Taiwan travelogue, the touristy experience

Well, Taiwan isn’t that hard to navigate around, and for some reason I felt like home there. I loved the people, the culture and of course the food. I love how I can just go hiking or explore some secret spots of Taipei when I get tired of the bustling city. I’d love to hike, travel to the places that tourists don’t usually go to but I can’t this time round because I was with my mom. So here’s my 7 days travelogue (4th-12th December 2016) of what tourists typically do in Taiwan. (I didn’t do anything on the first and last day so I consider this a 7 days trip instead of a 9 days trip.)We managed to cover Taichung, Cingjing, Sun Moon lake and Taipei.

Air tickets: $404 SGD from Tiger airlines (inclusive of a 15 kg and 20kg luggage allowance )

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Day 0:

500 NTD for SIM card 

3o NTD U bus to Taoyuan HSR station

520 NTD, HSR ticket to Taichung

The HSR is a tweeny bit pricey, if it’s pretty fast. It only takes 45-50 mins to travel from Taipei to Taichung.

Do note that Taichung HSR station is not near to Taichung railway station. From Taichung HSR station, it is a short walk to New Wurih Railway Station, and you can access the railway station from there.

Taichung HSR station > New Wurih Railway Station > Taichung Railway Station

15 NTD, railway ticket to Taichung railway station

Our apartment, a 4 mins walk from Taichung railway station

$105 SGD for 2 nights, 2 pax ( booked through airbnb)

Day 1:

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Morning view from our airbnb

Brunch was at this place called Chun Shui Tang and apparently it’s the shop that invented bubble tea. But I’ve to admit the food is good and their bubble tea was good too. Definitely worth every penny spent.

Actually this was my favorite meal. If I were to return to Taichung, I would definitely visit this place again!

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Didn’t expect such a large cup of milk tea though!

Brunch at Shun shui tang, 563 NTD for 2 pax

My next stop was a cafe called Hidden lane. I’d only visited this place for their matcha mille crepe.

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My weakness

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230 NTD for Matcha mille crepe and latte at hidden lane

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The second level has a vintage store that sells vintage stuff ranging from records to toys and even fans!

Our next stop was Gaomei wetlands and to be honest this place is not very accessible and it takes a pretty long time to get there due to infrequent bus timings.

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Gaomei wetlands

Directions to gaomei wetlands:

Take the railway to qingshui train station, take bus 111 or 178 or 179 to Gao mei wetlands (24 stops).

When I was there, bus 111 had already terminated its service so I had to wait for bus 178 and 179.

Well, I took a photo of the bus schedule at the busstop so here goes:

Bus 178, leaving from Qingshui station:

Weekdays- 06.00, 07.20, 10.30, 14.20, 16.20, 19.00

Weekends- 07.00, 08.20, 09.50, 12.20. 14.20, 16.20, 18.20, 20.20

Bus 179, leaving from Qingshui station:

Weekdays- 06.00, 07.20, 10.30,12.20,14.20, 16.20, 19.20

Weekends- 07.00, 08.20, 09.50, 12.20, 14.20, 16.20, 18.20, 20.20

Well, apparently it’s the same timing so I am not sure what’s the difference.

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Look at the amount of tourists!

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My favorite

We took a cab out to Qingshui train station because I can’t be bothered to wait for the bus again.

300 NTD cab to Qing Shui train station.

We ended the night by heading to Fengjia night market. We couldn’t really do much because we spent most of the time traveling on buses to get to Gaomei wetlands.

Directions to fengjia night market:

Bus 35 from Taichung railway station

 

Day 2:

The next day we decided to head to Cingjing.

There are buses from Taichung gan cheng station (台中干城車站) to Cingjing

The bus journey from Taichung Gancheng Bus Station to Cingjing Farm is about 2 hour 20 mins. A one-way ticket costs 251 NTD.

http://www.ntbus.com.tw/en-cjfm.html

We managed to share a cab with 2 other passengers who are also heading to Cingjng, so we saved a ton of time and the cab fare was 400 NTD each.

 

Our gorgeous room at Costsworld

$283 SGD for 2 pax for 2 nights (booked through Agoda)

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What a view!

160 NTD for entrance to Cingjing farm 

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Dinner was at 复古鸡, a restaurant just beside our bnb.

873 NTD for 2 pax

 

Day 3:

We signed up for a sunrise tour that would bring us to see the stars and then head up to Hehuanshan for the sunrise.

400 NTD per pax for sunrise tour

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Wuling!
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There’s something about sunrise that makes it so magical. As cliche as it sounds it seems like there’ll always be hope because the sun is up, and you’re lucky enough to be alive to see it.
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Back to our bnb for breakfast
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What I love most about Cingjing is probably waking up to this view:”)

There are private car services around CIngjing so ask your bnb hosts and I’m pretty sure they’ll be able to help you out with the booking.

100 NTD cab to Old England

I took my mom to Old England for high tea and to my surprise, the high tea is pretty reasonable as compared to the exorbitant prices you’ve to pay for staying in Old England.

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 1180 NTD for 2 pax

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We decided to head back early to our bnb to rest since we woke up at 3a.m this morning for the sunrise.

Day 4:

Through the help of my bnb host, I managed to book a private car that would drive us to sun moon lake, then dropping us off at Taichung HSR station thereafter.

1700 NTD for 2 pax to sun moon lake and Taichung HSR station

 

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250 NTD each for boat tickets at sun moon lake

Visiting the sun moon lake wasn’t part of my original plan. I planned to take things slowly since I was traveling with my mom and I was pleasantly surprised that I would be able to squeeze in Sun Moon lake before heading back to Taipei.

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Our driver then dropped us off at Taichung HSR station and we took the HSR back to Taipei.

700 NTD per pax for HSR tickets to Taipei

The HSR tickets were pretty pricey, and if I were to travel around on my own I would have opted for the long distance bus option.

After reaching Taipei, we checked into our bnb.

Mr Lobsters Secret Den Design Hostel

9F., No.22, Sec. 1, Chongqing N. Rd, Taipei Main Station, Taipei, Taiwan 10350

重慶北路一段22號9樓, 台北車站, 台北市, 台灣 10350

$360 SGD for 2 pax for 4 nights (booked through Agoda)

Image courtesy of Agoda

After bringing my mom out for dinner, I set out alone to explore the streets of Taipei. One thing that I love about Taipei is the number of street markets they have. One of my favorite night markets is the Tonghua night market because of the fond memories I’ve had during my first trip to Taiwan.

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Since Sam and I were both in Taipei by chance (what are the odds when we’re traveling separately!) we decided to meet up.

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I suggested cimbing xiangshan at 12 midnight,, don’t know what got into me.
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The view of Taipei city at 12 midnight, still as vibrant

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I love how safe Taiwan feels, even when I’m roaming the streets at 3 a.m, I don’t feel threatened.

 

Day 5:

It was my mom’s first trip to Taiwan, so I decided to bring her to Jiufen and Shifen.

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Taipei Railway Station (TRA)> Ruifang Station (瑞芳站)

(Ping Xi Railway Line : Ruifang -> Houtong -> Sandiaoling -> Dahua -> Shifen -> Wanggu -> Lingjiao -> Pingxi -> JingTong)

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First stop- streets of Shifen

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Gave releasing the paper lanterns a miss and we headed straight to shifen waterfall.

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The train intervals aren’t very frequent so by the time we traveled to jiufen it was already dark.

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Reminded me so much of the movie spirited away!

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The bus queue back to Taipei was simply too long so we ended up taking a cab back to Taipei.

Cab ride back to Taipei, 500 NTD for 2 pax

 

Day 6:

I didn’t plan much for this day so I decided to bring my mom to Yongkang street to have a look. Yongkang street is one of my favorite places in Taipei. I like how I can find various quirky cafes in the alleys.

And of course, how could  I miss the Din Tai Fung at Yongkang street?

 

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654 NTD for 2 pax

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After that, I brought my mom to this matcha place which was introduced to me by my Taiwanese friend.

和茗甘味處

No. 221, Jinhua St, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Opening hours: 12-10p.m

390 NTD for matcha latte and matcha lava cake 

 

Day 7:

My final day in Taipei and I decided to bring my mom to somewhere that is less touristy and away from the crowd. So I brought her to bitoujiao, one of the places that has been sitting on my bucket list.

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There’s something about the waves crashing against the shores that makes everything so calming:)

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Thankfully my momma is still really fit so I was able to do this hike with her.
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Look at this view!
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This place is such an unpolished gem:)

I love how it’s so non-touristy. Throughout my hike I didn’t see any tourist at all!

Ruifang station > bus 1062 > Alight at bitou cape

 

I chose to bring my mom to Taiwan because my mom is a big fan of chinese food and I wanted to show her one of my favorite countries. I think Taiwan’s a good choice to bring your family to.

See you Taiwan, I won’t say goodbye because I know we’ll meet again.

 

XOXO,

Rachy

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