9 Days 8 Nights Taiwan Tour – Jiaoxi, Hualien, Taipei and Taichung – Day 9 (November 2015)

Day 9 – Taichung onward to Taoyuan to Singapore

Finally, our day of departure from Taiwan had arrived. Like the previous day, we didn’t have to wake up early to head to the restaurant for breakfast. We had buns and pastries bought from a bakery the previous night. With coffee and tea facility in our room, beverages were taken care off. Breakfast was simple and just right. We took our time to enjoy our room and watched a little more TV program.

We called reception to request for late check out at 1 pm and was granted. Our bus ride to Taoyuan Airport was scheduled at 1.26 pm. Taxi ride to Chaoma Bus Terminal would take just ten minutes so we were pretty comfortable with our schedule.

Near 11 am, we left Smartcue 52 Hotel and turned left to walk over to Sogo Mall for lunch. We skipped those restaurants at the mall connected with the Splendor Hotel. We entered Sogo Mall in about 15 minutes. Like the first day we arrived Taichung, we went straight to the food court on the 15th floor. The Sogo lift attendant was still manning the lift with the usual politeness and greetings.

At the food court which was still very early, we walked around to check out the food stalls again. We then decided to have Japanese set lunches. The food was presentable and tasted great. The curry wasn’t spicy though.

Food stall for Japanese food
Food stall for Japanese food
Empty food court before noon
Empty food court before noon
Food court on level 15 in Sogo Mall
Food court on level 15 in Sogo Mall


More food stalls at food court
More food stalls at food court
Japanese rice set
Japanese rice set
Japanese set lunch
Japanese set lunch

After lunch, we went to the bakery to buy some bread and buns to bring back to Singapore. We roamed around a little before heading to the customer service counter on the ground floor to request for the shuttle service to go back to Smartcue 52 Hotel. Sogo Mall does have shuttle service that serves Smartcue 52 Hotel. We chose to walk to Sogo Mall from our hotel as we would have to wait for the shuttle service to be arranged with the hotel which would take some time.

Nice bakery at food court
Nice bakery at food court
Bought bread and buns at this bakery.
Bought bread and buns at this bakery.
Mouth watering bread and buns
Mouth watering bread and buns

So we were told to wait along the road outside Sogo Mall. It was already slightly after noon while we waited for the shuttle service. Soon, a black MPV pulled up. We were a little surprise though. We expected a minibus. This MPV was the same type I used to own in the past. Hence we gladly boarded the car in a nostalgic mood and within five minutes, we were back to the entrance of Smartcue 52 Hotel.

Entrance of Sogo Mall
Entrance of Sogo Mall
Sogo Shuttle Service MPV
Sogo Shuttle Service MPV
Sogo MPV leaving Smartcue 52 Hotel
Sogo MPV leaving Smartcue 52 Hotel

We returned to our room to use the toilet and then brushed up to prepare to check out and leave our spacious room. After a final round of packing, we took our bags and went to lobby and checked out. It was smooth and trouble free.

Hotel restaurant
Hotel restaurant
Hotel restaurant empty during noon time
Hotel restaurant empty during noon time
Hotel Lobby
Hotel Lobby

We enjoyed the friendly and good services at Smartcue 52 Hotel. This hotel would be suitable for those who wish to spend time shopping along the main road near to big shopping malls.

Hotel courtyard
Hotel courtyard
Recreation room in the hotel
Recreation room in the hotel

We went back to the business centre for a final drink of coffee and waited a little while as it was still too early to head out to the bus terminal. Nearer to 1 pm, we requested concierge to call us a taxi which arrived within two minutes.

We loaded our bags, boarded the taxi and left Smartcue 52 Hotel for the bus terminal. The hotel staff had already told the taxi driver which bus terminal to head to so we simply relaxed in the cab and were on our way to catch our bus ride back to Taoyuan Airport. We drove past Top City Mall and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall where we visited last night. We went on further and then turned left to head towards the bus terminal.

We arrived Chaoma Bus Terminal in ten minutes and entered the terminal to wait for our bus. There were a number of passengers waiting for their buses. Buses came and left with passengers with more passengers coming into the terminal to wait for buses.




U Buses at Chaoma Bus Terminal
U Buses at Chaoma Bus Terminal
U Bus at Chaoma Bus Terminal
U Bus at Chaoma Bus Terminal
Passengers waiting inside bus terminal
Passengers waiting inside bus terminal

It was still early so I went across the road for a quick look around and took some pictures of the surrounding. Across the road were some apartments with a nice park and a small pond outside the apartments. This place looked quiet and peaceful.

Traffic junction outside Chaoma Bus Terminal
Traffic junction outside Chaoma Bus Terminal
Nice apartments and park across the road from the bus terminal
Nice apartments and park across the road from the bus terminal


Nice park across the road from the bus terminal
Nice park across the road from the bus terminal
Beautiful park and cafe across the road from the bus terminal
Beautiful park and cafe across the road from the bus terminal
Surrounding area of bus terminal
Surrounding area of bus terminal
Traffic junction at the bus terminal
Traffic junction at the bus terminal
Chaoma Bus Terminal across the road
Chaoma Bus Terminal across the road

Soon our bus to the airport arrived at the terminal. We left our bags at the storage compartment and then boarded the bus. I informed the driver we wished to alight at the airport hotel and he obliged. The seats configuration was the same as the Kuo-Kuang Bus with a two by one seat arrangement. So we had plenty of space and leg rooms. The bus was clean and comfortable but Kuo-Kuang Bus seemed to be better and newer.

Bus tickets to Taoyuan Airport
Bus tickets to Taoyuan Airport

Our bus left the terminal with a number of passengers heading for Taoyuan Airport. It was about the same route heading north and very quickly, we got onto the highway. There was nothing much to report about the scenery along the way.

Interior of U Bus
Interior of U Bus

In under 2 hours, we arrived outside the airport hotel. We collected our bags from the bus storage and walked to the lobby of Novotel Hotel while the bus moved on towards the airport nearby.

Our departure flight was scheduled at 8.20 pm and it was only 3.25 pm when we entered Novotel Hotel. We had plenty of time to rest at the hotel and to have a good dinner before heading to the airport to catch our flight.

Grand Hotel Lobby
Grand Hotel Lobby
Nice Novotel Hotel Lobby
Nice Novotel Hotel Lobby

We are Accor Plus members so we intend to use our members privileges to enjoy dining discount of 50% at the restaurant. The hotel also has shuttle service to the airport every 30 minutes, so this would be the right place for us to park ourselves before flight.

It was so comfortable to hang around at Novotel Hotel. The hotel is spacious, modern and even classy. Actually, the hotel is rather grand too. There are plenty of space to sit around. Behind the hotel is a very nice park too.

Park behind Novotel Hotel
Park behind Novotel Hotel

The staff were efficient, friendly and helpful. We left our bags with concierge and told them we would be taking the shuttle service to the airport at 6 pm. Our bags were tagged and we were given the other portion of the tag to collect our bags later.

Facilities at the hotel include fitness centre, indoor heated pool, spa, computer station and kids corner. Dining options are restaurants, bar, premier lounge and a deli shop. There is a small duty free shop in the hotel as well.

Duty free shop at the lobby
Duty free shop at the lobby
Recreation Centre in the hotel
Recreation Centre in the hotel
In balance Spa
In balance Spa

So we came and used the washroom and explored the hotel. We sat at the sofa sets outside The Square Restaurant and used the free wifi to while away the time. It was great to connect with the children before our flight home.

Outside The Square Restaurant
Outside The Square Restaurant

After 4 pm, a group of staff came into the deli shop inside The Square Restaurant and started to queue and buy bread and stuff. So we likewise went in for a look and found that there was a 40% discount on bread, buns and cakes. As such we bought more bread and buns to bring home for the children. These customers were actually staff from the airline company whose office was just across the hotel. It seems like they make regular purchase from the deli shop here.

After the excitement had died down, we returned to sit outside the restaurant. Near to 5 pm, we entered The Square Restaurant for dinner. The restaurant was empty as it was too early for dinner. Anyway, we were ushered to our seats and we ordered our meals from the a la carte menu. We ordered fried hor fun and noodles. The food was great as well as the service of the staff at the restaurant. With 50% discount for Accor Plus members, this dinner was wonderful indeed.

Very tasty fried hor fun
Very tasty fried hor fun
Delicious noodles for dinner
Delicious noodles for dinner

The Square Restaurant is very modern, warm and cosy. The decoration in the restaurant is nice and pleasing. The ambience is just perfect.

Inside The Square Restaurant
Inside The Square Restaurant
Great ambience for a nice dinner
Great ambience for a nice dinner
Nice ambience inside The Square Restaurant
Nice ambience inside The Square Restaurant


Beautiful restaurant in Novotel Hotel
Beautiful restaurant in Novotel Hotel
Great restaurant for dinner near the airport
Great restaurant for dinner near the airport

They were having a Japanese theme buffet dinner during our visit. We left The Square Restaurant after our nice dinner and continued to hangout at the hotel for a while more.

Preparing for Japanese buffet dinner
Preparing for Japanese buffet dinner

Near to 6 pm, we collected our bags from concierge and waited for the shuttle bus at the main entrance. It was already dark during this time and everywhere had lit up. Soon a minibus pulled up with passengers alighting and collecting their bags. This minibus had just returned from the airport.

Nice hobby lobby at night
Nice hobby lobby at night
Flying wing decoration at the lobby
Flying wing decoration at the lobby
Hotel front desk
Hotel front desk
Duty free shop at lobby
Duty free shop at lobby
Concierge storage area
Concierge storage area
Hotel entrance
Hotel entrance
Hotel lobby from second floor
Hotel lobby from second floor
Slide56
Q-Bar at the lobby

So we put our bags at the rear storage and boarded the bus. The bus was packed. The bus then left and proceeded to the airport and we alighted at Terminal 1.

Novotel Hotel entrance at night
Novotel Hotel entrance at night
Unloading bags from minibus
Unloading bags from minibus
Minibus leaving the airport
Minibus leaving the airport

We took our bags and went to Jetstar check in counters to queue up and deposit our bags. As we had already done online check in, we went to the shorter queue. Not long after, we were free to roam and explore Taoyuan Airport.

Jetstar check in counters
Jetstar check in counters

We cleared immigration and soon were inside the secured area of the airport. The airport was so different from the early morning when we first arrived more than a week ago where all the shops were closed. Now the airport resembled more like a high-end shopping mall with shops, cafes, restaurants and even small food courts.

Nice shops and seats with phone charging points
Nice shops and seats with phone charging points
Nice shops in the airport
Nice shops in the airport
Airport looks like shopping centre
Airport looks like shopping centre


More shops and sitting area in the airport
More shops and sitting area in the airport
A restaurant in the airport
A restaurant in the airport
Nice shop selling local Taiwanese stuff
Nice shop selling local Taiwanese stuff
Shop with sitting area
Shop with sitting area
Airport like a shopping mall
Airport like a shopping mall

Starbucks Coffee stood out as one of the favourite hangouts with seats even outside the coffee house. Those nice seats outside the café are equipped with socket outlets for charging phones.

Starbucks Coffee
Starbucks Coffee

Of course there are duty free shops as well. There are many shops selling mostly branded stuff such as watches and bags. Taiwanese goodies are also available in many shops at the airport. It was certainly a nice shopping experience inside the airport.

More shops in the airport
More shops in the airport
Branded bags shop
Branded bags shop
Food court in the airport
Food court in the airport
Another restaurant in the airport
Another restaurant in the airport
Duty free shop in the airport
Duty free shop in the airport
Another shop selling local products
Another shop selling local products
Clean and modern shopping environment in the airport
Clean and modern shopping environment in the airport
Nice coffee house in the airport
Nice coffee house in the airport

There is also a big massage outlet in the airport. The ambience from the outside looked nice and comfortable. For those who have the time for some muscle relaxation, this place might be great.

Massage Centre in the airport
Massage Centre in the airport
Outlet providing reflexology service
Outlet providing reflexology service

At another section, there is an open section nicely furnished for visitors to rest and charge the phones. The decoration here though quite basic, is very modern and even futuristic projecting a cool image of music entertainment and the IT world. Those light blue colour benches are actually quite comfortable that also come with charging points.

Nice rest area in the airport
Nice rest area in the airport
Comfortable bench with charging points
Comfortable bench with charging points
Nice display at rest area
Nice display at rest area

Having roamed and explored the airport, it was time to head to our departure gate. Not long after, we boarded our flight and were on our way home.

Nice decoration passage in the airport
Nice decoration passage in the airport
Beautiful shopping area in the airport
Beautiful shopping area in the airport

It was a very enjoyable and satisfying tour in Taiwan beginning with Jiaoxi experiencing the hot spring bath in our hotel room. We also explored the towns of Yilan as well as Luodong for its famous night market.

We then went down to Hualien for shopping and had dinner at Ziqiang night market. We also went whale watching and had day tour to four different attractions south of Hualien visiting aqua farms, bear forest estate, cultural museum in a forest park as well as a lake in the mountain for boating activities.

Back to Taipei, we enjoyed nights out at Xi Men Ding for dining and shopping. For attractions in Taipei, we visited Yehliu Geopark, Beitou Hot Springs, Danshui Old Street, Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola up to the hilltop and also shopping in the district near the main train station.

Down to Taichung, we had a great time at the huge Feng Jia Night Market, dined and shopped at Sogo Mall, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall and Top City Mall. We also visited Taichung Park, explored Taichung Train Station area and Yizhong Shopping District.


So quickly, this Taiwan trip had come to a conclusion after months of planning. All the transfer arrangements from buses to trains went without a hitch. All our hotel accommodations were perfect except the one in Jiaoxi was a bit small. It was really great to visit Taiwan again after our first visit in 2012.

It would be after midnight when we reached home and all our children would be in bed. We looked forward to sharing our spoils of shopping with them in the morning and of course not forgetting the Taiwanese snacks, buns and bread.


Next trip to Taiwan had already been secured for June 2016. More great time in Taiwan would follow.

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