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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Taiwan Day 3: Jiufen, Gold Waterfall, Yin Yang Hai, Taichung & Feng Jia Night Market

Once again, we were waken up by the early morning sun but we didn't really bother as we'd stayed up late at night watching TV =) Had to get up after a while as we're supposed to head to Taichung that day.

1. The bar/kitchen area     2. Coffee
3. Dining area overlooking Jiufen mountainside     4. Our healthy breafast

Our stay at Windsor B&B was inclusive of breakfast for two. We each got a sandwich together with some fruits and Jiufen's famous taro for breakfast. Together with that, we also had a choice of coffee and tea to go with our food. Healthy and delicious!! Hehe ^.^

I really like the design of the minsu. There's an adjoining balcony at the dining area where we can actually have our meal, and look at the view there!! Just amazing =)

The view from the dining area balcony. Imagine being able to see this everyday ^.^

Taiwan Day 2: Keelung & Jiufen

Can't believe how early the sun rises in Taiwan during summer!! I woke up thinking we were late as the sun  was already shining brightly through the windows. But then I checked my watch and found that it was only around 5.30 in the morning..In the end, just went back to sleep since it was still early =p

Breakfast of Pork Burger and Chua Bing with Coffee and Tea  =)
Once we had finally got up and packed our stuff, we headed next door to the Eight Elephants Hostel to return our room keys and leave our luggage as we were going to Jiufen and Taichung over the next 3 days.

Next up, breakfast!! Walked around the area near Guting Station looking for breakfast and spotted this little breakfast cafe, which seemed to be doing quite good business. So we sat ourselves down and picked a few items off the menu. All in all, the food was quite good.





After we finished our breakfast, took the MRT to Taipei Main Station, where we switched to the normal railway to get to Keelung. Lucky for us, there was one train leaving in less than 30 minutes, so we didn't have very long to wait.

1. Keelung Station     2. Soup made from crab     3. Crab ball?     4. Corn Pao Pao Ping
5. Temple in Keelung     6. Lu Rou Fan     7. Tendons     8. Mango Ice
After getting down at Keelung Station, we got directions from the tourist information centre on how to get to Miaokou. The information centre is just next to the train station and there are a quite a lot of people there who are willing to help.

As you can see, we stuffed ourselves with food again there =p Miaokou is just one row of stalls selling food, food and more food...just heavenly =)

I think the crab soup is one of the must try food here. It was my favourite out of everything we tried here. Of course, the shaved ice was also  very welcome in the hot weather there ^_^

After lunch, we explored the other shops in the surrounding area, which also sold a lot of clothes and accessories. One of the shop assistants there also recommended to us a famous shop which sold pineapple tarts there, called Lee Hwu. Following her directions, we went over to get some to bring back as souvenirs.

As it was getting late, we then went to wait for the bus to Jiufen in front of a clinic located opposite the road from Keelung train station. From there, it took us about an hour to get to Jiufen, whereupon we got off in front of the 7-11 in front of Jishan Street.

With all the small alley and stairways, we found ourselves a bit lost and had to call our minsu for directions. They were very nice and even sent someone on a scooter to help carry our luggage over for us.

Windsor B&B in Jiufen
Doesn't the place just look beautiful? This was one of the nicest places we stayed in Taiwan in terms of decor, though it also cost us slightly more at NTD2,300 per night, inclusive of breakfast. Didn't regret staying here though as I really love the room we stayed in, and there was also a small adjoining balcony/room from which we could enjoy the view of Jiufen.

The owners of the minsu had informed us that most of the shops in Jiufen Old Street would close by around 8 or 9 pm, so we rushed out  to explore the place before it got too late. As usual, bought a variety of food for dinner as we walked along the streets in Jiufen. Really, really love the Yu Yuan!! It was springy and really, really good...blissfully good =)

1. Fruit juice in Doraemon shaped bottle..cute!!     2.Yu Yuan     3. Wild Boar Sausage     4. Jiufen Old Street
5. Sunset in Jiufen     6. Rou Yuan     7. Fishballs     8. Squid Ink Sausage
Spent some time wandering around the area, but the shops there mainly sell food and souvenirs. When we were walking there, really felt like we had gone back in time, with all the old-fashioned shops and small alleys there =) Didn't really manage to catch the sunset, though, as we were somewhere near the middle of Jiufen Old Street at the time.

1. Purchases in Keelung     2. Mai Ya Tang     3. Souvenirs for home
Headed back to our minsu once the shops there started to close for the day. As usual, couldn't resist taking a photo of all my purchases during the day. Didn't get any clothes that day but still got some accessories as well as some souvenirs for home =)

After that, settled down to watch TV in our room. Can't believe the number of channels they have there. We were switching back and forth between different channels and were even watching several dramas at the same time ^.^

Taiwan Day 1: Shihlin Night Market

Finally, after the long anticipation, we were headed to Taiwan on a bright Saturday morning. I had originally bought the return air tickets during an Air Asia promotion for only RM300 in November 2009.

Having spent approximately four and a half hours on the plane, we finally reached Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at around 3 in the afternoon!! Eager and excited, we first got our Taiwan Youth Card at the tourist information counter which was right in front of the arrival hall. Then we went to get ourselves a SIM card for our phone (NTD345) and also a bus ticket to Taipei Main Station (NTD90).

1. Going to Taipei Main Station on Da You Bus     2. A school we passed by on the way     3. Taipei Main Station

Doesn't the school just look pretty? I wish our schools here looked as nice, or could have studied in Taiwan. Guess it's a bit too late for that now as I'm already long past that age =(  Took us about 1 hour to get to Taipei Main Station, where we got down and walked to the MRT. Originally wanted to buy the Easy Card but was advised against it by a lady we met there, who said it wasn't necessary.

We bought our tokens at the automated machine, which were really efficient. There are no counters selling these tokens, only these automated machines, unlike in Malaysia. Since most of the locals use their own card, there was never much of a queue when we needed to buy the tokens. Anyway, as it was our first day, we were unsure how to enter at the turnstile as we couldn't find the slot for the token. So embarassing, we were blocking the way there for ages, and with our big luggage too...

Anyway, finally found out we were supposed to tap the token to the sensor upon entering and finally, were on our way to Guting Station, where our hostel is located. I'd originally booked a room for two with Eight Elephants Hostel. However, they'd e-mailed me earlier to ask if they could upgrade us to bigger room in Dreaming Dragons Hostel as some of their current guests had extended their stay. Since they didn't charge us any extra, we of course didn't mind =p

I made all our reservations were made through this website (http://www.eehostel.com/), which also contains the directions to the hostel. For only NTD1,560 per night, the hostel is quite good value for money as it is less than 5 minutes walk to Guting Station and there are lots of shops nearby where we can buy food and drinks as well. Anyway, after checking in and getting our keys, we just left our luggage and went to take the MRT to Jiantan Station.

Directly opposite Jiantan Station, there's this food court with lots of stalls selling food and drinks. Of course, we had to go and fill our tummies before shopping, right? As we weren't sure which stall was better, we randomly chose whatever looks good, and these really did taste good ^.^

1. Ma La Chou To Fu     2. Shen Chau You Yu     3. O' Chien     4. Peanut Butter Pao Pao Ping
5. & 6. Can't remember the name of this, but it's gooooddd. Only know that this is the stall we bought it from    
7. Tang Hu Lu     8. Yu Zhi Gan
After we finished our food, we headed on to Shihlin Night Market, which was less than 3 minutes walk away. The amount and variety of things they sell here is amazing, there were clothes, shoes, accessories, bags, etc. And these were all very cheap too!!

1. My haul for the day     2. & 3. Our room in Dreaming Dragons Hostel
Apart from the bag which cost me NTD200, the other tops and dresses only cost me NTD170 and below each. So cheap, right? I think I'm getting spoiled now...how am I ever going to buy any clothes in Malaysia for this price?

Anyway, we headed back to the hostel around 11 something after we had our fill of the night market. Good thing as well, since our legs were already aching even though it was just our first day there.