Friday, August 01, 2014

Day Seven of My Taiwan Trip 2014: Xinbeitou, Yongkang Street, Taipei 101, Wufenpu & Raohe Night Market!



I detest it when hotels provide movie channels as i would likely spend the entire night catching movie after movie, even ancient ones that i could have watched a thousand times! This exaggerated statement would explain why we only got out of CityInn hotel at 9.30am on day 7 of this seemingly never-ending Taiwan travelogue. 

Let's kick start the day by taking the efficient public transportation network to a place renowned for a relaxing, therapeutic activity; hot springs! When you talk about hot springs in Taiwan, the most popular spot would have to be Beitou given its position well within the capital of the potato-shaped island. 

There were many resorts to choose from and you may even consider the outdoor hot spring bathhouse! In my case, i didn't feel exceptionally rejuvenated although it was more a personal trait of mine; why waste time soaking indoors when there was so much more to do outdoors!?

The highlight of the Beitou expedition was the visit to Hell's Valley. Click here for a separate post on my visit. There is also a more detailed itinerary for Beitou itself; check out the link here

Took the train back to downtown Taipei and chanced upon this iconic building; The Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店)! I almost wanted to book my accommodation with this hotel as it was featured heavily in some of the Taiwanese comic books i read when i was younger! In addition, the place was rumoured to be haunted! 

Reached Dongmen Station - navigation within the MRT stations was similar to the North East line in Singapore. For Yongkang street, take exit five! 

Besides counting the food-filled, experience-rich Yongkang Street as its residents, Dongmen has another notable landmark; the award winning Din Tai Fung restaurant. I didn't get to dine there though. :( 

We initially wanted to be eco-friendly by riding the U-Bike to Taipei 101, which appeared to be pretty near from Yongkang Street. Sadly, i think we need to register our EasyCards and the instruction was in a full chunk of Chinese characters! Forget it, easier to tap our cards and take the train to the Taipei 101 / World Trade Centre stop four stations away.  

Yeah, we conquered Taipei 101! Was it worth a visit? Well, to me, it was more a matter of doing what tourists would do when they are overseas and we can't deny that Taipei 101 is a Taiwanese icon! For a more detailed post, click here for my visit. 

It's dinnertime! I have heard wonders about the food court at Taipei 101 mall and after circling the food arena twice, it was decided our dinner shall be this NT$220 Korean gold plated BBQ! 

Bar counter seating - this restaurant had its own dedicated seating that was separate from the food court seating right next to it. Didn't try any stalls from the food court as the food at this Korean BBQ appeared more appealing!

Frankly, it felt a bit like having Thai mookata with Korean marinated meat! I didn't have any complaint about the overall experience even though i would like to add that the side dishes were really tasty! 

Walked past one of the many upmarket shopping centres in the area; for your information, we were on our way to Taipei City Hall MRT station.   

Taipei 101 in the night time was like a gigantic beacon! Bet many vessels on the shipping route use the beauty like a lighthouse to determine their directions. Haha.

You wouldn't believe it; my already full stomach had to endure another food session! The famed braised pork rice from Formosa Chang (Huxuchang); thankfully the portion was quite small. For my review, click here

Time for some much-needed digestion; shopping at Wufenpu! As expected, more pictures and information of this wholesale garment market have been posted on this weblink.

Like many visitors to Wufenpu, we walked over to the nearby Raohe night market after shopping! Now, i did mention in my Raohe post that the Ciyou temple would be an easily identifiable landmark for the night market.

Pay it a visit if you have time as it has a long history; having been constructed in 1753, well before Raffles chanced upon our small island. There was a lantern exhibition within the temple compound! p.s. decided to enter as i was looking for a washroom. :P

Without further ado, Raohe Night Market

It was close to midnight when we were finally done with Raohe! We were contemplating if taking a cab would be a better option when i suggested taking the local train from Songshan station which was just two roads away! Don't be misled by the construction; the station was indeed underneath the building! 

Money saved; only NT$23 (roughly S$1) per ticket and the local train would bring us to Taipei Main Station where our CityInn hotel was situated. 

In a way, taking the local train also meant that i have conquered all modes of public transportation in Taiwan; taxis, high speed rail, MRT and buses! Oh wait, i took the local train in Taichung too! 

The concept of MRT trains and local trains might sound confusing for some, especially Singaporeans who are more familiar with MRT trains. Local trains are actually railway trains; they travel a longer distance and act as a connection between towns, cities and even countries like the KTM trains that used to traverse Tanjong Pagar railway station.

Another key difference was the seating arrangement; all passengers must be seated unlike MRT trains where we are required to stand and be squeezed like sardines in a tin.  [Appreciate the correction from my rail-crazy friend, Andrew, who personally sent me a message to say there were standing tickets and he personally purchased it during a morning peak in Taiwan]. 

Oh, one thing i dislike about Taipei Main Station is its vastness!!! Elevators were far from one another and many exits did not have escalators!!!! The good thing about it was the constant exercises i had by climbing up the staircases so often in that few days of stay! 

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For an overview of my 9 Days, 8 Nights Taiwan Trip [Cingjing (清境) - Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) - Taichung (臺中) - Taipei (臺 北)], click HERE.

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