Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Taiwan - the Itineraries

Date: 10th January 2019

We had an impromptu trip to Taiwan in December 2018. It was because I came to realise at a very last minute that I had to spend within 24 months of my RM6,000/yearly leave passage given by the company for the year ended 2017 before its expiry. The leave passage is actually for the top management of the company to use on yearly basis and claimable after a year of hard work working for the company. I utilised all of that in my first year during my last trip to Russia and claimed when I went for Umrah in 2016 of the 2nd year of service. I thought of keeping it and combined 3 years for 2019 trip but it was impossible as it will get burnt once it exceeded 24 months. Lucky that Ismail kept on reminding me to utilised.

Breathtaking view in Qinjing Farm

On 28th November 2018, I get my family members to assist on the place to visit with that given budget. Syahirah first suggested Vietnam and Taiwan but since I have been to Vietnam I quickly agreed for Taiwan. Nasrul as usual kept mum about the trip refusing to follow using work as an excuse. Naim wanted to go to Australia or Japan and Hubby chose New Zealand. Unfortunately the 3 countries required more budget and longer time to enjoy the trip with the whole family. In addition my leave balance was only 4 days and with public holiday on Tuesday, 11th December (Sultan Selangor’s birthday), Taiwan seems to be a feasible place to go.

Taipei 101 Tower, snapped at the Subway exit point

I had prepared an itinerary using guides from the website; of what to do in Taiwan for 1 week. Being me, I managed to persuade hubby to tour the whole island by car as its no point of revisiting Taiwan with many more countries that we are yet to visit. Agreeing to my suggestion, he took Nasrul to renew the passport on 30th November and get himself an International driving license. Syahirah has helped me a lot with booking the car and the accommodation with AirBNB. I just passed her my credit card and she did the rest. Naim has utilised the family allocation under Air Asia travelling points benefit when booking for hubby and my ticket. Ticket for 2 is only at RM240. Whilst Syahirah and Nasrul's ticket cost me RM2,200. Our itinerary touring the Taiwan Island are:

Us, 3 at Sun Moon Lake
We landed in Taiyouan International day at almost midnight where taxis are charged at double rate. As soon as we get a local internet connection (purchased at only Taiwenese Dollar, TWD 450 @ RM55) we went looking for a transportation to reach Daan District, where our accommodation is situated. The travel agent asked for TWD1500 as it already passed midnight hour. We decided to look around and by Godsent a local middle man approached us asking for only TWD1000 to take us to Taipei. We were his last customer for the night. Syahirah has guided him using Waze for his conveniences.

Father and daughter at the tourist spot, Sun Moon Lake

Day 1 - We explored the Taipei city by taxis, subways and foots starting with lunch at a halal restaurant somewhere in Zhongshan district. Taiwanese are healthy conscious people and their foods contain herbs and less salts. If you are not ready then better bring your own sambal belacan what not. Zhongshan district is so near to the Camera Street of which we got to enjoy taking a stroll to reach Peace Park and National Palace Museum. Thereafter we headed to Taipei 101 spending so much time inside, shopping and attempted to reach the observatory decks. We decided to had dinner somewhere near the Grand Mosque after Jamaah Isha prayer with the Muslim who resides in Taiwan.

Toyota Vios that kept us save for 7 days 6 nights touring Taiwan Island

Day 2 - After we took a car that we booked and checked out from the apartment, we excitedly headed to Keelung Port city using Freeway. Saddened that it was raining all the way from Keelung city to the old street of Jiufen. I did not managed to get a single photo in Keelung nor Jiufen after busying looking for a halal restaurant. That resorted us to search for a halal meal in Riufeng using Google  search and maps. At-Taqwa Mussolla Restaurant is happened to be run by an Indonesian community. After prayer and solat, we adjourned to Hualien city which in my opinion is a must city to visit when in Taiwan. We had a memorable time exploring Hualien at night time.

Drizzling in Riufeng small town.

Day 3 - We continued to the lowest/southeast point of Taiwan, i.e. Kenting National Park not knowing that the best plan would be to stay a night there. We made a mistake booking an accommodation in Taitung. Should we know that we had to use the same way twice to reach Keetung from Taitung, we could have some journey distance, i.e. about 200km. After all, there's not much attraction in Taitung City apart from seafood and beaches which Keelung also has.

Stopped for photo by the beach along the Coastal Road to Kenting

Day 4 - From Taitung we drove using the same coastal road and trunk road to reach Kaohsiung, the second biggest city in Taiwan. We firstly search the Kaohsiung Mosque for jamak prayer,  Zohor and Asar and lingered longer for Maghrib prayer. We had Subway as dinner in the biggest shopping mall in Kaohsiung, EDA after finding a money exchange to get more Taiwanese dollar to spend. It was so difficult to find the apartment that we booked as we had to make a detour due to it's location seated adjacent to the night market. However, it was another pleasant stay just like when we enjoyed a stay in Taitung AirBNB. In addition, the locals are pretty amazing people, who helped and tagged along to ensure we safely arrived at our destination.

EDA Shopping Mall, glittering all over

Day 5 - The google has directed us to Tainan to meet Ali who married a local Tainan and operated a small kitchen in front of their house. Both friendly couple has a heart as pure as gold. We exchanged contacts hoping to meet again in future. We headed straight to Sun Moon Lake which is so so beautiful and in my opinion, a must visit destination when in Taiwan. There are so many beautiful places to take nice photos. The nightlife in Sun Moon Lake was quite at the time we were there, maybe because it was on weekdays. 

With Ali's Wife in front of their house in Tainan

Day 6 - Guided with places recommended in "Salam Taiwan" hosted by Malaysian actress Mira Filzah, we drove to Qinjing Farm located at the highest peak of Nantou county. It is only less than an hour drive from the Sun Moon Lake. The time we spent there with the sheeps are most memorable. The views are breathtaking too. We stopped for lunch at Seven Eleven Swiss Garden, a mini-park creation that requires an entrance free. Thereafter we set the Waze to Zhongshe Flower Market, which I mistaken for the flower farms that I saw in Chen Bolin & Song Ji Hyo TV program "We got married". However I still utilising the time inside to explore the man made flower farm taking photos and argued with Nasrul who commented on my bad acting skills. He is making a video for the Taiwan trip for your info.

With the sheep at Qinjing Farm Nantou County

Day 7 - Syahirah had an accident while driving to drop off the rented vehicle in Daan district. What an experience when she did not even had an International Driving Licence. But the policemans are nice and treated us well. 2 hours later we were released and paid quite a huge sum of money to the Car Rental Company. Thereafter we stopped for lunch at Malaysian restaurant operated by a local Lady who married a Malaysian man from Kuching. After lunch we spent all our Taiwanese dollar leftover in Ximenting Youth Shopping District. By the way it was our last day in Taipei before catching a midnight flight to Kuala Lumpur.

Vending Machine that the 2 didn't get to see much in Malaysia - Hualien City

Stay in touch for the next entry of what to do when in Taipei. Thank you. 

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