Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Taiwan (2015): Taipei For The Third Time

3 Days in Taipei

My trip to Taichung might seem short but it's more than enough for me since I've been there three times. So our next destination is back to Taipei again. Oh hi there Taipei once again! As usual, we took High Speed Rail from Taichung to Taipei instead of the long distance bus. For this round, I didn't book my ticket in advanced, we just went to the counter and bought on the spot. Because the HSR journey between Taichung and Taipei is relatively short, like approximately less than 40 minutes, therefore the trains are quite frequent. Well of course if you book through online earlier, you can get an early bird discount up to 35% from the normal fare. 

2015 Taiwan HSR Taichung To Taipei MAS Teddy Bear
#1: High Speed Rail from Taichung to Taipei

Just like what I did previously for my 2013 Taiwan travelogues, I decided to compile all the attractions and tourist spots I managed to visit within three days around Taipei. Some I went before, and some I visited for the very first time. Some are located within the city, and there are some quite distance away but still easily accessible via their efficient public transportation.

1) Taipei Zoo
Besides being the largest zoo in Asia, this zoo has been around for more than a century - which indicates more than 100 years. Initially I didn't have much expectation of this zoo but it turned out to exceed my expectations. The zoo houses large diversity of animals from various countries such as panda, koala bear, camels, alpaca and more. And the best part, the entrance fee is only NT$60 - that's like RM7 only. Unbelievably cheap and incredible value for money. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Zoo 1
#2: Taipei Zoo - the largest zoo in Asia

Similar to theme parks, Taipei Zoo is divided into different areas like Asian Tropical Rainforest, Australian Animals, Reptilian House, Desert Animals, Bird Worlds and more. It's so huge until we ended up almost 5 hours here. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Zoo 3
#3

2015 Taiwan Taipei Zoo 4
#4

2015 Taiwan Taipei Zoo 5
#5

How To Get To Taipei Zoo:
Take MRT Brown Line to the southern terminus Taipei Zoo
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5pm
Admission Fee: NT$60 for adult and NT$30 for children (You can pay using Easy Card too)

2) Ximending Mala Hot Pot
Shortly after the animal encounter at Taipei Zoo, little did we realise it's time for dinner. Because both of my friend and I were staying in the vibrant and lively of Ximending area, there's one spot well-known for mala hot pot. And since we're nearby, why not give a try? Mala hot pot is a steamboat buffet serves at an affordable price. Just inform the staff which soup based you want and then, go and grab what ever you want to eat. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Ximending Mala Hot Pot 1
#6: Steamboat buffet - eat all you can with free flow of drinks and dessert

2015 Taiwan Taipei Ximending Mala Hot Pot 2
#7: You can choose two soups based.

2015 Taiwan Taipei Ximending Mala Hot Pot 3
#8: There are many different soups you can choose from.

Ximending Hot Pot
108, Wanhua District, Xining Rd, 157 , Taipei City, Taiwan.
Opening Hours: 11.30 am to 2 am
Price: NT$498 for lunch; NT$598 for dinner

3) Yangmingshan National Park
Yangmingshan National Park is one of the nine national parks in Taiwan and it is situated in northern Taipei city. It is the most popular and visited national park as it is easily accessible from downtown by public bus. This national park is home to numerous parks, nature hiking trails, fascinating plants and wildlife, and the internationally well-known hot springs. 

2015 Taiwan Yangmingshan National Park 1
#9: Yangmingshan National Park - the most visited park in Taiwan

Depending on which season you visit, each seasons brings a different type of beauty and charms to the area. February and March are the flowering season, and rhododendrons and cherry blossoms cover the mountain slopes to welcome the spring. Summer brings winds from the southwest with occasional showers and thunder in the afternoon, creating amazing weather effects in the mountains. By October, the mountains are covered with silver grass and the golden red colour of maple leaves. Rainbows can be seen after misty autumn rains. Winter time has unique scenery as well since monsoons bring a cold drizzle that create seas of clouds that look like a fantasy world, with the possibility of snow falling on cold days.

2015 Taiwan Yangmingshan National Park 2
#10

2015 Taiwan Yangmingshan National Park 3
#11

2015 Taiwan Yangmingshan National Park
#12

How To Get To Yangmingshan National Park:
From MRT Jiantan Station, take Exit 1. And walk to the left-side bus station, buses heading to the north. Take either city bus R5 or small bus S15 or S17 to Yangmingshan station. 
You can also take bus 260 from Taipei Main Station. 

4) Wufenpu Fashion Area
This shopping district is well-known for its wholesale garment market and it is consider to be the largest clothing line market in Taiwan. Here, you will see hundreds, or even thousands of bags contains huge range of clothes lying on the floor for the customers to choose and pick. Price wise, their clothes are claimed to be cheap and affordable. I found a top from as low as NT$100 (approx. to RM12) per piece. So for ladies who love to shop, probably you can consider to visit Wufenpu but the downside of this place is that there is no fitting room, which similar to the pasar malam (night market).

2015 Taiwan Taipei Wufenpu Shopping District
#13: Wufenpun Shopping District - the largest wholesale market for clothes in Taiwan

2015 Taiwan Taipei Wufenpu Shopping District 1
#14: Old photo of Wufenpu I took dating back in 2010

How To Get To Wufenpu:
Take MRT Green Line 3 to the Songshan Station - Exit 3. Once get out from the exit, walk straight and continue walking until cross Songlong Road. The shopping district is located within the maze of alleys and lanes to your front and left. 
Opening Hours: Hours of operation for various shops are usually vary, generally opening after noon and staying open until there are no customers left, most commonly around 10pm to midnight. 

5) Raohe Night Market
Apart from Shilin Night Market, Raohe Night Market is consider to be one of the best and oldest night markets in Taipei. Not far away from Wufenpu Shopping District, this night market is all about mouthwatering food and scrumptious delicacies. I personally love this night market to the extent I went back again on my recent trip to Taiwan. One of the street food you shouldn't miss in this night market is the pepper meat buns which can easily spot at the entrance of the market. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Raohe Night Market 1
#15: Raohe Night Market - one of the oldest night markets in Taipei

2015 Taiwan Taipei Raohe Night Market 5 Pepper Meat Buns
#16: Pepper meat buns - It's best to eat while it's piping hot

2015 Taiwan Taipei Raohe Night Market 3
#17: It's all about food and more food in Raohe Night Market

2015 Taiwan Taipei Raohe Night Market 2
#18: My all-time favourite street food in Taiwan - Peanut shavings with coconut sorbet wrapped in rice paper

2015 Taiwan Taipei Raohe Night Market 4
#19: Nasty and naughty souvenirs

How To Get To Raohe Night Market:
Take MRT Green Line 3 to the Songshan Station - Exit 5
Opening Hours: 5pm to 12am daily

6) Yehliu Geopark
Located in north coast of Taipei, Yehliu Geopark is famed for a number of unique and fascinating geological formations including the iconic "Queen's Head" (女王頭). It's so popular among both the local and foreign visitors, hence it is advisable to go there early as possible to avoid the enormous and crazy crowds. In addition, the location is quite remote and the journey from city center takes almost an hour by taking public bus. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Yehliu Geopark 1
#20: Yehliu Geopark - the major attraction of Taipei

2015 Taiwan Taipei Yehliu Geopark 2
#21: Left nothing but footprints

2015 Taiwan Taipei Yehliu Geopark 6
#22: Cute Princess Rock formation

Wondering where's the Queen's Head Rock picture? Well, the queue to take a photo of the Queen's Head Rock is pretty long but it's bearable. I managed to take tourist photo of myself in front of the rock but I decided not to share here because I took and stood together with my ex. Lessons learned - next time it's best to take two separate photos; one with the partner and one is just me alone. Luckily, I managed to take photo along with the Cute Princess Rock at least. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Yehliu Geopark 4
#23: Sea-erosion landscape filled with unique shaped rocks

2015 Taiwan Taipei Yehliu Geopark 5
#24

How To Get To Yehliu Geopark:
Take Kuo Kang 1815 bus from Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A - Exit Z3 (located at Taipei Main Station). Remember to purchase the bus ticket at Kuo Kang counter before boarding. The journey takes approximately 90 minutes, and the bus will drop you on the main road just outside the park entrance. Walk down the lane on the left side to enter. A single ride costs NT$96. 
Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm
Admission Fee: NT$80 for adult and NT$40 for children

7) Pingxi Old Street
Because previously I only managed to cover Shifen Old Street under the Pingxi Railway Line, hence I decided to explore further. I always love to visit the old street and town, not just for its rich in culture and history but also offers variety of cultural attractions, natural sights and exquisite local cuisine to indulge in. Both Shifen and Pingxi area are notable for writing and releasing the lanterns on the railway track.

2018 Pingxi Railway Line
#25: Trail guide map of Pingxi Railway Line

Generally under Pingxi Railway Line, the most visited areas are Shifen, Pingxi, Jingtong and Huotang (famous for cats village). I managed to cover all these four in three separate visits. But if you believe you can cover and visit all these in a day, you can consider to buy one day pass ticket which costs NT$54 for unlimited rides. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Pingxi Station 1
#26: Pingxi Station - the second last station

2015 Taiwan Taipei Pingxi Station 2
#27: Pingxi is famous for flying the colourful lanterns into the sky

2015 Taiwan Taipei Pingxi Station 3
#28: Pingxi Old Street. We were there on weekend and therefore, it's overly crowded.

2015 Taiwan Taipei Pingxi Station 4
#29: Walking on the railway is fun but beware of the train approaching.

2015 Taiwan Taipei Pingxi Station 5
#30: Write your wishing lists on the sky lantern and set it into the sky.

Which is my favourite pick - Shifen or Pingxi? I would choose the first one cause it offers more interesting attractions than the latter; such as Shifen Waterfalls and Jingan Suspension Bridge. It's not to say that Pingxi is not fun, but from some of the blogs I came across, this area can be very quiet and not lively compare to Shifen especially on weekday and in the morning time. Plus, most of the shops closed on weekday. Luckily we're there on the weekend and almost all shops were fully operated but of course, we can't avoid the crazy and insane crowd. So, there's always pros and cons in everything. 

How To Get To Pingxi Station: 
Upon reaching Taipei station, make way to Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) to purchase northbound train ticket to Ruifang Station (瑞芳) for NT$49 each. Then from Ruifang Station, purchase One Day Pass at NT$54 for unlimited rides along the Pingxi Branch Line or a single trip at NT$20.

Pingxi Railway Route: Ruifang >>> Huotong >>> Sandiaoling >>> Dahua >>> Shifen >>> Wanggu >>> Lingjiao >>> Pingxi >>> Jingtong.

As you can see, we spent most of our days in Taipei by visiting majority of the popular attractions which located outskirt of the city. Don't worry about the means of transportation around Taipei - just as long as you are equip with Easy card, it's easy and convenient to move around from one point to another.

Other Popular Attractions I Visited in Taipei Back in 2013:
1) Ximending - Harajuku of Taipei
2) Beitou
3) Tamsui Town
4) Taipei 101
You can read my old blogpost here.

Previous Posts on My 2015 Taiwan Trip

2 comments:

  1. Voila! I am planning a trip to visit Taipei and Taichung in February. That could be my 6th visit.

    Your Teddy Bear is so cute and handsome! Does he follow you to all the countries?
    Those naughty souvenirs looked edible!

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  2. The night market there is just crazy crowded. Been to this one that u mentioned, it was nice but going back to our place, I opt for uber coz all that crowd walking makes me dizzy hahaha. I think that was my 2nd or 3rd trip to Taiwan too, but haven't got to exploring the nature bits of it yet. Maybe next time.

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