Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Fun at Taipei (Part 1)

Usually when people asks me for holiday destination recommendations in Asia that is suited for a Free and Easy trip, Taiwan or specifically, Taipei immediately comes to my mind.

For those of you who might be interested to travel around Taipei, hope this blog post helps as I try to recall the main places that I visited and those that left a deeper impression.

I choose TS hotel as my accommodation after looking through different reviews and TS hotel received generally very pleasant comments, especially about the service. Indeed, service was good and the hotel is located conveniently just a short walk away from Xi Men Ding, one of the main shopping districts in Taipei. The district was also safe, with a police station situated in proximity to the hotel.


Moreover this bubble tea shop is located right next to the hotel and serves really nice milk tea. If you have heard of Koi Cafe in Singapore, this bubble tea shop is the authentic Taiwanese version of it! 





Travelling around Taipei was easy as the train system works similarly to the one in Singapore. All you need is a card that allows you to pass through the gantry. You will be amazed by how organized the Taiwanese are when it comes to queueing up for the trains. The priority seat in the train is hardly taken up as people usually leave those seats for the elderly or people who really does need it. They deserve praises for their graciousness in public transportation.




Lunch at Xi Men Ding, ordered from the small stalls:

Fried Oyster Omelette 

Meatball soup


Century egg with tofu

Curry rice


When you are at Taipei, the night markets are a MUST GO! Especially Shilin Night Market and Raohe Night Market.

Shilin Night Market is famous for their fried chicken fillet and I had to queue for quite some time when I reached. This night market is divided into 3 areas, with one huge space dedicated to the popular Taiwanese food delights and the other two mainly consisting of small shops selling clothes, bags and accessories. My advice is, do not hurry to make your purchases. Spend some time walking about as the shops sell similar things and chances are, you will be able to get the item at a cheaper price some where else.




On the other hand, Raohe Night Market is known for its smelly tofu and ice desserts.


Smelly Tofu, only for those who can accept the pungent smell! 


I ordered the Mango Ice dessert and I was impressed to see a generous amount of fresh and sweet mangos. The shaved ice is also topped with skimmed milk, which adds a sweet taste to the dish. Strongly recommended  especially after a long and tiring walk in the market.



Other places that I visited during the first few days of the trip include Wu Fen Pu, a shopping district that is similar to Singapore's Bugis Street.


Try to ask for a discounted price when you make a purchase as the shop owners usually mark up the prices. Travellers are advised to visit this shopping district in the late afternoon, around 3.30pm as the shops do not open so early.  




I also went Jiu Fen, an old street with breathtaking scenery.


This is also the place where many famous shops sell Taiwan's speciality snacks such as the Sun Cake (Tai Yang Bing) and Pineapple tarts. Great for souvenirs shopping too!



Extra information

Weather
Taiwan enjoys warm weather all year round, except during spring and winter where weather conditions can get a bit more unstable. Continuous drizzling rain is common between March to May, the period of transition from spring to summer. Annual average temperature is a comfortable 22 Degree Celsius.

Taiwan Visitors Association
For travellers who are interested in touring Taiwan without any tour guide, it would be useful to carry a map with you. Feel free to contact the Singapore office of Taiwan Visitors Association where they will be more than willing to send a copy of the Taiwan's map to you by post; that was what I did ;) 
Telephone number: +65-6223-6546/7
Email: tbrocsin@singnet.com.sg

Airport Transfers
Do not fear as airport transfers are not complicated in Taipei at all. Once you exit the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, you will be able to spot many coach booths at the Arrival Passenger Reception area (both Terminal 1and2), selling tickets of coaches going to many main destinations at high frequencies. I purchased my coach tickets on the spot from Kuo Kuang Motor Transport. One way fares ranges from NT$110 to NT$140 per adult.

(Taoyuan Airport)




Stay tuned for the second part of the trip which I will post next week (:

In the mean time, click here to explore a green travel blog by Greenty.com, your first green travel guide. 

P/S: Updated. Click here for Part 2. 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave your comments down!




Signing off,
Michelle 


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