Day Two: Kaohsiung

Hello hello there, if you’ve seen my previous entry, you will prolly know this is the second time I’m typing the entire post. Boohoo. It’s just annoying to have to retype THE ENTIRE POST; I finally understand the pains of bloggers. Kudos to bloggers out there! Okay, enough of complaining and whining. Laughs. And yes, on to the second day of our adventure in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

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Disclaimer: This will be a pretty lengthy post, with tonnes of photos, an IMAGE-LOADED post. Hehe

The itinerary for the day:

1. Lotus Lake
2. Takao Railway Museum
3. Cijin Island
4. Lover Pier
5. Formosa Boulevard/Liuhe Night Market

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Had our brekkie in the hotel before setting off to our first destination of the day! To be honest, the brekkie in Taiwan ain’t the best. They usually have porridge and dishes for breakfast, which is not something I will go for early in the morning. You can’t find cereal and milk, or sausages and sunny sides up. Boohoo. The closest to milk is prolly their home cooked soya milk. BUT, their soya milk has this really funny taste to it, they apparently cook the soya milk using charcoal stove, hence the weird burnt taste; you will need an acquired taste to like it. laughs. However, our dear YY somehow enjoys the Taiwan style breakfast! The rest of us settled for bread and butter, thankfully they have something we were familiar with! laughs.

Since we had quite a bit to cover in one day, we set off pretty early! And yes, on to our first destination of the day: The Lotus Lake.

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Lotus Lake

Nearest MRT station: R16 Zuoying Station

It is advisable to take a bus at the bus stop outside the train station to the Lotus Lake. It is a 15-20 minutes ride over, which only cost you NTD$15-20 (less than S$1). You can always ask the friendly Taiwanese staffs in the train station for directions over to the Lotus Lake.

However, for us, we were more garang and decided to walk over to the Lotus Lake instead. What’s traveling without all the walking right? (We were prolly still pretty much enthusiastic since it was only day two…laughs) So we embark on our journey on foot to the  Lotus Lake. Nearly lose our way as the road signs were pretty confusing, and there wasn’t many people for us to ask directions (it was a Friday morning). Anyhoo, we still managed to find our way overrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, YAY US!

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Lotus Lake feels like a mix of Chinese Garden and Har Paw Villa we have in Singapore, with the famous pagoda, some dragon and tiger tunnels, temples, pavilions, ‘palaces’ and a pretty lake. Do not expect too much from this place, it’s a place good for those who want to visit a pretty place filled with peace and serenity. laughs.

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So here we are again, taking our mandatory touristy shot! hehe

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I used my panorama function on my phone for the first time! And I cannot deny this is one awesome function of iOS 6! It takes really really pretty photos, especially the scenery photos. Be sure your subject/object is not in motion when you’re using the panorama function, else you will end up like the photo below; Joseph has 3 arms!!!! Freaky to the max, hahahaha. #cheapthrills in this not-so-fun place. laughs

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And boys will always be boys, they managed to find some joy in the boring place, a mere NTD $10 (less than 50 cents) was sufficient to bring the two guys back to their childhood days; providing some entertainment for Shuwen and I #cheapthrills

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Here we are, at the landmark of the Lotus Lake, The Dragon and Tiger Twin Pagodas. Before entering the pagodas, you will need to go through a mini dragon tunnel. The tunnel is filled with different interesting illustrations, reminded me of the drawings in Haw Par Villa. For those who have not visited Haw Par Villa in Singapore, you can go check it out now! Since there is a circle line station at this old tourist attraction. The last time I went was prolly 10 years ago, and am amazed that the place is still around!

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Explored the place a little, but the scorching hot sun was pretty much chasing us to our next destination! laughs

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I find the photos below really cute! My fellow comrades are project mates since forever…this pretty much explains their intimate relationship. hahahaha.

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A pretty sight from the top of the pagoda!

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The ring like thing below (first photo) is actually some wishing well/ring? You will need to try a coin in to make a wish or something. And for us, we were pretty bored, so played around with it. It’s for good health, good grades, good marriage/future spouse and something about prosperity & wealth. They even have the biggest ring in the middle for overall goodness (which is equivalent to whatever said earlier) hahaha. Another #cheapthrill for the day!

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One last pretty panorama view of the Lotus Lake!!!

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The Takao Railway museum was initially not in our intended itinerary. Was supposed to visit Cijin Island once we reached Sizihwan. However, we were recommended by the train directory to visit the place, it’s a place with sights (the extinct trains) that can’t be seen in Singapore.

Takao Railway Museum

Nearest MRT station: Orange Line 01 Sizihwan Station

Address: 32 Gushan 1st Rd, Gushan District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Opening Hours: Open daily from 11:00 to 20:00, except Mondays and national holidays.

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The old Takao station was the terminal station of the Keelong-Kaohsiung railway line during the Japanese colonial period. This was the first railway station in Kaohsiung. The station was officially named an historical building in 2003. It has now been reopened as a museum.

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SUCH A PRETTY PANORAMA PHOTO RIGHTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT. Really love this function in the camera!

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Takao Railway Museum is probably a place for Taiwanese students to go for their school excursion or field trip, as we saw many students docked in their uniforms at the place, probably having some history lesson excursion.

 I love school excursion trips. How can anyone not like it when you do not have to attend lesson and you get to visit interesting places, places where you will probably not visit. Those were the younger school days, the period when you can cry and laugh freely, whenever you want. The carefree period when you are trouble-free and do not need to worry about anything. Indeed, those were the days.

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The 3 of them were all excited when they saw the bus! Their other group mates’ name seen in a foreign land: Hello Sunshine, you’re not forgotten! hehe

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We managed to catch a glimpse of Kaohsiung’s Fisherman’s Wharf, which is actually another harbor in Kaohsiung! I think there are quite a few Fisherman’s Wharf in Taiwan, with the famous one in Danshui, Taipei. There was nothing much here at the Fisherman’s Wharf here at Kaohsiung, it’s a small harbor for boats and small ships!

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Next up, we stop by at this famous ice shop for shave ice! It’s Taiwan’s equivalent of Ice Kachang. They have a wide variety of flavors available, and you can even customised your ice in accordance to the type of toppings and syrup you would like in your ice. Also, it comes with different sizes that cater to different groups/numbers of people. It ranges from 1 pax all the way to 15pax? We got ourselves the house specialty: Mix Fruits Milk Ice, a 4 pax-share and it was pretty big already. You can imagine how HUGE the 15 pax ice will prolly be!

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On to our next destination at Cijin Island! It’s a place the guys have been looking forward to go to, as they will be able to rent bicycle for the island tour.

Cijin Island

Nearest MRT station: Orange line 01 Sizihwan Station

From the train station, take exit 1, you turn left and walk straight for 5 – 8 minutes towards Gushan Ferry Pier. Afterwhich, you will need to take the ferry to Cijin Island, which will cost you NTD$15 NTD (less than S$1).

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The ferry ride was only about 5-10 minutes, and before we know it, we reached the island! And yes, the first thing we did was to find a bicycle rental shop. laughs. We managed to rent our bicycles at a pretty good price, a full day rental only cost each person NTD$100 (less than S$5). The price is the same for both single and double seater bicycle, NTD$100 for each pax. Even though the shop closes at 7pm, we were able to keep the bicycle anytime before the last ferry (about 11pm) in Cijin Island. They have a self check out service, where you can just return the bicycle and lock them in front of the shop after you are done with it!

The friendly shop keeper also gave us a bicycle route map for our Island tour. Cijin is an island with many attractions, and the bicycle is a perfect transportation for us to visit the different attractions within the island.

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A piece of advice from me: Cijin Island is a place where you can spend your entire day in, do visit it earlier (late morning or afternoon) in order for you to cover the attractions within the island. By the time we reached Cijin Island, it was already close to 4pm, where some attractions were already closing, and the night slowly sets in (Sunset at 5-530pm in winter). It was a pity as we didn’t get to see some of the interesting attractions!

But anyhoo, managed to cover some places within the island. It was really fun cycling in the island, it reminded me of my JC school trip to China, where we cycled in an island during winter, it was sunny but cold at the same time, no doubt an awesome experience!

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More of my awesome panorama photos in Cijin Island!

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Here we are again for the “We are here” shot! I realised we took quite a bit of such shots in our first few days of the trip, but the enthusiasm died down in the subsequent few days, hence the fewer shots. Laughs.

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Cijin was surprisingly a pretty huge island! From the map that was given, we didn’t thought it was a huge island, but the cycling made us realise it. We took a while to travel from one destination to another, but it was pretty much enjoyable thanks to the company! As mentioned earlier, the night sets in soon after we went for our bicycle tour. Covered a few more attractions and we were all really famished from all the cycling!

We decided to head over to the recommended seafood place for dinner! Cijin is a place that is renowned for their wide variety of fresh seafood. The place we went was “Wan San Seafood”, where they sell affordable fresh seafood! However, affordable seafood comes at a price. The restaurant is located at the western end of Cijin, and using the only mode of transport we have, we cycled all the way to the restaurant. Since it’s pretty far from the city area of the island, all their customers either drove or rode over to the place. So after what seems like forever, we managed to reach the restaurant in one piece!!!!

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And check out the spread below! We only paid NTD$700 (S$30) for all the dishes we have gotten! What’s more, it comes with free flow of rice and drinks with no additional charges. The prawn and scrambled eggs combination was the bomb!!!! I supposed this dinner was worth our grueling and long ride over…hahahaha

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Once again, we go from starve to stuffed! I know it’s not very good for our health, but this is what you do when you’re traveling; you walk, explore and eat. So that’s probably what we have been doing! After our satisfied meal, we had to head back. And yes, we were supposed to cycle ALL THE WAY BACK to where we came from. I think it was prolly because of the dinner, the journey back wasn’t as tough as the journey over! Yay us!

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Check out our happy and satisfied faces on our way back! hehe. Cijin is definitely a place to visit when you are at Kaohsiung!

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So we were supposed to head to our next destination: Love Pier. However, on our way over to the train station, we saw the famous Hao Da Da chicken cutlet! Despite being really full, we decided to give the chicken cutlet a try! How can we not try the famous chicken cutlet when we are already here in Taiwan. Had the seaweed-flavored chicken cutlet, and personally I feel the chicken cutlet was not as fantastic as I think it would be; it’s probably because I was too full from dinner, so it didn’t taste as good as it look. But YY enjoyed the chicken cutlet, check out his wide grin!

Also, the fourth picture was the name of the ice shop we patronized earlier. “Hai Zi Bin”, you will probably not need to know the name of the shop, since the crowd will probably attract you to the shop! laughs. But do check out the ice shop if you’re around at Sizihwan.

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Next up, we have the Love River/Love Pier!

Love Pier

Nearest MRT station: Orange Line 02 Yanchengpu Station

Upon reaching Yanchengpu Station, take the exit for Wufu road and walk east up Wufu Road toward the Love River, it is a 10 minutes from the train station. I advice you check with the people around for directions, as the sign outside the train station was not really accurate.

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Love River is another iconic place in Kaohsiung, another tourist attraction. It felt like the Clarke Quay we have in Singapore, minus the gmax bungy and clubs. It’s a quieter version of Clarke Quay, which has eateries, restaurants and pubs along the stretch of the river. It is a pretty place to visit at night, you can probably take a stroll along the river, and there is also a river cruise ride available at the Love River. We didn’t manage to take the ride as we wanted to head over to Liuhe Night Market after this and there wasn’t enough time for us to spare. laughs

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And finally, here we are at our last destination in Kaohsiung, the Formosa Boulevard Station and Liuhe Night Market (YAY).

Before we visit Liuhe Night market, we visited the famous Formosa Boulevard Station!

“The station is known for its “Dome of Light”, the largest glass work in the world.It was designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata.It is 30 metres in diameter and covers an area of 2,180 square metres. It is made up of 4,500 glass panels.The dome will be offered as venues for weddings.” -An extract from wikipedia

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It is probably the most unique train station in Taiwan. Prior to the trip, I was looking forward to visit the train station, as I was awed by the amazing architecture and the beautiful designs seen online. But when we reached the station, the actual station was not what I have expected, hence I was a little disappointed in it.

However, check out the awesome panorama shot that was taken using my phone, it looked amazing, on picture.  Anyhoo, do visit the station if you are around the area (to visit Liuhe Night market), as this is the only station with the most unique train station layout in Taiwan!

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Liuhe Night Market

Nearest MRT station: R10 Formosa Boulevard Station

Liuhe Night market is the second most famous night market in Kaohsiung. Unlike Ruifeng, Liuhe night market is a much smaller night market, with more street foods stalls. They specialised in seafood, probably because it is near the sea/coastal area of Kaohsiung. Since we were too full from our dinner and chicken cutlet, we only explored the night market.

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On our way back, we chance upon this interesting drink at the drink stall: White Bitter-gourd Drink! It’s a mix fresh fruit juice with white bitter-gourd. Being adventurous for the night, we decided to give it a try! They mix half the bitter-gourd (size as shown below) with some other fruits to make the drink. It tasted surprisingly good, with a slight bitter after-taste. It was said that the white bitter-gourd has many medical benefits which is good for one’s health!

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The two days stay in Kaohsiung was really enjoyable. I think we walked so much, it’s equivalent to the amount I walked in a month in Singapore (Okay, I am exaggerating, but we really walked A LOT. laugh)! We explored and visited quite a bit of interesting places, met many kind souls and also experienced the life of a Taiwanese. In Kaohsiung, the bulk of the tourists are usually from Hong Kong or China. When the locals discover we are from Singapore, they were rather surprised that we were here. We were often mistaken as tourists from Hong Kong too. laughs.

All in all, Kaohsiung is a place to visit when you’re in Taiwan! A three to four days period in Kaohsiung is sufficient for you to cover the places at a comfortable pace of your own. The end of day two marks the end of our stay here in Kaohsiung! And we bids farewell to this sunny and heartwarming place, to our next destination: Taichung. Stay tune for more of my Taiwan adventure!

Adios!

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