Quick lowdown of our trip to Taipei

Here is a quick overview of my recent trip to Taipei, from 9 to 14 Feb 2016. Hopefully I’ll have some time (ok, more like motivation) to blog more in detail.

Hotels we stayed in
1. Smile Inn Taipei – 8/10. Points for the convenience as it is surrounded by a 24-hour McDonald’s, 7-Eleven, Uniqlo, H&M, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi etc. Good, strong shower. Too bad our room doesn’t come with a window so we can’t wake up with natural light.

2. Nine Plus Spa Hot Spring Resort at Beitou (also known as Lotus Spa) – 2.5/10. Points given only because of the private hot spring tub in our room and a helpful shuttle bus driver. The cleanliness of the room and breakfast were terrible. The dim room looked like some old Chinese movie set, that I dreaded to open the cupboards and drawers in the room, fearing that I will find a skeleton. The wooden bed frame had such a thick layer of dust, that according to the Hubby, if you rolled it into a dust ball, you could make it into a small pillow. The breakfast items, comprising Chinese food like plain porridge, veggies, stewed pork, were mostly cold and too salty. No proper coffee and tea as well. They seriously need an overhaul for this hotel.

3. Hotel Fun (formerly known as ‘TW1 Hotel’) – 9/10. New, clean, bright, has friendly receptionists and is conveniently located at Ximending. Right below the hotel is Ay Chung flour rice noodles shop (or ‘Ah Zhong meesua’) and it is 3-min walk away from Ximen metro station. Comes with a window so we get to wake up with natural light in the room. Only minor gripe is its shower curtain which makes the toilet floor too wet and slippery.

How much we spent for 6 days and 5 nights in Taipei (excluding hotel + plane ticket) – about $1,000 for transport + shopping + gifts + food.

Things to buy in Taipei
1. Umbrellas at the underground malls of Taipei Main Station. A decent umbrella there costs NT$200 (about $8.80).
2. My Beauty Diary facial masks. To me, they are better than the masks from Korea. 
3. Bifido gummies (also known as Yakult gummies) from 7-Eleven.
4. Winter boots (if you happen to be there during winter).
5. Chia Te pineapple pastry. Be prepared to queue for them.

Favourite food/drink from this trip (list from both the Hubby and me)
1. Mister Donut’s cinnamon maple stick
2. 卤味 (braised pig intestines + noodles + veggies + mushrooms + beancurd + quail eggs etc) from Shida Night Market
3. Grilled squid from Danshui Old Street
4. Sea salt + matcha soft-serve ice cream at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store’s B1.  
5. 茶番’s matcha drinks. They need to come to SG!
6. Roasted sugar cane drink at Tonghua Night Market. Drink it warm.

Night Markets we visited
1. Tonghua 通化
2. Raohe 饶河
3. Shida 师大
4. Ningxia 宁夏

Tips for our next trip to Taiwan
1. Change money at Taoyuan International Airport – they have better rates than Singapore.
2.  Fly there not during major holidays. We wanted to go to Shifen to look at the old railway and sky lanterns, but the trains to this destination were all packed as we were there during their long CNY holiday.
3. Bring a luggage weighing scale. I thought my luggage was overweight. Turned out that I could put 5 more kg worth of things. Would have bought more My Beauty Diary masks if I knew I haven’t exceeded the luggage weight limit.

That’s about it! I will leave you with a picture of Ximending at dusk, taken from the hotel we were staying on our last day.

image

*wrote this post while on the flight back*