Friday, November 17, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - 黃慶果園民宿-陽光四人房 (CingJing)

When I was searching for accommodation in CingJing, it took me ages as there are many gorgeous homestay offering scenic view! After reading multiple reviews online, checking out the location and comparing the prices, I decided on 黃慶果園民宿. Probably not a common or popular option but it was a decision that we did not regret.

Prior to our trip, I emailed to 黃慶果園民宿 multiple times to make enquiries and am happy that they replied to me promptly without pushing me to make my booking. 黃慶果園 has 4 houses offering different room types, suitable for couples and families. Pricing is rather reasonable according to your needs and budget. During peak period, rooms do get filled up quickly.

As we are staying in CingJing (清境) for 2 nights, I decided to book 2 different rooms just for the experience.

Sunshine Room (陽光四人房) was our home for the first night on the highland. Priced at NTD3300 (~S$150), this room is a GEM! The room is not only big but cozy and homely. Natural wood furnishing from the walls, floors to the ceilings.

2 big beds just nice for our family. 

Sofa facing the full length window for the entire family to wind down, relax and enjoy the setting/rising sun. 

Lots of light entering the room. 

I was mesmerized by the full length window view which extended towards the ceiling. Not only can you see the mountains and blue sky in the day, we have the luxury of star gazing in the night at the comfort of our room.

If you wish to have some privacy, simply wind down the shade or draw up the curtains in the room.

View from our bedroom.

View of the toilet. Separation of wet and dry area. 

Fresh persimmon fruit to welcome our stay

Outside of our room. We stayed on the ground floor and there are other units on level 2.

There are also BBQ pits outside

To get to our room, we have to climb a flight of stairs up. Good exercise for us but not so fun when we are with our luggage. 

Night view

Its a cooling night and the children have their gadgets to keep themselves entertained. 

As the night falls, I took the golden opportunity to star gaze while resting by the couch. This is the first time I see so many stars! Am so happy that we made the right choice to stay in 黃慶果園民宿.

More about 黃慶果園民宿 on our next post.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Summary Notes:
- Free Wifi
- Window view (depends on room type)
- Flooring - Wood
- Water Flask - available
- Hair Dryer - not available
- Phone - not available
- Mini Fridge - not available

- Bath towels are provided
- Combined Toilet and Shower room
- Water Heater available.
- Disposable toothbrush/toothpaste provided

Address: 南投縣仁愛鄉大同村仁和路217-3號
Website: http://www.homestay.com.tw/

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - FengJia Night Market (逢甲夜市)

If you are staying in Taichung, then you cannot miss going to Feng Jia/Feng Chia (逢甲夜市) night market. It is one of the largest and most popular night markets in Taiwan. Warning : You definitely need to empty your stomach and set aside some time to walk through the entire night market.

After admiring the beautiful sunset at Gaomei Wetlands, our driver drove us to FengJia Night Market. It was already bustling with crowd at 6.30pm hence parents do keep a look out of your little ones.

FengJia Night Market is located near Feng Jia University. Hence apart from yummy-licious local street food, it is also a shopping heaven where you can find trendy and great shopping deals.

Spanning across a few streets and into the alleys, you can satisfy your shopping desires and tummy at an affordable price at Feng Jia Night Market.

Food stalls lined up at both sides of the street and we were overwhelmed with choices. To make our selection easier, we decided to go for the food stalls with longer queues and local street food that is appealing to us.

We spotted the renowned nitrogen snack ball (aka Dragon's Breath) in Taiwan. Though I was a little skeptical on the safety then, we were thankful not to get any frost bite by listening to the instructions on how to consume it carefully.

Crispy biscuits and balls are tossed in liquid nitrogen. When customer consume the dessert, liquid nitrogen creates the effect of smoke coming out of the mouth and nose. Out of curiosity, we bought a cup just to try.

Honestly speaking, it does not taste fantastic, but I guess it was fun seeing the smoke emitting from the mouth.

I guess if you see a long queue that signifies that the food should be rather tasty or popular. We strategically have hubby queue for this 按摩雞排 (Aka massage chicken) which is very famous in Feng Jia Night Market. Unlike the other chicken cutlets, the meat is not coated with flour before deep frying. Also, as the name suggest, the chicken meat undergoes a massage process to make it more soft and tender. After deep frying, it is then charcoal grilled.

We bought 2 boxes to try and the meat is tender and juicy. It feels less oily and because no flour is coated, hence you get to taste the true flavour of the entire chicken meat. It is nice to savour especially on a cold night. 

Just a few stalls away, we spotted another long queue forming and this time I took on the line while the children went ahead to check out what is causing the craze. It turns out that I was queuing for Aniki Poteto (老大薯條). Known to be the longest french fries (about 30cm) in the world,  you can choose different sauce to go with the fries. (Seaweed, Thai Sauce, Caesar Salad, Wasabi, Honey mustard, Thousand island dressing, Ketchup, Spiced salt)

We picked the wasabi flavour and its really shiok to eat the super long fries as we continue our walk to find more food.

Another must eat at FengJia Night Market is Mr.Bolo (菠羅先生)Bolo bao (菠羅包) is very common in Hong Kong but the owner of this shop at FengJia Night Market has perfect the making of the buns and its very popular. Place your order and prepare to wait patiently for your buns to be ready.

You can choose to order the buns only or go for their bun + milk tea set. There is a variety of selection on the menu and we could not decide what to pick! Finally, we had the original butter slice, cheese and chocolate butter flavour. The buns tasted SOOOOoooo good that we wished we had ordered more! This is definitely my favourite and must eat at Fengjia.

Smelly toufu is pretty common in Taiwan night markets and our girl loves it a lot. She always ask us to get her a packet when we spotted one. 

Stalls selling stir fry meat can be seen at many places and we also orderd one packet to try.

Another long line of crowd queuing for sweet potato balls (地瓜球). How can we miss it and there we go again, getting ourselves more snacks to bring back to the hotel.  

Papaya milk shake is one of the popular drink in Taiwan, hence we have to order the beverage to check it off our to-drink list. Apart from their signature drink, City Milk also has yogurt series, juice and healthy drinks on the menu.

Besides finding good eats, Fengjia Night Market is also a great place to shop. 

There are so much more to explore in Fengjia but unfortunately we were pretty tired out after a full day tour around Taichung. Still, we managed to spend a good 3.5 hours at the night market before making our way back to 53 Hotel to call it off for the night.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

FengJia Night Market (逢甲夜市)
Location: Xitun District, Taichung, Taiwan 
(across Wen Hua road, Fengjia Road, Fuxing Road and Xitun Road)
Date of visit: Nov 2016

Monday, November 13, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - 53 Hotel (宝岛53行馆) - Taichung

When we initially planned to stay in Taichung for 1 night, I searched for hotels that are conveniently located near the train station (in case we need to travel on our own). 53 Hotel (宝岛53行馆) is strategically located near Taichung Railway Station which is about 10 minutes walk away and I made my booking without second thoughts.

Nearer to the date of travel, I secured transport to take us to & fro to the hotel and realised I should find a hotel that is nearer to Fengjia Night Market instead. Since it was rather late to make the change, we decided to go ahead our stay with 53 Hotel, which didn't disappoint us at all.

Through Expedia.com, we booked a Family Room at NTD$2658 (~SGD115) that comes with 2 double beds. Quite a big difference compared to the published rate of NTD 6000 on their website.

The reception staff at 53 Hotel was very polite and attended to us warmly. As we were in a rush to visit other places of interest, we deposit our luggage at the reception area and they kindly helped us to transfer our luggage into our hotel rooms when we returned late that night.

Long sofa near the lift lobby. A comfortable place to rest in the midst of waiting.

Guests who need some quiet time can come to the relaxation zone to take a break or read a book.

For those who like to do some workout, there is a Fitness Center at Basement 1. 

We have prepared to wash our laundry in Taiwan and I am delighted that 53 Hotel has its very own self-service laundry room.  Washing machine and dryers are available and if you need laundry detergent, it will cost NTD$30.

It was near mid-night when I was at the laundry room and all the machines are available for use! I was able to return to my room and drop by to check again later. Clearing all our dirty laundry and having extra clean sets of clothes at end of Day 2 is comforting as we do not need to pack many clothes for our trip to start with.

Let's take a look at the rooms.

Room is brightly lighted and clean. 

Fit with 42' LCD TV, there is an electronic safe and most importantly, free WIFI.

Ample space in the toilet and shower room and it comes with basic amenities.

It was a pity we did not have enough time to explore the area around 53 Hotel.  第一广场 is minutes walk away and the renowned Miyahara (宮原眼科) is located directly opposite of the hotel but it was closed when we returned. I guess time is never enough when it comes to travelling.

Otherwise, I love the cozy and chic interior design of 53 Hotel. which gives travelers like our family a relaxing and peaceful stay.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Summary Notes:
- Free Wifi
- Air-condition
- Window view - depends on room type
- Flooring - Laminate
- Water Flask - available
- Safety Box - available
- Hair Dryer - available
- Phone - available
- Mini Fridge - not available

- Bath towels are provided
- Combined Toilet and Shower room
- Water Heater available.
- Disposable toothbrush/toothpaste provided

53 Hotel (宝岛53行馆)
Address: No.27, Zhongshan Rd., Central Dist., Taichung City 400, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Website: http://www.53hotel.com.tw/
Date of Stay : Nov 2016

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Carton King Creativity Park @ Taichung (紙箱王創意園區)

Carton King (紙箱王) has built its reputation over the years with outlets around different districts in Taiwan and even China. As the name implies, cartons/corrugated cardboard are transformed creatively into beautiful artworks that you cannot even imagine! From animal sculptures, flowers to architectures and even furniture and dining equipment that you can actually sit/use!

While there are branches in Cingjing and Kaoshiong, the original shop at Dakeng, Taichung City is a must to visit. Upon entering Carton King, we headed straight to the Carton Zoo.

Along the way we spotted flowers, birds and Dracula.

Carton King Zoo

Right after exiting Carton King Zoo, we spotted a zone where visitors can soak their feet in the cooling waters. Quite fun for the children to pump out the water and we can sit down to relax for a bit before moving on.

How we wish we can have these large size Star Wars figurines! Nice display to welcome guests at the entrance. ^_^

If you are feeling thirsty or hungry, there are a few dining areas in the park for you to fill your tummy. What uniquely distinguish Carton King from other restaurants is the furniture are made of corrugated cardboard! Don't worry about your weight or fear that they are unsafe to sit on as my hubby who is over 100kg pass the seat test. Due to time constraint, we did not dine at the Taichung outlet, but we will share our dining experience at the Cingjing branch.

It is a pretty sight around Carton King. Even the exterior of the building look so fairytale and enchanted.

We bought some honey at the Honey Museum and there are some live bees there too.

Seems like we cannot run away from mosquito no matter where we are. 

There is a small garden where you can take pictures with windmill, Eiffel Tower and clock tower. These famous landmarks are made of cardboard too. 

Before leaving Carton King, we have to visit the souvenir shops. There are so many interesting things that I have to resist myself from over buying (especially at the start of our trip).

Oh! Hold on to your entrance tickets too and complete the stamps at designated areas which will earn you a chance to redeem a free paper toy car.


Opening Hours and Admission Fee information 

As there are many places that we had to head to, hence we only managed to spend about 1.5 hour at Carton King. Nevertheless, we enjoyed ourselves and it was an eye opener to see how papers and cardboard can be used creatively.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Carton King Creativity Park (紙箱王創意園區)

Address: No. 2 Second Alley, Tungshan Road, Beitun District, Taichung City 406, Taiwan
Opening Hours: 9am - 8pm
Admission Price: 200 NTD (General Admission), 100 NTD (Senior & Disabled)
*Free admission for children under 100cm


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