霞女之旅

Xia's Journey

Taiwan Summer Diary 台湾夏日游 – Day 5 : Fu Li > Hua Lian > Taipei City

on September 25, 2013

Day 5 : 27 Aug 2013, Tues, Fu Li > Hua Lian > Taipei

Sunrise on 60 Stone Mountain 六十石山

After having recee 60 Stone Mountain 六十石山 for a sunrise vantage spot the previous day, we were up and on the way to the peak at 3am.

It very much reminded me of my trip to Mt Bromo and Ijen crater where we trekked up Ijen crater at 3am in the morning too.

It was cold, dark and chilly. The wind was howling and a dog was barking and chasing us when we walked past the temple.

We thought we were early until we saw a couple of vehicles go past us.

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Pitch dark in the wee hours except for lights of vehicles coming from behind us.

When we arrived at the peak at 3.20am, there were already quite a number of photographers on site. We reckon they had probably stayed up from the previous night shooting star trails and the milky way.

There wasn’t an ideal location for the sunrise shoot, hence Rictor and I found a low level spot in an attempt to get a sunrise shot.

I fixed on my manual fisheye lens and switched on the “interval timing” to do a time lapse video. I was not sure which of my settings were incorrect as I couldn’t see the orange hues on my screen when the faint rays of sun came on.

After the 2-hours interval shooting, my time lapse was a complete flop 😦

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Total flop of my time lapse. Sighhh… :

The sun has awaken by now and when we turned our backs to move to the other parts of the mountain, we saw a huge crowd of visitors and photographers stooping behind us without us realising!

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So many people had gathered behind us without us realising !

At another facing, we saw the clouds gushing and tumbling down the daylily mountain. It was a jaw-dropping sight and we went Wowww…

We didn’t even need a DSLR because it was so awesomely gorgeous that a mobile phone or compact camera would capture it just as beautifully.

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Tumbling Clouds… Spectacular !

By 7.30am, we were feeling the scorch and started to head down the mountain.

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Getting hot & warm up at the mountains.

Feeling the hunger pangs from the early morning shoot, we stopped at the eatery for some snacks before heading back to the accommodation, shower and check out by 10am.

We had pre-booked for a cab to arrive at 11am to send us to Fu Li train station.

During our previous night correspondence with the cab driver, we had agreed on a NT $600 fare. Upon alighting, she asked for a NT $700 cab fare.

We were a little startled as most of our experiences with previous cab drivers had been pretty pleasant except for the F1 driver which drove us up Chike Mountain and 60 Stone Mountain on the previous day.

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Arrives at Fu Li train station and the cab driver asked for a NT $700 instead of the agreed NT $600 fare.

Our two experiences with the cab drivers here had not been the most positive as we also found out that we had been way overcharged for the previous half-day cab tour at the two mountains.

A norm charge would costs about NT $2200 to NT $2500 and we were charged at NT $3200 !

Perhaps, this was the peak touristy season and drivers were trying to earn as much as they could during this period resulting in a (temporary?) loss of ethics and integrity.

These two incidences had to a certain extent marred my good perception of Taiwanese cab drivers.

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The cab driver still waiting for her next prey to come along.

We bought the 12.10pm train tickets from Fu Li to Hua Lian costing NT $232 per pax. There were no more seats available and we had to purchase the “Standing Tickets”. Initially, Carren and I stood by the water dispenser at the back of the cabin. Soon, we got so tired from standing, we began to squat and sit at the rung behind the last seat. And there we squatted, for the next 2 hours. It was indeed no joke to be standing through the entire journey.

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Jason leaning on the cabin wall behind the last row of seats helping us guard over our luggages.

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Carren and I squatting on the rung behind the last row of seats. So ‘ke-lian’.

Mr Goose 鵝肉先生

We arrived Hua Lian at 2pm and off we went to check off another food haunt – Mr Goose aka Juicy Goose 鵝肉先生.

Nestled amongst a row of shophouses, Mr Goose looked no different from any other shop houses.

I was told that there are huge crowds during lunch hours and on normal days, but there wasn’t any at the time we went, perhaps because it was already past lunch hour. Lucky us!

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Mr Goose 鵝肉先生

At the front of the shop house, there is a work area where they display the goose and slice the meat whilst the main kitchen was located inside the shop house.

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Slicing up the goose in precise thickness. Quick… Use ruler to measure… Haahaa… :p

We ordered 600gm (1 jin) of goose meat at NT $300, a stir-fried veg, a seafood soup, a plate of glibets and a serving of chicken blood soup.

Carren and I had stewed pork rice 滷肉whilst the two guys had noodles.

Although I’m not a big fan of goose meat, I would have to say that the goose meat was very tender and well-sliced. Each piece of goose meat seemed to be sliced with the exact same thickness – a reflection of true perfection.

The sweet black sauce and fresh ginger are must-haves with the goose meat.

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The presentation already scored full marks, regardless whether it tasted good or not.

Name of Eatery

:

Mr Goose 鵝肉先生

Cost of Meal

:

NT $685

Location

:

259 Zhongshan Rd, Hualian City 花蓮市中山路 259

Operating Hours

:

11am to 12:30am

We finished up our meal and proceeded to Star Bucks to chill out. We had a swelling surprise when there was a one-for-one, end-of-summer promotion at Star Bucks, where we had 4 drinks at the price of two.

We got back to the train station by 4.20pm to catch a 4.5 hours train ride back to Taipei City. Thankfully, we had seats this time round. Couldn’t imagine standing for the next 4.5 hours!

City Inn Hotel

Our accommodation, City Inn Hotel 新驛旅 was on the next parallel street to the previous hotel (New Stay Inn) that we were staying in.

The hotel lobby was small and packed with deposited luggages when we arrived. The hotel lift was rather puny as well as it only took two of us with luggages to fill up the entire lift.

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A bright orange smiley City Inn signage outside the hotel.

What really got my attention was the plug in the room.

The room was fitted with international plugs, which also meant that international visitors putting up at this hotel could get away without bringing one from home.

So tourist-friendly!

It was no rocket science, but it goes to show that their attention to details was undeniable.

As I wandered around the hotel, there were snacks and candies placed in bowls for guests’ consumption.

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No rocket science to have an international plug in the room. Only shows their attention to details and know what a traveller needs or want.

On the second level, there is a “pantry” area where there were free flow of beverages; i.e. a lemon tea, peach tea, cuppucino, hot choco, warm and cold water etc.

There is an oven which guests could warm up their food or a cup noodle, a refrigerator to store their milk or meats and a sink to wash up their cutleries.

It was fully furnished with all the needs a tourist could ask for. Beside the pantry was a bathroom and a Laundromat.

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Full furnished pantry. What more can we ask for ?

The Laundromat has 2 washing machines and 2 dryers.

They were NOT those coin-operated machines, they were the normal machines which guests could use for free!

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Free use of Laundromat too

With so many of these amenities and attention to details, it is a no wonder they had been awarded as “Travellers Choice” winners on Trip Advisor 2012 and 2013.

Even I, also highly recommend this hotel for its value-for-money, location and amenities.

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My TWO THUMBS UP for this hotel. Highly recommended !

Day 05

City Inn Hotel

Name of Accommodation

:

CityInn Hotel Taipei Station Branch 1

Cost

:

NT $1820 twin share, per room, per night

Location

:

No.7, Huaining St., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 100, Taiwan

Contact Number

:

+886 (2) 2314-8008

Website

:

http://www.cityinn.com.tw/EN/Cityinn1/index.aspx?lan=en-us

Email

:

service@cityinn.com.tw

How To Get Here

:

MRT to Taipei Main Station and use Z6 or Z8 exit to reach Huai Ning Street. Hotel is on the left side of the street.

:

Bus to Taipei Main Station and walk past Shin Kong Mitsukoshi and take second right lane to reach Huai Ning Street. Hotel is on the left side of the street.

:

From Tao Yuan International Airport, take Kingbus and alight at 3rd East Gate of Taipei Main Station. Walk past Shin Kong Mitsukoshi and take second right lane to reach Huai Ning Street. Hotel is on the left side of the street.

We deposited our luggages, had a quick freshen up before heading out again.

We sought advice from the very friendly and helpful staffs at the reception and they suggested we visit Ningxia Night Market. They even helped us call a cab to send us there.

Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市

Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市 is relatively a small night market, with two stretch of eateries and a couple of knick knack stalls and game stalls at the end of the stretch.

Located at the west of Taipei, it is quite a popular night market amongst locals as they have quite a number of snacks and ‘small bites’ from the olden days.

Walking down the stretch, there were stalls selling sugarcane juice, oyster omelette, rice pudding, yam ball, huge cuttlefish, chicken rice, pork liver soup etc etc.

Most of them had looonnnnggg queues.

As a rule of thumb, the longer the queue, the better the food is (though I am not a believer of so).

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A visit to the Ningxia Night Market

The stench of “Stinky Toufu” filled the air the moment we arrived at the night market.

Without second thoughts, the guys headed straight for it.

Since, it was a small night market, each of us went our ways.

For me, not being a foodie nor adventurous with food, I had ‘safe food’ with NO queues; a BBQ chicken wing and drumstick, a hot dog and a sugarcane juice. That filled me up for dinner.

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Rule of thumb: The longer the queue, the better is the food. True ?!

Name of Attraction

:

Ningxia Night Market 寧夏夜市

Location

:

Ningxia Rd., Datong District (between Nanjing W. Rd. and Minsheng W. Rd.)

Operating Hours

:

6.00pm to 12 midnight

How To Get Here

:

By MRT : Alight at either Tamsui Line (Red Line), Shuanglian MRT Station or Zhongshan MRT Station of Tamsui Line, walk towards west (Chengde Rd.) Use Exit 1 and walk for 10 minutes westward.

:

By Cab from Taipei Main Station ~ NT $105.

SUMMARY OF OUR DAY EXPENSES :

ITEM

COST

Breakfast =忘憂亭,六十石山

NT $110

Cab from accommodation to Fu Li train station

NT $600

Train from Fu Li to Hua Lian = NT $232 x 4 paxs

NT $928

Storage of Luggage at Hua Lian train station = NT $17 x 4 pcs

NT $68

Cab to Mr Goose (Lunch)

NT $125

Lunch = Mr Goose

NT $685

Tea-Break  = Starbucks

NT $225

Cab from Starbucks to Hua Lian train station

NT $125

Train from Hua Lian to Taipei = NT $340 x 4 paxs

NT $1360

Accommodation = CityInn Hotel Taipei Station Branch 1. NT $1400 per twin room, per night.

NT $2800

Cab from Hotel to Ningxia Night Market

NT $105

Cab from Ningxia Night Market to Hotel

NT $100

 

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