Thursday, September 20, 2018

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station

When come to staying in Taipei, I can't deny Ximending is always my top choice. But because of my recent trip where I travelled alone and arrived Taipei quite late at night, I decided to stay somewhere nearby the Taipei Main Station then. 

I almost booked other hostel until I saw this, it's like love at first sight...

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 01
#The inviting lounge/common area

Lately, I'm addicted staying in the hostel due to the lounge or common area. So when I saw Star Hostel with its inviting and cozy lounge/common area, immediately I booked without thinking any longer. Artistically furnished in the wood element with zen and roomy ambiance, I believe for sure it makes everyone instantly fall for it. Almost every morning before having breakfast, I spent my time here doing some travel research. I even spotted few guests spent their time here until 4am in the morning - wondering did they ever go to their bed to sleep? 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 02
#A small-scale and compact cottage whereby guests can climb up to relax and chill in 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 04-1
#Overview

2018 Taipei Star Hostel Main Taipei Station
#Movie time in some nights

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 23
#Weekly event every night

RECEPTION & CHECK-IN

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 07
#Front desk

The reception runs 24 hours and therefore, you don't have to worry when you arrive the hostel late at night. The check-in process is kinda fast and hassle-free; just handover your passport and booking reference number. However, you are only allow to enter into your room at 3pm onwards. Fret not, as the hostel staffs are very helpful and friendly cause they allow the guest to leave their luggage in the hostel storage for free of charge. They even allow the guests to sit at the lounge as well, eventhough the check-in time hasn't come yet. 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 08
#Souvenir & snacks corner

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 20
#Shoe cabinets

Before entering into the room and other common facilities, all the guests are required to change their footwear to the indoor slipper provided by the hostel. As for our footwear, just keep in the cabinet according to the assigned room number. Such ingenious idea cause not just it makes the whole hostel clean, but also prevent the floor from getting dirty. This hostel even being so thoughtful by providing hand sanitizer. 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 09
Entrance to the hostel

6-BED DORM 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 10

Star Hostels reminds me of my most favourite hostel in Europe (Dream Hostel of Warsaw) where each bunk bed has its own privacy curtain, personal light lamp and socket for electricity. There is even a small shelf for you to place some small and light items like glasses, handphone, watch and so on. The bed is pretty comfortable, meticulously clean and most importantly, it's fairly spacious too which it doesn't make me feel stuffy and squeezed at all. 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 10-1

Private locker is provided for each guest to store their bags and personal belongings. And you know what, you don't have to use your own padlock to lock the locker cause it can be opened and locked by just using your room card. That is so cool! On my first night, I didn't realise about this until I saw other guest did so by just using their card. Silly me! But because my locker was on the top and my luggage bag was kinda huge (24 inch type) which obviously heavy too, I didn't manage to squeeze my bag into the locker, so at the end I just simply placed it outside. Luckily the room is relatively spacious. Another thing I love about the room is that they consist of air-conditioner, towel hanger and long mirror. You know lah, lady loves mirror so much, particularly the long type. 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 11

SHOWER ROOMS & TOILETS 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 19

As my room was located on the 5th floor, I only bother to check out the shower rooms and toilets on my respective floor. Overall, there are 5 shower rooms to be shared but being lady, we have the right to use all whereas for the guy, they can only use 2 out of the 5 shower rooms. I found pretty funny when I saw "Gender Friendly" signboard, which indicates both female and male can enter that particular shower rooms/toilet. Both female and mixed gender shower rooms have a vanity area where it equipped with hairdryer. 

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 12

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 29

KITCHEN, CAFE & BREAKFASTS

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 05

The guest kitchen is open 24 hours but I'm not sure whether the guest is allow to cook or not. Cause so far from what I observed during my stay, none of the guests tend to cook here. The kitchen is so modern and spacious and most importantly, it's well-equipped with refrigerators, microwave, oven, coffee machine, tap with drinking water and more that you could ever imagine of.  

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 06

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 03
#The cafe area or known as Star Cafe

Little did I know that my booking comes along with free breakfast. At first I thought it's just a simple and basic breakfast until I saw the breakfast menu on the board. Different meal every day of the week so you won't get bored even stay for couple of days here. Breakfast starts from 8am to 10am everyday.

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 13
#Breakfast menu

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 14
#Friday breakfast

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 15
#Saturday breakfast

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 18
#Unlimited juices, coffee, toasts and buns.

PREFER MORE PRIVACY?

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 17

In case you don't feel like want to stay with strangers, don't worry cause this hostel even houses private rooms ensuite with bathroom. Plenty of options to choose from; single room, double or twin room or even quadruple room. 

LOCATION

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 24
Like I mentioned earlier why I chosen to stay in this hostel is because of its excellent and great location - less than 10 minutes walk to Taipei Main Station, the main transportation hub for all public access; like Metro, Taipei Railway, High Speed Rail and Bus Station. Star Hostel is even very close to the newly built Taoyuan Airport MRT Station.

There are three Metro lines within the vicinity; Tamsui-Xinyi Line and Bannan Line in Taipei Main Station and Songshan-Xindian Line in Taoyuan Airport MRT Station.

WHAT NOT SO GOOD?

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 28
Although you can access up to the hostel by lift, but still you need to climb up the staircase if your room is located on the 5th floor - so that's the one and only downside of it. However, if your room being assigned on the 4th floor, then you hit the jackpot!

Another thing is the hostel doesn't provide towel for free - you need to rent for it. But since I brought along mine, so it wasn't big deal for me. 

DIRECTION
Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 25
#Travelling from Taoyuan International Airport

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 27
#Direction from Taipei Main Station

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 16

Normally I don't go back and staying the same hotel/hostel as I like to experience different kind of environment but Star Hostel make me come back for more. Minus the staircases, this hostel is absolutely perfect and fabulous. So if Dream Hostel of Warsaw is my favourite hostel in Europe, I can conclude that Star Hostel is my most favourite hostel in Asia.

I was consider pretty lucky manage to book the room at the very last minute (although I being requested to change different rooms in between) cause this hostel filled up very quickly. So be sure to book early!

Star Hostel Taipei Main Station 26

For more info, you can check out their official website here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Taipei & Kyushu Prefecture (Sneak Peek)

Taiwan on the right side.
Japan on the left side.

I'm referring to escalator etiquette, by the way.

I just came back from another trip of mine and this time, I visited both Taiwan and Japan - it's like killing two birds with one stone. My initial plan is to visit Kyushu Island but to date, there's no direct flight from Malaysia. So in order to get there, the option is either fly from Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong and I chosen Taiwan cause I love to be back to Taiwan again. 

DT Instagram

As usual, here's another quick sneak peek from my recent trip there:

2018 Taoyuan Taiwan
你好, Taiwan! I did a post why I love Taiwan so much - Reasons Why I Revisit Taiwan Again!

2018 Fukuoka
From Taiwan, we took a flight to Fukuoka.

2018 Japan Yufuin 01
We rented a car and did a quick stopby at Yufuin for this colourful and lovely village.

2018 Japan Beppu Umi Jigoku
Umi Jigoku - one of the must visit attractions in Beppu.

2018 Japan Kumamoto
Kumamoto Castle and Kumamon - Two iconic of Kumamoto Prefecture.

2018 Japan Nagasaki
Learning the history in Peace Park in Nagasaki. Regret for didn't stay longer here.

2018 Japan Fukuoka Ichiran Ramen
Fukuoka, the birthplace of Ichiran Ramen.

After spending 6 days in Kyushu Island which I personally think it's pretty short, I flew back to Taiwan again and stayed there for few days. Among all the things in Taipei, the highlight of this trip is particularly the hostel I stayed. At first, I only stayed for a night only and I decided to book to stay with them again right after back from Kyushu.

2018 Taipei Star Hostel Main Taipei Station
When I post this in Facebook and Instagram, quite a number of my friends and followers asking me what's the name of this hostel. I will blog more of this in the next upcoming post.

Thinking of so many travelogues still pending, don't know when will I able to finalise them. I should stop travelling but you know, it's hard - "Once bitten by the travel bug, there is no antidote!"

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Balkans (2018): Old City Walls of Dubrovnik

When my friend and I were in Dubrovnik for two days, we went nowhere except casually strolling in and out of the Old City only. Two days might seem long but it's actually sufficient to cover major attractions including walking around the old city walls of Dubrovnik - that's what we did on the second day. 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 01
#1

A walk along this prominent ancient medieval walls that encircles the Old Town is one truly unique and amazing experience. A visit to Dubrovnik is incomplete without a walk around this mighty city wall and it's absolutely must-do-thing when one visiting this "Pearl of the Adriatic" city. With the entrance fee of HRK150 (approx. to RM104), it's really worth to pay a visit as we're rewarded with awe-inspiring views over the deep blue Adriatic sea and inwards over the orange rooftops of the Old Town buildings from the top. 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 02
#2

There are three entrances leads to the old city walls of Dubrovnik; from near the Pile Gate, the Ploce Gate and the Maritime Museum. The Pile Gate entrance which closer to Onofrio's Fountain tends to be the most famous choice among the visitors and therefore the busiest one. From here, we climbed up towards Fort Bokar, the key point in the defense of the Pile Gate. 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 04
#3

From Fort Bokar, we sighted another magnificent fortress across us and it's known as Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress. One interesting thing about this fort is that it has a triangular layoout with three terraces. The entrance fee we paid earlier not just a visit to the old city walls but it also included a visit to this fort too - thanks to my friend who notice about this, or else it's really a waste.  

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 05
#4: Fort Lovrijenac or St. Lawrence Fortress

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 06
#6

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 07
#7

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 08
#8

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 09
#9

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 10
#10: Somehow we feel like we're in Santorini, Greece

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 11
#11

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 12
#12

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 13
#13

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 14
#14

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 15
#15

The walls run uninterrupted for about 2km long surrounding the city and we took about 3 to 4 hours to walk all the way around them. It's best to start your visit as early as possible - not just to beat the crowd but to avoid the scorching hot sun up in the afternoon. And in case you are feeling tired and thirsty, don't worry cause there are few cafes available for you to have a sit and order a cup of drink to cool down yourself. You can even grab an ice-cream too! 

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 16
#16

2018 Croatia Dubrovnik Ice-Cream Day 2
#17: Everyday ice-cream+ing in Croatia

2018 Croatia Walls of Dubrovnik 17
#18: This looks alike The Hobbit Village

Old City Walls of Dubrovnik
Admission Fee: HRK150
Opening Hours: 8:00am to 7:30pm daily

TOTAL SPENDING ON SECOND DAY IN DUBROVNIK
My total damages on the second day in this expensive city:
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
€/KN
RM

Accommodation
Hostel Angelina Old Town – 1 night

Food & Drinks
Second Day in Dubrovnik

Admission Fee
Old City Walls

Others
Magnet


€30


221 kn


150 kn


21 kn



145


153


104


15

TOTAL (RM)
417
Exchange Rate: €1.00 (RM4.84) = 7.13 kuna on average