Friday, September 18, 2015

Taiwan 2015 Day 1: [[ Jing Gua Shi 金瓜石 + Jiu Fen 九份 + Shi Fen 十份 ]]

A revisit to Taiwan, the first official trip on a plane together, some 6 years ago! Not much changes to Taipei since our last visit. We ventured out to other areas which we didn't visit on our previous trip. Since this was a pretty short and last minute trip, we took it slow and only visited a couple of new places while the rest of the time was spent chillaxing and shopping at night markets in Taipei.

On the first day, we visited Jing Gua Shi 金瓜石, Jiu Fen 九份 and Shi Fen 十份.

Taipei to Jing Gua Shi 金瓜石:
Go to Taipei Station and take local train, departing from Shulin to Su'ao as end arrival station, to Rueifang station. Journey is 48minutes and cost NT$49.

Once at Rueifang station, cross the road in front of the station and at the bus stop just outside the shops and cafes, take Keelung bus heading to Jinguashi. Bus journey takes about 20minutes and cost NT$22
First stop at Jing Gua Shi, we visited the Gold Ecological Park.
We took a scenic walk up the small hill in Gold Ecological Park via the little train track and arrived at the gold museum which admission is free of charge.
The museum is pretty small and the only attractive thing around is this big gold bar! Made of pure real gold, it weights approximately 200kg. So huge, it made it to the guinness record!
After the museum, we headed to the soy bean store just outside to have a little snack before continuing our visit.
Soy bean in ginger soup with glutinous rice bubbles! Looks pretty good but I prefer our local soy bean!
We continued our visit to the Benshan Fifth tunnel which is suppose to give an insight to the miner lives. Not quite interesting and pretty short. In my opinion, skip this. Admission is NT$50 per person.
We stopped by to have a miner's bento! Not sure how much it cost but it's good enough for the price with a big chicken chop and rice in it. Plus, the bento container and wrap are yours to keep!
After our meal and a short stroll to digest the food, we headed off to Jiu Fen 九份.

From Jinguashi 金瓜石 to Jiufen 九份:
Take Keelung bus and alight at the old street stop along the road bend with a 7-11 store. The bus journey is around 10minutes and cost NT$22
This is the entrance to Jiu Fen 九份 old street. It's a constantly crowded street with two rows of street snack and souvenirs shops.
Some of the must try snacks:

Bittergourd juice! Bitter on first sip but then after it was just pure sweetness! Uniquely tasty!
懒阿婆taroball. It's pretty famous and hard to miss. But I don't see what's the rave about though. The blackball dessert in Singapore is so much nicer! This, doesn't have much taste.
Last but best eat for the trip is this peanut ice cream popiah! This, I will have to rave! This is freaking awesomely delicious! Please do try it! Not to be missed!
After having our fill and picking up some nogurts, we headed off to Shi Fen 十份.

Jiufen to Shifen:
Take Keelung to Jinguashi bus (#788) back to Rueifang train station stop. Journey is about 20minutes and cost NT$30.

Take train from Rueifang to Shifen. Journey is 27 minutes and cost NT$20.
The sole purpose to travel all the way here is to write our wishes on the sky lantern and release it!

There are a whole row of shops catering this service but because it was so crowded, we just head into the first shop we saw and started penning our wishes onto our colorful sky lantern. Overall, it was a fun experience though we had, especially me, alot of trouble penning chinese words!

After we are done with the writing, the service staff will dry our lantern with a hair dryer before guiding us out to the rail track to release it. Mandatory photos and videos will be taken automatically like a pro for you! No worries!
It was overall a fun activity but we won't be back anytime soon. The journey is just too tedious for our liking! Furthermore, Shifen train comes once every hour with the last train departing at 5.30pm. It gets quite stressful espcially during peak periods where the fastest feet wins!

Do remember to time your trip well as you will need to get back to Rueifang to train back to Taipei. Journey back is about an hour from Rueifang. Missing the last train will mean the only way back will be to cab! It's going to cost a bomb!

We spent the rest of the night at ximenting, the Taipei orchard road, feasting on street snacks and window shopped.

Some not to be missed street snacks:

1973 fried chicken! Believe it is famous and easily recognizable by its huge red signboard!
This can be found along the streets. It's basically prata wrapped with ingredients of your choice! Love this very much!
The Koi in Taipei. More of a tea flavouring than sugary sweet like Singapore's. My kind but the latter is preferred by Mr Kwek.
Last but not least, the famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線) Must try for many like Mr Kwek but personally, I don't fancy it! So here's a picture of only Mr Kwek in action to end off the post! :)

Taiwan 2015 Day 2: [[ Taipei 台北]]
Taiwan 2015 Day 3: [[ Taichung 台中]]
Taiwan 2015 Day 4: [[ Yeliu 野柳]]

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