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Friday, January 12, 2007

welcome to taiwan

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 10:50 PM Y

花蓮 :: hualien

i received many queries on hualien. i had added more info on home stay (民宿) and tour guide (導游).

what you can expect from home stay? usually the owner will ferry you to/from train station. but be noted that the cost do not include tour guide and food (except breakfast for some).
below are some of the 民宿 and tour guides i got from the forums:

Y 石头的家


Y 好望角海夜景民宿

Y 花蓮南濱觀海民宿

Y more 花蓮民宿.....

charges for tour guide usually based on per head count. a day tour for 2 pax is approx. NT$1800-2000 and 4 pax is approx. NT$2500. the price v
ary depends on individual tour guide

Ms Vivian Zheng (freelance tour guide)
Mobile: (886) 0937 832178
Tel: (886)-03-8346580

Mr Lu Lai-fu (cabby cum tour guide)
Mobile: (886) 0928-569081

Mr Zhuang (cabby cum tour guide)
Mobile: (886) 0932-142590

Mr Liu Wen-hua (cabby cum tour guide)
Mobile: (886) 0919-281878

Mr Chen Guang-fa (cabby cum tour guide)
Mobile: (886) 0937-167779
Tel: (886)-03-8611353
Tel: (886)-03-8566895

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 10:42 PM Y

tour guide @ hualien

i hired Vivian Zheng as my tour guide during my last taiwan trip. she charged NT$2500 for 4 of us.

before the trip call her from singapore to check her availability and price. you may let her know which are the places you want to visit, but if you've no idea where to visit than let her plan the itinerary for you.

call her after you've bought your train ticket and give her the arrival & departure time. on the actual day she'll pick you up from the train station with her "not-so-new-but-acceptable-condition" saloon car (max 1-adult in front and 3-adults at the back).

usual places to visit in hualien are Taroko 太魯閣, 七星潭, 七星柴魚博物館, 南濱觀光夜市 and hualien city. she'll jagar the time for you so that you won't be late for the return train. she than sent us back to the station to take train back to taipei.

sidetrack a bit, vivian has stayed in singapore many years ago for more than 10 years. she was a singer than in some chinese restaurants, she even sang in getai (歌台) before. she knows singapore very well and can even speaks some singlish :)

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 10:41 PM Y

hotel booking

popular budget hotels among singaporeans are rainbow, tashun and wonstar that are conveniently located near 西門町 mrt station. others are flowers, keyman and cityinn near 台北车站 mrt station.

to make reservation at the above budget hotels, call them from singapore to make the booking. but be noted that usually no confirmation will be given from them after confirmed booking; no fax or email. it's a common practice for taiwan budget hotels so if you're not comfortable with it, call them to re-confirm again when the date is near.

i stayed at cityinn (新驛旅店) and my 5-nights twin-sharing accommodation without breakfast cost me only approx. S$330 (divided by two and each paid only S$115 ^.^ ) but they might have adjusted their price now so please check their website.

i am very satisfied with the hotel and would recommend it to everyone. reasons are

(01) 1-min walking distance to 台北车站 mrt station

(02) 3-mins walking distance to taipei train station and taipei bus terminal

(03) a relatively new hotel that open for business in september 2006

(04) reasonable price and value for money

(05) rooms are clean with no funny smell and no crawlies running around

(07) facilities such as LCD TV, kettle and hairdryer are provided

(08) every room comes with tea, coffee, 2-bottle mineral water, biscuits and "condom"; they are all free and hotel replenishes them daily

(09) the toilet is nice and clean that comes with tooth brush, tooth paste, razor, comb, soup, shampoo, shower gel and shower cap

(10) surrounded with many shopping centres such as Taipei Underground Shopping Mall, K Mall, 新光三越, 後車站 etc

(11) many breakfast shops around such as 永和豆浆, 美而美, western bakery shop etc

but be noted that the hotel don't provide breakfast, but since there are many breakfast shops around so no worry ^.^

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 10:21 AM Y

hot spring @ 新北投

we have our hot spring at asia pacific resort (亞太溫泉館).

on the actual day we took mrt to 新北投 to take their free shuttle bus; come out from mrt card exit, turn left and walk 5-steps down you'll see their signboard. they've pick-up point at both 北投 and 新北投 station but different pick-up time.

we booked the open air private room (露天個人湯屋), 1hr/2 pax for NT$1,250. i've wrong weather forecast for that day as it was a hot hot day and it's not a good idea to have outdoor hot spring on a hot day.

how is hot spring? while try it for yourself ^.^

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 10:20 AM Y

how to call taiwan

Call SIN to TaiwanCall Locally in Taiwan
(without the '0')
(with the '0')
Local Line001-886-2-8346580
(without the '0')
(with the '0')

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 10:01 AM Y

electricity & voltage

singapore voltage: 230 V / 50 Hz
taiwan voltage: 190 V / 60 Hz

we can use most of the electronic appliances in taiwan if the appliance indicate 110v-240v. but if the appliance indicate only 240v than it can’t be used in taiwan

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 9:00 AM Y

currency exchange rate

recommended money changer (always the longest queue & best rates)
people's corner money changer
11 collyer quay
#02-07 the arcade
singapore 049317
tel : 6223 3040

updated exchange rates:

Oct 2004 : NT$1 = S$20.05
Oct 2005 : NT$1 = S$20.70
Nov 2006 : NT$1 = S$20.89
Apr 2007 : NT$1 = S$21.64

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 8:00 AM Y

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I M>I>S>S my home

touch down in singapore, I Y M>I>S>S Y my home, my bed, my family but not my work ::::: who does ???

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:58 PM Y

sixth day @ taiwan

our last day @ taipei. we went to 永和豆漿 again for breakfast. not that the food are nice but just dunno wat to eat

after breakfast we went to 西門町 for last minute shopping. we found this swing restaurant"逗魚泡沫紅茶". it's deco is special that you don't find in singapore. it has an ocean theme with wooden plank swing seats attached to the roof using thick ropes. i ordered their tea set; a drink plus a cake.

we walked over to Yuan Ling Street (沅陵街) aka Shoe Street, it's a 10 mins walk from 西門町. there are quite a few shoe shops selling at reasonable cheap price (compared to 西門町) but limited varieties as most shops selling similar design of shoes. go unless have extra time if not just give it a miss.

walked back to 西門町, randomly choosen 樂や燒烤 (next to Rainbow Hotel) for charcoal bbq cum steamboat buffet at NT$438 including tax. lots of varieties :: beef, pork, mutton, vegetables, mochi, sweet potato, mushroom etc. after the meal you got more than 20 favors of ice cream to choose from: haagen-dazs, meiji and movenpick. very worth the money!

after the sinful lunch, we rush back to hotel pick-up our luggage and rush to take free go bus which fetch us from Flower Hotel, 1-min walking distance from city inn (note: must call free go in advance for the arrangement) . we reached airport before 5pm and after check-in, we had our dinner at burger king. take note that the airport has very few restaurants, unlike changi airport.

airport >> home sweet home H

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:00 PM Y

Monday, November 20, 2006

fifth day @ taiwan

we went to HuaLien (花蓮) via 6:45 am train (自强号). reached 花蓮 at 9:37 am. note that train ticket must be bought in advance as they sold out fast, especially travel on Fri, Sat and Sun. buy return ticket together and get additional 20% discount. you may "tabao" food and eat inside the train, but of course you must try their famous 鐵路便當.

those who watch 吳宗憲's 十字路口 will know what is 鐵路便當. a box sold at NT$50, inside got rice with 一塊排骨、一個鹵蛋、一片火腿 and 高麗菜. taste wise average (YYY), 不錯吃喔 (taiwanese like to use 喔 at the end of their sentense, sama our lah and lor)

our tour guide Vivian Zheng fetch us from the train station and drove us around 花蓮. we first stop at Taroko (太魯閣), it's famous for its marble gorge. tour around太魯閣著名東西橫貫公路牌樓, 燕子口、靳珩公園、慈母橋, 地藏菩薩佛寺, 九曲洞步道, 長春祠 and we had our lunch at 天祥. warning: do not have any expectation on the food at 天祥, sucks million times >.<

next we proceed to 七星潭, the most beautiful beach at 花蓮. windy breeze, salty air and sprinkling brine. it wasn't very crowded as is winter now but could see few people fishing. followed is a 5 mins drive to Katuo Fish Museum (七星柴魚博物館), previously a Katuo Factory. we bought alot of katuo fish biscuits and tibits.

we reached Hualien City at about 5pm and went to eat 姜母鸭, 排骨面, 曾記麻薯 and 烤地瓜. Vivian charged us NT$2500 for 4 pax. the total hours she guided us was about 10 hours which i think very very worth it. Vivian stays in Singapore for more than 10 years thus she's very familiar with Singapore.

we took 7:30pm train and reached taipei at 10:25pm. mentally very much wanted to go Shilin Market for my favorites 紅油抄手 but physically i'm too tired to go anywhere, sleep like pig ~~~oink ~~~ oink ~~~ oink ~~~

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:55 PM Y

Sunday, November 19, 2006

fourth day @ taiwan

we took a cab from hotel to Ding Tai Feng (鼎泰豐) cost NT$95 which is less than S$5. reached there in the morning around 9:15am and there were no queue. for those who plan to go during peak hours can call to reserve (recommended). it's usually long queue during lunch especially famous amongh Japanese tourists.

we tried their 小龙包 (YYYY), 小龙汤包 (YYYY), 烧卖 (Y), 虾绞 (Y), 炸排骨 (YYY), 牛肉面 (YY) and 陽春面 (YY). FYI 小龙汤包 only available during Sat & Sun from 9-10 am (dun ask me why, i don't know!!!). 小龙汤包 is the smaller version of 小龙包 and eat with a bowl of soup serve seperately. do not bother to try the 烧卖 and 虾绞 cause basically same skin (皮) and incredient (馅) as 小龙包 but additional prawn inside, so taste very similar to 小龙包. the total costs of the meal is about NT$1400 for 4 pax. not very expensive rite

after the mal we walked to the nearest MRT station 忠孝新生站. the distance was quite far, took us about 25-mins to walk there. but since we're so full we doesn't mind the walk which help to digest

proceed to Xi Men Ding (西門町). took MRT from 忠孝新生站 to 西門站, follow the sign and exit at 西门徒步区. the things there are generally more expensive than 五分舖 but can bargain, nevertheless it's still expensive after discount. same as 五分舖 they're selling winter cloths now so nothing much to buy, just 2 pairs of shoes which cost less than S$20 each.

we tried the famous 阿宗麵線 (Y), 鴨肉扁 (Y) and 老天祿滷味 (YYY). 阿宗麵線 must eat with chilli if not tastless. 鴨肉扁 the meat very hard, don't like it at all and beats me why so popular. not bad thou for 老天祿滷味, tried the 鸭翅膀 and 鸡腿 but dare not try 鸭舌 cause it looks very disgusting, dare not put inside the mouth ;p

last for the day we went to Taipei 101. we took MRT to 市政府站 and walked 15 mins to reach the icon of Taipei. on the way you'll pass by 新光三越, New York New York and VIESHOW (威秀影城), upscale & prime shopping mall with famed international and local luxury brands. took some pictures and had dinner at the basement food court. after dinner took the free shuttle bus back to 市政府站.

reached Tapiei MRT Station while on our way back to hotel we passed by 新光三越 and went to their basement supermarket. saw the cake on display looks very tasty. "tabao" the cake back to hotel, indeed it's very nice!!

that's all for the day >>>>>>>> my legs can't take the walk anymore ~~~ argh ~~ argh ~~~

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:55 PM Y

Saturday, November 18, 2006

third day @ taiwan

had our breakfast @ 永和豆漿. a traditional taiwaness breakfast restaurant. tried the 蛋餅, 燒餅油條, 豆漿, 鍋貼, 咖啡 and 奶茶. food on par with 美而美; equally oily @.@

next is the most anticipated Hot Spring at Asia Pacific Resort (亞太溫泉館). we booked the open air private room (露天個人湯屋), 1hr/2 pax for NT$1,250. free shuttle bus to and from Beitou and New Beitou MRT station, we took the earliest bus at 10 am. most of the hot spring resorts provide free shuttle service. if you don't know which resort to go, just hop into 1 of the bus outside and try your luck :)

the resort was very quiet, i believed we're the first and only batch of customers! maybe because today is a hot day??

the water was sooooooo hot, i kept pouring tap water into the pool to cool it but of course no use lah hahaha! after soaked for 15 mins, i quit as i really can't take the heat anymore. all 4 of us felt very tired after the hot spring so i guess it's normal?

we proceed to Danshui (淡水) via MRT from 北投站 to 淡水站, less than 15 mins distance. tried their famous 阿给 (Y), 鱼圆 (Y), 鱼酥 (YYY), 铁蛋 (Y), 麻薯(YYY). we didn't go to Fisherman’s Wharf (漁人碼頭) cause the day still early, can't wait till the light up at 6 pm.

next stop is WuFenPu (五分舖). we took MRT from 淡水站 to 後山埤站. all shops selling winter cloths now, so for those who really like shopping will be disappointed. i only managed to get a pant at NT$380 after few hours of shopping ~~arghhhh~~ i read from internet there is this famous 胡須張魯肉飯 inside the 五分舖 but can't seems to find it, too bad i miss it :(

we walked across the road and the bridge to Rou He Night Market (繞河夜市), about 15 mins distance. tried their famous 胡椒饼 (Y) after 20 mins' queue. OMG it was so disappointed, it look so delicous but taste only pepper!!!

we wanted to try the 藥燉排骨, 豬腳麵線, 米粉湯 etc but it started to rain heavily. so we just pop into 1 of the restaurant and ate the 魯肉飯. as usual, taiwan's 魯肉飯 has never failed me ^.^

we went back to hotel by train from 松山火車站 to Taipei. The 松山火車站 is just few mins walking distance from Rou He Night Market.

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:55 PM Y

Friday, November 17, 2006

second day @ taiwan

breakfast at 美而美, few steps away from the hotel. ate the 肉松蛋餅, 蘿蔔糕, 燒餅油條, 豆漿, 綠豆沙牛奶, 咖啡奶茶. they serve the drinks with straw regardless hot or cold beverage. the 蘿蔔糕 not bad, 肉松蛋餅 average but the 油條 too oily. i drank the cold 豆漿 which is very nice as they don't add ice, instead they freeze it and serve with original taste, bagus Y it

after breakfast we walk to the Far East Tone shop to purchase a prepaid card at NT$399. each passport entitle to buy 1 card. the shop open at 11 am; most of the shops in taipei open at 11 am except the eatery shops.

headed to Jiufen (九份), we took the train to Ruifang Station (瑞芳火車站). once came out from Ruifang Staion, cross the road to the opposite bus stop and take Keelong Bus (基隆客運) to Jiufeng, cost NT$35 if i didn't remember wrongly :p BTW not all Keelong Bus goes towards Jiufen direction. better check with the driver before boarding.
we tried the famous 九份芋圆 and 番薯圆, kind of taste like our "bobo chacha". also we ate the 综合鱼圆, 魯肉飯, 牛肉面, 冰豆花, 紅豆冰, 臭豆腐, 黑糖糕 etc. i don't like their 鱼圆, very hard, unlike our fish ball QQ de. quite disappointed with their 牛肉面, not as good as i expected. other than the food, you can find souvenirs but not at a cheap price. also there are quite a few tea house around, never get to try their tea but from the menu it's not cheap either.

after Jiufen proceed to Keelung Night Market (基隆廟口夜市). i took the Keelong Bus (基隆客運) from Jiufen and it took me about an hour to reach there. my advise: don't eat too full if you're taking the bus from Jiufen to Keelong. i felt like throwing out through out the whole journey. i would recommend taking train instead as it is faster and also more comfortable.

Keelung Night Market has nothing much to offer IMO. i tried the 油饭 (YYY), 炸螃蟹 (YY), 旗魚飯 (YY), 面线羹 (Y) but only the 油饭 was nice, the rest so so. i absolutely think can give Keelung Night Market a miss.

after Keelung we went to Shilin Market again. we took the train from 基隆火車站 back to 台北火車站. this time round spent all our times shopping. it's very crowded on friday nite, most shops open until 2am on Fri & Sat.

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:55 PM Y

Thursday, November 16, 2006

first day @ taiwan

arrived Taoyuan Airport at 6:40 pm, proceed to City Inn Hotel via Free Go Bus ( 飛狗巴士 ) cost NT$135. the driver dropped us outside Taipei Train Station which is opposite 新光三越, crossed the road and walked less than 1 min to City Inn Hotel.

highly recommend City Inn Hotel ( 新驛旅店) to those going taipei. they're extending 50% discount promotion until end of this year. the location is very good, 5 mins walking distance to Taipei MRT and Taipei Train Station. surrounded with so many breakfast shops (永和豆浆, 美而美 etc) and shopping area such as Taipei Underground Shopping Mall, K Mall, 新光三越, 後車站 etc. as the hotel was newly opened in Oct, everything are new :big LCD tv, 100+ channels, hair dryer, shampoo, shower cream, toothbrush, shower cab, shaver, slipper, kettle, mineral water, coffee, tea, biscuits etc. i paid total NT$7020/S$336 for 5 nights twin sharing without breakfast.

on our way to Shilin Night market, we bought the MRT top-up card (similar to our ez-link card) as it's cheaper to travel around using the card. each trip will entitle you 20% discount. it costs NT$500 include NT$400 value plus NT$100 refundable deposit. unused value can be refunded at any counter.

at Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) we makan 红油抄手 (YYYYY), 豪大大雞排 (YYYY), 珍珠奶茶 (YYYY), 粉圓冰 (YYY), 大香腸 (YY), 棺材板 (Y), 大餅包小餅 (Y). specially highly to recommend 红油抄手, the 1st store on your right (facing the shilin market). a must try and don't miss it, i ate 2 bowls of it :p

it wasn't so crowded on the weekday. i was lucky as there were no queue for 豪大大雞排 which is usually long queue.

:::::: de mouse's footprint @ 11:55 PM Y