Saturday, August 19, 2017

7D6N: Taipei 101 - Raohe - Danshui - Shilin Night Market

After 2 days out of Taipei, it was time to head to the city for the next couple of days! Day 3 started in Taichung where we stayed over at Hotel Cube for the night to explore the famous Fengjia night market 逢甲夜市. Had breakfast and got the reception to get a cab for us to HSR station to catch the next train to Taipei. Taking a cab is so much faster and not so expensive in the day. If you remember the previous day’s post, we took almost an hour on public transport to get from the bus interchange to the hotel, and cab was super expensive at night because of the predicted jam. The cab fare in the day costed us TW340 ($15), not exactly cheap but it was the fastest and convienent way to the HSR station.  
By the time we had our breakfast, checked out of the hotel and traveled to the HSR station, it was already noon.  

Similar to what i did for Day 1, i got the HSR tickets prior to the trip from KKday! High Speed Rail train is the fastest way to travel from one city to another and getting the tickets on KKday means i get to save at least 20% in terms of fare and also save time since i don’t have to queue and get the tickets over the counter like everyone else! You should totally consider KKday when traveling and they cater deals in many countries such as Japan, Korea and even New York.  
As we had some time before the next train (and the breakfast at the hotel wasn’t amazing) we decided to grab Bento sets at the station and have them on the train! These bento sets above looked so much better than the ones we had on the first day! The journey from TaiChung to Taipei took us 40 mins.
Orange Hotel 
No. 166-2, Section 1, Zhonghua Road, Wanhua District, 108 Taipei, Taiwan 

Headed straight to Ximending to drop our luggage at Orange Hotel where we will be spending the rest of the nights at. My stay at Orange Hotel was really a pleasant one. Read my review - http://www.imandystorm.com/2017/02/my-stay-at-orange-hotel-ximen.html. Once again, thank you Orange Hotel for sponsoring our stay for this Taiwan trip. If you are looking for a cool and chic place to stay in Taiwan, do checkout their official website: http://www.orangehotels.com.tw for the locations of their hotels in Taiwan.  
Wasted no time unpacking since it was already afternoon when we arrived at Taipei. We headed out to our first attraction which is the Taipei 101 where we get to go all the way up and get a bird’s eye view of the city! Going to Taipei 101 should definitely be a must visit in everyone’s itinerary when traveling to Taipei.  Directions to Taipei 101: Blue Line to Taipei City Hall Station   

Once again, i got my tickets beforehand on KKday and saved 15% of the regular ticket price. All i had to do was purchase and print the voucher before heading to Taipei and when i arrived at the place, i simply presented the voucher at the counter and skipped the regular queue! Fuss free and easy. The main highlight of Taipei 101 is the view from the 89th floor and also the elevator which brings you up in just 37 seconds.  
A photo with the mascot which is modelled after the damper. In case you don’t know, Taipei 101 is stabilized by a huge 730-tonne damper a few floors below the observation deck.  
Located at Taipei 101 building is the famous Din Tai Fung which obviously we didn’t queue because we felt it was a waste of time. I heard about the food being nicer than the ones we have in Singapore but nah, it’s not worth the time imo. The place was so noisy and crowded, basically filled with tourists.  
As the night falls, we decided to head to Raohe Night Market 饒河夜市 to have dinner! Directions to Raohe night market: Green Line to Songshan Station, exit 5. The night market is just to the right across the street next to the temple. Raohe is actually one of my favourite night market in Taipei because there is 2 systematic rows to complete walking the entire market. Just go in from one way and u-turn back and come out from the same entrance. Of course not only that but also the street food this night market has to offer!  
The famous pepper bun (胡椒餅) which contains a scary amount of spring onions. I remember the previous time i came few years back there was a long queue and there is still a long queue for this bun now! Not a fan of spring onion so i didn’t try the previous time. Well, this time we braved the rain and queued for about 20 mins. The taste is surprisingly good and definitely very comforting in such a cold weather.
Other items we tried includes the above! Grilled mochi was not bad, the mini $1 braised pork rice was as good as how i remembered it as i tried few years back but… the flame grilled beef cubes was quite disappointing. I’m not someone who usually takes beef (personal preference) and i thought this highly raved street food will not disappoint but it was just meh. Not really melt in the mouth, slightly chewy and definitely not worth the price. Oh wells… 
As the night was still young, we decided to take a train down to Danshui 淡水老街 to take a walk and see if we can find anything interesting. We haven’t exactly had dinner so we definitely had room for more food. LOL Directions to Danshui: Red line to Tamsui Station, exit turn left and walk along the waterfront.  
I haven’t been to Danshui in the night but it’s definitely more bustling compared to the day. Danshui is famous for their “iron egg” 铁蛋 which is this black flavourful quail egg. We found a porter store along the way and since it’s much cheaper in Taiwan compared to SG, we got ourselves a porter bagpack each. Hehe  
One of my favourite street food in Taiwan - Peanut muah chee! These are not available everywhere and they are usually sold on carts which means they can be anywhere. Like one day the cart can be here and the next day you returned, they are somewhere else. These muah chee are so soft and chewy, each piece coated with thin layer of peanut powder. Oh my tians, i can eat it every day. Literally.
Other food we came across includes Fried Milk and Fried Quail Eggs. I love love love eating quail eggs, and the ones in Taipei are so simple yet delicious. We typically have it boiled but in taiwan, they dropped it into these little mould and fry them, still retaining their egg shape. Most of the time you get to self service flavour it yourself by “painting” the special sauce and pepper. Then again, as much as i love quail eggs, one cannot eat too much of it. Got high cholesterol. Zzz  
Another of Danshui’s famous food item, the sponge cake (现烤蛋糕) These highly popular sponge cake are baked on the spot and comes in either the original or cheese flavour. They are so popular that you usually have to wait for the new batch to be out of the oven. Then you see the chef use their long knifes to cut them into equal pieces before packing it into boxes for sale.  
We just decided that it was still early so we headed over to Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) Directions: Red Line to Jiantan Station, exit 1. Diagonally across the street to the left to enter the night market. What an eventful first day at Taipei hor? LOL 
I will not touch so much on what we did at Shilin Night Market since everyone should be quite familiar with the place or at least heard of the place plus i think i probably mention the place again in the next few post but what always interest me in this market are…  
…the games stalls. LOL 

You will definitely not miss the game stores because the interior is always decorated with all sorts of prizes and some of the prizes are really huge and expensive (which i think can never be won unless you spend a bomb) They have different games like prawn fishing which they will barbecue it right away if you manage to catch one, air gun balloon shooting, and the famous “mahjong-bingo” game which i think is the most interesting (it makes you think that you might win but it’s seem rather impossible, LOL

That pretty much sums up my third day in Taiwan and first day in Taipei! Pretty eventful isn’t it? 3 more posts to go for my Taiwan travelogue. As you are reading this, i’m actually counting down to my Japan trip in October! I’m currently still in the midst of planning the 2 weeks itinerary (which is giving me a headache and this is the reason why i have never start planning for Japan until now :|) 

Alrighty, till the next post!