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mitsueki Travels | 9D8N Taiwan February 2014 – Day 1

It’s crazy but I think I took more than 3k photos on my 9D8N Taiwan trip last month on both my phone and camera — but I think the photos are worth it as they capture almost all the moments during my trip and it’s great way to record everything I’ve seen and experienced(:

This will definitely be a long travelogue with like a zillion photos for your viewing pleasure but let’s start off first with Day 1 of my trip. Once again, let me warn you – my travelogues are going to be picture intensive! XD

You can read all my previous posts on my Taiwan trip here:

Well, I remember being super excited for my trip and I was looking forward to it ever since I booked it back in December last year. Was even more excited because Taiwan was one of my top MUST GO destinations to visit with the bf ever since we got together. This was also our longest trip together with our other holidays being more of a 3D2N getaway (read my other travelogues here!) from Singapore(:

Preparations and packing for our trip were complete as seen from my previous post HERE (with some travel tips!), and here I was at Changi Airport at about 6am that day armed with my trusty Rilakkuma passport and other luggages!

At the toilet – a perfect opportunity for an OOTD to showoff my new boots sponsored by Qoo10 and my pretty slingbag from GlamPuss!


If you were wondering, we were flying by Tigerair which was at that point of time – the cheapest fare I could get. Wished I could have flown with Scoot though, you’ll see why if you scroll down further!

Had a quick breakfast at McDonalds before we headed to our departure gate as we didn’t order any meals (or plan to) on board the plane.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you may find some of the images in my blog post familiar I’ve posted them there as well 😛 But anyway as below — it was our Tiger Airline flight!

Good bye Changi Airport for now!

And good bye Singapore! Couldn’t resist taking snapshots of the view out the window! ~_~


Ugh, have to say that flying by Tiger is pretty bad with a 3×3 seat configuration. The legroom is horrible (see my fat thighs on the right) and the chair was the most freaking uncomfortable seat I’ve ever sat in my life! I took the window seat and boy was it troublesome to get to the toilet during the flight! I waited for the person by the aisle seat to head to the toilet before I quickly dashed to use it before climbing over the bf to get back to my seat!


Despite all that, I was still pretty upbeat for the Taiwan trip while the bf was bemoaning about the horrible seats, hurhur.



Well, before the trip, we went to download like 10+ movies on his iPad to watch during the flight but guess what?! We forgot to take it out of the bag and ended up being SUPER bored as hell. So here’s a big tip – make sure that you have all your entertainment devices at your fingertips =.=

Also, don’t even bother trying to have a good sleep on the plane without a pillow or neckrest, it’s SO uncomfortable and I tossed and turned for an hour before I gave up. For the bf, well, that’s how he slept and ended up with a crink in his neck.

The journey passed by so slowly and boy was I glad to get the first glimpse of Taiwan as that signaled the end of the uncomfortable/boring flight!

And then we camwhored. We were bored =_=

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After a 4hrs 40minutes flight from Singapore, we safely landed at Taoyuan International Airport!(:

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I was super psyched as I’ve only been seen pictures of this exact place (immigration area) in the hundreds of travel blogs that I’ve read and I was finally seeing it for myself!(:


Going through immigration was pretty smooth though it can’t beat Singapore in terms of efficiency.

Collection of our luggages – thank goodness there was no damage or whatsoever to our 2 luggages.

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After exiting, we turned right to the tourist service center to get the youth travel card but there was a sign there that said that it couldn’t be applied there and directed us to apply at Taipei Main Station/other stations. Since it wasn’t that useful to use, we skipped applying for it entirely for our trip.

The next course of action was to get our hands on a prepaid SIM card. This is directly opposite the visitors centre and you will see a variety of telecoms with their prepaid SIM card rates.

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The 2 main telcos are 台灣大哥大 and Chunghwa, but to be honest I don’t think that there is much difference between them except for the queue. There are also 2 more smaller telcos with lesser queue with the same rates as well.


In the end though, we opted to queue for 台灣大哥大 and got our hands on our prepaid SIM cards. I have to say that you have to be prepared for a long wait though, we waited at least 20 minutes to get the card though we could have gotten it earlier if we went for the smaller less known telcos. We chose Plan E for each of us – a 10 day pass at NT500 (S$21) with unlimited data usage and a NT$100 air time balance and have to say that the speed and coverage was pretty decent during our entire trip. The counter staff will also help us check if the card functions and the service was pretty good(:


After that, we followed the signboard below to get to the bus stop. Just follow the one that says “To High Speed Rail/Bus Station“.

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It’s all the way to the right side as you can see here and you head down via the travelator.


To get to Taoyuan HSR station, you can take Ubus 705. Under Ubus, you can also take a variety of straight buses to get to places such as Taichung Train Station / Kaosiung / Tainan, etc but of course the duration will be much longer so only take it if you have time to spare. And by the way, the bus berth is right behind the counter so you can head there to see if your bus is there after you’ve paid for your tickets.

For us, we took Ubus 705 to Taoyuan HSR at 30 NT (S$1.25) per person. Just so happened that our bus was already there so we quickly lugged our luggages up and off we went! By then, it was around 2.20pm and I was hoping we could make it in time to get onboard the 2.57pm HSR towards Taichung.

The bus ride was about 15minutes or so and we rushed down the moment the doors opened to get to the HSR counter. We were heading to Taichung HSR and the train was at 2.57pm. I had checked the timings previously via the HSR website to gauge all the different timings for that day so I knew that if we missed the 2.57pm train, we had to wait till 3.21pm for the next train.

That’s why I highly recommend you check out the HSR website here first before your trip to check on the different train timings. You can also book your tickets in advance with early bird discounts of up to 30% but that’s only if you are really sure you can make it in time for the timing specified!

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We managed to purchase our tickets with reserved seating (590 TWD each) at 2.53pm and literally ran down to the platform with all our luggages to get onboard as we knew that the HSR in Taiwan is notoriously on time. Do note that they usually have North / South platforms so take note of which one your train is on!

We were really thankful that we made it to the HSR on time and quickly boarded it just seconds before it left the station.

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The legroom in the HSR is very generous and can accommodate our large luggages in front of us easily with more than enough space. Alternatively, you can put your luggage at the luggage area in front of the carriage area but it was full at that time.

You can also put up smaller luggages or hand carry at the overhead luggage compartment but remember to bring it down after! But since there’s so much legroom, just put it in front of you if you can!

The HSR in general is very clean and very quiet. Nothing boisterous and it was a very nice ride(: Pity that we didn’t get to buy the HSR bento onboard as they are only sold during lunch hours. Toilets are also available at some carriages if needed!

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Didn’t managed to snag a window seat this round as the seats were allocated to us by the service staff so here’s a picture of a Taiwanese auntie watching the view speed by us on the HSR traveling at a speed of 300km/hr. Do note that it goes through A LOT of tunnels so there’s very limited 3G service on board.

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The journey sped by in a blur and we reached Taichung HSR at exactly 3.35pm after a 38 minute ride. Here, we picked up some sushi and other nonsense from 7-11 as our quick lunch as we grabbed a cab to our hostel at Fuxing N Road area.

Pretty easy to get a cab btw as there are plenty at the cab stand and they all go by the meter – NT$70 for the 1st km, and NT$5 for each additional 300m. A 20% surcharge is also imposed for taxi fares during rush hours (i.e. 12:00 – 14:00, 17:00 – 19:00 in weekdays) and the late night-early morning period (23:00 – 05:00).

The journey to our hostel took about 15 minutes and cost us around NT350. And if you were wondering where we stayed at:

Eiffel Tower Hostel (逢甲艾菲爾 )

Don’t let the word hostel put you off because it’s not what you’re thinking and I don’t go for bunk beds/shared toilets <_<~ Plus here’s the main reception of the Eiffiel Tower Hostel where the bf is checking it at!(:

I selected this hostel due to its close proximity to Fengchia Night Market and I stumbled onto it while reading other travel blogs online. It was only an afterthought that I could have booked Beacon Hotel / Le Parker instead which was closer to Fengchia NM but this was cheaper at NT3300 for 2 nights (booked via Asiarooms) and it wasn’t that bad either!(: This was also the cheapest accommodation that we paid for during our stay in Taiwan too, heh.

There are 2 buildings at Effiel Tower Hostel, 1 is where you have to wheel your luggage through a narrow strip of pathway to get to the 2nd building and the other is accessed via the lift directly on the 1st building. Luckily for us, ours was at the latter so we just had to bring our luggage up to the floor we were allocated on – 5th storey!

Security is pretty tight here as well as you need to have the access code (changes weekly) to get into the building itself (ring the doorbell when you first enter and they will open it for you) and our room key is tiny medal to tap onto the automated door to access.

We were given the 巴黎戀人雙人 room which was exactly as depicted on the hostel website. The rather large room comes complete with a double bed, pretty dressing table, small sofa, nice clean toilet with the sink outside and a small balcony. All in all, it was very comfortable, clean and quiet stay at Eiffiel Tower Hostel and given the opportunity, I would return to stay here again!

Our lunch / other loots from I Love Sushi / Sushi Express as well as 7-11 – everything was super affordable and tasty!

I didn’t get to try the HSR bento set onboard so I bought it from 7-11 instead. The staff microwaved the bento set for me so it was ready for eating immediately! Just sharing something lame though – the official train bento set was sold at the official store at Taichung HSR and it was only after I bought this from 7-11 did I spot the store, UGHHH!!! -.-

Our receipts for the nonsense we bought. Note that 7-11 is called Seven (7) in Taiwan by the locals and you should keep all the receipts as they have this lucky draw thingy (the ones with the stamps). One thing that I also like about 7-11 there is the collection of stickers! This round, you have to collect the stickers to redeem for Hello Kitty cups. You have to spend about NT75 to get 1 sticker!(: More about that at a later post!

The plan for the day was to head over to Tiger City Shopping Centre (臺中市老虎城) from our hostel. According to Google map, it would be a 10 minute walk but luckily we asked the people from our hostel and apparently, it will take 1 hour+ to reaching there via walking! Wth, Google maps – you suck! So they gave us some bus numbers and a little map to the bus stop that would head towards Tiger City.

Along the way, we popped into a 7-11 (it’s EVERYWHERE) to take a look at the product variety and to see if we could pick up our toiletries later on. Boy was there a huge variety to choose from!

In the end though, we took a cab down to Tiger City because none of the buses seemed to head towards there. Ah well, it was pretty cheap to cab around in Taiwan so it’s alright.

The reason why we were here at Tiger City was to take the free shuttle bus to Zhongshan New Village for the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2014 which was held at Nantou this year from 13 February 2014 – 23 February 2014 (the last day being the next day!). Pretty lucky that we headed to Taiwan on the dates as we were able to catch a couple of festivals such as this!(:

Also, we could have taken the shuttle bus from the Taichung HSR but it was because of stupid Google Map, I had selected to take from Tiger City instead as I thought we could walk from there. Luckily, cabbing there was less than 10minutes which is still nearer compared to Taichung HSR ~_~

Massive queue at the shuttle bus area but the queue moved extremely fast as there were plenty of shuttle buses that came at an interval of 15minutes.

It was an estimated 20 minutes journey via shuttle bus to Zhongshan New Village but there was huge traffic jam as there were thousands of people heading there, hence the journey took about 1hr or so. I was sleeping comfortably onboard the bus (more comfortable than Tiger Air!) so it was alright for me.

We finally reached our destination and it was damn crowded! I swear that there were THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of people there mostly made up of Taiwanese and a tiny tiny portion of tourists from Mainland China and us. We only saw 1 Caucasian couple and no Singaporeans (or they might have been?) throughout the trip there but really, most people at the festivals were locals!(:

I had the map of the festive grounds prior to the trip as we took it from the Taiwan Tourism Bureau at Raffles Place and I thought that we could finish the whole thing within 4 hours. Oh boy was I freaking wrong as I never imagined the SCALE of the festival! The place was so SO HUGE and during our 3hours+ there, we only covered about 1/4 of the whole place and we only just walked by and stopped once in awhile to snap photos. Gosh, Singapore’s lantern festival is absolutely peanuts compared to this one and it was an AMAZING experience despite the crowd!

According to HERE, the venue of Taipei Lantern Festival is divided into 13 zones, each with its own special characteristics. In addition to the “Flying Horse Theater” at the main lantern area, visitors will find amazing lanterns all around the venue: “Well-wishes Lantern Zone”, “Historical Style Lantern Zone”, “Traditional Storytelling Lantern Zone”, “Arts and Formation Lantern Zone”, “Time Corridor Lantern Zone”, “Fantasy Kingdom Lantern Zone”, “Roaming Stallions Lantern Area”, “Nostalgic Lantern Zone”, “Landscape Lantern Zone”, “International Lantern Area”, and “Tunnel of Lights”.

I snapped quite a number of photos of the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2014 while walking and here they are for your viewing pleasure with some additional comments here and there(:

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Every once in awhile, there will be a food area with stores lining the area for you to grab a bite at the different sections. Here’s one of the many stores!

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We made sure to go through the lucky pineapple pathway a few times for good luck and fortune, lol!

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We didn’t manage to cover many venues but there was an area that I definitely had to go to — which was the main area with the event’s main theme lantern of this year’s zodiac, the horse which is also my zodiac year by the way(: This lantern, which weighs 30 metric tons and stands 23 meters high, is the tallest in the festival’s 25-year history – a really impressive sight to behold!

There is also a light show every few minutes and the horse will change in different colors but we couldn’t stay to watch as we had to rush back to the shuttle bus area before the last bus departed at 11pm!

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And yeah, it was only at this area (after 1hr+ of walking from the shuttle bus area) did we see the sign that denotes this as the Taiwan Lantern Festival 2014.

Quickly snapped a quick photo to show that I was here with my flower light in hand! 😛

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We also managed to spot the light show from afar where we saw the horse light up in gorgeous rainbow colors – definitely a sight to behold!


Walking back to the shuttle bus, I snapped these shots that I missed out walking on the right side of the path.

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Also spotted this cute street food. It’s chocolate ice cream in a flower pot!

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It was a wonderful and unforgettable experience and I was so glad that I decided to make plans to come here!(:

The only big issue was the shuttle bus back to Tiger City because good lord, the queue was amazing! We queued for 1.5 hours to get on board the shuttle bus and here’s a glimpse of the queue after we had waited for about 1hr.

The queue spanned from here to the main road area and it initially took us almost forever to locate the end of the queue! Thank God we decided to leave earlier than expected at about 9pm instead of the initial 10pm so we managed to board the bus at about 10.30pm++? Can you imagine if we left at 10pm instead? And on board the shuttle bus back to Tiger City, all of us were pressed against the window literally aghast at the neverending queue that spanned for 15minutes from the shuttle bus area, that’s freaking insane!! @_@

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We took a cab and decided to drop off at Fengjia Night Market so that we could take a walk back to our hostel. What we didn’t expect was to have the cab driver drop us off the main entrance which was nowhere near our hostel – yeah Fengjia NM is really really big, the biggest NM that I’ve seen in Taiwan during my trip there!

But it was a good experience as we figured our way back pretty easily! Decided to not do much shopping here and leave it for the next day instead as we had an earlier day ahead so we decided to just eat some snacks, take note of shops for future reference and headed back to our hostel.

Just a note, Fengjia NM is a nice mixture of food / affordable clothing, accessories in between so it’s a great place for you to shop and eat to your heart’s content here! There’s also a list of recommended food items to try but really, you don’t have to follow that to a tee and I suggest that you try EVERYTHING that looks good to you because in general, they are all pretty decent!(:

Still, if you just want to try the recommended food items only, here’s a list I compiled from various blogs, but remember, you’re not limited to these food items only!(:

MUST EATS: fried noodle bread, oysters, golden/BBQ Maya chicken leg roll, 
Ah Hua Oden Stand 阿华黑轮, Small sausage in large sausage 大腸包小腸, 
stinky tofu, grilled quail eggs, taiwanese sausage

Meanwhile, here’s a glimpse of Fengjia NM for your viewing pleasure with additional comments in between:

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Was so busy snapping photos of the 蛋餅 that I forgot to take a photo of the stall. But the guy was really nice and positioned everything nicely to allow for better photos – and he was surprised we didn’t know what it was! Had a short chat with him (Taiwanese are so friendly!) and had a nice pipping hot pork floss 蛋餅! Yummy yummy!(:

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The famous papaya milk stall at Fengjia NM, also spotted a few outlets here and there!

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I know that cheese potato is awesome so I got mine from this stall, Xiao A Cheese Potato which is a rather popular stall there.

Sinful goodness and super delicious! Highly recommend!(:

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After a long walk, we reached the area near Feng Chia University and we knew we were reaching our hostel soon. Here is also where Beacon Hotel is located at as we spotted it around the area.

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Crossed the road to get to the street that would lead us back to the hostel.

Along the stretch of road, there are plenty of shops as well, and you might find some of these shops familiar as most people in Singapore will organize a spree for the shop’s accessories and bags.


Stopped by the 7-11 we went earlier to get our toiletries and some drinks and that was the end of our first day in Taiwan!


Lol, btw – if you thought this was an eventful day, wait till you check out Day 2!

Don’t forget to stay tuned to my blog / like my blog’s Facebook page / follow me @mitsueki on Twitter & Instagram for the latest updates!

Till later,
♥ mitsueki

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Author: mitsueki

Hello! I'm mitsueki aka Daphne and I blog at! Follow me on IG for more updates too!

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