Sunday, 6 April 2008

Taiwan trip - 6 Apr 08

Although we set alarm @ 7am ytd nite, we only wake up around 8am. So so so tired after turning in @ 2am, this means I only slept 6hrs! Well, as the days goes, wake up earlier n earlier. No choice, must fully utilize the time here. If sleep too much probably may gonna get nagged. I think by now, everyone should noe tt I really like to sleep alot, no choice, probably slept too little in my last life.

Our initial plan is to go 野柳 Yehliu today but if we wanna go Yehliu, we gotta wake up @ 7am today. Hence ytd nite before turning in, my sis n I decided to change our itinerary to 乌来 Wulai. Well, didn't noe tt this change will result in a bit of disappointment tml. It’s only tml tt I realize there is a reason y I plan the Yeliu trip on Sunday instead of Monday.

We had our breakfast in the hotel as breakfast was included. Breakfast was from 7-11am. The dining area ocuppied the whole 7th floor.

Dining area @ 7 floor (Courtesy of Keysman Hotel)

The breakfast spread was so so, almost everyday the same: toast bread, jam, porridge, meat floss, sunny-side up, peanuts, vegetable...

Left the hotel @ around 9.30am and walk to Taipei main station to board MRT. Taipei main station is only 5 min away from Keysman Hotel. The nearest underground exit is Exit 3 of Front Metro Mall Station n it will be linked to Taipei main station. Oh gosh, the underground shopping mall is much much bigger than Citylink. We cross e road to Taipei main station as it's much more faster than walking through those shops underground. Time is precious here....

Some of the bus stop are similar to Macau bus stop. It can be really quite troublesome when raining. Shldn't we considered lucky cos all the bus stop in Singapore are sheltered?

Bus stop

Taiwan is famous for.... 摩多车排排坐

Taipei Main Station

To get to Wulai, we board MRT to Xindian first before changing the bus to Wulai. Although there is bus from Taipei to Xindian but i dunno where to board it n i guess the journey would be quite long, probably may get motion sickness hence board the MRT is better.

There are 2 south bound train from Taipei main station, one is to Xindian and the other one is to 南势角Nanshijiao. Actually the last station of the MRT bounding to is displayed outside the train, near to the door. Well, i didn't notice it and we bound the train heading to Nanshijiao. It's only when we are reaching 古亭Guting that we found out that we board the train not heading to Xindian. Remember ytd i did mentioned that the current station and the next 2 stations wld be displayed above the door? That's how we discovered that we are bounding to the wrong destination and we alight @ Guting. Lucky that Guting is the last station before the MRT would split into two directions. Alamak, noe wat? After we alight, we board the wrong train again, this time heading north which is back to Taipei main station. It can be pretty confusing as there are 4 directions (like our Raffles Place & Cityhall MRT station). Although i always say tt i got good sense of direction but i gonna trick by the MRT again. ><" Anyway this is the last time. We alight @ e next stop which is Chiang Kiak Shek Memorial Hall station and wait for the southbound train to Xindian. This time, we discovered that the last station of the MRT bounding to is displayed outside the train so we looked carefully before we board.

Taipei MRT map - Not that confusing lah

Watch out - MRT coming

Not all underground stations are installed with the glass door.

The seats of Taipei MRT is not like Singapore with two rows of seats facing each other. Somemore there are specified seats near the door which are reserved for pregnant ladies and eldery.

Inside e MRT

Finally we reached Xindian @ 10.30am, after an hr journey from Taipei. Guess it shld be around 40min cos we wasted time in changing the MRT twice.

After we exit the MRT station, we were figuring out where is the bus stop to board the bus and we saw there is a Tourism office. Without hesitating, we headed to the Tourism office and saw a piece of paper pasted on the door telling visitor that the bus stop to board the bus to Wulai is just behind it. My sis joked that the Tourism office must be getting sick of answering everybody queries so tt's y this was pasted. Self explanatory, haha....

The bus stop is just behind

The bus fare from Xindian to Wulai is NT$40. If pay by Easycard, gotta top up with coin cos fare not enough. To make it easy, we got our coins ready as i had already done my homework. The journey tooks about 40min and Wulai is the last stop. The bus was full when we board hence we stand all the way to Wulai. Read in the forum that the view is better on the right side seats on the way to Wulai so we stand facing the right side. The journey to Wulai is a bit winding n somemore we are standing. Luckily we didnt get motion sickness. The bus driver would shout the name of the stop that it stopping next. However there are still people who missed their station. Lucky Wulai is the last stop so we dun have to worry whether we alight at the correct station or not.

Inside the bus
On the way to Wulai

Along with Peitou and Yangmingshan, Wulai is one of Northern Taiwan's three premier hot spring resorts. Wulai was originally home to Taiwan's aboriginal Taiya tribe. 乌来位于台北县最南端,得天独厚的瀑布,山林,温泉。乌来在泰雅族中意指冒着热气的溪水。 The name "Wulai" was derived from the Atayal word of "Urai," which means hot spring.

A general layout of Wulai:

Lower level - bus terminal; parking lot; old street; hot spring spas; natural riverside hot spring; tram depot (going up)
Mid level - tram depot (going down); cable car depot (going up); bottom of Wulai waterfall
Upper level - cable car depot (going down); Yun Hsien Dreamland; Top of Wulai waterfall
Inner Wulai - Neidong National Forest Recreation Area (accessible from lower or mid-level Wulai by taxi which is about 10-15 min ride if traffic is smooth-flowing)

@ Wulai bus terminal

On the way from bus terminal to 老街

The weather is hot and my sweater is of no use at all. Although the weather is quite sunny but msot Taiwanese were wearing long sleeve clothes. I was wondering aint they feel hot at all? Later it strikes us that actually they wore long sleeve to protect their skins. That's y we seldom see Taiwanese who are dark.

On the way to 老街, we passed by some hot spring spa. We didnt tried as my sis got skin allegies. Nvm, next time when I visit Taiwan again, shall try the hot spring 老街 is only meant for pedestrian hence no vehicle is allowed to enter. Actually i dunno why it's call 老街, maybe these streets exist for very very long time? There are lots of 老街 in Taiwan, e.g 九份老街,奋起湖老街,平安老街。。。 Most of the shops here are selling food and souvenir. The food sold are 大同小异 and the pricing is also the same. Out of all the food I tried, the hot-spring egg 温泉蛋 is the nicest.

@ 乌来老街

Black seasame mua chi 小米麻糬

Wild boar meat 山猪肉

Some vegetable that we rarely seen in Singapore

Hot spring egg 温泉蛋 - Yummy

There was instruction paste on the machine: "Please ask for coke". Haha... How can the machine answer you?

This is a soft drink where there is bubble inside the bottle, a bit like champagne. Although its fun when popping the bottle but the taste of the drink is not that nice if drink too much.


At the end of 老街, there is a red bridge - Lansheng Bridge 揽胜大桥 linking the 老街 to the other side of the river where the tram station is.

Saw the 7-11? It's so commonly seen in Taiwan
So windy on the bridge

Guess what are these?

I thought that these are electric cables. It's only when i read an article that i realise that actually these are pipes carrying the hot spring which are extracted from the rocks to those hot spring spas. Amazing...

Climbing the stairs to the tram station

There are 2 options to reach Wulai waterfall, either walk or take the tram. I guess walking up to the waterfall takes abt 30min (my guess only). Of cos take the tram lah which is only 5min cos it's hot to walk for 1.6km and should try the experience of taking mini tram. The trams are light vehicles that were once manually operated. They were used to carry timber. Today, Wulai trams are among the dwindling few of such vehicles left in Taiwan. The ride is NT50 ~ $2.50 for a single trip. Well, we only purchase the a single trip tix here. For the return trip, we purchase at the waterfall tram station since there is no discount for purchasing return trip tix compared to 2 single trip.

Mini tram station

Mini tram - Max 8 passengers per tram

Best seat is behind the driver

Passing by the villagers home

It quite noisy for the villager as the tram pass by their house every now n then but the villagers should get used to it le.

Carving of aborigine on the way to Wulai waterfall

@ the Wulai waterfall tram station

Wulai waterfall is about 80 meters high, considered one of the highest waterfall in Taiwan. It is also called 'the waterfall of a white silk cloth'. It is a two-levels waterfall of 60 meters and 20 meters in height. The waterfall is so tall that i cant even take a single full shot of the waterfall using my camera.

Wulai waterfall

From the waterfall, either can choose to take cable car up to 云仙乐园 Yun Hsien Resort or take a cab to Nei dong forest park 内洞森林 which has lots of 负离子anion & 芬多精 phytocide. According to report, Nei dong waterfall has the highest anion concentration in Taiwan, ~39,000 - 45,000 anion per square meter. I do wan to go to Nei dong but it's quite inaccessible as the frequency of bus to Nei dong is less than 5 trips a day. If take a cab, then better book the return trip cos it si quite ulu in Nei dong forest and it is quite costly. As a result, we choose to take cable car to Yun Hsien Resort which cost NT$220 ~ S$11.

So many flights of stairs Guess that this long flight of stairs may lead to Neidong

Inside the cable car

View from cable car

On the way up

The cable car is open air. Look a bit scary when saw the window open rite? But there are metal grills so dun worry abt falling from the cable car. The cable car can accomodate > 20 people and can even stand in the cable car as seats are limited.

Cable car

Upper level of waterfall

We are @ the top of the waterfall now

Wanna try your luck?

Enjoying the scenary

Stairs again

This is the most upper part of the waterfall

My sis and I were quite tired after climbing so many flights of stairs from the Yun Hsien cable car station and we rested in a pavilion near the boat padding area to decide wat we shall do next.

To our disappointment, there was nothing much in Yun Hsien dreamland. Nothing spectacular. Not worth spending $11 to take a cable car ride.

We decided to head back to hotel and take a rest and go Shilin again as we haven't finished strolling the shops there yesterday nite.

Before reaching the Yun Hsien cable car station to take the return cable car ride, there is a museum about Atayal aborigine. However we didnt spend much time inside there as we were quite tired and wanna go back hotel asap.

Atayal Aborigine

Map of Wulai

We took the tram from the Waterfall station back to 老街 and walked back to the bus stop to board the bus back to Xindian. We bought some food on our way back so in case if we feel hungry, then there is something for us to fill up our stomach. I feel that when I went for free and easy trips, I dun eat regularly, if there is food just eat in case cant find any food when i'm hungry.

OMG, there were no more seats in the bus when we join the queue. Hence we decided to wait for the next bus which is about 15min. We dun want to stand again for 45min for the journey which is quite tireding. I guess my sis fall asleep on the way back and I did not dare to sleep as I'm afraid that we would miss the MRT station. Finally we reach the MRT station and we were so thirsty that we headed for the 7-11 to buy drinks. I choose strawberry milk tea which is so sweet, guess they add syrup otherwise how can it be so sweet?

Milk tea

Lots of variety

Instant starbucks coffee

Before we returned back to our hotel, I decided to head for Chongqing South Road Section 1 street 重庆南路1段 which is only a street away from our hotel. This street is also called the Bookstore streets as there are many bookstores here. Was helping Celine to buy some comics and the comics here are cheap. The cost is the price found at the back of the comic and currently there is 10% discount offer.

We went back to the hotel for a rest before we headed to the shops near Shilin night market as we had not finish shopping at the shops. We also went to Ximending for shopping after we finished our shopping at Shilin.

I tried smelly toufu which is delicious. Although initially it is a bit smelly but once I eat it, it dun taste tt smelly.

臭豆腐 Smelly Tofu

I also tried A zong vermicelli but so so loh. My sis told me tt it taste so so but YQ comment tt it is very nice. Hmm... different people have different taste.

阿宗面线 A zong vermicelli

We passed by a shop selling cakes near our hotel. The cake looks delicious and we bought 2 pieces of cake for dinner. We also bought Mac as the cake is insufficient for our dinner.

V attactive rite??? 看起来好好吃 =p
芋头 Yam - look like worms rite?
地瓜 Sweet Potatoes

Cakes bought @ the shops just now
My shopping spree

>>Day 3: 7 Apr 08

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