Monday, September 14, 2015

5D4N Itinerary For Taipei: Day 1

Taipei is one of those places that I would think about going back again and again. I love the street food and night market shopping culture there, and I always enjoy myself very much whenever I visit. This time round, we brought along both kids and both mothers with us for the trip, and it was one rowdy trip with 5 ladies and 1 guy (the poor husband) but of course, great time spent with the family.

Before the trip even happened, we already had a hurdle to overcome and that’s getting to the airport. There were 5 of us (excluding my mum who doesn’t live with me and would meet us directly at the airport) and 5 pieces of luggage. If we took cabs, we would definitely need to call for 2 cabs (at wee hour of 4.30am) and pay a huge sum for midnight and on-call charges. Thankfully, Blacklane contacted me and offered to sponsor us airport transfers in their huge MPVs. It was a great solution for us! We could travel together as a group, and the ride was nothing less than luxurious. I was kept informed of my chauffeur’s contact details, vehicle number as well as arrival. They are more expensive than taxis, for sure, but this is private chauffeur service we are talking about. If you are interested, find out more here.

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We flew by Jetstar because we got a super good deal during one of their promotions. It would be Joey’s first trip to Taipei and she was super excited! :) Ours was a 7am flight that would allow us to arrive at Taoyuan Airport by 12pm and have most of the day to explore.

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I’ve already arranged for a private transport to pick us up from the airport to our accommodation at Daan District in Taipei City. Our driver, Mr Lim, was a funny guy who loves to chit chat. You can contact him at Whatsapp +886 973 955 085 if you wish to engage his services. He charged us 1,000 NT per way in a 7-seater MPV. Of course, there are cheaper options for airport transfer such as the airport bus or taxis, but pre-booking saves us the hassle of looking around for transport when we arrived at the airport, and most of the airport buses only go to Taipei Main Station, which means I would have to take taxis from there to my accommodation at Daan again after that. With 2 kids and 2 mums in tow, I wouldn’t want to make life so difficult for myself.

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We absolutely love our accommodation at Daan! We booked Ann’s House (www.taipeiannhouse.com.tw) at the recommendation of our friends who stayed at one of their properties previously. This particular property at Daan is a three-bedroom apartment with a kitchenette and has a very cosy and cottage-like d├ęcor. Towels and toiletries are provided and every room comes with its own cable TV with many channels. One of the rooms had an ensuite bathroom while the other 2 bedrooms shared a common bathroom. There are water dispenser, washing machine, dryer, microwave, oven, humidifier, etc in the house as well. Pretty well equipped, I say!

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We were famished after unpacking our luggage and decided to head out to the nearby eateries for our first meal in Taipei. We found yummy beef knife-cut noodles! A tad oily, but very tasty soup with extremely ‘Q’ noodles!

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We also had soup dumplings and yam & pumpkin ice desserts!

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On our way back to our house, we were thrilled to find that there were 7-11 and Family Mart right outside. Suppers settled! =D If you don’t already know, 7-11 and Family Marts in Taiwan stock many delicious food items such as Guan Dong Zhu (a little like our Yong Tau Foo with yummy soup), onigiri, salads, burgers, bento sets, etc. Every trip to a convenience store is nothing short of exciting.

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On our first night in Taipei, we decided that Shilin Night Market would be where we should head to! Take a convenient MRT ride to Jiantan Station, and the night market is located diagonally across the road from Exit 1.

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Apart from the usual street food you need to try when at Shilin Night Market, such as fried chicken cutlet and smelly beancurd, we tried something different that night. There was a shop in one of the alleys called Luo Da Ma, that sells Sesame Chicken. We had a nice chat with the friendly old lady, who was the boss and the chef of the shop. We commented that her soup was rather blend, and she explained to us that she didn’t add any salt into her soups because that would make the soup somewhat bitter. She then brought out a small dish of salty chicken sauce which she prepared herself for us to dip our chicken pieces into so that it would not be so blend anymore. Every mouthful was sweet with the natural flavor of the chicken and a tinge of rice wine. So good!

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Before we left the night market, we also tried the grilled clams in white wine and garlic juice. Sedap!

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Stay tuned for Day 2! I will share my full 5D4N itinerary in my final blog post. Smile