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It has been an exciting and exhilarating week so far and I am really glad that in 5 days’ time, I will be taking a long break away from work because I have been away from home almost every week.
Just yesterday, Jacqueline and I were at The Music Run by AIA and this year’s edition saw a vast improvement as compared to last year’s! The fringe activities along the running route were very engaging and while I’m not the sort of runner who will stop to take pictures, I was really glad that there was sufficient space that catered to both the walkers and the runners.

The entertainment likewise was superb and we had lots of fun swaying to the beats and tunes of The Sam Willows and DJ Sam Withers. Despite it being my first 5k run for the year, I was really pleased with the fact that I completed the whole run in 34 minutes without any formal training. The Music Run is definitely a good start to my two other upcoming runs that I will be participating in.

As mentioned, I will be flying off in 5 days’ time and for my coming trip, I will be heading to Taiwan with Jacqueline. We will be taking a direct flight to Kaoshiung via Scoot and then we will be returning to Singapore from Taipei via Jet Star. It has been quite a long while since our last visit to Taiwan and this time round, we will be heading to Kenting, Kaoshiung, and then northwards to Taipei.

As usual, we will often compare prices for our accommodation and boy were we glad that we chanced upon HotelsCombined because it has helped us to find the best accommodation deals in seconds! In case you’re mistaken, HotelsCombined is not a booking site but a research tool that helps travellers make the right accommodation decisions.

Their leading price comparison technology allows travellers to easily find the best price online from all the top travel sites (like Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, etc) plus many other credible sites you’ve probably never hear of too (like Amoma, Hotelopia, Skoosh, etc).

With HotelsCombined app, travellers can now have the convenience of being able to always find the best deal in seconds without having to install so many apps to compare deals one-by-one.

Since Mothers’ Day is also round the corner in about two weeks time, I’m pretty sure many people are making plans to spend quality time with their family and if you’re thinking of bringing the whole family for a classic dim sum dining experience that won’t burn a big hole in your pocket, you might want to consider making a reservation at Yum Cha Restaurant.

My family always frequent the outlet at Serangoon Gardens Country Club but unfortunately, the Yum Cha Restaurant there is no longer in operation and the only available outlets are the ones located at Chinatown and Changi Business Park. For Mothers’ Day this year, Yum Cha Restaurant is launching 3 special items that seeks to re-create the long-lost taste of traditional Chinese dishes that mothers and grandmothers would remember with nostalgia of their hometowns.

The three special items are the Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables, the Pan-fried Salted Fish Bun, and the Almond Tarts.

Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables

A notable classic Chinese dish, this delicious bun which was easily carried around in the past, was eaten for days while our ancestors were fleeing the war in China before settling down in different parts of Asia. Quality tender pork belly is braised in a secret recipe sauce for hours to create a sweet and succulent taste that is balanced by a soft steamed bun.

Pan-fried Salted Fish Bun

A traditional Chinese dish originating from the Guangdong province, this salted fish bun used to be a favourite of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty. The bottom of the bun is seared to golden brown, with a flavourful filling made from salted fish paste and minced meat. To enhance its flavour, a secret seasoning is added for a more savory experience.

Almond Tart

The classic Almond Tart has a soft and flaky texture. Served warm, its sweet taste will definitely bring back fond memories of the old days in Hong Kong.

How will you celebrate Mothers’ Day?

That’s all from us for now and it sure looks like the coming month of May is going to be quite an exciting one too!

Taipei is the Capital City of Taiwan and it is the place that most first-time tourists to Taiwan would visit. It was during my first visit to Taiwan that I fell in love with the place, the people, and the food. As a matter of fact, words alone can’t really express the feeling I have whenever I visit Taiwan because Taiwan is like a second home to both Jacqueline and myself. Hence, it is not surprising that every year without fail, Jacqueline and I would travel to Taiwan and we would always go to our usual hangouts to do some eating, shopping, and sightseeing. Some of our usual hangouts in Taipei would include Raohe Night Market, Shilin Night Market, Ningxia Night Market, Ximending, Wufenpu, Q Square Mall, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Zhongshan Metro Mall, and Taipei Main Station Underground Mall.
Truly, there are also many other places in Taipei that we have yet to uncover and every year as we travel to Taiwan, there would always be something new for us to explore and discover. Hence in this blog post, we will be sharing about our usual hangouts in Taipei and why we make it a point to visit these places every year without fail! As we have explored new attractions in our recent trip to Taiwan, we will be sharing about our experience in the next blog entry and as crazy as it may sound, we actually have plans to include these new “finds” into our usual hangouts the next time we visit Taiwan.

Raohe Night Market

There’s a store at Raohe Night Market that specially sells Taiwanese goodies like the “Iron Egg” [also known as Tie Dan], Sun Biscuits [also known as Tai Yang Bing], and fruit-flavoured Jellies. This would perhaps be the best place to get souvenirs for all your family members and friends as they would be slightly cheaper as compared to the retail stores at the airport. Sumptuous street-food at Raohe Night Market

Yummy Grilled Scallops

Desserts Galore at Raohe Night Market

A must-try at Raohe Night Market, fried Oreo balls!

There are quite a number of mini arcades at Raohe Night Market and most of them have the toy catching machine which would get people instantly hooked. Though playing the toy catching machine provides much thrill and is cheaper than playing in Singapore, we would still suggest people to buy the toys from other retail stores as it would be much more cheaper!

Having some fun at Raohe Night Market.

A photo with our Taiwanese friend.

Personally, Raohe Night Market is a haven to me because this is where I can get my business long-sleeved shirts and long pants at a great deal. The quality is comparable to what you get from G2000 and it’s way much cheaper. The best part is, the tailor is able to alter the pants on the spot.

Whenever we are at Raohe Night Market, we would always visit our favourite desserts shop to have this really yummy oreo chocolate with peanut-flavoured ice-shavings. We highly recommend it if you’re planning a visit to Raohe Night Market.

Truly, Raohe Night Market is one night market you do not want to miss when you travel to Taipei! In fact, this is the place where we bought lots of Taiwanese goodies for our family members and friends. Apart from the tempting food that you could find at Raohe Night Market, you would also be able to shop till you drop!

Wufenpu

[Image Courtesy of Wikipedia]

Wufenpu is rather well known as a wholesale hub for clothes retailers and it is Taipei’s largest wholesale clothing market. As Wufenpu is about 10-15 minutes walking distance from Raohe Night Market, we would always just drop by to take a look at the clothing that are being sold and also check out if there are any good deals. Hence, you might want to visit both Wufenpu and Raohe Night Market on the same day.

Shilin Night Market

[Image Courtesy of Wikipedia]

Shilin Night Market is the most famous and busiest night market in Taipei and it is also a favorite focal point for Taipei’s night life among residents and visitors alike. Usually, when we visit Shilin Night Market, we would always check out the clothing and apparels that are available and also indulge in the sumptuous local street-food at the same time.

Ningxia Night Market

Fishball Store at Ningxia Night Market

Fresh Sashimi at Ningxia Night Market

Chicken with Egg on Hotplate at Ningxia Night Market

Having some fun at Ningxia Night Market

Ningxia Night Market is a rather small night market and it would be the best place for delicious local street-food because of the large variety of food stalls that are operating there. If you’re planning to do some shopping, Ningxia Night Market would be out of the question because the stalls there mainly sell food.

Ximending

Ximending is a place for the youths and it is comparable to our local Bugis Village/Street. Most of the time, we would go there to check out the latest fads and also indulge in some Japanese food at our favourite Japanese restaurant.

Sushi

Salmon Sashimi

Chicken Cutlet Bento Set

The Japanese restaurant has a rather interesting train conveyor belt that some Japanese Restaurants in Singapore used to have. Besides dining at the Japanese Restaurant at Ximending, we would also be shopping around for stuffed toys and backpacks.

Feeling pretty adventurous, we would often visit the hair saloons at Ximending for a haircut!

At the Special Hair Saloon.

Zhongshan Metro Mall

[Image Courtesy of Tripadvisor]

For the avid readers, there are a couple of bookstores at Zhongshan Metro Mall and they are really cheaper than what you get here in our local Popular store. The only downside is, most of the books are written in Chinese and there are few English books. Nevertheless, the books that are being sold at Zhongshan Metro Mall are really cheap and you might just want to consider picking up a book or two. Taipei Main Station Underground Mall We would always end up at Taipei Main Station because whenever we travel to other parts of Taiwan via the High Speed Rail, this would be where we eventually end up before heading to our serviced apartment in Shuanglian. Whenever we are at the Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, we will always buy this really delicious Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake that always have people queuing up for it every day! The Cheesecake is made on the spot and served fresh from the oven!

The Long Queue for Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake.

Q Square Shopping Mall

[Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor]

For some upscale shopping, we would always head to Q Square as it is within walking distance from Taipei Main Station. Furthermore, Q Square Shopping Mall has quite a number of well-known retail stores. We were quite surprised that we even found an Awfully Chocolate store there!

Guang Hua Digital Plaza

For the geeks whom are into electronic and tech gadgets, Guang Hua Digital Plaza is the place to go. Whether you’re planning to repair your mobile phones, get some computer accessories, or purchase a new tablet/PC, Guang Hua Digital Plaza is the place for everything geeky.

Convenience stores like the 7-Eleven are aplenty and we often visit them to get our cravings for convenience food fixed.

Cheese Risotto with Shrimp from 7-Eleven.

It really looks and tastes super yummy!

Every time we visit Taiwan, this is how much we would splurge at the 7-Eleven Stores.

Redeemed our free gift for splurging!

Well, there are quite a number of places that we have yet to uncover in Taipei, Taiwan but the places that we have listed here in this blog post are the places that we frequently go to every year! If you find this useful, do share it with your friends too! 🙂

In our recent trip to Taichung, Taiwan, the last two attractions that we went to was Carton King and Banana New Paradise. If anyone is wondering, we actually planned for a day tour in Taichung because we really miss the Tai Yang Bing [a.k.a Sun Biscuit/Cake] and we found it pretty pointless to spend money on High Speed Rail Tickets to Taichung just for boxes of Tai Yang Bing. Hence, we decided to sniff out other attractions that we haven’t been to so that we could kill multiple birds with one stone.
Carton King

Last year, we were at the Carton King branch in Nantou and this time round, we went to the Carton King Creativity Park in Taichung. The Carton King Creativity Park in Taichung is way bigger than the one we went to in Nantou and there are also more things to look at and shop for.

Ticket booth made of cardboxes and paper.

Entrance tickets to Carton King Creativity Park cost $200 TWD and it also comes with a voucher that we could use to buy souvenirs or food and beverage.

Almost all of the displays in Carton King Creativity Park is made by corrugated paper.

Sitting on the sofa like a boss. The sofa was made out of cardboards.

If you wish to purchase some of these unique displays, you can do so at the souvenir store but you would have to assemble them from scratch. The souvenir store also has some really interesting cards that you might want to check out and purchase as gifts for your family members and friends.

Apart from the souvenir store, there’s also a mini bee/honey museum, a restaurant, and a candy store! As our next destination was Banana New Paradise [a unique 1900s-themed restaurant], we skipped lunch at Carton King Creativity Park. If you’re planning to visit Carton King Creativity Park, do note that the restaurant only serves lunch from 1100 to 1400 and dinner from 1700 to 2030. A meal for an adult would cost approximately 250 TWD to 400 TWD and for children, it would cost about 150 TWD.

The dining table and seats in the restaurant at Carton King is also made of cardboard.

At the mini honey/bee museum at Carton King Creativity Park. This is the reason why I deserve to be an actor.

Jacqueline’s new found friends.

To go or not to go?

Verdict: Carton King Creativity Park is really unique and there are probably no other places like it. There are tons of opportunities for photos and if you’re an artsy person, Carton King Creativity Park might be your source of inspiration for some creativity. The souvenirs available are reasonably priced and some of the DIY kits are pretty interesting and suitable to be placed at home for decoration purposes. Hence, we personally feel that you ought to have Carton King Creativity Park in your itinerary if you’re planning to visit Taichung. In fact, we would definitely return to get some more stuffs from their souvenir store because they are really unique and inexpensive.

Banana New Paradise

Banana New Paradise is situated near to the Confucius Temple, the Taichung Broadcasting Bureau, and Yizhong Night Market. It was a pity that we didn’t have much time to explore this part of Taichung because we uncovered quite a number of attractions in this vicinity where Banana New Paradise is at.

Banana New Paradise has an old train carriage right outside their restaurant.

Old telephone communication system onboard the old train carriage.

If you wondering what is Banana New Paradise, it is essentially a theme restaurant that serves Chinese and Taiwanese meals. The decorations and displays in the 1900s-themed restaurant is really unique and you will get a taste of what it feels like to be living in Taiwan during that era.

The restaurant even has an entire, authentic-looking replication of a Taiwan street from the 1920s to 1940s. Apart from the colonial-era store fronts and the displays of real antiques, there’s also old mailboxes, signs and posters, a 50-year-old taxi, motorcycles, fully-stocked camera store, dentist office, barber shop, movie theater, and a candy and toy store too. All these can be found in Banana New Paradise and they are really a sight to behold.

The toy and candy shop!

Yes, they even have features from the Ching Dynasty!

Old school barber shop.

An old school cinema booth! We used to have something like this in Singapore too.

Old school cinema posters.

Real antiques that are extremely rare.

I don’t really know what this is but it sure looks like a machine used for shaving ice.

Your eyes ain’t tricking you. This is not some part of an alley. In fact, they are inside the theme restaurant itself!

It’s time for school!

We were quite surprised to see this fire hydrant inside the restaurant too!

Jacqueline posing for a photo with the fire hydrant.

Old school cameras.

Visitors can sit at tables along the “street”, or inside “shops”, and enjoy Chinese and Taiwanese meals.

The super duper unique food menu.

And how was the food?

It was really superb!

When we were there, we did not manage to arrive in time for their normal lunch hours and as a result, we only managed to order some light snacks to fill ourselves. Hence, it was more like a high tea session than lunch.

Char Siew Pau

Carrot Cake

Fried Beancurd Roll

Fried Sticky Rice

Ice Lemon Tea

Icy Mango

To go or not to go?

Verdict: Banana New Paradise is definitely one of the most extraordinary theme restaurants in Taichung and the food is relatively superb as well. The cost of having a meal at Banana New Paradise is reasonable though it is considered to be on the higher end by the locals. If you’re a history buff and you want to have an experience of what living in Taiwan during the 1900s is like, you might want to include Banana New Paradise in your itinerary. Furthermore, there’s no entrance fees and you pay only for what you consume in the restaurant.

Overall, our one day tour at Taichung was a really fruitful one and as you can see, we bought lots of goodies on just one single day.

I was personally very tired from the one-day trip in Taichung and here I am taking a quick power nap before arriving in Taiwan for the rest of our trip.

 

In our few upcoming blog entries, we will be sharing with you some of the interesting places that we have been to in Taipei and New Taipei so do look out for that! Have a lovely weekend! 🙂

During our visit to Taichung, one of the attractions that we visited was the Xinshe Castle, a European-style castle. From the Lavender Cottage, the journey took about 20 minutes by car and according to our driver, the Xinshe Castle is quite a popular tourist attraction.

The entrance tickets to Xinshe Castle cost $250 TWD and it comes with a $100 TWD Voucher which could be used for shopping and food/drinks.

The exterior façade of Xinshe Castle looks rather grand and its compounds are huge!

There are tons of man-made water features and the place offers ample photo opportunities.

However, we spent less than 20 minutes at Xinshe Castle and we felt rather cheated because the attraction just wasn’t worth the money. In fact, when we were there in June this year, mosquitoes were aplenty and we aren’t sure if it was due to the season/weather. However, what we do know is that the mosquito bites that we received were stinging pain!

Trying my very best to force a smile for the camera because the mosquitoes were getting on my nerves.

If you have Xinshe Castle in your travel itinerary, we highly suggest that you bring along some insect repellent and apply them to your body to keep those pesky mosquitoes away. Otherwise, you might want to leave Xinshe Castle out of your travel itinerary.

Another attraction that we visited was the local mushroom farm and it was quite a last minute decision because during the car ride, we noticed that there were quite a number of mushroom farms around the vicinity. We also found out from our driver that the place was well-known for its fresh mushrooms.

When we arrived at one of the local mushroom farms, the place wasn’t as pretty as any attraction would appear to be but it was quite a worthwhile learning experience as we saw how the mushrooms were being grown and harvested by hand.

The place was rather dark and humid and the conditions were suitable for the mushrooms to grow. Apart from mushrooms, lingzhi are being cultivated as well.

Fresh mushrooms ready for harvesting.

The mushroom farm also have some food products for sale and you can sample some of them before making the decision to buy them. Some of the products include fried vegetable chips, dried mushrooms, and other fresh produce.

Overall, we personally feel that Xinshe Castle was a waste of time and money and its only a place good for visiting only once. As for the mushroom farms, you might just want to drop by a while to take a look and learn something new.

It is now time for us to indulge in sharing about our recent trip to Taiwan. For this year, we spent only 4 days in Taiwan and though it was a short vacation, we managed to cover quite a number of attractions and we returned back to Singapore tired but happy.

Our 4 Days 3 Nights itinerary were as follows:…

Day 1- Taichung & Taipei Taiwan: -Lavender Cottage -Xinshe Castle -Mushroom Farm -Carton King Creativity Park -Banana New Paradise -Xi Men Ding

Day 2- Taipei, Taiwan: -Xi Men Ding -Raohe Night Market

Day 3- New Taipei & Taipei, Taiwan: -Jingtong Railway Station -Shifen Old Street -Shifen Waterfall -Jiu Fen -Gold Ecological Park -Golden Waterfall -Shuinandong Smelter -Ying Yang Sea -Shilin Night Market

Day 4- Taipei, Taiwan -Shuang Lian

As we have previously written some articles about our earlier trips to Taiwan in 2011 and 2012, we might be repeating some of these entries as there are some new and updated information to include. Hence, do give us some time as we do our best to consolidate our various experiences in Taiwan.

As usual, we took the midnight flight to Taipei via Scoot Airlines and we arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at 05:55am in the morning. Having picked up our baggage and cleared the customs, we took the U Bus, Bus Number 705, to Taipei High Speed Rail Station. The cost of the bus trip is NT$30 per person and it took about 20 minutes.

Since we arrived early at Taipei High Speed Rail Station, we had some light breakfast and then boarded the High Speed Train to Taichung.

Last year, we took the Business Class Seats but for this particular trip, we decided to go for the Economy Class Seats as we wanted to save more for our shopping spree. The cost of the train trip was NT$540 per person and it is way cheaper than the Business Class Seats. Furthermore, the only difference between the Economy Class Seats and Business Class Seats is that the Business Class Seats are wider and Business Class Passengers get some complimentary light snacks.

Before we even embarked on our flight to Taiwan, we had prearranged with our hired driver to pick us up at Taichung High Speed Rail Station. Hence, this really save us a lot of hassle and trouble from having to lug our luggage around, and the best part is, we had more time to cover more attractions.

Our first stop for the first day was the Lavender Cottage.

Having done some extensive research, we decided that we wanted to reconnect with nature and hence this was the very reason why Lavender Cottage was part of our itinerary. The car journey from Taichung High Speed Rail Station to Lavender Cottage took about 45 minutes and because it is situated in the mountains, there aren’t any public bus that plies the area. Hence, the only mode of transportation to get there would be via private transport and if you’re up for the challenge, you could hike up too but it will be quite a long journey up.

The operating hours for Lavender Cottage are as follows:

Monday to Friday 10:30 – 18:30
Saturday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:30

In case you’re wondering whether there’s any entrance fees to Lavender Cottage, yes there is. It will cost NT$200 per person to enter Lavender Cottage but to be honest, the price is really worth it as the entrance ticket also comes with a NT$200 voucher that you can use to shop for souvenirs or buy food/drinks.

When we were there, it was the season for Salvia Flowers and though we expected to see tons of Lavender Flowers, we didn’t have the opportunity as it wasn’t the season for it. In case you’re wondering, the season for Lavender Flowers is from November to April.

The Lavender Cottage offers tons of opportunities for photo-taking and we really like the setting.

When we reached Lavender Cottage, the first thought that came to our mind was to take a deep breath of fresh air! The sky was indeed beautiful and what do we see? A heart-shaped cloud!

Even the souvenir shop has lots of interesting stuffs that you can purchase too.

We were quite spoilt for choices as there were so many souvenirs to choose from. They had tea leaves.

Handmade Soaps…

Bathing Salts…

Oil Essence…

Scented Creams and Lotions…

Of course there are tons of other souvenirs that are available at Lavender Cottage but it would be too much to list them all. So, if you’re wondering what you should get if you happen to be there, we will highly recommend you to get their handmade soaps or their scented bags.

An overview map of Lavender Cottage.

When you start walking around Lavender Cottage, you might spot some Geckos like these and it is said that they are attracted to people wearing white t-shirts. I’m not too sure if they bite or what not but it is better for you to stay clear of them.

Here are just some shots that we took while exploring Lavender Cottage.

A cart full of logs for the fireplace.

Looks somewhat like our Singapore Botanical Gardens.

The colourful signages that points to the various attractions in Lavender Cottage.

They even have the merry-go-round ride in what seems like a jungle.

Jacqueline playing with the stuffed toys.

One of the food and beverage outlets where you can purchase some cakes and drinks.

If you wish, you can have a picnic in the jungle for that nature-feel.

There are postcards available from the souvenir shop and you can actually buy one and send it to your family members and friends, or even to yourself.

A nursery room in the jungle!

How I wish there was something like this when we were outfield.

Pretty flowers!

The owners of Lavender Cottage stays in this really huge house and in case you’re wondering, yes, there are people currently living in it.

The really beautiful ladies bathroom/toilet that every lady dream to have at home.

To go or not to go to the Lavender Cottage?

Well, we say, “To Go!”

The Lavender Cottage is a worthy attraction and like we mentioned, there are really tons of opportunities for photo-taking. Moreover, the scenery is really beautiful and when you stepped into the surroundings, you will find yourself relaxed and calm.

Given the opportunity, we will definitely visit this beautiful place of nature again. Though it may be quite a distance, the journey is definitely worth it. However, do bring along some insect repellent as there will be pesky mosquitoes that are eager to feed on you.  If you would like to check it out for yourself, the details of Lavender Cottage are as follows:

Address- No. 20, Zhongxing St, Xinshe Dist, Taichung City 426, Taiwan Telephone- +886425931066

If you also want to find out more information about Lavender Cottage, you can check out their website that is written in Mandarin at: http://www.lavendercottage.com.tw/

We are currently in Taiwan and will be back this Sunday evening. As such, we will not be having any blog updates till then.
Meanwhile, we heard that the haze situation in Singapore was pretty bad over the last few days. Do remember to drink lots of water and as much as possible, avoid any physical activities when you’re outdoor. Also, it would definitely help a lot if you are wearing a N95 mask if you’re outside. In case you’re wondering if a normal surgical mask would suffice, we’re afraid not as it only helps to filter out particles that are larger in size. However, if the N95 mask is out of stock, a surgical mask provides the simplest form of protection. If you have the N95 mask, be sure you are wearing it properly and that there are no leakage of air; otherwise, it would defeat the purpose of having it.

Anyhows, if you’re interested to find out what we’re up to in Taiwan, do check us out on our Instagram.

Take care everyone! 🙂

Hello Everyone,
in our blog entry today, we will be covering the Puli Winery and the Guangxin Paper Mill that Baby and I went to when we were in Puli.

Puli Winery

Puli Winery is devoted to establishing the landmark feature of Puli as the Hometown of Shaoxing Wine. Being Taiwan’s first Wine Culture Museum, Puli Winery is actively promoting the culture of Shaoxing Wine and it is also constantly putting more efforts in preserving the history of the winery.

From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Due to the warm weather, sweet and clear water that the Puli area of central Taiwan enjoys, the Puli Winery has come to be known for producing excellent quality Shaoxing Wine that has a bright yellow appearance and a vigorous fragrance.

Baby posing for a photograph at the entrance of Puli Winery.

From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Just look at all the wine pots that are used in the process of wine fermentation.

From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Here’s Baby and I fooling around in Puli Winery.

From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Some of the wine pots were designed by different craftsmen and in order to distinguish themselves, some of wine pots bear the unique seal of the different craftsmen.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Truth be told, I don’t really know how to appreciate the museum aspect of Puli Winery because there isn’t really anything that is fascinating. But, if you’re planning to buy some Shaoxing Wine or its related products, you could just head straight to their retail area and skip the museum part. If you’re not into alcohol, you might want to take Puli Winery out of your itinerary.

Puli is popular for its sugar cane and if you’re a fan of sweets and sugar, you might want to try this non-alcoholic sugar cane candy. It is crunchy like a biscuit but doesn’t sticks to the teeth. A bag of sugar cane candy cost $80 TWD [approx. $3.40 SGD].

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

This is how the Sugar Cane Candy is being made. A rather similar technique as how Sticky’s candies are being made.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

They have flavoured Shaoxing Wine Ice-Cream too and they cost $15 TWD [the cheapest] approx. $0.64 SGD It’s something you must try if you’re here!

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Parting shot at Puli Winery

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

If you’re planning to get some souvenirs and gifts for your family members and friends, you can buy some Shaoxine Wine or some other food products like the Flavoured Shaoxing Wine Jellies. For myself, I bought 6 boxes of Flavoured Shaoxin Wine Jellies that cost $200 TWD [approx. $8.50 SGD] a box!

Guangxin Paper Mill

Do you know that water is an important factor in the process of making paper. Thanks to the fine quality of the water in Puli, the paper made in Puli had all along enjoyed great prestige. Hence, Puli was also called “The Hometown of Handmade Paper”in Taiwan. So, being interested in how paper was traditionally made, Baby and I decided to check out Guangxin Paper Mill.

Here’s me posing for a photograph outside the entrance of Guangxin Paper Mill

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

As we were there during lunch time, there wasn’t any tour being conducted. Thankfully, there was a tour group that arrived and we happily tagged on.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

The guide showing us the various raw materials which could be used to make paper. So, if you think paper only come from trees, you’re wrong.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Here are some of the equipment that are used in the production of paper.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Honestly, the tour around Guangxin Paper Mill was rather fascinating and informative because most of the time, we use a lot of paper but don’t really know what goes on in the production of paper. Hence, after this tour, I have learnt to appreciate the use of paper. If you’re planning to make a trip to Guangxin Paper Mill; be sure not to miss out on their tour.

The guide demonstrating to us how to make paper.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

After the tour, you can choose to make your own paper product. If you’re going for the full workshop, it will cost you $220 TWD [approx. $9.35 SGD].

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

A small boy boy learning how to make paper.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Instead of buying souvenirs home, why not make a souvenir yourself and bring it home?

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Here’s Baby making her own souvenir. Of all the designs that are available, Baby chose the one which resembles Taiwan.

From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Baby drying her souvenir on the heating panel.

From Day 2 Taiwan Holiday 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

The final product [which we forgotten to take when we were staying in Sun Moon Lake] 🙁

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Baby putting a stamp of Guangxin Paper Mill on her souvenir.

From Day 2 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

If you don’t fancy making your own souvenir, you can purchase some souvenirs from Guangxin Paper Mill too.

Here’s a short video on making your own souvenir at Guangxin Paper Mill.

In our next blog entry, we will be blogging about Sun Moon Lake and the Liao Mayor Black Tea Shop, so stay tuned to more updates from us!

God bless!

Hello Everyone,
we really hope you like our most recent blog post on the Old England Manor and the Carton King. For this particular blog entry, we will be sharing about our experience at the Small Swiss Garden and the Green Green Grasslands with you.

Small Swiss Garden
Because of its Northern European atmosphere, the Small Swiss Garden has been called “Taiwan’s Little Switzerland”. Entrance fees to Small Swiss Garden cost $120 TWD [approx. $5 SGD] and if you’re the sort of person whom don’t fancy flowers and birds, then I would probably recommend you to give the Small Swiss Garden a miss. However, if you’re looking for great photo opportunities, then you must check out this place!

The Small Swiss Garden has some sort of a water show and it is probably better to catch the night show as the whole place would be lighted up with beautiful lights. However, as it was a distance from our accommodation to Small Swiss Garden and the roads were foggy, we gave it a miss for safety reasons.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

At the entrance of Small Swiss Garden

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

You can purchase some bird food that cost only $10 TWD [approx. $0.42 SGD] to feed the pigeons and ducks. If you’re lucky, some of the birds will perch on your shoulders and provide a good photo opportunity. However, do beware that the birds might just decide to release their poo unto you.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Princess on the Carriage

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

I know its not Christmas yet but since I was there and they had this huge Christmas tree, why not?

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Baby with the Beautiful Lavender Flowers~!

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Fooling around in Small Swiss Garden

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Some Rather Beautiful Shots of Small Swiss Garden

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

There is a small cosy cafe in Small Swiss Garden and if you have some spare time, you might want to spend the time sipping some coffee or tea while admiring the peaceful scenery.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Our first time seeing white ducks

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Parting Shots at Carton King and Small Swiss Garden

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Green Green Grasslands
Green Green Grasslands is situated on much higher grounds in Cing Jing as compared to Carton King and Small Swiss Garden. Hence, it is highly recommended that you have your own transportation up to Green Green Grasslands because climbing can be a rather tedious task. The entrance fees to Green Green Grasslands cost $200 TWD [approx. $8.50 SGD] and trust me, it’s really worth the money. There, you can see herds of sheep grazing on the grassy hill and if you would like to feed them, the sheep food will cost you $10 TWD [approx. $0.42 SGD]. Also, if you visit on a weekends, there will be a Sheep Shearing Show which we found pretty amusing.

Having some fun right outside the entrance of Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Entrance Tickets to Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Entrance to Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Our “Couple Stamps” to Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

An Overall Map of Cing Jing

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Baby having her share of fun at Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

My turn to have some fun at Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

While waiting for the Sheep Shearing Show to begin, we decided to have a ride on their incredibly big horse! The ride cost us $150 TWD [approx. $6.37 SGD].

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

A Short 4-Minutes Video on The Sheep Shearing Show.

The Sheep Shearing Show

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Make sure you get good spots for the Sheep Shearing Show and do not take the seats where the horses were stationed at [for the rides] because the floor is littered with horse pee and poo.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

At the end of the Sheep Shearing Show, we decided to take a parting shot with this Sheep Shearer cum Shepherd from New Zealand whom spoke really good Mandarin.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

A rather “interesting” sheep we saw along the way. While the wool of other sheeps were curly, the wool of this particular sheep is rather straight [as if it was straightened using a hair straightener].

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Parting Shot of Green Green Grasslands

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Now that you know about the Old England Manor, Carton King, Small Swiss Garden, and Green Green Grasslands in Cing Jing, our next blog entry will be about our accommodation [Ming Qin Minsu] in Cing Jing. So, do look out for it and stay tuned to more updates from us!

God Bless!

Hello Everyone,
as mentioned in our last blog post about our Taiwan Holiday 2012, Baby and I have spent two days in Central Taiwan and in order for us to cover as much attractions as possible, we have hired a driver whom brought us around to the different places that we wanted to go.

Getting Around In Central Taiwan:

Though utilising the public transportation is rather direct and straightforward, it is extremely difficult to move around with big luggage and cover a number of attractions in a short period of time. Moreover, travelling time via the public transportation can take extremely long. Hence, we decided to hire a driver that took us around in a Toyota Wish for 2 full days at a price of $7000 TWD [approx. $297.49 SGD].

On the first day of our Taiwan Holiday 2012, we spent the first day in CingJing and we visited several tourist attractions such as the Old England Manor, Carton King, Small Swiss Garden, and Green Green Grassland.

As we have tons of photographs to show, we will be blogging about the Old England Manor and the Carton King in this blog post; and we will be blogging about the Small Swiss Garden and Green Green Grassland in the next blog post.

Old England Manor

The Old England Manor is a really luxurious accommodation and a night’s stay on a weekday would cost you at least $16,500 Taiwan Dollars [TWD] which is equivalent to $701.23 Singapore Dollars* [SGD]. Hundreds of millions Taiwan Dollars have been pumped in to construct this property that took 9 years to complete. Most of the furnishings and constructs are imported from England and if you’re planning to check out the property’s interior, it would not be possible unless you’re a staying guest. Alternatively, if you wish to enter the building, you can pay $450 TWD [approx. $19.12 SGD] for an afternoon tea. Well, since we couldn’t really afford to stay here, we stopped by to take some really beautiful photographs of the place and its surrounding scenery. By the way, its free to enter the exterior of Old England Manor to take photographs.

A Short Video Introduction of the Old England Manor

The Old England Manor at Cing Jing

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Closed-Up View of the Old England Manor

The Fabulous Mountain View from the Old England Manor

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

The Old England Manor was so WOW!

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Baby posing for some photos with the England-Style Street Lamps

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Baby standing in front of one of the guestrooms in Old England Manor

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

High-Tea at Old England Manor cost $450 NT [approx. $19.12 SGD]. Pretty worth it if you’re looking to relax and just chill out.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Parting Shot at Old England Manor

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

Carton King

Carton King is a small retail shop that sells a wide variety of souvenirs made from paper and everything in Carton King [such as ceilings, tables, chairs] is made by corrugated paper. A souvenir which we found really unique is the leather-like paper bag that can be washed using machine!

Carton King Post Shop is where you can find tons of postcards to purchase as souvenirs. In fact, you can mail a postcard back to your home country too.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Some rather unique postcards that we saw.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

DIY Cardboard Souvenirs

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

A rather fascinating Cardboard Structure

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

The Big Fat Me was able to go into the Cardboard Structure

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Some other rather fascinating paper souvenirs that are lighted up with LED bulbs. We bought one of these to bring home to decorate my new room.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]

and yes, they have larger ones as well. Pretty cool to have it as a form of decoration at home.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Melvin’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

DIY Paper Train

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

DIY Cardboard Plane

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

This is too kiddy for me but I just couldn’t resist sitting on it. In fact, this cardboard horse can take weights up to 100+ KG!

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

There are some really interesting cards that are being sold at Carton King and we bought some of them at a really good price. So, if you’re a pretty close friend of ours and your birthday falls in the remaining months of this year, expect to receive an interesting and unique birthday card from us.

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

Some Parting Shots at Carton King

From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]
From Day 1 Taiwan 2012 [Jacqueline’s Perspective]

*Assuming exchange rate of $1 SGD = $23.53 TWD

So that’s all for the Old England Manor and the Carton King. Check out our next upcoming blog post on the Small Swiss Garden and Green Green Grasslands!

Stay tuned to more updates from us!

God Bless!

Hello Everyone,
please pardon me for not blogging for the last few days as I am really caught up with work and assignments. In fact, I am currently embarking on my 10,000 words dissertation and it really isn’t easy considering the fact that I have to read numerous journals, articles, and reports! Hence, I seek your understanding if you haven’t seen [or hear] much updates from me.

Ok, so… this piece of news is just too good to be shared but I shall just share it anyway in case any of you haven’t heard about it yet [I hear some of you going “chey!” because you probably would have found out about it anyhow].

Scoot has recently launched an amazing and awesome flight deal to Taipei, Taiwan and flights were going at $88! Yes, it was too good to be true when I first heard of the news but really, it was just fantastic and it came at a right time as Baby and I are planning a trip to Taiwan again. Their inaugural flight would be taking place on the 18th of September and almost everyone is excited about it!

To celebrate the occasion [that is, Scoot‘s first flight to Taipei], Scoot is giving everyone [those who like their Facebook Page] a chance to win FREE ScootBiz tickets on their first flight to Taipei. If that isn’t enough, one lucky fan will get to fly on Scoot for FREE FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR [terms and conditions apply] At the moment, Scoot is only giving out 2 pairs of return ScootBiz tickets on their first flight to Taiwan because they currently only have 101,722 fans. So, to increase the likelihood of Scoot giving out more free ScootBiz tickets, do spread the word around about Scoot‘s latest promotion and get people to like their Facebook Page! But we got to hurry though, the dateline to hit the target of 188,888 fans falls on 13 July 2012 [that’s in 3 days time!]

Anyway, in case you are wondering whether Baby and I managed to secure our flight to Taipei at a good rate, yes we did! We bought a one-way ticket to Taipei for only $226 [yes, for two persons inclusive of 15KG check-in baggage, choosing of seats, airport taxes and etc.] As we missed out on the awesome deal for the return flight tickets, we are staying tune to Scoot‘s network-wide sales that will be taking place tomorrow [11 July 2012] at 0900 hours so that we can clinch a great deal for our return ticket to Singapore!

Honestly, we are really thankful that Scoot is launching this promotion because it has really helped us to save alot so that we could spend more in Taiwan! Our upcoming trip would be a rather exciting one because we would be travelling to the Southern part of Taiwan [via the Taiwan High Speed Rail] and then head back up to Taipei for some shopping and food galore. Once I am done with my studies in August, I would be planning the itinerary together with Baby and who knows, you might be able to get a snippet of the places that we will be travelling to, once everything is confirmed and finalised.

So stay tuned to more updates from us!

God bless!