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Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village, Taiwan

During our Taiwan trip, we also visited Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village (九族文化村) which is a small theme park in the middle of a hill and accessible via car or cable car from Sun Moon Lake.

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The cable car ride from Sun Moon Lake is a treat in itself! Look at the view!

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The park is not very big and can be completed in half a day. The highlight of this park is the performance put up to display on aboriginal culture.

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There are all shapes and sizes of butt cheeks here! Tight and firm ones and those a little bouncy and saggy ones.

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Look at all the colourful tribal costume, such a beautiful sight!

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Next to the stage, there is this iconic statue. Heh. A symbol of fertility.

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You can also give the blowpipe shooting a try for a fee!

Another part of the village is the replica of the various aboriginal house. It’s interesting to see the different designs of the aboriginal home and it is different and similar at the same time.

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Owl!

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The guys having free play with the drums!

At various spots, there are gift shops and also staff demonstrating craftmaking.

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This lady is making glass beads.

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This old lady is weaving some place mats.

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Such beautiful colours!

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There are also some aboriginal snacks for sale. Like this bamboo rice!

After walking through the aboriginal village, the other section of the theme park is the theme park rides. There aren’t many exciting rides and most of the rides seem like it is back from the 80s.

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After visiting the theme park, you can also pop by the Lavender Garden! Even though we missed the cherry blossom season, we were in time for lavender!

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It is a beautiful garden which is perfect for photo taking. We braved the drizzle for photos but had to give up when the rain turns to heavy showers!

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Lavender! Tadah!

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Bowl Rice Cake and Fort Provintia, Tainan, Taiwan

In the evening, after visiting Fort Zeelandia and eating a whole lot, we went to eat another must eat in Tainan! Tainan is famous for their street food, and other than Bean Jelly and Oysters, another must eat is the Bowl Rice Cake.

We had the bowl rice cake at Sen Maw Rice Food (森茂碗粿) which has a branch at a short walk to Fort Provintia (赤崁分店). It is really tasty and a little like Singapore’s Chwee Kueh but a whole lot tastier.

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You can also add various condiments and sauces to it.

Another must eat is the Coffin Bread but we were too full to try it. There are a few bread store next to the rice cake store.

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There after, we visited Fort Provintia, and it was another Fort with a different vibe compared to Fort Zeelandia.

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It is a lot more Chinese influence and now, it also house a temple for students! Students of all ages will pay the entrance fee just to pray to this God which grants good grades to student.

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Visiting Fort Provintia at night is perfect, with the breezy weather and the fort all lighted up.

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Tong Ji Anping Bean Jelly & Fort Zeelandia, Anping, Tainan, Taiwan

I’m back to sharing on my Taiwan Trip, yes, after almost two months, there are still many locations which I’ve yet to share! You can read more about the various tourist attractions in Taiwan over here!

In this post, I will be sharing on one of the must eat in Tainan! Other than the oysters, there is also the amazingly smooth Tong Ji Anping Bean Jelly (同记安平豆花)!

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It is the best Bean Jelly I’ve tried, and if you love red bean or green bean, you will fall in love with this! I am now drooling just thinking about this!

After having the bean jelly, you can also drop by Fort Zeelandia, it is a small fort and a short walk about around it. The fort is build in the 16th century by the Dutch East India Company.

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Part of the original wall which remains.

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A small area displaying the excavation portion of the fort.

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The fort which has been restored.

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The original canon.

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Zhong She Flower Market 中社花市, Tai Chung, Taiwan

When in Tai Chung, we visited Zhong She Flower Market, even though we visited before last year, it is still a charming sight! It was a crazy warm day and we didn’t spend much time here, but look how the photos turn out! The clear cloudless blue sky!

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Lavender Cottage, Sinshe, Taiwan

In Taiwan, there are many places like these where owners buy over the land and created gardens and parks with a theme. This is one of the first few which started the trend.

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This Lavender Cottage is set up by two young Taiwanese girls who got tired of their rat race and decided to find a place with greater fulfillment. With a love for Lavender, they opened up a place planted with lavender flowers and a cafe. Once you step into the cafe, you will be able to smell the aromatic lavender scent. You can also buy lavender soaps and other lavender scented products.

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They also showed a sample of the decor of their Lavender cottage room. They have other locations where they offered accommodation.

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A small hill filled with Lavender!

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Mmmmm. Can you smell it?

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There is also a small carousel next to the hill! How whimsical!

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So cute!

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Further up to the top of the hill, you can pen down your wishes too!

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Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Throw back to our Taiwan trip (you can read on here), we also visited Kaohsiung and one of their unique landmark is their Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, 龍虎塔 at the Lotus lake.

At the Lotus lake, it is famous for its profusion of temples, there are the Confucius Temple, Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions around the lake.

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It reminded me a little of our Haw Par Villa. We only visited the landmark Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and entrance to the pagodas are free. It is a nice place for photo taking and a quick stroll.

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You can choose to go up the pagoda to have a nice view of the other pagodas in the area.

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What a pretty sight!

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Just opposite the entrance of the Pagodas, we stopped by a small towel souvenir shop and got some cute baby bibs for my little friends.

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Carton King @ Cingjing and random shop @ Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Back to random posts on Taiwan, one of the interesting shops which you can get souvenirs is at Carton King. As it’s name suggests, all the items in this shop is made of carton or paper! We were supposed to visit the sheep at Cingjing farm but it was raining in the morning and we had to seek refuge at Carton King which is also at Cingjing.

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Little house made of carton.

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Little carton animals in a mini zoo.

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Various city highlights made of paper!

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Benches made of carton which can hold my weight!

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Guess which one I pick!

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I love rocking horse! They even have one for children and I saw a nice Dad lugging it back for his child.

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These are my favourites! Musical Box! But the prices at Carton King is the most expensive, they marked up above the usual recommended selling price. I bought one and found that a shop in Sun Moon Lake is selling it cheaper! I resisted to get another one but when I went to a old street I found it on sale! In the end, I got another one for myself. OMG. Cute wooden stuff is one of my Kryptonite.

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Look at these! They are adorable and original creation from a Taiwanese under the label – Wooderful Life.

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In the end, I got these from Carton King for my future imaginary home! Haha.

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This is featuring Alishan!

These are the ones from a pretty shop at Sun Moon Lake!

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Sky Lanterns at Ping Xi, Taiwan

A lot of visitors who tour Taipei will also pop by Ping Xi area as it is a few hours drive away. Many years ago, I once release Sky Lanterns at night at Ping Xi, even though releasing sky lanterns at night is more magical as the glow from the lantern is more obvious, releasing sky lanterns in the day is much more festive! There were a lot of people there in the day and many shops too! Unlike in the evening where all shops are closed and there aren’t as many people.

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We picked a lantern which has 4 colours, and it costs us NT$200 (SG$9), there are those which is single colour at NT$150 or 8 colours at NT$350.

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Minsu: 日月潭山季花園民宿, Nantou

Staying in 民宿 (minsu, homestay) is part of enjoying Taiwan’s hospitality culture and this uprising of ownership and entrepreneurship. Unlike AirB&B where you may be staying in a room next to the owner, a lot of these minsu are professionally managed with a touch of homely feel. In my last year’s trip to Taiwan, we stayed in 歐風小鎮 (Europe Villa) at Cingjing and Flower Happiness Bed & Breakfast at Hualien. In this trip, we stayed in 歐風小鎮 (Europe Villa) again to the delight of his family!

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We also tried out a new Minsu which is driving distance to Sun Moon Lake and 九族文化村 (Aboriginal Village Theme Park) at Nantou.日月潭山季花園民宿 is another pretty minsu with a huge huge garden! Whenever I stay in a minsu in Taiwan, it made me want to sell off all assets in Singapore and setup a minsu in Taiwan too! I will then daydream hosting people from all around the world! Haha.

Here are some pictures for you to daydream too!

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They even kept a fat turkey in here! I hope it’s not to fatten up for Thanksgiving Dinner! Haha.

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Theres also a little hut for their 3 cats!

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Two of their cats.

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After taking a quick morning stroll at their garden, breakfast lovingly prepared by the owner is waiting for us! Look at the amount of food!

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Look at that the huge garden behind us! I hope AirB&B can be legalize in Singapore and I can rent out 1 room in my imaginary future home to people visiting Singapore! Haha.

Sicao Green Tunnel (四草綠色隧道), Tainan

In Tainan, other than feasting oyster after a learning boat trip, and drinking coffee after squeezing through those narrow doors, there are many other places to visit! However, most of the places doesn’t take up a lot of time and thankfully, we got a tour guide driver who can drop up and pick us up at whenever we need!

I enjoyed this short boat ride in Sicao Green Tunnel. It is a romantic ride and a picturesque green tunnel where it is formed by the mangrove tree naturally. Friends who loves photo-taking will love this place! One tip, get in the queue early to get a front row seat to get the best view. Otherwise, get the last row seat, you also get many chance to take beautiful pictures of the trees meeting together forming a tunnel and the reflection on the river. Wow. A simple ride but beautiful ride. Even though I don’t quite remember the names of the 4 types of mangrove tree introduced as it is all in Mandarin.

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According to Travel King, here is a short excerpt:-

“Sihcao Green Tunnel in Tainan was once a salt canal. 750 meters long and 20 meters wide, the canal was used to transport salt products from the drying field to the storage back in the days. The rich habitat of the mangrove the canal cuts through is the wetland environment with the most variety of species and plants in Taiwan. It is now organized into a tourism canal for visitors to examine and experience this well reserved wetland.

…The Sihcao Green Tunnel takes you into the canal to examine closely to the plants and the species along the way. The 30 minute raft ride through the well preserved mangrove with greeneries covering the sides and rare species resting randomly in the woods is very relaxing.” – Travel King

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The hat is provided for sun fearing people but a fear of head lice prevented me from taking one. Heh.

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This boat is called a raft and it has it’s own reason. Because the boat does not have proper seats. We were all sitting on a stool! Haha.

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Can you spot little crabs at the side? It’s white and orange!

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This is the best picture I took and I had to risk hitting my head on some branches! Haha.

Narrow Door Cafe 窄門咖啡, Tainan

After the crazy oyster feasting at Cigu Lagoon (you can read in my previous post here), lunch is far from our mind but we certainly didn’t mind stopping by for coffee and thus made an impromptu stopover at a cafe. For our cafe loving Singaporeans, this cafe will be a novelty not because of their coffee but because of where it is location.

Hole-in-the-wall cafes like these aren’t many in Singapore, especially not one stuck in an old building. This cafe, Narrow Door Cafe, has the narrowest entrance to a cafe I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t notice, you may walk right past it without realizing it.

NARROW DOOR CAFE 窄門咖啡

2F, No. 67, Nánmén Rd
Zhongxi District, Tainan City, Taiwan
臺灣臺南市中西區南門路67號2樓

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This is the entrance, right there, and in a way, it is also unofficially discriminating people on the not so skinny side. We walked in holding our breathe and sucking our stomach for fear of an unimaginable embarrassing moment or worst, scoring an abrasion on our fat arms.

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The entrance is not wider than half a metre and undoubtedly, such location will not pass the test of our SCDF (Singapore Civil Defense Force), can you imagine what will happen if there’s a fire? Haha.

But nonetheless, it is an interesting find!

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Oyster Farm Tour in Cigu Lagoon, Tainan (七股潟湖龍海號+烤蚵)

In this trip, we visited Tainan and unlike Taipei, Tainan is laid-back and you hardly see much vehicles or people on the street. We visited many places in Tainan but the highlight was definitely the tour to the oyster farm in Cigu Lagoon!
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We took the Long Hai Hao Raft where they tour around the living habitat of the Taiwan oysters!

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The boat captain invited some passengers for hands on experience!

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You see that ball of rock looking stuff? That’s how they farm the oysters in the Lagoon! When you pull them out, TADAH, there are a whole lot more below the first ball!

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This is followed by the much anticipated oyster feast!

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The oysters are smaller than those farmed in Australia and even though I am not much of an oyster fan, I stuffed more than 15 oysters in my face. They were so fresh that by eating it as it is after a simple grill over charcoal brings you on an oyster high. BBQ Oyster with a little Wasabi is my favourite!

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Slurps. I’m salivating right now.

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We also ordered a grilled fish which the staff helped grill to perfection! This was one of the meals which we really eat our hearts out!

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For a mere NT $ 330, which translate to slightly over SGD 14, we had unlimited supply of oysters for an hour. Don’t understand that 1 hour, one of us armed with 2 cans of Heineken, ate almost close to 50 oysters.

Yang Min Shan: Calla Lily Season and Xiao You Keng

Comparing to 2014 Taiwan trip with my family, there are about 40% places of interest which are repeated compared to this year’s itinerary. Hence, I will not be sharing the places by Day but by some of my favourite places which we didn’t visit last year. If you are keen to find out where we visited last year and this year, just go click here.

During our trip in April 2015, we visited Yang Ming Shan, a dormant volcano, which is in the vicinity of Taipei. Even though we missed the cherry blossom season by a month, we are blessed to be right there in the middle of Calla Lily Season!

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Calla Lily season starts from March to May and it is where many Calla Lily farms open up the area to the public at Bamboo Lake (Zhu Zi Hu). The owner of the farms reaps most of their business within these 2 – 3 months, harvesting Calla Lily and collecting entrance fee. There are some farms which open to public and earn by selling the flowers. Visitors can pay NT 100 for X number of Calla Lily handpicked by the visitors. As for the farm we went, we paid NT 150 but the farm do not allow visitor to pick the Calla Lily to ensure there are a lot more for viewing. Out of the NT 150 entrance fee, NT 100 can be used to buy flowers already prepared for sale or for food and drinks. The reason why we picked this farm is because we went during the mid season and because of their strictly no picking rules, they have a lot of lilies left unlike those farm which allow visitors to pick them.

For once, this place looks better than it is here in photos!

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Gosh, I look like I’ve got a beer belly in this picture. Heh.

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On top of visiting Calla lilies at Yang Ming Shan, we also popped by Xiao You Keng which is a small area where you can smell sulphur and witness hot steam coming out from the ground! It reminded me of Hell Valley in Hokkaido which we visited last year! It stinks really bad.

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Brr, it’s extremely cold and windy. Look at my awkward smile. GAH.

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Self Planned 11 Days 10 Night Taiwan Family Tour Itinerary

I’m back! It has been three months since I last blogged, like huh?! Where did those three months went? I just came back from an 11 days 10 night self planned road trip to Taiwan and I’ve a lot to share!

Similar to last year’s trip to Taiwan with my family, we engaged the same guy who is our tour guide/driver/ part time photographer for our trip, Mr Chen Zhong Xi (Xiao Xi)!

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We shared with him on some of the locations we intended to visit, while he planned the rest of the itinerary, proposed the hotels and recommended various local dishes to eat along the way. For his service, we paid him NT$ 61,500 (approx SGD 2,700) for the 11 days of transport in a mini van for 6 of us! He is definitely not the cheapest driver around because is also a licensed tour guide and a photography enthusiast.

He is not a chatty person, but someone who is reserved, responsible and yet sincere. So if you are looking for someone to plan your itinerary for your family and drive you around Taiwan, you can contact him! He can communicate in English via email and whatsapp too! Find more of his details in the file or drop me a note.

Here is the itinerary for our trip! –> Taiwan Trip _Finalv2

Drop me a mail if you can’t seem to download the file, I can email it to you. If you follow my older posts, here is the post on the itinerary for our last trip back in 2014.

Just click on the Taiwan tab under Category on the right, and you can see more details and attractions of various sites!

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正纪念堂), Taipei, Taiwan

I am in so much trouble, there are still so many backlog posts for my Taiwan trip and I am traveling to Hanoi on 26 July and Hokkaido in 31 July! We are also planning a Tioman trip in September! Haha. Our friends are teasing us and asking if we are changing our job to full time traveler and how I wished that’s true.

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Back to sharing on our Taiwan trip! We decided to wake up early one morning to visit Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall since our hotel  (Hotel 73) in Taipei is only 5 minutes walk away!

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Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正纪念堂) is a famous monument, landmark and tourist attraction erected in memory of Chiang Kai-shek, former President of the Republic of China. It is open and free entrance to public between 9am to 6pm.

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We decided to head there before 9am to witness the grand opening of the bronze door and the entrance of the guard and guard changing performance. The usual guard changing happens every hour but the opening is a performance not to be missed!

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ABRACADABRA! TADAH!

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After watching the opening performance and taking the obligatory picture with Mr Chiang, we headed down to their art and history exhibition hall which is also free and open to public!

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Self Planned 9 Days 8 Nights Taiwan Family Tour Itinerary

I’ve got one reader who stumbled upon my blog and am asking about my Taiwan trip which I planned for the family! It will take me a long while before I share on all the sights and places we have visited so I’ve decided to share the itinerary and details of our trip over here! It includes all the costing, hotels, tour guide driver and flight details. Yes, I know it looks like an official and professional itinerary, I am just in love and crazy about planning our holiday! Haha. It is probably good to share them here and for my own future reference as well!

Let me know if you choose to download the document and find it useful! If there are any interesting sights which I missed out during this trip, do share as well! I may go back to Taiwan next year or the year after!

Download my Self Planned Itinerary here -> Taiwan Trip 10 – 18 May

I got feedback that some of you is unable to download the excel file of the Taiwan Itinerary. Here is the PDF version. Hopefully you are able to download. Otherwise, you can send me an email to request for it. :)

Download my Self Planned Itinerary in PDF version here -> Taiwan Trip 10 – 18 May (1)

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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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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10 Jun, 2014 4:52 pm

Breakfast area!

photo2

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!

10 Jun, 2014 4:52 pm

10 Jun, 2014 4:52 pm

10 Jun, 2014 4:52 pm

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

10 Jun, 2014 4:52 pm

This is the other room!

10 Jun, 2014 4:52 pm

10 Jun, 2014 4:53 pm

10 Jun, 2014 4:53 pm

Came with a tub and slightly more fancy!

10 Jun, 2014 4:51 pm

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