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.