Hello guys! I am back with a long overdue post about the Taiwan trip I took in end May. The post mainly serves as a travel documentatio...

Taiwan Travelogue - (Part 1: Day 1 to 3)

10:39 PM Cassan 0 Comments

Hello guys!

I am back with a long overdue post about the Taiwan trip I took in end May. The post mainly serves as a travel documentation for me, and possibly as a guide for you if you are heading to Taiwan in the near future. Disclaimer though, we aren't experts or anything but travelling via the various routes (which I am going to share in the post) eventually brought us to our destinations. 

For me, this Taiwan Trip marked the longest leisure trip I have been on. Together with Claudia, we were there for 9 days and 8 nights. We traveled via Tiger Airways and it was around a 5 hours flight. As you may know, budget airlines don't exactly have any entertainment or do they food unless you purchase them beforehand, so you have to keep yourself prepped for the long flight. What we did was store tons of shows in our phones and have a heavy meal before the flight. I also brought in a small snack which I could munch on discreetly while on the plane (Opps!)

We were there from 22nd May to 30th May 2015, and booked an apartment at Xi Men Ding via Air BnB. We paid S$708 for 8 nights, which amounted to around S$352 per person which was pretty reasonable I must say. The host was exceptionally friendly (he speaks fluent English btw) and even offered us tips on the best food finds (which we didn't exactly follow since we already had recommendations through our online research and from our friends).

Here are the pictures of our room!

You can check out the rest of his rooms here:

So here's an overview of our itinerary!

Day 1: Arrive in Taipei, explore XMD at night 
Day 2: Yeh Liu Geo Park, Taipei 101, Din Tai Fung
Day 3: Yong He Dou Jiang, Memorial Hall, Taipei Di Xia Jie, Wu Fen Pu, Rau He Night Market
Day 4: Hsin Chu Green World, Shi Lin Night Market
Day 5: Shi Fen, Jiu Fen
Day 6: Temple Visit, H&M Flagship Store, Shopping around the city 
Day 7: Hua Lien, Qi Xing Tan, XMD at night
Day 8: Taipei Zoo, XMD at night
Day 9: Explore around XMD in the day, Flight back to Singapore

Total amount spent (Flight, accommodation, transport, food, shopping expenses, credit card expenditures) 

< S$1500 

Which I felt was quite alright, considering that we spend quite a huge sum in H&M and I even bought a pandora charm! Most of our expenditures were spent on transport since we couldn't resist taking the HSR around. Oh and not to forget, we walked a hell lot for this trip, so much so that I even managed to lose weight after all the food we stuffed ourselves with LOL.

I'll be repeating this travel schedule along in the subsequent Taiwan posts so you don't have to constantly refer back to this! :)

Okay, so here we go!
(Claudia was the one who did most of the research so I really got to give props to her!) 

Day 1: Arrive in Taoyuan International Airport, XMD at night

We didn't exactly do much on Day 1 since travelling from the airport back to our apartment at XMD was tiring enough. We arrived at Taipei at around 1:45pm, and by the time we managed to settle everything (immigration, purchasing of SIM card etc), it was already nearing 2:30pm. 

For those who were wondering, we got our SIM cards from ChungHwa telecom (中華電訊) for 10 days unlimited 3G data and a limited call time for 700NT, which translates to about S$20. There are other telecoms you can choose from which offers similar rates, so you can take your pick at the TaoYuan Airport. Our reception was great throughout the trip, only that I can some problems with Skyping but I think that could be attributed to the reception at our Air BnB. Other than that, I got to upload my Instagram snaps whenever I wanted to.

Getting to Xi Men Ding (西門町) from Tao Yuan International Airport:

After getting the SIM cards, we headed down to the bus terminal, followed the "Bus to High-Speed Rail" signage and bought bus tickets (30NT each) to the TaoYuan HSR (about 20 mins ride). 

We then got our HSR tickets from the station itself and took it down to Taipei Main Station. Train tickets can either be bought online or on the day itself. It doesn't exactly matter though I heard there are certain perks to pre-booking it! We also purchased our Easy Cards (悠遊卡) from their 7/11, which were something like the EZ link Cards here in Singapore. 

You can top up any amount you want, and can return to any 7/11 stores to top them up again if they run out of cash! I'll recommend you to top up around 100NT for starters as these are essential in getting around Taiwan!

 Our favourite 关东煮 available in most of their 7/11s! It's similar to our Yong Tau Fu in Singapore, and you also get to pair them with rice noodles / steamed rice. 

Check out all their milk selections! Most of the drinks don't even amount to S$1!


Upon reaching Taipei Main Station, we then took a train (Jie Yun/捷運 as they call it) to Xi Men Ding Station while our Air BnB host greeted us. 

Fast forward to settling down, getting all the admin stuff settled before heading out to the XMD district for dinner!

Orh Lua (60NT), one of our favourites during the trip. The Orh Lua in Taiwan in prepared differently from those in Singapore, drenched in a speciality sauce which heightens the taste further. The amalgamation of the Tapioca Flour and Eggs were so well-executed!

Mini melts!

Day 2: Yeh Liu Geo Park, Taipei 101, Din Tai Fung

Till this day, I can still remember our Yeh Liu Adventure vividly, since we were hit with a torrential rain in the midst our journey. Despite these, we still dragged ourselves there for a scenic view and experience that we would remember forever.
(Oh yeah, and then my mom had to come spoil everything by telling me that I actually visited it when I was young.....) 

Anyway, we first got our breakfast from 7/11 that morning (our favourite place for food now) and did I mention that their 7/11 is like a world full of gastronomical possibilities that you thought you could never find?! 

I mean, they really do have everything, including the famed Taiwan Bento Boxes (便當) and if you are not a fan of preserved vegetables, just go straight and buy the Bento sets from their 7/11. Hold on, let me see if I can find the picture.

Right, there you go! We truly regretted following the mainstream crowd to get the 60/80/100NT Bento sets from the train station because the preserved vegetables in those had a pungent smell which was really intolerable. 

Okay so, back to topic.

We then took a bus from the Taipei West Bus Station (Terminal A), accessible from the Taipei Main Station itself. We got two-way tickets from the Kuo Kuang (國光) window for around 96NT per person which brought us all the way to Yeh Liu (Around 45mins - 1hour ride)

Upon reaching Yeh Liu, we followed the path and walked all the way in before getting to the Yeh Liu Geopark which was a truly amazing discovery trail for us. 

I mean, being geography students in sec school and JC, we were extremely intrigued by the Queen Head, made from natural rocks due to years of erosion that we have constantly been seeing in our Geog textbooks. You can't imagine what it felt it to witness it in real life. Other than the Queen head, other rocks such as the Princess Head, Fairy Shoe, Bird etc etc were at the GeoPark. Best part? They don't have any labels on them so its up to spot them, which makes it even more tempting for us to visit the entire Geopark to uncover these hidden gems! 

Yup, the torrential rain got us pretty badly (as you can tell from the pictures), but it was still something I would never want to trade anything for. 

After the journey, we then took a bus back to the bus station and then a train (Jie Yun/捷運) to Taipei 101 Station.

It is a must to visit the Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101 when in Taiwan. 
Yes, its a widely acclaimed Michelin star restaurant and it should not matter which outlet we visit but trust me when I say that the discrepancies were really stark. After coming back from Taiwan, I relented and went to try the DTF here, only to realise that the quality could never be compared to what I had there. 

All these cost us only around S$30!

After dinner, we got tickets up to Taipei 101, 500NT each (stabs heart) and got to witness the Taiwan skyline at night - an incredibly gorgeous view I must say.

Day 3: Yong He Dou Jiang, Memorial Hall, Taipei Di Xia Jie, Wu Fen Pu, Rau He Night Market

We opted for a simpler schedule for Day 3, since we wanted to pace ourselves for the hectic schedules in the next couple of days.

We started the day off with breakfast at Yong He Dou Jiang (永和豆漿) which later became one of our favourite places for breakfast since it was just a 5 min walk away from our Air BnB. Do try their Fan Tuan, Egg Rolls and Soy Bean Milk while you are there! 

Queue numbers in the form of Poker cards!

We also took the chance to try out some of the street food at XMD since we had to pass by them to get to the train station!

We then took a train (Jie Yun/捷運) to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial MRT (中正纪念堂) when it started raining, again. We didn't exactly explore the compounds, but I think it was mostly exhibitions inside.

I actually edited quite a bit of lighting to make it look much brighter than it was. It was so cloudy and raining so badly that it was almost impossible for photos that day!

Hahahaha let me show you how the actual photo looked like:


After which, we started our first shopping trip, first at Taipei City Mall (地下街), located just at Taipei Main Station.

Okay, I gotta say that the shopping at Taiwan was rather disappointing. 

I mean, most of the items at the Taipei City Mall (apparels wise) were for the older crowd, but they were also known for their shoes - possibly the comfiest ones I have ever worn! I got a pair of waterproof loafers after my shoe broke on the first day and it became my trusty companient for the rest of the trip.

We then headed to Wu Fen Pu (五分埔) for Round 2 of shopping and where we found better buys. It took us quite some time to find something we could spend on, since most of the items were either really expensive or those that I could easily get of Taobao at half the price sold.

We were already famished by the time we were done with shopping, so we decided to stop by a random shop selling gyozas to fill our stomachs a little before walking over to Rao He Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市)

Beef cubes, 100grams for S$4 which I had almost every day.

Headed back to our apartment and crashed after this, just like any other day we were there.

I'll be elaborating more on Day 4-6 in the next post, and Day 7-9 after that so do stay tuned!
If you have any queries, you can always email me at cforcassan@gmail.com!