Tuesday, 2 August 2016

My Favourite Salon: Govin Hair @ KSL City Mall

Do you have the same problem as me? Want to dye, perm, rebond or do treatment for your hair but after looking at the price of the established hair salon in Singapore you just wanna shake head and walk away from the salon.

Lucky for me, I found a good, cheaper hair salon with excellent service and experience just across the Straits! At KSL City Mall at JB!

I had gone thrice and I was very happy with my every experience there!

My first and third time there was for hair and scalp treatment and they were really good! The scalp massage was so comfortable, I literally could fell asleep while they worked on my hair! The most special experience was during the wait at the hair wash area. They provided aroma therapy there by dripping some lavender essential oil into the hot water and I nearly slept.

My second time there was to colour and cut my hair. Oh my! Their hair colour has no ammonia smell at all and I love it! Previously, whenever I colour my hair at other hair salons, the colouring has a smell that makes me giddy when the hairdresser applied the dye, but not my colouring at Govin Hair Salon! My hair was so soft after the colouring - no dryness whatsoever. And I totally love the hair colour my hairstylist, Jason, specially concocted for me.

Another best thing was the friendliness of the staff there and the drinks they offered.  I could choose between several yummy tea such as chrysanthemum, rose tea, green tea, etc.

And of course, the best part is the price! With top notch service and quality, the price was almost the same as, if not cheaper than those salons at HDB estates or home salons. As a gauge, the second time when I was there, I did hair colouring with highlights, cut and mucota hair treatment for about RM500, approximately SGD 170!

I am so happy that I found Govin Hair Salon. Don't think I will do my hair in Singapore anymore. Lol..

Jiufen and Shifen in one day!

Getting to Jiu Fen / Jin Gua Shi:
From Taipei Main Station, take the train and alight at Ruifang Station.
Express train journey time: 35mins, NT 76 per person.
Normal train journey time: 55mins, NT 49 per person.
Do note that if you are taking the normal train, you can tap your EasyCard at the gantry to pay for the train. However, if you are taking the Express Train, you cannot use EasyCard, you need to buy the ticket at the counter at Train station. This information is not clearly shown at the train station nor in the website and we learnt the hard way. We tapped our EasyCard as we thought it can be used for Express Train as well and we were fined when the conductor was doing his check in the Express Train. The fine was 50% extra on top of the Express Train ticket price.
Refer to this link for timing and other information of the train service.

Alight at Ruifang, follow the signs in Ruifang station which show you where to exit to take the bus for Jin Gua Shi and Jiu Fen.
Take the bus to Jiu Fen and Jin Gua Shi at the bus stop opposite Ruifang Train station. The bus stop is not directly opposite Ruifang train station, will have to walk down along the road for about 3 mins to get to the bus stop. The bus will have a signboard at the front window screen stating 往九份,金瓜石.  The bus journey is about 20 mins ride.
Jin Gua Shi is the last stop. Jiu Fen is a few stops before that. The cost is NT 15 per person.

Alternative is to hire a taxi for a one day tour around Jin Gua Shi and Jiu Fen. There were many taxi drivers waiting outside Ruifang Station.

We started late that day and hence, we gave up Jin Gua Shi and head directly to Jiu Fen.

Jiu Fen

Jiu Fen Old Street

Famous Jiu Fen fishballs
Peanut crumps and ice cream roll. It's yummy!

Big Sausage!
The sausage shop is located just beside a fortune cat shop.

There are alot of taro balls shop along Jiu Fen Old Street but the nicest one is Lai Ah Po Taro Balls. It's all the way into the Old Street. Be patient and walk all the way in! 

Super yummy and generous portion of the various flavours of balls (Taro, Pumpkin, Green tea, Black Sesame, Red Bean). I couldn't find back that same taste anywhere else. Miss it.

Walking all the way to the end of Jiu Fen Old Street, not only you will be rewarded with Lai Ah Po Taro balls, you will also be rewarded with nice scenery..

We settled at a tea house overlooking the scenery of Jiu Fen and ordered a hotpot for high tea. Hahaha.

It's time to proceed to Shifen!

Shi Fen

Take a bus from Jiu Fen back to Ruifang station. If you are unsure of where to take the bus, you can check with the people at the Tourist Information Counter at Jiu Fen. Bus 788 or 826 both go back to Ruifang station.

From Ruifang Train station, take the Pingxi Line to Shifen. There is no express train for Pingxi Line so you can use EasyCard to tap at the gantry to pay for the train fare at ease.
Train journey from Ruifang to Shifen is about 30 mins.

Hello! From Pingxi Line Train
Arrived at Shifen train station
There are many  天灯 stalls along the main street of Shifen. So just choose one! Different sides and different colours of the 天灯 represent different categories of life. The people there will explain to you. 

So many 天灯 in the air!
Shifen Old Street night view.
Near to Shi Fen Old Street is the famous Shi Fen waterfall. Walk all the way to the end of Shi Fen Old Street and continue walking for another half an hour to reach the waterfall. We were too late when we reach Shi Fen Old Street and hence have to give the waterfall a miss. 
Entrance fee to the water fall is NT100 per person.
Opening hours: Nov - Jan (0800 to 1830); Feb to Oct (0800 to 1900)

That's all for Jiu Fen and Shi Fen! Stay tune for my other posts on Taiwan, including Kao Hsiung, Cing Jing and Tai Chung!

Taiwan: Taipei - Travel information and foodie!

This is my 4th time back in Taiwan. Love the shopping, foodie here and that explains why I kept coming back.

It is very easy to stay connected with internet access in Taiwan. You can either rent a Taiwan WIFI router at Changi Airport, or buy a Taiwan Sim Card from one of the Telecom counters located at the airport when you arrived at Taiwan (usually is Chung Hwa or 台湾大哥大). 

If you decided to rent a Taiwan WIFI router which allows you to connect up to a maximum of 5 devices, do remember to reserve online at least 3 days before departure to ensure that there is stock for you. We forgot to reserve online beforehand and on the day when we reached Changi Airport, the lady at the counter told us that it was out of stock. For more information and promotion for the WIFI router, check out Changi Recommends Website.

The other alternative is to buy a Taiwan Sim Card when you touch down at the airport in Taiwan. The Data packages provided by the 2 major Telecoms in Taiwan, i.e. Chung Hwa and 台湾大哥大 have really good deals. But when you compare this to the option of having a WIFI router, the downside is Sim Card can only be used by one device. In order to share the data, you have to open your personal hot spot which drains the battery really fast. So if you are travelling in a group and you prefer everyone to have data, WIFI router is still the best option.

For more information on the location of the Telecom counters in Taiwan Airport and the various data packages provided by the 2 Taiwan Telecom, you can refer to this guide.  

Upon arriving at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, we proceed to buy the bus tickets from the bus counters at the Airport. You might be confuse by the many bus counters as each bus brings you to a different place. It is best to double check with the bus counter operators if their bus will bring you to your destination before buying the tickets. Our hotel is located very near Taipei Main Station and so we took the Guo Guang bus which took us directly to Taipei Main Station. 

Guo Guang bus from Taoyuan International Airport to Taipei Main Station -
Fare: 125NT per person
Bus Interval: 15-20mins
Bus Journey: approximately 1 hour

Queuing up for Guo Guang bus
We check in to our hotel:
Main Inn Taipei
Add: 2F, No. 12, Lane 21, Zhengzhou Road, Datong District, 103 Taipei, Taiwan 
6 mins walk from Taipei main station, walk through the Taipei underground mall, exit Y13. It's just very near to the exit.
A down side of this hotel is that it is located on the second floor and the steps are quite steep and narrow. It's quite dangerous when you still have a bulky luggage to carry up and down. I won't recommend this hotel if you have elderly travelling with you as they might have problems climbing the stairs. Nonetheless, the service is good, staff is friendly and the room is modern and clean.

Our hotel is near to Ningxia night market and hence, that's our first stop!

Ningxia Night Market

Add: Ningxia Rd, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan 103

It's fun looking how they cooked the beef cubes. It's quite tasty but the beef cubes were not as tender and soft as I thought it should be. Most of the night markets have this. 

Nice as always. I like Taiwan's 臭豆腐!
啊宗面线 still the nicest!

Yummy! Long queue but must try! Glutinous rice stuffed in squid. This will be a very filling dish though.
Muah Chee Ice. Special and yummy. Nice to have a bowl in a hot day!
上引水产 Addiction Aquatic Co. Ltd
台北市民族东路410巷2弄18号, zhong shan district.
Opening hours: 0600 to 2400.
Getting there: Nearest MRT station – 行天宫站 OR 中山国中站, then walk another 15mins or 1.3km.
行天宫站: Take bus 642, 3 stops; 中山国中站: take bus 74, 5 stops

Prices are quite steep here. You will have proper seats if you dine at the restaurants. If you decide to just buy food from the counter, like us, you will have to find seats yourself. When we were there, it's very crowded, we could not find a table and have to eat while standing.

Raohe Street Night Market
Nearest train station: Song Shan

Jelly stick!

This was so nice! It's crispy on the outside and when I put in my mouth, the fragrance milk just flowed out. Tasty and special! 

Very juicy chicken thigh. It's quite fattening though as you have to eat it together with the chicken skin that's wrap around the meat.
There were many stalls selling grilled squid in various night markets. It's a tad salty as they sprinkle too much seasoning on the squid. The best grilled squid I have eaten was at Qi Jin in Kao Hsiung. Check out my post on Kao Hsiung!

Talking about foodie in Taipei, how can we miss out the all time favourite, 阿宗面线 at Ximending!There were long queues no matter what time of the day.

Check out my other posts on other parts of Taiwan!