place with rocks formations created through hundreds years of weathering. This place is popular with couples for wedding photography. As a tourist attraction, it was rather challenging for me to capture my desired shots without having people in it. The main highlight of this place is the 女皇头. From the side profile it looks like any other rock, but from the front profile it does resemble the Queen.

 

Next we went to 十份, a town located in the mountain region. We were going round and round in spiral for at least 20mins. There is history behind 孔明灯 and it is still a yearly festival for the Taiwanese. At the same time it has became an attraction for tourists to cast wishes. Several colors represent various meanings. Wishes are written on the lantern, which is lighted and lifted into the air. We bought 2 lanterns, one for each family. Amber was part of both lanterns, since she is considered to have married from her 陈家 into our 郑家.

Just a short distant and we were climbing stairs to 十份大瀑布. Lovely place except our aging parents find it challenging to be climbing lots of stairs at their age.

 

To get to 九份 we had to spiral down the mountain and spiral up another one. Half way there we stopped by the 阴阳海 and 南雅奇石. It is best to visit 九份 around 4 ~ 5pm. After sunset the lanterns brings out the aroma of this place. It would be nice to stay until past 10pm, to capture the empty streets, but I did not have such opportunity.

 

Our last stop for the day was 基隆廟口夜市, a place famous for seafood. There are so many food stalls but we were rather full from all the snacks by our driver. The rain came and it made walking around difficult. At least we tried some interesting food such as the humungous octopus or squid legs.