Taiwan 2011

After spending four amazing days in Hong Kong Serena and I flew to Taiwan on separate flights, because Serena had booked hers as a package while I booked mine individually since I traveled budget with Tiger Airways from my Singapore flights.

As mentioned before in my HK entry, I flew Eva Air and the flight was expensive for a short one way ride! I’m not sure if there’s a cheaper way, but I searched high and low and considered many alternatives before finally settling with the flight booked through ZUJI Hong Kong. It set me back HKD2251, which is almost US$300! ridiculous. but the flight was smooth, so I’m not going to complain further.

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Day 1 – Arriving in Taiwan, Hotpot at Taihoden and Shida Night Market

Serena and I landed in Taipei at around 2pm local time. Taipei was gloomy and cold throughout my trip, but I really enjoyed my stay the city. It made me fat and broke, but happy! You’ll see why in a moment! :D

From the airport, We took the shuttle bus to the city which costed us NT125 (very cheap! US$4). Then, from Taipei Main station, which is a HUGE station by itself, we traveled a few stations to the west and transferred to the brown line to Da’an MRT. all the while lugging our heavy baggage. It was very exhausting.

We stayed at W Hostel. I highly recommend because for a hostel, it was very clean, cozy and conveniently located. only one minute away from the MRT station! The owner was also very helpful and friendly. The only downside is communal bathroom and no wireless in our individual rooms, but that’s actually not too bad.

Immediately noticed a few things about Taipei: they aren’t as foreigner-friendly as Hong Kong. A lot of the names are very chinese (so took me some time to get the hang of), and aside of the public transport places, they don’t really provide english translations for things. Also locals don’t speak english, which makes it hard for me to communicate aside of hand gestures. Thankfully Serena speaks mandarin, or I would have died.

After setting down our stuff, showering and resting up for awhile, we walked down Xinyi rd towards Taipei 101 building since I needed to find a DBS atm to withdraw some cash.

Witnessed insane traffic on the way there. You think your city’s traffic is bad? think again. But to be fair, the traffic was only this bad that one night. The other night’s weren’t so bad but that’s probably also because we were there right before Chinese New Year.

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Hongkong 2011

I just got back from my epic Hongkong – Taiwan – Jakarta vacation! so epic that I took a million pics and am too lazy to blog about it now. but i’ll suck it up and do it anyway.

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Day 1 – Getting to HKG

I flew out of Singapore at around 1pm, and landed at HKG at 5pm. Serena, my travel buddy + friend from high school + facebook wife, doesn’t land till 45 mins later, so I scampered around the airport mooching free wireless to organize how to meet up with her. Thankfully we were able to meet up right away (I waited near the exit, and caught her). We immediately took the airport express to Kowloon station while catching up along the way. I talk to her online a lot, but I haven’t seen her in person since maybe 2-3 years ago! You know the friendship is real when you haven’t seen each other for that long and still able to pick up right where we left off ;)

The airport express train ride is super comfy – the train is super nice with cushy seat and cheap too: HKD 160 for round trip (about US$20). Anyway, we got to Kowloon station after about 30 mins of train ride, took the taxi to our hostel which was located at Chungking Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui. We found later that this location is extremely convenient. It’s smack dab in the middle of the city so it’s only a short walk or a few MTR station rides from most of our destination. We stayed at Ashoka Hostel, which was very cheap and clean with friendly staff but it was very small place (think dorms in universities). Doesn’t matter to me since I’m not very picky about where I sleep as long as the bathroom is clean.

We didn’t do much that night since it was already pretty late by the time we were all settled and ready to get out. So we had a quick kebab dinner and walked around the vicinity of our hostel.

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