Last 3 days in Taipei

Aloha everyone!

Am down to my second last post of my Taiwan adventure. Decided to squeeze my last three days here since the last two days in Taipei was just about all the eating and the last minute shopping! SO HERE WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Itinerary for Day 11:

1. Brunch at Modern Toilet Restaurant

2. Jiufen

3. Shifen // Kong Ming Lantern

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Modern Toilet Restaurant

 Nearest train station: Ximen Station (Blue Line)

Address: 2樓, No. 50巷7, Xiníng South Rd, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan

Opening hours:
Monday-Friday (1130am – 10pm)
Saturday & Sunday (11am – 10pm)
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Modern Toilet Restaurant is prolly one of the more popular theme-restaurant in Taiwan, which is located conveniently at Ximending (which is where we are staying! YAY). We decided to check out this popular restaurant since we had ran out of idea of what to eat in Taiwan. Laughs. And as it was a Sunday, and we were intending to cover Jiufen (again) and Shifen, we decided to have an early lunch aka Brunch before we head for the attractions!

“It all started when one of us was reading the manga, Dr. Slump on the toilet – and the rest is history. In the beginning, we mainly sold ice cream – a big pile of chocolate ice cream sold in containers shaped like a squat toilet. This humorous spin became a great success.After much planning from all of our partners, we finally took the first step towards realizing our dreams in May 2004 with the launch of the Marton Restaurant.” -An extract from http://www.moderntoilet.com.tw/en/about.asp

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The nicely decorated place and friendly staffs warmly welcomed us to the restaurant, and we were also the first few to reach as we wanted to avoid the lunch crowd. The restaurant really stick closely to its theme, where we were seated on toilet bowl lookalike chairs, and we had our food served with cute toilet bowl looking plate and bowl!

The food was affordable, and it had a pretty big portion, with each set meal (which includes soup, drinks and icecream) costing us about NTD$180 to NTD$250 (S$8 – S$12). We each were presented with a cute softie icecream (which was shaped like a dung. hahahaha) to end our meal! But do not expect too much from it, I felt the food was pretty mediocre. For the affordable price and the innovative theme of the restaurant, it was still worth the visit.

Onto our first attraction for the day, Jiufen! We were there previously, but it was pouring and all, so we decided to visit te place again! But this time, we made a mistake by visiting this famous attraction on a Sunday. We did not have a choice since it was the last two days we have in Taiwan, so we still headed for it. The only consoling part is that it was a BRIGHT (very bright) AND SUNNY SUNDAY, it’s been a long while since we were basked under the hot sun, the last time was prolly the time when we were in Kaohsiung. Laughs.

Jiufen / Jioufen (九份)

Nearest train station: Ruifang Station

From Ruifang take the Keelung Transit bus from the bus stops in front of the train station to Jiufen. Be sure to line up across the road to go to Jiufen and Jinguashi. The bus trip is roughly 15 minutes.

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Had this yummy Dorayaki with icecream! It was really yummy, and it was puuuuurfect for the scorching hot day! And since it was a bright and sunny day, we were able to see the beautiful and scenic view of Jiufen.

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Breathtaking view from the peak of Jiufen! Jiufen has an old street that led us to ‘the peak’ of Jiufen. We walked passed Jiufen old street, braving the insane crowd to witness this beautiful scene.

This is the reason why I like and would love to travel, being able to see things that we don’t have at home. It really made we realised how minute and small we actually are, the world out there has so, so, so much more for us to explore and look at.

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Hello you, panorama, it’s been a while! laughs.

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Photos below were taken from Jo’s Olympus Pen! The photos are all really pretty, it fully captured the beauty of Jiufen.

We took a while to admire the beautiful Jiufen before heading for our next attraction for the day, Shifen! However, it took us a while to get from Jiufen to Ruifeng train station, since it was a Sunday. When we reached the bus stop, the queue for the bus was already 20 metres from the bus stop! So we waited for about 30-40 minutes before we could even get on the bus to the train station.

Shifen/Shihfen (十分)

Nearest train station: Shifen Station

From Ruifang station, you will have to purchase a ticket to Shifen Station, it took us about 20-30 minutes to reach the place! Unlike the normal train (MRT) the we take in Taipei, this train is a traditional (choo choo) train which travel at a slower speed, hence taking us a while to reach Shifen. 

This is the next best and affordable alternative to travel to Shifen from Jiufen or from anywhere else. You can easily get a cab to send you over, but it will prolly cost you like so much more, and it just won’t feel the same. Laughs

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Other than being another famous tourist attraction, the reason we were at Shifen was because we want to experience lighting of a Kong Ming Lantern also known as Sky Lantern or Tian Deng (天燈).

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” Sky lanterns, also known as Kongming Lantern or Chinese lanterns, are small hot air balloons made of paper, with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended. They can be viewed as airborne versions of the paper lanterns that are traditionally associated with some East Asian cultures. In Asia and elsewhere, sky lanterns were typically made and launched for play or as part of festivities.”

This was used traditionally as a spy blimp for Chinese Military, which was invented by the famous strategist Zhugeliang. But today, we used it for penning down our well wishes, hoping by lighting it and sending it up to the sky, our wishes written will be fulfilled (Hahaha. It’s prolly a myth or a belief, but we were just doing what all tourists do when they are in Taiwan. Teeheeeee).

When we were there, almost all the shops along the both sides of the railway track has this Kong Ming Lantern service. And from what I saw, they are pretty experienced with this. Once we decided on the color of the lantern (with each color represents different things you’re wishing for), we were given brushes to pen down whatever we want to write on the lantern. You can choose between the single colored lantern (NTD$100 or S$4.50) or the four colored lantern (NTD$150 or S$6.50).

We chose the multi-colored lantern and started writing down our well wishes! Except for Jo, we all had problems writing whatever we want to say in Chinese…..

What a joke! laughs. We were frantically checking the words on our phone! I wanted to write it in English, but Shuwen was saying it’s supposed to be a ‘Chinese tradition’, so it should be written in Chinese. Laughs.

And when we were done, they immediately asked for our camera and brought us to the railway track to pose for the photos. They clearly know what to take, and directed us to pose and all with our lantern. They are that experienced. I bet they do this at least 50 times a day or something, how fun can their job get? Laughs

Good bye Kong Ming Lantern! Please bless us accordingly, thank you!

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Such a cute train right? It’s the traditonal choo choo train!

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Headed back to Ximending after our interesting experience at Shifen. Found out they actually have a famous Shifen Waterfall, but we didn’t manage to catch a glimpse of it as when we were at Shifen, the sun have already set (again), so for those who are visiting Shifen, you can also check out Shifen Waterfall!

Had dinner at a HK Cha Chan Ting near our hotel, did a little shopping, had my daily dosage of Mister Donut (HEHE) and headed back to our comfy hotel! We were all ready for our shopping spree the next day, since it’s our last full day in Taiwan! WOOTS.

Itinerary on Day 12:

1. SHOPPING AT XIMENDING

2. Brunch at Donmomo // Ximending

3. Dinner at Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot // Ximending

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And yes, it was raining on our last full day in Taipei! Boohooooooo. Thankfully, it was a day of shopping at Ximending, so we slept in till the rain subside. Had our lunch at the nearby Yoshinoya look alike place at Ximending. The name of the shop I remember was Donmomo, but I googled, and nothing came out from the search.

Do try to check out this place if you’re at Ximending! It’s Yoshinoya-equivalent, with a Taiwan twist. They sell donburi with a wide range of side dishes (from Tofu to Bamboo shoot. YUMS). I remembered it was reasonably priced at about NTD $100-150  (S$4.50-6.50) per set, which included two sides of your choice. It tasted pretty good, and I feel it was nicer than the Yoshinoya we have at home. Laughs. The portion was really big too, and I couldn’t finished my don!

After lunch, the guys parted from us so we could SHOP ON OUR OWN (YIPPEEEE). They were also shopping, but they headed for elsewhere! Ximending is place where you can find anything and everything. We shopped quite a bit despite the rain, as we were well equipped with our umbrella! After what it felt like forever of shopping, Shuwen and I decided to take a break and rest our poor feet.

Headed for the famous Fong Da Coffee for our break. It’s actually situated really near our hotel, we passed by this place every morning, and it was always packed with people. From the outside, the place definitely do not look that appealing to us, it had a very traditional coffee house outlook, unlike the  pretty cafes we see all around. However, the aromatic smell of the coffee was the reason why we were there!

Fong Da Coffee

Nearest train station: Ximen Station (Blue line)

No. 42, ChengDou Road, | Wanhua District, Taipei, Taiwan

The coffee was indeed really good. They roast their coffee beans in the shop itself, and you can smell the rich aroma of the coffee when you enter the shop. They are also famous for their traditional biscuits! So do check the place out if you’re in Ximending!

For more information, you can check out the tripavisor reviews on the place: http://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Restaurant_Review-g293913-d3246714-Reviews-Fong_Da_Coffee-Taipei.html

Met the guys at about 7 pm for dinner! We always have a problem with food, so we took a while and finally decided on the place for our final dinner in Taipei and in Taiwan. Googled and found out they have this really famous hotpot place in Ximending which is widely raved by the locals and tourists. It was still raining after a whole day of shopping and we were all starving and cold (what a combination! laughs), so we decided to have Tian Wai Tian Mala Hotpot for dinner!

Tian Wai Tian Mala Steamboat 天外天精緻火鍋

Nearest tran station: Ximen Station (Blue line)

Address: 台北市昆明街76號2樓, No. 76, 2nd floor, Kūnmíng St, Wanhua District)

Website:http://www.tianwaitian.com.tw/

Walking Directions: Ximen MRT Station, Exit 6.

Opening Hours: 11am to 4am daily

Prices: Lunch 11am to 4 pm TWD$419, Dinner 4pm to 4am TWD$479.

Despite it being only a 2-hour mala hotpot buffet, we were still in for a treat! They have a wide spread of meat, seafood and other hotpot ingredients. And they also serve free-flow Taiwan beer, Haagen Daz and Movenpick ice cream, and a wide range of cakes and fruits! We paid about NTD $520 (S$25) after service charge , and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. We ate till our fill and having hotpot on a cold and chilly day was just a perfect way to end our night at Taiwan.

P.S. I highly recommend all to visit this place if you’re in Ximending and/or craving for hotpot, THIS IS THE PLACE TO GO 🙂 You will not regret! Oh yes, the place is usually pretty crowded, we were there on a Monday night, and we still had to wait for about 30-40 minutes, so do visit to place earlier!

This marks the end of our final night in Taipei, Taiwan. Woah, I can’t believed 12 days passed that quickly. But am so glad I went on the trip with my fellow comrades, they are the one that made the trip possible and they are the one that made the trip memorable. A BIG THANK YOU TO SHUWEN, JOSEPH AND YONGYI. Xie xie ni men for gracing my travelogue too! I will prolly have a final post on Taiwan next week with all my reflection and all.

Day 13

Shuwen and I bidding farewell to the Amazing Taiwan one last time!!!

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Time for home sweet home! The 15kg return flight baggage was insufficient for me, and I had to buy additional of 20kg worth of baggage. laughs. It was pretty troublesome as I realised this when I was in Taiwan, the Taiwan Scoot hotline was not so user friendly, and had to asked my brother to help me contact Singapore Scoot instead. Am sooooooooooooooooo grateful for FaceTime and Wifi! Without this technology, I would not have bought my additional luggage, and would have to prolly spend a lot more on excess luggage. Laughs.

It was a bittersweet feeling to leave Taiwan, but I had an enjoyable time there and I know it was time to head home. Will continue on my reflections on my final post next week! Stay tune for that 🙂

Till then!

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