The well procrastinated final post of my Taiwan Trip holiday is finally here!
Throughout my 4 nights in Taipei, I stayed at City Inn III near Taipei Main Station. City Inn has a few branches in the vicinity and rumor has it that 90% of the occupants are Singaporeans.
Anyway, I liked that place because it’s clean and affordable. Plus point – They have free milo/coffee machine in the lobby, but I only found that out on the last day!!
The first place we went to in Taipei was XiMenDing (西門町) and we were really spoilt for choice because there were so many streets selling food and fashion. We did some research beforehand and went to try the famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線). The queue was very long but fast-moving, and there were very few seats so most people just stand around and eat with only a spoon.
To be honest, I never really liked these kind of mee sua so I didn’t find it very special. We were too full for dinner so we walked around a bit and found a small risotto restaurant with a huge golden retriever just lying around sleeping in the middle.
I assume his name is 阿毛 and his life must be very good. I would be very tempted to give some risotto to the doggy.
The highlight of the night was our buffet steamboat dinner at 馬辣頂級麻辣鴛鴦火鍋 recommended by Yiling.
For just SGD$20+ we got free flow of many kinds of beef/pork/chicken, vegetables, seafood, Haagen Daz ice-cream, as well as Taiwan Beer! Good food = long queues, so the best thing is to arrive early to leave your name down and walk walk around for 1 hour before it’s your turn to feast.
The next day was a day trip to Jiufen (九份) and Shifen (十分). There’s actually not much to do at Jiufen other than walking through their 老街 and eating their famous 芋圆 that my family all don’t really like.
There’s also some ice-cream with chopped peanuts wrapped in popiah skin that was quite refreshing but can be finished in 2 bites.
In Taiwan, they are also famous for their white bitter gourd juice. When mixed with honey, it’s a refreshing and healthy drink for summer! Try and spot them behind the huge watermelon.
If I had the choice, I would allocate more time at Shifen instead. The thing with getting around is that Ruifang Station is the common point between Jiufen and Shifen, and the train intervals are not very frequent (including the train ride back to Taipei).
Due to not very proper planning on my part, we only had around 30 minutes at Shifen to do a quickie 放孔明灯 there. Thankfully they were all within walking distance from the station and the shop-owners there are so experienced that it could all be done under 20 minutes.
Evidently, you can see that our words are written in a hurry.
It’s a pity though because there’s a waterfall nearby and some beautiful scenery and walking trails that we passed along on the way there. I would have loved to explore Shifen a bit more.
The next day was a trip to XinBeiTou (新北投) for our hot spring experience! It was actually pretty ironic because the weather was hot as hell and we were sunburnt, but still we wanted to go to a hot spring. We didn’t regret it though, because it’s a first for my parents. The place we went to was a hotel called Sweet Me.
We booked a private room that allows us to wear swimming costumes to soak (due to modesty reasons for my mom). It was a pretty tiny bathtub meant for 2, with another tub for cold water.
They also had a separate gender hot spring area, but you have to go in naked and there are more pools with different minerals and temperatures there.
We walked around the XinBeiTou area and we found a Thermal Valley (地热谷) that has fumes rising out of the pool. The place did smell very sulphuric though, and we didn’t stay for long other than to snap pictures because it was burning hot.
After having a relaxing bath, we went to Danshui (淡水) Fisherman’s Wharf (渔人码头) to catch the sunset!
We had a spectacular view on the 情人桥 and it was another “watch the yolk drop into the sea” moment.
Our dinner was at Shihlin Night Market (士林夜市) and by now, we were so sick of night market food that we mainly just browsed through the stalls without eating much. Finally understood the saying that too much of a good thing, is not good after all.
Our second last day was spent making a pilgrimage to Taipei 101. It’s the must-go building that everyone knows about.
However, I would like to recommend another place called 四四南村 that is a 10 minutes walk away.
It used to be military barracks/hangars, but now it’s a quaint area with a cafe called Good Cho’s (好丘) there that’s famous amongst the locals. My Taiwanese friend introduced this hippy place to me, if not I will probably never find it on Tripadvisor or Google etc.
So if you’re reading this and going to Taiwan, do give that place a try!
Our last interesting place for the trip is WuFenPu Wholesale Market (五分埔) where the girls can go crazy shopping there. For them, wholesale means 2 items or more and I don’t think that’s very difficult when the clothes there are so cheap. Thankfully, there are some shops that sell guy stuff nowadays, but I didn’t get myself anything.
Once I start working, I hardly think I will be wearing casual clothes anymore =/
Anyways, there is a famous 鲁肉饭 in between the train station and the entrance of WuFenPu. Their portions are very small, so do order more because each bowl is only like $1.50.
This about sums up my very lengthy post on Taipei! Along the way we visited XiMenDing and Taipei Main Station Underground Mall a few more times, and ate plenty more food that probably wasn’t that memorable.
I had a wonderful time with my family for the 9 days that I was there, and I do hope that we can still continue going on vacations like these in future!
Cheers to quality family bonding time!