Travelogue | Lunar New Year in Taipei - Take 1

I probably guess this post is gonna be lengthy due to the number of photos that I'm posting.

Well... Why not, right? Let photos do the talking. I will be just backstage of these photos. 

Why I choose to spend CNY in Taipei is because I HAVE NOT BEEN TRAVELLING FOR 15 MONTHS!  Due to the fact that I'm a student NAO! And the whole of last year, my guy is also a student but luckily this year on, he is free but I'm not, till end of 2013 along with all my passes in the last 6 modules. Okay I haven say why I choose Taipei because I have not been there for at least 21 MONTHS! And I freaking miss that country. To me, I would have faithfully go there at least once a year but because of the above situation, I can't. So I take this chance to travel for a short 4 days there with my guy and one of his friend who is new to Taiwan.  Of cos I play the role of a tour guide cum navigator there. As if I live there right?  Ok unless Taiwanese Government is willing to accept me as their citizen. Anyway, have planned this trip months ago. I simply can't wait to execute the plans I made. I want to eat, visit places, go nightspots and shopping. Boosting the economy of Taiwan that bits. Now they seems like relying on those Mainland tourists. Other tourists from various countries not significant to them anymore. I feel that. But not sure of others. But I still love Taiwan. And so this year, reunion dinner with family is one day earlier because flying off on the eve of CNY. So excited. Though not much hopes on shopping but being there is the greatest joy. Ever.

Eve of Chinese New Year 9 Feb 2013

Smooth journey to Changi Airport Terminal 1. I never expect any cabs in the middle of the night in Woodlands. Not the first time. Damn irritating. So we book a cab and got it immediately. Cool. Oh by the way, my flight is at freaking 0650 hours. And meeting our friend at airport around 4+am. Freaking early. And we slept like 1-2+am and wake up at 3am. Arrghh... That's the woe about morning flights. But nevertheless, worth everything cos is Taiwan!

So arrived. Check-in done. Travelling with Cathay Pacific. I think I won't regret taking a transit flight to Taipei with Cathay Pacific because Hong Kong airport is freaking big and is nothing but shopping and food. Eh... mostly high-end stuff, if u don't mind. Cos I don't mind. Most importantly, there is in-flight entertainment and food. Unless is a freaking short trip like an hour or 2, if not I will not choose budget flights. Now I'm quite particular after so much of experience with budget flights with Jetstar and Tigerairways. 

Went in to the waiting area. Got 2 hours to spend before boarding. The guys head for duty-free cigarettes and puffing away at smoking area the next minute. It is a ritual for smokers I guess. Then head up for light food and hot tea. Shared a pack of nasi lemak and milk tea with my guy. 

After that walk around the airport, they puff, I wait. Times up! Boarding time. So excited. Yup I am flying with Cathay Pacific and guess not the first time. 

This is don't know what time and there are people check in at the boarding gate already.

Heading to Hong Kong first stop. Then to Taipei. Throughout the flight, I sleep on and off. Seriously, I usually can't sleep during my flight to anywhere. 

My breakfast on board the flight. Looks nice. Because is Chinese New Year eve, there is a greeting card. So good right?

Nom nom... I like. But too much of omelette makes me and my guy wanna puke. So never finish it except for the rest.

There is Meiji Yoghurt. Good meal planning. I like. Helps with our digestive system early in the morning. Wahahaha...

Very nice view right? I am reaching Hong Kong. Then looking out, saw this nice bed of clouds. Oh my god! Without touching it, I feel the softness by looking at it.

Lucky with that in-flight entertainment, I watch a Chinese movie, doze off, wake up, eat, cam-whoring, doze off and here I am in Hong Kong. 

I was so excited to take off the plane and walk around the airport. Was like walking ahead of the guys cos my irritating guy is looking for their SMOKING AREA! Arrghh... Simply can't stand him. Either loose bladder or puffing. That's his agenda. So I snap photos around while waiting for that 2 big shots.

I was surfing the internet at HK airport and find this keyboard so cute. Okay I basically think that is for Chinese characters. But unique right. I think Japanese characters also. U know Japanese characters look similar to Chinese characters.

The above are some exhibits at the airport. More of the olden days of Hong Kong. Nostalgic right?

Woohoo... Time to board the flight to Taipei. An hour flight transit from Hong Kong. And wow... refreshment, mind you. A hot piping sandwich and drink. Then like a blink, I'm in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Woohoo.... Singing in my mind: 'I love Taiwan, Taiwan must love me. Because I spend to boost your economy.' Haha...

The airport has renovated and is pretty now, as compared to few years back. The custom check on CNY eve was sort of fast. Collected our luggage and head out to meet the driver who will be bringing us to our hotel, Ginza Hotel, Taipei. And by the way, while waiting for luggage, the patrol dog sniffed out a suspicious bag. Wahahahahh.... We were joking away about it, thinking what if it is dog food in that bag and etc. Right, I know is stupid because all these dogs are trained. Just thinking for fun. Don't get me wrong. And so we head off to Taipei. The driver was young and friendly. Talking away during our journey, asking him where to head for during these period of our stay and etc. Right, indeed I'm a freaking good navigator. I will be able to find my way. Like what I did in Tokyo where language is really a barrier but it never beats me down! Tada... We reached. Tip the driver and off we go to check in and put our luggage. 

Ginza Hotel is located in a rather run-down building, 4th floor. But please don't cast that disgusted look on that. U will be impressed by their simplicity yet adding a bit of stylish look to their rooms. But I'm surprised maybe because I never stay in a hotel that occupies about 3/4 of the floor around 10 rooms (I never really count but one glance, u know is just that number of rooms). Well I think I'm considered lucky because after reading from reviews of this hotel, some guests never get a room with window or find it very noisy in the night that affects their sleep because down the floor, there is lounge or KTV and usually they operates at night. But I'm okay with it cos I'm not really affected by the noise. My guy feel it but I didn't. I think I'm deaf! *slap myself*  Let's just take a look at their rooms. Fantastic isn't it?
Let me show you the room. First is the toilet. Small but good enough for me and my guy because we are not that big size.

My guy fall in love with such WC after we went Tokyo in 2011. Superb love. And now we are in Taiwan and still able to use it. I hope all the big or small hotels can change to this type of WC. Wonderful.

Bathtub cum shower. Not bad for a small hotel. But I'm too lazy to dip myself in there. Have to fill up water and never bring any bubble bath with me. No fun.

Windows. There is windows in our room. Don't get it why guests to this hotel said that there isn't any in their room. Maybe we are just lucky.

Superb cosy and my guy like. The bed size is good enough for both of us and don't really need a even bigger one.
Not bad right their design? Hmm... maybe can take into consideration for my home. *Thumbs up* 

Don't envy alright? This is nothing to some of u out there. Ya is nothing to me too because I stay in Venetian Macau and the room is the grandest. But in Ginza Hotel, is cosy and homely. The staff are friendly and polite. So nice to hear them greeting you when they saw you coming back from outside. Good or not? You know what? The attention and service from their staff will be better because you don't have to handle so many guests. I like that! To me, it will be a plus point for nice rooms but does it really matter when you are out the whole time and the room is empty till you are back for sleep at night? Well all depends on individual. 

So we rest for awhile after checking in. And about 5-6+ in the evening, we head off to Ningxia Night Market. Okay as advised by the driver, he said that most of the time, the stall owners will close early for reunion dinner and head back to start business at about 6pm onwards. Or rather 7pm. So we try our luck. 

I simply don't get it why they choose to build this thing here. Why am I saying so? Because it is blocking the pedestrian crossing aka traffic light. But anyway they like can already. I still love Taiwan. 
Across the road while waiting at the traffic light. This building is a hospital. I seem to me more like a office building.

We walk about 20 mins there. Along the way as usual, snap photos, looking at the streets. Mostly closed. Except Watsons and convenience stores. 

We head in to Family Mart and bought the fruit beer which is also selling in Singapore. Freaking cheaper than Singapore. Convert back to SGD will be about $1.70-$2.00 per can. And Singapore is selling $3+ per can. Imagine that amount I can buy 2 cans. Oh... forget to report on the weather. Freak cold. But not as cold as in Japan. But I'm just cold. My hands can turn freezing cold like ice temperature at night. The temperature tends to be lower in the night. Usually.

Okay so I continue with that beer. I forget to snap a pic. Damnit. I think we had lychee flavour. Or apple flavour. But whatever. Is not and low in alcoholic level. So to the guys, they can have many more before they get high. WTH! Continue to move on. And saw Watsons. Head in and buy the stuff my cousin wanted. I think got discount. Damn lucky Cousin! About TWD79. Lesser than what was mentioned by her (TWD100). I chop 5 bottles as requested. I wanted to buy my favourite masks but I scare to see a long face boyfriend so I drop the idea. ''People heading for food and you are carrying so many things. Cannot wait till heading back to hotel then buy is it?'' That was what pop in my mind, an OS of my guy telling me off. 

So after much walking, we finally reach Ningxia Night Market. Damnit. We are too early. Only one stall is opened though there are food shops around that are opened. So we settled for our first meal in Taipei.

The following is curry rice, shredded chicken rice and don't know what soup. Pathetic right? I hope for better choices for the next few days.

So we move on after this. 

End up after walking straight down the street, we went 7-11 and had their 關東煮.

I thought my guy loves it especially 猪血 but I guess the taste is not up to his standard. Thereafter he never want to have any from convenience store. What the hell!

This is rather a common sight in Taiwan. I guess is their fav way of passing their time, winning some stuff. See so many cute soft toys. 

So we went out of the night market. And happens we pass by this store at one corner of the street.

And we decided to try on their food. *Cross our fingers*

A pathetic oysters soup. But the soup itself is nice. Too bad because the weather is so cold and the soup turns cold real fast. Haiz....

Cute right? 吃就发 which means eat and get abundance of fortune. Wahahahah... Okay we try.

This big bowl of noodles, name unknown, is very tasty. There is pig intestines, prawns, cockles and more. Squid!!! I think that is why with all these mix together, the soup is terrific. Well done. 

After that we walk back to our hotel. Along the way, we again had beer but tis time I had papaya milk.

And braving through that coldness, we reach our hotel. Decided to come out abit later for that Ningxia Night Market again. Very free hor? Yup when you are on holidays, your time is alot but somehow not enough still. 

So about 9+ we head back to Ningxia Night Market. Finally at least a few more stalls are opened. 

It is fishballs but they call it 鱼蛋 which is same like in Hong Kong night markets. Any difference? Just that they have much more variety of flavours. I love it. 

Sausages. The aroma is within reach. They provide garlic for you to go with the sausage. And there is different choice of sauce to choose from. Like wasabi, garlic, sweet & spicy and spicy & sour sauce.

Real good taste of Taiwan sausages. I usually never had sausages which can be seen in pasar malam (also our Singapore style of night market but not of regular basis) but here in Taiwan, I tried. I don't know why. I just prefer to go that country and have it. Refuse to have any in my own country. Damn funny. Still figuring what kind of mentality is this.

So after that, we head back to hotel but hoping to find some food stalls open so that we can actually have a proper meal aka reunion dinner for us three.

Really. We found one along the roadside.

Cute right? Low tables and chairs, sitting by the roadside, having your meal. How unique way Taiwan can have. Love max.

So we order food and beer which ends our night with a happy stomach full of Taiwanese food. Though I came to Taipei for many times but never had meals this way, at the roadside. 

That's our first day in Taipei. Shall continue my 2nd day in the next post. Stay tune!