Category Archives: Taiwan

5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 5 Keelung to Taoyuan Airport (June 2016)

Keelung Evergreen Laurel Hotel

This was the day to catch our flight back to Singapore. Keelung is quite a distance to Taoyuan Airport. However, our flight was at night so we had plenty of time to travel to the airport. In fact, travelling time won’t be too long either. We would take a bus to Taipei and travelling time would be about an hour. From Taipei, we would take another bus to Taoyuan Airport about an hour away. Hence, we were very relax with our itinerary this day.

Our breakfast was included in our booking so we need not leave the hotel to look for food. The restaurant up on the top floor offered amazing views of the harbour and its surrounding. More importantly, the buffet breakfast spread was sumptuous and the food tasty. We collected our food and sat down to enjoy this delicious breakfast with great views of the harbour below. Restaurant staff were really polite and friendly.

We returned to our room after breakfast. The harbour view from our room windows was fascinating. We noticed there was an increase on the number of ships docked at the harbour. The navy ship docked below just outside Evergreen Laurel Hotel was in the same location and didn’t leave the harbour. Other ships had arrived during the night to berth at the harbour. It was quite an interesting and refreshing sight to observe the activities of the harbour. Continue reading 5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 5 Keelung to Taoyuan Airport (June 2016)

5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 4 Keelung (June 2016)

Train to Keelung

We would be going to Keelung this morning. We had already booked the 5-star Evergreen Laurel Hotel at Keelung harbourfront. So we got up early and had a simple breakfast with the bread we bought the previous night at the bakery in Miramar Complex. We then packed up and checked out early.

With Daan MRT Station right at the doorsteps of Park Taipei Hotel, we took a train to Taipei Main Train Station, just five stations away. It was still very early and all the shops at the underground mall were closed. We then walked over to the railway station and took the next local train to Keelung. It was a smooth journey taking around 50 minutes to reach Keelung.

Arrive Evergreen Laurel Hotel

Once we got out of the railway station, we saw Evergreen Laurel Hotel over the other side of the harbour. The city was rather quiet so early in the morning and road traffic was light. So we took a slow walk of under 15 minutes to reach Evergreen Laurel Hotel orientating ourselves along the way.

This hotel is probably the best in Keelung, pretty modern and clean. Service staff were polite, friendly and helpful. It was too early to check in as we arrived around 9.45 am. We left our bags with the hotel and having gotten direction from front desk, we left the hotel to take a bus up to Jiufen for our first itinerary for the day.

Bus 788 to Jiufen for Shopping

The bus stop is located along the road behind Evergreen Laurel Hotel. So we followed the direction and walked over to the bus stop to wait for bus 788. It was a just a few minutes walk. A couple of minutes later, the bus came and we boarded the bus. The bus ride took us through part of Keelung City and then headed up the hill towards Jiufen. Slightly after an hour, we arrived Jiufen. Continue reading 5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 4 Keelung (June 2016)

5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 3 Taipei City (June 2016)

McDonalds Breakfast near Park Taipei Hotel

We woke up pretty early this morning. Our hotel booking didn’t come with breakfast so we decided to buy food from eateries nearby. I went over to a McDonalds just two streets away from Park Taipei Hotel. We wanted to taste their McDonalds breakfast set here in Taipei. It seemed like they have more breakfast meals options here. After purchasing the breakfast, I walked back to Park Taipei Hotel.

It was just a few minutes walk. It was also rather quiet here early morning. Road traffic was quite low this part of the city. Back in our room, we settled down to enjoy this McDonalds breakfast. The breakfast sets were rather good. Not McDonalds everywhere serve good breakfast. Even the McDonalds breakfast we had in Edinburgh, Scotland few years back was nothing to write about.

So after breakfast, we planned where we would like to visit in Taipei City. This day we would just focus on Taipei City attractions. Finally, we decided to head out to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall for our first itinerary for the day. Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall is nearby just three MRT Stations away.

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Staying at Park Taipei Hotel was so convenient. The entrance of Daan MRT Station is just 15 steps away from the hotel front door. Getting to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was a breeze. Very quickly we arrived at the venue. It was 10.30 am and visitors were streaming towards the memorial hall complex. The sky was cloudy and not too hot.




Our first venue was the National Theatre. It is a grand building, typically Chinese design where we often see in ancient Chinese movies or drama. There were many young people at the entrance. They belong to different groups and they were practicing dance moves with portable music devices left on the floor near them. It was a concoction of sounds and movement from different groups of people. The corridor outside the main entrance was wide and long enough to accommodate these people. It was an interesting sight. These young people were so full of energy.

Continue reading 5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 3 Taipei City (June 2016)

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.

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

5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 1 Taipei (June 2016)

Northern Taiwan Itinerary

We spent 9 days 8 nights touring Taiwan in November 2015. Near end of 2015, Jetstar launched another sales promotion which was too good to miss. We could book a pair of return tickets to Taipei for under $60 without check in luggage. So we took another holiday to Taiwan in June 2016. This time, we planned to stay only for 4 nights touring Northern Taiwan.

Our flight to Taipei was 1.05 am arriving at 6 am. Return flight timing was 7.55 pm arriving the next day at 12.35 am. Onward flight was a red-eye flight arriving very early in the morning. We didn’t mind this arrangement as we could have a full day to enjoy Taipei when we arrived.

For accommodation, we stayed three nights in Taipei and the last night in Keelung. From Keelung, we would travel all the way to Taoyuan Airport changing bus in Taipei. We booked Taipei City Hotel for the first night and Park Taipei Hotel for the second and third night. For the last night, we booked Evergreen Laurel Hotel at Keelung. All hotels were booked very earlier to lock in a very good price from Agoda.com.

Taipei City Hotel is a 4-star hotel located near Daqiatou MRT Station. We would use this base to visit Yang Ming Shan and Ningxia Night Market. For Park Taipei Hotel located at the doorstep of Daan MRT Station, we would visit other attractions in the city for this very conveniently located 5-star hotel. The other 5-star hotel at Keelung harbourfront would be a base to visit Jiufen and also the city’s famous night market and other attractions near the city.

Transfer from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei

Our departure came after months of waiting. Though it was a red-eye flight, we landed in Taoyuan Airport at 6 am in pretty good condition. The airport was very quiet with all the shops closed. We cleared immigration and then went to the basement to purchase bus tickets to go to Taipei City. Having researched West Bus Company Line 1961 would stop at Daqiatou MRT Station along Chongqing North Road, we went to the counter to buy bus tickets and then went outside to wait for the bus.




It didn’t take very long before the bus arrived and we boarded the bus without incident. So off we went and travelled towards Taipei City. We passed through quiet city scenes as it was still before 7 am. After about 50 minutes of travelling, we entered Taipei City. Surprisingly, the bus that was supposed to travel along Chongqing North Road but after driving a short stretch along this road, turned left and then turned right to travel along the other road parallel to Chongqing North Road. So we alighted to walk back to Chongqing North Road to walk further down to Taipei City Hotel. Continue reading 5 Days 4 Nights Northern Taiwan Tour – Day 1 Taipei (June 2016)

Plane Crash Prediction at Changi Airport

Earlier this year, there was a prediction of a plane crash in Singapore that was supposed to happen yesterday. Specifically, the flight number, departure and arrival timings were mentioned. This flight SQ 879 is a daily flight coming in from Taipei to Singapore.

Predicted Airasia Transasia future SQ Flight at Changi Airport

Apparently, this guy Jucelino Nobrega da Luz from Brazil had accurately predicted the fate of AirAsia QZ8501 and TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 that crashed previously.

Coincidentally, the flight SQ 879 was cancelled yesterday. This led some to speculate whether Singapore Airlines was taking his prediction seriously.

Changi Airport Cancelled SQ879

Actually, Typhoon Megi was sweeping through Taiwan to China yesterday causing death and injuries across its path of destruction.

Typhoon Megi Kills one in China after Taiwan Destruction

So Singapore Airlines was unlikely paying heed to his prediction. In fact, many other flights were cancelled as well.

Singapore Airlines Media Centre News Alert on Typhoon Megi

Flights Cancelled, Schools Shut, Fishing Boats Recalled as deadly Typhoon Megi hits China




Which reputable airline would take into account unscientific predictions to operate their flights? Thus it was a peaceful evening at Changi Airport yesterday.

The worst thing that happened on this island nation yesterday was a hijack situation which was as rare as a plane crash. The situation had since been resolved with the hijacker arrested and the hostage freed.

Sembawang Stand-Off Resolved

Had Jucelino Nobrega da Luz predicted this incident, this crime might have been prevented. So take whatever prediction with a big bowl of salt.


Continue to travel and of course purchase travel insurance to hedge against any untoward incident which could happen anywhere in the world.

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.

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

Day 8 – Taichung

This would be the day we had to do our shopping before leaving Taiwan the next day. Since we shelved our plans to visit Cingjing for a day trip, we didn’t have to get up very early, which was very good for us. Our hotel booking didn’t come with breakfast so we didn’t have to go to the restaurant as well. We had actually bought buns from the bakery at Sogo Mall the previous day hence we had a simple breakfast this morning. Of course we made coffee and tea as well.

Gym in the hotel
Gym in the hotel
Laundry facility in the hotel
Laundry facility in the hotel

It was already 10.30 am and a good time to leave the hotel to explore other parts of Taichung. Most shops should be open by the time we hit the streets and the malls. So we left Smartcue 52 Hotel and turned left to walk to the traffic junction along the main road. Zhongming Elementary School was across the road on our right. Having crossed the road to the side of this school, we used the underpass this time to cross the main road and went up to the BRT bus stop. We alighted slightly further down the road opposite Evergreen Laurel Hotel the previous day.

Traffic junction with BRT bus stop in front
Traffic junction with BRT bus stop in front
Underpass across main road
Underpass across main road

We hadn’t got a chance to try out this free BRT service yet so this day would be our first time taking the bus. Soon a blue colour bus came and we boarded using our Easy card to tap in. So we were on our way downtown towards the railway station where the bus would terminate. We enjoyed the view along the way and tried to recognize street names and buildings. After a number of stops, we arrived at Taichung Train Station where everyone alighted the bus. We tapped our Easy card and it was a free ride with no deduction of bus fare.

Taichung Train Station
Taichung Train Station

It was around 11.15 am when we went into the train station to have a look. The ticketing booths were not as busy as those at Hualien and Taipei train station. Many passengers were sitting outside a convenience store waiting for the green light to enter the train platforms to wait for their train. There were quite a few shops inside the train station selling Taiwanese goodies.

Waiting inside Taichung Train Station
Waiting inside Taichung Train Station
Taichung Train Station ticketing counters
Taichung Train Station ticketing counters
Shops inside Taichung Train Station
Shops inside Taichung Train Station
Taiwanese goodies sold inside Taichung Train Station
Taiwanese goodies sold inside Taichung Train Station

We left the train station to explore the area near the train station. It was quite a hot day near noon. A lady busker was performing outside the train station but unfortunately no one seemed to be interested in her singing.




Musician outside Taichung Train Station
Musician outside Taichung Train Station

Kuo-Kuang and U Bus have offices across the train station. We went to the U Bus office to enquire if we could board the bus outside Evergreen Laurel Hotel since the bus route seemed to include this location as a pick up point. We were told we still had to proceed to Chaoma Bus Terminal to wait for our bus the next day going back to Taoyuan Airport.

Kuo Kuang Bus Office opposite Taichung Train Station
Kuo Kuang Bus Office opposite Taichung Train Station
U Bus Office opposite Taichung Train Station
U Bus Office opposite Taichung Train Station


Junction outside Taichung Train Station
Junction outside Taichung Train Station
Office and ticketing counters of U Bus Company
Office and ticketing counters of U Bus Company

After that we roamed the streets. There were many shops opposite the train station selling pineapple tarts and sun biscuits and we were offered samples as well. We didn’t buy any as we still had a whole day to go exploring and didn’t want to load up our hands for other activities.

We went through a few streets and found some of them quite filthy and smelly. There were street food stalls where some of them were not open for business during that time. There were some Vietnamese and Filipinos businesses in the vicinity. A complex we went into was practically quite empty and not well lit that also housed some shops catered to foreigners working and living in Taichung.

Eventually we reached a famous restaurant across Taichung Park. We went in and ordered lunch as it was already near to 12.30 pm. The lunch was good and we were glad we came to this restaurant without knowing this was one of the famous Taiwanese restaurants.

Famous Taiwanese restaurant
Famous Taiwanese restaurant
Famous Taiwanese restaurant for pork knuckle
Famous Taiwanese restaurant for pork knuckle
Inside famous Taiwanese restaurant
Inside famous Taiwanese restaurant
Delicious lunch at the restaurant
Delicious lunch at the restaurant

After lunch, we crossed the road and entered the park. It was near to 1 pm though sunny, was not extremely hot during this autumn day. Visiting this park was quite pleasant.

Lovely Taichung Park
Lovely Taichung Park
Lovely Taichung Park across the road
Lovely Taichung Park across the road

The joint hearts feature at the park’s entrance was lovely and with the fountain as its background, this symbolically enhanced the essence of this park. The fountain is a feature in the small lake in the park. This could be a nice place for young couples to hangout.

Joint hearts at the entrance of the park
Joint hearts at the entrance of the park
Fountain in Taichung Park
Fountain in Taichung Park
Nice stroll in Taichung Park
Nice stroll in Taichung Park
Pretty fountain in the small lake
Pretty fountain in the small lake
Lovely view of the fountain in the small lake
Lovely view of the fountain in the small lake

It was nice to walk along the path with the small lake on our left and the well kept garden in the park. Just ahead is a red colour bridge that connects the park across this small lake.

Red bridge ahead in Taichung Park
Red bridge ahead in Taichung Park
Well kept garden in the park
Well kept garden in the park

As we walked further along, when we turned back to view the park, we noticed a building behind the park across the road looked very familiar. A while later, we recalled this was the hotel we stayed during our package tour some years back. This is Forte Orange Business Hotel. We checked in late that night and spent less than 30 minutes in the morning at the park before leaving Taichung.

Orange Hotel opposite Taichung Park
Orange Hotel opposite Taichung Park

So this brought back nostalgic moment as we recollected our previous trip to Taiwan. We walked on towards the red bridge and there were only a few other visitors in the park.

Beautiful red bridge at the park
Beautiful red bridge at the park
Walking towards red bridge at the park
Walking towards red bridge at the park


Lovely view of red bridge across the lake at the park
Lovely view of red bridge across the lake at the park
Nice day to walk across empty red bridge at the park
Nice day to walk across empty red bridge at the park

We went onto the bridge and stayed at the middle to look around the park. The fountain in the lake was a lovely and refreshing sight in the park. Further into the park was a stone bridge connecting another part of the lake.

View of the park from the red bridge
View of the park from the red bridge
Nice view of the fountain from the red bridge
Nice view of the fountain from the red bridge
Nice view of stone bridge from the red bridge
Nice view of stone bridge from the red bridge
Pretty sight of stone bridge from the red bridge
Pretty sight of stone bridge from the red bridge

We went across the bridge and saw quite a lot of birds in the park. There were some ducks as well. Some of these fowls were resting on the ground under shade.



Birds on the ground in the park
Birds on the ground in the park
Resting on the ground and waiting for the next flight
Resting on the ground and waiting for the next flight
Resting and waiting for the next flight
Resting and waiting for the next flight
Lovely dove in the park
Lovely dove in the park
Birds on the ground and in the lake
Birds on the ground and in the lake
Birds near the lake
Birds near the lake
Birds resting under shade on the ground
Birds resting under shade on the ground

We observed them for quite some time. There were other species where a lone bird was here and there spending time in solitude. A moment later, a huge flock of birds took to the air. It was a sight to behold in the park with these birds flapping and flying amongst trees. This was really a treat for us spending time in Taichung Park.

Lone bird near the lake
Lone bird near the lake
Another lone bird at the park
Another lone bird at the park
Lovely bird sitting on a branch
Lovely bird sitting on a branch
Ducks in the lake
Ducks in the lake
Birds taking off from the ground
Birds taking off from the ground
Birds in the air having a great time
Birds in the air having a great time

We then went towards the stone bridge and went to the middle section to look around the park. The lake was pretty with buildings and Forte Orange Business Hotel as the background across the road. There were some small little boats on the lake.

Front side of stone bridge
Front side of stone bridge
Other side of stone bridge
Other side of stone bridge
Park view from the stone bridge
Park view from the stone bridge
Another view of the park from the stone bridge
Another view of the park from the stone bridge
Small boats on the lake
Small boats on the lake

There were two beautiful buildings on the edge of the lake. We didn’t go over to explore these buildings. We went across this stone bridge and took a look at the smaller section of the lake. Some turtles were resting on a rock in the lake. There were fish in the lake as well.

Another side of the lake with turtles
Another side of the lake with turtles
Lovely buildings near the lake
Lovely buildings near the lake
Pretty buildings in the park near the lake
Pretty buildings in the park near the lake
Beautiful view of the park on a lovely day
Beautiful view of the park on a lovely day
Nice view of the park on another side of the lake
Nice view of the park on another side of the lake
Peaceful day at the beautiful park
Peaceful day at the beautiful park
Turtles resting on a rock in the lake
Turtles resting on a rock in the lake

As we continued walking to the other side of the park towards Yizhong Street, we saw two little squirrels. We saw these lovely creatures early morning a few years back. We were happy to see them this afternoon. Perhaps these were the offspring of those we encountered back then.

Cute little squirrel
Cute little squirrel


Fatty little squirrel
Fatty little squirrel

When we reached the other end of the park, we crossed the road and walked into Yizhong Street. We were going to do some shopping here after visiting the park. Walking further into Yizhong Street, we came across a queue of customers waiting to buy bubble tea. This stall claimed no chemicals were used and seemed to be popular among the young people here.

Walking into Yizhong Street
Walking into Yizhong Street
Quiet Yizhong Street in the afternoon
Quiet Yizhong Street in the afternoon
Buying bubble tea at Yizhong Street
Buying bubble tea at Yizhong Street
Walking further into Yizhong Street
Walking further into Yizhong Street

When we reached the traffic junction, we looked at some sports shoes on sale but we didn’t buy any. We then crossed the road and entered Net Store where another sale was going on. So we went in for a look. While my wife did her shopping, I sat on the staircase to rest. With shopping done, we walked on into Yizhong shopping area.

Net Store across traffic junction
Net Store across traffic junction
Sports shoes on sales
Sports shoes on sales
Busier side of Yizhong shopping area
Busier side of Yizhong shopping area
Busier traffic junction at Yizhong shopping area
Busier traffic junction at Yizhong shopping area
Busier side of Yizhong shopping area
Busier side of Yizhong shopping area
More shops and stalls here at Yizhong shopping area
More shops and stalls here at Yizhong shopping area
Better shopping here at Yizhong shopping area
Better shopping here at Yizhong shopping area

This place was much busier than the first stretch of the street. Food stalls were on both sides of the streets and there were more shoppers on the street as well. However, it wasn’t crowded during this afternoon. Maybe at night this place would come alive like Feng Jia Night Market we visited the night before.

Advertising billboard with famous Taiwanese singer and song writer Jay Chou
Advertising billboard with famous Taiwanese singer and song writer Jay Chou
Plenty of food stalls across the street
Plenty of food stalls across the street
Yizhong shopping street
Yizhong shopping street
Many shops and stalls at Yizhong shopping street
Many shops and stalls at Yizhong shopping street
Busier side of Yizhong shopping street
Busier side of Yizhong shopping street
Young shoppers at Yizhong shopping street
Young shoppers at Yizhong shopping street

We bought fruit juice at one of the stalls and drank as we walked. It was getting hotter now. More young people were on the street over here. We did some more shopping for clothes and soon we had gone one round around this shopping area.

Food stalls at Yizhong shopping street
Food stalls at Yizhong shopping street
More food stalls at Yizhong shopping street
More food stalls at Yizhong shopping street
Buying food at food stall at Yizhong shopping street
Buying food at food stall at Yizhong shopping street


Plenty of shops and stalls at Yizhong shopping street
Plenty of shops and stalls at Yizhong shopping street
More young people shopping at Yizhong shopping street
More young people shopping at Yizhong shopping street
Shops at side lanes of Yizhong shopping area
Shops at side lanes of Yizhong shopping area
More shops at side lanes of Yizhong shopping area
More shops at side lanes of Yizhong shopping area

It was also getting tiring. We went into a building with shops inside but was not too appealing for shopping. However, my dear wife saw an advertisement for haircut on a staircase leading to the second floor. We went up and entered the salon to enquire. Hair cut plus washing cost NTD 288. The staff over there were decent and friendly.

Advertisement on staircase to salon
Advertisement on staircase to salon

This salon has an interesting name Crazy Cut. As long as my wife didn’t end up with a crazy hairstyle it would be fine. So my wife settled down to have her hair cut and washed. I took advantage of this time to sit down and rest in one of their comfortable salon seats and used their free wifi to connect with the world outside of Taiwan.

Crazy Cut Salon
Crazy Cut Salon

The salon wasn’t busy. The ambience of the salon was quite conducive where the place was bright and clean. I enjoyed myself during this break while my wife had a great time having her hair done. She had her hair washed twice before her hair cut. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and was very pleased with her new hairstyle. The whole process was about 45 minutes and the cost was just a fraction of what we would have to pay back home. I was very happy for the break to rest my tired legs too.

Nice hair salon inside this building
Nice hair salon inside this building

We hit the streets again but not shopping in the same area again. We walked to a main road outside the university and headed back to the train station. We were hunting for pineapple tarts and sun biscuits seriously now before going back to Smartcue 52 Hotel. Along the way, we went into a supermarket. We bought some drinks and quite a number of instant cup noodles to bring home.

Back to the streets again
Back to the streets again
University across the road
University across the road

We continued to trace our way back to the train station and we came across this shop selling pineapple tarts. We went in for a look and the staff kindly offered us samples to try and we bought a number of boxes from her. She also directed us further down the road at another corner to buy the famous sun biscuits the locals would patronize.

Tasty pineapple tarts at reasonable price
Tasty pineapple tarts at reasonable price
Nice local bakery to buy pineapple tarts
Nice local bakery to buy pineapple tarts

So we took her advice and walked further down the road and found this shop at a traffic junction. There were many other shops selling about the same thing along the road. This shop seemed to be the popular shop and they were very generous in offering an entire sun biscuit for us to try out before buying. So we bought sun biscuits from this shop and some other goodies as well.

Good business at famous bakery
Good business at famous bakery
Famous bakery from across the traffic junction
Famous bakery from across the traffic junction

With our shopping done, we continued to find our way back to the train station. After walking along a few more streets we reached the train station. We went into a waiting BRT bus and waited for the bus to depart. Soon the bus left and we were on our way retracing the same route we came this morning. After passing Splendor Hotel on our right and Sogo Mall on our left, we alighted at the next bus stop. We didn’t have to cross the main road now and it was an easy 5 minutes walk back to Smartcue 52 Hotel.

A nice little river in the city
A nice little river in the city
Walking back to the train station
Walking back to the train station
Arriving train station to take BRT bus
Arriving train station to take BRT bus

It was near to 4 pm when we entered the hotel. We went to the business centre for a drink and rested a while before going back to our room. The drinks and snacks were good. After having sufficient drinks, we went back to our room.

Nice conducive business centre
Nice conducive business centre
Drinks and snacks at business centre
Drinks and snacks at business centre
Nice and comfortable seats in business centre
Nice and comfortable seats in business centre

It was good to be back to rest for a while before dinner time. We had spent a good number of hours outdoor. A good shower was in order and we could finally stretch on bed to watch TV for a while.

Near to 6 pm, we left Smartcue 52 Hotel again. We went back to the bus stop we had alighted coming back from the train station. We were heading to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall to explore and have dinner. This shopping mall would be just three bus stops away.

In under 5 minutes, we reached the bus stop. Another 5 minutes later, the bus came and we managed to get in even though it was quite crowded during peak hours. We soon alighted and crossed the main road and walked into Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall.

This is another big mall like Sogo Mall with many floors and cinemas within the building. We went straight to the food court and did a quick survey of the food options available for dinner. We finally settled down for rice and noodle sets again. The food was pretty good and we had a satisfying dinner. The food court was quite busy during dinner time as well.

Busy food court during dinner time
Busy food court during dinner time
Food stall we bought our dinner
Food stall we bought our dinner
Very tasty rice set
Very tasty rice set
Delicious curry noodles
Delicious curry noodles

After that we went to the bakery and bought some buns and pastry for the next day’s breakfast. Next we did some window shopping and check out the supermarket. We had already done enough of shopping during the day so this evening was simply to browse around and enjoyed the night out. It was good to be in the comfort of air-conditioned environment and shop under bright lighting.

Nice modern supermarket
Nice modern supermarket
Nice bakery at the food court
Nice bakery at the food court
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Inside Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Inside Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall

We then left Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall. There is another big mall next door where we would walk over to explore. Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall was beautifully lit up at night. It was very pleasant to stroll outside and enjoy the nice view of this mall.

Entrance to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Entrance to Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Beautifully lit up at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Beautifully lit up at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall


Outside Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall
Outside Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall

We walked over to Top City Mall next door. This mall is part of the Far Eastern Departmental Store. It is modern and clean and this mall also houses many other stores, restaurants and cinemas.

Taxis waiting along the road outside Top City Mall
Taxis waiting along the road outside Top City Mall
Top City Mall
Top City Mall
Entrance to Top City Mall
Entrance to Top City Mall

H&M Store has a shop there. We went in for a quick look and then left without buying anything. We also looked around Far Eastern Departmental Store and left.

H&M Store
H&M Store
Clean and modern Top City Mall stores
Clean and modern Top City Mall stores
Female clothes department
Female clothes department
Male clothes department
Male clothes department
More clothes section
More clothes section

Next we went down to the basement to check out the theme restaurants, supermarket and food court. This level was a busy place. The Michelin Star rated Tim Ho Wan Hong Kong dim sum restaurant was attracting huge crowd where diners were required to take a queue number and wait to be called.

Ding Tai Fung Restaurant
Ding Tai Fung Restaurant
Nice and modern supermarket
Nice and modern supermarket
Stalls at the basement
Stalls at the basement
Tim Ho Wan Restaurant
Tim Ho Wan Restaurant

After this we went up to the 11th and 12th floor to check out more restaurants. This level was rather quiet and the place very clean and pleasant with many restaurants but not many diners.

Nice ambience on 11th floor
Nice ambience on 11th floor
Nice restaurants on 11th floor
Nice restaurants on 11th floor
One of the restaurants on 11th floor
One of the restaurants on 11th floor
Another nice restaurant on 11th floor
Another nice restaurant on 11th floor

Food Republic is on the 12th floor. This food court was bright and clean and very modern as well. There were some diners there during our visit. Had we known there was a food court here, we could have dined here in the first place. There are fast food restaurants up here as well so diners would be really spoilt for choice for both western and eastern meals.

Food Republic Food Court
Food Republic Food Court
Many food stalls at the food court
Many food stalls at the food court
Great ambience at the food court
Great ambience at the food court
Nice restaurants on level 12
Nice restaurants on level 12
Beautiful car outside restaurant on level 12
Beautiful car outside restaurant on level 12


Great looking bike outside restaurant on level 12
Great looking bike outside restaurant on level 12

Having done checking out these two floors, we went further up and took a look at the cinemas. This was another very clean and modern floor. It was so spacious and having so few patrons that made this place a little sad even among the nice warm lighting. Had we more time, we would definitely spend some time here to watch a movie or two.

Ticket counter at cinema
Ticket counter at cinema
Lobby of cinema
Lobby of cinema
Toys on display in cinema
Toys on display in cinema

We looked out at the glass panels from this level and enjoyed the night view of the surrounding on this part of Taichung City. Finally, it was time to leave. It was an eye-opener visiting these malls here in Taichung. The malls were big and nice but crowds were few and far between. Perhaps young people were more interested in the lively and dynamic night markets scene rather than spending time at clinically clean shopping malls. By the way, this Top City Mall was much bigger and with better shops, restaurants and facilities than the Far Eastern Mall we visited in Hualien.

Night view of Taichung
Night view of Taichung

So we were back to ground floor and went outdoor and enjoyed the night view of the area. We took a slow walk back to the bus stop and then waited for the next BRT bus. Soon we boarded a bus and made our way back to Smartcue 52 Hotel. We were grateful for the free bus rides the whole day in Taichung. They were nice, clean and comfortable.

Walking to BRT bus stop outside malls
Walking to BRT bus stop outside malls
Beautiful view of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall at night
Beautiful view of Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall at night
Traffic junction near hotel with Sogo Mall ahead
Traffic junction near hotel with Sogo Mall ahead

It was around 8.30 pm when we returned to our hotel. Again the first thing was to head for the business centre to relax and have something to eat and drink. We also used the computer to make our online check in for our flight for the next day. We could also print out our online check-in itinerary.

Computers at business centre
Computers at business centre

The cold drinks and coffee as well as the local snacks were good. We really like this place where we could park ourselves at our convenience. This place seemed to be under utilized. So far we always found ourselves using this business centre. After getting our business settled at the business centre, we returned to our clean and spacious room.

Cosy seats inside business centre
Cosy seats inside business centre

Even though we were departing early afternoon the next day, we did some packing to prepare for our departure. Again we enjoyed the comfort of our nice and firm bed after shower and watched TV and chat with the children back home. There were no regrets not having made a day trip up to Cingjing. We can always plan a night stay up the mountain in the future to enjoy Cingjing more thoroughly.

As our Taiwan tour was coming to an end, we recollected the times we spent here and thought about going home the next day to see our children again. Going back home sounded more exciting now than visiting more attractions in Taiwan. Soon it was time to go to bed and prepare to leave this beautiful island country only to return to cover other areas in the near future. With that we closed our eyes and looked forward to be home with the children again.


Continue to Day 9