Taiwan Buys

Well, just thought I’d share a snapshot of what I bought from my Taiwan trip (late post i know):

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Generally, these are some of the items that i purchased, and most of them are kind of available everywhere in shopping streets and night markets.

  • Bags from pgmall and skyblue shops are cheap.
  • Contact lens from Pegavision is also good from a friend’s recommendation.
  • Clothes follow the season, and cheap ones are like NT200 a pop
  • Shoe shops are aplenty too, and generally flats are cheap at NT200-390
  • Taiwan does stock up several Korean and Japan cosmetics, but these will be higher than if you get it directly from the source countries, of course. That’s kind of why I didn’t buy cosmetics.
  • Apparently this Neogen Bio Peel Gauze Peeling Wine (it’s a facial wipe) is really good for exfoliating, but I’ve not tried it yet.
  • Items like fake eyelashes “falsies”, and facial masks are cheap too. Some brands are My Beauty Diary, and My Scheming Masks. Generally one box of 10 can be as cheap as NT168-200
  • Please consider before buying electronics in TW. I bought a hairdryer on a whim, and then realised it’s 110V and incompatible with my country’s power. :/

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Anyway before I end this post, just like to promote the above item from my loots. I remember it’s cheap, and it really can pick out all the hairs from my hairbrush! I used to spend much time removing hair with my hands but it was so difficult. This tool seriously makes it a breeze. the metal hook thingys will catch the hairs and let you pull it off the brush easily.

Taiwan Trip 2016 – Taipei

Ahh, it’s been a long hiatus again, sometimes I just wish I’m still studying full-time with a lot more free time to create entries. Nowadays I’m struggling to just get enough sleep week by week. The perils of growing old, lol.

Anyway, this shall be the last part of my 2016 Taiwan trip, I probably will have a post on some of the things I bought that I think is nice.

Anyway, the city of Taipei is pretty easy to navigate with its robust metro system. Here’s a metro map with places of interest at the station. For a more comprehensive map you can also grab a free copy upon your arrival in Taiwan.

My usual go-to places in taipei:

  • Houshanpi: Wu-fen Pu wholesale market & Raohe Night Market
  • Jiantan: Shihlin Night Market
  • Danshui: Old street at north of Taipei, kind of like a big park
  • Ximen: My choice of stay! Love Ximen cause I can always grab some supper snacks back to my room to munch on ;p

I’ve also been to:

  • Xinbeitou: Hotsprings
  • Xindian: A smaller park near south of Taipei
  • Guting: Shida Night Market
  • Taipei Main Station: Shopping at the underground station
  • Danshui: From here I can also take a bus to Yang Ming Shan (mountain), but I remembered walking for what seemed like ages and still didn’t reach the top before I gave up and went to Xinbeitou for some hotspring instead lol.

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As you can see, I’m more of a shopping, laid-back traveler. I actually don’t mind staying in hostels if I’m traveling alone (though I would prefer those capsule type that I can draw up a curtain or close the door to have my own space). To save cost when I travel with my other half, I’ll go for Airbnb (inspite of his complains because hotel > Airbnb LOL).

My favourite location to stay is at Ximen for reasons as above, though I guess it’s not bad to as long as I can stay nearby night markets as well (because supper!). If you’re not picky it’s very possible to find an okay listing around SGD 50 (USD 35) in Ximen.

For this trip we actually went to a couple of new places:

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I read that this place is where people visit for fresh seafood. It’s easier to walk from the station, but do prepare an umbrella in case it rains as there’s no shelter along the way. This place is also located within a wet market and I was a little disappointed as there’s nothing to see nearby. The seafood is fresh and recommended to go there with more friends, I had a hard time trying but failed to finish the box of thick sashimi that my other half absolutely hated. lol. there’s also cooked food in its premises that we didn’t try as I was too full from the sashimi.

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Another place we went was a cat cafe. It’s the oldest cat cafe in Taipei but it’s actually a very normal restaurant with not many patrons when we went. And most of the kitties were napping hence not very keen in playing. Nevertheless they were very cute!

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Well, most of our Taipei itinerary was very very laidback. So to end off I’ll just post some of the night market scenes:

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Pepper Buns – yum yum!

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Omelette in many ways, Ah Zhone meesua, plum fried sweet potatos are my favourite! 

Apparently these 2 beef noodle shops are highly raved, but we didn’t get a chance to try them. So if you are in the area do try it out!

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I Love Taiwan 2016 – Sun Moon Lake

On the 2nd morning we had a late breakfast at one of the makeshift breakfast stalls at the Fengjia University monument. We waited quite a while for bus 160 opposite Watsons and I think with our Easycard it was a free 20-30 minutes bus ride back to Taichung HSR station. At the booth near exit 5 (pictured below) we bought two-way bus tickets to Sun Moon lake.

You can also buy a package tour ticket to Sun Moon Lake or Cing Jing Farm at this counter, and for more information you may visit the company’s website:

http://www.ntbus.com.tw/en-p-1.html

The bus actually begin operation from early morning (i think 7+ am?) but being the lazy couple we are, we reached the counter only in the afternoon and thought it was too late for us to complete the package in time. Hence we only went for the return bus tickets, but just nice this uncle was selling us the boat ride tickets for NT150 for one.

Of course, if you’d rather have a private car then you can DIY your itinerary at https://www.rtaiwanr.com/taichung-city/lavender-tour

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Side note: I visited Qing Jing Farm in 2014, and it was a relaxing stay. Generally people take a morning bus up and stay at the higher area 5 to 8. We took a NT50 bus and started from the top at the sheep show, walked down  and reach Little Swiss Garden for flowers-watching and a lunch at Carton King. You can also take a early morning bus to HeHuan mountain to watch the sunrise but we were just too lazy. lol.

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Anyway back to the topic, this is a typical pass covering the return bus rides, unlimited transfer, boat rides and I think some entrance fees as well as cable ride.

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Below is the rough map of Sun Moon Lake. We took about 2 hours to finish the boat ride with 3 pier stops including the starting point (Shuishe), including a short walk at the street stalls at the last point Ita Thao (there’s also quite a number of homestay hotels there). So do go early if you aspire to really utilise the package fully.

Then we spent about 1.5 hours to share a motorised bicycle to ride along the Ita Thao Lakeside Trail. If you rent the motor bike instead then you will ride on the actual road instead of the trail.

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L-R and down: Tea Eggs at Xuanguang stop but it’s available everywhere. Starting point at bus drop-off area. Shuishe Pier. Walking street at Ita Thao pier.

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Different scenes around the lake. Top left photo is from a section of the Ita Thao walking trail:

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Overall I am pretty happy for our decision to plan a Taichung itinerary in our Taiwan trip 🙂 We went back to our airbnb to have an early rest before heading to Taipei the next day. Because we were with luggage, we hailed a cab to Taichung HSR station which I think cost NT280 for a short 10 minutes ride.

I Love Taiwan 2016 – Day 1

I’ve always have a special penchant towards Taiwan. I’ve been there 3 times before this, and I find it easy to navigate as I can understand Mandarin (actually even if you don’t it’s still fine as many of the attractions come with English signs)

My main love for TW is a combination of factors – cheap & good street food, shopping, and of course the friendly local people.

(There’s a recent spiked decrease in mainland China tourists in Taiwan – I’m guessing over the issue of country autonomy again? I personally prefer Taiwan to be an independent country but that’s just me lol. Anyway, good for me since there’s less crowd at the tourist spots!)

I was toying with travelling in Nov 2016 or in first quarter 2017 since the weather is the nicest during this period (cooling but not freezing, at 5-25 deg cel depending on the month). Then I saw a really cheap Jetstar promotion which after adding in reasonable check-in luggage, cost SGD388 for 2 (15kg there and 35kg back under husband’s name)! WOW! Normal prices are like SGD300 for one person. Side note that 35kg is just nice for me this time, and I feel that I didn’t buy a lot. So to be safe it’s best to have at least 45kg or more for 2 person. Traveling in a colder period also means the fashion will be more of the Autumn/Winter type, so if you’re from the tropical climate countries you won’t be able to buy as much clothes. But I still like it as I love walking and enjoying the cool breeze~!

At the Jetstar counter at Changi Airport, there’s actually automated kiosks that travelers scan their passports, get boarding passes and then add on check-in luggages. They will then print the boarding passes and bag tags before dropping off their luggages at the counter. This is rather confusing for a first-time user and there was a bit of chaos as some had to re-queue at another counter as they forgot to print their bag tags.

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After a 4-hour flight to Taipei Taoyuan Airport (this flight will go on to Japan), we joined the long queue at the customs. There’s actually money changers inside and outside the gate, but I recommend to queue FIRST as there the passport-stamping area there will be a money changer before you exit the customs area, and OUTSIDE the customs area at arrival there’s also a counter for the 3, 5, 7-day SIM card packages. It’s really cheap so I do recommend to get it and stay connected!

we followed the signs to the bus area.

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There’re many buses here, some go to Taipei (Taipei Main Station, Ximen Ding), some to Taichung (3 hrs journey?) and the bus we took is to Taoyuan High Speed Rail. It cost NT30 and takes about 20 minutes.

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The HSR comes from Taipei, hence I recommend you to spend an extra USD1 for an assigned seat for your 40 minutes journey to Taichung, unless you’re taking the train really early.

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At Taichung HSR station, walk down to the level below and outside for the bus 160 to Fengjia Night Market. It will help a lot if you already have the Metro Card, and you can always do the top-up at a 7-11. It’s really cheap, like 2-30NT or free I think.

(Side note again, you’ll also see a booth selling tour bus packages to Sun Moon Lake and CingJing farm etc)

You’ll alight at Watsons, right smack at the fengjia night market. This is a stop before the Overseas Chinese University stop. If in doubt just ask the driver (in Chinese though lol).

Well, if you feel like cutting away all the hassle you may spend around USD 9 for the short taxi ride.

Anyway we had the unlimited wifi SIM card package from the airport, so I was checking the route using iPhone map too.

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After settling down at our Airbnb that’s really near the night market (if I can I will include a review of the places I stayed), we went to Fengjia night market!

But before that we went to this raved yakitori place called Gekiuma Yakitori a short 10 mins walk away.

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I think the yakitori is nice since I like grilled food, ambience is nice too; I won’t necessarily go back again as I think I can find similar yakitori in Fengjia NM. Anyway this shop is like a yAkihito cum bar so it’s nice if you’ll like to sit down and drink while eating and listening to music. Soup is freeflow too!

Next we walked back to Fengjia NM for more eating, and shopping! Btw in Taiwan it seems that many NM are located next to an university, same for Fengjia NM. I had the milk steamboat here, and also we had breakfast at this area the next day, right at the street where the Fengjia University monument is at. Try their breakfast!

please try the fried sweet potato balls! One of my favorite snacks! 😀

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