I chose to travel via Kuala Lumpur. Why?
It was real cheap for mom. She took direct AirAsia flight to Kuala Lumpur and continued to Taipei from there. As a good daughter, I took the long route and met her at Kuala Lumpur. :)
We bought the air tickets since February 2014 and we got the deal. I could not remember the exact price but each one of us only spent around SGD 250 for all the flying. Cheap huh?
So on 01 October 2014, we met at Kuala Lumpur and stayed at Tune Hotel KLIA2 for transit purpose.
Tune Hotel KLIA2 is located so very near to the new low cost carrier terminal of Kuala Lumpur. When you arrive at KLIA2, you can walk to KLIA2 Gateway (which is a shopping mall) and find the arrowed sign showing where Tune Hotel is. Walking barely 10 minutes, you will step into the lobby of the hotel.
I have stayed in Tune Hotel before and to be honest, I didn't like the system of paying more for towel, toiletries set, air conditioner, etc. However, Tune Hotel KLIA2 is kinda different. The cost of the room is higher but it comes with unlimited usage of air conditioning system, towel, toiletries set, TV, and free wifi. Although the room is small, but it is new, clean, and comfortable! With SGD 60, I guess it was a good night sleep.
|The room with a queen size bed, a table, a chair, a table lamp, a TV, a ceiling fan, an air conditioner, and a window! (Photo source: agoda.com)|
Another thing I need to commend about Tune Hotel KLIA2 is the environment. The concept has slightly changed from the previous Tune Hotel. Usually Tune Hotel only consists of rooms without any amenities, but this one is different. There is a lounge area, spacious lobby, and an outdoor seating area for the guests to relax!
|Lobby with high ceiling|
|Outdoor seating area|
We needed to catch 10:45am flight to Taipei on 02 October 2014. After taking our morning shower (I love the rainwater shower head!), we walked slowly to KLIA2 Gateway, dropped our baggage, and cleared the immigration. Everything was smooth till we sat on the plane!
|Taiwan, here we come!|
To cut the story short, we sat inside the plane for approximately 4 hours and we touched down Taoyuan International Airport around 3:00pm.
The plane was huge and it needed some time to let all passengers alight. After that we walked quite a distance to the immigration, queued very long to get the chop, and voile, here we were in Taiwan!
The first thing I did was to register myself, mom, and ah yi for iTaiwan service at the customer service counter. iTaiwan is a service to let everybody connect to wifi networks all over Taiwan. As a foreigner, we need to register upon arrival and get our user id and password.
For me personally, iTaiwan is a good way to save a little bit of money and hassle to buy a new pre-paid card, change the sim card, yadda, yadda, yadda. The coverage of iTaiwan is good and you can even cross-connect to TPE-free networks, etc.
We then went downstairs to buy the Ubus ticket to Taoyuan HSR station. The ticket cost us NTD 30 per pax (~SGD 1.3) and the journey was about 15 minutes. After we bought the ticket, we boarded the bus and waited for about 10 minutes for the bus to be filled.
|Mom in the bus|
Reaching Taoyuan HSR station, I planned to buy easy card, but 7-eleven there only sold non-refundable easycard and they told me I could not use the card to travel to Taichung. Therefore, I cancelled my plan to buy the card.
I bought the HSR ticket in the counter to Taichung which cost NTD 590 per pax (~SGD 25). Taichung is located around 160km southwest of Taipei. It only took us 40 minutes to reach Taichung by high speed train.
|Buying ticket is not difficult at all, just ask the officer and he will gladly assist you!|
The speed of train was around 200km/h or more and the train was equipped with wifi! There is no prohibition to eat inside the train too but believe me, it is still cleaner that Singapore MRT.
|Fast train till my camera can't catch it!|
|The interior of the train and the seat is really fluffy!|
Upon reaching Taichung HSR Station, we alighted and walked our way to buy Sun Moon Lake Pass that we would use the next day. After that, we walked to Xinwuri Railway Station which was connected to Taichung HSR Station. The hotel that I booked was located besides Taichung Railway Station so we needed to take the normal train there (they call it TRA).
The cost of TRA from Xinwuri to Taichung Railway Station was NTD 15 (~SGD 0.7). The train was pretty packed but kind people there gave up their seats for mom and ah yi. I guess they pitied us to carry so many luggage.
|Xinwuri Railway Station, waiting for our train|
When we reached Taichung Railway Station it was getting darker although it was only about 6:00pm. The day has been getting shorter in Taiwan since it was approaching autumn-winter season.
We walked our way to Taichung Plaza Hotel which was located so very near to the railway station. It was about 3 minutes walking or so! And the cost of the room? It was about SGD 90 per night per room.
|When I asked for direction, the person just pointed her finger towards this gigantic building|
|The room is pretty modern and minimalist although it is very tiny|
|Clean bathroom, my favourite!|
We checked in and dropped our luggage into our room and continued our journey to our first destination, Fengjia Night Market!
The staff at Plaza Hotel were very fluent in English and they kindly explained the way to go to Fengjia Night Market. So, with a map given by the hotel, we walked to the bus stop in front of the railway station and board the bus.
We paid by cash and the bus did not provide change. It was supposed to be NTD 30 per pax but we only have NTD 100 (~SGD 4.4) to pay, so bo pian!
|The food street of Fengjia Night Market|
We were hungry! Yes, we were so very hungry. So the first thing we did was to find food. Food. Food. Foooood.
These are what we ate for that night. Grilled chicken roll (too salty), chow toufu a.k.a stinky beancurd (quite nice), grilled black pepper chicken onigiri (quite nice and unique), and red bean & beancurd soup from Yi Ping Dou Hua.
After that we continued walking around to find something to shop, but apparently mom and ah yi were not too interested. I laid my eyes on two necklaces and one earrings but the sellers quoted me quite a high price. So I did not buy anything that night too!
|Thanks for the dinner, Fengjia!|
We asked for direction to the bus stop and boarded another bus back to Taichung Railway Station. This time it costs us NTD 25 per pax (~SGD 1.1) to head back to the railway station.
Back to the hotel and see you tomorrow, Sun Moon Lake!
Love is in the air,
Next Post - When the Sun Kiss the Moon at Sun Moon Lake