An Overdue Travel Log (III)

 

 

Logging down the travels is always something that gives me mix feelings.. i am happy to have experienced a great trip, but with each reminiscence that urge to want to go out, comes back to me.

 

morning of the second day in Taipei, this couple are stationed daily outside our hostel, and since we went during school term in Taiwan the morning crowd is filled with students.. interestingly we were awake by 7am and left the hostel after an hour yet most shops were not yet opened.. perhaps we’re too early?

a shot taken along the roadside.. we’re just appreciating the surroundings and watching people walk past us, while we continue our way to our venue for breakfast.. hehe we’ve decided to visit one of the themed cafe for breakfast =) and that is located in 永康街 which is just behind the university..

this photo shall be titled: Mr Dreamy Eyes.

on our way to 永康街 (by foot), we saw this cute thing with its owner.. personally just by looking at its eyes my heart could melt❤ what a fabulous start to a great morning and great day!

the exterior of our breakfast venue: Roaster Family Coffee.

it doesn’t open until 8.30am, so we actually waited for a few minutes outside and of course the best way to entertain yourself during travelling is either reading or taking photos.. we did the latter and the product is shown below…

selca outside a garage, belongs to a family in the neighbourhood..

inside Roaster Family Coffee =)

 i really like this cafe, they have a ready display of coffee beans and the open counter concept allows customers to see where the beverages are prepared.. of course the best thing is the wafting smells of coffee =)

i ordered the blue mountain blend and it tastes okay, not as strong as i would have liked but still a refreshing start to the day.. pricing for Family Roaster is not particularly steep, maybe cos we ordered with the breakfast set, which comes with a mega huge sandwich.

another thing that i love about it is that it provides free wifi and there’s a shelve of books for customers to read while they sip their coffee.. in general it’s a cozy cafe great for hanging out with friends.. Address: Lane 243, Jīnhuá Street, Daan District, Taiwan (very walk-able from Yongkang Street). not very sure if it’s a franchise service but no matter, the cafe exudes a very cozy feeling which in my opinion overwrites any negativity associated with franchises.

we proceed to the city hall area of taipei and also bargain shopping district: 五分埔

when in Taipei, the best form of transport is by metro. and i was immediately impressed by the people’s behaviour and graciousness, everyone adhere to the rule of lining up and allowing passengers to get off the train before boarding.

somehow a very stark contrast with Singapore.. and i sometimes wonder, since many of us often travel out of Singapore when we can, we would have seen the graciousness in other societies and why can’t we translate it back to our own country? something that will continue to be unanswered and seeing this photo always remind me to have a better conduct of myself..

lucky us, we got seats on the train as it was already off-peak hours about 10am.. this calls for a celebration with selca! we’re on our way to 五分埔 where wholesalers for apparels are located in, so we can get clothes at a cheaper price =)

here we are arriving at 五分埔, i didn’t take any photos but i noticed that the area is quite organized in the sense that products of the same nature i.e. infant wear, electronics will be grouped together.. perhaps we’re too early as we encountered a passer-by who very kindly advised us to visit the malls and city hall district until after lunch time, that’s when the shops will be opened for business..

we of course took her suggestion and boarded a bus  following the directions she gave us, and safely arrived at Taipei 101.

the famous Taipei 101, it’s a observatory but we decided to

visit it later in the day..

we lunched at Din Tai Fung, franchised version.. should have visited the original store but this is good enough.. globalization, a taste of home too we get exactly the same thing as back in Singapore.

this is my favourite dish from Din Tai Fung: pickle vegetables and pork la mian.. i like how it is light in taste and not very oily, perfect to fill the stomach and not make you feel bloated. but it’s a bit expensive to eat this in a restaurent though, i shall comfort myself by saying we don’t cook this at home so we get it from outside.

shall skip the shopping part where we went to 五分埔 and also visited Eslite 诚品书局. something worthy of mentioning is i really like Eslite bookstore. it allows customers to sit there and read, even when you do not buy. and honestly for book lovers i doubt anyone will leave the place without buying, so the shop is not exactly making a loss. in fact i think it’s a good impression that they leave for customers, a comfortable place to read in especially if the weather is bad (it was raining that afternoon)..

after shopping we’re back at Taipei 101, this time round we’re going up the observatory.

for students, always remember to bring your student id when you visit the place. they accept any form of student identification and offers student-priced tickets.. i didn’t bring mine so i had to pay the adult fee while bird paid the student fee, if i go back there i shall visit it in the day and bring along my student id!

night view of Taipei from Taipei 101.. a pity the weather’s bad so we couldn’t go further up and view from the balcony, nevertheless still a great sight to behold! after that we’re starving so we just went to a random night market, which is the most desertedone that we’ve visited on our trip.

random night market, very deserted but food is okay (as i’ve said the worst in Taiwan night market is still nice)..

oyster mee sua, not the famous one but more delicious in my opinion.. we tried the famous Ah Zhong’s Oyster Mee Sua, it is nice but the conclusion is that it’s overrated and more expensive..

a famous meatball stall, with history of over 20 years.. taste sweet but great too, just a pity that there’s no crowd in this night market so it’s really an odd atmosphere eating something supposedly famous but without the crowd. i shall see it as we’re lucky to patronize when it’s not crowded.

stinky tofu again! this is the second best version we’ve tried, the best being the one at NTNU Night Market and the worse from Feng Jia Night Market..

i never feel complete without stinky tofu when i visit the night market, and even up to now i still miss having it =\

love sign while on our way to the night market, and this conclude the second day in Taipei…

breakfast on the go.. we decided to try what some of the locals do, having on the go breakfast from convenience stores.. and they do have a wide variety of food to choose from, surprisingly delicious for the cheap price.. i think we didn’t spend more than $2.50 SGD to get our stomachs filled for the day!

since our circle of friends and family knew that we’re going to taiwan, they would naturally expect souvenirs.. and we left the buying to the third day, pretty rush.. traveled all the way to 九份老街 which is near KeeLung, a suburban area very far away from Taipei.. it’s apparently near new Taipei, i couldn’t remember the distance between them but it took us close to three hours to travel..

and we can only do so using the traditional rail system, which many in Taipei still use it to commute to and fro work..

the train ticket from Taipei to KeeLung, because it’s not the new system the train fare is relatively cheap too.. but takes some time to get there of course.

since we’ve traveled on all possible modes of transport in Taiwan, i am lucky to take a timely shot of the train arriving at the platform =)  this is something really new and interesting to add to my collection..

okay and the photo below is really old-school in my opinion!

train conductor sighted on the train! something and someone that will never be seen in Singapore, and i think his job is just to give directions to people.. not so much of checking the tickets since everyone has to have a ticket to be on the platform..

upon arriving at KeeLung, we’re still no where near our destination.. fortunately in KeeLung they have a local tourism office which basically offers directions for visitors (local and foreigners alike)..

interestingly, we asked for directions and knew how to go to 九份.. some locals didn’t know and asked us for directions, and they ended up following up on the bus and seeing where we’re going to alight.. after approximately an hour’s ride, we are finally there! the long travelling time sort of killed my mood to take photos, but KeeLung is a must visit i think.

i’ve seen many old-school shops and sights in KeeLung that is not available in Taipei, and this i feel is a greater difference felt when comparing it with urban Singapore.. i would like to experience it some day, again.

arriving at 九份, this place is MADE FOR TOURISTS. they have all sorts of souvenirs and food items, priced more steeply too.. and many repeats of the same products, which is a common feature in tourists attractions..

but this is a must-go if you are bringing back things, despite the long journey here they really do have everything you can think of to give as presents..

how can we not have something to fill our stomachs? this is yam balls, like glutinous rice balls except it’s made with yam flour, very delicious i must say and flavoursome too!

went back to Taipei via bus which took a whopping two hours =\ but after that we were free to roam Taipei after putting down the heavy load of souvenirs..

Long Shan temple, detour before going to Xi Men Ding.. i did a short prayer inside and it happened to be the buddha’s birthday so there was an on going ceremony.. didn’t stay to see but still a great sight to behold.

now this is where youngsters will like: Xi Men Ding.. personally i didn’t really like it, cos the things here are too expensive and it feels like any commercial district, maybe cos we visited the cheap places so finding similar goods at a higher price made us think twice about buying..

there is however the element of eating that Xi Men Ding is still useful for..

braised pork rice aka 卤肉饭. this simple dish is plain rice topped with full flavour braised mince pork. cheap,delicious and filling =)

oyster and egg, the Taiwanese version. the special sauce on top is sweet but the whole dish is really really good when eaten with chili, another must try in Taiwan.

walked around Xi Men Ding and saw this: Toilet-Themed restaurant.. not very compelled to go in, but the exterior is great for photo taking! we were rather aimless walking around, but maybe cos we had too high an expectation for this place.. one other thing that we didn’t managed to do was to get cheap japanese food in Taiwan..

actually saw one at NTNU Night Market, but wasn’t sure if we want to try.. nevertheless this shall be on the to-do list for a next visit..

after walking around, we chanced upon the famous Ah Zhong Mee Sua, overrated as i’ve mentioned.. but one special thing they put in is basil and the rice noodles they use is thicker.

beef noodles, i didn’t finish due to my diet preference..

we went back to Yong Kang Street for the third time, to try out the shave ice dessert.. and it didn’t disappoint =D

green-tea flavoured shaved ice. refreshing, satisfying!
the shop selling the dessert is called Smoothie.. interesting name, and this photo was taken by a helping passer-by who asked me to pose with my legs positioned like this.. in her words: it looks artistic… fun last night in Taipei and even as i type this after almost a month, i seem to still feel that withdrawal symptom coming my way the next day we’re scheduled to head back home.

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