Thursday, January 31, 2019

First Trip For 2019 - 24 Hours in Brunei

It's supposedly my third trip for the year 2019 but then, due to some personal reason I burnt two tickets before my trip to Brunei. Sorry Sibu and Bangkok but I believe, I will see you two soon again. 

Hence, Brunei is my first official trip for this year - the brand new year of 2019. I've been to Brunei quite a number of times and the most adventurous I ever experienced was self-drive road trip which took more than 7 hours from Kota Kinabalu. My Old Post: 7 Hours Road Trip From Kota Kinabalu To Brunei

2019 Brunei Trip 01
#1: Fly with AirAsia to Brunei from Kota Kinabalu for as low as RM69 return fare

Besides driving, I actually also flew to the main capital city of Brunei - Bandar Seri Begawan multiple times and for this round, I got return fare for as low as RM69 only. That's freaking dirt cheap and as usual, it's so hard for me to say "No" for this unbelievable airfare. Thanks to AirAsia for relaunching this route and there goes our 24 hours trip in Brunei.

2019 Brunei Trip 02
#2: The shortest international flight ever. I haven't complete fill in the form, the captain announced that we will be landing soon. Like what! 

No visa is required for Malaysian - just fill in and complete the form on arrival and we're allowed to stay in Brunei up to 30 days only. 

2019 Brunei Trip 03
#3

I once lived and studied in Brunei when I was very young - around 3 or 4 years old due to my dad's work. Hence, I can consider myself as a truly Borneo girl since I born in Sabah but with Sarawak's status for my identification card and passport and ever lived in Brunei before 😜

2019 Brunei Trip 04 Brunei International Airport Mosque
#4: Brunei International Airport Mosque

My last visit to Brunei Airport was back in 2013 when my flight transit here before continue flying to Bangkok with Royal Brunei Airlines. At that point of time, the airport itself was kinda old and unimpressive, unlike my recent visit there. Currently, Brunei Airport has improved tremendously especially in terms of amenities in order to serve the modern travellers where they provide plenty of comfortable seats, charging stations and free WiFi connections. There are even quite a number of eateries and dining options available such as KFC, Jollibee, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and even Royce's Chocolate, a Japanese chocolate maker and confectioner. Sad to say this but I honestly felt that their airport is at least ten times better than my hometown airport, KKIA. 

So, how to get to the city center from the airport?
We took the bus #23 that cost B$1 only heading to the heart of the capital city. Although Brunei is well-known for being one wealthy nation, unfortunately this doesn't apply to its bus. The public bus we took were kinda run-down and tired-looking one. Another thing you have to take note of Brunei's public bus is that it is very limited and in order to get around, it takes a lots of effort. Buses operate daily from 6.30 am to about 6 pm only. After that, your options are either taking a cab or hoofing it. 

Alternatively, you can download Dart which similar to Grab/Uber. Unfortunately in order to protect the taxi driver, one can't book Dart from the airport exact location and so, you need to walk further down.   

2019 Brunei Trip 10 BWN Bed Station Hostel

You know what? This is my first time I booked an accommodation in Brunei because previously, I always stayed in my relative's house. Yes, I have a paternal aunt and maternal uncle staying and living in Brunei. However for this trip, I decided not to disturb them. I don't even inform them about my visit there. The boyfriend in charge of doing the booking and he booked BWN Bed Station

A room with 2 bunk beds cost B$30 to 32 which I found it's fairly affordable. Location wise, it's located at Kiulap Commercial Centre, just above the KFC fast food restaurant. In order to get to the city centre, take bus #20 or #22. 

2019 Brunei Trip 04 BSB Bus Terminal

Shortly after check-in into our hostel, we took bus to the city center. Once we arrived at the bus terminal, we explored and visited few places and attractions within the vicinity by foot such as:  

Bandar Seri Begawan Waterfront 
The bank of the Brunei River has been currently redeveloped and features an amazing and stunning promenade. From here, one can even view the notable Kampung Ayer.
2019 Brunei Trip 06 BSB Waterfront

Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque - A visit to Brunei is incomplete without visiting this. This iconic of Brunei is considered as one of the most beautiful mosques in the Asia Pacific. However until now, I never set my foot into this mosque regardless how many times I passby. I know it's such a shame not to pay any visit of this stunning and magnificent mosque but I will make sure I do so in my future visit. 
2019 Brunei Trip 07

Clock Tower of Brunei - Fully painted in blue, this clock tower of Brunei was built to commerate the visit of our first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tuanku Abdul Rahman to Brunei Darussalam. It is dubbed the Ground Zero as it is the starting point where distances are measured in Brunei. 
2019 Brunei Trip 08 Clock Tower

From the main town, we booked Dart to The Empire Hotel & Country Club for sunset viewing. One single trip costs us B$12 cause it takes approximately 20 minutes drive from the city center. Since opened on 2000, The Empire has become synonymous with Brunei reflecting the country's majestic and cultural heritage. 
2019 Brunei Trip 09 Sunset at Empire Hotel & Country Club

To end our day in Brunei, I brought the boyfriend for Japanese cuisines at Excapade Sushi which situated not far away from our hostel. No wonder when I arrived at the hostel area, I noticed the place seems so similar, like I've been before. I was right, I came here before with my family for the same reason too - just to have Japanese food.
2019 Brunei Trip 10 Excapade

On the next morning, we booked Dart again heading to the airport. I know my latest trip to Brunei is one short and quick trip but then, it's a fruitful one. I enjoy the experience to explore the nation as tourist or traveller cause like I mentioned earlier, most of the times my relatives brought my family and I around. 
2019 Brunei Trip 11 Airport

Extra Information About Brunei:
1) As we all know that Brunei is officially an Islamic nation, therefore places of business and officers, including shops, restaurants and even malls close between 12pm to 2pm every Friday for Friday prayers.  
2) Regarding the dress code, you don't have to cover your head like what I did in Iran. Just make sure you dress appropriately; avoid revealing too much skin, being respectful by wearing sleeve top and short/skirt over the knee, at least. 
3) You can find pork in Brunei (#nonhalal). From small, I was told that selling any pork in the country is illegal. Not until I stumbled upon a restaurant serving pork - to be honest, I was quite surprised to see it and I have to look twice to double confirm. But of course, visit people's country is to try their local dishes. 

Wondering how much both the boyfriend and I spent when we're in Brunei for 2 days and 1 night? So, here's the breakdown. 
PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
B$
RM
Airfare
AirAsia KK – Brunei - KK

Accommodations
BWN Bed Station – 1 night

Transportation
Public bus
Dart

Food and drinks
Lunch – Jollibee
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Dinner – Excapade Sushi

-


32.00


4.00
38.40


10.20
12.50
32.80

138


97


12
116


31
38
99
TOTAL (RM)
531

I'm not sure about the current exchange rate for Brunei dollar since I have quite number of notes with me (you know, angpow from relatives) but I used BigPay rate as a benchmark (B$1 = RM3.024). 

Souvenirs wise, I didn't buy the usual one like fridge magnet, postcard and stamps cause nothing seem interesting to me but we bought many shrimp and prawn crackers there. My mom told me Brunei is famous for that, ohhhh.... Plus you know, Chinese New Year is approaching soon right? So this is the best souvenir I got for my mom - she fry it, I eat it. Hahaha. 

2019 Brunei Trip 11 Prawn Crackers

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Summary of My 9D8N Taipei & Taichung, Taiwan (2015) Travelogues & Travel Expenses

Here is the compilation for all the posts relating to my trip to Taiwan for the third time where I managed to cover few popular cities like Taipei, Kaohsiung, Kenting and Taichung within 9 days and 8 nights I went back in 2015. By end of this post, I also share how much I spent throughout my trip. Did I spend more or less compare to my previous two trips? Read until the end to find out. 

Day 1: 7th March 2015
Arrived Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and took Kuo-Kang bus #1819 to Taipei Main Station. From there, we took taxi to Sato Castle Motel where we stayed for a night.

Hotel Review: Sato Castle Motel, Taipei
Taipei - Sato Castle Hotel 01

Day 2: 8th March 2015
On the next day, we travel on Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) for getting to Kaohsiung from Taipei. 

Taiwan - Day 2 01 - Taipei to ZouYing

Although the cost of travelling via HSR is higher than taking the bus, but the journey takes just 90 minutes than 4 to 5 hours under the bus ride. Through the online booking, you can get an early bird discount up to 35% from the normal ticket fare. Normally this online booking is available up to 28 days from the departure date. Please take note the HSR station for Kaohsiung is Zuoying (左營).

Stay: Jia's Inn Liuhe
Direction: 6-minute walk from MRT City Council Station or 10-minute walk from MRT Formosa Boulevard Station. 
Taiwan Kaohsiung Jia's Inn 1

Dome of Light
Direction: Take the red line of Kaohsiung MRT and alight at Kaohsiung Arena Station. Proceed to B1 level and you will instantly see this beautiful art glass installation.
Taiwan Kaohsiung Dome of Light 2

Ruifeng Night Market
Direction: Take the red line of Kaohsiung MRT and alight at Kaohsiung Arena Station. Get off from Exit 1 and walk for about 5 minutes.
Opening Hours: 6 pm to 12 am daily
Taiwan Kaohsiung Ruifeng Night Market 1

Liuhe Night Market
Direction: Take either the red line or orange line of Kaohsiung MRT and alight at Formosa Boulevard Station. Get out from Exit 11.
Opening Hours: 6 pm to 11 pm daily
Taiwan Kaohsiung Liouhe Night Market 1

Day 3: 9th March 2015

Cijin Island
From Sizihwan Station under the orange line of Kaohsiung MRT, head over to Gushan Ferry Terminal. Get out from Exit 1, then turn left and walk to the end of the street. After that, turn right and you will see the ferry pier. One way ferry ride cost NT$15 and it's free seating. Once we reach Cijin Island, we decided to rent electric bike to explore the island itself cause it is unexpectedly consider to be huge in size. We're totally underestimated this island.

Taiwan Kaohsiung Cijin Island 1

So, what to discover in Cijin Island?
  1. Cihou Fort
  2. Cihou Lighthouse - Opens 9 am to 5pm. Closed on every Monday 
  3. Cijin Star Tunnel
  4. Cijin Windmill Park 
  5. Sea Shell Museum - Opens 9 am to 5pm. Closed on every Monday

Love River
Direction: Take the orange line of Kaohsiung MRT and alight at Yanchengpu Station. Take the exit for Wufu road and walk east up Wufu Road toward Love River.
Taiwan Kaohsiung Love River 4

READ HERE: 3D2N Itinerary in Kaohsiung

Day 4: 10th March 2015
A Relaxed and Laid-Back Trip In Kaohsiung
In order to get to Kenting, take a ride on Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) to Zuoying Station first if you are travelling from Taoyuan or Taipei. From there, take Kuo Kang or Kenting Express bus heading to Kenting. The journey takes approximately of 2 hours for the price of NT$407 for a single trip and NT$600 for roundtrip.

Another second option is by sharing cab, like what we did. If you are traveling in a group of 4, probably this option is cheaper than taking the bus. 

It is possible to do day trip to Kenting from Kaohsiung but for me, I prefer to stay for a night just to experience the night market there. 

Taiwan Kenting 01

Stay: Sunhow Inn
Things To Do: Visit night market and Kenting Beach

Day 5: 11th March 2015
A Quick One In Taichung & Garden Stay Fengjia
From Kenting, my friend and I shared a cab to Kaohsiung and we requested to stop at HSR Zouying Station. From there, we took the High Speed Rail straight to Taichung. 

Alternatively, you can opt for bus from Kaohsiung to Taichung but being me, train is always my ultimate choice if the price is not hurting my bank account badly. 

2015 Taiwan Taichung Fengjia Night Market 1

Stay: Garden Stay, Fengjia
Things To Do: Visit Fengjia Night Market

Day 6: 12th March 2015
Right after our trip to Taichung, we travel back to Taipei again before leaving the nation. 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. 


Taipei Zoo
Direction: 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)
2015 Taiwan Taipei Zoo 1

Ximending Hot Pot
Address: 108, Wanhua District, Xining Rd, 157 è™Ÿ, Taipei City, Taiwan.
Opening Hours: 11.30 am to 2 am
Price: NT$498 for lunch; NT$598 for dinner
2015 Taiwan Taipei Ximending Mala Hot Pot 1

Day 7: 13th March 2015
Yangmingshan National Park
Direction: 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.
2015 Taiwan Yangmingshan National Park 1

Wufenpu Fashion Area
Direction: 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.
2015 Taiwan Taipei Wufenpu Shopping District 1

Raohe Night Market
Direction: Take MRT Green Line 3 to the Songshan Station - Exit 5
Opening Hours: 5pm to 12am daily
2015 Taiwan Taipei Raohe Night Market 1

Day 8: 14th March 2015
Yehliu Geopark
Direction: 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
2015 Taiwan Taipei Yehliu Geopark 6

Pingxi Station
Direction: 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.
2015 Taiwan Taipei Pingxi Station 2

Day 9: 15th March 2015
Good9 Stay Inn Ximending & Last Day in Taiwan

Stay: Good9 Stay Inn Ximending
2015 Taiwan Taipei Good9 Stay Ximending 1

2015 Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport

Travel Expenses
And the following are the details of travel expenses breakdown which I spent throughout 9 days and 8 nights in Taiwan: 

PARTICULARS
AMOUNT
NT$
RM
Air Fares
Malaysia Airlines KK – Taipei - KK
Add: Upgraded to Business Class

Accommodations
Taipei – Sato Castle Motel (1 night)
Kaohsiung – Jia’s Inn Liuhe ( 2 nights)
Kenting – Sunhow Inn (1 night)
Taichung – Garden Stay Fengjia (1 night)
Taipei – Good9 Stay Inn (3 nights)

Transportation

Admission Fee
Taipei Zoo
Yehliu Geopark

Food and drinks

Others
8 Days Travel Prepaid Sim Card
Movie & Popcorn
Souvenirs, snacks, postcards, stamps, etc.

-
-


-
-
-
980
5,100

3,098


60
80

2,239


450
245
4,392


650
300


51
193
100
58
301

366


7
9

264


53
29
518


TOTAL
2,899
(The exchange rate by the time I changed NT$100 = RM11.30)

Like I mentioned earlier cause this is my third visit to Taiwan, hence I tend to spend lesser on my personal spending especially for souvenirs. For my previous two trips, I spent roughly RM1,000 for each trip just to buy souvenirs and snacks. Plus, I already know what I want to buy and spend and this prevent myself from buying those unnecessary items and products.

2015 Taiwan Souvenir Haul 1
Switchboard wall stickers and handphone cover bought in Kaohsiung.

2015 Taiwan Souvenir Haul 2
Masking tapes

2015 Taiwan Taichung Hau;
Top and handphone covers bought in Fengjia Night Market

2015 Taiwan Postcard 1
Creative postcards designed and printed on woods, fabrics and even metal license plate.

And that's the end of my 2015 Taiwan travelogue. Hip hip hurray! *Jumping of happiness mode*
I know it's way too late for me to update about this, maybe some of the info might be outdated but don't worry, I did my research earlier while blogging by sharing the latest update information at least.

So now here comes another question - what's next? Which one should I blog first - New Zealand, Sri Lanka or Northern Light Hunting in Sweden and Norway? Find out soon on the next upcoming post. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Taiwan (2015): Good9 Stay Ximending & Last Day in Taiwan

My 2015 Taiwan travelogues almost coming to an end, and before I officially finalise everything - let me share with you of where I stayed on my final nights in Taipei. 

For my first night in Taipei, I stayed in one-of-a-kind Sato Castle Motel which I already blogged and shared it previously. 

As for final three nights in Taipei, I settled down in Good9 Stay Inn for to its excellent location which tucked in the heart of the hustle and bustle Ximending area. There are many popular attractions, shopping outlets and numerous eatery options within the inn. And the best of everything, Ximen MRT Station is just a minute's walk away. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Good9 Stay Ximending 1
#1: Good9 Stay Inn Ximending

Each and every room of Good9 Stay Inn are equipped with air-conditioning and heating facilities. Despite the budget rates, all rooms even have a flat screen cable TV, a fridge and an electric kettle within the room. Although the room looks relatively simple and basic, but they provide a seating area which comes with a comfortable sofa. As for the bathroom,  they equipped with free toiletries, towels and hot water. 

Good9 Stay Inn Ximending 
Date Stayed: 12 March to 15 March 2015 (3 nights)
Room Rate: NT$5,100 (approx. to RM602) throughout three nights of staying

The reason behind why I picked to stay in Ximending instead of other areas is mainly because it is undoubtedly the most happening hotspot in Taipei. Ximending seems like never sleeps - you will find several shops that open all around the clock like Watsons and Carrefour. It is an ideal choice for those who interested in shopping, night markets and street food too. 

2015 Taiwan Taipei Cheap Sushi
#2: Bought sushi, food and drinks around Ximending and ate in our accommodation

Surprisingly in Taiwan, the sushi there is only selling as low as NT$10, roughly around RM1.20 for a fresh piece, including the salmon one. Tell me, how could I ever resist from having them? For cheap sushi, do check out Sushi Take-Out or even at the 7-Eleven stores.

2015 Taiwan Taipei Ximending Cinema
#3: Before heading to bed, we even went for movie in Ximending. So convenient since almost everything is just around the corner. 

Taiwan Taipei Ximending Watson 24
#4: Watsons opens 24 hours

HOW TO GET TO TAIWAN TAOYUAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (TPE)
Before this, there was no MRT link directly between Taipei to Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) yet. Hence, my friend and I had to opt for other means of transport in order to reach TPE from Taipei city. Bear in mind that TPE is located roughly around 40 minutes away from Taipei. Hence, one is strongly recommend to make a move to the airport at least 4 hours before the departure time. 

1) By Kuo Kang (國光) Bus 1819
The cheapest option to choose from - from as low as NT$125 each way. The bus depart from Taipei West Station Terminal A in Taipei Main Station. However, the journey to airport takes almost an hour and in case you are in hurry or like us whereby our flights were scheduled to depart in the early morning, maybe this would not be the suitable option for you as the earliest bus is scheduled to be at 4.30 am. 

2) High Speed Rail
Although it didn't reach the airport directly, this is the fastest method to travel from Taipei Main Station to HSR Taoyuan which takes roughly around 19 to 22 minutes only and a single fare cost NT$160. The earliest train is scheduled to be at 6.30 am. Upon arriving HSR Taoyuan Station, take U-Bus ticket No. 705 directly to TPE (around 15-20 minutes, cost NT$30).

3) By Taxi
Expensive but an ideal option for those who need to catch flight in early morning and most importantly, hassle-free. The taxi fare cost around NT$650 to NT$1,000, depending on the traffic conditions. We opted for this option twice because both of our flights were scheduled in the morning, like I mentioned earlier.

UPDATED:
Now you can travel under the Taoyuan Airport MRT line that connects the airport to the city center directly. Two trains run every 15 minutes between 6am to 11pm; one Express and one Commuter. The journey takes about 40 minutes from both Terminal 1 and 2 to Taipei under Express type and a single trip fares for both train types costs NT$160. You can buy a single ticket at the station from the kiosk or using the Easy Card or iPass.

The first express train leaving Taipei is 6:00am and the last express train leaving Taipei is 10:58pm.
The first express train leaving the airport to Taipei is 6:12 am and the last express train leaving the airport to Taipei is at 10:42pm.

See You Taiwan
#5: See you Taiwan! I never thought I got to see you again 3 years later.

MAS Teddy Bear Business Class
#6: Flew with Malaysia Airlines and upgraded to Business Class for RM950 (That was before the GST era) 

Previous Posts on My 2015 Taiwan Trip

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 è™Ÿ, 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.

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