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Taiwan Trip (Tour) – 15th to 21st December 2008

There are are a total of 2 tour groups for this Taiwan Trip. Group A went on the 14th to 20th December 2008 and Group B went on the 15th to 21st December 2008. We belong to Group B.

Day 1 – 15th December 2008 (Monday)
Had breakfast at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and meet up with the tour group at Row 10. Flight SQ878 suppose to depart at 12:25pm but it was delayed till 12:50pm. Plane took off at about 1pm and reached Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (台北中正国际机场) at about 5.15pm. The temperature is about 19 degrees!

The buffet dinner was at 海霸王 and the food kinda suck. That was my first meal in Taiwan!

It is about 2 hours drive from Taoyuan to Taichung. We proceed to Fengjia Night Market (台中逢甲夜市). The tour guide only give us 1 hour to shop there which is definitely not enough!

Checked into Howard Prince Hotel [1] at Taichung at about 11.15pm

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #1 [2]

Day 2 – 16th December 2008 (Tuesday)
Had breakfast at Howard Prince Hotel. I think it has the best breakfast among all the hotels that we stayed.

We proceed on to Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) at Taichung and on the way we have lunch at Tai-Yi Ecological Education Farm (台一农场). Lunch was average but the ambiance was good. We (Singaporeans) are still not used to the food in Taiwan as we did not even finish half of what is served to us.

We went to Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村) to learn more about Taiwan Aboriginal Heritage and Cultures. This part is damn boring, but opposite the entrance of the village there is this very nice European style garden called European Gardens (歐洲宮廷花園). Due to the limited time, we only manage to take a few photos there.

Checked in at Sun Moon Lake Fenisia Hotel [3] (雲品酒店日月潭) and we stayed there for the remaining part of the day going to Hot Spring and Spa at the hotel. There is even a inbuilt bath tub where the water flows from the hot spring right in your hotel room. The buffet dinner was at the hotel and I am surprise that the ice cream included is Häagen-Dazs. You can even take cans of coke and bottles of Yakult as it is included in the buffer.

This is the BEST hotel we stayed in. Heard it cost S$350 per night and it is the 2nd most expensive hotel at Sun Moon Lake area at the moment.

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #1 & Day #2 [4]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #2 [5]

Day 3 – 17th December 2008 (Wednesday)
Breakfast was at the hotel and after that we took a boat ride around Sun Moon Lake and we visited Wen Wu Temple (文武庙). There was some Fa Lun Gong members camping along the stairs along Wen Wu Temple.

We visited 毛王爷之家 where it was like a sales pitch asking us to buy Royal Jelly and Dried Baby Deer grinded into power form, it was said to cure Asthma. Of course we did not buy them as we are totally not interested in it.

Lunch was at 原住民攴厅, it kinda suck.

We visited Chung Tai Chan Monastery (中台禅寺) where we donated NT$180 for good luck. The view was fantastic as it was situated high about the mountains.

Dinner was at the Fenisia Hotel’s ballroom, it was a gala dinner and we played Bingo, the first prize was NT$10,000. The game was really exciting!

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #2 & Day #3 [6]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #3 (Part I) [7]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #3 (Part II) [8]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #3 (Part III) [9]

Day 4 – 18th December 2008 (Thursday)
Breakfast was at the hotel as well and after breakfast we checked out of Fenisia Hotel.

We went to Taichung Station to take the Taiwan High Speed Rail train to Taipei Train Station.

Lunch was at 顶厨, finally this lunch was something that is more suitable for our taste buds.

We visited Yeliu Stone Park (野柳) to see unique geological features, such as rock formations sculpted by nature, with names that echo their shapes such as Queen’s Head and Fairy Shoe. I kinda like Yeliu, it is windy and the view is excellent!

After that, we wisited Taipei 101 (台北101最高摩天楼). We went up to the Observatory at level 89 as well as the outdoor roof at level 91. The outdoor roof is very windy and freezing cold! The tour guide only give us 1 hour there and we spend the whole hour at the Observatory taking photos and enjoying the view. The lift is amazingly fast, it takes about 40 seconds to go up 81 floors (starts at level 5 and ends at level 89).

We checked in at Taipei Garden Hotel (台北花园酒店) after Taipei 101. The hotel is new and it is near a 24 hours Carrefour! But I hate the hangers the most because you can’t hang in anywhere except the cupboard and the place to put my bath soap is so small! Worst of all, they DO NOT provide free Internet Access. You have to pay NT$300 for a day worth of Internet Access. I managed to tap onto a unsecured wireless network from my room and managed to connect it to the Internet. This is the ONLY hotel that I stayed in that do not provide free Internet Access.

Dinner was free and easy at Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). We tried the famous extra large chicken cutlet (好大大雞排). It was big but the bone was included and that makes up 1/2 of the size. I still prefer the Singapore’s version. Tried the Big Biscuit wrap Small Biscuit (大餅包小餅) but it tastes kinda plan. For dessert we have the banana milk shake and Peanut Snow Ice (花生泡泡冰). The 花生泡泡冰 is fantastic!

After we are back at the hotel. We went to opposite the 24 hours Carrefour to buy instant noodle as Li Xiang was craving for it!

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #4 (Part I) [10]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #4 (Part II) [11]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #4 (Part III) [12]

Video: Taiwan Trip Day #4 – Taipei 101 – Going Up to Level 89 [13]
Video: Taiwan Trip Day #4 – Taipei 101 – At Level 91 [14]
Video: Taiwan Trip Day #4 – Taipei 101 – Going Down to Level 5 [15]

Day 5 – 19th December 2008 (Friday)
As usual breakfast was at the hotel. It seems that all the hotel that we stayed served VERY similar food. We got kinda sick of it!

After breakfast went to take a group photo with both Group A and B at 自有廣場 as Group A is leaving to Taoyuan later in the day.

Went to Fisherman’s Wharf (渔人码头) where the place is used in the filming of Meteor Garden. Nothing much to see there in the day.

Proceed on to Tamshui Old Street (淡水老衔) where we bought some Metal Egg (阿婆鉄蛋) to bring back to Singapore.

Lunch was at 五角船板. The food there was unique and I love the ambience and the design of the building. See the photos and you will get what I mean!

After lunch, we went to Pi-Siou Arts Center (天禄艺品中心). It is not really an arts center but a place where you will get to spend money on Feng Shui (風水). I gave my Chinese name and Chinese Zodiac to the master and it predicted some things correctly! I was SHOCKED! It was my first time trying something like this (fortune telling).

He said I am smart, I got money but I will not save it, I am extremely good in one area and I am healthy. Basically what he said are all true! He then asked me to buy a jade pendant to counter the “I will not save” part, but it cost like NT$8999 (S$450). I rejected and he was not pushy at all.

Even Li Xiang fortune was also told correctly. He said Li Xiang like to save money and she is not healthy especially around the stomach area (Li Xiang got gastric). I was shocked x2! Of course he asked Li Xiang to buy a different color jade pendant to counter the “not healthy” part.

We are brought to Ximenting (西门盯) to do some shopping. The things there are not really cheap, in fact some of the stuffs are more expensive than Singapore. There are quite a lot of movie theatres there. Watching movie in Taiwan is really an expensive hobby. It cost like S$12 per ticket.

Dinner was at 夏慕尼. It was a Teppanyaki dinner and it is the BEST teppanyaki dinner I have ever eaten! It cost NT$980 (S$50) per pax.

After dinner, we went to 五分埔 to do some shopping. There are quite a lot of things there, prices are quite reasonable but you can’t really bargain with them.

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #4 (Part IV) & Day #5 [16]
Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #5 (Part II) [17]

Day 6 – 20th December 2008 (Saturday)
After breakfast at the hotel, we proceed on to National Palace Museum (故宫博物院). The museum houses the largest collection of priceless Chinese art pieces collected over many centuries by Chinese emperors and royal families. This part is so boring that I almost fall asleep walking from one exhibit to another!

After the boring part, lunch was at 金品茶楼小笼包. There are so many types of 小笼包. As Li Xiang do not eat pork, I have to eat her share of 小笼包 as well and I practically eat like 12 original flavour 小笼包 alone! The 小笼包 is nice!

We are suppose to go to Wulai (乌来) to see the Wulai Falls (乌来瀑布), but instead we went to 九份 to do some shopping as some of the group members wanted to buy the Pineapple Tarts (鳳梨酥). The view is kinda nice and it is cooling as 九份 is basically at the top of a mountain.

Dinner was at 海霸王, the food is just average only!

After dinner, we proceed on to Taoyuan as it is nearer to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

Checked in to Holiday Inn Express [18]. The hotel is not bad, kinda small but I like the business decoration within the hotel room. It has a proper desk to place your laptop with a table lamp. There is even an alarm clock plus music player for you to dock your iPod!

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #5 (Part III) & Day #6 [19]

Day 7 – 21st December 2008 (Sunday)
Breakfast is at the hotel, the cafe area is very small and they didn’t even check to see if I am staying at the hotel. Of course the breakfast variety is very limited as well.

We left together with the tour group to the airport and later on the coach uncle fetch us to Taipei Train Station. We paid him NT$200. A total of 5 of us stayed backed. The remaining 3 alighted at Shilin.

Pictures: Taiwan Trip Day #6 & Day #7 [20]

Part 2 of my Taiwan Trip, Free & Easy coming soon!