Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Last Day in Taipei and Onwards to Seoul

Today we say good bye to Taipei and travel to Seoul by evening flight.

We still had a lot of time to kill from 9 AM to 4 PM.

So we decided to Venture out in the city and see some more places.

We had stayed at Ximending which is in walking distance of most places.

Started off with a breakfast at MOS burger.

The places to see today were 

  • NTU hospital building, 
  • Taiwan national museum and 
  • The peace park around. 

There is also a presidential building nearby which adds up to the rich architectural heritage of the city. 

We later realised that the Chiang Kai-Shek building is also walkable from the hostel. 

What a shame, we travelled by MRT the day earlier to reach CSK hall. We could have just walked!

On the way we had some sweet cakes stuff with regular red bean or cream.

The bite makes others envious....

Prasha wants another round

Soon we reached the National Taiwan museum. There were no plans to see the museum. I personally don't like museums.

The park is just behind the museum and these are the things you can't do in the park.

Kids going home after school

They say, speak with the kids and God speaks back to you!

Working Class having their lunch boxes!

Some heritage building.

Presidential Building from a distance

Bought Doughnuts for mid-flight snacks...

By now it was already 3 PM.
With this we concluded our Taiwan trip. 
Headed back to hotel. Picked up our luggage and took the bus 1819 back to airport.

The station was at a walking distance from the hotel and took us 15 min with the luggage to reach there.
The bus ride took another 1 hour.

Soon were on our Scoot flight to South Korea!

Bye Bye Taipei...... Hello Seoul!

Took luggage off the belt. 
We did as the locals did. Rushed to the train station connected to the airport.

Bought a single journey ticket.
We wondered why everyone was rushing...

Looks like it is the last local for the day.... 

It was still 11PM and last local is at 12 midnight.

Once exited from Seoul city station took a taxi to Kimchee Guesthouse. It was eerily silent and dark, 

The Seoul tower shone from a distance on top of the hill.

It was then we realised it was already past midnight and we had travelled into the next time zone...

Getting late for the day... In the upcoming post will share our experiences of the new city that we just came in 

S E O U L !

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Day 4 Sunrise in the Alishan mountain and back to Taipei

Next day we were up at 3:30 AM.
The hotel had provided wake up call service.
To line up for the mountain train which leaves 3 times from 4 AM to 6 AM, one has to get up early.

We had bought tickets a day before to avoid the lines.

Take a look at the lines below

The train goes winding up the mountain top and stops at the Zhushan Train stop.
We were joined by the loads of people from the train we came till here.

Zhushan Station. Sunrise point
Sunrise point.

Fellow Sunrisers. 
Thats me!

Finally the sun rose from the distance and the valley lit up with young golden yellow rays.
The return train was still 40 min away. So we ventured around and took a walk in the nearby foliage.

Sunrise over the valley...

Double Exposure feature from 70D

Once we were back to hotel, we got ready and headed to Taipei.
The bus ticket can be bought on the spot at the 7-11 and Bus leaves from the same place.

After a bus ride for 2 hours, we reached the Transit centre for Chiayi.

A free shuttle to THSR leaves from platform 2 from here. Just remember not to eat or drink on the THSR shuttle.
We had earlier booked a discount ticket from THSR for late night. But after seeing Alishan, we had nothing left to see, we returned in the morning itself. So got our tickets exchanged for a full price early ticket.

Once back to hotel by afternoon 12:pm, we dropped luggage and headed out for the city tour.

We went to CSK, Chiang Kai Shek memorial hall and saw the change of guard ceremony where the guards change shifts.

The next stop was the GuangZhau Street food. Yummy spicy, fried gluttonous sinful eatery street.

The age old Longshun temple is near by active center of worship.

For more information refer Alishan on Wikipedia

Monday, 14 April 2014

Day 3: Travel up the Alishan mountain

No Taiwan trip is complete without seeing the Famous Alishan Sunrise, up in the mountains, over a sea of clouds.

On day 3 we left for Alishan, on a bullet train from Taipei. It was Prasha's first bullet train ride.
One can get as much as 35% off if booked a train ride 28 days or before.
Refer this website for more details.
They dont let you wander on the platform but it is more like waiting for your plane to dock at the gate number at airports. There is a waiting area and you cant even be there to see the train leaving or entering the station. 

We had left the luggage at the Taipei hostel.
To get there you need to travel towards Khaosiung in the HSR or High Speed Railway.
It is a long journey towards Alishan.  We took the 8:36 AM THSR to Chiayi from Taipei. 

The train reached at 10:00, our bus was at 10:10 just outside the station. Tickets on board.
The Chiayi HSR is 15 km outside from the city but is connected by a free shuttle bus to the city.
Also there are 3 buses in a day for Alishan direct from the Chiayi HSR station.

More details here .

Once on the bus we dozed off. It is a winding journey through hilly area. The air starts getting chilly as the bus  negotiates steep slopes and climbs up the atmosphere.

Cherry blossoms are seen in February in Taipei for about a week. So in April, Alishan was our last hope to see the famous Sakura or Cherry Blossoms in Taiwan.

We got off the bus and head straight to the hotel Alishan Shermuh Hotel .

It was time for a quick dip in the hot tub! We had been travelling for over 2 hours now and it was really cold outside. The clouds were floating at line of sight...

Once refreshed we headed off to the attractions of Alishan mountains. Sister ponds was the main attraction in mind. The Sacred tree line was about to dispatch in another 40 min.

All other restaurants were out for Tea and hence not open for business!

 So we headed to the 7-11 nearby.
They have vegetarian noodles! They provide sitting place and hot water for free.

The destination station.

The sister pond is at a little walking distance from the station.

You are not alone.. people accompany you. But it is still eerie in the jungle even in the day time.

The scenery on the way:-

Sisters pond

The pig 

The   shape of a fallen tree

Walk back to the main town...

Thats me at work!

A chinese temple on the way back.

The beautiful sunset in the mountains

Local Wasabi produce

Shopping for local farm products.

When we reached the town it was already dark and restaurants were serving early dinners.

We bought the tickets for the next day early morning train. It is wise to do so because otherwise you have to wakeup even earlier to book the tickets. 

We bought another veggie noodle at the 7-11 and retreated to the hotel to enjoy another hot water tub dip...
Life was never so beautiful before.....