Sunday, 30 June 2013

Taipei Day 2

Yoyoyo, Good Morning, Taiwan! Started my day early for the hotel's breakfast buffet at Checkers. We were given 4 complimentary breakfast coupon daily during our stay. 

Checkers - Located at Level 2.
Wide selections of appetizers including salads, sushis, cold cuts with different condiments and dressings.
Cooked food like bacons, sausages, scrambled eggs, mixed vege, hash browns etc.
Choices for American breakfast 
They also have a section of porridge and side dishes to go along.

My breakfast for the first day! Love the egg pancake which I got to choose the ingredients I wanted and had them cooked immediately by the chef. Never goes wrong with ham cheese and mushrooms! Yums~
A-must for good digestion! :)
A park near Caesar Park Hotel.
 Taipei Zoo 
MRT: Taipei Main Station ⟶ Taipei Zoo Station (Nangang Line, switching to Wenshan-Neihu Line to Taipei Zoo at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station)
Price: NT28
Duration: ~35mins
Ticket: NT60

Started our morning as early as 830am to Taipei Zoo. Reaching the zoo around 915am and it was already so hot and bright!

The entrance in which the fees (NT60) could be paid using EasyCard.
The first stop we made into was the Panda House. Unable to pose with the real ones, so yea~ Hehe..
Fluffy pandas' feeding time! 
Watch how they eat in the video below: So cute!

Gift shop in the Panda House
More animals:
With the African elephant behind
Koala! Suspecting that "大" is its name.

Around the zoo

Spotted a cute kiddo fiddling with the pipe water. Hee~
 WuFenPu 五分埔
MRT: Taipei Zoo Station ⟶Houshan Pi Station, Exit 4
(Wenshan-Neihu Line, switching to Nangang Line at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station)
Price: NT28
Duration: ~30mins trip

Spent about 3-4 hours at the Taipei Zoo and our next stop would be Taipei's famous shopping paradise - WuFenPu 五分埔! And before that, we had to fill our tummies first. Once reaching Houshanpi Station, walk out from Exit 4 where there would be a sign indication to 五分埔. We had the famous Taiwan's Braised Pork Rice 滷肉飯 at Formosa Chang 鬍鬚張 for lunch. Quite easily located cos of the big yellow sign.
We ordered the set which came with the braised pork rice of cos, 3 layer pork, radish soup and bean sprouts.  All these were less than NT200. Forgotten the actual price. :D
Off to shop! WuFenPu is just the street opposite Formosa Chang. Lots of shops selling clothes, ranging from as cheap as NT50! Spent the whole afternoon there looking for cheap and great clothes.
 Raohe Night Market 饒河街觀光夜市
Raohe Night Market is one of Taiwan's popular tourist night market cos of its close distance from WuFenPu and also lots of good food!

Walking to the night market (around 10-15mins walk)

Some of the food available.
The famous Stinky Tofu 臭豆腐 (NT45). Could smell it from far. But, surprisingly, it did not taste smelly as it smells. Quite nice, especially with the spicy chili and marinated vege. This stall was recommended by celebrities like Sasa from 食尚玩家.
Prawns in Quail Eggs (NT50). We had the cheezy one. Nice nice. =p~ 
Tasted something like Takoyaki - warm buns with different pastes. I tried all. Just ok~
齒牛香 Beef Noodles! This is the famous beef noodle shop in Raohe. See. Lots of celebrities were here before. We had the 红烧牛肉面 (NT100). It was really good. Yummy! They also serve unlimited supply of preserved vegetables which go along great with the hot and tasty beef noodle soup!
Herbal Pork Ribs Soup 药炖排骨 (NT70). Looked good so my parents ordered one to try. Big pork bones stewed in herbal soup. Tasted ok, but not much meat.
Shaved Mango Ice with Mango Ice Cream (NT130). Awesome!! But kinda expensive, isn't it?
Pearl Milk Tea from the stall at the night market's entrance (NT30/35). Not nice.. =.=
 Caesar Park Hotel 
Train: Songshan Station Taipei Station
Price: ~NT15
Duration: ~30mins

After a long and tiring day, we finally headed back to our hotel via the railway train at Songshan Station which we passed by during our walk from WuFenPu to Raohe Night Market. With EasyCard, we could directly access without having to buy train tickets. 
Finally! Our shopping outcome for the day at WuFenPu! :D

Monday, 24 June 2013

Taipei Day 1

It's time to bid the long transiting hours in Changi Airport goodbye and say HI! to Taiwan.
Getting hold of the view of Taiwan in the plane
Upon arrival at Terminal 2 of Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), the 1st thing I did was to get to the Tourist Information Counter and get the Youth Card which was beneficial for me as I wished to visit Taipei 101 Observatory. The Youth Card would grant me 10% discount. :D
Collecting Youth Card from Tourist Information Counter
By filling in the information form and the showing of my passport for verification that I'm a YOUTH (age between 15-30), so here's my Youth Card. Of cos besides the discount I could get to enter the Taipei 101 Observatory, there are other discounts offered in which you could search for more info from their website provided.
 Buy bus ticket to Taipei Main Station
The next thing we did was to head to the Express Airport Bus Ticket Counter, look for Kuo Kuang counter and purchase bus tickets to get to Taipei Main Station.
Kuo Kuang (国光客运) bus ticket counter was at Counter 7. After getting the tickets, we waited at Platform 5. It costed us NT125 per pax.
The bus we took - Kuo Kuang 1819.
Pictures taken in the bus:

 Checking into Caesar Park Hotel
When we got to the Taipei Main Station (about 1 hour bus ride), we walked to Caesar Park Hotel which was near. As this was our first time, we had to ask around to get our way right to the hotel. For first-timer like us, it would be best not to try to get to the hotel via the underground path as it would be rather confusing. We booked our rooms from earlier on to secure our stay in Taiwan. We booked the Family Room in which it could fit 4 persons with 2 queen-sized beds.
Clean and tidy
 XiMenDing 西門町
MRT: Taipei Main Station XiMen Station, Exit 6 (Yongning Line)
Price: NT16
Duration: ~10mins

After placing our luggage in our room, we headed immediately to XiMenDing without further delay. Of cos, prior to that, we had to get ourselves EasyCard at the Taipei Main Station's EasyCard Customer Service Center. The card offers passengers a 10% discount instead of buying tickets from the counter. This is a great saving if you plan to travel via buses, MRTs or trains frequently. 
For your information, the Taipei Main Station is connected to Caesar Park Hotel's underpass (B1) and could be reached via the hotel's lift. 
The information counter and EasyCard. The EasyCard requires NT100 as deposit which is refundable if you return the card in good condition. 
Upon reaching XiMen Station, get to Exit 6 and XiMenDing is just across the street. :)

Doggy-concept cafes
I was attracted to the tall ice creams especially when it's so hot. The one on the upper left was a mix of Yam Milk and Green Tea Matcha flavor, whereas the one below was Strawberry Yogurt and Mango Milk mix. We had the small sized (NT15) ones as we were reserving our tummies for more food later! The taste was just ok, lack of milky taste and it melts terribly fast~
When we were in search for the famous Ah Zhong Mee Sua, we came across this stall, Prince Cheese Potato (王子起馬鈴薯), it seems to be a highly recommended stall from lots of TV programs and celebrities. So, we decided to give it a try!

Club and Cheese 王子综合起士 (NT65). This was so so good! A mix of bacon, ham, smoked chicken, tuna, egg, pineapple, corn and broccoli on the deep-fried potato with the hot and tasty cheese. FANTASTIC!
Right after the Cheezy satisfaction, we headed to Ah Zhong Mee Sua 阿宗面线 and yea, as expected, there was a crowd, but the queue was fast.  Ordered the small bowl (NT45) and we just stood there and gobble down the dish. The dish was starchy with nice and fresh oysters. Although I like it, it's not a dish that everyone is keen of cos my mum dislike it. So, try it yourself to judge~ :)
Paid a visit t50嵐to quench our thirst.Went for the 四季春 (NT 25 for medium). Cool and refreshing with nata de coco and small pearls.

The historical symbol of XiMenDing- Red House 西门红楼.
Nice and fine arts in the Theater.
I just realised that XiMenDing actually covers a huge area and we only went through part of it. I did not even manage to come across Show Luo 羅志祥 and MayDay 五月天-阿信's outlets. Kinda disappointed. :(

 Shilin Night Market 士林夜市
MRT: XiMen Station ⟶ JianTan Station, Exit 2
(Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Line, switching to TamSui Line at Taipei Main Station)
Price: NT20
Duration: ~15mins trip

In the crowded MRT
Going out from Exit 2 of JianTan Station, the Shilin Night Market is just across.

The 1st food that tempted me. Fried milk (NT20). Nice! Sweet milk which melts in the mouth embedded in crunchy skin. Something like kaya ball but way nicer. 
大腸包小腸 (NT50). Ok. Not my liking. It was a highly recommended Taiwanese snacks in Shilin, but I was not impressed. Or did I got it from the wrong stall? 
Next hunt: Hot-star XXL Crispy Chicken 豪大大雞扒 (NT55). This is available in XiMenDing, but I wanted to have it in Shilin as it originated from here. Really huge deep-fried chicken for just NT55! When I got there, there was a queue and I had to wait for some time for my turn. 

青蛙下蛋 (NT35). Wasn't what I expected it to be. =.= I wonder did the guy gave me the wrong drink cos it tasted just like herbal tea with pearls.
胡椒餅 (NT30). This was the famous 胡椒餅 from Raohe Night Market. I was planning to visit Raohe Night Market, but learnt from other bloggers that the queue in Raohe would be very long, so I just got my taste from the branch in Shilin. Quite nice. The juicy, flavorful patty was seasoned with lots of black pepper and deep-fried in buns. :)
There were lots of other snacks around which I wished to try, but my tummy couldn't take it anymore since we started eating at XiMenDing till now. XP

 Getting back to Caesar Park Hotel

MRT: JianTan Station ⟶ Taipei Main Station, M6 (Xindian Line)
Price: NT16
Duration: ~10mins

After our food-hunting journey at Shilin, we went back to Caesar Park Hotel. Search for the signs to M6 and you will get back to the hotel's underpass. 
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