Thursday 18 August 2016

Taipei Day 3: YongKang, Taipei Zoo & Maokong

Haiya~! Back with another post. Sorry I didn't get to post the past weekend.

As I’m writing this my entire body is aching from participating in my company’s sports event. Running without a warm up and the tug-of-war part took a toll of me. Either that or I’m just old. I definitely haven’t been working out religiously hahahhaha. FML.

That aside, lemme  get back to what’s this post is about. For that, let's rewind back to Day 3 in Taipei.

We started our day early thinking we could catch breakie at the famous Yong Kang Street but boy, we were greeted by the empty street. From the reviews I read, I figured this place is a breakie place but obviously I so-o-o missed the part where they mentioned business starts at 11AM so we were like an hour plus plus early :/

So while waiting, we thought we should grab some small bites and check out the shops along the street. Saw this pancake place and I've read reviews saying this is one of a must eat street/night market food. I have been looking forward to try this since day 1 but I didn't see any stalls selling pancakes. Either that or I've probably missed it.

We went for the cheese and egg one cause everything taste better with cheese LOLOL

It was hot from the pan so we waited until it cooled down before munching into it. Tasted like the instant chapati bread you can get here in Malaysia.

Tadaaa~~ a street sign! What a discovery.

Yeah we were that bored so much that we started taking photos of empty streets and street sign.

Just opposite this sign is the beef noodles shop, Yi Ping Shanxi Dao Xiao Mian that we wanted to try out. But check out the banner there that says this shop's beef noodles are endorsed by CNN as Taipei's best.

Further down the road we found several shops open for breakfast like this one. The rolls of bun caught our attention. Mine actually, so I said I wanna try that. It's a wrap with minced meat inside.

Unfortunately I do not have a close up shot on this bun... Might've been in my lost phone...

Another shop where I bought my coffee. Needed some fuel to get going hahahaah

Another shop that was open was this shaved ice place, also seemingly famous for their mango shaved ice. I was sorta not into eating shaved ice for breakie but we had plenty of time to kill so shaved ice was is ( =___=;)

Walah! Our mango shaved ice topped with a wriggly pudding. Yum yum!

While we were nomnoming our shave ice, a group of Japanese tour started to gather and because there were so few seats around, we left a lil' bit after that. We walked some more and checked out the souvenir shop nearby and then it was finally time for beef noodles lunch. Apparently there would be a line usually but we were lucky that day we didn't need to queue long.

By then, we were too full we ordered only 2 bowls of tomato-based soup beef noodles to be shared among ourselves LOL.

We nomnom-ed and my friends were raving at how yummeh the noodles are. According to them, it's better than the one they had at Shida night market. Though they ordered the stock/soy based soup beef noodles the night before and I had the tomato-based one so it sorta tasted the same to me LOL. But good, yes.

I was a bit full but the side dishes on the counter caught my attention and we thought the popiah-ish dish is interesting so we got a plate to try.

The super friendly owner or cashier (I'm not sure) helped us with the sauce.


After that, we checked out the souvenir shop again because one friend wanted to get some and a while later I noticed I lost my favorite, new umbrella and got super upset I decided to separate from the group to mourn for my loss. Yeah, I was that upset.

Thinking about it, I thought it was childish of me (big time) but nevertheless I am still quite upset. The umbrella was a mini one that fits into a rabbit-shaped pouch and it's so cute I LOVED it so much! So yes, I was darned upset and my friends couldn't console the strong-headed me. To me they didn't seem like they cared about a stupid umbrella but ok..., I know they were worried about me hahahaha. So I went to another bunch of friends over whatsapp to console me LOL and that sorta worked LOL.

I was like, "Shit, I've been telling myself not to get attached to stuff" and she was like, "That shows you only care about your stuff". I went *sniff sniff* (T____T)

Why do I just love these people so muchy. But yeah, everyone_my friends who traveled with me and my other bunch of friends _they're awesome. Loving them more.

So yeah the thing with travel brings out the worst in people I mentioned in my earlier post, that is super duper kinda true. At least my worst side. But the friends who stick together even after that IMO, they're seriously KEEPERS. (Though, if you happened to be my friends, I'd advise you to actually read the itinerary in case I get some sorta PMS again. Cause I know I won't get lost but... erm. I know I was horrible... I've been reflecting...) Luckily


Moving forward after that, we headed to Taipei Zoo during which I decided to go ahead on my own.

Taipei Zoo

Anyway, that was like, my third time visiting the zoo this year!

at Taipei Zoo

We thought since the entry only cost us like 60NTD or RM7.60, might as well drop by. It costs 5 times more to get into Malaysia's National Zoo or Zoo Negara and you still need to pay an additional RM22 to enter the Pandas enclosure. On the other hand, you don't need to pay any additional fee to check out the pandas in Taipei Zoo.

Though IMO, Malaysia National Zoo did a better job in landscaping the Pandas enclosure, more greens and much more of a Panda home and playground.

You would however, need to pay an additional 20NTD or RM2.50 which is still a super affordable fare to enter an exhibit that houses almost real and life-sizes figures of animals including prehistoric ones which are equally impressive. Here are some pics from the exhibit.


Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo

Taipei Zoo

Some of the souvenirs sold there.

Taipei Zoo

For the scale of the place and the time spend there, I'd say it is SUPER worth it! If I had stayed in Taipei longer I would've visited the zoo as often as I could!

Taipei Zoo

Anyway, I took a whole lotsa pics but thought that you probably don't want much spoilers and would rather wanna go check out the place for yourself. By the time I leave the zoo, it's way past 5PM and the sun is almost setting so I decided to head to Maokong before it gets dark. From here onwards, both my camera and handphone battery have gone naught so it's the good ol' school ways of soaking the whole moment with my eyes LOL

The gondola fare was much pricier at 125NTD or RM16 per two way trip. For the same price, you can opt for either the normal gondola or the one with glass bottom. The queue for glass bottom gondola was long so I opted for the other and I was ushered into my very own private car in just minutes! I did took the glass bottom gondola on my trip back.

It was quite a long ride. The journey felt kinda slow-w-w and sometimes it did feel a bit lonely :(

At first, the gondola seemed to glide just slightly a few feet above trees below so I felt pretty safe but the next it was be hanging in the middle of the air, with cables that seem to be joined from the peaks of two mountains/hills. You can hear the sound of the wind blowing through the gap of the doors, overhead windows and from whatever slits and the gondola rocked slightly I started feeling fearful for my life hahahahaha

But it was then the scenery caught my attention.

Over the distance the mountain ranges with scenes of high rise buildings in between them and at intervals basked in a dozen gradient of orange shades. The visibly huge setting sun was over them. So. Very. Breathtaking.

As I got off at the last station, I was a bit lost, expecting most of the attractions to be nearby but the closest ones are only the tea houses, which is a lil' bit of walking distance. Just gotta head left after exiting the station. After 5 minutes walk or so, several tea houses and tea shops selling Maokong specialty tea products came into view.

I entered the first souvenir shop I found which sells sweets and tea to get some for my parents and friends where two sorta young guys were manning who thankfully could speak English. One of them quickly offered me some tea to try while telling me about the different tea. They have black tea, Tie Kuan Yin tea which is a specialty of Maokong and a few other selections. I found the black tea not to my liking but the tea nougat they offered were delivious so I bought a tin of those.

Recycling some of my photos to show y'all. See my last post on all the souvenirs I've got from Taiwan.

This nougat.

Souvenirs from Maokong

In another shop that specializes in more variety of tea from Maokong and other places around Taiwan, such as Oolong tea from Sun Moon Lake packed in tea tins decorated with Maokong name and the cat logo.

Did I mentioned "Maokong" means "Cats got nothing to do" hahahhahahah. Such a cute name!

Souvenirs from Maokong

Further, there were more unique tea houses and restaurants, most of them undoubtedly offering their customers a grand view of Maokong. It is really too bad I didn't have a chance to dine in one of the tea houses/restaurants. Would definitely love to go back there for this and for more exploring. I missed out on quite a number of places I wanna see in Maokong such as the Camphor Tree Trail or Old Quanli Apricot Forest from spending the entire evening at the zoo.

By the time I left for Taipei Zoo Station, the sun has set. You bet I got a splendid view of the sun setting on Maokong's peak and while riding on the glass bottom gondola. It was AMAZING. I sorta regretted not having a backup battery with me but whatever, I do wanna go back there again someday!


Read my other posts here!

Day 4: Jiufen ⇒ Shifen ⇒ (Attractions along the Pingxi Line) ⇒ Miaokou Night Market & Part 2

Day 8: National Palace Museum Taipei 101 Raohe Night Market

Sunday 7 August 2016

Taipei Day 2: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall & K-Underground Mall

We begun our day by heading to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall and had our breakfast at a shop we found on Trip Advisor called Din Yuan Soy Milk. I've read reviews recommending the salty version of Soy Milk or Sien Dou Jiang, which is one of Taiwanese staple breakfast and thought we really need to try it!

Getting there is quite easy: At Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall MRT, it is at the back lane of the MRT exit, in the opposite direction of CKS.

We ordered two bowls of salty soy milk, one hot and another cold sweet soy milk.

We were quite surprised the salty version came with eu char kuay or Chinese fried cruellers, spring onions, a dash of sesame oil and peppers in them and the textured is a combination of soy bean curd and soy milk.

It has an odd, salty taste which I didn't fancy but tasted just like chinese breakfast porridge when eaten with the slices of eu char kuay.

I was quite meh over it but my friends were in love with it!

And yes, the portion of the soy milk is huge and quite satisfying. I drank most of the sweet soy milk after spooning an additional 2 spoonful of sugar cause it tasted pretty bland without them.

After that we walked to CKS and was welcomed by this view.

The place is HUGE!! They have a really nice park close to the entrance so we headed there first to check the place and for some photo taking.

Caught this awesome shot.

Selfie~ Yes I did photoshoped. Still wishing I have much better skin but my skin did improved slightly since I started using SK-II #TrueStory

Then headed to the main hall of CKS. So majestic!

It was a SUPER bright day so I was squinting a lot LOL *Squinty squinty*

Inside there was an exhibition going on and we took our time to check the portraits. Love this one!

After checking out the exhibitions, we found quite a number of souvenir shops and one of them were selling sweets in weird packagings. I don't remember what they are but my friends translated and they were quite weird. LOL In case you wanna prank someone, buy them these sweets wrapped in toothpaste/dish washer/detergent packaging. We found quite a number of shops around Taipei's touristy area selling these.

Found an interesting loli that claims to be "Original Gourmet" and decided to try. Nothing to special though :/

By 2-ish or so we were so beat, we decided to find a makan place. I was eager to try Lu Ruo Fan or minced braised meat on rice so we Googled and it showed the nearest place is close to Ximending, which is OK, because it is our next destination after all. But when we got into the taxi and told the driver we are looking to have it, he made a detoured back to a shop opposite the CKS MRT, citing it has the most flavorful lu ruo fan.

Indeed, it was our favorite!

We ordered lu ruo fan each, vege, pork and stir fried bamboo shoot.

The lu ruo fan was slightly too oily but true enough, the fragrance from the soy sauce and fattiness of the pork make the best combination! Yum Yum!

The pig's intestine soup with radish. Pretty less flavorful compared to the one in Malaysia.

We didn't fancy the bamboo shoot as it has a really strong bamboo shoot flavor LOL


Our next destination is Ximending! We skipped Lin Family Mansion and Garden and Longshan Temple as it was already evening and we thought we'll definitely don't have enough time.

Also greeted by the Red House. Didn't enter cause it seemed like just a building housing several cafe/shops... Got a bit thirsty and my friend, Amelia had been wanting to try Taiwan's Milk Tea so we stopped by here.

I already had milk tea the day before so I opted for Rooibos Lemon Tea. Also because recently I've been a bit obsessed over trying different types of tea and according to Ben, this tea helps in relaxation slash aiding you to sleep.


And then we walked around checking out the boutiques and other outlets in the area.

We found Ah Chung Oyster Noodles earlier but only went back slightly later because we were still stuffed from lunch. During that time, quite a number of food carts have gathered around the lanes and there was quite a lot of people have gathered.

It's SUPER yummeh! Definitely a must try. We ordered a large bowl and shared among ourselves.

Tired from shopping but still too full for dinner, we made a detour to Taipei Main Station to check out K-Underground Mall.

We were sorta expecting it to be a well, mall with much more outlets and stores but it was just quite.. OK. Nothing impressive. I'm sorry. I love Taipei.

But we do found L'herboflore and we did end up buying lotsa masks from there. Check out my Taipei Hauls & Souvenirs post to read about my experience with the overselling and overbearing sales person there.

Finally, we head to Shida Night Market for dinner. Unfortunately I do not have much photos from Shida NM because I took most photos on my hp which I have lost it. Anyhow, there isn't much foodstuff at Shida though we found two restaurants serving beef noodles and we know we had to try.

This is what I ordered_ tomato soup based beef noodles with the meaty part and tendon I think.


This is the tendon thingy. My first time trying it but it was pretty good I would say. The soup is clear and yummy.


My other two friends ordered another type of soup base, I think it's the plain/soy sauce one.

Pretty much the only photos I have of Shida NM LOL. There were quite a number of boutiques and we girls took our time strolling and checking out most stores while poor Ben had to keep track of where each of us went. Kesian....

Until my next post~! See ya!


Read my other posts here!

Day 4: Jiufen ⇒ Shifen ⇒ (Attractions along the Pingxi Line) ⇒ Miaokou Night Market & Part 2

Day 8: National Palace Museum Taipei 101 Raohe Night Market

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