Saturday, 5 April 2008

Taiwan trip - 5 Apr 08

We reached the airport Terminal 1 at around 11am. Since the queue is not long, we decided to checked in our luggage first before searching for our lunch. It has been 5 yrs since I took a flight from Terminal 1 and I haven't taken flight from Terminal 2 and 3 yet. Since the launch of budget airlines, I had not been taking those full fledged airlines for a very long time.

I really feel that Changi Airport is really one of the best airport in the world after I have been to other airports. I wouldn't feel bored when waiting 2hrs for the flight as there are many shops and eateries to choose from. Our first priority is to shop for a plug converter as we couldn't found it at home but it's quite expensive in the airport. Well, I decided not to buy and try our luck to see if the hotel in Taipei will be providing or not. My sis don't want to eat sandwich nor fast food so in the end we settled for sushi. I have already ate sushi twice this week.

We quickly board the plane once we saw the last call sign on the screen. As wat i mention earlier, u wldn't feel bored inside Changi Airport. Really lots of things 2 do.... shopping... eating..... surf net.... yes... there is free foot massage machine but i didn't try.

When boarding the gates, the airport staff throw away our mineral water bottle. ><" Noe wat? My sis ask the staff tt since they throw away our bottle then how we gonna drink water? Haha.... Noe wat the staff reply? Buy onboard. Well... isn't it indirectly they ain't encouraging u 2 take budget flight? I hr without water is still fine wif me but 4 hrs!!!
Our flight - Jetstar 3K521
Can guess who is who rite? Not tt difficult...
Well, didn't took much photo today n dun intend to post any cos i feel tt i really look quite shag.. Had not have a sufficient rest for a wk n this wk surely wldn't be resting time.

Taiwan Immigration card
Although we had eaten our lunch @ the airport but i still feel hungry. Guess my metabolisim is really quite high. Hence I ordered shrimp fried rice as i had not ate fried rice for quite a long time. Wow... cost a whopping $8. So ex.... n yet the rice is so hard. My sis ordered Kim Chi cup noodle. But i got sick of eating cup noodles, had been eating for 2 times this wk. Poor thing rite? We oso ordered a bottle of mineral water. It cost bloody $3 for 300ml. Such a small bottle n yet so ex.

Shrimp fried rice costing whopping S$8 - My sis Kim Chi cup noodle

As the plane is not full, there is an empty seat beside me hence i make use of it by occupying 2 seats. Was really v tired... Think i slp for abt 1/2 hr. Anyway i'm not the only one doing this as there are oso other passengers occupying more than 1 seat loh.
The plane landed @ Taoyuan Internation Airport @ 5.40pm. The flight tooks 4 hr 20min. So far tt's the longest flight i've ever taken. Haha.... B.t.w the airport was previously known as Chiang Kiak Sek airport but bcos of politics the current govt renamed it to Taoyuan International airport. Well, I doubt such thing will happen in Singapore rite?
We were among the first who alighted from the plane as we sat at @ row 3. By the time we clear the immigration counter n reach the baggage conveyor belt, our luggages were not out yet. Waited for abt 15-20 min before we collected all our luggage. Once we reached the arrival gate @ the arrival hall, turn right and there is this Tourist Service Counter. There are tons of map here. If dun have the map u want, ask the counter for it. We did ask the counter for map of Taipei as we dun see any on the display. At the Tourist Service Counter, there would be taxi drivers asking whether u going to Taipei n quoting u the price. Well, tt's lots of such cases elsewhere. Will mentioned it on other days. We just simply ignore them as we had decided to take bus to Taipei.
At the opposite end of the Tourist Service Counter is the place to board bus to Taipei. So we walk from the extreme right to the extreme left. There are few counters which are different bus companies selling bus tickets. We took Guo Guang 国光 as it has direct route to Taipei Main Station. The ticket for an adult is NT125 ~ S$6. I guess their 全票 refers to adult fare and 半票 refers to child fare. It's much much cheaper than taking a cab from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei. My sis took cab in her last trip to Taiwan n cost a whopping S$60. For those staying in Ximending, Freego 建明客運(飛狗巴士) has direct route there.
It's so dark here although it's only 6.30pm when we left the airport. After we bought the bus ticket, there is already a bus departing so we dun have to wait for the next bus which is abt 15-20 min frequency.
Bus ticket from Airport to hotel
The luggage are stored at the bus luggage compartment and there would be a luggage tag onto ur luggage and the other copy given to u. Quite similar to airline luggage tag. Well, although there is tag but it doesn't guarantee that other people wldn't take the wrong luggage rite?
Although the journey indicated on the website is ~ 50min, we reached Taipei Main Station @ 8pm which is ~ 1.5hr. Well, partly bcos of traffic jam and partly bcos of slow driving.
As Taipei Main Station is the last stop so we do not have to worry abt alighting @ the wrong station. OMG Taipei Railway Station is so huge. There is MRT, railway, high speed train. I think it's 3-4 times bigger than the Cityhall and Raffles Place MRT Station. After the bus dropped us @ Taipei Main Station North Entrance, we walked into the Taipei Railway Station. The 1st thing we look for is map display. Haha.... Only then we can navigate around. Found out where is our hotel located as I didn't print out map of our hotel location. So we walked from the North Entrance to the South Entrance where ZhongXiao West Road Section1 忠孝西路一段 is located. We cross the road and still couldn't find our way as Huai Ning Road 怀宁路 is a small street facing ZhongXiao West Road Section1. We decided to ask around n the 1st person we ask dunno the directions. We decided to use our instinct and walk. After crossing another traffic light, we finally found our hotel.

We checked in and paid for our accomodation from 5-8 and 11 Apr. Haha... dispose some cash so wldn't be carrying so much cash. We ask the staff wat time the breakfast would be served as we can plan whether to have breakfast in the hotel or not. Well, the breakfast is from 7-10am so which means that on 7 & 8 Apr, we couldn't have our breakfast in the hotel.

The room is not very big but sufficient space for us to put our belongings. Well, i've reason for posting the toilet photo. Will reveal it later.

Our room #505

After settling all our belongings, it's almost 8.30pm. We were super super hungry. We headed for the Taipei Main Station to buy train tix to Hualien and high speed rail ticket to Chiayi first. The train station is huge, followed the sign around is the safest.

Train ticket counter
Train ticket can be purchased at the ground level. There are quite a lot of counters and train tickets can also be purchased from the automated machines. Heard that train tickets purchased from automated machines may not be reserved seatings. To play safe, better buy train tickets directly from the counters. Do note that reserved seat train tickets on wkend and public holidays can be sold out fast and train tickets can be purchased 7 days in advanced. If buy round trip ticket, there would be 10% discount.
Actually can book the train tix online, however it's complicated which i feel tt not worth the while. There are Chinese and English version but foreigner can only book through the English version as the Chinese version only accept Taiwan identification number. Somemore internet booking doesn't work between 8am and 9pm. The purpose of online booking is to ensure that you can get a seat. Tickets can be booked up to 2 weeks in advance. Tickets must be collected and paid for within 3 days of booking (day of booking being Day 1). If travel date is less than 3 days from booking, tickets must be collected 1 day before travel date. You need to have a Taiwan-issued credit card in order to pmake payment online after booking. This means that foreigners are only able to book the ticket! Read in the forum that if you neglect to cancel and fail to collect your tickets for more than 5 times, you may not be able to use the same ID number to make bookings in the future.
High speed rail ticket can be purchased from the counters at Taipei main station. The counters are located at the underground level. There is also automated machines but to play safe, better buy train tickets directly from counters. Previously, high speed rail ticket can only purchase through telephone booking but now it can be purchased online. I have not tried it before so not very sure of the procedures.
After that, we board MRT to Shilin night market 士林夜市. We purchased the Easycard which is similar to our Ezlink card. It cost NT500 ~$25 with a refundable deposit of NT100. Well, HK & Taipei MRT card deposit are fully refundable, only Singapore is exception. Not tourist friendly, isn't it?
Taipei Main Station is the interchange for 淡水Danshui and 板南Bannan Line. I was really v impressed with the Taipei people who always keep to their right when taking the escalator and queuing up to board the MRT.

Queuing to board the train

Above the MRT door, it would display the current station and the next 2 stations cos at some station, you gotta alight and change MRT. Dun u find that it's more passenger friendly than our MRT map? Cos u wldn't have to find for urself which station u r currently at. However 1 improvement that they shld take note is to change the order of the language of the station name announcement. Currently it's Chinese, Hokkien, Hakka then English. Most of the time when i have alight the station, they haven't finished announcing the station name in English. So for those tourist who dun understand the 1st 3 language and can't read Chinese, wldn't they miss their stop?
We alight @ Jiantan station 剑潭where Shilin night market is located. I guess a lot of people thought that Shilin night market is @ Shilin station so tt's y before the MRT approached Jian tan station, there is an announcement that for those who wanna go to Shilin night market to alight @ Jiantan station.
We went to the night market and we ate 青蛙下蛋 (actually it's call 爱玉 which is a type of jelly, the name 青蛙下蛋 is one of the stall name ><") , 大饼包小饼 (my sis bought the bread floss flavour which is nice loh) , 香肠 (we didn't eat 大肠包小肠 cos there is glutinous rice n my sis scared later 消化不良) 。I wanna try the 炸鸡排 but the queue is super super long. So in the end throughout my 8 days in Taiwan, i didn't eat 炸鸡排. Well, 4get to take photoshot of these food tt i ate. But dun worry, from tml onwards, there wld be photo for those food i ate. Smtimes, photos can be v deceiving.
After filling our stomach, we cross the road n head to those shops along the street for shopping. OMG, people mountain people sea. Lots of clothes, shoes n bags. My sis wanna buy boots, so we almost went into all the shoes shop there.
Noe wat this shop sell??? Haha.... Not orange...
Can you believe that we shop until almost 12am? N yet we haven't finish browsing all the shops. It's almost reaching 12am when i ask my sis wat time is the last train tt we start to walk back to the MRT station. Phew... luckily we caught the last train otherwise we gotta board cab back to our hotel.
Super duper tired. It's almost 2am before we turn in. Well, today i bought fewer things than my sis. Bought mask which is quite cheap NT20 ~ S$1. Saw my sis choosing n i oso buy for fun, haha... Bought a wollen shawl which is NT250 ~ S$12.50. Was afraid that Alishan would be quite cold so buy in case loh. Also bought umbrella NT150 ~S$7.50 cos scared that it would rain. Last time my sis bought her umbrella from Singapore n got spoiled by the strong wind in Taipei. This time, we decided to just buy a cheap one here. Saw a lovely pink colour bag which cost only NT100 ~ S$5. But..... shall tell abt it tml. Oso bought a blue necklace which is quite nice NT49 ~ S$2.50, cheap rite? Then oso bought a pair of short boots NT490 ~$25 and a pair of heels NT390 ~ S$20. I think my sis bought 3 pairs of boots. Boots craze!
Yah 4get to mention that there is almost 100 TV channels here. OMG, which channel shld i watch??? Well, there is also porn channel here. >< "

My shopping sprees

No comments: