21 January 2018

Trotting in Taiwan

Hey guys! I had an incredible 8 days in Taiwan and can't wait to share more about the experience. If you haven't watch my vlog, you can watch it here: http://bit.ly/2mX0loy

Getting around Taipei is not difficult at all, with public transport easily accessible (much like Singapore) using the Easycard. If you think you're lost, just ask someone or use your GPS. I realised that all the Taiwanese we met are extremely polite and patient :)

As for travelling to further places (Jiufen, Shifen, Alishan) we hired a driver. The cost depends on the duration of the trip, but on average we paid 3500NT-5000NT a day (great for travelling in groups of 3-4). Our drivers were very friendly and helpful, and would point out landmarks along the way and share with us a brief history of the place.  As we hired one of the drivers for 3 days, he helped us re-plan out itinerary so we were travelling a better route. I don't know if they speak English, but my mother mostly conversed with them in mandarin. If you're interested in hiring a driver for your next trip, please email me for their contact. 

Duration of stay: 1 night
Accommodation: So many of you asked for and it's La Vida Hotel, it's about 5-10 minutes walk from Feng Jia Night Market. The room is spacious, comfortable and mine came with a tub, perfect for a soak! The hotel also provided complimentary buffet breakfast.

Duration of stay: 1 night
Not even going to mention about the accommodation because it was terrible and the rooms had no heating AT ALL. We were in the mountains during winter, with NO heating in the room except for the heated mattress. I almost didn't want to shower because it was so cold. Overall quite an unpleasant stay.

I was hell-bent on visiting Alishan for several reasons: 1. to get away from the city for a bit, 2. I was hoping I could see the stars (nope too foggy) 3. everyone visited it so it must be good (lol) 4. snow? (nope)

We didn't do much atop the mountains except enjoy the cool breeze (blistering cold at night), walked through the forests (it's always nice to be with nature), waking up at 5am to catch the sunrise (for 5 minutes because it became too foggy). I'm not very sure if there's anything else you could do there, such as hiking, but it was still a great getaway!

After breakfast, we left and headed for Sun Moon Lake and Qing Jing.

Duration of stay: 1 night
Accommodation: We stayed at Naluwan Villa for the night. Breakfast was provided, but it wasn't a large spread - they served porridge, scrambled eggs, bread and tea. Dinner was better, but you have to pay for this. I think apart from us, there were only 5 other people that I saw during my stay. It's a beautiful place, and offers scenic views and was just minutes away from Qing Jing Farm.

Qing Jing farm is another place I think most tourists will choose to visit, they have quite a number of sheeps roaming around, so you can interact with them, but will most likely run away if you go near them. Our driver also suggested for us to watch the circus, but I don't really want to support these kind of activities so we gave it a miss.

The next day, on our way back to Taichung our driver stopped by a local strawberry field and we picked a bunch, for the experience. The strawberries were EXTREMELY DELICIOUS, I don't want any of the ones we have in Singapore anymore. Had a chat with the locals and realised the grass is always greener on the other side.

This is not a must visit, but since it was along the way for us when we were heading back to Taichung we decided to go have a look. Entrance fee was 100NT (~SGD4) per person and with your token you can redeem drinks at their cafe. PLEASE GET THE DRINK. It's lavender scented/flavoured sparkling water - everything I need in life.

Duration of stay: 4 nights
Accommodation: We stayed at Via Hotel for 4 nights, located about 5-7 minutes walk from Ximen station. It's worth mentioning that Ximen station has 2 lines, green and blue, which makes travelling to different parts of the city so much easier. Meals aren't provided, but they do have a pantry that they stock up with light snacks, bread, and cup noodles. Overall a pleasant stay, and if I were to go back to Taipei I would most likely stay here again!

On our second day in Taipei, we headed to Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen. As it was much further out, we had a driver pick us up and drove us there. He was basically our guide for the day! You can't go to Taiwan/Shifen and not release a sky lantern (孔明灯). If I didn't remember wrongly it's 160NT for one that has different colours, because different colours symbolises different wishes.

Other days in Taipei, we went to Huashan 1914 Creative Park where you can find tons of artsy fartsy stuff. Just a few bus stops from there is this shop located on the second floor that serves really good pork chop, great value for money too!

Emperor Foods | No. 447, Sec. 4, Renai Rd., Daan Dist, Taipei

When we were heading to the airport, we took the train from Ximen station and transferred at Beimen station for the express train to the airport. 

Also since some of you requested for wallpapers, here are a few for you guys! To download these, right click > save as, or tap and hold (on the phone). Please do not pass them off as your own, and if you do use it send me a screenshot on Instagram, I would love to see :)

I seriously cannot wait for my next trip back to California! If you would love to work together in creating creative content with me during my travels, feel free to drop me an email at mail@betweenthelenses.com! I have a couple of advertorial slots available 

Stay gold, xx


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