Saturday, May 24, 2014

Day 1: Kaohisung

Getting taiwan sim card
I always get 台灣大哥大哥 for my first two Taiwan trips as it is always recommended by most people. However, the queue is quite long so I decide to give chunghwa a try. The price between 台灣大哥大哥 and chunghwa is the same.
Package A (300NT): 3 days unlimited 3G + 100NT airtime
Package B (300NT): 5 days unlimited 3G + 50NT airtime
Package C (500NT): 5 days unlimited 3G + 300NT airtime
Package D (500NT): 7 days unlimited 3G + 150NT airtime
Package E (500NT): 10 days unlimited 3G + 100NT airtime
Package F (1000NT): 30 days unlimited 3G + 430NT airtime
As I would be traveling 9 days so I decide to get package D. For this trip, most of my time would be traveling on those mountain areas like Alishan, Cingjing, Sunmoon lake and taroko gorge. The 3G signal is still working well and quite fast compared to Singapore 3G service. *Do take note that these mobile carrier shops open around 8am as most of our budget flights arrive quite early in the morning.
Transport in taiwan There are three types of train service in taiwan.
1.THSR Taiwan High Speed Rail (abbreviated THSR or HSR) is a high-speed rail line that runs approximately 345 km (214 mi) along the west coast of Taiwan, from the national capital Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung'
2.HSR It runs around the whole taiwan island. There are also two types of servies: Normal and express. Express is much faster as compared to normal.
3.Metro There is mrt system in the big cities like taipei and kaohisung Early bird discount for THSR Tickets are available for sale 28 days prior to and including the departure date. The early bird discount of 35% off, 20% off, or 10% off are offered no later than 8~28 days before the departure date (including the departure date). If tickets with an early bird discount of 35% off are sold out, then tickets with an early bird discount of 20% off are offered. If 20% off tickets are sold out, then tickets with an early bird discount of 10% off are offered. Hence it is important to take note of the date to book the tickets in advance. Another thing to take note: There is only 10% early bird discount on weekend so it is better to take THSR on weekday if you want to save cost.
Traveling from airport to taoyuan high speed rail station
There is a U-bus 705 service which cosst around 30NT and takes around 20 minutes to travel from airport to taoyuan high speed rail station.
First stop of the day: Formosa Boulevard station
The whole journey from taoyuan to kaohisung through THSR only took us 2hr. From zuoying station, we can transfer to the kaohisung metro station. Formosa Boulevard station was voted one of the most beautiful train station around the world. It has really beautiful drawings on the ceiling and it is popular among the photographers. However, the lightning in the station is quite poor ... not doing any justice to the beautiful drawing.
Previously, I stayed in walking story which is located 10 minutes walk from the station and next to the Liouhe night market. Recently the owner has sold the building. Hence, I was recommended to Old Taiwan (liouhe) Hostel which is around 15 minutes from the station. The owner of the hostel is really quite nice and friendly. As we were traveling to Fo Guang Shan, she helped us with the planning of route and gave us good recommendation on nice food around the hostel. There is store across the street which served very awesome pork chop which is really delicious and tender. Most of the pork chops I ate have very hard texture but this one really is soft like chicken meat.
Second stop of the day: Fo Guang shan
For my first kaohisung trip, I visited Lotus Lake / Spring and Autumn Pavilions / Dragon and Tiger Pagodas + Kaohsiung Confucius temple + Sunset at Sizihwan + Love river. Hence, I decided to visit some new places.I happened to see Fo Guang Shan on one of the travel show which look very grand and magnificent so I decide to give a visit.
How to go: Find Kaohisung ke yun which is located near kaohisung train station. Take the bus service 8010/8011 which will take you directly to Fo guang shan.
found this really quite meaningful

Fo Guang shan is really quite a peaceful place with very magnificent Buddhas and building. Walking around here really help to relieve the stress and clear up my mind. The place is really quite big so I recommend at least spending half a day to tour around here.
Third stop of the day: Rui feng Night market
How to go:It is located at Arena station and just 10 minutes walk away. It is opened every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1800-2400
My original plan was to catch sunset at Sizihwan but I overlooked that touring Fo Guang shan would take a longer duration to complete. Hence, we decided to go Rui feng night market.
There are quite a lot nice food in this night market and it is really very crowded. One of the must try food is the deep fried sotong packed with the fried rice. It is really delicious. There are also quite a lot shops located around Rui feng Night market where you can shop around. It is also quite popular among the youth

Last stop of the day: Liouhe Night market
How to go:It is located at Formosa Boulevard station and 5 minutes walk away. I forget to take photo at this night market ... If you are interested, can go to my first kaohisung trip on Liouhe night market.
Liouhe night market is much bigger and spacious compared to Rui feng night market. If you are interested in trying seafood, can give it a try at this night market.
My day 2 stop would be Alisha!!! Remember to come back for the updates :)