Friday, June 28, 2013

Travelogue: Taiwan Trip on 27 December 2012 to 1 January 2013 - Day 1, First day.

It's been almost half a year since I went to Taiwan last year in 2012 for Christmas and the New Year. I was contemplating for sometime before I decided to blog about my trip.

Firstly, this is a family trip with 20 people together. I was on a guided tour for 4 days out of the 6 days. This was my 2nd trip to Taiwan. (First was in 2011 also in December) I had a official tour guide accompanied by my "god aunt" from Taiwan and her friend. So we were travelling with 3 locals for our entire trip. Our tour was slightly different because it wasn't by any Singapore agency, it was purely a Taiwan internal trip itinerary. (Which means it's from Taiwan's tour agency) 

Here's the itinerary in full Chinese. Do note that due to overcrowding of certain tourist attraction and time constraint, some places were swooped and improvised.

This is the simplified itinerary based on where we went omitting those we didn't. I hope I didn't get the addresses wrong. A gentle reminder that we had chartered bus from Day 1 till 5 hence explains the places that we were able to cover. Should you be planning your own trip without tour bus, do take note to include your travelling time and cost.

I will be posting separately from Day 1 till Day 5&6 a total of 5 post. There's just too much pictures so I can't combine like how I did for my Bangkok post. (If you haven't read it, here's the link) It's really a long post and I hope to give as much information as I can. Hence bear with me for the wall of text and spam of pictures.

A little disclaimer, I really love Taiwan as for my both trips the service I experienced, the food and the scenery had been awesome. I hope I'd be heading there again soon enough to share with you more experiences. Everything that is here is solely based on my personal opinion and views (maybe a little elements from my relatives). It might differ from yours but I'm just sharing my views.

Since the post would be broken up into 5 post, I will also post each day's itinerary on the top of each post to show you where I went for the entire day.

I hope these posts would help you in your planning of places to go in Taiwan.

Day 1, 27 December 2012

We took China Eastern (China Airlines) to Taiwan this time round. The previous year in 2011 when we went Taiwan for the first time, we took Tiger Airways and I swear, I'd never take Tiger Airways again, ever. Not only the seats are uncomfortable, the service was shitty and the list goes on. Any budget airlines besides Tiger Airways.

Here's a shot of me, my cousin Pei Lin and my 2nd aunt. 

Their movies were pretty updated and I re-watch pitch perfect on board. (If I never remember wrongly)

So here's how the seats look. I had a little space extra for my height (I'm 1.6m) and my cousins who were slightly taller like 1.75m/1.8m was comfortable too. Just my brother was a little cramp, as usual. (His about close to 1.9m)

A picture of my mom before we take off. :)

About 4hours plus, we're here in Taoyuan International Airport! In 2011 it was renovating, so now it's almost done though some shops are still under renovation.

We had to queue up for damn long to get our passport stamped, moved on to collect out luggages and then gather again to board our tour bus. (There were 20 of us so everything was multiplied by 20.)

Once you get out of the arrival hall, you will see a corner on your right that you can find like 5-6 stores of mobile stores for you to get your simcard there. By far the best network coverage should be 台湾大哥大 (Taiwan Da Ge Da). I got mine for another brand which I can't recall, it's NT350 for 7 days unlimited data network without calling value. If you ask me, I think it's a steal. So grab yours before you leave the airport! All you need to do is to pass them your phone and they will do everything for you. Super awesome!

As mentioned, we were on a guided tour and so we had a chartered bus! Afterall 20 people is a crowd and it would be tough to travel by public transport.

Here's our bus! The lady in the blue jacket is my god aunt in Taiwan! She's was our unofficial tour guide during our first family trip and again this year she'd be bringing us around together with another official tour guide. Anything I need in Taiwan I will look for her cause she has solution to almost everything. Hehehe. 

Our bus is chartered from Hsin Chu, which is where my god aunt's home town is. 

So here's the bus bay where tour buses are parked. Coincidentally, it's the 18th! :)

The bus was really cool. It has at least 5 small TV and 1 big one infront. At least 5 microphones to go around for you to have a KTV session on the go. Super comfortable seats too!

Since there was only 20 of us, we each seat on 1 seat. 

By the time we reach, it was close to evening so day 1 was actually free and easy and more relaxed comparing to the rest of the days. Practically living my life out of a suitcase kinda feeling. Waking up every morning at 6am and only sleeping at 12midnight is really no joke. But we wanted to cover more places so that's the sacrifice you've gotta make. And so, most of the time while we were there we'd always be sleeping on the bus rides.

The beginning of the ride I was busy whatsapping and napping. So the pictures taken are close to about evening after 1-2 hours ride to Hsin Chu from Tao Yuan International Airport.

As our itinerary for this trip didn't have dinners included, all of the nights are to be settled in the night markets while we shop and eat. Which is the Taiwan style. We hardly went any restaurants, maybe just once or twice. So my god aunt called for pre-order of bento sets for us to share before we head to our hotel. This is the place we got the bentos from and we just had to park at the side and go in to collect, as simple as that. 

And we moved on with our journey to our hotel for the night.

This is our hotel for the night. It was located at a corner that the big buses can't get it, so we had to trolley our own luggages in from the main road. Looks kinda simple but you'd be amazed with the rooms later on. This is a drive thru hotel concept. Basically you drive your car to the reception desk, grab your keys and drive up to your room, park your car inside and the shutter closes. And that's your hotel room!

This hotel is called, Wego Hotel 薇閣精品旅館. You can find out the rates and availability from the link here. I really love this hotel, later on you'd know why.

While waiting for the registration of the hotel rooms etc, we made use of the time to take pictures!

This is the drive through passage actually.

Before I move on to show the rooms, remember I mentioned the awesome bentos that my god aunt ordered for us? I have no idea how much it cost cause she paid for them all, didn't get to ask her either. In any case, below is the picture of it, and I swear it was damn awesome.

Here's my fatty brother and mom. We shared 1 bento cause we wanted to save some stomach space for the night market later on!

Just in case you're wondering why my mom is wrapped up like a dumpling that's cause it was pretty cold in Taiwan. The lowest we encountered was about 8 degrees in Taipei.

So after munching our bentos and putting my luggages in their holding room, we walked towards Hsin Chu night market! It was about 10-15 minutes walk though.

Here's the company for my trip!

Here's a blurry picture of me!

The chicken looks abit scary with the legs like that. :/

This was something like "ting ting tang" that we have in Singapore. This was good, really good. With some peanut. :p Nothing goes wrong with peanut!

I can't remember what's this, but I reckon it's some chicken bits?

Pancakes! Not too bad but nothing fantastic.

This is the chocolate filling one I had.

Saw that shoe store? FREAKING CHEAP AND THE WEDGES WERE DAMN AWESOME. My biggest regret was only getting 2 pairs there. I got a wedge like, 190NT? Sooooobs, I need to go back there again. (I couldn't bear making 19 people wait for me to shop, so I just took 2 and told them the size and went off with it. Oh and I'm a size 39, I took 245. Some 240 would fit too.)

Before I knew it, they had already left and it was just me, mom and brother. So brother knew the place because he has been there before, he told the rest to go ahead first while we will catch up with them later.

While walking, I snapped some pictures of Hsin Chu. Enjoy!

*points at my mother* hahahhahahhahahaha

Look at the crazy amount of motorbikes! And have a lane just for Motorbikes on the roads too.

And finally here we are, at the Hsin Chu night market. It's pretty small but just right for the variety of snacks they provide. It's a good start for the first day. The next few days we can't even walk finish!

It was slightly drizzling for the first day when we were there.

After buying our food, it's time to head back to our hotel. But before that, we stopped by this shop to grab bubble tea! According to my brother it's really good and true enough, it is! :)

This is the shop! (with my favourite meowwwww)

Now back to the hotel, we have a total of 10 different rooms and all the rooms are actually in different theme and designs. Some rooms even come with KTV set! All of them would have the jacuzzi for 2 and a huge ass bed. I will let the pictures do the talking.

This is one of the rooms that we gathered together to distribute our hotel keys.

All rooms comes with this for couples to use.

This is how big the room is, there's like 20 of us roaming inside.

Mr Vain caught.

This is the room that doesn't have a door. And the bed, is a water bed. Freaking awesome! But it would not be cool if me and my mom got this room cause it's just awkward.

Below are the pictures of our room!

Seriously, this is like the biggest bed ever.

The toilet is bigger then the size of my room.

I totally love this.

Things for him to use.

Things for her to use. Even with contact lenses casing and solution! How convenient! 

And my room comes with the KTV set! (Pardon the one shoe hanging there)

Later on we spent the night KTV-ing in one of my cousin's room and munching on all the snacks we bought which was too much for us.

We ended the night pretty early because tomorrow would be the start of a hectic schedule.


This is just the part one of my 5 post for Taiwan. Keep coming back for more! :)