Sunday, March 20, 2011

Twice Taiwan: Traipsing through Taipei

The last two full days in Taipei were spent mainly getting our shopping done (we have never been the shopping type, so we left everything to last minute :p), plus visiting a few markets and museums.  Day 3 saw us shopping at Shinkong Mitsukoshi, and we managed to get some interesting toys for the little boy there.  We didn't get anything else though, since everything was so expensive, even though they were clearing the past season's clothes!  Lunch was at the food court, then it was off to my favourite street in Taipei: Dihuijie, which is home to a long stretch of stores selling cloth and dried goods.  We picked up our bakwa (of the dried beef jerky type) at the shop right at the end of the street, then headed to the market in the drizzle.  The hubby then proceeded to patiently wheel the little boy in the pram round and round the second floor of the market (to ensure he napped) while I frantically shopped for fabrics.  The variety is amazing, however this round I couldn't seem to find the shops that I visited previously, and had to settle for paying more.

We went to the flower market (Jianguo Holiday Flower Market, which is open on weekends only) on Day 4.  It was like walking into the market section of the Singapore Garden Fest, except all the booths were actually tucked underneath a flyover!  Lots to see, and the little boy loved the fountain displays best...

Bamboo seedlings.  The seeds are actually sold at the market...

... and will germinate to give you this!

Its blurred but there was a beautiful vertical garden behind the yellow blossoms. :)

Then it was a quick lunch across the road:

We always try to order a plate of green veggies for every meal and let Junior J have some.
He's been surprising us by eating these by the leaf, and can down about 15 on a good day!
Since our discovery, we've gladly stopped trying to tear/chop up his veggies...

The hubby's addiction: He ordered hong shao niu rou mian (beef noodles) at almost every noodle eatery.
With the hearty breakfasts at the hotel (which gave you 2 eggs every morning), it was no wonder we put on weight!

And then back to the opposite section of the flyover, where there was a jade market, selling all sorts of semi-precious stones:

The atmosphere at the Jade market was pretty different compared to the flower market.  Many stalls had stools for you to sit down to peruse their shiny baubles, and the stones all shone under warm yellow lights...

Then it was off to the National Taiwan Museum (with its accompanying museum of natural history across the road), where little boy got to see the dino skeletons...

... along with alot of other interesting exhibits.

There was a section on Taiwan's indigenous culture, showcasing how the various tribes lived their way of life...

This exhibition was in traditional Chinese and French, so we had no idea about what it was talking about, however, this particular time-line display caught my eye, since it was boldly exhibited in shadowboxes, and everything was in a single colour (either red or white).

Loved the tiny little models... really a crafter's dream to make these! :)

Exhibition on rice, where there was a display also showing animals found living in the padi fields...

Another interesting thing (to me at least): Little cylinders filled with different types of rice, hung gracefully from the ceiling!

An exhibition on the history of radio... along with some exhibits where you could press buttons to listen to common sounds heard in Taiwan over the years ...

Section with displays on various ecosystems.  These models are plastic, but I think they are pretty life-like!

Junior J refused to nap (with all that stuff to see, I don't blame him), so we ended up heading back to the hotel to settle him down... and after he woke we popped by another mall (I forgot the name, but it was recommended by a waitress over at the hotel) to shop a little, as we had to buy a T-shirt for the boy as all the clothes I had washed had refused to dry in the cold rainy weather.

Oh, and this time round, hubby decided to splash out on our accomodation in Taipei, since this was going to be the only family holiday this year.  We had previously stayed at Lilai hotel, which was pretty decent given the price, but the wet carpets (once we came back to find them washing the carpets, and it was all soggy) and clogged up toilets weren't too great.  So this round, we stayed at Waikoloa Hotel, which pretty nice, and the rooms were large and quite tastefully decorated:

The first thing Junior J did when he entered the room was to turn on the TV.  We were puzzled since we hardly turn on the telly when the boy is awake, and when questioned about who taught him to do so, he promptly replied "Kongkong!".  Now I know what he's been up to when he goes over to my parent's place!

The first thing we usually do upon reaching our hotel room (after putting down our bags that is),
is to unplug the telephone.  There's really something about buttons that kids find irresistible!
Oh, and little boy spent many of the nights making mock calls to us, or to his bear,
and we tried teaching him how to dial our numbers.  :) 

Yup, and that more or less covers our trip! :)  It was really tiring and challenging, but all in all we did have fun, learnt much, and ate quite abit... Have a great week ahead everyone!


  1. I'm really enjoying your lovely photographs of your trip! I've never been to Taiwan and would love to someday. Intimidated by my lack of proficiency in Mandarin though!

  2. Corsage: Thanks! Do go, its a beautiful place to visit, plus one of the most child-friendly asian countries around. If you want, we could send you our itinerary/recommendations if you do. :) The directional signs are usually both in English and Chinese, and the locals are usually very willing to help. Our Mandarin isn't too good and we got through, plus Junior picked up some Chinese along the way (like cao mei for strawberries, heh!)

  3. Wonderful account of your Taiwan trip which I had followed with much interest! Gorgeous photos as well! We are going to Taiwan in June for a family holiday (with 4grandparents!) and I am jotting down notes from your posts! Thanks! :)

  4. Beauties in Our Lives: THanks! I think you will have loads of fun, and its great the grandparents are around to help! Let me know if you need more details/tips...



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