Day Ten: Taipei

Holla Everybody!

I still can’t believed it’s 2013. Was drafting this post and typing the year 2013 somehow seems…funny? But anyhoo, time waits for no one! Do grab every opportunity that is given to you and most importantly, make it counts 🙂 Here I am, making every moment of my life counts, and making sure I pen down as much as I can here; on this humble travelogue. Okay, enough of all this bullshit (hahaha), let’s get to Day Ten of my Taiwan adventure!!! (P.S. I’ve started on my grad trip planning, SO SO SO SO SO SO can’t wait for it. hehe)

Day Ten Itinerary

1. Dong Qu 東區 a.k.a East District Shopping area (Zhongxiao Dunhua // Zhongxiao Fuxing)

2. Lunch at Formosa Chang a.k.a Hu Xu Zhang 鬍鬚張

3. Danshui (Tamsui) Old Street 淡水老街

4. Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf 淡水漁人碼頭

5. Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

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Woke up to a chilly day once again, but it was definitely better than day nine! As seen from the itinerary, we have quite a few places to explore, so we got up early, had (my long awaited) KFC brekkie, and headed for our first destination of the day. Dong Qu was our first destination! Dong Qu is probably the ‘Orchard Road’ of Taipei, which is the stretch of shopping district with local and foreign boutique situated between Zhongxiao Dunhua and Zhongxiao Fuxing train station (Imagine how Town/Orchard Road is like, in between Orchard Station and Somerset Station, that’s how Dong Qu is like. laughs).

Dong Qu 東區

Nearest train station: Zhongxiao Fuxing or Zhongxiao Fuxing (Blue Line)

It is advisable to visit Dong Qu in the afternoon, since most shops and shopping malls only open after 12noon or so. Dong Qu is also a place where you can find a wide variety of local and oversea designers shops  (from harajuku to indie style) in the area. It is also popular among celebrities! 

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We chance upon Lomography, and headed right for it! If you’re interested, they also have a branch in Singapore, located in South Bridge Road (Chinatown). Those photos above were taken in Lomography, they have really really pretty interiors! As mentioned earlier, the shopping malls and shops only open after 1130am/12noon, so we were a tad too early! We somehow walked the entire stretch of Dong Qu (aka Orchard Road of Taipei…hahaha)

Oh yes, something really interesting happened when we were at Dong Qu! Looking back, it was actually pretty hilarious… laughs. What happened was that while we were walking along Zhongxiao Fuxing, we saw a commotion from afar. So being the kaypo inquisitive Singaporeans, we headed for the commotion (I was actually hesitant to head over, but my fellow comrades were…yeaps. laughs)! We saw the vans of the various media parked along the road, and we all thought it could be some celebrities filming or something! But it wasn’t what we thought it was, there were a couple of models standing in front of Zara, with many media reporters doing a report on something.

Zara

(photo from google)

Initially, we thought it might be a marketing gimmick/flash mob by Zara, hence the media attention. We were given some postcard by someone and we happily headed for Zara, thinking that this publicity stunt was probably done to support some Zara campaign. BUT after reading the postcard properly, Joseph told us the publicity stunt/flash mob was actually to protest against Zara (LIKE OH MY GEEEE. hahahahaha). By entering Zara in front of the protesters, we were indirectly supporting Zara in front of the media! What a jokeeeeeee. hahaha. For more info of the protest, do check out: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/local/taipei/2012/11/25/362044/Protests-against.htm and http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/news/blog/zara-are-you-listening/blog/43149/

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Oh ya, did I mentioned the cameraman caught us on film while we were viewing the commotion/standing in front of Zara! We probably had our 5 seconds of fame on Taiwan TVB or some other television channel! Laughs. After the interesting encounter, we shopped a little around Dong Qu, and decided to leave for lunch.

Had Formosa Chang for lunch! There are actually quite a few Formosa Chang in Taipei, and when we googled, there is one at Zhongxiao Dunhua/Fuxing. However, we couldn’t find the one at Zhongxiao Dunhua/Fuxing, so we headed to the one at Houshanpi instead!

Formosa Chang or Hu Xu Zhang 鬍鬚張

Nearest train station: Houshanpi Station (Blue Line)

This is also near Wufenpu! For those who are in Wufenpu, do check out this famous braised mince pork rice shop.

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The yummy mince pork rice (魯肉飯 Lu rou fan) from Hu Xu Zhang! Okay, I was the one who ate the chicken one, cause am not a fan of pork…The chicken one is good, but definitely not as good as the pork one! DO try it if you can, as the braised meat is really aromatic and yummy. They were telling me how the meat melts in your mouth, that’s how good the pork is!

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Danshui Old Street and Danshui Fisherman’s Wharf was next! This is another must-visit attraction if you’re at Taipei. I like how Taiwan has many old streets around, something we don’t have it back here at home. So I really enjoyed visiting the Old Streets in Taiwan. It wasn’t so wise to visit a tourist attraction on a Saturday, but as the past few days were raining way too heavy for us to head out, we only had the weekends to visit these places of interests. So for those who intend to visit the tourist attractions (Tamsui, Jiufen, Shifen etc) of Taipei, please try to avoid the weekends. It will be REALLY PACKED since there will be both tourists and locals, which will probably make your trip not so enjoyable.

Danshui (Tamsui) Old Street

Nearest train station: Tamsui Station (Red Line)

The trip to Tamsui was a pretty long ride, I think it took us about 45 minutes to reach Tamsui from Houshanpi! And because it was a Saturday, train was sooooooooooo packed, we couldn’t get a seat on the train. Boohoooooo

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Here we are at the beautiful Danshui (Tamsui). Spot Mister Donut right outside the train station, man I really miss Mister Donuts!!! Someone please bring it here to Singapore, pwetty pwease? laughs

Tamsui is located near the outlet of the Tamsui (Danshui) River into the Taiwan Strait. Originally home to Formosan indigenous peoples, Tamsui was next settled by the Spanish in 1629 as the town and mission of San Domingo. The Spanish were expelled by the Dutch in 1641, who built Fort Anthonio, forming what is known today as Hongmao Castle. Following the departure of the Dutch in 1661, Tamsui continued to grow, becoming the largest port in Taiwan by the 19th century. By the 20th century, accumulation of silt in the river forced most port operations to move further north to Keelung. Due to its close proximity to Taipei City, Tamsui has become a favorite destination for city dwellers to take a stroll and enjoy a coffee along the riverside. -An extract from wikitravel!

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Ain’t the place pretty? It’s a seaport equivalent, with really beautiful and scenic view. You can see from the photos that the weather was still pretty gloomy when we were there, Thankfully it stopped raining, if not we would have missed out the beautiful view!

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Awwwwwww, the two sweet bestie/bff! laughs

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Check out the beautiful Old Street! It was pretty packed when we were there (boohoo). Actually it looked a little like Chinatown of Singapore? But it’s somehow just different, you gotta experience it for you to understand what I am saying!

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Took a ferry to Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf!

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Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf 淡水漁人碼頭

Ferry Cost: NTD $100 (S$4.50) for a two way ride

Alternatively, you can take a bus from the train station. Not too sure what bus will take you to the Fisherman’s Wharf, but it is probably a longer but cheaper alternative over to the Fisherman’s Wharf!

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The mandatory tourist-ferry-shotS!

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It’s been a long while since I last used my panorama function, hello you, welcome back! hehe

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The photos from Jo’s camera! No idea what the guys were up to… For me, I was trying to capture the pretty panorama shot. Teehee!

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And here we are, after about less than 30 minutes of Ferry Ride, we were here at Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf!

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Another awesome panorama shot for the pretty place 🙂IMG_5376

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And this is the iconic Lover Bridge of Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By the time we reached, the sun was setting…so we were rushing to take as many photos as possible, before the sun sets. IT WAS FREEZING COLD when we were there on the bridge! Since it was by the shore, and it’s ‘winter’, the wind was crrrrrrrrrrazily strong. Was literally braving the wind across the bridge to the nearest 7 eleven to get some warmth. laughs. It was no doubt a good experience? Teeheeeee

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Was trying to selca in front of the iconic sign of Lover Bridge! It was pretty dark already, and since there isn’t a flash for the front camera, we were trying very hard to get as much light as we can!

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Managed to get someone to help us with the phototaking, but he was not very skilled at it. Oh well. From the photo, you can clearly see how strong the wind was! It was really really chilly, prolly at about 15 degrees or something! And we (me in particular) were not prepared for the sudden dipped in the temperature. Was freeeeeeeeezing. laughs

Left the place soon after since it was really dark, and we could barely see anything! Headed for our final destination for the day: Shilin Night Market (SAY YAY). The legendary Shilin Night Market was next, heard so so so much about it mans. It’s probably the first Taiwan attraction I heard of? Thanks to Shilin Fried Chicken! hehehe

Shilin Night Market 士林夜市

Nearest train station: Jiantan Station (Red Line)

There’s a station called Shilin Station, but we were told Jiantan Station is nearer to Shilin Night Market as compared to Shilin Station. So alighted at Jiantan instead! 

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Shilin Night Market is considered the largest night market and probably the most famous one in Taipei. It’s another must visit attraction of Taipei! But a thing to note: Please avoid going to Shilin on a Saturday, it was EXTREMELY packedddddddddddd. Man, we were squeezing like crazy there. Despite it being the biggest night market of Taipei, the breadth of the street ain’t big enough to cater to the large flow of customers, so it was really squeezy.

I think Shilin night market is probably the only night market in Taipei which have a underpass/air conditioned shops that sells the local street delicacies. They have everything famous there: Oyster omelette, oyster meesua, YY’s favorite chicken roll, Deep fried everything (chicken, squid, innards, EVERYTHING) and the list continues. laughs. The thing about air conditioned shops selling street food is that you will have the oily food smell on yourself, something I really dislike…laughs

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Had the famous pan fried soup bun aka Shui Jian Bao 水煎包! You can choose between the cabbage or the pork fillings, and it’s a must try when you’re in Shilin! It really lived up to it’s name, and it’s oh-so-delicious toooooooooooooo. Walked around and shared a couple more street food together. But the crowd was quite a turn off, boohoo to that. I will return to visit Shilin again! As it not only sells delicious street food, they actually have many boutiques around, which explains why the place is so big. Will be back on a weekday next time, to cover the street foods and the shops that I didn’t managed to try and visit. Laughs.

Day Ten down, there goes another day of my adventure in Taiwan! Will prolly be done with this adventure in another one or two more posts. So glad to be able to share my adventure here and with my dearest ones 🙂 I can’t wait to fill this place with MORE adventures of mine! Stay tune for my last two posts next weeeeeeeeeeeeek (Day Eleven: Jiufen, Shifen, Toilet Restaurant).

Adios Amigos!

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