Rss Feed
  1. Taiwan Day 6 and 7: Taipei

    Friday, 8 June 2012

    Day 6
    Le Parker offers a pretty decent breakfast for a mid to low priced Taiwan hotel, and after that we took the same shuttle bus back to Taichung HSR. This time, no ticket stubs need to be shown, just board and alight at your destination.

    The journey to Taipei took only 30 minutes as Taichung is comparatively nearer. Once we reached Taipei, getting around is easy as the HSR is the same location as their MRT interchange - Taipei Main Station. 

    Since we knew our way around, and we already planned our journey, we didn't need to buy the concession pass. Planning your journey could help you save some money especially in Taipei where most of your destinations in the city can be reached by their MRT. Instead, we got a EasyCard, which is basically an EZ Link which has a refundable deposit of 100 NTD.

    Our hotel is in the Zhong Shan district 中山, only one stop away from Taipei Main Station. In fact you can even reach there by foot, cutting through Zhong Shan Underground Mall 中山地下街. The hotel itself is in an alley just off the main road. K hotel has numerous Japanese guests, so you can expect top notch service. They also provide half-day and one-day tours too. Just request for it at the reception and they'll give you a brochure that includes the places that the tour would bring you too. Some places include Kee Lung 基隆, Jiu Fen 九分, Yang Ming Shan 阳明山 , Beitou 北投 and many more. The hotel is situated right behind a police station, making it a safe district to stay in. Right beside the hotel is a 7-11 to fulfill your supper needs! P.S: We love 7-11 Tea Egg 茶叶蛋! :D
    Our Suite room - It's a more expensive option to just pamper ourselves with 2 TVs in the room!

    After check in, we went to Coffee Alley near Taipei Main Station. This famous place has a queue lasting almost an hour before you get any seats, and that's for two people. It might get even longer if you have a large group. You can make reservations beforehand via email on their facebook page (I made the reservations at least 2 weeks in advance!). There is a minimum order of a drink for each person, although that's not a problem for us. When I first visited the cafe 2 months ago, I ordered their Salted Caramel & Vanilla Ice Cream Waffle as well as the Ice Cream with Cotton Candy & Espresso. 
    We had a hard time finishing these 2 desserts as the portion was really big. The waffle was twice the thickness than the one sold at Gelare and there were 4 big scoops of ice cream! The desserts were really tasty and we felt so sorry for not finishing them... The coffee taste blended very well into the cotton candy making the dessert less sweet! +++ Recommended! As for the waffles, they were really soft and spongy! So... I decided to bring my boy to Coffee Alley! (: 

    We ordered Strawberry Mille Feuille and Chocolate Ice Cream & Banana Waffle. 
    The Mille Feuille was a lil small portion but yet tasty, resembling apple strudel. The pastry cream has a strong vanilla taste which we really liked. We saw several customers ordering it while we were there too. If it wasn't for the small portion, we may not we able to finish our huge waffle. Chocolate and banana would never go wrong so it was definitely a nice dessert. It would be better if the banana was sweeter. 

    The drinks we had were Rose Tea and Special In-house Coffee. My girl drank Rose Tea because she said it helps in complexion and digestion. Also, she drank it without the sugar syrup to be extra healthy. Though its supposedly to be their specialty, I felt that the coffee was average.

    Once we had our tummies filled, it's time to visit another well known shopping district known as Wu Fen Pu 五分埔商圈. It's the place to go for apparel since many of the shops here are distributors or wholesalers. If you do go in with a bunch of friends and buy a few pieces of clothing, don't be afraid to ask for a better price. 
    Unlike Feng Jia and other night markets, Wu Fen Pu is a rough square bounded by 4 main roads. If you do not wish to miss out on any shops, remember the lanes which you have been to and clear the shops in a systematic fashion. The nearest MRT is Houshanpi 后山埤, as shown in the map. There isn't much to eat here, just some simple street vendors, so be sure to fill your stomachs before coming here. One can easily spend 3 hours walking in this district.

    Once shopping is over we headed down to another night market, Ning Xia 宁夏夜市, which was near to 双连 Shuang Lian MRT station.

    Ningxia is mainly an eating night market, lots of delicious food, but not much shopping to be done here. Navigation is easy, just a long street down lined with vendors. 
    I got a packet of fried chicken  from this stall, (boneless!). Pretty tasty with their signature pepper and salt seasoning, but there was a downside because it was left to cool and it wasn't a piping hot dish.
    Another dish that is pretty common is Takoyaki. 日船 is what you are looking for. The signboard is blue and very obvious. We saw one big stall in Feng Jia too! Usually there would be a long queue, but beware, there are certain "pirated" stalls, so remember to get it only if there is a queue! It would be 6 balls per box at about 50 NTD.

     Ningxia also offers vegetarian food! Halfway down the street, there's a vegetarian eatery with a huge orange signboard. We had their Lu Rou Fan 卤肉饭 and their dried noodles 干拌面. The whole meal came up to less than 100 NTD. This just goes to show that night markets still have a place for vegetarians! 

    As we were walking back to Shuang Lian station, we passed by a dessert stall that caught our eyes as we saw really huge Tang Yuan 汤圆. As I was craving for it, we gave it a try! Sadly, we ordered the wrong dish as the tang yuan wasn't the big ones and had no peanut filling. If we're not wrong again, the correct dish should be 烤麻薯 Muah Chee...
    Peanut Tang Yuan 花生汤圆 - Nevertheless, the peanut soup was still very nice and sweetness was just right! The tang yuan was very small hence you won't get too bloated with this chinese dessert! (:

    Day 7

    We gave hotel's breakfast a miss and went for Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang, and this is the real deal, not some pirated version. To get here is not as simple as the rest. You would have to take the Blue line and change to Brown line, alight at Daan 大安 station. Just walk south on Fu Xing Nan Lu Er Duan 复兴南路二段, and you'll see this shop at unit 102, the huge red signboard is hard to miss too.  
    We had You Tiao 油条, Salty Soya Bean 咸豆浆, Warm Soya Bean 温豆浆 and Vegetarian Rice Roll wrapped in Crepe 素蛋饼夹饭团! The You Tiao was warm and crispy, not too oily! Perfect match with our soya bean drink. Something we would want to bring to SG would be the rice roll! 
    I ordered salty soya bean, and I know its hard to imagine what it looks like so we have the picture above left. The taste is similar to chawanmushi, just more savoury. There are shrimps and youtiao pieces inside the mixture, which isn't bland although most of it should be your usual tasteless soy. It's a great match with their soy drinks which are relatively light in taste. The rice roll is really generous in portion, and the fillings had so many ingredients that we couldn't really tell what was included. Even though it's vegetarian and you might think that the taste would be compromised, Yong He managed to present a completely delicious rice roll wrap. If you're a non vegetarian, there are plenty more choices which you can give a try too (the menu is below. although it's a little small and blurry).
    We then spend an hour or two around Xi Men Ding 西门町 which is definitely a familiar place to all. XMD has become a very famous shopping district for many tourists and as demand increases, prices go up too! So, unless you're not going to other shopping places in Taipei, try to minimize your spending here as many of the apparels and shoes can be found in Wu Fen Pu and underground malls. Even though we don't get anything at XMD, we had to return for one of our fav dessert - 烤麻薯 Muah Chee! 
     They are located right opposite The Body Shop and you can recognize them by the red lanterns. 
    We love their peanut flavour!!! :D The peanut is very fine and they drizzled condensed milk over the muah chee before adding the peanut which makes the peanut stick to the muah chee really well. MUST TRY!!! (:

    If you've never been to Xi Men Ding, the area is a rough cross. If you want to clear the streets systematically, stick to the left hand side shops, and make U turns when you reach the end. In this way you would cover every shop. That is the guy's way - dungeon clearing mode.

    Our last stop for shopping would be Shi Da Night Market 师大夜市. It is located very near their university hence many students hang out here after school. Alight at Taipower Building 台电大楼, turn right upon leaving the station and walk for about 5 min. There'll be a street right beside 7/11 or Family Mart and just walk into it. Unlike other night markets, Shi Da is relatively small, and selling apparel only. Navigation here is easy too, just a mid length street with side alleys.  

    Take your time to explore the small stalls. Some shops are selling clothes at a higher price of ~600NT, and some can go as low as 150NT. The shopkeepers there are really friendly too! The hair accessories sold there are really pretty too, most of the designs can't be found in Singapore, and others are sold at a much higher price in Singapore. I decided to give a 300 NTD banana clip a miss, and when I came back to Singapore, even the average looking ones cost at least 20-30 SGD,  so don't hesitate to buy it if you like it! The staff would show you how to tie certain hairstyles if you request, and their service deserves a thumbs up!

    There are guys apparels sold there too. Laking is one of those shops offering a lot of Taiwanese men's fashion. There are smaller stalls where the vendors brought in Korean fashion, and I got some tees from them. Although the prices are not that much lower, the shirts sold here are more novel and fresh. For guys, tees range from 190 to 380 NTD. Nicer tees and polos go from 380 to 500 NTD. You could bargain for 20-50 NTD off if you buy a couple of pieces. This price range applies to most of Taiwan shopping districts. 

    Day 8
    Aww.. It's our last day... ): Because our flight was at 1.15pm, we couldn't do much in the morning too. If there's time to spare, ladies may want to drop by Cosmed 康是美 which sells many types of masks, makeup, hair moisturizers and many more. Their offer items are really cheap!!! For instance, 2 boxes of masks (total 20 pieces) were selling at 299NT = 0.65 SGD per piece! I've used Taiwan masks before and I really liked them! (: Here's another item I bought from Cosmed:
    Hello Kitty Anti-Mosquito Sticker - CUTE!! (:

    To sum up, Taiwan is a wonderful place for eating, shopping, and sightseeing. Fruits here are sweeter, fresher and cheaper. Their Jambu has a sweetness which rivals apples! Night markets also offer various snacks not seen in Singapore, and at economic prices. Go ahead and try as much as you can and be prepared to put on some weight.

    Shopping is the number one agenda on my list! Apparel, accessories, makeup, masks, are available in a much wider variety and a lower price. Remember to pack with a 60-70% full luggage when you fly to Taiwan so that you have space for all the loot you are going to bring back from Taiwan! We sure enjoyed our Taiwan trip and we hope you get to enjoy the beauty of Taiwan too!

  2. 4 comments:

    1. Anonymous said...

      hi, i happened to chance upon your blog while researching for my taiwan trip. my plan's quite similar to yours! except i'm going for 8days and going tainan instead of kaosiung. may i know how much cash you brought over? cos its my first time there..

    2. Calvin said...

      Thanks! I am in tw right now, I didn't bring enough money and spent too much at laking, didn't even get all that I wanted, was trying to see if they had more stores and came across your blog. Im still here for 2 more days, gotta see some of these places!!

    3. Dear Calvin,

      Are you the Anonymous asking about our budget? We're so sorry to you, or the unknown person writing in to ask as we haven't been able to blog due to our busy schedules. We brought about 1k SGD over. It really depends on how much you want to spend!

      As for your financial predicament, not to worry. If you have activated your credit card, I'm sure you would be able to withdraw some cash. Enjoy Taiwan! There are lots of things you can do without spending a dime!

    4. Anonymous said...

      hi there, i happened to chance upon your blog while researching for our 8days taiwan trip in late april this year, Shopping is our number one agenda too! Was wondering is it worth to spend 1-2days in Kaohsiung out of our 8days trip as My friends and I are not into sightseeing, we prefer more on shopping/eating relax trip. Hope to hear from you soon! Many thanks!

    Post a Comment