At last, a holiday with the family after 3 months of anticipating and planning. For this trip, we will be going with the Tham family (Melvin, Jolene & Mireilie). It will also be the first official oversea trip for Jaydon (exclude Malaysia).
We suppose to take the the 12.20pm SQ flight, however was delayed by and hour due to technical problem. Because of this delay, we only managed to reach Touyuan Airport at 6.30pm. Once we reached airport, We purchased a prepaid mobile card for NT300 from the Airport and it was pretty handy throughout a trip. We had our dinner in the airport so that our kids can be fed before making our 1 hour bus journey to Taipei.
We only managed to reached Howard Plaza Hotel at 9pm.
The kids and mummies woke up late this morning. By the time we reached the train station, it was already 10am. We took the 10.20am High Speed Rail to Taichung. Reached Taichung at around 11.10am.
Upon arrival, Mr Liao (廖振杉), pick us up from the train Station. First stop, we stopped by a little town call Ji Ji (集集). The highlight is the old railway station (集集火車站) and its rustic train. Though we did not see the actual train, I believe the train outside the station is the replica of it. The town seems to be well-known by locals. We see many local tourists visiting the town. Many of them are spending their time cycling around town.
Next My Liao drove us to a nearby town called Shueili (水里) where we stop lunch. He brought us to a little shop that served nice stew pork & pig’s intestine. After lunch, he brought us er-pin ice cream shop (二坪頂枝仔冰) which is situated up the hill in Shueili.
The ice cream shop is open by workers who are maintaining the hydroelectric dam. The water used to make the ice cream is from the water that flows down towards the dam. What’s so good about the ice-cream? … CHEAP! Price ranging from NT14 – NT30. Jaydon loves the ice cream, probably because it is the first time that he is having ice cream. He likes the passion fruit favored ice-cream.
After the ice-cream, Mr Liao drove us to Sun Moon Lake. For the next 2 hours, Mr Liao drove us round the lake to show us various sights. Along the way, he brought us to Puli Brewery to buy Taiwan Sausages (funny right!?). It is because, the Taiwan sausage is seasoned with the specialty wine which make the sausages really yummy.
At around 4pm, we left SML for Cing Jing. Though Mr Liao wanted us to visit LuShan Hot Spring and have out dinner there, we declined, as the kids and mummies are getting a bit tired. So we head directly to Cing Jing where we spend a night at Lienh Sien Holiday Apartments (嶺仙渡假山莊 – http://www.linghsien.idv.tw/). Pretty good value for money for us as our package include a balcony room inclusive of dinner and breakfast.
A long day for all of us today. Jaydon slept at 9pm..
Mary and myself woke up at 5am to catch the sunrise at CingJing. Due to the high altitude, the sky was bright before the sun came out. There was not much of a wow- factor on the sunrise at CingJing.
Jaydon woke up at 6.30am as it was very bright at the time (early sunrise in Taiwan in spring). We had our breakfast before setting off to合歡山 (He huan shan). After an hour drives along the narrow road, we reached 合歡山 which is 3300 meters above sea level.
We were glad that the kids were looking fine and no signs of high altitude sickness (Jaydon was asleep though). After spending around 20 minutes admiring the mountain range, we head back to CingJing. Next stop, we visiting Cing Jing Green Green Grassland. Yes! The grass is green, however no sheep in sight… later we found out that the sheep were kept in north side of the Grassland.
Jaydon enjoyed himself as he managed to ride on a pony, relates his “Ba-aaa” to an actual sheep and has the opportunity to feed rabbits.
At lunchtime, we head to魯媽媽 restaurant for lunch. We asked Mr Liao to bring us there, as we have came across 魯媽媽 in one of the travel programs in Singapore.
After lunch, Mr Liao bring us to buy some souvenir before heading to our last stop in CingJing – The little Swiss Garden. Nice little park where Jaydon & Mireilie have the chance to roam around. Jaydon enjoys feeding the ducks in the pond.
On leaving CingJing, Mr Liao brought us back to Taichung. Wanting to bring us to buy the famous Sun Cake, he speed through traffic in order for us to reach the shop before the closing time at 6pm. We reached there at 5.51pm, but to our disappointment, the last cake was sold to the person in front of us. Though Mr Liao recommended the shop next door, we did not purchase any, due to the logistical hassle that we have to go through to bring the cake back to Taipei. Next stop, Meat Balls and Oyster Mee Sua, which Mr Liao say that we should try before heading back to Taipei. I must agree that both the Meat Balls and Oyster Mee Sua are yummy.
After buying some pineapple tarts, Mr Liao end our trip by buying us each a cup of Black Tea, which he claims that he need to drink at least one cup per day. It is also the same reason why his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We nearly unable to find a seat for the ride back to Taipei. Thankfully, we manage to get separate seats on the 9.30pm High Speed train back to Taipei. We reached the hotel in Taipei at 10.30pm. This was the most tiring day for the trip.
After a tiring day on Day 3, we are taking it easy today. Mommy and little one woke up at 9.30am. Spend the remaining part of the morning lazing in the hotel. Bought breakfast for mommy at永和清粥豆漿大王 (10 minute walk from Howard Plaza). We left for Taipei Zoo at 11am. Train station was only 5 minutes walk and it was a breeze taking the train to Taipei Zoo.
Once there, we paid NT$60 (SGD$2.50) per adults to enter the Zoo. My wife commented that if she were in Taipei for more days, she would bring Jaydon to the Zoo everyday (comparatively, Singapore Zoo cost $20 and is much smaller then Taipei Zoo). Since it was lunch, we had our meal before heading to the Panda Enclosure.
Jaydon was fascinated with the Panda. Too bad, that was the only animal he sees in the zoo. He was too tired and fell asleep when we are heading towards the rainforest enclosure. As the zoo is really huge & both the kids were sleeping, we decided not to complete the entire circuit. We thought of taking the newly opened Maokong Cable Car up to Maokong Tea Plantation.
However, since the kids were sleeping we decided to heads towards somewhere cooler, like Eslite Department Store. We spend the remaining afternoon hanging around the up market Eslite which focus purely on lifestyle and books.
Coming to around 5pm, seeing that mom and the kids still have the energy, we head to Xi Men Ding. Not really a place for kids.
Mom tried to shop but the kids did not give mom the chance to shop. We head back to our hotel after just staying at Xi Men Ding for less then 2 hours. Bought dinner at SOGO basement (near howard hotel) before heading back to our hotel for the night rest.
Another day of lazing in the hotel in the morning, before heading to nearby SOGO Department Store and surround for a late morning shopping. Today we will be making our trip to Hualien. We checked out at 2pm and heads to Taiwan Train Station. We initially thought of getting the 4pm train to Hualien, however, it was fully book. Therefore, we could only manage to get a 5.15pm train to Hualien. Since we have 2 hours to hang around, we check-in our luggage at one of the lockers available at the train station. We spend our time walking around the underground mall.
We bought our dinner before boarding the train to Hualien. The trip took us 2.30hrs and we were thankful that the kids were not too difficult as they manage to find their own entertainment.
We reached Hualien at 7.30pm. Mr Looi (A regret that Mr Looi was too busy and it was the only day we saw him) picked us up from the train station before bringing us to our accomodation – Roseland Minsu. A fine little minsu, situated in the centre of town. Our second time staying at the Minsu.
We did not intend to visit Taroko, since we have done the last time we were at Hualien. Morever, with Jaydon, we do not think it would be advisable to go Taroko. Therefore, for the day, we decided on visiting Hualien Ocean World (海洋世界). Minsu lady boss arrange a 2-way transport to Hualien Ocean World. As that week is mother’s day, the mommy got a ½ price for the entrance ticket.
As for the kids, seeing the seals and the dolphins for the very was a very strange and fascinating experience for them. In between, Jaydon was too tired and he slept throughout the dolphin show. Beside the sea animals, the kids enjoys the kiddy rides.
We had our lunch there before heading by to our accommodation at around 2pm. We took afternoon nap before heading out to the street for roadside snacks & some shopping in the evening.
We head back to our accommodation after we have bought some Moiche and Xiao Long Bao for our night snack in the Minsu.
We will be catching the 12noon train back to Taipei. As we still have time in the morning, decided to hire a cab to七星潭. We spend the morning cycling with the kids and playing & picking stones at七星潭.
fter having our lunch in the train, Jaydon slept throughout the 3 hours journey back to Taipei.
On reaching Howard Hotel, while daddy and mommy was dead tired, the kids were full of energy playing in the room. In the evening, we make our trip to Shihlin Night Market.
As usual, we eat the famous Crispy Chicken and Taiwan Sausages. This time round, we felt that the Taiwan sausages are not as nice as compared to those at Puli Brewery. Did some shopping before the kids started to make a fuss. We took a taxi back to hotel from Shih Lin Night Market.
Last day of our trip. We took a cab to Taiwan Leechi (台北犁記餅店) to buy some pastries & pineapple tarts for our family. The last trip I was in Taipei, my colleague brought me to this place to buy their pastries. I am unsure if there are other better stops around, however, I think their pastries are soft and nice. Not too sweat and not too salty. Just nice! After buying we took a stroll back to our hotel. Spend some time resting in the hotel before checking out from our hotel and head towards Touyuan Airport. We rented a mini bus to bring us to the airport. Unable to remember the contact, however, it was provided by one of the cab driver who fetched us from Shihlin Night Market. A pretty reasonable rate of NT$1200 for 4 adults, 2 child, 2 strollers, 4 luggage.
We did some shopping in the airport and let the children play the indoor playground (Hello Kitty) before catching our flight back to Singapore.
An enjoyable trip with my little one!