Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan

Tripoto
12th May 2013

Green fields, endless road, blue sea & us

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

I love how you can buy actual food at 7-11

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Eating off a stall at Ruifeng Yeshi, Kaohsiun

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Old school trains, platforms and station

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

The tickets we purchased from an old school

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Chu-Huo, where the fire burns continuously

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

I love this vintage ticket booth

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Danshui is a fishing town, and these adorable

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Perfect afternoon with a loved one - warm tea

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

The view of the harbour in Jiufen.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Jiufen: I don't mind soaking in this mist.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

My favourite Douhua shop: Yonghe Douhua. Best

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Our favourite cake shop in Taipei: Piece of C

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

When i eat, i eat.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

A mountaintop train station. So inspirational

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Delicious bubble tea from Chun Shui Tang.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

I wonder what's up there...

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Quaint alleyway in Danshui Old Street.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

White Sands at Baisha Beach, Kenting.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Trains in Taiwan are clean and comfy.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

A mystic mountain top trail.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Food in Taiwan enter my stomach comfortingly.

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Jiufen Old Street inspired "Spirited Away" th

Photo of Quaint and Picturesque Taiwan by Dianne Goh

This was my first trip to Taiwan and I loved it. There were big shiny shopping malls, but also quaint streets, houses, lanes, corners where bits of brick were crumbling, and I loved the older train stations outside Taipei. The two things I enjoyed the most about Taiwan were the quaint alleyways, and travelling by train. It was just pure joy hopping on the train and staring out the window. Old buildings, new buildings, fields of green... The scenery was gorgeous and I think its a great way to see Taiwan without having to get off and explore the towns. Of course, unless you really want to. TIP: If you must have a seat on the train, make sure you buy tickets online or if buying at a station, choose to buy tickets that allow you to pick a seat! Otherwise, the "free seating" seats mean that if you happen to pick a seat that someone pre-booked, you need to let them sit there. And if the trains are crowded, you might need to stand. 

The food was delicious. I love the soya bean milk, and the soy curd. Noodles and Soup. Rice with stewed pork. The night markets sold so many unique food creations and what I liked was that young people were running these stalls. They weren't shunning the hard work, sweat, and grime. Its really what makes Taiwan unique, I feel. We had xiao long bao (steamed pork buns filled with soup), rice dumplings, all kinds of fried squid, pancakes, fried quail's eggs on a stick, Taiwanese sausage with garlic, fresh oysters.. I can't even remember them all! It isn't healthy, but you can practically eat your fill at a night market without having to spend a bomb in a restaurant! TIP: My favourite place for soya bean milk and related food is Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang. They have a few branches around Taipei. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! This is a typical and delicious Taiwanese breakfast food.

My two favourite places are Kenting and Jiufen, Taiwan. Kenting was simply beautiful. It looked like some place in Europe, not Asia. The grass in Kenting National Park was so green, and the sea was so blue. The best part of the trip was when we explored all the lanes in Kenting on our little scooter, and found this road leading up somewhere. It turned out to be the gorgeous wide open field which was on a cliff and overlooked the sea. It was such a nice clear day too. The road was straight and long and when you look at it, you feel like you are going to have a great journey. The natural sights in Kenting was what really attracted me. We stayed at a minsu (homestay) and rented a scooter from a nice old man and his wife. They owned a cute corgi called Cookie who was so friendly. TIP: Renting a scooter to explore Kenting is the BEST option in my opinion! The other sights in Kenting besides Kenting National Park are too far to walk but just nice if you travel by scooter or car. But a scooter is so much more enjoyable - imagine the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin as your cruise by the beach!

Jiufen is an old mining town, and it got its name beacuse there used to be only 9 families living up here. "Jiu" is the number 9 in Chinese. "Fen" refers to the quantities of something. In the past, all 9 families used to get their supplies from below the mountain. Thus, the people sending things up the mountain sent them up in sets of 9, hence, "Jiu" and  "Fen", because there were 9 sets of supplies being sent up the mountain. You enter Jiufen Lao Jie (Jiufen Old Street) which is lined with souvenir shops and food stalls. The best part is spotting the quaint little alleyways that branch out from the touristy Lao Jie. We sat in a teahouse on the mountain side which overlooked the harbour, and basked in the gorgeous view. TIP: go early in the morning! Make sure you reach before 11 or 12 because at noon, all the tour buses arrive and pack the whole street! Sit at a teahouse and enjoy the view from the mountain. If you have more time, go visit the fishing port at the bottom of the mountain (which you can see from Jiufen). It's called Keelung. It has has a very good night market - imagine a night market filled with seafood!

Alishan is also another must visit place! The hiking trails are so mystical. Take the trains up to the different parts of the mountain and explore the trails. We did it while it was drizzling but it was still beautiful. There were many other cheaper accommodation options, but we stayed at Alishan House, which is the most expensive and most touristy hotel (probably). But we had an enjoyable stay which included a HUGE buffet breakfast. It was cold so we ate a lot and the food was pretty good. The hotel also provided shuttle buses to take us to the train station. I loved taking the trains in Alishan because they were a little old, but clean, and just so so quaint. Chugga chugga chugga..

Taiwan wasn't expensive, or rather, there were many cheap and affordable options for a great value. People love Taiwan for shopping, which we did a lot of, but I loved the scenery, food, and trains more!


Beach! White sand and gorgeous waters.

Photo of Baishawan, Zhongzheng District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

It's like a secret mountain (ok, ignoring the tourist hordes that come here). It's nice and cool, filled with tall trees and trails. We woke up at 3.30am to see the sunrise, but it was raining so we didn't see anything. The adorable thing was that someone from the Alishan park was there where everyone was watching the sunrise, and he was updating us on the expected time of the sunrise. He sang some songs and told a few jokes while we were all waiting and shivering in the rain. He apologized when there was no sunrise as it was still raining but he said sometimes it happens.

Photo of Alishan Township, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
Photo of Alishan Township, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Its so beautiful! I feel like running on the fields singing "THE FIELDS ARE ALIVEEEEE.. WITH THE SOUND OF MUSICCCC!" and dance madly.

Photo of Cape Eluanbi, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Chun Shui Tang Teahouse claims it invented bubble tea. We don't really know but the bubble tea sure was refreshing. Its not too sweet and doesn't taste like you're drinking syrup straight from the container. The bubble tea tasted like real tea and and pearls were nice and chewy.

Photo of Chun Shui Tang, Section 1, Nánjīng East Road, Zhongshan District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Hotsprings, basically! You can just dip your feet in the hot spring river for an instant foot spa. Thermal valley is also pretty cool too as its over 90 deg. celcius and you can see steam rising from the river.

Photo of Xīnběitóu Station, Beitou District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Quaint old city, with a gorgeous wharf. We walked ALL THE WAY from Danshui Train Station (which you take from central Taipei), when we could have just taken the red bus 26. It was a 1.5 hour walk! But thinking back, it was a good walk because we saw so much of the town. Good thing there were things to see - quaint houses by the sea, people cycling and strolling, little cafes... The Danshui Old Street was great as well. We had delicious Mifen, fishball soup, and beancurd with vermicelli inside which was great.

Photo of Danshui District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
Photo of Danshui District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
Photo of Danshui District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

I read somewhere that Hayao Miyazaki was inspired by Jiufen to create his famous film "Spirited Away". I see why now. The houses seem to be built off the street and they fill the little alleyways. A few little steps lead here, and a few others lead there, and oh! a door to someone's house. Then a very tame dog rests in a corner while the tourists from the main Jiufen Lao Jie babble away noisily. The street contains food stall mixed with souvenir shop (i bought 3 cute little notebooks with old textbook covers as the notebook cover). In one shop a lady was making fishballs, twisting and squeezing balls into a pot of water (? or could be soup) from a huge fish paste dough. We ate fishball noodles at that stall and it was delicious. The street of food and the mish mash houses did remind me of the film. The street winds upwards with shops and houses crammed side by side.

Photo of Jiufen, Ruìjīn Road, Ruifang District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
Photo of Jiufen, Ruìjīn Road, Ruifang District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
Photo of Jiufen, Ruìjīn Road, Ruifang District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
Photo of Jiufen, Ruìjīn Road, Ruifang District, Taiwan by Dianne Goh

Best cake roll ever. The owners bake a fresh batch every day and they close their shop when they sell out. They serve different flavoured cake rolls every day so if you want more choices go early.

Photo of Piece of Cake, Alley 9, Lane 64, Nánjīng West Road, Datong District, Taipei City, Taiwan by Dianne Goh
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