Archive | June 2014

Rock Formation at Ye Liu, Taiwan

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Many people told me that Ye Liu in Taiwan is overrated and extremely touristy but since most of us have not been there, I thought we should go see it on our own.

My conclusion? It is an interesting place but yes, it is really too touristy. In order to take picture with the famous Queen Head, there is a line to queue and it is guarded by a staff.

As I’m a geography student during ‘O’ levels, all natural phenomenon is interesting to me! Haha. From most of the pictures I saw, I expected the area to be sandy and muddy. But surprisingly, all the brownish ground is hard and solid. No slushy and sandy ground.
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This is not the queen but one of the princesses I think.

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It is beautiful if you can just enjoy the place and ignore the crowd. Our tour guide driver also pointed out two fossils on the ground. As these formations were under seawater million years ago, you can see some interesting fossils of creatures/plants.

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Lomo’Instant Camera by Lomography on Kickstarter

I used to own a Diana Mini Lomo camera until I spoiled it. I had trouble changing and putting on new films, often left the unfinished films in the camera and got really lazy to send the films in to develop into photos. I love the vintage and whimsical look but really dread taking pictures randomly just so I can quickly send them in to develop into photos. It also cost a lot to develop films nowadays and there were so many damaged or overexposure ones which I can no longer retake.

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I’ve heard of the Lomo’Instant Camera by Lomography on Kickstarter in May 2014 in a video but it never occur to me that I can pledge a sum and sort of pre-order one! It was only until last night when Alphania shared with me and I am so glad she did!

I no longer have to wait to develop a lomo picture and no longer have to take random pictures just to complete the film! The camera will have lomo effect but on a Instax print!

I love the idea of Kickstarter where creators try to raise funds and get people to pledge some money and if the goal is reached, the creator will then use the money and make it happen. It is an interesting way to fund individuals or projects which may not be materialized without the funds. There is definitely some risks in funding these projects as it may all go down the drain should the project fails.

But Lomography being a reputable company for making lomo cameras, many were sold with their latest project! They aim to raise USD 1 million and they reached the goal last night! If you wish to support this project and secure one of the cameras, you have less than 45 hours to go! If you support them through this project, you can get free FREE Close-Up lens, selfie mirror, colour lens, and camera strap! All because they hit the various milestones in their fundraising!  They aim to deliver the product by end November 2014 and I am keeping my fingers crossed! I got the San Remo one! Pretty!

If you are living in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, instead of paying USD 25 for shipping and handling, you will only need to pay USD 15. I almost missed out on this until Alph told me. Read up here on how to do that. If you didn’t managed to get a package which comes with Fisheye and Portrait lens, you can add them for USD 30. Read up here.

 

 

Hua Shan Creative Park 1914, Taipei, Taiwan

It has been 2 weeks since I last blog and I really need to stop procrastinating and get down to penning down my Taiwan trip before I forget them!

In this post, we went to Hua Shan Creative Park 1914 in Taipei, Taiwan! I really love this place because of the vibe, it is a place where creativity flows where there were many interesting exhibits. But we went with my parents which is not the best company for modern art. Haha. We arrived too early and most of the shops/exhibits/flea market stalls only open after 11am – 12pm!

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While exiting the nearest train station, spotted these mosaic walls of a primary school. So pretty!

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If you see this structure, you are almost there!

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Isn’t this beautiful! The entrance of Hua Shan Creative Park 1914, it used to be a wine factory but was later converted to a creative space where there were galleries, exhibits and events.

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There was a beer event but tickets were sold out before the event day!

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A cute little tea house.

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Ignoring my failed attempt in having a creative pose, did you notice the root of the tree is surrounding the door frame?

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There were a few free exhibits but my favourite would be the one featuring art done by Aboriginals.

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There are a few gift shops and stores selling unique items too!

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I love all flea markets and especially those with handmade crafts and we are lucky to chance upon one there!

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Bought some of these pretty bands!

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Really pretty leather crafts but they are too pricey for my pocket.

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This store is my favourite! Timetraveler 1888 makes clocks which are laser cut from vinyl records. I got one for myself featuring Wizard of Oz but I really fell in love with the above cat one! But too bad I’m not quite a cat person (CW, you will probably love it!). The clock is really fragile and I got to handcarry them home! I got mine at close to SGD 68!

Cycling Around Family Owned Farms in Hualien, Taiwan

When on a holiday, I love wandering around and exploring the area in bicycle/scooter! When we were told that the Flower Happiness Bed & Breakfast in Hualien provides bicycle for us to ride around, we were thrilled! We made an effort to wake up early and went cycling around the various family owned farms!

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This is the view we get when we step out from our room the next morning! Wow!

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Early morning without makeup and extremely chirpy! Haha.

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Various lettuces and local greens! Most of the fruits and vegetables found in Hualien are locally farmed. According to the tour guide driver, he shared that when the Japanese colonize Taiwan, the people were given only 2 main topics to study on, agriculture or medicine. A lot of them took up agriculture and that explains why Taiwan fruits and vegetables are highly sought after internationally just like Japanese’s fruits and vegetables! We tried many of their fruits in Taiwan and there were so deliciously sweet! Yums.

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Chatted with one of the locals and found out that he once worked in Malaysia before! He had great impression of Singapore and love our stable political scene, clean and secure environment! I have to agree with him!

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I got permission to take picture with the zucchini he planted! Should have bought some from him! Fresh zucchini for breakfast. Haha.

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Isn’t it beautiful! I love rice paddy fields! You will noticed that there are many graves up on the hill and while cycling, we explored a little too far and found ourselves in a graveyard. Nothing eerie happened but I was uneasy with the idea of cycling in there and got out pretty quickly.

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Spoke to another farmer and he was upset that the tomatoes he farmed got sick and died.

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Sneaked into another unattended farm to take picture of melons!

Flower Happiness Bed & Breakfast, Hualien, Taiwan

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Flower Happiness Bed & Breakfast (website)in Hualien is another Minsu stay which left a great impression! The rooms are spacious, prettily decorated and clean and the air is clean because it is in an area with lots of family owned farms! The best of all, we were served with desserts and coffee/tea once when we got there and their Tiramisu is good! Love their homemade porridge breakfast too. They even provide bicycles for us to ride around the neighbourhood! Wee!

The only issue we had is that in general, Hualien has lots of mosquito during summer. RAWR. Haha.

Here are the pictures!

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Model Piano perfect for phototaking!

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The bicycles are not in the best conditions with some rust and all, but it worked fine for us!

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The owner is building another Mushroom house to expand his Minsu business!

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Where we had our high tea!

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High Tea Desserts!

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Breakfast area!

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Simple and light breakfast!

This is one of the rooms we got, it is a room for 4 but was available so we got upgraded!

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It is so spacious that my sister and I did yoga at night in the room! Haha.

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This is the other room!

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Came with a tub and slightly more fancy!

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The view we all got! Mountains everywhere and clean fresh air! Will share in the next post on our cycling adventure!

Alishan National Scenic Area, Taiwan

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The forest walk in Alishan National Scenic Area is another highlight of our trip! I love walking among these magical trees where many of them are more than thousands of years old!

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2170 metres above sea level, the weather was perfect except a few showers / drizzles during our walk. Haha.

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Took a mini bus ride from Alishan carpark to the forest walk entrance and walked past this pretty train station!

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The forest behind me looks like a scene out of Harry Potter / Twilight! Haha.

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We walked for a couple of hours and thankfully the boardwalks made the walk enjoyable and manageable.

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A small old school suspension bridge!

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The magic about these trees is how they grow in different shapes!

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Trees above a few thousand years old are considered sacred and they build a couple of tomb like monuments for those trees which died.

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Beautiful pond in the forest.

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Minsu: 歐風小鎮, Europe Villa, Cingjing, Taiwan

I have so many pictures and posts to share on my Taiwan trip but I can’t find enough energy to share them! I do hope I can share them all before my Hanoi trip in July! Rawr!

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So in this post, I will be sharing my favourite place we stayed during our trip. All of our hotels and Minsu (homestay) are planned and booked by our Tour Guide Driver and this one, Europe Villa, in particular is my favourite!

Minsu, homestay, in Taiwan comes in all themes and sizes and even though it is mostly run by families, they can be so well run that it feels like a hotel!

This Minsu is really beautiful and I love the cottage theme decor! The staffs are extremely helpful and friendly and the rooms are really comfortable and clean! The location of the Minsu is up in the mountains in Cingjing and the air and view are terrific! Two thumbs up!

We only reach this Minsu at night and at first upon entering this place, it seems a little spooky but when in the morning, it was breathtaking!

The photos doesn’t do it justice! Trust me on this, this place is the best! Haha.

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The flowers are fresh ones!

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There were three bedrooms allocated to us and each on various levels from ground to third level. We were forced allocated the room on the third level but in the end, we were rewarded with a fake fire place which flickers like the real deal! Haha. The other two rooms in the other levels came with a boring electric heater but ours flickers!

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Spot the little details of their Cottage logo everywhere!

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This is the view we got at the balcony! On the far right, you can see the most expensive Minsu, approximately S$630 per night for their cheapest suite. It is the The Old England which looks like a castle!

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We woke up early for breakfast and a walk around the place!

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This is our only western breakfast in our trip! Most of our breakfast served in other hotels are porridges and we were just so sick of it! This breakfast was definitely welcomed and the small homemade butter roll is to die for! Yums!

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Spot the little cottage logo again! It is the shape of the overall building.

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The lobby of this place is so pretty too!

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Exploring the secret garden.