13 May 2016

Taiwan Travel Itinerary for Taipei 臺北市

* this blog entry was originally written on 5 January 2014, and has been updated on 13 May 2016*

Having been to Taiwan for 8 9 11 times now (preparing for our 10th trip in October 2015 have gone on our 11th trip in March-April 2016), Hubby and I have received many requests for our travel itinerary and I have been frantically digging out old itinerary files and emailing... as such, I have decided to share our experience online through this blog :)

Update on 13 May 2016: While I'm not ready to rehaul this blog post, I figured it's a good time to update some of the places after learning that some of my new colleagues would be venturing to Taiwan within the month. A shout out to AK (thanks for "actively" promoting my blog these 2 days after learning about its existence haha!), RY, JL and LT!

Here goes...!!


Top FAQs:

I've posted a review of the Taipei hotels and B&Bs I've personally stayed at.
Here's my preferred taxi drivers I've personally engaged in my previous trips for within and outside Taipei city area.

If it's your first time to Taipei, you shouldn't miss out Ximending! Lots of good food (shopping wise, I prefer Taipei Main Station)

➡  台灣牛肉面 Taiwan Beef Noodles Recommendation
I've tasted quite a number of Taiwan beef noodles at various stores before writing this review. The review was never something I thought I would have written. I just like beef and eating. Ok, that makes sense. Haha!


上引水產 Addiction



Addiction used to be a traditional fish market, and now they turn it into somewhat like Pasar Bella at Turf City, Singapore. There are a few zones, from buying fresh seafood, to dining areas for BBQ seafood and fresh sashimi. Check out my blog posts for more info:






猛嘎海鮮燒物

Usually I don't pay attention much to skinny TV hosts introducing new food places. The skinny duo 浩角翔起 probably didn't eat much to fatten up, but then again - they may have superb metabolism rates! 

So what enticed me to pay attention to their introduction this time was when one of them picked up a HUGE Boston lobster! Here's what we ate:








We were concerned initially if the prices would be quite high, but comparing with Addiction (see above), the prices are actually damn CHEAP! TWD 2,590 for the entire FRESH seafood feast including a meaty Boston lobster. i.e. only SGD 110!!!

Located about 10 mins walk from 江子翠 Jiangzicui Station (a few stops from Ximending) at 新北市板橋區長江路二段196號, this seafood restaurant opens from 5pm till late on Tuesday to Sundays. Would recommend that you reach slightly before 5pm to get a number for the table quickly. Gentle reminder that it takes some time to grill the food items, but seems faster than Addiction. Not forgetting friendlier staff too

Daylight 光合箱子




Daylight 光合箱子 was another outcome of watching TV lol... this time introduced by 151 and the male partner (I forgot his name...) Went in early April 2016 with Hubs and then introduced an ex colleague and her friend in end April 2016. Thumbs up for the quality food, big portions and affordable prices (about SGD 17 for the Italian Pork dish!) :)

A short walking distance from either 南京復興  Nanjing Fuxing or 台北小巨蛋 Taipei Arena Stations - We got off at 南京復興 Nanjing Fuxing station, took Exit 7 - down the escalators, walk straight and you see Family Mart and Daiso on your right. Walk straight till you reach Hooters, turn right into the lane. Keep walking about 5-10 minutes, you'll pass by a small park, and walk a while more. Daylight is located on your left, at 松山區南京東路三段303巷8弄5號

Open daily from 9am to 6pm, do make a reservation at +886 (02)2719-8851 in advance as this popular cafe can get pretty crowded during brunch hours.


國父紀念館 Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall station 


Yummy flavored shave ice at Ice Monster, more details here: http://wendyboey.blogspot.sg/2015/10/ice-monster-taipei.html


頂溪 Ding Xi Station 


樂華夜市Lehua Night Market

好吃雞肉, Lehua Night Market

阿國蝦仁羹, Lehua Night Market

Famous foodstuff in Lehua Night Market include

  • 肥豬的攤 (鹹酥雞, 炸魷魚, etc)
  • 阿國蝦仁羹 (needless to say, in Taiwan Andy and I only go for the 綜合 version!)
  • 好吃雞肉 (just beside 阿國蝦仁羹, you can sit in the same area. We like their 油雞)
  • 吳記排骨酥
  • 永美雪花冰三十年老店
  • 式立體脆皮雞蛋糕
  • 麥格問格子Q
  • 蚵仔煎
  • 紅糟豆乳雞
  • 杏仁豆腐
  • 燈籠滷味
  • 肉圓
  • 無雙牛肉

There is a 天蓝小铺 Sky Blue Bags store too (open from 4pm to 1am) -- if you want high quality bags, forget this place. Suitable if you are looking for fashionable bags which you can carry for most occasions and for quite a duration, and wouldn't mind the lining or the zipper inside the bag spoils. I still carry my big yellow tote bag - the exterior is good, but the insides are *(&^!%... you get the idea :)

How to go: Dingxi MRT Station (1 stop after Guting) Exit 1. Turn left into 永和. Walk along永和路 Yonghe Road till 永平路 Yongping Road (about 10 mins)



光南大批发 Guang Nan Wholesaler


This is one of my shopping haven in Taiwan! I like to go to 光南大批发 Guang Nan Wholesaler for:

  • their affordable skincare products (they have this Vaseline aloe vera gel made in Korea that does wonders for my horrible sunburns last July!)
  • cosmetics (do you know that Za is manufactured in Taiwan? apparently it is difficult to get the fairest shade for their foundation compact)
  • hair clips, hair bands, hair ties (got quite a few fancy ones hehe)
  • fashion jewelry (so cheap! got some rings as souvenirs at less than TWD 5 (about SGD 2+))
  • kawaii stationery (yes, I buy lots of cutesy note pads that I would keep away 'cos too cute to use!) 
  • household goods (e.g. electric 'tennis racket' mozzie swatter)
  • watches, electronics, music CDs, etc... 
FYI some of their skincare and cosmetic products are cheaper than Watsons and Cosmed. So do your checks before buying :)

How to go: Dingxi MRT Station Exit 1, come out of MRT, turn left, walk straight, cross the traffic light. Guangnan entrance is to your left

Note: they have an outlet at Xuchang Street near Taipei Main Station too, but we prefer the not-as-crowded outlet at Dingxi

台北車站 Taipei Main Station 

After visiting Taipei so many times, I still haven't visit all places around Taipei Main Station! There are a lot of great shopping or delicious dining places hiding in every nook and corner you turn! Here's some of the places we've been to:

Underground Y Mall

When you're at Taipei Main Station MRT, go look for the vicinity map and you would spot the linking underground malls - the yellow Y zone (horizontal) or the red R zone (vertical). Off my memory, I can't recall if there are new underground sections; they can connect you to various shopping malls. I've been to both zones, and even walked to Zhongshan MRT zone while shopping at the red R zone haha..! I prefer the yellow Y zone for the shopping.

You may see quite a few MIKI shops in the yellow Y zone. I like to browse the TWD 100 (about SGD 4) clothes rack for some bargains. They may seem like "THIS Fashion" clothes (you'll probably know the brand if you're same age as me in your 30s or older), but I managed to score a few bargains for SGD 4 to SGD 8. My favorite would of course be their flat shoes at TWD 200. Very comfortable, but your feet would probably get a bit sweaty in our local humid weather - so I'm wearing them with foot socks these days too.


許昌街 Xuchang Street

This is the street behind 新光三越 Shinkong Mitsukoshi Department Store at Taipei Main Station. Here you can find DAISO (TWD 39, i.e. about SGD 1.70 depending on the exchange rate), Guang Nan Wholesaler, Jiu Da Stationery Shop (they have 1 outlet near Ximen MRT too), etc.. And not forgetting, at the corner nearer to the bus/coach terminal - there's Uniqlo and H&M


微风广场 Breeze Centre 

Breeze Centre is actually Level 2 of Taipei TRA Station 台北火車站. They have a lot of dining places there, including Ootoya - haven't eaten there yet since can find the outlets in Singapore (Suntec City, Orchard Central and Clementi Mall). Love their charcoal-grilled chicken tori salad! If you like Shibuya-style thick honey toast, you can also check out Dazzling Cafe at Level 2.

What Andy and I love to eat here are 万年排骨老店 for their flavorful deep-fried pork chop and chicken drumstick yummy! (this outlet is inside the food court), 小南门 for their 綜合豆腐花, Mister Donut (I LOVE PON DE RING, especially their seasonal strawberry flavours. Don't need to remind me of their calories!) (replaced by Krispy Kreme when I visited in recent trips). There are numerous food courts here, even have a food court serving all sorts of curry dishes, and one with all sorts of Japanese ramen.

Level 1 itself  has quite a few eateries too, including the golden arches - McDonalds. We've spotted crazy queues for Uncle Tetsu cheesecake and finally made the decision to queue for it in April 2016. Erm... nothing super special, but cheap at TWD 199 for a freshly baked light-tasting cheese cake. We've also tried a number of treats from the small booths selling cakes, dorayaki, mochi, etc... and the weirdest combination of chocolate sauce on a thick slab of bakhwa (BBQ pork)


京站時尚廣場 Q Square 

Q Square is a bus transit terminal attached to a shopping mall. Hubby loves the place for Zara, where I can parked him there while I visit the smaller fashion shops. There's a food court at the basement that connects you to the underground yellow Y mall of Taipei Main Station. There, I also spotted some DIY booths where you can make your own jewelry and leather pouches.


Bear Mama 小熊媽媽飾品DIY



For folks that making handicrafts like me, Bear Mama offers a wide choice of DIY materials. It used to be located at Yanping North Road (which is lined with many beading shops), and now takes over the premises of Buloso

小熊媽媽DIY購物網

台北市大同區重慶北路一段30號地下1樓
TEL:(02)2550-8899


忠孝敦化 Zhongxiao Dunhua Station

Hubby loves to sing 动力火车's 忠孝东路走九遍 whenever we are here... probably because there are a few times we really WALK and WALK possibly more than 9 times around the district. Lanes and lanes of eateries and shopping! Oh, you can also find Zara here (MRT Exit 2)

Our favorite eatery here is 楊記大餛飩 Yang Kee's Big Dumplings. While we often eat their 綜合 version, I find myself going back there for the Vegetable version twice during my (me myeslf alone) September 2013 trip! Address: Zhongxiao Donglu, Sec 4, Lane 181, Alley 7. How to go there: MRT Exit 2, Turn left into small street in front of Watsons

If it's your first time to Taipei and haven't got sick and tired of all the desserts yet (ha! never!), you can visit 東區粉圓 Dong Qu Fen Yuan. Fen Yuan is actually the tapioca flour balls in our bubble tea, but you can choose to put other items such as grass jelly, red beans etc... To get there: MRT Exit 3, Zhongxiao Donglu Sec 4 Lane 218, vertical street from 鼎泰豐 Dintaifung, walk for 10 mins)

(if you are visiting 鼎泰豐, make sure you bring enough cash. They don't seem to accept credit cards yet...)

At Exit 3, you may also spot Ming Yao departmental store which houses a huge Uniqlo, and a DAISO (take the lift upstairs)

市政府站 Taipei City Hall Station

Other than Taipei 101 and 新光三越 Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Shopping Malls, my favorite places surrounding this MRT station would be 诚品 Eslite Bookstore (operates 24 hours!) and Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區. H&M also open a huge store in the vicinity recently

Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區




松江南京站 Songjiang Nanjing  Station

袖珍博物館 Miniatures Museum of Taipei



During one of my solo trips, I visited this MMOT museum. Quite fascinated by the minute details that goes into assembling each and every miniatures. Do note that as MMOT is located at the basement, it is not exactly handicapped friendly since you need to walk down a flight of stairs. Didn't seem to see the elevators

MMOT is located at Jianguo North Road Sec. 1 建國北路一段96號Basement 1 - about 6 minutes walk from 松江南京站 Songjiang Nanjing Station Exit 4 (yellow line)

Entrance Fee: TWD 180 (SGD 7.55)
Operating Hours: 10am to 6pm (last entry at 5pm), close on Monday

忠孝新生Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station

華山1914 Huashan 1914 Creative Park

They had a KANO baseball exhibition when we were there in March 2014.

Huashan 1914 Creative Park is similar to the concept of Songshan Cultural and Creative Park 松山文創園區 where old alcohol and tobacco factories are revamped into artistic zones. A good tip from my local Taiwanese friend is to visit on a weekday afternoon where there are market booths set up selling locally designed produced goods. The shops and exhibition halls typically open daily from 11am to 10pm, but hours may vary by venue and exhibit.

Located at 八德路一段一號 1 Bade Road, Section 1, Zhongzheng District, you can reach this creative park from 忠孝新生Zhongxiao Xinsheng Station Exit 1. Continue to walk straight for about a block until you see an underpass and a giant red diamond. The creative park is just across the street where the giant red diamond is.


永康街 Yong Kang Street

There's a new MRT Station there -- go to 東門站 Dongmen Station, and exit by Exit 5. If you walk straight, you can see Hsin Tung Yang on your right (lots of delicious beef jerky) and Ding Tai Fung's first restaurant is further straight ahead.

If you turn into the lane just before Ding Tai Fung, there is Kao Chi restaurant which some say would be comparable to Ding Tai Fung and a good alternative if you don't intend to wait too long in DTF's long queue.

You can get mountains of mango desserts at 思慕昔 Smoothie House along the same road as Kao Chi. Before you reach the mango desserts kiosk, Smoothie House also opened a eatery in the same road.

During a previous trip, my Taiwanese ex colleagues brought me to 大來小館 for traditional Taiwanese food and 8%冰淇淋 Gelato. Love the chocolate earl grey icecream (about SGD 4 per scoop). 台北市大安區永康街13巷6號 Open from 12 to 9pm






For beef noodles in Yong Kang area, refer to my blog post at http://wendyboey.blogspot.sg/2014/07/taiwanese-beef-noodles-beef-jerky-in.html
(Dongmen MRT, Exit 4)

Other research shows:


Yong Kang Street District - Small stores
  • Birkenstock 
  • 法國好市集Le Bon Marche (永康街14巷6號)- herbal teas from Switzerland, aromatherapy products, vintage wares such as window frames and doors
  • 香氛居家 La Maison (永康街31巷12弄1號) – Cath Kidston totes and bags, cherry-blossom scented bath products, French brand Bensimon shift dresses and other clothing
  • Veltiver Apothecary (永康街31巷12弄1號,beside La Maison) – imported skincare and bath products with a focus on indie brands that use natural ingredients.
  • 地球樹Earth Tree (新生南路二段30巷35之1號, across street from La Maison) - fair trade clothing and accessories from Japanese brands People Tree and Nepali Bazaro, cozy knitware from Nepal, Thailand & India sterling silver jewelry, Taiwan labels Yarn Passions)
  • 雜貨俱樂部Zakka Club (永康路14巷3號) – Shinzi Kotah merchandise
  • 卡通工房Cartoon House (市永康街10號) – vintage toys and clothing e.g. 小甜甜

Yong Kang Street District - Cafes
  • 兔子聽音樂餐坊Bunny Listens to the Music (青田路6巷15號) - Bunny Listens to the Music features an airy interior with floor-to-ceiling windows, modern-style furniture and soothing purple walls. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner, but the highlight of its menu is afternoon tea from 2pm to 5pm. Tea for two people costs NT$550 with cakes, cookies and sandwiches served on a tiered tray and your choice of premium teas.
  • Boute de Bijou (麗水街33巷19之1) - Located just down the street from Bunny Listens to the Music, Boute de Bijou is a small French-style bakery run by the same owners. You can choose from treats like pain au chocolat, mont blanc mousse, macarons and handmade chocolates. Giftable items include jams in flavors like passion fruit and papaya (NT$220 to NT$250 for 100ml).
  • La Douceur Patisserie (金華街223號) - Douceur means “sweet” in French and the interior of this cafe just around the corner from Yongkang Street on Jinhua Street is indeed as sweet as its macarons, chocolates and cakes. La Douceur’s macarons come in a rainbow of unusual flavors, including balsamic vinegar, wasabi and ginger (as well as classics like lemon, chocolate and vanilla) and are sold by weight for NT$38 per gram. Gift boxes are available.

五分埔 Wufenpu

This is not my favorite place as I can hardly get clothing my size! (if you noticed, I'm always buying shoes and bags and foodstuff in Taiwan - seldom clothing.. sad that a short chubby female like me of UK size 10 to 12 is considered as plus-sized in the cruel fashion industry)

Whatever..

For the guys, Hubby bought quite a fair bit from a couple of shops there. Decent prices, good designs.

You can get most of the information here at their website. Just note that they are not opened on Monday (those opened are usually open to wholesalers only).While many websites mention that Wufenpu opens from 11am, I learnt from fellow travellers that it is wiser to go after 4pm when more shops are opened


饒河街觀光夜市 Raohe Night Market


Raohe Night Market is actually very near Wufenpu, but we still haven't figure out how to walk there. For the more adventurous folks, online sources mention to look for Songshan Train Station (it's hard to find any landmarks when we are always there late in the nights, and often in rainy weather..) Anyway, we usually take bus Blue 7 from Taipei City Hall Station (about 3 stops, night market on your left).

Update: There's a new MRT station - Songshan MRT Station. It's actually in between Raohe Night Market and Wufenpu. Hurray!








There are many local food choices, from the famous pepper bun to herbal mutton soup. One stall that Andy and I love is the 百年老店 a hole-in-the-wall eatery beside the shophouse temple on right-hand-side... we like their 肉羹 (a thick broth with meatballs) and 油饭... mee sua not as nice. Often joke about the shrilling voice of the shop assistant calling out the dishes too! I wonder if she's still working there

If you walk to the end of the night market, and your feet can hold you a while more.. you can walk to the 佳德糕餅有限公司 Chia Te Bakery Co at 南京東路5段88號. They are open from 7.30am to 9.30pm. They have a variety of pre-packed pastry items there, but most of my family members and friends prefer their 鳳黃酥 which is pineapple filling with a salted egg yolk.


士林夜市Shilin Night Market

Note: Shilin Night Market is not at Shilin MRT Station.
It is at Jiantan MRT (Red line), exit from Exit 1

They moved the food area further down. So just follow the crowd and you'll get there in less than 15 minutes.

We usually go there for the 天蓝小铺 Sky Blue Bags store (Jiantan MRT Exit 1, walk straight and cross the road. It's beside Coco Bubble Tea store) and some fashion caps for Hubby.






通化街/ 臨江街夜市Tong Hua / Lin Jiang Night Market 




This night market is along Linjiang Street between Tong Hua Street and Keelung Road
  • Liuzhangli MRT (about 10-15 minute walk)
  • SYS Memorial Hall MRT (about 20 minute walk)
  • Taipei 101 Station MRT (about 20 minute walk)

Recommended by a few friends who want me to die with my already high cholesterol >___< Tonghua Night Market is known for their cheap steak restaurants and teppanyaki eateries (they know I can't resist BEEF!), and a huge steak hotplate can costs less than SGD 10 and teppanyaki meal as low as SGD 4!!

We tried some of the local snacks at Tonghua Night Market.. hmm.. felt that they were not worth the long walk there as most of the local snacks can be found at more accessible night markets (and most taste better in those night markets too..)


陽明山國家公園 Yangmingshan National Park



Some of the places to check out at Yangmingshan National Park:
  • 中山樓Zhongshan Hall (接近園區入口, South entrance of the park, built to commemorate 100th birthday of Sun Yat Sen)
  • 遊客中心Headquarters Visitor Center  (11292臺北市北投區竹子湖路1-20, Open 08:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Flower Clock)
  • 小油坑Xiaoyoukeng
  • 二子坪 Erzipin
  • 大屯自然
  • 冷水
  • 擎天
  • 龍鳳
  • 竹子湖 Calla Lily Garden (台北市陽明山竹子湖1-20號)

貓空 Maokong

A tip from many travelers is to buy EasyCard’s Taipei Pass (one day with Maokong Gondola) at info counter at the subway stations, costs about TWD 250, card expires at midnight. Allows you to enjoy unlimited rides on Taipei Metro and associated bus services (can play Taiwan version of Amazing Race!), and 3 trips on Maokong Gondola...

For those who do not have a fear of heights (oh dear me!), you can take the Maokong Gondola. Traveler's tip is to choose the Crystal Gondola since it's the same price. Service is from 9am to 9pm. Oh do check the website before going, just in case the gondola service is suspended due to bad weather..

For those who prefer to have a 'solid' opaque flooring, the normal gondolas were featuring Hello Kitty when we were there!




One of my intentions to go to Maokong vicinity this March is to visit the Taipei Zoo. (VISITED!!!) The entrance free is CHEAP compared to Singapore (TWD 60, about SGD 2.60!). I also have to blame my Taiwanese colleague for sending me youtubes videos of their cute active baby panda Yuanzai! (Singapore's Jiajia and Kaikai are like black and white fur carpets, always lounging around..) The zoo opens 9am to 5pm, no entry or purchasing tickets after 4pm.





Once you are at Maokong Mountain, my online research shows to visit the Tea Promotion Centre which is opened from 9am to 5pm. Their signature tea leaf grown on the mountain is Muzha Tieguanyin 鐵觀音; you can also try the Nangang Paochung tea. Some of the food specialties include noodles with tea oil and glutinous rice with bamboo shoots. We didnt had the chance to roam as it was very foggy up there in March 2014, and not forgetting the rain! :(


天母 Tianmu 


A neighborhood within Shilin district, this place is an expat enclave where the international schools are. This place is recommended by C one of my Taiwanese colleagues who happens to stay in the vicinity. There are a lot of cafes there, and C recommends 好丘 Good Cho's which has a good selection of bagels and creative items for sale.

There is also a Weekend Market (a.k.a. Flea Market) along 士林區中山北路7段27號27 Zhongshan North Road, Section 7. According to my online research, the weekend market has about 170 stalls selling new and secondhand clothing, accessories and housewares. It is open on Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 10pm, and Sunday from 3pm to 9pm (update: visited the Tianmu Weekend Market in July 2014, advisable to visit in the evenings during summer months so that it's less warm and still bright enough to look at the goods)

How to get there: 石牌Shipai (30 min bus ride from Shipai station; 红19, 645, 601)

Note: During my Tianmu exploration in July 2014, I realized there are a lot of shops and eateries at Shipai! I would want to check out the vicinity in my next trip!


新北投溫泉 Xin Bei Tou Hotspring 


We found that it's more convenient to travel to Xinbeitou Hotspring rather than those at Wulai, Yangmingshan and Jinshan. It can be easily reached by a short walk from Xinbeitou MRT station, afterwhich you can walk around the district or go to Danshui rather easily by MRT. Also, the hotsprings in Xinbeitou are more sulphurous ~ erm.. during my first dip in 2010, I was so impressed that it loosened a very stubborn and big blackhead that tormented me for 2 weeks!

We mainly go to Villa 32  when we want to visit the hotspring in Taipei, and indulge in their 90 min private room which price is probably cheaper than my Singapore facial's hourly rate. In the room, there is also a a dressing table, a shower area, a toilet and a day bed for you to rest (cannot dip in the hotspring for more than 15 mins at one go) Do note that you have to pre-book at Villa 32.

In March 2014, we decided to try another place 水美溫泉會館 SweetMe Hotspring Resort which was cheaper but of course the room was smaller. While unlike Villa32 which provides snacks, a day bed for resting and an in-room toilet, SweetMe does provide bottled water, toiletries and hair dryer too.





If you wish to not spend a penny here, you can visit the 北投温泉博物馆 Beitou Hotspring Musuem which is beside their beautiful wooden library, and 地狱谷 Thermal Valley. Do note that Thermal Valley is closed on Monday; and open on Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.


淡水区 Danshui District






When you arrive at the end of the red metro line at Danshui station, you might be overwhelmed by the number of tourists there. Foodstuff tourists usually go for (but we don't like) include Ah-gei and Sour Plum drink. We do like the lightly battered deep fried mushrooms (shop is along the promenade) and occasionally buy a few packs of Granny's Iron Eggs (Ah Po Tie Dan)

新建成餅店 is the old store that will make Hubby and I travel 1+ hour on train to get there to get their traditional pastries. Recommended by my ex-colleague C, we love the 麻糬紅豆蛋黃 which was not oily. Do note that the shelf life is quite short.

At Danshui, some of the touristy things to do include taking a short boat ride to see the Lovers' Bridge and enjoy the beautiful sunset, and visiting the Red Castle aka Fort San Domingo 紅毛城 (the first Spanish settlement on Taiwan, open 11am-10pm)

Taipei Northern Coast

野柳 Yehliu Geopark 
Located in 萬里区 Wanli District, 野柳 is famed for its natural rock formations eroded by wind and waves. The most popular rock formation is probably the Queen's Head. I've written a whole blog post about it, you can check it out here: http://wendyboey.blogspot.sg/2015/09/yehliu-geopark-taiwan-north-coast.html

金山区 Jinshan District
When you're at Jinshan district, you must not miss hunting down the delicious foods at Jinbaoli Old Street 金包里老街 (yeah! another separate blog post just to talk about food HAHAHA!)

Located a short distance away, 舊金山總督溫泉The Governor-General Hot Spring is famous in the region. We haven't been there yet as it's always very hot in the periods we visit Jinshan district. Address is 台北縣金山鄉豐漁村民生路196號 Tel: 02-24082628 (Open 9am to 12 midnight)

In one of the previous trip, we also climbed up Shitou Mountain to see the Twin Candlestick Islets “Husband and Wife Rocks” 燭臺雙嶼「夫妻石」

石門區 Shimen District

Do go to my blog post at http://wendyboey.blogspot.sg/2015/09/shimen-district-taiwan-north-coast.html for more details. Summary of the places to visit in Shimen district:
  • Shimen Windmill Park 石門風力發電站(風車公園)
  • Shimen Stone Arch 石門洞
  • Laomei Stone Ditches 老梅綠石槽 
  • Fuji Harbour富基漁港 
  • Fuguei Cape富貴角the northern-most tip of Taiwan
  • Shimen Wedding Plaza石門婚紗廣場
  • White Sand Bay白沙灣水域遊憩區
  • Linshanbi麟山鼻遊憩區 

三芝区 Sanzhi District
Famous for their Hengshan Terrace Fields橫山梯田, we went in the wrong hot summer season. The padi plants were grown quite high by then, and it looked like a weedy hill. However, many
photographers had managed to get pretty good shots with the water reflections during the planting season.

Taipei North-Eastern Coast

As we went to 瑞芳 Ruifang, 平溪 Pingxi and 九份 Jiufen only once and in 2010, I would not be including the outdated touristy information but just the photos. Just recalled having to take a TRA from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station, then changing a bus (towards 金瓜石) to Jiufen, and then a bus back to Ruifang, to change a train to Pingxi.

Update 13 May 2016: We revisited Jiufen in early April 2016, but by hiring a driver as we were travelling from Yilan to Keelung, with several pits tops along the way. Including Teapot Mountain, Golden Waterfalls, Shifen, etc. Updating about these places another time - p/s: the Golden Waterfalls are beautiful! You can see the gold sediments covering the rocks. We also found out from our driver that more Koreans are visiting Jinguashi lately, due to media coverage in a Korean tourism program.


九份 Jiufen


Beef noodles beside 7-11 at the entrance to Jiufen old street

See how tender the beef tears apart





Lots of stairs and slopes in Jiufen!
瑞芳 Ruifang

This is outside Ruifang Train Station - VERY DELICIOUS!



平溪 Pingxi

Pingxi is more 'lively' during the annual sky lantern festival. We learnt that Shifen is a more hyped up touristy place to release the sky lanterns.













金瓜石 Jinguashi
Go atop Teapot Mountain to have a paranomic view of the Yin Yang sea. The sea is duly named as you can see two colors of the waters, a result of the different minerals flowing from the mountain to the sea. 

Do also visit the Golden Waterfalls, a spectacular view - you can see the golden sediments covering the rocks below the waterfalls. Uploaded my video on the Golden Waterfalls on Facebook 
Atop Teapot Mountain, overlooking 阴阳海 Yin Yang Sea in the background

基隆廟口夜市 Miaokou Night Market
A definite stop when you visit Keelung. You can reach Keelung by the local train (TRA), about 1 hour ride from Taipei Main Station. Then on foot, you would have to walk about 10 minutes to get there. 

We engaged in non-stop eating that night we reached Keelung, and my fave gotta be 吳記 (stall 5)'s 螃蟹羹 and 油飯. After sharing a bowl each with Hubby and eating lots more at other stalls, I went back to 吳記 to take away another set for supper haha!

吳記 螃蟹羹
吳記 油飯

Wulai 烏來


We went to 烏來 Wulai only once and in January 2011. I recalled travelling to Xindian MRT station (the last stop of the dark green metro line - if you are looking at a copy of the metro map, look at the bottom), and then standing almost an hour in a rocky bus ride to only reach Wulai in a gloomy drizzling weather. Argh! 

The scenery was beautiful, and the hot springs were not as sulphurous as Xinbeitou. However we doubt we would travel the long distance and hours again as it's pretty far out.

Where to Stay in Taipei

I recommend to book hotels in Taiwan through Agoda.com as it allows you to choose your local currency (good for budget planning purposes) and your local language (I can't read much Traditional Chinese either!) If you need a list of recommended places to stay in Taipei, here's some of the hotels and B&Bs I've stayed previously