Monthly Archives: March 2014
Day 6: Taichung – Chung Tai Chan Monastery – Cing Jing – Zhonghua Night Market
If you have heard Cing Jing before. Yep yep! We went to Cing Jing for a day trip! No regrets!
But how do we get there? We joined a day tour to Cing Jing. Hassle free trip.
Well, I did spend some time doing research on how to get there independently from Taichung city to Cing Jing (vice-versa). However, many forums and sites we were unsure if its reliable. Different people says different thing. There wasn’t any firm answer. Besides, there wasn’t any transport back to Taichung in evening. There was an indicative of the last bus back to Taichung from Cing Jing, but we afraid we will miss the bus or the bus may be full?
As we only want to spend a day trip there, leave in morning and back in the evening. Taking public transport to Cing Jing was not easy as there is a bus transfer in Puli even when return back to Taichung. If we miss the bus in Puli to Cing Jing or the bus did not arrive punctually, we definitely waste our time. We also found that Cing Jing is a kind of like a Resort place. Most tourists overnight in Cing Jing. Very rare tourists like us would only spend a day trip there.
The reason we do not overnight is because, there isn’t anything to do at night in Cing Jing. We would rather stay in Taichung city to continue with our good exploration in the night market or at the city streets.
Cing Jing located in the highlands. Clouds, many hills, scenic and land filled with sheeps are the words to describe the place.
How do we get the tour? There are not many travel agencies offer day trip when google search. We joined the tour when we arrived in the City Inn Hotel. We looked at the brochures available at the hotel lobby. Definitely there are travel agency brochures that offer day tour. Apologise again that I forgotten how much for the day tour to Cing Jing. Never thought I would need to write a blog report about my trip >.<
The trip was marvelous. The van came to fetch us from our hotel at 9am. Beside us joined, a group of family members from Hong Kong joined too. It was about 8 tour members in the coach. We had a quick breakfast in the hotel. The interior design of the dining area was pretty modern and interesting.. I enjoyed the cosy of the dining area and the variant of the food…. loved it.
The tour did not bring us direct to Cing Jing. The tour also brought us to a monastery called Chung Tai Chan Monastery. The monastery is located in Puli town between Taichung City and Cing Jing. It has got a very large building that looks abit like a castle to me with many large sculptures in the building.
After the visit we proceeded to Cing Jing. The road is uphill and winding. Along the hill the scenery was so beautiful as if we were in a European country. The van alighted us at a resort where we had our lunch there which was included in the tour package. The guide asked us what we would like to have, fish, beef, seafood or chicken. Well we chose beef and seafood. Beef in noodle, and seafood in fried rice. Salad was a side dish that we can eat all we want.
Well, the lunch meal was so-so. Nothing really fantastic though…
Our tour guide brought us to visit the art boxes decor…. Ok. Pretty interesting. I find that Taiwanese have the talents in art though. Don’t you think?
After the shops visit and art boxes, we then proceeded with our visit in Cing Jing. We were stunned of the beauty scenes in Cing Jing. There were lots of sheeps and we were above the clouds. The journey from Taichung to Cing Jing although it was pretty far, around 2-3 hours drive – the visit really worth for the long journey.
There were shows too.. horse performance. But we did not watch the performance as we were too busy exploring the scenic view and snapping of photos. We skipped the performance.
Along the pathway, we arrived to the stalls where we supposed to meet our tour guide there. There were stalls selling fruits and snacks… Once all members arrived, we back to our van and headed back to the Taichung City. We requested to drop us at Zhonghua Night Market as we heard that it was another night market that recommended to go.
Guess what? We enjoyed walking at Zhonghua Night Market than Fengjia Night Market. Why? Because it is a youngster night market where we find different than the usual night markets and what we really like most was it is a combination of shopping centres and food stalls. It is something like Ximenting but there were more stalls than Ximenting though. The weather was cool. We went into the shopping centres for shoppings and also had a cup of coffee when we felt the cold weather was unbearable and out when we looked for food. Zhonghua Night Market was actually recommended by a lady where we were seated in the same cable car to Maokong Gondola. We had a chat and she was from Taichung. She was the one recommended us to visit Zhonghua Night Market that she said it’s a must visit night market in Taichung. and Yes! we glad we met her and glad we did!
If you are traveling to Taichung, you can miss Fengjia Night Market but definitely not Zhonghua Night Market. The good news is the night market is not far from Taichung Train Station. Walking distance about 10 minutes walk.
We also glad that we did not plan to stay a night in Cing Jing in our itinerary. As you know, there wouldnt be anything to do in Cing Jing at night. We might as well, spend the evening in the Taichung city and have a good walk in Zhonghua Night Market. 😛
It was a tiresome and fulfilled day.
So.. what’s our next day schedule? Stay tuned….
Day 5: Taichung – Miyahara – Gaomei Wetland – Fengjia Night Market
We woke up really early to make sure we able to reach Taipei Main Station by 9am. Thanks to my brother-in-law for waking up early to send us to the Qilian Metro station at 7am. Pai seh pai seh…
We took TRA train and not THSR for money saving. Well, not really a budget travelling trip but due to the 2 weeks long trip, money should be spend wisely. This was what we usually eat in our breakfast from 7-Eleven ready made breakfast. Just heat-up in the microwave.
Hours in the train was pretty bored…
Although it took about 2 hours 15 minutes to arrive Taichung Train Station. The price of the ticket is TWD$375 = S$15.60 (one way). To be safe, if your itinerary is taking train on the peak hour, it is best to purchase the tickets in advanced either through TRA website or to purchase at least the day before departure at the TRA ticket counter. TRA ticket counters can be found in all the TRA stations. As for us, we had purchased the tickets before we left Singapore. 😛
We saw MOS Burger Restaurant in the Taichung Train Station, so we gave it a try to check out if there were any differences with the MOS in Singapore. Well, indeed there were differences. They do have special festive burger for Christmas season such as Turkey Burger. But we did not order that, we ordered the Bacon Beef Egg Burger and a cup of green tea with milk. Both were fairly good… but i feel green tea with milk was poured too much though. :S
After our so called early lunch, we walked to our hotel. It took about 7 minutes walk from the train station and we arrived CityInn Hotel. The hotel was fairly new. We met only one group of Singaporeans staying in this hotel.. Most of the customers were from Hong Kong.
Let’s check out the room…
The room is indeed small. The bathroom is pretty large. We were happy with the room, as we felt even though the room is small but we really satisfied with the cleanliness. What added point most was the hotel is fairly new. Moreover, it is a very considerate hotel… complete toiletries set were provided and an additional item also provided such as condom.
If you are planning to visit Taichung, I strongly recommend you to stay in this hotel only if you do not mind small room. Check out the hotel for more info by clicking here…
As soon we left our luggage in the room, we commenced our Taichung exploration. If you have the time, there are many things to see and walk in Taichung city. But for us, our time was limited. Here a glance of how Taichung city like….
About 15 minutes of walking distance from the hotel, we arrived Miyahara. A dessert, tea and ice-cream parlour in cool library setting. We tried the milk tea and the ice-cream. Milk tea was ok. But the ice-cream was yummmm…. superb!
If i am not wrong, Miyahara used to be an Ophthalmology (Eye care clinic) Clinic Centre. It has now converted to a cafe. For more details, you can click here to go to their website.
We walked back to our hotel for a little break and saw taxis were waiting near to the exit entrance at the back door of Taichung Train Station. As that time the day was getting late, we were 50%-50% indecisive whether to go to the place we planned to go which was Gaomei Wetland. This place was recommended by my brother-in-law as it was a must go place. According to him Gaomei Wetland is located at the seaside and large windmills are in sight as well. It is a good day trip if kids are to bring along because little crabs were frequently appeared. And always the sea tide is low all the time hence the water is always shallow. People can walk really far out to the beach and catching crabs.
Yes, we finally made the decision to go, but the time was already 3:30pm. The back door of Taichung Train Station which was next to City Inn Hotel (taichung), taxis were often seen there waiting for passengers. We were trying our luck to ask for flat rate price from the taxi driver. Apologise that we have forgotten the price of the taxi fare paid. If you are interested to go, you can ask two or three taxi rates. The flat rate to Gaomei Wetland won’t cost you a bomb as the taxi rate where we found was quite reasonable. As for two-way (return trip) price. Of course, do not call taxi from the hotel, the price for taxi from the hotel are usually higher than you flag your own. Definitely. In fact there are plenty of taxis in Taichung.
Ok, the journey from Taichung city to Gaomei Wetland was pretty far. It took about 1.5-2 hours journey. By the time we reached Gaomei Wetland, the sky was getting dark.. and we quickly jumped out from the taxi and walk out for taking photos. The taxi driver were waited for us. Oh… make sure your price of the taxi is a return journey so that the taxi driver will wait for you to send you back to Taichung city. This is because getting a taxi in Gaomei Wetland was hard. Hardly seen any taxi pass-by though.
Gaomei Wetland should look better than my pictures taken below. The reason because going to Gaomei in January was not a good month. So it is best not to go during winter time unless you have no choice just like us. Travel in January, the wind was so strong, we almost blown away… and no crabs seen. The sea tide was closed to the bay…. Fortunately, although nothing really experience as what my brother-in-law mentioned, but we still enjoyed ourselves due to the strong wind and the coldness! Hahaha!
We walked for an hour and went back to our taxi where the driver was waiting for us at a Chinese Temple. Indeed an experience for us! Best! If you would like to go to Gaomei Wetland, I would recommend you to go not on winter time at around 3pm. If you are going during Winter time, please go early. As you know, during winter time, the sun sets 2 hours early than usual! You may go in the morning or early afternoon when the sky was bright but not sunny. For more information about Gaomei Wetland click here 🙂 You may also google Gaomei Wetland images. There are plenty of nice scenery pics.
Well, instead of dropping us back to City Inn hotel, we asked our taxi driver to drop us at Fengjia Night Market. So that we can get our dinner and have a night market walk there.
Indeed after all the makan “eating” of food food food in Fengjia Night Market, well it’s time to head back to the hotel. Feng Jia Night Market to City Inn it’s not convenient though, the taxi fare roughly around S$8-10.
It was indeed an exciting day out on our first day in Taichung…. We stayed for 3 days 2 nights in Taichung, so what’s next for tomorrow in Taichung…?
To be continued…..
Day 4: Danshui
As we a were leaving to our trip on the next day. We spent a little more time with my sister and family before embarking to cities outside Taipei.
We went to Danshui as it was not far from Beitou. Danshui is located at the last/first stop of Danshui Line (Red line). We were out during the day time by taking the Metro train from Qilian to Danshui. It was indeed an enjoyable outing for us and also for my nieces. Danshui attraction and shopping are just located at the Metro station.
There are two stretch of road. One is facing the sea where many game stalls were available. My nieces love to play these. Dart game. Hitting the balloons are easy.
Along the road there are a few stalls sell ice-cream. Similar with the Hokkaido ice-cream we had but of course the taste was not as good as the real hokkaido ice-cream 😐
We did not hang out at the Danshui for long because it was a rainy shower in Taiwan. Moreover, it was hard to shop in the rainy day and kids were tagging along.
We did shop a few things there. I bought a Skecher shoes which was indeed cheap! In Singapore, you could never find shoes selling range from S$50-80. They do have varieties of design – Sports and casual. Phone covers, phone plugs, cute hats, peanuts (famous), steel eggs, clothings are only some delicacy items in Danshui.
As tomorrow we are leaving Taipei for Taichung… guess it was better to spend abit more time at home with my sis and family 😛
Dinner Hot Pot! Hot Pot is a popular dish in Taipei. My sis brought us to a Hot Pot restaurant called Sky Soup. Literally translated from 天汤 .
Is good to eat when the weather is cold. The restaurant is similar with Shabu Shabu in Singapore.
天汤 address and location of the restaurant:
111台湾台北市士林區 (忠誠路二段188號B1), 士林區, 111
What’s next in our Day 5 in Taiwan??? Click here to find out… 😀
Trying to get my blog organised. Guess it’s better to separate my each day posting as if not it tend to be very long in my 2 weeks journey. 😉
Day 3: Maokong Gondola – Taipei Main Station
Yeah… we did not go to many places on our third day in Taiwan because it was a Christmas Eve day. We required to get back home by evening.
Maokong Gondola is located at the highlander of Taipei City. It’s a quiet and relaxation attraction where numerous tea houses can be found there. There are also restaurants available where sitting at the edge for lunch is indeed meaningful and peace while of course enjoying the view. Click here if you need more information about Maokong Gondola.
We arrived at Metro Taipei Zoo around 12 noon. A short 5-7 minutes walking distance to the cable car station known as Taipei Zoo Station. Single journey ticket price is NT$50. Easycard is accepted. We purchased at the ticket counter did not realise that Easy card is accepted until we had purchased them. The journey was approximately 30 minutes to arrive the Maokong Station.
Once arrived we grabbed some food to eat. Diagonal opposite the station, there were stalls selling some local food. We took a break before adventuring the area.
We walked in to a few tea houses to check out the suitability. We walked further along the road and there are more tea houses and restaurants.
We chosen Maokong Teahouse as it looked cosy to us. The teahouse also sells their own tea in metal containers and in packets. This is the one..
The prices of the tea sets ranges from NT$150 to NT$350 depending on the type of tea and some sets comes with cookies too.
It was pretty cool sitting here with the taiwanese locals enjoying a cuppa tea. Tummy felt warm in the cold weather.
As said, Maokong Gondola is a place for peace, relaxation and quiet. It is a recommended place to visit with friends and couples who enjoys quiet walk and drink in the afternoon… Not for family with kids.
Right after our visit, we race home as it was near to evening. We spent roughly about 4 hours at Maokong Gondola.
As it was a Christmas Eve day, we decided to buy a cake for my sister and family who is celebrating the Christmas Day. We went back to Taipei Main Station to search for cakes and found this shop tend to have a very long queue. The shop is called Uncle Tetsu’s Cheese Cake where only limit 1 piece of cake of customers (if i’m not mistaken). The cake looks ordinary cheese cake to us, but it do have the quality taste. It cost NT$199 per cake.
Christmas Eve 2013 was definitely special to us. Instead spending Christmas season either in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. It was definitely a memorable dinner for us.
Although it was a simple meal but it was fun particularly spending time with my sister and family. And who else eager to join us the celebration???…. He was watching us…..
Well indeed Odie is an adorable dog but he is a crazy, never keep himself calm and really playful dog. Sorry Odie, you are a ransacker dog,.. you got to stay away from entering the house. Not to worry, Odie has personal heater, so that he is always keep himself warmed during the cold season.
Click here for our Day 4 travel fun in Taiwan… 😀
We travelled to Taiwan once before. That time was 2009 and Taipei city was the only place we visited. It has been 4 years since our first trip. We went to attractions Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, Taipei Zoo, Shilin Night Market, and Ximenting. However, on this trip, we were looking forward to travel elsewhere instead of Taipei city alone. Hope you able to get a few good tips from my journey!
Day 1: Singapore – Taipei
The arrival of Taipei city We booked Cathay Pacific (CX) airlines 5 months before the departure from SIN-HKG-TPE due to promotion by the airline. Without hesitation, we booked the tickets! However the only hassle for booking CX was we required to transit for an hour or so in Hong Kong. It was a large plane with seat configuration of 3-4-3. In fact the plane was fairly new.
Accommodation for two weeks could actually cut our throats. Fortunately my sister is living and working in Taipei city itself. Hence, I saved the cost for the accommodation only at Taipei city. 😀 When we arrived Taipei airport, it was in the evening around 6pm. We were welcomed to Taipei home which was located at Wellington Heights. The nearest Metro train station is Qilian.
Although the according to the Metro station, Qilian looks far from the city. However, it was not far at all. It only takes 25 minutes to arrive the Taipei Main Station byMetro train. On the arrival day, the weather was cooling. The temperature was around 15-20 degree Celsius and sad to say, it was raining.
Day 2: Thermal Valley (Beitou) – Taipei Main Station – Wufenpu – Raohe Night Market
On our 2nd day of arrival, my brother-in-law gave us a first glimpse of their home’s nearby attractions. The nearest attraction is Thermal Valley, its not for hot spring bathing but its a source of supply for Beitou Hot Spring. It is a pond of hot spring with lots of steams surrounded with rocky paths. Strong sulfuric smells. Thermal Valley is located nearest station Xinbeitou which is also near the resorts for Beitou Hot Spring. I’m not too sure if there are public buses travels to the Thermal Valley. However, flagging a taxi to Thermal Valley is not expensive because it only takes about 5-8 minutes ride winding uphill road, roughly about 2-3 km from Xinbeitou station.
After the visit of the Thermal Valley, we were dropped at Xinbeitou Metro Station. Certainly, make a purchase of Metro Easy Card (Easylink card in Singapore) prior taking Metro transport. Easy card can be purchased at any Metro stations for adult cost NT$500 (Value of the card NT$400 and NT$100 card deposit). Metro Easy Card also available to purchase at convenience stores such as 7-ELEVEN, FamilyMart, Hi-Life and OK. Purchase at the convenience store cost different from purchasing at the Metro train stations. It cost NT$200 for purchase with the value of NT$100 and NT$100 card deposit.
Our second visit was Taipei Main Station. It is large station with the accessibility of TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration), THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) and Metro interchange. The station is busy with many exits and underground accessibility. The directions boards given were quite confusing. It took three times for us to get familiar of walking the Taipei Main Station. The station consists of many levels of undergrounds and two levels of buildings (If I was not wrong). There are many bakery stalls and shops at the ground level. Food section is at the 1st floor, a very large food court that served Western, Eastern and Local cuisines. As we in Taiwan, certainly we try the Taiwanese local food. Yummm….
From the Taipei Main Station – we took a Metro train to the wholesale garment market in Taipei, place known as Wufenpu. The nearest Metro station is Houshanpi. About 7 minutes short walk to the wholesale market. When we were there, it was drizzling. Darn. As you know, it’s winter season in Taiwan, hence most of the wholesale shops sells winter clothes. We only gotten 2 pieces of clothes there. We arranged to go to Wufenpu reason because we did not bring enough winter clothings. The winter clothings cost NT$250-500 depending of the quality. Ensure bargain with sellers.
While shopping, we felt hungry.. We arrived at Formosa Chang (the logo is a bearded man) for light taiwanese meal. Formosa Chang is a Taiwanese fast food restaurant that have many branches in various of outlets in Taiwan.
After eating and more shopping, we walk further to Raohe Night Market for dinner by by-passing Songshan Railway Station. It took us about 10-13 minutes walk from Wufenpu. Moreover it was raining… sigh. It was cumbersome when holding umbrella and camera at the same time. When we arrived Raohe Night Market, 30% of the stalls were not opened due to the rain. But we managed to eat some local food there and one of them was Taiwan Bak Kut Teh. Interesting…
Yeah… adding to that we tried out other food. Bought back for somemore, the black pepper crabs and BBQ of Oyster egg. Raohe Night Market sells food more than clothings and accessories. Maybe because of the raining thats why they were closed? I guess the night market specialises food.
Getting back to Taipei Main Station and back to Metro Qilian station, from the night market we walked back to Songshan Railway Station where we by-passed earlier and not to Houshanpi station as the walking distance is much further. We purchased ticket from the ticket machine for TRA train to Taipei Main Station.
Yawn! Indeed a tiring day! To continue on our Day 3 travel outing… click here.