5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 2 Shifen and Ximending (June 2016)

Breakfast at Taipei City Hotel

Although we had a full day the previous day after flying overnight to Taoyuan transferring to Taipei, we still managed to wake up early. So we had breakfast in Taipei City Hotel at 7.30 am. The restaurant was not busy yet so early in the morning. It was pleasant ambiance with buffet spread all set up. The food available was pretty substantial. We collected our food and then enjoyed a great breakfast to start our day.

After breakfast, we returned to our room. We packed up and then checked out shortly after. There wasn’t much for us to do in this part of the city. We would be moving over to Park Taipei Hotel at Daan MRT Station. Checking out was easy and took a very short while. We then left Taipei City Hotel.

Moving to Park Taipei Hotel

Turning left from Taipei City Hotel, we walked to Daqiaotou MRT Station. It took just three minutes. From this station, we travelled to Daan Station. We changed train over at Dongmen Station just two stations away from Daan Station. We arrived Daan Station pretty quickly. Taking exit 6 we reached Park Taipei Hotel easily.

It was still early morning and our room wasn’t ready. In fact we didn’t expect our room to be ready because we were heading out to explore Shifen from here. The staff here were pleasant, polite and helpful. We were glad Park Taipei Hotel is a smoke free hotel. However, more importantly, this hotel is just right outside the MRT Station which is very convenient for us to explore the city. After leaving our bags with the hotel, we left Park Taipei Hotel for the time being.

Public Transport to Shifen

We entered Daan Station again and took a train to Muzha Station, just 7 stations away. Once we arrived, we walked out to the main road and crossed over to the bus stop to wait for bus 795. This bus would bring us all the way to Shifen. It was just 9.20 am when we waited for the bus.

While waiting for the bus, we noticed there was a bird nest on top of a light fitting outside a shop. Earlier, we heard chipping sound and wondered where this noise came from. A little chick was nesting there sticking up its head from time to time. A short while later, a bird flew to the nest to attend to this little chick. It was so interesting to see such scene in a busy city.

Bus 795 came after 15 minutes. We boarded the bus and were on our way to Shifen. The bus rumbled along travelled uphill and we arrived Shifen around 10.30 am. Everyone then alighted from the bus. The air here was very fresh in a rural area. We took a slow walk into the park to head to the waterfall passing some houses along the way.

Trail to Shifen Waterfall

The waterfall was just 15 minutes walk into the park up some stairs which was very pleasant. Soon we arrived at the waterfall area. There were quite a lot of visitors here enjoying the sight of the waterfall getting as close as possible to take pictures. This park area is very nicely done up, very close to the waterfall as well.

Warning signs were installed to caution visitors from climbing over the railings to get too close to the waterfall. Crowds of visitors loitered along the railing taking pictures of the waterfall. Of course taking pictures of themselves with friends or selfies at the waterfall with every angle imaginable was a must.

Awesome Shifen Waterfall

The waterfall was really nice and very wide too. It was quite majestic as well. It was so refreshing to hangout here to watch the waterfall enjoying the mighty rushing sounds of water falling off hitting the rocks below. The thunderous sound of the waterfall could be heard even before we reached this beautiful park. It was also very cooling up here.

After sometime having had our dose of nature this morning, it was time to leave. This was the first time we came here and certainly won’t be the last. Moreover, this waterfall park can be so easily reached from Taipei City. There would be no reason not to enjoy this place more often. Besides, Shifen old town is just outside not very far from the place we alighted from the bus.

Next we walked back out to the parking area. This time we took a different route. We walked through those shops, cafes and eateries to get back to the main road. The facilities here were excellent. The whole area was so peaceful and it would be a great place to spend some time to chill out over a cup of tea doing some light reading as well. So it was the same pleasant walk back to the entrance.

Entrance of Shifen Waterfall Park

At the entrance where we alighted, there is a suspension bridge that spans both sides of the stream. A body of water was below but it looked rather shallow. The amount of water below the bridge would depend very much on the prevailing weather here. It could become a swelling tide very quickly during heavy rain. The waterfall inside the park would no doubt become an even more awesome sight to behold.

Back to the entrance it started to rain. So we decided not to walk further down to the old street in Shifen for lunch and explore the area. We waited for bus 795 that was parked at the entrance to begin its return trip back to Taipei City. Soon the bus came and we boarded the bus back to Muzha MRT Station. From the MRT Station, we returned to Daan Station and then took exit 6 again to reach Park Taipei Hotel.

Nice Room at Park Taipei Hotel

Our room was ready then. We collected our bags and then went to inspect our room. There was some expectation on our part as this is a 5-star hotel.

The hotel room wasn’t very big but was modern and very clean. The bed was clean and very comfy as well. A leather sofa seat was next to the bed. TV in front of the bed was placed on a wall feature next to a writing desk with its chair.

Bathroom came with a bathtub and a separate shower stall. Full toiletries were provided and of course bottled water with an electric kettle for coffee and tea. Wifi was fine and plenty of programs on TV and again mostly Taiwanese channels.

The room for this 5-star hotel was fine but not fantastic like some other international hotel chains. However, its location is the selling point with Daan MRT Station at its doorstep, very centrally located as well.

Tasty Beef Noodle Lunch near Park Taipei Hotel

After this, we went out for lunch. Having checked with the the friendly staff at front desk, we were recommended to try the beef noodle restaurant just down the road. So we left Park Taipei Hotel, turned right and walked further down one street. We found the restaurant and went in to order our beef noodle sets. The food was really delicious and reasonably priced too. We then returned to Park Taipei Hotel to take a break after lunch.

Back to our room, it was time to slack after a nice shower. We watched TV and also chatted with the children back home showing them pictures of the nice waterfall at Shifen. The outing at Shifen was great. Due to the rain, we missed exploring Shifen old street. We would leave this item for the next visit. Surfing the internet was easy with the excellent wifi from the hotel.

Dinner at Ximending

Late afternoon, it was time to hit the street again. We decided to head over to Ximending. Heading to Ximending was so easy just 6 stations away changing train at the Taipei Main Train Station. We really loved this centrally located Park Taipei Hotel.

Ximending was already a hive of activities. It was not even night time yet. So we mingled with the crowds for this shopping trip. Buskers were performing at street junctions. Unfortunately, it started to drizzle. Not long after, the drizzle turned into light rain.

It was already near dinner time so we went up to Saizeriya Restaurant to settle down for a nice pasta dinner. One reason why we chose Saizeriya Restaurant was the availability of proper seats and tables. The ambiance was good too. Having a meal here was so comfortable.

Those popular Taiwanese eateries are usually crowded and the tables are small. Very often we would have to squeeze to sit with other diners. So we won’t have the luxury of time to eat slowly and rest our tired feet. The free flow of drinks at Saizeriya Restaurant was very good too. In addition, the desserts were great as well on top of the very reasonably priced meals.

Shopping at Ximending

We returned to the streets after dinner. The rain had stopped and it was great to shop at Ximending. There was so much energy here where young people usually hanged out. This is a really dynamic area to explore and shop.

My dear wife did her shopping buying socks from the same shop we bought from last year. The children liked those socks so we bought more this time.

We also bought some umbrellas. Umbrellas are pretty strong in Taiwan because the people here need to use them to shield against strong winds. The colourful night in Ximending was very enjoyable, a very pleasant area to spend the evening soaking in the atmospheric excitement in a very vibrant part of Taipei City.

Returning to Park Taipei Hotel

After this shopping trip and dinner, we took the MRT train to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. Instead of changing train back to Daan Station, we decided to take a short walk back to Park Taipei Hotel, just one station away. This would allow us to check out some shops along the way.

Zhongxiao Fuxing area is quite busy as well with two Sogo shopping malls at the junction here. We only had a quick look around and then returned to our hotel. Our hands were already full after shopping at Ximending.

The friendly and polite staff greeted us when we entered the hotel. Back in our room, we settled down for the night. It was the usual TV accompanying us while to slipped into the night.

Visiting Shifen waterfall in the morning was great. Shopping and dining at Ximending was fun too. We were very pleased we chose Park Taipei Hotel to stay for two nights. This 5-star hotel was really convenient for us to hop in and out of the hotel visiting attractions in the Taipei.

Weariness soon set in and we fell asleep soon after. We would soon begin another exiting tour of the city the next day.

Continue to Day 3

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