Saturday, 22 February 2014

Taiwan trip – 22 Feb 14

I make use of the complimentary Amex lounge pass and visited SATS Premier Lounge. The amenities at SATS Premier Lounge is much better than the Priority pass lounge and massage chairs are available here.
SATS Premier Lounge
Variety of food

We took an overnight flight and landed at Taoyuan airport in the early morning. It's really a love and hate relationship with overnight flight as we are deprived of beauty sleep and yet we are able to save precious travelling time.

We bought the bus tickets at the basement of the arrival hall and waited for the Ubus which took less than 1/2hr to reach Taoyuan HSR station. We reached the HSR station at 7am and we have ample of time since I have booked the 8am HSR to Zuoying. I collected the ticket by presenting the e-ticket at the ticket counter. There are few cafes at Taoyuan HSR station so we had our breakfast at MOS Burger.
Taoyuan HSR station
Breakfast @ Mos Burger

The HSR journey from Taoyuan to Zuoying is around 1.5hr then we change to the MRT which took 20min to Formosa Boulevard station. Formosa Boulevard station is the interchange station of the red and orange line and this is one of the reason why I choose to stay in a hotel which is located near this station. Upon exiting the MRT gate at the concourse level, we are greeted by the magnificent Dome of Light, which is the largest glass work in the world. It was designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata. Dome of Light is made up of 4,500 glass panels and covers an area of 2,180 square metres.
Glass panels
Live performance

From Formosa Boulevard station, we walked to Legend Hotel which is 15min away. We discovered later that the City Council station is nearer to the hotel. As we cant check in yet, we left our luggage and started our 1st day in Kaoshiung.
Legend Hotel
Map of Kaoshiung & places of interest

We purchased single journey ticket when taking Kaoshiung MRT as I have calculated that it's not worth buying the ipass (similar to ezlink card) as the card itself cost NT100 ~ S$4 and the card price is non-refundable. We took the orange line to Sizihwan 西子湾 and from there it's 10min walk to Gushan Ferry Station 鼓山轮渡站.

We walked pass an ice shave shop directly opposite Gushan Ferry Station and looking at the crowd, which usually determines the popularity of the shop, we decided to order their shave ice too. Do note that this shop is closed on every Monday. 

We ordered banana shave ice to share and indeed the ice is very fine unlike the ice kachang in Singapore which can be a bit coarse.
Banana shave ice

We crossed the road to the ferry station and purchase the ferry ticket which cost NT15 ~ S$1.20 per pax. Motorcycles and bicycles are allowed on board of the ferry first level and second level is occupied by passengers.
Gushan Ferry Station
Ferry to Cijin
Departing from Sizihwan
Cijin island
Motorists leaving the ferry

Upon reaching Cijin ferry station, there is a scooter and bike rental shop which is located directly opposite. We rented an electric scooter for 2 hrs for NT300 ~ S$13 and a belonging item is required as a guarantee. For us, we use our ezlink card while some locals use their keys as guarantee. The shop gave us a map which allows us to nagivate around in Cijin without any difficulties. The staff is very nice as she keep reminding us to drive slowly as safety is more important.

There is also a scooter and bike rental shop near Sizihwan MRT station exit 1 but there is charges for scooters and bikes when boarding the ferry to Cijin.
Rental rates

We rode to Cihou lighthouse which is the nearest attraction from the rental shop. We have to park the scooter at the parking area and walked up to the lighthouse. Although it's a 10min walk, the slope is relatively steep which makes me huff and puff. The blazing sun and the warm weather at Kaoshiung doesn't make the climb easy.
Left or right?
Cihou lighthouse 旗后灯塔
Location of Taiwan Lighthouses
View of Sizihwan

We walked back to the parking area and continued in the opposite direction to the fortress. It's another steep slope to climb up to the fortress. There is nothing spectacular at the ruin fortress and we are more interested in seeing Kaoshiung scenery from the here than the fortress.
View from Cihou fort 旗后炮台

Next, we rode to the starry tunnel. It's very windy when walking inside the tunnel but I'm disappointed that the stars do not light up in the tunnel, probably it's time for repair and maintenance.
Starry tunnel 星空隧道

Upon reaching the end of the starry tunnel, we are greeted by cliffs and lighthouses. It extremely cooling and windy here.

We continue to ride to the sea shell museum which is at the 2nd level of a dilapidated building. It is free admission to the museum. We left within 10 min as the exhibits are not interesting at all.
Seashell museum 贝壳馆

From the seashell museum, it's 10min ride to the windmill park. I do not recommend cycling here as it would take double of our riding time. My sis rented a quad cycle when she visited with my mum few years back and she told me it took ages for her to reach the windmill park.

It is extremely windy here and we saw the waves splashing up to the concrete shore, so do not stand too near to the sea to avoid getting wet.
Windmill park 风车公园

Cijin is not really very small but all the attractions which we visited can be done within 2hr provided that you rent a scooter. We returned the scooter and then we walked to the Miao qian road 庙前路 where the street is lined with many food stalls. We settled our lunch by buying finger food such as fishcake, sausage, grilled cuttlefish from various stalls. There are also shops which sell NT100 ~ S$4 seafood per plate but we didn't dine here.
Miao qian road 庙前路
Prayer wishes 
Is this 大头娃娃 Tua Pek Kong?
Fishcake stall
Coconut opening machine
Candy floss

There are many cuttlefish stalls along Miao qian street and this is the best stall among the other 2 which we have eaten.
Grilled cuttlefish stall
Opposite this restaurant

The dried seafood market is located further down from the end of Miao qian street and every stall sells almost the same items.
Dried seafood market
Various dried seafood

We bought fish floss from this stall as the boss is friendly and allows us to try out different items before buying.
Fish floss stall

We got weary and return to the hotel to rest. The room and bathroom are spacious and I'm surprised by the free instant noodles provided.
Double room

I have planned to visit Sizihwan for sunset but was too tired to wake up. We had dinner at Liuho night market 六合夜市 which is walking distance from the hotel. The night market is too touristy and was crowded with China tourists. We ate about 6 type of snacks such as oyster omelette, quail egg, 盐酥鸡,  担仔面, 土魠魚羹 etc and all are mediocre.
Liuho night market 六合夜市


Tommy said...

The shaved ice looks good.. :)

How much is it??

Jerlin Tan said...

Hi Tommy,

It's S$1.20 only, extremely cheap.