Daily Archives: July 23, 2012

Taiwan Trip – From Hualien to Alishan

When we started planning this trip, the first thing that we did was to decide on the places that we would like to visit. After doing initial research, we finally decided to limit our trip to Taipei and surrounding areas, Taroko Gorge in Hualien, Alishan,  Sun Moon Lake and Cing Jing Recreation Farm. The next thing we had to do was to figure out how to link all these places and how much time to spend at each destination. Among the factors that we took into consideration were: safety, convenience, comfort, travelling time, cost etc.

Starting with the beginning point – Taoyuan International Airport, which would also be the end point, Kiate and I brainstormed together and considered all the possible routes to fit in all the places that we had planned to visit. It felt as though we were putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and the most challenging part was that we had to search for the pieces. After much discussion and deliberation (as evident in this piece of “art”), we finally settled for the following itinerary:

  1. From Taoyuan Airport, take train to Hualien (2 nights).
  2. Engage a driver to bring us on a one-day tour of Taroko Gorge.
  3. Then, take train back to Taipei (1 night).
  4. The next day, take HSR/bullet train to Chiayi and then take bus to Alishan (2 nights).
  5. Next, engage a driver to take us from Alishan to Cing Jing (2 nights), passing through Sun Moon Lake along the way.
  6. Take the bus from Cing Jing to Taichung to take the HSR/bullet train back to Taipei (1 night)
  7. Take the MRT to travel around Taipei and all the way to Tamsui and XinBeiTou (1 night).
  8. Engage a driver to take us around Jiufen, JinGuaShi and Shifen. Back to Taipei (1 night).
  9. Take a cab to Taoyuan Airport on the last day.

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You might notice that we didn’t actually go round the island, as in Taipei-Hualien-CingJing-SunMoonLake-Alishan-Taipei; instead, we went from Hualien back to Taipei before moving south to Alishan, and then made our way back up north. We did consider the former option but decided against it because the highway linking Hualien and CingJing, i.e. the Central Cross-Island Highway (中部橫貫公路),…

“…runs through exceedingly rugged and unstable terrain. Heavy rain from typhoons often dislodge soil and rocks onto the highway making sections of it impassable. As well, the area is prone to seismic activity which can have disastrous effects on the highway.”  – wikipedia –

Anyway, I totally abandoned the idea after coming across this video on YouTube:-

The route from Taichung to Hualien (via Hehuanshan)


While planning for the trip, we also found out that part of the highway was temporarily closed to traffic due to a landslide. To be on the safe side, we decided to go back to Taipei and then take the bullet train down south instead.

When we told the local drivers and ‘minsu’ owners our travel plans, some thought that it was a waste of time and money while others agreed that it was the safer option. Well, let me summarize both options for you here and you decide for  yourself what is best.

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Either way, I strongly recommend that you get a travel insurance policy to cover any eventualities and for peace of mind. Above all, as a Christian, I strongly believe that it is absolutely crucial to commit all plans unto the Lord and to pray for protection and journey mercy. We did and praise the Lord that all our prayers (safety, journey mercy, good health and fine weather) were answered.

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Taiwan Trip– Taipei 101 & Shilin Night Market

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Day 3: July 9th, 2012

After breakfast, we checked out from 被浪打到民俗 and took a cab to Hualien train station. Our train was scheduled to depart from the station at 9.05am. As we still had some time to kill, we decided to look for 曾记麻吉 which was famous for mochi. After asking around, we discovered that the shop was within walking distance. In fact, it was just opposite the train station. We bought some to try and I loved it~

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Hualien Train Station

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We reached Taipei Main Station around noon and had lunch at the food court on the 2nd floor. There was a great variety of food to choose from but the place was so crowded that we didn’t really get to enjoy the meal. After lunch, we took the MRT to Taipei City Hall station (blue line) and from there we walked to Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest building.

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Taipei 101

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Kiate and I had visited the observatory before, so we decided to give it a pass this time round. While waiting for my parents and brother to come down, we went for a drink and ended up snapping random photos.

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Soon, we were reunited…

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On the way back, we came across this…

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…and how we wished the three li’l ones – Jayden, Jacinda and Dylan – were there to join in the fun.

We took the MRT to XiMen station and walked to our Nei Jiang Hotel, which was strategically located in Xi Men Ding area.

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And the last attraction for the day was none other than 士林夜市 Shilin night market.

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And that marked the end of Day 3 of our Taiwan trip. Coming up next: Alishan, Sun Moon Lake and Qing Jing Veteran Farm.