Monday, 8 November 2010

Taiwan - Taipei and Hualien

Taiwan is really a place where I would return, with all the good and cheap food,  nice scenery, cooling weather (when we went) and lots of entertainment. It's also a shopping heaven for ladies. You will be able to get fashionable clothes, shoes, accessories, facial masks and products at cheap price.

The first thing the girls wanted to do was to dye, style and give our hair a good treatment. We did our hair at Taipei, a salon called "Let's Hair". And we were all very happy with the final result!

After we were done with our hair, we took a train to Hualien that evening and stayed at a 民宿 (homestay), 石头的家 (Stone House). The host was very friendly and we loved the place. We booked a room for 7 people and it was really spacious.  

The host told us that we could light fireworks at Stone House and brought us to buy some fireworks and sparks. We had a great time playing, but we did something stupid. We played the sparks in an enclosed room because the wind was too strong outside. And the end result was we choked ourselves. All of us was uncomfortable for that night and some of us nearly fell sick. Okay, we were stupid.

Stone house

Me lighting the fireworks ^-^..


This was the enclosed room where we were choked. It was a big sacrifice in order to take this picture..

The next day, the guide of Stone House brought us around Hualien. Our first stop was 鲤鱼潭 (Liyu "Carp" Lake). It was beautiful and we rented dragon paddle boats to tour around the lake.

The dragon paddle boats..

That's one of our boat..

Paddling in action..
 The carp windsock??

After that, the guide brought us to the National Dong Hwa University. It's very empty and quiet when we were there. Maybe it's their school holidays? There's hardly anyone there except us and it's just a normal university. Nothing much to see leh.

Next up, cycling to the beach! I do not know how to cycle, so i didn't cycle. I sat on my boyfriend's bicycle and he cycled. Hahaha.. I just sat and and enjoy the cool breeze. But the seat was not comfortable and it's quite painful for my buttock throughout the ride. As for how beautiful and serene the beach was, I'll leave it to the pictures to explain it all..

Yes! There's totally no one except us! We had the whole beach to ourselves..

The next day, we gotta leave Hualien. We loved Hualien, the Stone House and their hospitable host, and we were quite reluctant that our holiday in Hualien had to end. The host then gave each of us a postcard to write whatever we wanted on it and they would mail it to our home address as a souvenir from Stone House.

A few hours of train ride and we were back in Taipei.

We had great shopping and food at 西门町 (Xi Men Ding) and a few night markets.

1. 西门町 (Xi Men Ding)
It's a big shopping area with many shops and yummy food. There were shops that we know like Watsons where we stock up many many facial masks and other beauty products. There were also many small shops selling clothes, shoes, accessories and cute stuff.

There's also a whole building of Partyworld KTV at Xi Men Ding. We loved it! The price is reasonable. The room is big and spacious, with a private toilet. They uses wireless mic and they actually have a grading system and you can see how well you fare for each song! It's fun and it's the best KTV experience I ever had. If you are going Taipei and love to sing at KTV, I would highly recommend this place.
Address: 台北市中华路一段55号 (捷运西门站4号出口)

One of the famous food in Xi Men Ding is 阿宗面线. It's a takeaway shop, and no matter at which hour of the day, you can see lots of people standing around the shop to eat their 面线. Highly recommended.
Address: 台北市万华区峨嵋街8之1号; No. 8-1 Ermei St, Ximending, Taipei City

Another food to eat at Xi Men Ding is a dessert. 
Address: 台北市 (Taipei, Taiwan) 萬華區漢中街23號

Another restaurant we ate was 女仆餐厅 (maid-themed restaurant). The food was so-so. But the cute waitresses were dressed in maid costumes and they addressed you as 主人 (master). Hahaha..
Address: 台北市万华区汉中街127号6楼

Another themed restaurant at Xi Men Ding. They served drinks in urine pot and food in toilet bowl, and we were sitting on the toilet bowl while eating. Hahaha..
Address: No. 50-7 Xining South Road, 2 Floor, Taipei, Taiwan 

2. 华西街夜市 (Hua Xi Street Night Market)
It's located near the Longshan Temple station. It's also called the Snake Alley. You will know why when you are inside. You can really see snakes as you walk along the street and they serve food with snake blood, snake meat and gall bladder of snakes. Okay, we didn't spend much time here because we were not so interested in that.

3. 饶河街观光夜市 (Rao He Street Tourist Night Market)
It's located near Songshan station on Raohe street. It's quite a walking distance to the night market and we were famished when we reached. It's super crowded there. There were many food and shopping in this night market. The price was cheaper then those more famous night markets or shopping area. I would recommend this night market if you love food and cheap shopping! One of the best food I had eaten that night was this..

Cheesy pork cutlet with rice! Look at the oozing cheese! I'm sorry.. I had forgotten the name of this shop. The night market was quite a maze and we were famished when we reached and we just went into a shop to have our dinner randomly. 

4. 士林夜市 (Shihlin Night Market)
Alight at the Shihlin station and you will see crowds of people walking towards the same direction. That's where the night market is. It's a huge night market, with a part of the night market selling only food stuff, and another portion of the night market for shopping.

I shall just go straight into the yummy sold at Shihlin Night Market.

The first stall that you will definitely notice is this. It's always with a long long queue..

Super duper big chicken cutlet

First time I felt that my face is so small. It totally covered my face! It's really crispy, fragrant, yummy and er.. sinful.. -.-'''

Oyster omelette.. It's different from the Singapore style. It had vegetables in it with sweet and sour sauce..

Lor bak peng!! I loved this when I was in Taipei. I think I ate around 3 or 4 times in my 8 days there. It's braised minced pork covered on the white rice. It's just so tasty that I could finish the whole bowl of rice just with it. But again, it was sinful.. sobz..

Pao Pao Bing. We ordered the peanut flavour and I think they mixed the ice with some peanuts and the peanut flavourings. Tasted ok. Love 雪花冰 more.. 

Oh.. this is the 臭豆腐 (smelly beancurd). You can smell something awful before you even reach the shop. Although it's stinky, it tasted quite nice. It's crispy on the outside and soft inside. Haha.. Dun talk to me after I have eaten this. You might faint! Wahahaha..

After all the food and shopping, it's time for some drinks and dance! Clubbing night at Lava! It's pretty crowded and the music was great!

After a late night, time to relax ourselves. Hot spring at 北投 (Beitou) the next day. There are many hot spring hotels or centers at Beitou. So you can choose one that you like and we chose Asia Pacific Hot Spring.

The hot spring pool in our private cubicle. 

The nice and serene surroundings of Asia Pacific Hot Spring.

That's about it for our trip. I was super sad when it ended. I love Taiwan and will definitely be back to explore other areas!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Berjaya Times Square

We decided to try out the five-star hotel at Berjaya Times Square after the disappointing hotel in Berjaya Hills. We self-drove from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur which took about 4 to 5 hours with some traffic jam along the way.

This hotel is totally different from the one in Berjaya Hills and thumbs up for it!!

It's located just beside, in fact, it's linked to Berjaya Times Square. So all you have to do is to take a lift to the ground floor and walk out of a side door, and ta-da! You are ready for shopping at Berjaya Times Square.

Other than the location, we loved the room! It was spacious and clean. It's more like a suite than a hotel room. Okay, I shall save my words and let pictures explain themselves.

Picture took from the door leading to the bedroom.. Yes, you are right.. There's some decorations on the bed when we arrived! Pleasant surprise!

A closer look at the decoration.. It's rose petals made into a heart shape.. Love it..

There's also complimentary fruits and chocolates at the small dining table..

The spacious living room..

The spacious and luxury bathroom..

Views from our hotel room..

Haha.. We bought a pair of Mickey and Mini mouse home slippers while shopping. 10 Ringgit per pair. Cheap cheap..

Finally. foodie time!! Yummy Chinese restaurant at Berjaya Times Square!

皮蛋瘦肉粥 (Century egg and minced pork porridge). The porridge was smooth and tasty. Yum yum!

小龙包 (dumpling with meat) It's simple delicious.. and look at the next picture!

One full tablespoon of soup from a 小龙包! We had previously watched a TV show which showed the correct way to eat 小龙包. It's to poke a hole in the skin, then suck or drain the soup in the 小龙包.  After drinking all the soup, you may start eating the 小龙包 with some black vinegar. Okay, back to this 小龙包. The soup was real tasty. It's standard is on par with Singapore's 鼎泰丰 or 翡翠, but it's much cheaper.

Next up.. 流沙包 (custard bun). But it's not the normal custard bun that we bought from bakery shop. You will know why when you see the second picture. Nice orange colored bun.

OMG! Melted custard flowing.. It's quite messy when we ate this bun. The melted custard kept flowing non-stop as we bite. But it's super duper delicious.. It's worth being un-glam just to eat this. hahaha..

Okay. So that's about it for our 2 days 1 night weekend trip to Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur. Oh, did I mention that we did some spa and massage before we left? We booked the spa and massage service provided by the hotel. Oh man, it's the same price as some neighbourhood massage in Singapore despite it's offered by a five-star hotel! It feels shiok to pamper yourselves once in a while. ^-^