Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#757 - Taiwan 2014 Day 1 - Diary of Taipei Hotel II / Longshan Temple (龍山寺) / Shilin Market (士林市场)

Hello anyone who is reading this now!

Sharing about my trip in Taiwan today. It's like during December 2014! Super late I know. :( I still have a few F.A.M. entries and outings plus Hong Kong trip to blog about to. Good luck to me.


So my cousin and I have been wanting to go overseas together for quite some time and we were pretty sure our moms wouldn't allow thus we "invited" them along as well. They helped in forking out a little in the travelling expenses too. ;) #killingtwobirdswonestone

Hehe. So after much meetups to plan our itinerary, the day finally arrived! We prebooked a maxicab and got to the airport early in the morning.

Took this pic for le best butt because she is a crazy Minnie Mouse lover!

Woooo transit pass. Ended up getting physical boarding passes even though I opted for mobile check-in! Because the system was down or faulty or something. And because I did online check-in, we got to skip the long queue and did a similar baggage check-in like the rest.

Waiting to board... Le cousin is a skinny bitch too lolol.
So excited! Even my pimple was also excited keke.

Sat w my LMZ for the trip because both my cousin and I wanted window seats! Haha.

One of the things I look forward to other than the plane's view is plane's food!

I love plane food!
Opted for the English breakfast version, they have congee too!

Transit at Hong Kong!

 Suaku me never go Hong Kong before (at that time) and was like "Wa their Guardian is called Mannings, must take photo!"

There wasn't much to do then as we had only 1 hour so we walked around and boarded the train soon after!

 Landed in Taiwan and I remembered the weather was really cooling! At 16degrees celsius even w the Sun shining brightly, perfect weather totally. :D

First thing when we reached was to get our SIM cards! We got ours from 台湾大哥大 if I didn't remember wrongly and it cost us NT$500! I cannot remember the data provided for us but it was a worthy deal!

 Enroute to Taipei.

My cousin shared w me this place in Singapore (link here) where you can bring your plane tickets and accommodation's receipt as proof (must have both) and exchange for gifts. It can be stuff like the EasyCard (which is similar to our Ezlink cards), or free admission tickets etc. This year one is not bad according to their website here! Remember to go collect, it's on a first come first serve basis.

Last year, we got ourselves all free one way bus ride from the airport and some tickets to 小人国!
Made good use of the free one way airport ride and headed to Taipei!

Headed to Taipei before heading to check in at our hotel near Ximending because we wanted to get tickets for Taichung! Cost about NT$770 for a trip on the High Speed Rail to there.

Dang, that's the thing with blogging late, I don't remember a lot of things. :(

The sky darkens early here. It looks like almost 7 when it's 5 plus only. And I remember that when we reached Taipei main station, the weather was really really cold! All of us took out coats and have scarves wrapped around our necks.

After getting our tickets, we trained to Ximending and after so much asking (I must say Taiwanese are really friendly and 乐于助人?! Like we were asking one and another random one just pop and fill us w all the info we need), we reached and checked in ze hotel.

I was really really relieved. My greatest fear was that we would be rejected by the hotel or something because we booked it via and everything was so easy and we were informed that there was no deposit and we'd just have to pay there in person. There was a really insecure feeling and I kept telling my cousin I hoped that we can check in the hotel safely w/o any problems, if not I cannot enjoy even though I was already in Taiwan then. Thank goodness, all went well.

We booked a room w 2 beds at Diary of Taipei Hotel II, Zhonghua Branch, which was within walking distance from Ximending station and a few minutes walk to the buzzling Ximending!

I guess one of the reasons why I was worried was because I couldn't really find reviews of the Diary of Taipei Hotel II online, I kept finding reviews for their main one. So for a moment, I was worried that it could be a scam (LOL) and that is also a scam site (it's proven to be not lolol). We even asked our friends if they have ever used it before and I even google " scam" ROFL. I guess I was a little panicky because well, it's sort of like my cousin and I being in charge of the trip and we have to bring our mums around so we or I felt responsible.

An okay-sized room w no windows.

Clean toilet! (Y)

I guess the location for this hotel is considered accessible w the MRT station within walkable distance plus the bustling Ximending is like less than 5 minutes away! The downside are that the walls are not really soundproof so you can hear the TV from your neighbours' room as well as water from the pipes if they are showering and the really soft beds. Some reviews I read online (for their main branch) included the lack of windows and Mos Burger breakfast provided as cons, which I felt was okay! So to each his own! :)

Anyway, we settled down and decided to head to Shilin Night Market for dinner! But before that, we went to the temple to pray for safety! :)

龍山寺, one of the most well known temples in Taiwan. We met nice Taiwaneses there too! This Taiwanese uncle taught us the proper way of praying, like which deity to pray to first, how many joss sticks to put.

Longshan Temple (龍山寺)
No. 211, Guangzhou St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10853
Nearest Station: 龍山寺 , Longshan Temple Station, Line 5 (Blue Line)


On the way to Shilin Night Market. Look at the huge crowd! :O

 A crowd had gathered because there was some filming going on. Spot 郭彦均/郭彦普? I can't tell their differences so I have no idea who was the one there haha.

 Food comes first! :D

The food area was at the basement which I felt was rather weird because all the oils and smells would be trapped there. :S

Initially we were all overwhelmed because there were a number of stalls, some selling similar stuff but the variety really... One is spoilt for choices.

 First order: 大肠包小肠 in 蒜味 (NT$50)
It's like sausage wrapped in 糯米! I shared this w my LMZ to save stomach's space and we love it!

 We chose this stall to have our 蚵仔煎 because it had the longest queue lolol.

 蚵仔煎 (NT$55)
Took away this to eat on the go and they separated the sauce. Hmm, I didn't particularly enjoy this. I feel that the sauce was too sweet! I prefer Singapore's salty version. :D

 臭豆腐 (NT$50)
My first and my last in this trip sadly! It was smelly but nice? I don't mind eating it again. Sadly we didn't have enough time in Taichung to head to the Fengjia Night Market to try, my friend said the ones there were really good.

肉羹汤 (NT$40)
 I cannot remember how it tasted, probably too normal to remember.

棺材板 which I didn't note down the price.
I like this because it's savoury! There's like corn bits and mushrooms inside? Very crispy and fragrant. :D

We also had bittergourd juice (NT$50 for a big cup) which was actually quite nice (I can take bittergourd) and Ai-Yu jelly drink (NT$30) which was pretty normal.

 冰糖葫芦 (NT$40)
Very sweet and rather hard, not my kind of thing, but hey, at least I can say I have tried 冰糖葫芦 in my life hahaha.

 炸鲜奶 (NT$20)
I love this too! It was served hot and then when you take a bite, you can taste the oozy milk.

And for the highly anticipated food in Shilin Night Market...


I have seen too many people sharing it online and I was determined to try it when I went Taiwan.

 We ordered the 招牌, 王子综合起士 (NT$70) and it was quite a wait as the queue was rather long. There were many Taiwaneses in the queue too, it's popular not w the tourists only!

 Some photos while we waited! It started to get cold as the night deepened.


There was a sitting area at the basement and we all gathered there for the magical moment LOL.
Tried it and it was less cheesy as I would expected it to be given how cheesy it looked. I wished it was more savoury like cheese overload kind, this was rather mild in my opinion hahaha.

The corns were nice though! I guess my expectations were raised too high by people! Oh well! But I would try it again lah, because potato and cheese and ham and corn are great together. :D

We also headed to the main streets of Shilin Market to see see look look, and le cousin got herself some shoes! I left the market empty-handed except for May's pouch hahaha.

The temperature when we left the place, 11 degrees celsius. That was unexpected! I never know Taiwan gets so cold near year end! This cold temperature was something new to me and my nose suffered in pain hahaha.

Shilin Market (士林市场)
Taiwan, 台北市士林區義信里
Nearest MRT Station: 劍潭, Jiantan Station, Line 2 (Red Line)

More entries on Taiwan soon! :)

By the way, if anyone is interested in seeing my loots/haul for Korea, I just added them to my last South Korea entry here. See you on the other side hahaha