Train-Round-Taiwan 台湾 2014

A free and easy trip around Taiwan by train!!!

Oh boy, we were tired when we arrived in Taipei at 5:30am on 15 Nov 2014.

Jasmine and family picked us up. Sophie (QiQi) was initially very shy but warmed up quickly.

Our first stop - Soya bean breakfast

Instead of the typical sweet soya bean, we tried the salty one. ( They added vinegar & chilli oil!)


Returning to the car after our meal... Doesn't Gwyneth's top matches the umbrella?!?


Went back to Jasmine's place for a short nap before heading to Coco's wedding.

Little Sophie enjoyed eating chocolate while she sat on Gwyneth's lap.


CoCo and Calvin's wedding!!! Charming, congrats to the newlyweds.

The lunch was scrumptious with lobsters, abalone, etc

For desserts, we had fruits, cakes and Hagen Daz (apparantly Hagen Daz ice cream is very very very expensive in Taiwan).

There were so many cups of Hagen Daz ice cream left that we sneaked them away in little Sophie's lunchbox!

(Sorry, we were so engrossed in eating that we forgot take photos of the other dishes.)


Arriving Amba Hotel, XiMenDing, Taipei and were pleasantly surprised!

So interesting... Enjoy ba...


A magnetic door...


All the products had spicy ginger in it! Really refreshing! (complimentary from hotel) 

After a long day, we cuddled in our cozy bed. But not without a little blogging...


Had a great breakfast at Amba Hotel. Great Ambience!!!


We had lunch at Westin Hotel with Coco and her hubby, Calvin.

Delicious drunken chicken


... enough of restaurant food... NOW let's have some local street food!!!

... on the way to Duan Hua Night Market and... lured into an Outdoor Shop. 

Bought Sweden made FJALL RAVEN KanKen backpack. Simply loved it!!!

and yes we still made our way to my favourite night market

~ a very local and small night market ~ 端华夜市...



NOpe.. you are not seeing things, my beloved squid man wasn't there... :(



It was a rainy morning. We left Amba Hotel at 8:30am. Arrived at Taipei Train Station before 9am.

Found the platform and waited for the High Speed Rail eagerly.

We embarked on our journey down South towards Tai Chung --> Nantou --> CinJing Farm 清静农场.


We took a cab from Tai Chung HSR station and arrived at our Minsu (民俗:观星园) in 90 mins - NTD2100.


The host was very friendly and gave us a cottage away from the rests as he knew we wanted to do star shooting.

Walk at Cinjing Farm + Shopping!


 Gwyneth had a fun time feeding sheep.

Here is a picture of her with a friend...

It was nice to have milky ice cream even though it was cold. Brrrrrrrrrr...

Hotpot dinner... was simple yet delicious!




The night ended early.. practically nothing to do up the mountain. It was pitch dark but cloudy. NO LUCK for star trailing!


 We woke up at 3.20am and departed at 4am to He Huan Shan 合欢山 with anticipation for a spectacular sunrise...... 


 It was 6am.. and the fog did not clear.... It was very cold as well :(


We left disappointed... and Gwyneth had motion sickness.. she didn't even walk in the clouds... 


We spent the rest of the day lazing around the minsu..

playing with the grand daughter of the host and their pets (Dooby - Husky and a meow meow cat!) 


The cat was very friendly.

Gwyneth was excited as it was the first few times she had been so close to a cat as mummy was afraid of them.

Our little cottage... Gwyneth is a photo bomber!!!

Guess who is this hungry monster?

It was really sunny for awhile. We took the opportunity to wash and dry our clothes.

Gwyneth knocked out at 2:30 p.m.`

Relaxing for me:

What a spectacular sunset!

We took this at the minsu's patio...



YAY! We were lucky! There were so many stars! Gwyneth was excited as she saw shooting stars for the first time.

However, we had to wait awhile as some of the guests put up fireworks (we had to wait for the fog to clear up)

I saw 2 shooting stars and Gwyneth saw one. Cynthia saw NONE. 

We took some star trails... but not really fantastic :(

We were accompanied by the cat that Gwyneth played with in the afternoon. it kept on crawling on us. So lovable... Gwyneth said that she would miss it.

After a while the clouds came back and it covered the stars:( However, it was a spectacular sight not to be missed.

 We checked out this morning and to my surprise, owner of 观星园 gifted us 2 boxes of tea :)


We took a cab (NTD 2000) to Tai Chung train station at 830am.

We arrived Taichung HSR station just in time for 1022am train to Kaohsiung (Zuoying station).

We bought bento (always wanted to try 铁路便当) for lunch


 Love the lamp at Zouying ( 新左营)Train station

There is no specific luggage compartment in the TRA train. Gwyneth sacrificed her leg room for our big luggage.

 Gwyneth is busy blogging!

Cynthia as always is reading...

I am looking at this head rest cover promoting Taiwan Tourism... I looked around and over these few days (and in the past years)...

I've felt that Taiwan is such an easy country to travel ~ free and easy.

I feel safe and empowered. Probably because there was no language barrier... Taiwanese are friendly and hospitable!

Arrived Tai Tung Train station. Very rustic.

The old vintage train...

At Bay View Hotel. Great sea view... room is big... but generally we are disappointed with the city.

It's a small city with only ONE night market on every Thursday! 

Gwyneth was scared to go out because she thought she saw a snake in one of the lights... But it could be a gecko :P

The small Ma Ma shop...

Bento for dinner... NTD80 for such a complete balanced meal. Every school should make this for the students!!!

(1 Meat, 2 Vege ~ melon, green & sea kelp, half egg, 1 tiny beancurd, pickle and tiny piece of ham)

 Breakfast at Sea Bay:


Gwyneth looking for "snake"

Sightseeing at TaiTung... Disappointment

We decided to cut short our stay in Taitung, to go to Hualien. The scenary to Hualien was beautiful.

Train tickets:~ When we arrived in Hualien, we were welcomed by BayView Hotel shuttle and a magnificent sea view!!!!!!!

Lunch at Mu Ming

This is the comb of a chicken...

Family Mart sticker =>

 Breakfast at Bayview hotel. 七星潭風景區

24 hours cafe (free coffee, snacks and wi-fi)

On the way to Taroko, we stopped at 清水断崖,

Lunch at the entrance of Taroko. It would be advisable to just bring your own picnic basket!

Taroko - 长春桥


After Taroko, we went to the Hualien City for ... 炸蛋葱油饼 

and stopped by the fruit stall...

Local food at Hualien City

Our new room at Bay View Hotel

Our very friendly Hua Lian Driver: Qiu (邱)大哥 +886 932522001 wechat: taxi97600


Sightseeing at the Lake  - Rolling boat!

Having a fun day at the stream. Sun, Fish, Shrimp and JADE!

All animals went unharmed :)

Collected some jades. will polish and see what turns out from these picks....

Lunch at 慕名 (again)

Sunset at 七星潭風景區


Scenery on the way to Yilan.

Meeting Jasmine & family for a day in Yilan.

Green Bean blended with milk. Interestingly good!

Visit to the first Single Malt Whisky Brewery in Taiwan.


51 years shop : Fish ball Bee Hoon

Oh Oh.... 炸蛋葱油饼 is here again!

Mr Brown up the mountain... overseeing Turtle Island

On the way back to Taipei.... smell the Ginger and Rice Wine... 深坑霸味薑母鴉

 Meeting with Susan sis and Miles for lunch. 

Lunch at 度小月 - typical Taiwanese food


Yes! my favourite squid!!!

Ice Monster for Dessert! 

This is really good! Milk Tea with Pearls - MUST TRY!

Distracted by a beautiful handicraft shop. We were broke but Gwyneth to the rescue!!!

 Song Tobacco Factory 松烟厂 (松山文創園區)

... end of holiday... Back to Hotel to Airport to SINGAPORE