It’s nice to see something new at the breakfast buffet.
Month: December 2011
Taiwan, Day 5: Daxi Old Street.
Good morning! I’m all ready for breakfast.
We got buffet breakfast at the hotel but we woke up a little late, most of the food are gone.
I really did try not to eat too much.
Apple calpis! This is good.
Tried the Onion Biscuit (葱油饼), another famous stall.
Sorry, the picture is blur but it is yummy for sure.
We had to walked around the City to look for the bus stop which has the bus that goes to Daxi Old Street (大溪老街).
This is the bus terminal (interchange) in Taoyuan.
More sightseeing in the bus.
And we’re there at Daxi (大溪).
Just a 5 mins walk and you’ll reach Daxi Old Street (大溪老街).
With a few temples around.
There was this area overlooking the river.
Bought a pack of brown sugar cakes to try, nothing much special about it.
Vegetarian braise tofu and other items, good stuff.
Bought a pack of mini braised hard boiled eggs to try, boyfriend haven’t had it before.
Boyfriend bought a bottle of honey in the shop specialized in selling honey.
And we got a cup of special honey drink, which is suppose to remove toxins from our body. It’s called, 黑心肝, ‘black hearted’ in english. Haha! The lady says we will be ‘good hearted’ after having this. It wasn’t too sweet and it is like jelly. Refreshing indeed.
The lady also introduced us to go to a stall nearby for dessert and so we went looking around for it. We even walked pass a school’s basketball court.
Found the shop.
But it was closing when we reached.
We were lucky, the shop lady asked if we were there for dessert and she gave us a bowl! It wasn’t as good as the rest that I’ve tried but I cherished it because it was so freaking cold.
Boyfriend bought a lottery scratch card.
We won nothing.
Bus-ed back to Taoyuan.
Went to a Milkhouse Bakery, I have been aiming it since yesterday. Just look at all that variety, it’s so hard to decide when all of them look mouth-watering. Breadtalk in Singapore is ‘meh’, I always go in and leave empty handed, nothing attracts me.
Tried the fried chicken, it should be like the fried pork ribs I had the day before but I still prefer the pork ribs.
Packed all the food and we went back to the hotel.
Crème brûlée bread, a little too milky for me but I still like it.
And also a rose flavoured meringue!
Got this Vanilla pie from the convenience store, only TWD 10!
Had enough rest and we went out for some hotpot (臭臭锅). Good for the cold weather.
Duck blood cake (鸭血糕) was soft and smooth. Yong tau foo stalls in Singapore used to sell pig blood cake but the government has banned it.
Got a drink at the Night Market.
Fish Leong’s signature?
Lot of strawberries.
Strawberry yogurt. Thumbs up!
Taiwan, Day 4: Taoyuan City
We got to the train station late, couldn’t get earlier tickets to Taoyuan and so we had to wait another hour for our train.
Bought more mochi to snack on while we wait.
The strawberry mochi was very very delish! We love it! Juices of the strawberry bursts out once I bite into the soft and sticky mochi. What a pleasant surprise!
Boyfriend is very busy with playing sudoku on my iPhone.
Finally on the train!
The view outside is gorgeous.
Stretching very much needed after sitting for so long.
We can see the beach from the train!
That little girls keeps peeking over. Haha.
Walked a long way from Taoyuan Train Station to Majesty Hotel. It’s actually walkable distance, it’s because we had to find our way around plus with our luggage, it seems long.
Got an e-mook and it has a Biscuit Camera! This is my X’mas present from boyfriend! Yeah! I love it.
The lobby isn’t huge but the staffs are friendly.
And the lifts are just right in front.
We’re on the top level.
The room is bigggggggggg! Woohoo!
Just the bathroom alone is bigger than my own bedroom and it even has a sauna.
Yeah! Hot bath tonight!
This is all complimentary.
Time for a vitamin pump for such cold weather, got to keep ourselves away from illnesses.
This is quite a yummy cookie.
We famished. First thing, food!
Found this place on the tourist map.
Flash your iCash card and get a 10% off! =)
Stop for a dessert.
Looking at all that chocolate oozing out of my cake! Yum!
Drink, not bubble milk tea though. Refreshing and quenches thirst.
Then we are on our way to Taoyuan Tourism Night Market, it’s just a little distance from our hotel.
Saw a pet shop. Cute little doggie. I want!
This shop sells very very delicious Fried Pork Ribs (排骨酥). Definitely addicted.
Spongebob egg cakes, giving these a miss.
Boyfriend tried a game at the game shop. Just fill up the jug with water that has a hole at the bottom, once the bell rings, you’ll win something. He filled it up but the bell never rang at all. We got cheated!
Got to this famous stall that sells baked potatoes!
He gave me a baked potato skin to snack on while I wait for my set of bake potato.
I truly love it!!! Fluffy baked potatoes with many toppings – bacon, ham, tuna, corn, broccoli and with their special concoction of cheese sauce.
Oh. This is actually how the front of Majesty Hotel looks like if we get in from the back alley.
That couple are the owners of our previous hostel, Taroko 18. They’re on TV. O.o”
Taiwan, Day 3: Pine Garden and Hualien City.
I know I haven’t shown you people how the outside of Taroko 18 hostel looks like, it’s nothing special because it looks just like any other house. The best landmark will be this hostel, 英伦城堡, which is just beside our hostel.
Walking pass this whole stretch of shops and houses to the Hualien Train Station.
Saw a shop that sells braised meat rice (卤肉饭) which is one of my boyfriend’s favourite, we decided to stop for breakfast.
The braised meat rice was only TWD 25! Can you believe that?
Add I ordered a pork chop rice. I so love the pork chops in Taiwan. Why are they all so tender and juicy?
Comes with a soup too.
Bought the Cross Platform Tickets (月台票) again to just go over the front exit.
Bought a one-piece figurine…
Why is it not Tony Chopper!? =(
Bought bus tickets to Pine Garden (松園別館), it should be cheaper than TWD 86 because I never ask the person at the counter. Stupid me.
We even missed our stop… quite a lot of it too because I couldn’t hear the bus announcing the stop. In the end, we took a cab to Pine Garden (松園別館) instead.
This is Pine Garden (松園別館)!
Up to level 2.
So boyfriend takes pictures of me from downstairs. Don’t you just love those vines around the building?
While I take his too.
We exchanged places.
No, that orange is too old for consumption.
The funniest thing is when I saw this table, I remembered my Dad telling me that he wrote exactly the same words under his desk in school. So when I got home, I showed him this picture, he was amazed. *grin*
This is a weird wishing well.
Boyfriend still made his wish anyway.
Going inside the museum store.
To the front yard.
And this is my favourite, it’s now our Facebook cover picture. =)
And this is the cafe at the back of the building.
Leaving this beautiful and peaceful place.
I like that mail box.
Walking down to Hualien City.
There are pretty restaurants along the road.
Saw this interesting road.
Because there is this Husband And Wife Tree. Awesome eh?
It is right behind the Japanese house.
We got to an area where there are a lot of shops.
Had some desserts at 多福豆花. There is small, medium and large to choose from. The large is really big though.
Soya beancurd with peanut.
And this is with pearls.
And we are at Old Railway the Footpaths (舊鐵道行人徒步道).
Passed by some cute kitty cats and yummy-looking cakes!
Finally, found this shop (五霸包心粉圆焦糖挫冰) after walking so many rounds, my legs need a rest.
I do encourage all of you to share this dessert, the serving is huge.
Many ingredients inside – soya beancurd, red bean, glass jelly, and the pearls have four different types of fillings.
Next, the famous oyster fry stall, Hai-Pu Oyster Omelet (海埔蚵仔煎)!
I’m going to irritate all of you. Mwahahaha!
Miniature shop, looks too real.
This place has enormously huge watermelons.
Not very red but sweetness max!
Decided to risk it and stop by for a smelly hotpot at 三妈臭臭锅. Why is it smelly? Because there is smelly tofu inside.
They have very low seating in store, not very comfortable for my boyfriend.
Here comes my hotpot with lots of ingredients! It really isn’t that smelly, just slight. Boyfriend quite like the tofu. Really good for freezing days and quite addictive. Comes with a bowl of rice.
Add another serving of pork slices and duck meat balls. Duck meat balls were surprisingly delicious, even better than the usual pork meat balls. Why Singapore don’t have?
Before I go off, I have some things to show.
We got this set of things from the agent when we booked our air tickets, it’s sponsored by 7-eleven. Coupons to use but do go look around, there are places that sell it at a lower price. I also got my free masks on our first day using these coupons.
Night market coupons that come together in this booklet and we actually forgot to use it!
And this, very important. You can buy this iCash card (悠游卡) at the 7-eleven stores. It can be used for the MRT and also for your purchases in the 24 hr marts. Plus, you get discounts in certain shops and restaurants if you show this card. Just look out for those shops that have the iTaiwan logo or look for the travel brochures that will state which shops will accept the card.
Hope this helps! Bye! =)
Taiwan, Day 2: Taroko Gorge.
We are going to Taroko Gorge (太魯閣國家公園) today, one of Taiwan’s national park.
Had to buy Cross Platform Tickets (月台票) in order to get to the front exit of the train station from the rear exit.
Hualien Bus Terminal (花莲客运) is just at the left side of the train station when you come out from the front exit.
Bought two tickets to Taroko, it’s TWD 92 each. Not every bus stops at the Taroko Gorge Headquarters, so you will have to ask the counter staff or the information is also available here but there are more buses than what is stated on the website (maybe one bus every hour).
You can always choose to book a cab driver for your Taroko trip, the driver will know which spots are best but of course at a very expensive rate. Can always find other tourist at Hualien Train Station to make up 4 persons to share a cab.
Or even, rent your own scooter – the most inexpensive method. I will only recommend this if you have a bike license, even though you can rent one without a license.
Sat at the nearby tiny park while waiting for the bus, another 50 mins before the next bus comes.
There’s a mochi shop (曾师傅) just behind the bus terminal, opposite the tiny park. Hualien is famous for their mochi aka mua chee. By the way, the stall is all around Hualien.
You’ll receive a 10% discount if you have this Youth Travel card but only available for certain stores, please check the guidebook that comes along with the card. You can get this card at the Taoyuan Airport Tourist Counter, as long as you are age 30 and below.
We tried three flavours. The peanut, black sesame and green tea. The mochi is freshly made on the spot when we ordered.
And also this brown sugar thing, I forgot what it is called.
Boyfriend bought a Taiwan travel book from 7-eleven, it’s provides good information and even has transportation details for buses. We have been using the book to look for popular dining places.
The area where you really have to wait for the bus, right outside the terminal.
An hour of bus trip and we’re finally there at Taroko Gorge!
Look at the amount of filling inside! The outside layer is soft and sticky but does not stick to your teeth. We love it!
Taroko Gorge headquarter.
In the gallery.
Walking to the ShadaKang Trail, the one nearest to the headquarters.
From now on there will be lots and lots of pictures.
Chickens crossing the road.
Walk through this tunnel.
May seem a little endless… just keep walking.
Then we’re finally out of the tunnel!
You’ll be on this bridge full of many lions with different expressions. Do take a look at those lions, they are cute!
You can see the stream of the Shakadang Trail from the bridge.
Boyfriend wants a snack break before we start the Shakadang Trail.
Soft and chewy! Nice bite!
To the starting point!
It’s so beautiful here! You have to come here yourself and just look at all those greenery and listen to the waters.
Thanks to the Uncle from Hong Kong for helping us to take this photo.
Finally able to rest after a 1 km walk. Did I mention it is a 2 km trail and that does not include walking back to the bridge?
Continue our walk to the Dam, the road is going to get a little tougher.
Plants grow on fallen boulders.
Boyfriend had to help me with my bag because my back is starting to hurt.
Finally at the Dam!
Rest time!!! It was drizzling a little but we’re feeling hot due to all the walking.
Start walking back before the rain becomes heavy but we still got kind stuck in the rain. Sat down at a dry spot.
Picnic-ed. Oh the other honey cake which I bought the night before was delicious. It was soft, fluffy and fragrant. Why isn’t it soft in Singapore?
This is milk flavoured, which is why I don’t adore it at all.
Eventually, we wore our ponchos and walked out of Shakadang Trail. Traveled through another tunnel to Eternal Spring Shrine.
Poor boyfriend, whom has to help his weak girlfriend.
Burn some incense, please bring your own lighters. We borrowed from a tour guide.
Water comes out from here.
Eternal Spring Shrine.
Cool and clear water.
Boyfriend wanted to climb the stairs to get to the other shrine at the top. I told him I’ll wait at at the bottom for him, plus it’s going to turn dark by the time he comes down. I’ll be quite a burden if I go up together. In the end, he decides not to go. We’ll go up together next time round if we’re there early, okay?
Sky is getting dark and we have to start walking back to the headquarters, so we will be in time for the bus.
Even the mountains are black.
The worse thing happened and we really think we’re stranded at Taroko Gorge. No bus! Walked all the way out to the street just so we could get a cab, I was so tired by then after walking for at least 10 km.
Energy pump is very much needed at 7-eleven.
TWD 10 per piece.
Even their instant Japanese curry rice is delicious, beats most restaurants in Singapore. Only TWD 58, which is like $2.50?
Tried waiting for the bus at the nearby bus stop, totally missed one… waited for another but it never came… took a cab instead. Costs us TWD 570 from Taroko all the way to the night market.
Going to try another barbeque stall. I liked their capsicum and the thin tofu thing.
This looks too interesting to be missed, I’ve been aiming this stall since last night.
Definitely a right choice! I ordered a pork chop with combo sauce and also a hot plate noodle. By the way, all their dishes come with noodles.
Meals include buns, red tea and soup.
Smoking hot! I stood far away, in case the sauce splatters on me.
This is just noodles with combo sauce and an egg.
Pork chop with combo sauce, noodles and egg below. We shared the pork chop.
Just look at how tender the pork chop is. I’m craving for it!
We were K.O-ed by the end of the day. Too tired!
Taiwan, here we come!
That’s our plane! My best anniversary aka x’mas gift ever, won by boyfriend which he initially was just aiming for the ipad. Greatest boyfriend ever!
Oh, I can’t wait to get on the plane. We’re flying off at 7.30am!
It’s just a small plane but definitely not a budget airline. TransAsia is a more affordable alternative compared to the other airlines.
The sun was bright and I had to keep the window closed at all times.
Are we reaching?
Plane landed at around 12.30 pm at Taoyuan Airport and now… I’m going to let you all know how we traveled to Hualien with the cheapest way possible.
Walked to the place where bus tickets are sold.
We are going to take the bus from the Airport to Taipei Main Station, bought two bus tickets from Kuo Kuang Hao (国光号), that will be TWD125 for each person.
There no timing, you just have to go outside and queue for the bus. If you missed one, you will have to wait for another 20 mins for the next bus.
Bus berth 5.
With our luggage.
We finally got on the second bus after a long wait and this is how the bus looks like inside. It’s comfy, just like any tour bus.
You can either enjoy the scenery or sleep because the trip will take approximately 1 hour to reach Taipei.
Oh! That’s their university, the building was so beautiful I have to take a picture but the tress were blocking the view. If only universities in Singapore are just as beautiful, I’ll be so hardworking.
The bus stops outside Taipei Main Station, we went around and eventually have to ask at the service counter where can we get the tickets to Hualien because the Main Station consists of all 3 trains, the MRT, High Speed Rail and the Taiwan Railway. We needed to take the Taiwan Railway to Hualien.
We actually just have to walk inside a little bit more.
You may also book your tickets here earlier if you are afraid that you might no be able to get the timing you wanted. Collect ticket within 3 days if you paid by card, or 1 day if you are going to pay by cash. You can also choose to collect your tickets from the iBon machines in 7-eleven stores in Taiwan, we have not tried it before. **Booking is recommended for peak days, like weekends.
Omg. It’s so grand. Ticket counters are right in front.
Bought tickets for Tze Chiang (自强) train for TWD 440 each. The price does not matter whether you have got seats or not but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to be standing during the whole 3-4 hours.
There is also another train called, Chu Kuang (莒光), which may be slower for 1 hour but cheaper.
You have to keep a lookout for the boards so that you will know which platform you have to go to, it’s a little like taking planes. Car numbers are at the ceiling, our car is number 4 and so we have to wait at 4.
Train is here. It comes exactly at at the timing shown on your ticket, so don’t be late!
Luggage on top of your seat.
Taking the train is even more comfortable than the plane.
Spacious, there’s a lot of room for your legs!
This is the bento box (排骨便当) I bought for TWD 100 from the Main Station before boarding. It is also sold on the train for TWD 60 but mine has got more veggies. Boyfriend and I definitely enjoyed the meal!
Here is many of the pictures I took during the train trip.
Walked all the way from Hualien Train Station to Taroko 18 Hostel. **Do note that there is a front and rear train platform, you have to find out with exit is nearer to your accommodation before getting out.
This is how our room looks like, just a bed, a small table in the corner and a fake window on the wall. It’s a private en-suite by the way.
Mirror and hairdryer just outside the bathroom.
Tza Chiang Night Market (自强夜市) is near our hostel, it’s about a 15-20 mins walk.
Our first stop!
Many flavours to choose from.
Smoked Chicken Coffin Bread (棺材板).
Comes with a cup of red tea.
Om nom nomm. It was delicious! I kept saying I want to go back for more the next two days but I never did because there are just too many other stuffs to eat.
We tried a honey cactus juice, not too bad.
Blood cake (猪血糕) and marinated pork with spring onions. Yum! I like the barbeque sauce they used.
Even tried catching something at the machines.
Got these from 7-eleven, looks too yummy to miss.
And since we got some coupons from TransAsia agency, I got these facial masks at no cost!
More posts about my Taiwan trip soon! =)
These are what I gave him.
For my boyfriend~!
A little Christmas gift – something to take care of and not too much of a burden.
With a little message.
As for his birthday…
His new 3-in-1 bag in a bag.
*Gasp* I forgot to take a picture of his checkered green shirt and Tommy Hilfiger polo tee that were wrapped in a cornflake box but with a strawberry and cherry wrapper. Hehe. It was in my luggage already and I was too lazy to take it out.
His birthday card!
The inside. I feel like a genius!
Sealed in a sleeve.
I had to give it to him before his birthday, we wouldn’t want to bring it over to Taiwan and then bring it back again. It will take up too much luggage space.
Hope he likes the presents! =]
The girls and I booked a room at Amara Hotel and that is where we’re having our staycation!
This is how the room looks like.
The bed is kind of high, we have to jump a little just to get on it.
The ventilation in the room is not good enough, I started sneezing away once I got in and I’m very sure it’s not flu.
We got our X’mas presents ready.
Then it was time for lunch, I’m famished!
This restaurant does not serve warm water or tea, they just gave us two bottles of mineral water.
Side dishes are refillable.
I had a bibimbap, which is enough for two persons and we think every other dish is huge too.
Tofu soup for Helen, she’s on diet but she keeps snacking non-stop. *shrugs*
Minced meat noodles.
Ginseng chicken soup, spiced salt is provided so you just have to adjust the taste yourself.
We really couldn’t finish all of it.
Slacked a little in the hotel room and then it was time for food again, my sneezing was bad enough and I just wanted a bowl of hot soup. We went to the nearby fish bee hoon stall.
Took turns to shower and we had our X’mas gift exchange!
This is from Helen.
And lastly, Shuhui.
Birthday cakes for Wenqing (belated) and Shuhui (very early).
Just some random picture.
We played UNO cards, made a bet. Whoever loses will take a bite from this green apple that Helen got from the corridor and put it back.
Helen lost. Hahahahhaa! We had a great laugh.
She actually had two mouthfuls of the green apple before putting it back.
There it is, back to it’s original place..
We slept really late but couldn’t really sleep well too. My nose is giving me problem, the air in the room is really bad. Woke up early for breakfast, the birthday girls bought the food. LOL!
One group picture before we leave.