I haven’t travelled with my family for a long long time so when the sister asked if I wanted to join my mum and her in Taipei, I said yes. Besides, I decided that it’d be fun going on a eat-and-shop holiday. The boy declined to come along because he’s been to Taipei many times and if he were to join 3 ladies on the trip, he’d end up being the porter and (human) GPS. Heh.
The sister found a good deal on Singapore Airlines and we arrived in Taipei in the late afternoon. Grabbed a cab from the airport to the hotel, Just Sleep, which is located at Ximending. You can read more about the hotel in my entry here. After a quick rest, we decided that our first stop will be Shilin Night Market 士林夜市。As the Ximen train station was near our hotel (connected by an underground pathway), we decided to grab the MRT.
After a couple of stops, we found ourselves at Jiantan MRT station (劍潭）because apparently, it is at the start of Shilin Night Market and it’d be easier to move around. We forgot that it was a Saturday night which means that it was chockful of locals and tourists, both domestic and international ones. RAH!
By then, we were starving so our eyes were glazing over at the 10,572 things on display. We were looking for THINGS TO EAT! As usual, thanks to Murphy’s Law, we saw anything and everything but food. Thankfully, after making a few random turns, we found a little corner with a couple of food stalls.
I spied these giant sausages and decided we’d get some to share:
I thought that they’d be selling me the entire sausage but apparently, one portion (NT70, about S$3) only had a couple of pieces. Boo. I decided I’d up my order to 3 portions instead. Heh.
Oooh, looking at the picture above is making me salivate! It was really really good. It was like a mix between a sausage and BBQ pork slice (ala ba kua). Then again, I could be bias because by then, I was starving. We also shared a couple of other random bits and that was our first dinner in Taipei. Decided that it was waaaaay to crowded to see anything let alone buy so we left after about an hour. Just imagine the crowds at Chinatown on the eve of Chinese New Year and that’s close to what it was at Shilin. Pffffft.
Thankfully, the sister is a late riser too so we only got out of the hotel after 12pm, much to the chagrin of my mum who’s ready in 5 seconds. Plans for the day? We were off to check out Taipei 101 (台北101). Before that, a spot of shopping after lunch!
We ended up walking into the Miu Miu boutique, thanks to the sister who’s a fan.
If you have been following my blog, you’d realise that we each walked out with a new bag each.
In fact, I think the saleslady was so happy with us, she even gave us bottles of water. Heh. I thought that it’d be the usual mineral water in a plastic bottle but I was wrong.
Atas water leh.
After dropping big cash at Miu Miu, we decided we need to have some tea and reflect on what we just did. Found a cafe at the ground floor of Taipei 101 and it was nice just chillin’ out and watching the world go by.
Of course, mum was raring to go after finishing up her drink and dessert but we continued to laze on the comfy chairs (again, much to her chagrin). Hehe.
After having our tummies filled, it was time to ascend Taipei 101. There was a short but fast-moving queue and we amused ourselves taking photos with the building’s icon, the Damper Baby. Notice how its eyes and nose makes up “101”? Quite clever marketing, I say.
We also posed for a touristy photo where they superimposed us against the background of either the day or night scene of Taipei 101. Because we decided that we probably have no use for the photo, I decided to be cheapo clever and snap a picture of it when it appeared on the LCD screen.
Tee hee hee.
Soon, it was our turn to enter the ‘world’s fastest elevator’ and before you can say ‘101’, we were at the 89th storey. 1010m per minute! WOW!
In the elevator was a staff who rambled what was going on in Mandarin, English and Japanese and she was hilarious. It would have been better if they pre-recorded the message because she was doing just that – rambling. I was trying hard not to giggle.
It was getting dark by the time we got to the top floors so we got to see both the day and night view.
The viewing gallery was shaped in a square so you can view the cityscape from every angle. There were also loads of Damper Babies dotted around the place.
After completing the indoor gallery, we decided we’d check out the outdoor one.
Check out the night scene as viewed from the outdoor observatory!
We took a quick spin at the souvenir shop and I found these really amusing!
I think the big-head dolls were piggy-banks. Hehe.
We were getting hungry (again) so decided that it was time for dinner. Took the MRT back and spotted this advertisement with Jay Chou in it. Couldn’t resist snapping a pic.
The train station was rather crowded but I guess it was quite typical for a Sunday evening.
Headed back to the hotel to dump our shopping bags before checking out Ximending which was right across the hotel.
As you can tell from the picture, it was still pretty packed for a Sunday evening! In Singapore, the crowd would have cleared out to prepare for school/work the next day but in Taipei, shops open till late and there are still throngs of people out and about. Very vibrant.
We were trying to find Din Tai Fung (鼎泰丰) but after walking about aimlessly for a while, there wasn’t one in sight and we were H-U-N-G-R-Y. Decided to settle for a random tonkatsu cafe located on the 2nd floor of a building instead. Mum’s looking mighty happy because we can finally rest and get food. Heh.
When the food finally arrived, we realised that it was really just food to fill the stomach. In other words, it was not nice 😦 At first glance, the colour wasn’t right and true enough, it tasted like fast-food quality tonkatsu. Pfffft.
Then again, I guess we’ve been spoilt by Tonkichi and Saboten in Singapore. Oh well. At the very least, we settled our growling tummies! Oh, right across the shop was this cute restaurant called Ah Mao (阿毛):
It serves different type of rice in a stone bowl. But what made the place interesting is: Each of their outlets had a golden retriever! The shop you see above is really tiny and the rather large dog was lying right in the middle of the shop. I spotted the waitress stepping over it to serve the customers. The cute thing was, the dog didn’t move an inch or react! He (she?) just laid there and snoozed, looking really bored.
Awwwwww. So darn cute. Maybe we should have eaten there but it was pretty packed out when we walked by. Definitely popular with teenagers!
More to come: Our visit to Taiwan Storyland (台湾故事馆) and clothes galore at Wufenpu (五分埔)