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Friday, September 10, 2010

Taiwan Holiday - Day 1

We are back!

If I have to use one word to describe the Taiwan holiday, it would be "AMAZING" !!! We enjoyed it so much that the 8 days, 7 nights were just not enough. I actually called up the airlines to extend our trip but unfortunately there were no more tickets available. (well, reading the papers this morning about typhoon in Taiwan, this may have been a blessing instead)

We were actually very, very impressed with Taiwan. The sights and sounds itself were great. Couple that with good public transport, litter-free streets, clean toilets (with toilet paper!), yummy food and tourist info centre at all major stations, we just loved it!

I have sooo much to write so I'm going to split this into a multi-part post. Probably one post per day that I was there. Well...... assuming I don't get tired of writing. I'm in a bit of a long-winded mood today, so I shall add in the pre-planning phase as well for this Day 1 post.

I did spend quite a bit of time researching for this trip. After all, travelling on a free&easy trip with a young child needs more planning than joining a tour group or backpacking with friends. I discovered that blogs and travel forums were wonderful sources of information. But of course, there were always conflicting opinions thus decisions still need to be made. After hubby kept saying "up to you lah.... you decide" I gave up asking him and just planned on my own ;)

So before flying off, I already had in mind the day-to-day itinerary plus other basic info such as which bus to take, directions to the hotel, where to buy MRT pass etc. I've also made bookings for :
1) Flight tickets (I redeemed my MAS Enrich points, but taxes still came up to RM420 EACH)
2) Accommodation - 2 separate hotels
3) Interstate train tickets
4) Tour guide for 1 day

All the planning made my very excited about the trip !!

Day 1 [Flight to Taipei - Longshan Temple - Shilin Night Market]
Our flight was at 9.30am. I thought I had to carry a sleeping Elyssa to the cab (6.45am) but she was wide-awake when we got ready. She was so excited that she was going to sit in an aeroplane :)

Oh yeah, 2 weeks before our flight, I got an unexpected complimentary upgrade from Enrich Silver to Enrich Gold. Yippeee yay........ priority check in and access to the Golden Lounge even with our Economy class tickets!!

Breakfast at the MAS Golden Lounge
Elyssa enjoying the food

Toilet and shower facilities at the lounge

Elyssa and I in the plane

My meal - sambal prawn nasi lemak

Hubby's meal - chicken omelette

Elyssa's kid meal

Mid way through the flight, Elyssa got restless.
Luckily, a cupful of cornflakes worked wonders :)

We arrived at Taipei around 2pm. Took the Kuo Kuong bus (RM12.50 per person only for the one hour journey. Taxi would have been around RM130) straight to the Taipei Main Station. From there, we walked to our hotel - Say Love Hotel. We couldn't find the lift so poor hubby carried our huge luggage bag+ handcarry trolley bag from the MRT station up to the street level. Kudos to him!

By the time we checked into the hotel room and freshened up a bit, it was almost 5.30pm already. We bought our MRT pass (RM50 with RM10 deposit) then went to Longshan Temple which was 2 stops away.

Longshan Temple
This temple is listed as a tourist spot but it's also actively used as a place of worship by locals. What struck me most was the degree of their belief. I saw a lady praying aloud fervently with her eyes closed and with tears flowing freely down her cheeks. I also saw many middle aged ladies sitting around the temple praying softly while fingering the prayer beads. And when I glanced around at the facial expression of the worshippers, I could see that they have strong belief in their religion. Or maybe the worshippers I have seen before in M'sia are just more reserved in showing emotions.

Elyssa and I in front of the temple
After Longshan temple, our next destination was the Shilin Night Market. Even though it was a week night, it was still pretty crowded.

Our dinner - Pork Rice, Chicken Rice and Bitter Gourd Soup (RM9)
It was pretty good but the old uncle manning the store was a little weird. Not exactly the best service (with my smattering Mandarin, I didn't know what to order and he didn't know what I wanted) but at least we still got our food in the end.

We tried a couple more things (no photos) like the Taiwanese Mee Sua and Papaya Milkshake. Somehow it was a little disappointing. Nice food but not exactly great. Maybe I was expecting a little more after all the hype about Shilin Night Market. Or maybe we were just tired after our flight.

We left around 9+pm to go back to our hotel. Near the hotel, we saw a building which had a "Daiso" sign. RM4 flat price instead of RM5 in M'sia so we decided to just drop in. Oh my.... I was shocked cos it was just HUGE !!! I thought the S'pore outlet was already huge but this one was way larger. Kinda like walking into a Jusco supermarket. They were already closing so I just grabbed some hairclips for Elyssa.

--- End of Day 1 ---


Unknown said...

So great, I can;t wait for ur nest post. Plse post up more photos ya. I'll be going to Taiwan next month. How's the weather? Not cold right?

Mommy to Chumsy said...

I am so excited to read about your holiday in amazing Taiwan. Can't wait to read more :D

Mummy Gwen said...

Sounds like Taiwan is a great place to visit. All these Chinese homework help lah..hehe.

Can't wait to see more pics and your Taiwan posts. :)

Adrine said...

Angeline - Oooh.... enjoy your trip! Hope you will have as much fun as I did :) When I was there, it was pretty hot on most days, kinda like M'sia weather. I think next month is the ideal time to go in terms of weather.

Barbara - More posts coming up! But then my home computer chose this time to go K.O. Such bad timing. Updating using my office laptop which is very troublesome and the formatting is a bit cookoo.

MummyGwen - Oh yes, definitely a great place to visit. Ha ha... the chinese homework didn't really help that much since Taiwan uses the old style of Chinese writing. But still better than nothing! :)

MeRy said...

GReat place to visit....My parents are in Taiwan now..enjoying their holiday.

Adrine said...

MeRy - Hope your parents have a good time :)