Category Archives: Jiaosi

9 Days 8 Nights Taiwan Tour – Jiaosi, Hualien, Taipei and Taichung – Day 2 (November 2015)

Day 2 – Jiaosi to Hualien

We woke up very early in the morning to have another dip in the hot spring bath before leaving for Hualien. Our bed wasn’t the best we had slept on during our various trips the past months. However, the hot spring bath was great to start our day.

We had already informed the owner we had to be at Jiaosi Train Station by 8.30 am to catch a train to Luodong and then take a train from there to Hualien. She had instructed her staff to be ready at 7 am to serve us breakfast where breakfast time was supposed to be 7.30 am.

Hotel stairs from lobby
Hotel stairs from lobby
Hotel lobby
Hotel lobby

When we were ready, we brought our bags to ground floor and went to the restaurant and took our seats. A lady staff member was there preparing breakfast. Soon our food arrived. It was a sandwich, a bowl of soup and a cup of herbal tea. Although the breakfast was simple, the egg sandwich was quite tasty.

Empty restaurant in hotel
Empty restaurant in hotel
Restaurant in Hotel
Restaurant in Hotel
Simple breakfast
Simple breakfast

After breakfast, we returned our room key to the staff and left for Jiaosi Train Station. It was just a short walk away. Along the way, we found a shop selling dim sum items but we were in a hurry to reach the train station early and didn’t have time to sample more food. We reached the train station slightly before 8.30 am and headed straight to the platform to catch an coming train for Luodong. Since we had already purchased our tickets to Hualien the day before, we didn’t have to use our Easy cards this time.

Outside Jiaosi Train Station
Outside Jiaosi Train Station

A local train arrived shortly and in 25 minutes, we arrived Luodong Train Station. We checked the information board on which platform to wait for the train line 4144 to Hualien and went to the platform to wait for the train.

Inside Jiaosi Train Station
Inside Jiaosi Train Station

Not long after, a train pulled up and all passengers alighted. This was the train that would travel to Hualien and Luodong was the first stop. So we boarded the empty train and waited for the train to leave. About ten minutes later, we left Luodong and headed south towards Hualien. It was barely 9.30 am and the day ahead looked great.

Empty train at Luodong Train Station
Empty train at Luodong Train Station
Empty train at Luodong Train Station
Empty train at Luodong Train Station

The train wasn’t crowded when we left Luodong. Soon, after stopping at other stations, more passengers boarded the train and the cabin began to fill up. Interestingly, some cyclists came into the train with their bicycles. They secured their bicycles to the poles on the train and relaxed themselves during the train ride. They seemed to be going to Toroko for some cycling in the countryside.

Cyclists on train to Toroko Gorge
Cyclists on train to Toroko Gorge
Cyclists relaxing on train to Toroko Gorge
Cyclists relaxing on train to Toroko Gorge

The journey south was interesting and at times scenic. We passed through tunnels and some stretches with beaches and views of the Pacific Ocean. There were countryside scenery and some heavy industries as well as construction works along the way during the train ride.

Scenery during train ride to Hualien
Scenery during train ride to Hualien
Nice scenery during train ride to Hualien
Nice scenery during train ride to Hualien
Industry along the way to Hualien
Industry along the way to Hualien
Industry along the way to Hualien
Industry along the way to Hualien
Heping Train Station
Heping Train Station
Another industry scene on the way to Hualien
Another industry scene on the way to Hualien
Pacific Ocean along the way to Hualien
Pacific Ocean along the way to Hualien

When we were nearer to Toroko Gorge, the scenery was more captivating with mountains and streams with bridges running further inland from the railway tracks. Many passengers got up to the train door area and took pictures through the glass windows at the same time admiring the beautiful view of nature on this bright and sunny morning.

Magnificent scenery nearer to Toroko Gorge
Magnificent scenery nearer to Toroko Gorge
Beautiful scenery nearer to Toroko Gorge
Beautiful scenery nearer to Toroko Gorge


Nice bridge inland near Toroko Gorge
Nice bridge inland near Toroko Gorge
Beautiful mountain scenery along the way to Hualien
Beautiful mountain scenery along the way to Hualien

Eventually, the train arrived Xincheng Train Station. Many passengers left the train including those cyclists onboard. They should be heading for the Toroko Gorge hike and tour.

Xincheng Train Station to Toroko Gorge
Xincheng Train Station to Toroko Gorge

Now with fewer passengers, the train continued its journey down south. We still could see some mountains and farmlands along the way. With such a scenic train ride, the journey didn’t feel very long and boring.

Bridge crossing towards Hualien
Bridge crossing towards Hualien
Nice farmland nearer to Hualien
Nice farmland nearer to Hualien
Agricultural farmland near to Hualien
Agricultural farmland near to Hualien
Nice farmland near Hualien
Nice farmland near Hualien
Arriving Hualien Train Station
Arriving Hualien Train Station

Finally, we arrived Hualien Train Station. All the passengers got up and waited near the train doors. Hualien Train Station was quite big and very crowded as well. It could be due to the marathon scheduled for the next day.

Outside main entrance of Hualien Train Station
Outside main entrance of Hualien Train Station

We made it out to the train station exit and found the hotel staff from Cullinan Hotel waiting for us. We requested for him to wait for us for another ten minutes because we would like to enquire about train tickets going back to Taipei in two days’ time. However, we were told another two guests were already waiting to proceed to the hotel and he couldn’t wait. We were assured he would come back to get us in about 30 minutes after sending these two guests to the hotel.




Outside Hualien Train Station
Outside Hualien Train Station

So we went back into the train station. I queued up at the ticket counter to wait for my turn to be served. When it was my turn to speak with the staff, we were informed that all train tickets going back to Taipei in two days’ time had been sold out. We were told to come back to the train station early on the departure date to purchase local train tickets instead of the express trains.

Queuing for tickets in Hualien Train Station
Queuing for tickets in Hualien Train Station
Train office and travel agent counter
Train office and travel agent counter
Entrance to train platforms
Entrance to train platforms

With nothing much we could do about the situation, we went back to the road outside the train station to wait for our hotel pick up. What we could do in two days’ was to purchase combo tickets where we would alight at Luodong Train Station and cross over to the bus terminal and catch a bus back to Taipei. There wouldn’t be much difference on traveling time as the bus would travel via the express way and the cost of the combo ticket would be NT209 which would be much cheaper than the cost of an express train ticket that cost NT440.

Passengers waiting for train inside the train station
Passengers waiting for train inside the train station
Convenience store inside the train station
Convenience store inside the train station

About ten minutes later, the car from Cullinan Hotel pulled up. We got in with our bags and were on our way to the hotel. By the time we arrived at Cullinan Hotel, it was already 12.30 pm. We were allowed to check in so we took our bags and went to our room.

Sunny day in Hualien
Sunny day in Hualien


Busy road outside Hualien Train Station
Busy road outside Hualien Train Station

Our room didn’t have any view to talk about with a small window next to the bed. However, the room was spacious, clean and pleasant which was such a contrast from the small little room we had at Jiaosi.

Pleasant and comfortable room
Pleasant and comfortable room
Clean and spacious room with comfy bed
Clean and spacious room with comfy bed

The bed was clean and comfortable and a wall mounted TV was located in front of the bed. As expected, TV programs were mainly local Chinese channels though there were a few international channels. Wifi worked well and we could get in touch with our children back home to inform them of our safe arrival to Hualien.

Wall mounted TV in front of bed
Wall mounted TV in front of bed
Tea and coffee facility with snacks
Tea and coffee facility with snacks

Bathroom was clean as well that came with a small bathtub. A nice set of toiletries was provided. Two bottles of drinking water were also provided. Everything was in order and we were happy with our room. So we went back to front desk to collect a city map and enquired about tours and lunch options.

Clean but small bathtub
Clean but small bathtub
Nice and clean bathroom
Nice and clean bathroom

It was a little late to arrange for tours for the afternoon though it was still possible but we still had to head out for lunch first. Due to the marathon that would take place the next day, touring of Toroko Gorge was not possible. So the hotel helped us booked whale watching for the next morning and another tour in the afternoon to visit some attractions south of Hualien.



As for lunch, there was a shopping mall just around the corner where we could find something to eat at the food court. However, the hotel staff suggested we could try out some restaurants just a few streets away at Minguo Road which were popular with the locals in Hualien.

Armed with this piece of information, we went out to the main road, turned right to Heping Road and turned left at the traffic junction to walk along Minguo Road. This road was actually quite a long stretch with shops and restaurants on this road. It was a sunny day and was quite glaring during this early afternoon.

Hot and sunny day in Hualien City
Hot and sunny day in Hualien City
Walking to Minguo Road for lunch
Walking to Minguo Road for lunch
Interesting building along Minguo Road
Interesting building along Minguo Road
On the way to look for lunch
On the way to look for lunch

We kept walking until it was towards the end of the road where we noticed quite a lot of people entering and leaving a restaurant. So we went in for a look and it was a restaurant that sold rice with dishes where we could select. This restaurant had 38 years of history and seemed popular. As such, we decided to have lunch here and queued to order our food. We ordered a rice set that came with a main meat dish with some other side dishes.

Restaurant with 38 years history
Restaurant with 38 years history
Restaurant food counter
Restaurant food counter
Restaurant food counter
Restaurant food counter

We took our food and found our seats and sat down for lunch. Soup was free and self service so we took two bowls of vegetable soup. Our lunch was delicious. We didn’t regret the walk under the hot sun. This restaurant also served take-away meals and there were people coming and going after ordering their food.

Delicious set rice
Delicious set rice

After lunch, we left and walked back to the hotel via another road, Linsen Road parallel to Minguo Road. We found Hualien City rather clean and pleasant. It was an easy walk of under 15 minutes and we were back to the junction near Cullinan Hotel with Far East Shopping Mall at the corner of this junction.

Walking back to hotel after lunch
Walking back to hotel after lunch
Walking on Linsen Road
Walking on Linsen Road
Small church on Linsen Road
Small church on Linsen Road
Nice and pleasant Hualien City
Nice and pleasant Hualien City
Small park in the city
Small park in the city


Small but nice park in the city
Small but nice park in the city
Traffic junction near hotel and shopping mall
Traffic junction near hotel and shopping mall
Far East Shopping Mall near Cullinan Hotel
Far East Shopping Mall near Cullinan Hotel

It was 2 pm so we went to the mall to do some shopping instead of returning to our hotel to rest. It was a relief as we walked into the mall to enjoy cool air-conditioning and we escaped the hot afternoon sun. This mall was modern where the main tenant was Far East Departmental Store.

Far East Shopping Mall main entrance
Far East Shopping Mall main entrance
Far East Shopping Mall
Far East Shopping Mall
Inside Far East Shopping Mall
Inside Far East Shopping Mall
Modern Far East Departmental Store
Modern Far East Departmental Store
Nice and modern Far East Store
Nice and modern Far East Store

The departmental store was having some anniversary sales during our visit. Clothes and shoes were given great discounts along with the usual higher end goods. Giordano was having great sales as well operating within the store. Muji was also having a section within the departmental store. Branded sports shoes were on sale as well.

Muji Store inside Far East Mall
Muji Store inside Far East Mall
Branded sports shoes on sale
Branded sports shoes on sale
Discount cubicles near escalator
Discount cubicles near escalator
Clothes on sale in Far East Store
Clothes on sale in Far East Store
Office wear in Far East Store
Office wear in Far East Store

The departmental store seemed to be doing quite well. The customer service corner was rather busy. An event hall was just right in front of the customer service section where some items were given deep discount of up to 80% discount.

Huge discount at event hall
Huge discount at event hall
Customer service section
Customer service section
Elegant Far East Mall
Elegant Far East Mall

We spent some time within the store and bought some stuff. Next we went to the basement level to explore. Uniqlo store was located there and we went in to do some shopping well. It seemed like the prices here were better than what we could get back home so we bought some clothes as well.

Uniqlo Store in Far East Mall
Uniqlo Store in Far East Mall
Uniqlo and food court on the basement
Uniqlo and food court on the basement

After that we went to the food court to have some desserts. It wasn’t good at all. The desserts we had at the night market in Luodong last night was very good. This desserts at the food court was rather disappointing.

Food court in the basement of Far East Mall
Food court in the basement of Far East Mall
McDonalds at the food court
McDonalds at the food court

Finally, we entered the supermarket to do more shopping. This supermarket was quite sizeable. They had clothes, shoes, household products and of course fruits and food. Even branded shoes like Adidas, New Balance and Nike could be found in the supermarket. Not to be mistaken was the Adidas look-alike but instead of having three stripes, those shoes had four which were actually another brand. The supermarket also had a big bakery which was convenient for us to stock up on food items.

Entrance of supermarket
Entrance of supermarket
Bakery in the supermarket
Bakery in the supermarket
Bakery in the supermarket with wide selection of bread
Bakery in the supermarket with wide selection of bread
Bakery in the supermarket
Bakery in the supermarket
Inside supermarket of Far East Mall
Inside supermarket of Far East Mall
Nice and tidy supermarket
Nice and tidy supermarket
Drinks section in supermarket
Drinks section in supermarket
Fruits section in supermarket
Fruits section in supermarket

We bought some packet papaya milk shakes that were on offer as well as some bread for snacks and breakfast. We bought some cut fruits as well. Having had enough shopping, we went back to Cullinan Hotel next door across the small road. Cullinan Hotel was really convenient and we were glad we chose to stay here especially with the free train station pick up service.

Front entrance of Cullinan Hotel
Front entrance of Cullinan Hotel


Cullinan Hotel shuttle service
Cullinan Hotel shuttle service

It was around 3.30 pm and it was still bright and hot out door so it was time to rest a while and catch up with the children back home via whatsapp using the hotel’s excellent wifi. Stretching out on bed watching TV and snacking with the food we bought from the supermarket kept us occupied till dinner time.

When the sky grew dark, it was time for us to venture out again. It was barely 6 pm and Hualien City was already quite dark. We planned to visit Zhiqiang Night Market and have dinner over there.

We got direction from front desk and walked back towards Far East Shopping Mall. From there we walked further down along Heping Road towards the flyover but we could not walk on the road. We had to walk below the flyover and then climbed a flight of stairs back up to the road. It was rather dark underneath the flyover though we didn’t feel unsafe at all.

Main entrance of Far East Shopping Mall at night
Main entrance of Far East Shopping Mall at night

Once back on the road, we kept walking until we saw more lights and some guest houses. Zhiqiang Night Market was there on the right at the traffic junction. It was a good 25 minutes walk. By the time we walked into the night market, it started to rain lightly. The night market wasn’t as crowded yet so we looked for a food stall to have our dinner.

Outside Zhiqiang night market
Outside Zhiqiang night market
Fruit juice stall at night market
Fruit juice stall at night market
Zhiqiang Night market early evening
Zhiqiang Night market early evening
Food stalls at night market
Food stalls at night market
Food stalls at night market
Food stalls at night market

We found one stall where most tables were already taken. We had to squeeze into a corner table near the main road where the owner let down huge plastic covers to shelter us from the rain. It seemed like the soup noodles were quite popular. We ordered fried rice and fried noodles with beef to start our meal.

Busy restaurant for dinner
Busy restaurant for dinner

Our food came not long after and so we got our dinner started. The food tasted fine but not fantastic. After a quick meal, we left the stall as many others were already queuing outside.

Simple dinner with fried rice and noodles
Simple dinner with fried rice and noodles

It was still drizzling as we explored the night market. This night market was so much smaller than the night market in Luodong. This place was mainly for food and some amusement and not on clothing and other stuff which was less exciting.

Night market with plenty of food stalls
Night market with plenty of food stalls
Night market getting crowded
Night market getting crowded
Another fresh fruit juice stall
Another fresh fruit juice stall

The stall selling barbeque stuff was doing roaring business with long queue of customers. They would have to select the items they wished to have and then collect a number. The wait would be at least an hour long with numbers flashing on an electronic sign board on the top corner of the stall. We won’t have the patience nor the desire to waste time that way in a night market.

Meat stall at night market
Meat stall at night market
BBQ stall at night market
BBQ stall at night market
Popular BBQ stall at night market with queue counter
Popular BBQ stall at night market with queue counter

One of the fruit juice stall was also attracting huge snaking crowd of customers queuing patiently in the rain. We didn’t buy our fruit juice from this stall. We just bought some mixed fruit juice from another stall. It was interesting to watch the locals enjoying their night out at a night market though.

Long queue for papaya milk shake and fruit juice
Long queue for papaya milk shake and fruit juice

Another stall selling bean curd in the shape of a coffin also had a huge following. We tasted this dish in Tainan some years back but didn’t wish to join the crowd, especially not in the rain just to try out this food item again.

Long queue for coffin bean curd
Long queue for coffin bean curd

There was a store selling pizza that was done on the spot in a big oven. Of course, fresh seafood stalls and restaurants serving hotpot dinner were available as well.

Pizza baked on the spot
Pizza baked on the spot
Seafood stall in the night marlet
Seafood stall in the night marlet


Another seafood stall in the night marlet
Another seafood stall in the night marlet

There were also the usual street food of fried stuff and grilled sausages too where we bought some to eat as we walked around. In the middle of the night market were some amusement shops to keep some night market goers occupied while waiting for their food.

Amusement centre in the night market
Amusement centre in the night market
Amusement centre in the night market
Amusement centre in the night market
More food stall at the night market
More food stall at the night market
Hotpot restaurant in the night market
Hotpot restaurant in the night market
Another eating place for dinner at the night market
Another eating place for dinner at the night market
Another popular food outlet at the night market
Another popular food outlet at the night market

Having had enough of this night market atmosphere, we decided to head back to Cullinan Hotel. We walked back to the main road and hailed a taxi. It was a simple ride where the taxi made a left turn and drove straight over the flyover then passing Far East Shopping Mall on the right and then turned right and we were back to our hotel. The taxi fare was NT125 and the ride was under ten minutes whereas we walked 25 minutes earlier to the night market.

Cullinan hotel front desk at night
Cullinan hotel front desk at night
Cullinan Hotel lobby
Cullinan Hotel lobby
Hotel lift lobby at night
Hotel lift lobby at night

It was not even 8 pm when we reached the hotel so we didn’t spend a lot of time at Zhiqiang Night Market being a much smaller night market mainly for food. We were glad to be back to rest in our hotel to watch TV and chat with the children again.

We had a good day though there weren’t much activities on this day other than shopping in a modern mall near our hotel in which we were glad. This night market experience wasn’t much to shout about so we were rather happy to be back to our spacious room in Cullinan Hotel early to enjoy the room and indulged in some creature comfort snacking and enjoying those packets papaya milk shakes we bought from the supermarket in the afternoon. We nearly forgot we bought cut fruits from the supermarket this afternoon where we left in the fridge. So we had fruits and drinks and snacks again after our night market outing.


Finally, it was bed time and we were going to have a very long day the next day with whale watching in the morning and visiting attractions south of Hualien in the afternoon. A good night rest would be necessary for a complete enjoyment of the day activities planned for the next day.

Continue to Day 3

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

Jetstar launched yet another irresistible offer too good to miss in April. So we booked air tickets to Taipei for November with a 20 kg check in luggage on our return leg that cost only $261.32 for my wife and myself. We had 8 nights to stay in Taiwan and we decided to spend some time in Jiaosi, Hualien, Taipei and Taichung.

Our flight details were as follows:

Singapore to Taipei 0115 to 0600
Taipei to Singapore 2015 to 0055 next day

We also booked our hotels early mainly from Agoda.com to enjoy lower hotel rates. We planned to spend the first night in Jiaosi and the next two nights in Hualien. After that we would return to Taipei to stay three nights followed by another two nights in Taichung before returning to Taoyuan Airport for our departure flight back to Singapore.

Our itineraries were as follows:

Day 1 (Jiaosi)
Arrive Taoyuan Airport at 6 am and take a bus to Taipei main train station.
Take a bus to Jiaosi and leave our bags with the hotel – Host On Exquisite Hotel (S$100.60 with breakfast)
Explore Jiaosi for lunch.
Travel to Yilan City to explore.
Return to check in to hotel.
Enjoy hot spring bath in hotel room.
Proceed to Luodong for night market and dinner.
Return to hotel to rest.

Day 2 (Hualien)
Take train from Jiaosi to Hualien.
Check in to hotel – Cullinan Hotel (S$160.55 for two nights)
Explore Hualien City.
Visit night market for dinner.

Day 3 (Hualien)
Take day tour to Toroko Gorge or elsewhere to be arranged with hotel.
Go whale watching.
Shopping in the city.
Visit night market.



Day 4 (Taipei)
Take train back to Taipei.
Check in to hotel at XimendingGreen World Hotel Zhonghua (S$181.43 for two nights with breakfast)
Explore Ximending for meals and shopping.

Day 5 (Taipei)
Take bus to visit Yeh Liu Geo Park.
Visit hot spring area in Xin Beitou.
Go to Tamsui for dinner at the old street and do some shopping.
Return to Ximending for more shopping.

Day 6 (Taipei)
Check out from Green World Hotel Zhonghua.
Walk over to New Stay Inn opposite bus terminal near main train station and leave bags with the hotel.
Cost for one night (S$87.64)
Take MRT train to visit Taipei Zoo.
Take gondola up to visit Maokong Station for lunch.
Return to main train station and check in to hotel in the afternoon.
Explore Taipei and do last minute shopping.

Day 7 (Taichung)
Take bus to Taichung.
Check in to hotel – 52 Hotel (S$191.37 for two nights)
Lunch at Sogo Shopping Mall near hotel.
Explore Taichung City.
Visit the famous Feng Cha night market.

Day 8 (Taichung)
Explore Taichung City near railway station area.
Visit Yichung Shopping Street
More shopping in the city.

Day 9 (Taichung -Taoyuan)
Last minute shopping in Taichung City.
Lunch at Sogo Shopping Mall near hotel.
After lunch, take bus back to Taoyuan Airport for departure flight to Singapore at night.
Alight at airport hotel (Novotel Hotel) for dinner before departure.
Take flight back to Singapore.

Day 1 Singapore to Taoyuan onward to Taipei to Jiaosi

Seven months came quickly. Our usual stop was at Terminal 3 for a late supper before flight to Taipei. The fish ball noodles were good to keep us going through the night during flight. We also brought along buns in case we needed a bite when we arrived in Taipei early morning.

It was an uneventful flight as we were not disturbed during sleep through the flight. We touched down at Taoyuan Airport at 5.45 am. We went straight to the immigration counter for clearance and within 30 minutes we were out of the secured area of the airport.

Duty Free Shop in Taoyuan Airport
Duty Free Shop in Taoyuan Airport
Telecom companies inside Taoyuan Airport
Telecom companies inside Taoyuan Airport
Immigration counters at Taoyuan Airport
Immigration counters at Taoyuan Airport
Taoyuan Airport arrival hall
Taoyuan Airport arrival hall
Shop inside Taoyuan Airport
Shop inside Taoyuan Airport
Taoyuan Airport arrival hall
Taoyuan Airport arrival hall

Next we bought two Easy cards and top up NT500 each at the convenience store on the basement level as we approached the bus bay area. We then went up to the Kuo Kuang Bus counter and bought two bus tickets to Taipei main train station. The bus line was 1819 and cost per ticket was NT125. Buses were waiting outside the building heading to various destinations.

Covenience Store at Taoyuan Airport near Bus Bay
Covenience Store at Taoyuan Airport near Bus Bay

By the time we arrived at the bus bay for line 1819, the bus just left with a full load of passengers. Anyway, another bus pulled in and we boarded this bus. In about 15 minutes, the bus left the airport.

Public Bus Bay Area
Public Bus Bay Area
Bus 1819 to Taipei Main Train Station
Bus 1819 to Taipei Main Train Station
Bus Bay for Bus 1819 to Taipei Main Train Station
Bus Bay for Bus 1819 to Taipei Main Train Station
Bus tickets to Taipei Main Train Station
Bus tickets to Taipei Main Train Station

Soon, we were near Taipei City but road traffic was still very light so early in the morning. We finally arrived Taipei main train station just before 8 am taking less than an hour for the whole journey.

It was a bright and cheerful morning in Taipei and what a way to begin our holiday in Taiwan! We took a few pictures as we walked towards Q-Square, the blue glass building, across the road to catch our onward bus ride to Jiaosi.

Q-Square across the road at Taipei Main Train Station
Q-Square across the road at Taipei Main Train Station
Old Train on display outside Taipei Main Train Station
Old Train on display outside Taipei Main Train Station


Recycle Art Piece at Taipei Train Station
Recycle Art Piece at Taipei Train Station
Underpass to Q-Square
Underpass to Q-Square

We went up to level 4 and approached the counter for Kamalan Bus and bought two tickets to Jiaosi. The bus to Jiaosi was line 1915 and cost NT104 for a ticket. In about 20 minutes, the bus arrived and we boarded the bus. There were only five passengers including ourselves.

Kamalan Bus Counter at Q-Square Level 4
Kamalan Bus Counter at Q-Square Level 4
Kamalan Bus entrance and exit
Kamalan Bus entrance and exit
Bus tickets to Jiaosi
Bus tickets to Jiaosi

The bus was big, nice and clean. A bus attendant came up to remind us to buckle up and she wished us a safe ride and a pleasant day, bowed and then left the bus. The service of this bus company was really good.

Spacious and clean Kamalan bus
Spacious and clean Kamalan bus
Nice and comfortable Bus to Jiaosi
Nice and comfortable Bus to Jiaosi

The bus left and we were soon on the busy roads in Taipei City. The bus stopped in town and picked up a load of passengers, mainly elderly people who seemed to be out on an excursion. The bus was now nearly full and we moved on out of Taipei City. Along the way, we saw the unmistakable Taipei 101 towering above all other buildings in the city.

Taipei 101 view from moving bus
Taipei 101 view from moving bus
Cute chimney view from bus on the way to Jiaosi
Cute chimney view from bus on the way to Jiaosi

After slightly over an hour, we arrived at Jiaosi Bus Terminal at 9.45 am. It was still bright and sunny over in Jiaosi but we expected rain in this high rainfall region. As we traveled light, we just carried our bags and walked further down the road towards the train station. In about 10 minutes, after passing the Jiaosi Hot Spring Park on a hill on the right, we reached Host On Exquisite Hotel.

Jiaosi Bus Terminal
Jiaosi Bus Terminal
Jiaosi Town
Jiaosi Town

It was still too early to check in so we left our bags with the hotel. Check in time was 3.30 pm. We took the opportunity to use the toilet and change before we left the hotel to explore the city.

Jiaosi Town
Jiaosi Town

As we didn’t really have a good breakfast where we ate only a bun at Taoyuan Airport before we bought the bus to Taipei main train station, we asked the hotel owner for information on Jiaosi and Yilan City nearby. We were recommended to try the noodles and rice at a shop near the train station.

Without wasting more time, we turned right from the hotel, crossed the road and turned left at the traffic junction and went in the direction of the train station. The hotel had given us a town map so it was easy to navigate the streets here in Jiaosi. Indeed further down the street after a junction, we found the shop on the right.

Jiaosi Town on the way to Jiaosi Train Station
Jiaosi Town on the way to Jiaosi Train Station


Jiaosi Town near Train Station
Jiaosi Town near Train Station

The ladies at the shop were actually setting up and getting ready to begin business for the day and we were told to take our seats and wait a while. We waited less than ten minutes and were able to place our order. We ordered a rice set and a bowl of noodles.

Nice shop for lunch near train station
Nice shop for lunch near train station

Within five minutes we were served our food. The rice set came with a bowl of rice with minced pork, a bowl of meat and a plate of fried vegetable roll. My noodle was starchy soup with meat. We wasted no time to tuck in our first meal in Taiwan and the food tasted great. It was a really good recommendation from our hotel owner. The total cost was NT140, less than S$6, a treat indeed and we would not be able to get this kind of quality food at such prices in a hawker centre back home.

Lunch Menu
Lunch Menu
Delicious lunch in Jiaosi
Delicious lunch in Jiaosi

Really satisfied after our early lunch, we walked on down to Jiaosi Train Station just minutes walk away where we could see from outside this shop. It was only 11.30 am and the first thing we did was to head to the ticket counter to enquire about train tickets to Hualien for the next day. We bought two tickets at NT155 each where we would take the local train line 4144 at 9.25 am arriving Hualien at 11.40 am.

Jiaosi Train Station
Jiaosi Train Station
View from Jiaosi Train Station
View from Jiaosi Train Station
Outside Jiaosi Train Station
Outside Jiaosi Train Station

We wanted to purchase train tickets from Hualien back to Taipei for our return leg but all tickets were sold out. A marathon would be held in two days’ time so a lot of people would be returning to Taipei the day after the marathon. So we would ask our hotel to help with transport arrangement once we reached Hualien.




Ticket Counter inside Jiaosi Train Station
Ticket Counter inside Jiaosi Train Station
Train tickets to Hualien for the next day
Train tickets to Hualien for the next day

We saw some herbal tea on offer at the convenience store in the train station. So we bought two bottles at only NT30. We then went to the platform to wait for the train to Yilan where we would explore before coming back to check in to our hotel. We used our Easy cards for the first time and tapped on the machine to get into train station waiting platform.

View from Jiaosi train station platform
View from Jiaosi train station platform
Jiaosi Train Station Platform
Jiaosi Train Station Platform
Jioasi Train Station Platform area
Jioasi Train Station Platform area

Soon, a train pulled up and stopped. We were waiting at the end of the platform. Once we boarded the train, we were surprised to find the train cabin decorated with bear arts and symbols. In fact, there was a big black toy bear occupying a seat in the cabin. It was a nice novelty indeed.

Approaching train to Yilan
Approaching train to Yilan
Special train with bear markings
Special train with bear markings
Bear deco inside train cabin
Bear deco inside train cabin


Bear inside train cabin
Bear inside train cabin

A little girl was dragging her mother to sit next to the black bear and had pictures taken. This train ride was really interesting and enjoyable. It certainly brought joy to us tourists and brightened our day on this sunny day.

Yilan was just two stations away. In about ten minutes we arrived Yilan just before noon. We exited the station and admired the art pieces outside the station. Yilan train station was painted like a safari with a tall giraffe looking out at visitors outside the station. Quite a lot of people were taking pictures outside this train station.

Outside Yilan Train Station
Outside Yilan Train Station
Yilan Train Station view from across the road
Yilan Train Station view from across the road

After taking a few pictures, we crossed the road over to the park. It was a quiet day even as we walked further ahead towards the fire station. More art pieces were there and another park was nearby. As it was noon time, the park seemed deserted. Perhaps early morning or later in the evening we might find people enjoying the park doing exercises here.

Park in front of Yilan Train Station
Park in front of Yilan Train Station
Park in front of Yilan Train Station
Park in front of Yilan Train Station
Quiet park near Yilan Train Station
Quiet park near Yilan Train Station
Arts in park in front of Yilan Train Station
Arts in park in front of Yilan Train Station
Yilan Fire Station
Yilan Fire Station
Yilan Fire Bureau
Yilan Fire Bureau
Art piece near Yilan Fire Station
Art piece near Yilan Fire Station
Ary piece outside Yilan Fire Bureau
Ary piece outside Yilan Fire Bureau
Another park in Yilan not far from train station
Another park in Yilan not far from train station
Quiet park in Yilan during noon
Quiet park in Yilan during noon
Quiet day in Yilan City
Quiet day in Yilan City
Primary School in Yilan City
Primary School in Yilan City

We walked on towards town and reached some streets where fruits and meats were sold. This place looked like a market place but activities were already winding down even as we walked through the streets. There was a nice church building nearby this market area. A kindergarten was housed inside the church where kids were having a good time.

KFC in Yilan City
KFC in Yilan City
Street selling fruits in Yilan
Street selling fruits in Yilan
Vegetables store in Yilan
Vegetables store in Yilan
Busy street in market area in Yilan
Busy street in market area in Yilan
Another fruits store in Yilan
Another fruits store in Yilan
A store selling fish in Yilan
A store selling fish in Yilan
Shops and food stall in Yilan
Shops and food stall in Yilan
Shopping mall in Yilan City
Shopping mall in Yilan City
Nice church building in Yilan
Nice church building in Yilan


Kindergarten operating inside church compound
Kindergarten operating inside church compound

We roamed around the city for a little while and decided to return to Jiaosi to explore the hot spring area before checking into our hotel. We spent only less than an hour and a half at Yilan as there was nothing much to do here. We boarded the train at Yilan train station and by 1.30 pm, we were back in Jiaosi.

The early lunch we had earlier was so good we decided to have another go at the shop. This time we just ordered a rice set and shared the meal. It was still as good and we like the fried vegetable roll and the meat in starchy gravy.

It began to drizzle as we left the shop. Instead of turning right at the main road to walk back to our hotel, we walked up hill to explore Jiaosi town. There was a stream flowing down along the way which made a very pleasant stroll. Jiaosi was a little hilly and we were getting tired as made our way around town.

Slight drizzle in Jiaosi
Slight drizzle in Jiaosi
Small stream in Jiaosi town
Small stream in Jiaosi town
Small stream in Jiaosi town
Small stream in Jiaosi town

We managed to find the hot spring park in the town square managed by No 9 Hotel. Foot and shoulder massages were available as well. There was a café there with plenty of sitting area at the park which was very nice.

Hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Cafe at hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Cafe at hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Nice ambience of hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Nice ambience of hot spring park in Jiaosi town square

There were many other shops and hotels where private hot spring baths were available in Jiaosi. There were also restaurants in town as well as shops selling local produce. The roads were not very busy in Jiaosi.

Hotel next to hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Hotel next to hot spring park in Jiaosi town square
Quiet Jiaosi town in the afternoon
Quiet Jiaosi town in the afternoon

When it was nearer to 3 pm, we decided to walk back to Host On Exquisite Hotel to check in. By the time we arrived at the hotel, we were dead tired, especially after an overnight flight where sleep wasn’t that good on a plane. My wife decided to soak her tired feet in the shallow hot spring bath outside the hotel. The hot spring water was clear and clean. This tub was filled with running hot spring water. She really enjoyed this foot bath as we waited to check into our room.

Finally, the lady owner gave us the key to our room. We brought our bags and walked up to the third floor. This hotel doesn’t have lifts so for those with heavy bags, it would be better to request for a room on the lower floors.

When we opened the door to our room, what greeted us was a very small room. There wasn’t much space to move about in the room with the bed occupying much of the floor area. The cupboard was just a shelf on a corner with a few hangers provided hanging over a rod.

Small bedroom
Small bedroom

There was a small table with an electric kettle. A basket with snacks and two bottles of water as well as two cup noodles were complimentary. A TV was in front of the bed with mostly local Chinese channels and wifi also worked.

Table with kettle and food
Table with kettle and food
TV in front of bed
TV in front of bed

The main attraction of this hotel was the hot spring bath in the bathroom. There was a TV in the bathroom where we could watch TV while soaking in the hot spring bath. The bath was of good size and more than sufficient for two persons. There were three taps where we could select between cold, hot or mixed hot spring water.

TV inside bathroom with hot spring bath
TV inside bathroom with hot spring bath


Hot spring bath in bathroom
Hot spring bath in bathroom

The shower was located in front of the toilet bowl without much space for a proper shower and the toilet bowl would be wet after taking a shower. Of course the whole toilet would be wet after the hot spring dip and shower so the design of this set up wasn’t very ideal.

So without spending too much time figuring out about the TV programs, we set up the hot spring bath and enjoyed our dip. This was what we came for where we could enjoy some hot spring bath in the comfort of our own room.

We paid more by booking a double classic room and found the room very small. Those who booked a lower category room might find the experience less than satisfactory. In fact, this was the most expensive hotel we booked for the whole Taiwan tour. The hot spring bath did command a premium but for the room size we got, it didn’t match up to expectation.

We took our rest in the room after the hot spring bath. Our bodies felt smoother and were less tired. However, we were still perspiring after the bath as a result of the heat from the hot spring water. We were really feeling the effect after the bath.

I also quickly sent an email to Cullinan Hotel to arrange for a pick up at Hualien Train Station. I provided the train number as well as the train departure and arrival time so that there would not be any miscommunication.

It was getting dark outside but it was not even 6 pm. We thought it would be better to head to Luodong earlier for dinner and visit the night market. So we left Host On Exquisite Hotel and went back to Jiaosi Train Station.

Night view of the shop we had lunch during the day
Night view of the shop we had lunch during the day

It was just 5.30 pm when we reached Jiaosi Train Station. We tapped our Easy cards and went to the platform and soon we were on the train on our way to Luodong City. The train was crowded during peak hours. Students were heading home in school uniforms. We didn’t have a chance to ride the special tourist train with bear deco again.

Luodong Station was just five stations away and we exited Luodong Station before 6 pm. A lot of people were loitering at the train station. We approached a student to ask for direction to the night market. We were told to walk straight ahead from the train station and after the second traffic junction take a left turn and we would soon find the famous Luodong Night Market.

In front of Luodong Train Station
In front of Luodong Train Station
Luodong Train Station
Luodong Train Station

So we followed his direction and while walking along, he came along and walked with us to show us the way. By the time we turn left towards the night market, he went on his way. Taiwanese people are really nice and friendly and even helpful. It was a great experience for us so far during this first day of our Taiwan tour.

Luodong City at night
Luodong City at night

As we walked on, we came to the light and sound of the night market. The streets stalls were brightly lighted up and crowds of people were coming in with many students also present perhaps to buy dinner home or just hanging out. The night was cool and the ambience was just right for an evening outing.

Clothes stores at Luodong night market
Clothes stores at Luodong night market
Clothes stores at Luodong night market
Clothes stores at Luodong night market

There were many shops selling clothes, bags and souvenirs as well as umbrellas. We bought an umbrella from an old couple at one of the stalls. Umbrellas in Taiwan were supposed to be strong to be able to withstand strong winds so we bought one to stand by for our holiday.

Umbrellas store at Luodong night market
Umbrellas store at Luodong night market
Food stores at Luodong night market
Food stores at Luodong night market

We walked to the streets where stalls were selling food and drinks. It was rather crowded with locals and curious tourists looking at food available and queuing up to buy food. We likewise joined the crowd and bought some fried buns in the shape of a ball filled with minced meats. We also bought papaya milk shakes and fruit juice.

Fried minced meat buns
Fried minced meat buns
Store selling fried minced meat buns
Store selling fried minced meat buns


Fried minced meat buns
Fried minced meat buns
Fried minced meat buns
Fried minced meat buns

So we walked and ate our dinner enjoying the atmosphere in the night market. We had been planning for such an event and we were finally here soaking in the experience of Taiwanese night market.

More food stores at Luodong night market
More food stores at Luodong night market
Busy food street with crowd of people
Busy food street with crowd of people
Food stores doing roaring business
Food stores doing roaring business
Restaurant at Luodong night market
Restaurant at Luodong night market
Crowded street at Luodong night market
Crowded street at Luodong night market
Busy food street at Luodong night market
Busy food street at Luodong night market
Smelly bean curd store
Smelly bean curd store

The fried meat balls were not easy to eat. It was so hot and the skin so chewy and we had to be careful not to burn our mouth. We went on to buy minced meat pancakes as well which seemed to taste better and a little easier to bite and eat while walking on the crowded streets.

Store selling pancake with meat
Store selling pancake with meat
Pancake with meat
Pancake with meat
Food stores at Luodong night market
Food stores at Luodong night market
Store selling fish at Luodong night market
Store selling fish at Luodong night market

There was a street of food stalls where tables and chairs were available for those who wish to order food and eat there but we didn’t wish to join the long queue of diners out there. So we walked on and enjoyed the evening looking at what might be good to buy and bring home. We didn’t have anything in particular to buy so we ended empty handed during this night market tour other than buying an umbrella. Anyway, this was our first night and we had many other days and nights to shop in Taiwan so there was no hurry at all. Anyway, we bought a big bottle of water from Watson to bring back to our hotel.

Smelly bean curd store
Smelly bean curd store
Another food store at Luodong night market
Another food store at Luodong night market
Crowded street at Luodong night market
Crowded street at Luodong night market

We had emptied our fruit juice and papaya milk shake so we went into a desserts shop for some desserts. This was a good idea as we were already a little tired. The desserts didn’t cost as much compare to Hong Kong and were very good and tasty. So we watched people coming and going on the streets while enjoying our cooling sweet desserts.

Nice desserts shop at Luodong night market
Nice desserts shop at Luodong night market
Nice desserts shop at Luodong night market
Nice desserts shop at Luodong night market

After that we joined in the crowd again on the streets. We were still holding on to plastic bags from the food and drinks we bought earlier and it wasn’t easy to find rubbish bins in Taiwan. We walked into a park with a musical fountain display and found rubbish bins to empty our trash. We spent a little while with those people there enjoying the music and watched the water fountains dancing to the tune of the music.

Pretty musical fountain in a park
Pretty musical fountain in a park
Nice musical fountain show in a park
Nice musical fountain show in a park
Nice musical fountain in a park
Nice musical fountain in a park


Enjoyable time with musical fountain in a park
Enjoyable time with musical fountain in a park
Relaxing in a park enjoying music and light show
Relaxing in a park enjoying music and light show

We then went back on to the streets and walked our way back to Luodong Train Station. The station here was rather busy with shops and cafes in the station as well as with crowds of people mingling around waiting for train. A bus station is also behind the train station where buses are available for those who wish to take a bus ride back to Taipei City.

It was after 8 pm when we waited for our train back to Jiaosi. The train came and soon we were back to Jiaosi after five stations. This time the train wasn’t crowded at all. It was 8.45 pm when we exited Jiaosi Station. Jiaosi was quite pretty at night. We enjoyed a slow walk back to Host On Exquisite Hotel less than ten minutes walk away.

Jiaosi Train Station at night
Jiaosi Train Station at night
Front of Host On Exquisite Hotel
Front of Host On Exquisite Hotel

It was good to be back in our hotel room even though it was small. Since it was not too late, we had another quick dip of hot spring water before bed time. Next of course was to stretch out on bed to relax and watch TV. It was also time to catch up with the children back home to exchange information and share experiences.

Cullinan Hotel had also replied and confirmed our hotel pick up at Hualien Train Station for the next day. So all was good and we were ready for our next destination.

As the night grew on, we soon unconsciously found ourselves signing off after a long and tiring day. More fun would be coming our way as we proceed with our itineraries to Hualien the following day.


Continue to Day 2