Category Archives: Shopping

Taiwan trip 22 Dec – 4 Jan 2014 (Day 6)

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.

Our morning buffet breakfast at City Inn Hotel in Taichung

Our tasty buffet breakfast at City Inn Hotel in Taichung

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.

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

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.

Our lunch meal included in the tour package

Our lunch meal included in the tour package

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?

Arts in Paper boxes

Arts in Paper boxes

 

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.

image

The sheeps do not afraid of humans. They van be daring when comes for food. Another pic shows the horse performance stage. We skipped the performance.

Beautiful scenery at Cing Jing

Beautiful scenery at Cing Jing

Windmill and Sheeps at Cing Jing

Windmill and Sheeps at Cing Jing

 

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.

11

Zhonghua Night Market

image

Zhonghua Night Market is a market for youngsters.. somewhat like Ximenting though.

image

Enjoyed walking at Zhonghua Night Market. By the way, we loved the banana chocolate crepes.. yummm

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….

 

 

 

Advertisements

Taiwan trip 22 Dec – 4 Jan 2014 (Day 4)

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.

Dart game stall

Dart game stall

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 😐

Danshui ice-cream

Danshui 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.

Rainy day

Rainy day

Rainy day

Rainy day

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 .

Hot pot

Sky Soup Hot Pot Restaurant – Menu

Individual Bowl

Hot Pot on Individual Bowl

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… 😀

Bangkok, Thailand 3 Days 2 Night (21 – 23 Feb 2014)

This is my third time travelling to Bangkok.  Although it was a short vacation however, it was a fulfilling trip as I went to a few places that not many tourists had gone to.  We went to explore the inner Bangkok for 3 days 2 nights between 21 and 23 Feb 2014.

It was a planned trip since Dec 2013. We booked the Jetstar air tickets and accommodation as well which is located at the central Bangkok.  But we were indecisive of whether should we proceed our plans to Bangkok when the protests were started in many areas in Bangkok since January 2014. Change of flight tickets was a problem because Jetstar would incur S$100 two ways for postpone flight details.  Hence two persons would incur charges of S$200!  We decided to go on as planned as the penalty by Jetstar was too expensive, we might as well use the money on accommodation and to stay further away from the protest areas.

We monitored the situation in Bangkok every day.  The situation became bad to worse.  There were bombings happened in many parts in Bangkok.  Due to this we stayed further from Bangkok central still with easy access via BTS station. We booked 31 Suite Boutique hotel near Phrom Pong BTS which is one station away from the protest site, Asok.

We are happy with the hotel. The hotel is considered a budget hotel with essential room and hotel facilities. It was a pleasant comfortable stay for two nights.

image

Deluxe twin 31 Suite Boutique Hotel

image

image

Comfortable and cosy

image

image

Closure of Central World. Protesters camps in the middle of the road

image

Road closure

This itinerary trip was to stay away from the Bangkok city.

Day 1: Chatuchak Market & Chocolate Ville

This was our 3rd trip to Bangkok within 2 years.  Our last trip, we did not visit Chatuchak market.  As soon we arrived Bangkok at 11am, we immediately leave our luggage in the hotel and went to the market which every Friday is wholesale day.  There are good and bad to go on the wholesale day.  The good side, there were so much less people especially tourists.  The down side was most of the garment shops were closed.  There are two MRT stations or known as BTS stations to reach Chatuchak Market.  You may alight at Mo Chit BTS station and take about 5 minutes walking distance.  Another option is you can change train at Mo Chit BTS to Kamphaeng Phet BTS station.  Kamphaeng Phet BTS lead you to direct entrance of Chatuchak Market.

image

Chatuchak Market Pottery

image

Chatuchak Market Pottery 2

image

Chatuchak Market Bags

If its your first time visiting Chatuchak Market, it would be best for you to go on weekends as all shops open.  Although the market opens at 6am-6pm but I would advise you to arrive at around 8-9am so that most shops open at that time.

After the Chatuchak Market, we scheduled to go to Chocolate Ville (CV).  CV is a theme park, No not the theme parks that there are rides available.   The uniqueness of CV is it has got nothing to do with Chocolate ingredients at all.  The buildings and architectures are in the oldies of American and British themes.   CV operates at 4pm to 12am every day where there are many picturesque scenes for photo shooting and also a high end of dining experience (Western & Thai food).  There is only one restaurant there.  The restaurant tends to be very crowded, so to ensure you get a table, make sure you reserve a table one or two days before you plan to dine there.  You may make reservation at CV’s facebook page.  So how to get there?

For us, we travelled to CV by taxi as it is the only means of transport.  Outside the Mo Chit BTS there are many taxis on queue to pick up passengers.  We took one of the taxis to Chocolate Ville.   Make sure you have a printed Chocolate Ville map with you to show to the taxi driver.  Even though they are Taxi Drivers but does not mean they know the place as the place is pretty outskirt.

Also ensure when taking a taxi, ask the driver if he use meter or flat rate.  Leave the taxi if he charge on flat rate.   Meter charges are always cheaper than the flat rate.  Our meter transport to CV cost only THB145 with 45 minutes journey include traffic jam.  Of course, travelling from city centre may cost more as the location is further than Mo Chit BTS.  Returning from CV may have trouble due to limited taxis available.  However, not to worry, if you leave early, there shouldn’t be any problem getting a taxi.  We arrived about 4:30pm and left at 8pm.  We walked out to the main road and there were already 3 taxis waiting, unfortunately all charges us flat rate.  A taxi driver charged us THB400 going back to Mo Chit BTS.  We managed to bargain and reduce the price to THB350 which was still double rate than the meter fare. Darn!  The taxi driver was quite reluctantly to reduce the price claiming there were traffic congestion which we found it was not bad after all. Therefore I would advise you to go early and leave early taxis from CV are limited.  CV is not a touristic place but for locals where most of the locals travel by car.

image

image

image

image

image

image

Tom yam soup and soft shell crab salad

image

Spare ribs, restaurant recommended dish

image

Chocolate Ville at Night

image

Chocolate Ville at night

So if you are also planning to go to Chatuchak Market and Chocolate Ville, just like us, you may consider to go to Chatuchak Market in the late morning.  But beware that Bangkok can be really hot in the afternoon.  Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and stay hydrated.

Day 2: Chinatown, Sampeng Lane, Pak Khlong Talat, Asiatique and Terminal 21

Chinatown is our next place in our itinerary.  We had been to Chinatown before, it’s just that in order to go to Sampeng Lane, we need to bypass Chinatown which is along Yaowarat Road.  Sampeng Lane is another wholesale market.  The nearest BTS station to Chinatown is Hua Lamphong.  However, we encountered “helpful” by passer twice. Once was in my first trip and now again.  They volunteered to be helpful to guide lady travellers for direction even they were not been approached.  Lady travellers travelling alone or two are best to ignore them as we do not know their motives.  Thailand is well known with black magic.  On this trip, we were approached by a security uniform man who speaks English.  Though we were not harm but better be safe than sorry.  If we want to ask questions, the best people to ask are staff working in 7-Eleven, those working in cafes or by passers who are youngsters.  Although these people may have the difficulty to converse in English at least they do not have motives and they are genuine.

Along Yaowarat road we saw they were market with crowded of people.  We took a left turn.  The road led us to Soi Wanit 1 Road.  Retails and stalls, and fruit stalls are often seen.

image

Soi Wanit 1 market

image

Soi Wanit 1 Market

Walking straight along Soi Wanit 1, we finally arrived Sampeng Lane.  The lane is very narrow and the retails are very near to each other.  Sampeng Lane has very big crowds of locals.  Human congestion!  You can find many wholesale items.  Make sure your belongings are safe at all times as you know pickpockets appear at crowded places.  We just walked half of Sampeng Lane due to the crowd. 

We continued to the Yaowarat Road which already the end of the Chinatown Road to have a break at KFC restaurant.

Walking further about 10 minutes from KFC, we finally arrived Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market). We had never seen so many flowers before. And more over the red roses were so cheap. Only THB50 for two dozens of roses or maybe more. There are other flowers such as carnations, orchids and flowers for prayers. It was a great experience eventhough we did not buy any flowers.

image

Beautiful roses

image

image

Carnation flowers

image

Flower Market

The flower market is very near to Victory Monument Pier, where we took Chao Phraya ferry ride to Sathorn Taksin Pier for to transfer to a free shuttle ferry boat to Asiatique. Public ferry ride on Chao Phraya river is a very convenient transportation for the tourists and as well for the locals. You may make any stops however, please beware in order to differentiate which ferry to take, people identify them on the flag colour of the ferry boat and the directions.  There are green, blue, yellow and orange maybe more others.  

image

Chao Phraya ferry boat charges

Some are tourist ferry boats.  The lowest cost where the ferry stops at each Pier would be the Orange flag.  Orange flag cost only THB15 per person.   Just enter the ferry boat, probably you may see many people enters the boat.

image

Arrival of the orange flag ferry boat.

 No worries although you do not have tickets with you.  Soon you will hear a lady ferry conductor came from nowehere. She will shake her collected coins in the metal container to get your attention that she is here to collect money for tickets. The conductor could not identify whether you had already paid for tickets but this is based on thrust.  Just ask how much for a ticket.  Other colours of flag may skip on certain piers as some are express ferry boats.

Coincidently once we arrived Sathorn Taksin Pier, the Asiatique ferry boat arrived.  Need not to wait.  Asiatique is a shopping mall converted from warehouses.  It is a very interesting mall that it has got the similarity with the Red Brick Warehouse in Hakodate, Hokkaido where originally the buildings were used for trading but now it has converted to shopping centre.

image

We finally arrived!

 I guess Asiatique imitated the idea from Red Brick Warehouse.  Do not go early because the Asiatique opens at 5pm to midnight.

image

Asiatique Back Entrance

image

Large ferry wheel

Asiatique have various shops available such as clothings, home decor items, jewellery accessories, accessories for doggies, eyewears, arts and more.

image

Interesting bottle opener

There are also many restaurants there such as Western, Thai, and Japanese cuisine. After walking and shopping for some time, since we in Thailand, we always chose Thai food – we selected a restaurant called Yum Saap. I often see this restaurant in other malls.  We tried and the food was good plus the price were reasonable.

image

image

Crispy Salad

image

Green Curry Chicken Noodle

image

Rice noodle seafood soup

image

Tom yam creamy soup

To get back to the city centre, just take a return Asiatique ferry boat and back to Sathorn Taksin Pier.  The Saphan Taksin BTS station is just right infront the pier.

As this was our last evening to spend in Bangkok, eventhough our foots were breaking apart.. and since my watch says 8:30pm, we made a one last stop at Terminal 21.  When we arrived at BTS Asok, there were big crowd of protesters seen gathering at road junction and they were watching big screen projector.  Large Thailand flags were seen waving. Speech were given by one of the protester leaders.  Anyway, as long they guai guai sat there and don’t make any mess,.. Bangkok is still peaceful for tourists to visit.  

image

Bangkok protest site (Asok main junction)

We took  an hour brief walk around the mall and we went to Gourmet Market (Lower Ground Floor) to get some snacks and also for our tomorrow’s breakfast.  We bought salad for tomorrow’s breakfast.  Well, gotta eat healthy after many heavy eatings in Bangkok. The unique of the salad, you can pick any dishes available.  Once you picked the selections into a bowl, give it to a staff near the salad counter.  She will weight and pack for you.  If I’m not wrong, my bowl of salad was around THB100.

image

Salad for breakfast

Day 3: Benjasiri Park and Au Bon Pain cafe

We woke up early so we still have a bit of time to take a short walk nearby our hotel before we head to the airport.  The nearest shopping mall is Emporium which that time it was yet to open.  Beside the Emporium there is a park called Benjasiri Park.  There were many Japanese expatriates exercise at the park.  All of a sudden at that moment I felt i was in Sapporo Park. There was a large pond and the pond has got many tortoises.  If you have children, do bring some breads along to feed the hungry tortoises.

Just opposite the Benjasiri Park there is an American cafe called Au Bon Pain.  Too bad this cafe chain is not available in Singapore and Malaysia.   We ordered Caramel Latte and Ice Blended Green Tea.  The ice-blended was good but not the Caramel Latte as it was tasteless.  Anyway, you can give a try on other drinks.

image

Au bon pain cafe

It was a full filling trip as this trip we explored some new places such as Chocolate Ville, Sampeng Lane, Soi Wanit 1 and Pak Khlong Talat (Flower Market).

ILUMA, Victoria Street (Singapore)

We were at this Bugis Junction and saw a new building opposite.

LUMINA, was a quick glimpse from afar of this new shopping complex opposite the Bugis Junction.  The name of this building is very small, and I was so confident and betting with my friend that the name of this complex is LUMINA and she bet for ILUMA for a meal. Dang!  I lost…

Doesn’t the name similar with LUNA the Staedtler coloured pencil or Illama?

In fact, no name is indicated inside the building.

ILUMA is the name....

ILUMA is the name....

Cool design....

Cool design....

Entrance..nice right?

Entrance..nice right?

Lets check the inside….. 50% of the shops were opened.  And most of them opened in just a week or two.  So i guessed all shops be opened in 2 months time.

Look up....

Look up....

Inside...

Inside...

Inside stalls

Inside stalls

There are 5 floors –  cinema, restaurants, fashioned clothing and etc.

I like this restaurant, called Empire State located at 4th floor… Something like New York New York but in a cute way..when we were there, it wasn’t open yet.  Maybe you can try…….it is going to be in operation soon.

Empire State.. the monkey is the king kong..

Empire State.. the 'monkey' on plane, is King Kong..

Empire State Mini Burger

Empire State Mini Burger

And lastly…….

The King Kong's wife... QUEEN KONG!!! GRRRAHHH!!!

King Kong's wife... QUEEN KONG!!! GRRRAHHH!!!

Jurong Point

I don’t really like to talk about Shopping Malls in Singapore.. because all the malls in Singapore are almost the same.

I think this will be my last time writing about malls in Singapore unless there are some unique ones i may visit.

I went to this Jurong Point…The mall is located exactly at the Boon Lay MRT station.  The mall has expanded and is very large now.