霞女之旅

Xia's Journey

Taiwan Summer Diary 台湾夏日游 – Day 1: Taipei City

on September 12, 2013

Day 1 : 23 Aug 2013, Friday ~ Taipei City

To         :      23 August 2013, Fri, 0.55am, SCOOT TZ 202.

Return  :      30 August 2013, Fri, 3.35pm, SCOOT TZ 201.

Costs    :       S$432 with 20kg check-in luggage.

SCOOT Air Ticket 23 – 28 Aug 2013        :       $382      >>    Total Cost = S$432

Extension 29 – 30 Aug 2013                    :         $50

Some months back, Carren mentioned visiting Taiwan to shoot Daylilies (金针) and asked if I was keen. I was thinking ‘Why not?’ since it had been 9 years ago when I did a one week stop-over in Taiwan.

With that, we proceeded to make the necessary arrangements and managed to ‘con’ two of our guy friends to join us. The four of us (Carren, Jason, Rictor & myself) met up very briefly for a dinner and to run through our plans and itinerary about one month prior to the trip.

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Our first date : )

We set our trip from 23rd till 30th August as daylilies in Taiwan, Hua Lian were only in bloom during the Aug / Sept months. As the flowers have short blooming periods of 1 to 5 weeks, we decided to take our chance despite that it was their typhoon period.

Scouring through the many airlines, I suggested to SCOOT to Taiwan on a mid-night flight thinking that we could catch some winks on-board and be all ready for our adventures the next morning. A little too ambitious, I think… Haahaa.. 🙂

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New Travel Victims for the next 8 days! The two guys too camera-shy for pics.

As we took off at 0055 hours, it was way past my bed time. My eyelids were droopy and heavy. However, as soon as I got on-board, I could hardly get myself knocked out as the seats were upright, uncomfy and there was little leg room.

I did not have a good night rest and got off the flight looking like an escaped panda from the Zoo. I had vouched not to take another midnight flight again!

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Flight at 0055 hours. ZZZzzzzz….

We arrived Tao Yuan International Airport  桃園國際機at 5.15am, cleared the customs, collected our luggages, and boarded the 6.40am Kuo Kuang Ke Yun 国光客  bus costing NT $125 (per pax) to get to the city.

It was a one-hour ride, or did I say sleep? Hahaa… I slept more soundly in this one hour than the past five hours collectively on-board.

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Arrives Taipei Tao Yuan International Airport. Love the architectural designs of this airport.

It was bright and sunny when we got off the bus and as we lugged our luggages in search for our accommodation, we began to start peeling off our sweaters and jackets. It was as warm, if not warmer than in Singapore! *Sweat Sweat*…

We got to our accommodation, deposited our luggages, washed up and changed out before embarking on our day’s adventure.

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Boarded the Kuo Kuang Bus to get to Taipei city.

Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿

Carren had done some research prior and being a foodie, she had drawn up a list of foodie haunts to check off.

Our first attack was to get to Hua Shan Market 华山市to savour the in-famous Dou Jiang You Tiao 豆浆油.

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Hua Shan Market

When we got to the site, I had a shock when I saw the queue. When I walked further in and up to the second level, only then did I realise that what I had just saw was only the tail end of the queue! View video below.

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If you think this is long. Wait till you see the video below. This is only the tail end of the queue !

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You Tiao

After a 30 minutes wait, we had 3 warm Dou Jiang 豆浆, 1 cold Dou Jiang 豆浆, 1 salty Dou Jiang 豆浆, 1 glutinous rice 糯米 and one Jian Bing. The Verdict ?

Perhaps I was no gastronomy expert, I found the Dou Jiang 豆浆 average and nothing extra-ordinary. The You Tiao was really crunchy and crispy but a little too greasy though.

Felt that it was rather over-rated with all the extreme reviews and long queue.

IMG_1798

The 30 minutes wait Dou Jiang You Tiao

Name of Eatery

:

Fu Hang Dou Jiang, 阜杭豆漿

Cost of Meal

:

NT $256 (4 paxs)

Location

:

2nd Floor, Hua Shan Market 华山市

Operating Hours

:

5.30am to 10.30am daily.

How To Get Here

:

Take the Blue Line to SHANDAO TEMPLE 善導station. 

Use EXIT 5, the Hua Shan Market 华山市  is on your right.

:

By cab. Costs NT $70 from Taipei Main Station area. The cab charge starts at NT $70 for the first 1.5km and a jump of NT $5 for every 300 meters thereafter. An additional (midnight charge) of NT $20 from 11pm to 6am applies.

As we checked off the first foodie haunt, off we went back to Taipei Main Station 台北车in search of a SIM card for our mobile phones. We didn’t manage to find one as it was barely 10am and most shops were still not open at that hour.

We did however grab the adult EASYCARD to be used on Taipei’s Metro system since we will be moving around the city pretty often. We topped up the card with a NT $200 value and a NT $100 deposit.

With the EASYCARD, we enjoyed a 20% discount on each trip and a NT $8 discount when we transfer from Metro to bus or vice versa within an hour.

There were various types of cards as well; ranging from 1-day pass to 2-day pass, 3-day pass and 5-day pass etc. Click here for more infor.

EasyCard Metro

Taiwan Metro Card to be used on trains and buses

The National Palace Museum, 國立故宮博物院

After some futile searching for the SIM card, we gave up and hopped onto the train to SHILIN train station before catching a cab to The National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院.

The National Palace Museum has a collection of more than 696,000 pieces of ancient Chinese artifacts and artworks, making it one of the largest in the world. Their collection encompasses over 8,000 years of Chinese History from Neolithic age to Qing Dynasty.

HSH_7492

Since photography was prohibited in the museum and we were not very much historian fans, we decided to give it a pass and were contented enough to just shoot the exterior of the museum. We spent about an hour here before returning to the city to appease our now-growling stomachs.

HSH_7468

Mural at The National Palace Museum

Name of Attraction

:

The National Palace Museum 國立故宮博物院

Admission Charges

:

NT $160

Operating Hours

:

9.00am to 5.00pm daily.

Extended Hours

:

5.00pm to 8.30pm Saturdays only (Free Admission)

How To Get Here

:

Take the red line to SHILIN station.

Use EXIT 1, take bus R30 (Red 30) to the museum, or

Use EXIT 1, take cab (NT $115) to the museum.

Drained from the heat and exhaustion, we took a cab direct to Taipei city, Yong Kang street  永康街costing NT $260. It had been our No.1 priority to try the authentic Din Tai Feng 鼎泰豐 restaurant where it originated from. When we arrived at the restaurant, it was packed to the brim with the lunch crowd and we needed to wait 45 minutes in-line. We decided to forgo the wait and chanced upon this eatery; Du Hsiao Yueh 度小月, which was just around the corner. This eatery was also in our little black book and we decided to give it a shot.

Du Hsiao Yueh, 度小月

Du Hsiao Yueh 度小月 dates back to 1895 with their well-reputed Peddler’s noodles (Dan Zai Mian 擔仔麵). This popular snack / dish / meal can be found in almost every corner of the town with variations in noodles, soup and meat sauce.

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Du Hsiao Yueh resturant 度小月 with the nice archaic roof !

 A very interesting aspect of this restaurant was that the noodles were prepared right at the entrance where hungry customers walked in. The cook sat on a stool behind a brick stove to simmer and prepare the noodles. The noodles, soup and sauces were laid out at the stove for customers to review and decide what they would prefer. Once the customers step in and the aroma fills the air, there is no escape for the hungry customers.
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Aroma from the noodles prepared right at the entrance is a no escape once you step into this eatery.

There were different combinations to the noodles; dry or soup, the yellow Taiwan noodles 油麵, vermicelli 米粉or flat rice noodles 粿條. All three of my group mates took the traditional yellow Taiwan noodles. Suspecting that the yellow Taiwan noodles may have the yeast taste (as like in our local noodles,) I opted for the vermicelli instead.

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Looks gross ya, but this is the special sauce that is keeping the customers coming back for more.

Du Hsiao Yueh 01

My favorite meal on this trip.

The noodles cost NT $50 per serving, and they are petite – good enough for a bird-eater like me, but I can’t say the same for most guys. The noodles were cooked to perfection with the exact right amount of time; not too soggy, not too undercooked and with clean water so that there wasn’t the ‘flour residue feel’ lingering in our taste buds thereafter. The meat sauce had just the right amount of flavour; a tinge of sweetness in the sauce. It was just super yummzz. For ‘rice-lovers’, they also served ‘Rice with meat sauce’ 祖傳肉燥飯 at NT $30 per serving.

We ordered a couple of side dishes to supplement the “little-bird” noodle servings. We had a San Shu (vegetables),a fish belly soup and a deep-fried shrimp rolls 黃金蝦捲. The San Shu was delicious and reminded me of the Midin ferns that I had in Kuching. The fish belly was so fresh that I thought the fish had just leapt out from the sea. The ginger slices complemented the fish belly beautifully. The deep fried shrimp rolls with the sweet dipping sauce were pure fireworks in my mouth. I’m quite a picky eater, but for this restaurant and this meal, I would have to give my TWO THUMBS UP for it. This was and remained my favourite meal of the trip!

Name of Eatery

:

Du Hsiao Yueh 度小月

Cost of Meal

:

NT $869 (4 paxs)

Location

:

9-1 Yongkang St, Taipei City, 台北市永康街 9-1

Operating Hours

:

11:30am to 10:30pm (Sunday to Thursday)

:

11:30am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday)

After the sumptuous satisfying meal, we shopped around and managed to purchase SIM cards for our mobile phones. For those that are looking to purchase a Taiwan SIM card so as to be able to make calls or to surf the net, you would need to present TWO proofs of identification; i.e. Passport, IC or Driver’s License (Any of the above two identifications)

A data plan SIM card for 7-days of surfing costs NT $350. I soon realised that it was a little ‘redundant’ to purchase the data plan SIM card. It was good to be able to surf, check out information and to send pictures back to families and friends. However, in most cases when we were on the go, the reception was often 3G or lower and I had a lot of difficulty assessing the pages or sending out the pics. Most of my messages and pictures were sent out when I was settled down in the accommodation using their free wi-fi.

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NT $300 data plan

It was pouring when we left the mobile phone store and we decided to catch a cab back to our accommodation since all of us were bushed out from the midnight flight. It took us about 15 minutes by cab to get back to our accommodation; New Stay Inn on Zhong Xiao West Road.

New Stay Inn

New Stay Inn is a pretty new hotel that started in October 2011. With barely two years of operations, the lobby was still spic and span and in tip-top condition. The lobby had a chic modern black and white sofa, a water-refill point and a weighing machine for the luggages.

The rooms were spacious, clean and there were mineral water and snacks in the drawers provided to us at no cost.

New Stay Inn

New Stay Inn

Name of Accommodation

:

New Stay Inn

Cost

:

S$58.02 for a twin share, per room, per night.

Location

:

5th Level, No.72, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao West Rd, Zhongzheng Dist, Taipei City.

Exit Z8 of Taipei Main Station. (About 15 to 20 minutes walk inside the Metro train station).

Ringer Hut

At 7pm, we headed out for dinner at Taipei Main Station shopping mall. The second level was on full occupancy with eateries, restaurants, cafes and bistros. Every single eatery we walked past had an insane long queue.

We walked past Ringer Hut and since they were one of the few with the shortest queue, we decided to put our tastebuds to the test here. We were immediately ushered to the seats as soon as we got in.

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The shortest queue we saw was at … Ringer Hut

Walking past the other diners, we saw that many of them had left-overs in the giant bowls, indicating that the serving was too huge. We decided to order three bowls to share amongst the four of us.

However, when the service staff came to take our orders, we were told that it was a requirement to order one serving each. Hence, when the four gigantic bowls came, our jaws dropped.

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Giant Servings fit for the King

There was no way we could gobble that up and true enough, all of us had about half the serving left. During lunch, we had XS size noodles. In the evening, we had XL size noodles. Haahaaa… What a day…

Name of Eatery

:

Ringer Hut

Cost of Meal

:

NT $1,155 (4 paxs)

Location

:

Taipei Main Station Mall, Level 2

台北市北平西路32

Operating Hours

:

10.00am to 10.00pm daily

SUMMARY OF OUR DAY EXPENSES :

ITEM

COST

Kuo Kuang Ke Yun Bus from Airport to Taipei City

NT $125 per pax

Cab from New Stay Inn to Hua Shan Market

NT $70 per cab

Breakfast = Fu Hang Dou Jiang You Tiao

NT $256 (4 paxs)

EASYCARD (Metro card for bus and trains)

NT $300 per pax

Cab from Shilin Train Station to National Palace Museum

NT $115 per cab

Cab from National Palace Museum to Yong Kang Street

NT $260 per cab

Lunch = Du Hsiao Yueh

NT $869 (4 paxs)

Data plan SIM Card for 7 days

NT $350 per card

Cab from Yong Kang Street to New Stay Inn

NT $150 per cab

Dinner = Ringer Hut

NT $1,155 (4 paxs)

New Stay Inn (twin share, per room, per night)

SG $58.02 per pax

 

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2 responses to “Taiwan Summer Diary 台湾夏日游 – Day 1: Taipei City

  1. Passer-by says:

    Hi,

    Can i just check with you. What are the toiletries that new stay inn provide? Ps. Like shaver? Toothpaste and toothbrush? Facewash? Etc

    • xia says:

      Hi there; I can’t really remember the exact toiletries set that New Stay Inn provides, but I remembered the bathroom being really pretty. They would have the basic items such as Shampoo and Bath Gel, but I’m not too sure for facewash and shaver though. Maybe you would like to write to them direct and check with them the exact items that they provide. Sorry, I couldn’t be of much help here.

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