Category Archives: Taiwan

Our Taiwan Trip Summary

Preparation:
Pre-Taiwan Trip Part I
– Booking flight tickets
– Tour group VS free & easy self-planned holiday

Pre-Taiwan Trip Part II
– Planning the trip: Background info, places to visit, transportation and accommodation

Planning the Trip
– Preparing the itinerary
– Transportation issues
– How to get from Hualien to Alishan

Day o – July 6th, 2012
From JB to LCCT Tune Hotel
– How to get to LCCT Tune Hotel from the terminal

Day 1 – July 7th, 2012
IMAG0129_thumb13

KL-Taoyuan Airport-Hualien
– Visa on arrival, Youth Travel Card, and SIM card
– Bus from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station
– Train from Taipei Main Station to Hualien

Day 2 – July 8th, 2012

‘被浪打到民俗’@ Hualien
– Accommodation at Hualien: 被浪打到民俗

DSCN2865
Taroko Gorge One-Day Tour
– Driver cum tour guide for Taroko
– Places of interest: 七星潭, Cingshuei Cliff, Taroko Gorge: Shakadang Trail,Eternal Spring Shrine Trail, Swallow Grotto Trail, Tzu Mu Bridge, Holiu Suspension Bridge, Tiansiang

DSCN2885自强夜市 & Cultural Show @ Hualien
– Free cultural performance at 石藝大街
– 自强夜市 ZiQiang Night Market
– Taxi contact @ Hualien

Day 3 – July 8th, 2012
IMAG0468-1
Taipei 101 & Shilin Night Market
– Famous mochi 曾记麻吉
– Train from Hualien to Taipei Main Station
– Places of interest: Taipei 101 and Shilin night market
– Accommodation: Nei Jiang Hotel, Xi Men Ding

Days 4 & 5 – July 9th-10th, 2012
IMAG0545
Journey from Taipei to Alishan
– Taxi to Taipei Main Station – bullet train to Chiayi – free shuttle bus to Chiayi Train Station – bus to Alishan Forest Recreation Area

IMAG0651
Accommodation @ Alishan
– Xin Xin minsu 欣欣民宿

IMAG0718
The Wonders of Alishan
– Sunrise, sunset, sea of clouds, railway, forest trails

IMAG0972
Random Stuff @ Alishan
– Food at Alishan, 7-Eleven, wooden postcards

Day 6 – July 11th, 2012
IMAG1196
From Alishan to Sun Moon Lake
– Driver cum tour guide: 大熊 (car: 9-seater Volkswagen Caravelle)
– Places of interest: Dream works of the Mei (winery), Sun Moon Lake: Shuei She dam and pier,  Wenwe temple, Peacock Garden, Ita Thao, Heart of Taiwan (Puli)
– Accommodation: Bokelai minsu @ CingJing

Mountain Highway from Alishan to Sun Moon Lake
– Road condition and safety issues

IMAG1283
Small Swiss Garden and Carton King @ CingJing
– Musical fountain show and paper craft

Day 7 – July 13th, 2012
DSCN3838
Green Green Grassland
– Sheep shearing show, sheep’s milk ice-cream, Kazakhstan equestrian stunt show, trails etc.

IMAG1482
Small Swiss Garden
– Windmills and flowers

Day 8 – July 14th, 2012
DSCN4148
CingJing and Puli Half-day Tour
– Flowers
– Transportation from CingJing to Taipei
– Places of interest: Posh hotels and minsu in CingJing, Guang Xing paper mill, Puli brewery
– Food: Zheng-Song’s Rice Vermicelli

Coin Laundry @ Xi Men Ding

Day 9 – July 15th, 2012
IMAG1654
Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall
– Transportation: MRT (light green line)

IMAG1716
Underground shopping malls, Fisherman’s Wharf and Danshui Old St.
– Lunch and shopping at underground malls
– MRT to Danshui, ferry to Fisherman’s Wharf
– Places of interest: Fisherman’s Wharf, Danshui Old St.

Day 10 – July 16th, 2012
DSCN4699
Driver cum Tour Guide: Orange Lai

IMAG1769
Xin Beitou and Yehliu
– ShanYue Hot Spring Hotel – room with attached private hot spring bath
– Yehliu: statue of Lin Tianzhen, mushroom rocks, “the Queen’s Head”

IMAG1856
Jiufen
– Origin of the name
– Local delicacies

DSCN4701
Yin-Yang Sea, Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park and Golden Waterfall
– Yin-Yang Sea: blue and yellow sea water
– Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park – g
old panning, 22okg gold bar, etc.
– Golden Waterfall

DSCN4752
Sky Lantern at Shifen
– Releasing sky-lantern at Shifen

Day 11 – July 17th, 2012
IMAG2090
Time to Bid Farewell to Taiwan
– Lunch at Sushi Express
– Betel nut beauties 檳榔西施
– Taoyuan Airport

P/S If you need the full itinerary, please leave a message with your email address and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Advertisements

Taiwan Trip – Time to Bid Farewell to Taiwan

IMAG2090

Day 11 – July 17th, 2012

For our last meal in Taiwan, we decided to have lunch at Sushi Express. We were attracted by the promotion – NT$30 per plate! We had our fill of salmon – my favourite! I found out that my brother loves salmon sushi too. Kiate doesn’t really fancy salmon though. And of all things, he ordered a piece of cheese cake.

IMAG2054IMAG2056IMAG2058IMAG2060IMAG2059

At 12.30pm on the dot, Mr Orange Lai arrived to fetch us to the airport. On the way, he did a detour to show us the popular 檳榔西施betel nut beauties, i.e. scantily dressed girls who sell betel nuts and cigarettes from brightly lit booths. We only managed to catch a glimpse of one betel nut girl though; the rest must have gone out for lunch. Anyway, we only drove past and did not take any pictures.

IMAG2070IMAG2066IMAG2063IMAG2071

IMAG2083IMAG2077IMAG2082IMAG2081IMAG2086

IMAG2102

And soon, it was time to bid farewell. Goodbye, Taiwan! Thanks for your hospitality and all the beautiful memories~

Taiwan Trip – “Sky Lantern” @ Shifen

DSCN4752

Day 10 – July 16th, 2012

The final destination for Day 10 was 十分老街 Shifen Old Street. By the time we arrived, it was almost 6pm and a crowd had begun to form. We were rather surprised to see so many tourists coming all the way to Shifen simply to release ‘sky lanterns’ (天燈).  The atmosphere was one of great enthusiasm and good cheer. Some even attached fire crackers to their sky lanterns. Soon, we were drawn into the excitement. We got ourselves a sky lantern for NT$150, wrote our messages on the lantern and released it into the dusking sky. It was great fun indeed! Releasing sky lantern at Shifen brought our Taiwan adventure to a grand finale. 

DSCN4733DSCN4725IMAG1982IMAG1983

IMAG1999IMAG2028DSCN4760IMAG1997

DSCN4744DSCN4746DSCN4748DSCN4749DSCN4752

DSCN4753

DSCN4754

DSCN4755

Taiwan Trip – Yin-Yang Sea, Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park and Golden Waterfall

DSCN4701

Day 10 – July 16th, 2012

After we left Jiufen, we slowly made our way to 金瓜石黄金博物园区 Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park. Along the way, Orange (our driver cum tour guide) stopped the car to show us this amazing sight – 阴阳海 Yin-yang sea.

IMAG1875DSCN4654

 “It was initially believed that the sea color was the result of pollution from Taiwan Metal Mining Corp’s smelting activities but, over 10 years after the company stopped its activities, Yin-yang Sea still exists. Scholars say that the Jinguashi geology has a large amount of pyrite that, after millions of years has formed Fe3+ which does no dissolve easily in water. This forms iron ion floating particles when it flows into the sea, resulting in the strange sight of the Yin-yang Sea.”  -Wiki Travel-

IMAG1884DSCN4658
IMAG1877

From the same spot, we could see Mt. Keelung behind us. According to Orange, the mountain resembled a pregnant woman lying flat on her back. Do you see it? Use your imagination…

And while you’re at it, try the following… the Teapot Mountain!

IMAG1925DSCN4663

At Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park,  we had the opportunity to try our hand at gold panning. For a fee of NT$100 each, we were given a pan of sand and a corked bottle. An instructor guided us through the process step-by-step. It was quite an experience!

DSCN4666IMAG1912

IMAG1910DSCN4668DSCN4670DSCN4671

IMAG1904IMAG1895
The Gold Building, which bears my surname – 黄.

DSCN4680DSCN4685DSCN4682IMAG1920
The main attraction at the Gold Building was none other than this gold bar which weighed 220k.

DSCN4686
IMAG1918IMAG1919IMAG1919
Am I worth my weight in gold?

IMAG1927IMAG1945IMAG1941IMAG1948DSCN4694

DSCN4698

On our way to the next destination, Orange showed us another wonder of Jinguashi – 黄金瀑布 the Golden Waterfall.

IMAG1965

“The substantial Jinguashi rainfall seeps into the mine shafts through cracks in the surface rock, becoming acidulous water after interacting with the pyrite and energite underground and undergoing oxidation reduction. A natural wonder “Gold Waterfall” has formed where the terrain drops sharply. This is one of the sources of the Yin-yang Sea.” –Wiki Travel- 

DSCN4707DSCN4702
DSCN4709DSCN4706

IMAG1970

Taiwan Trip – Jiufen

IMAG1856

Day 10 – July 16th, 2012

The second destination of Day 10 was 九份 Jiufen. Our driver cum tour guide related to us the origin of the name – Jiufen. In the early years, there were only nine families residing in Jiufen. Before there were roads, the villagers relied on ships to transport goods to them. For each shipment, the village would order nine portions of every item that they needed and thus the village became known as Jiufen (which literally means ‘nine portions’ in Chinese).

To our delight, the weather here was nice and cool. We had a great time shopping and tasting local delicacies here. It was very relaxing indeed.

DSCN4580IMAG1827DSCN4582

IMAG1833

IMAG1843

IMAG1858IMAG1841IMAG1839

IMAG1828IMAG1828IMAG1828IMAG1829IMAG1830IMAG1831

This was my favourite – 花生捲冰淇淋 Peanut Ice-Cream Roll. It was basically shaved peanut and two scoops of ice cream wrapped in popiah skin. I simply loved it! Besides peanut ice-cream roll, we also had meat/squid/fish-ball soup,  九份阿柑姨芋圓 Ah Gan Yee Taro Balls,  drunken chicken, mango ice and so much more.

IMAG1847

 

 

Taiwan Trip – Xin Beitou and Yehliu

IMAG1769

Day 10 – July 16th, 2012

The night before, we stayed at 山樂溫泉 Shan-Yue Hot Spring Hotel. We decided to splurge on accommodation at Xin Beitou so that we could have a room with attached private hot spring bath, and thus avoided the hassle of going to a public bath. We paid NT$1980 per room and it was really worth it. We indulged a hot spring bath that night itself after we had checked in. We
woke up early the next morning for another round of hot spring bath in the privacy and comfort of our hotel room before we went for breakfast.

DSCN4498_thumb10DSCN4493_thumb3DSCN4492_thumb11

Our driver cum tour guide for the day, Mr Orange Lai, arrived promptly as 8.30am. After checking out, we set out for our first destination – Yehliu Geopark.

DSCN4507

DSCN4525

DSCN4571_thumb7

DSCN4509DSCN4574

At Yehliu Geopark, one could see the statue of Lin Tianzhen (as shown above). In 1964, a student who was visiting Yehliu with a group of friends accidentally fell into the sea. Lin, a local fisherman, jumped into the sea in an attempt to save the student. Sadly, both drowned. The statue was set up in memory of Lin’s heroic act.

DSCN4524DSCN4526DSCN4543DSCN4539

DSCN4548

IMAG1775IMAG1799IMAG1805IMAG1802


“The Queen’s Head” (女王頭) is perhaps the most famous rock at Yehliu Geopark. We had to wait in a long queue for our turns to take picture with it. Kiate decided to give it a pass, though, as he couldn’t stand the heat anymore.

DSCN4558DSCN4562DSCN4563DSCN4566IMAG1789

While we were there, it was too HOT for us to really enjoy the scenery. Furthermore, the place was too crowded for my liking. Ironically, it was only when I looked at the photos taken at Yehliu that I realised the captivating beauty of Yehliu. If we had gone in spring or autumn when it wasn’t scorching hot, perhaps we would have enjoyed the visit more.

IMAG1784

Taiwan Trip – Driver Cum Tour Guide (Orange Lai)

DSCN4699

Day 10 – July 16th, 2012

Mr Orange Lai (our driver cum tour guide for Day 10) was recommended to us by a friend who engaged his service sometime in March this year. We booked Orange for a one-day tour of Yehliu – Jioufen – Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park – Golden Waterfall – Ying Yang Sea – Shifen (Day 10) and also for airport transfer the next day. He charged us NT$4000 for the tour and NT$1000 for airport transfer.

All three drivers that we engaged were excellent but Orange turned out to be our favourite. We found him very kind and affable (i.e. friendly, good natured and easy to talk to), informative and down-to-earth.  When we were shopping at Jioufen, he tagged along to point out the attractions and even went the extra mile by offering to carry our purchases for us. We felt at ease in his presence, largely due to his sincerity and also the fact that he seemed to enjoy his job.  He reminded me of Kiate’s father. My family and I were very pleased with his service. When we offered to tip him for his excellent service, he politely declined.

If you are interested to hire his service, you can either contact him via email, Facebook, SMS or whatsapp. His details are as follows:

Profile PictureTW Orange Tour taxi
Name: Orange Lai
H/p No.: +886-932-348-424 (sms, whatsapp & viber)
Email Add.:
clip1688@hotmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taiwan999

Routes:
Yehliu – Jioufen – Jinguashi – Golden Waterfall – Ying Yang Sea – Keelung night market (1 day return)
Taipei – Sun Moon Lake – Cingjing – Taipei  (2D1N or 3D2N)
Taipei – Taroko – Hualien – Taipei (2D1N or 3D2N)
Airport transfer

Toyota WISH
1~6 passengers one day return tour without luggage
1~4 passengers overnight tour with 4~6 luggage
5 passengers with 2~3 luggage; OR
Volkswagen
7~8 passengers with or without luggage

 

Taiwan Trip – Fisherman’s Wharf, Danshui Old St., and Xin Beitou Hot Spring

IMAG1716

Day 9 – July 15th, 2012

After almost getting “fried” at 自由廣場 Liberty Square (Freedom Square), we retreated to Taipei Main Station Underground Mall to escape the sun. We had lunch at the food court. It was so crowded that we had to hang around for at least 15 minutes before we spotted a recently vacated table.

After lunch, we decided to stay underground because we were not ready to venture out into the heat. We didn’t stay long at Taipei Main Station Underground Mall though, as we certainly couldn’t afford the high-end merchandise there. After asking around, we discovered that there were several other underground malls. We spent a good few hours shopping at 中山地下街 Zhongshan Metro Shopping Mall. This was where I found my current favourite bag.

IMAG1680 (2)IMAG1681 (2)

By late afternoon, we decided to head to our next destination 漁人碼頭 Fisherman’s Wharf . We took the MRT (red line) and alighted at 淡水Danshui station. From there we walked to the pier to take a ferry. Along the way, we walked past 淡水老街 Danshui Old Street, but we didn’t linger as we were hoping to catch the sunset from Fisherman’s Wharf.

IMAG1683DSCN4326DSCN4333DSCN4330

DSCN4352IMAG1739
DSCN4343DSCN4353

DSCN4446IMAG1722

DSCN4367DSCN4360DSCN4363DSCN4362

IMAG1725IMAG1726
DSCN4415IMAG1713

While waiting for the sun to set, we shared three Subway sandwiches (Meatball Marinara, Cold Cut Combo and Grilled Chicken) to appease our growling tummies. Yummy~

DSCN4395DSCN4437DSCN4434IMAG1704

IMAG1714image

IMAG1731IMAG1729IMAG1697

DSCN4470

DSCN4477DSCN4479DSCN4484DSCN4475DSCN4485

Coming back from Fisherman’s Wharf, we scoured Danshui Old Street for local delicacies. After we had our fill, we took the MRT (pink line) to Xin Beitou, where we stayed the night at San Yue Hotspring Hotel. Xin Beitou is famous for its hot springs.

DSCN4489

IMAG1757

Taiwan Trip – CKS Memorial Hall

IMAG1654
Day 9 – July 15th, 2012

 The first destination of Day 9 was Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. From King’s International Hotel, where we stayed the night before, we walked to Xi Men station. We then took the MRT (light green line) to CKS Memorial Station. It was only one station away.

The moment we stepped out of the station, we were overwhelmed by the scorching heat of a summer’s day. The glaring sun beat down on us mercilessly, forcing us to seek refuge in the shade. Kiate and my brother were sweating by the buckets. We did not linger for long here as we could not bear the oppressive heat.

DSCN4316

DSCN4285

DSCN4250

DSCN4272
National Concert Hall

DSCN4292
CKS Memorial Hall

IMAG1660

DSCN4267DSCN4264DSCN4265

DSCN4226
National Theatre

clip_image001

Taiwan Trip – Coin Laundry @ XMD

IMAG1633IMAG1628IMAG1627IMAG1631

IMAG1636

IMAG1634IMAG1630

IMG_0064IMG_0072IMG_0068IMG_0059