Sunday 29 September 2013

Taiwan Day 5 : Taipei 101 + Jay Chou's Deja Vu Restaurant

7D Taiwan trip December 2012 : Kaohsiung + Taipei

First stop - Taipei 101

Taipei 101 was the highest building in the world until it is replaced by Burj Khalifa in Dubai in 2010.
It is quite a distance between Taipei city hall station to Taipei 101. I usually walk and enjoy the CBD area from train station to Taipei 101. 

There is also a free shuttle bus with 15 minutes interval at Taipei city hall station exit 2. 

You would be surprised to know that Taiwan is a very dogs friendly country. I mean you can see dogs everywhere, even in the shopping malls and in the shops where the shop attendents bring their pet dogs to work! Unlike Taiwan,  most hawker centers in Singapore do not allow animals in.
random pet dog in a shop
random dog on the street


Dogs everywhere....

Taipei 101

View from Taipei 101
Taipei 101
Address: 89F, No. 7, Sec. 5, Xinyi Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City
Nearest train station: Taipei City Hall station 市政府站
Entrance fee: Adult - NT$500, Children - NT$450
Operating Hours: 9am - 10pm

Next stop - Deja Vu restaurant

This fine dining restaurant is a joint venture between 2 Taiwan celebrities - a singer, Jay Chou 周杰伦, and a magician, Liu Qian 刘谦 - Magic Themed Restaurant : Deja Vu.
Out of three restaurants that Jay owned, I like this the most. I was kind of hoping to see him there but I guess I will meet him in my dream instead.

You will see Jay's bat mobile, antique piano, bike, many century-old furnitures and many props used by Liu Qian in his magic shows.

Deja Vu Restaurant

One of his proudly car collection - The Bat Mobile

Jay Chou's Deja Vu restaurant
Address: No.1, Sec. 1, Bade Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei city 100, Taiwan (台北市八德路一段一號  華山1914文創園區  中四A館 )
Nearest station: Zhongxiao Xinsheng station 忠孝新生站
Phone: 02-2396-8296
Hours: 12 pm- 12 am

Thursday 26 September 2013

(Part 2) Taiwan Day 4 : Jiufen 九份 + Shifen 十分

7D Taiwan trip December 2012 : Kaohsiung + Taipei

Continue from Taiwan Day 4 (Part 1) : Yehliu Geopark + Nanya RockFormation + Yin Yang Sea + Golden Waterfall ...

Itinerary: Yehliu Geopark 野柳 -> Keelung night market 基隆廟口夜市 -> Nanya rock formation 南雅奇岩 -> Ying Yang sea 阴阳海 -> Golden waterfall -> Jiufen -> Shifen 

Next stop - Jiufen 九份

When we were in the cab heading to Jiufen, the cab driver told us a little background for Jiufen. It was initially nine families staying in this relatively isolated village on the mountain. Whenever these village people went to the town for grocery shopping or anything, they would always buy in portion for nine families. Slowly, this has earned the name for this village until today. 
Narrow Jiufen Street
Our cab driver recommended two must-try-foods in Jiufen that we must not missed.

1) 賴阿婆芋圓 + 草仔粿 (Lai ah po taroballs + taro glutinous ricecake)
2)  九份張記傳統魚丸 (fishballs)

Authetic Lai Ah Po taro balls

Taro glutinous ricecake 草仔粿 (left),  fishballs 魚丸 (right)

Local snack

Traditional Teahouses along Shuqi Street (豎崎路) - towards the end of Jiufen and is perpendicular to Jiufen

Lavender Shop

Customized made / Recycle denims clothes and bags

Roads up to Jiufen
Breathtaking scenary from Jiufen

Several movies chose to shoot here and the movies won international acknowledgement. A film "A City of Sadness" has won first prize in Venice Film Festival and awakened people's memory of Jiufen.

Jiufen 九份
Address: Ruijin Hwy, Ruifang District, New Taipei City

Last stop - Shifen 十分 (Sky lantern)

Took the rail train from Houtong station to Shifen train station. Around 20 minutes ride for NT$15.

The main tourist attraction here is to put sky lantern 放天灯 ! Both stretch of shop houses mainly sell sky lanterns with railway in the middle where train will be passing by anytime. 
Train railway in the middle

Whole street of sky lanterns

Up up in the sky
mini light lantern souvenir to bring back homeland

My cab driver bought fire crackers and put for us to see. Never knew they can have fireworks whenever they want. Too bad, we were busy admiring the fireworks till we forgot to take any pictures.  

Till next time...

Shifen 十分
Address: Ping River (Pingsi) Township, New Taipei City

Sunday 22 September 2013

(Part 1) Taiwan Day 4 : Yehliu Geopark + Nanya Rock Formation + Yin Yang Sea + Golden Waterfall

7D Taiwan trip December 2012 : Kaohsiung + Taipei

Today's itinerary is all along the north coast of Taiwan where many national scenic areas are. We booked this local cab uncle for today. Highly recommended from HWZ forum. One full day (8 hours) for TWD3,700. If you are travelling in a group of 4 people and above, booking a cab is relatively cheaper,more convenient to travel around and more time saving.

If you are travelling in a smaller group, there is  Taiwan Tourist Shuttle service you can consider! This shuttle services pick passengers from many train stations to main tourist attractions. 

My cab driver: 姜長旺
Email add:
Tel:  0937869509

Yehliu Geopark 野柳 -> Keelung night market 基隆廟口夜市 -> Nanya rock formation 南雅奇岩 -> Ying Yang sea 阴阳海 -> Golden waterfall -> Jiufen -> Shifen

First stop - Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公园

Reading from wiki, Yehliu is mainly composed of sedimentary rocks. These formation of sea bays is due to the impact of sea erosion on rock. They have been given creatives names based on their shapes. The most well-known is the "The Queen's Head" (女王頭), an iconic image in Taiwan. Others are fairy's shoes, peanuts rock and etc..

Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公园

Mushroom Rocks

Queen's Head 女王頭
Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公园
Open daily from 07:30 to 17:00 all year round
Entrance Fee: Adult ticket NTD50

Second stop - Keelung night market 基隆廟口夜市 (opens whole day)

Lunch at Keelung night market 基隆廟口夜市

Third stop - Nanya Rock Formation 南雅奇岩

This is worth stopping by since it is just by the road side. You just have to tell the cab driver and he will bring you there. 
Nanya is famous for its fantastic rock formations and sea eroded coral shore. There are two strange beautiful striped pattern spires standing firm from the shore which are formed by the eroding forces of seawater, rain and wind. You can walk all the way down to the shore and enjoy the amazing view. 

南雅奇岩Nanya rock formation

Coral Shore

Fourth stop - Yin Yang Sea 阴阳海

As we travelled along the northeast coast road, we saw this strange scene whereby a bay of sea is a mixture of yellow and blue. Our cab driver explained to us that it was initially believed that it was due to water pollution by company but it was actually due to high amount of mineral pyrite that does not dissolve easily in water. Hence, the intense comparison of this yellow acidic water and blue sea water resulting into this strange but beautiful sight of Yin Yang Sea. 
Yin Yang Sea 阴阳海

Fifth stop - Golden Waterfall 黄金瀑布

This name speaks for itself. Golden Waterfall located near Jinguashi 金瓜石 mining area where substantial amount of iron has oxidised been into golden yellow sands. This is one of the sources that causes Yin Yang Sea. 
Golden Waterfall 黄金瀑布
I love visiting scenic areas. The beauty of nature really enticed me. One phrase to end this - 世界真奇妙

Back to Taiwan Day 3 (Taipei) : Xi Men Ding 西门町
Back to Taiwan Day 2 (Kaohsiung) : Fo Guang Shan 佛光山
Back to Taiwan Day 1 (Kaohsiung) : Dream Mall + Liu He night market

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Taiwan Day 3 (Taipei) : Xi Men Ding 西门町

7D Taiwan trip December 2012 : Kaohsiung + Taipei

Took early HSR back to Taipei. Ordered this macaroni and cheese + egg on HSR and was superb melty!! Breakfast was satisfying ^.^

Xi Men Ding 西门町
Nearest train station: Ximen station 西门站

Exit 6 of Taipei Ximen metro station to enter Xi Men Ding - the young fashions district in Taipei. Many students love to shop there. I have also noted down the places to go in xi meng ding. They are Ah Zong Mee Sua, SOPHiSCA and Modern Toilet Restaurant.

Typical streets at Xi Men Ding 西门町

First stop - 阿宗面线

Seriously, this is the best mee sua I ever had in my life. It was so silky and chilli was so good! Sadly we only had it once the whole trip. I hope it 发扬光大 (expand internationally) to Singapore. Okay, maybe not. Then will not as special anymore (like SOPHiSCA :x).
Ah Zong mee sua ! I am so craving for it right now. It's soooo silky..
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle 阿宗面线

Xi-Meng-Ting Headquarter/西门町总店: 
Address: No.8-1, Emei St., Wanhua District, Taipei City
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 22:30 (Mon – Thu); 11:00 to 23:00 (Fri – Sun) 

Shilin Branch/士林分店: 
Address: 1F., No.24, Lane 101, Wenlin Rd., Shilin District, Taipei City  
Opening Hours: 15:30 to 01:30 (Mon – Thu); 15:30 to 02:00 (Fri – Sun) 

Xinyi District Branch/东区分店: 
Address: No.2, Lane 17, Sec. 4, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Xinyi District, Taipei City 
Opening Hours: 11:00 to 21:30 (Mon – Thu); 11:00 to 22:00 (Fri – Sun) 

TRY THIS FRIED MOCHI ! It was soft, chewy and not-sticky-to-your-teeth at all! I have tried black sesame and its original flavour - peanut. Love the black sesame flavour. I think there are black pepper crab or teriyaki flavour but couldn't remember. *thumbs up*

Fried Mochi
Black sesame flavour mochi

Second stop - SOPHiSCA "a sweet place for sweethearts"  菓風小舖

It has thousands kinds of fun, interesting and creative products such as the shape crafted candy, cotton candy, lollipops, chocolates and health nuts. Examples are condom shaped chocolate, pads packaging candy floss, mahjong tiles chocolate and etc. 

Recently I just found out that it has opened a branch at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3. ~.~ 

Last stop - Modern Toilet Restaurant 便所主题餐厅

Had this couple of times though the food was not very fantastic but we always go for the atmosphere and experience. We were asked to put down our number as the waiting time was 1 hour ~.~ We saw many Singaporean there too. So remember to make reservation first then continue shopping nearby. 

Customers will be sitting on a toilet bowl and having meals on a bath tub. Foods will be served in mini toilet bowls, bath tubs and urinals. 
Atmosphere 100%
Food 60%

Modern Toilet Restaurant 便所主题餐厅
Address: No. 7, Lane 50, Xiníng South Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan

Enjoying Taipei so far!

Back to Taiwan Day 2 : Fo Guang Shan 佛光山
Back to Taiwan Day 1 (Kaohsiung) : Dream Mall + Liu He night market