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TAIWAN 101 BY MIKAELA MARTINEZ

TAIWAN 101

JUNE 10, 2018 BY MIKAELAMARTINEZ

Taiwan 101

I’ve only been to Taiwan twice before, but this time I decided to revist this country with my daughter, Noelle for our mom-daughter trip!

No major itinerary planned- but I did google a few spots to check out. I’ll share them with you in a bit!

But first things first…

I had no idea what hotel to book- so my friend Chal Del Rosario of Jeron Travel strongly suggested we stay at Amba Taipei Songshan because of it’s location (right smack in the middle of everything- a mall and walking distance to Rahoe night market-m) plus the amenities.

I’m so glad we did!!! Because literally it was one of the best hotels I stayed in- value for money- the view, the service, the FOOD!

They had the BEST freshly baked bread too.. and it was free everyday! Haha

And since photos are so much part of travel- the room, and the lobby in itself was a good location already! Every spot was picture perfect!

(To those that might be interested, for budgeting purposes allot about a minium of $150 USD per night).

A trip to Taipei would not be complete without seeing the famous 101!

Buy a ticket to reach the top…

but really, this is all you’ll get to see…

The first photo we took, was taken a few blocks away to get the best view of the tower if that’s what you prefer.

But Taipei 101 is also a great mall to visit if you’re looking for some designer shops like Gucci, Chanel, etc.

In Taiwan, you can really just get lost and eventually find yourself in an interesting spot!

We even stopped at this cute little cafe for some fresh watermelon slush…

Couldn’t help it and ended up taking a bunch of photos while waiting!

Of course at this time, we already had met with our Sweet Escape photographer, Mike Chen!

If you’ve followed and read my past travel posts- Sweet Escape literally is the best thing while traveling so you don’t have to worry about asking strangers to take your photo … or having to rely on tripods!

How it works is… just download and book from the app- choose a country and date of  “shoot” you’re set! Generally it’ll cost $200 up for 2 hours.

The secret is— bring a lot of outfits to change into, so you have lots of material! Haha

Who would’ve thought this was all in 2 hours?

A large duffel bag and outfits arranged for a smooth session! Haha.

Noelle knows exactly what to do. She picks out her own spots and calls dibs!

This was all taken in a place called Huashan Cultural Park. It’s an old run down tobacco factory and now, an art park with the cutest things! Go in the afternoon.

Another place to visit is Xi Men Ding  (Ximen station stop). It’s a hip area with an entire street of tattoo and piercing shops. A good spot to shop local. Try the famous Ay-Chung Rice Noodles there. Super cheap and good! Perfect for cold weather.

Another MUST visit is Eslite Mall by Songshan Cultural park.

There is an amazing DIY floor with all the cutest DIY shops! Our favorite! Glass blowing, leather bag making, lamp making and so much more. I posted them on my IG stories highlights: Taiwan.

Eslite also has a 24 hour bookstore above.

Also find the best bread in the world (a real actual bread winner- Wu Pao CHEN, is on the ground floor).

We spent a total of 4 days in Taipei,… but there’s really so much more to see! Perhaps next time..

I still had a bunch of places on my list I wanted to visit but too little time.

Will share them anyway so incase you’re planning a trip you can include it on your list!

PINGXI: this is where you make a wish by flying a lantern on one of the oldest railway stations! There are cute old mini post offices where you can mail post cards too! Like the good old days.

CHIUFEN Village: This is apparently where anime was inspired from. It’s supposedly where you find good food and cute little items to shop for along tiny streets.

BEITU: hot springs and a beautiful scenery. Google it!

For all these places you might need to book and arrange before your trip.

Also, you may want to consider taking China Airlines for your flight there. They have pretty good rates too!

It was actually Noelle’s first time to fly Business- she’s always wanted to experience it! So since she finished 8th grade well, plus it was her birthday I decided to treat her! We usually travel coach, especially when I’m with the kids because it’s just so expensive! Haha different though when I travel alone or on long haul flights!

Here’s us enjoying the Business lounge with a full belly of siomai, noodles, fruits and fresh juice. Hahaha!

Here’s to more fun and travels with you!!! xx

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KAOHSIUNG BY MAFAE BELASCO

Kaohsiung

by Mafae Belasco | Dec 27, 2018 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

It was such a blessing to be part of the delegates of Kaohsiung Familiarization Trip brought by AirAsia and Jeron Travels and Around the World Travels.

When we arrived at NAIA, Jeron Travel had welcome goodie bags prepared with all my travel documents done already, the departure cards and everything was already filled up for me, all I had to do was to sign it.

The thing that struck me the most throughout the whole tour experience in Kaohsiung was how special accommodating they were towards us. Karla from Jeron Travels, who welcomed us at Taiwan Airport, was extremely nice. She even reminded me that I needed biogesic because I was sick the whole time. I had the flu but of course when they asked me to be one of the travel delegates for Kaohsiung to explore and learn the diverse culture of Taiwan, I couldn’t say no. Nothing can stop me from exploring. Our main tour guide was Chloe, she was kind and very hospitable. As soon as we landed in Taiwan, we already felt the welcoming spirit of everyone. On the bus to get to the tourist spots in Kaohsiung, they reminded us to keep our seat belts on and reassured our safety throughout the whole experience.

AirAsia and Around The World Travels gave us VIP treatment. The flight to Kaohsiung was fast and easy. Their staff was very accommodating and hospitable. The process of checking in and checking out was no hassle at all. They served us delicious food on the plane, so that’s a thumbs-up as well. They were strict for their rules, as all airlines are and should be. Overall, it was such an enjoyable and relaxing travel with AirAsia.

We stayed at Kaohsiung City Suites, the hotel was a cozy one. They accommodated us with extreme care. The food was also amazing! They served us breakfast lauriat style, an everyday Chinese meal. The day we went to Fo Guang Shang Buddha Museum, they served us a vegan meal because in the museum they practice being vegan. We had to try vegan food so we could truly immerse ourselves in the culture they have created.

Now, on to the places we went to. My favorite was the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum, mainly because it was such a beautiful sight to see. Pictures don’t do justice to how beautiful it was in person. The façade and the whole look of it is pure serenity. Our tour guide was very informative. He talked about the history and the story behind the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum in a very detailed manner. He toured us around the pagodas till we got to the Buddha. When we got to the top, where the Buddha was displayed, there was a room under where they practice calligraphy. It is also a place where you offer prayers and chants to Buddha and he offers you a blessing in return. The bookmark from the calligraphy session we had was in Chinese characters.

After tracing the Chinese characters, we gave prayers to Buddha and went back to the reception to learn the translations on our bookmarks. I loved what was written on mine. It said “Morality and good deeds are investments that never fail. Giving and helping are permanent assets that are never scarce.”

We also went to the Holy Rosary Cathedral. What I found fascinating in this place was how great the architecture and form was. My favorite part in this place, were the candles on the altar. Instead of lighting it up with a lighter or a match, you offer coins and your candle will light up. I don’t know how they do it but it was an amazing to witness.

Peace and tranquility was all I felt when we arrived at The Love River. It was so pure and clean. During the night time there were lights that make it look even more spectacular, tourist gather in this area because it is such a peaceful place. The story behind the Love River was that way back, there was a Romeo and Juliet kind of story, they loved each other but their families did not want them to be together so they committed suicide on the river. No one really talks about it so they changed the name to Love River to make it sound positive. Also, it is said that the river helps to find your soul mate.

The night market was a sight to behold and it smelled so good because they were a lot of food. Seafood, street food, you name it, they have it. There were seafood and oysters that were really big plus the seafood they sell are fresh because the night market is close to the ocean. In many ways, that is what Kaohsiung is known for. They also have jewelry, bags and clothes. A lot of good finds with cheap prices that made for great Christmas gifts. The market starts at 4 in the afternoon and is open until midnight. There’s so many hidden treasures here, I’d highly recommend a visit.

Pier 2 Art Center is must-see attraction. Since the art center houses many works from local artists, you’ll able to see local talents from all over Taiwan. Moreover, enjoying the day at Pier 2 Art Center does not really have to be expensive, making it a budget-friendly option. So, if you are planning a trip to Kaohsiung, be sure to drop by at Pier 2 Art Center.

We also passed by the Dome of Light. It is situated in the train station. It is largest glass art work and is one of the main tourist spots in Kaohsiung. There were a lot of travel photographers there, and I remember seeing this one photographer being so creative. He poured water on the floor and took a photo of it reflecting the Dome of Light. If you’re looking to add color to your instagram feed, this is the place to go to.

We also went to Vigor Kubo where we were given the opportunity to make our own pineapple cakes. Back in the day when the Japanese brought pineapple farms in Taiwan, they made it a staple food for people to survive off. Pineapple cakes are very known in Taiwan. They are sold in a lot of places and also have a do it yourself pineapple cake making for tourist who want to experience. This time we were given a chance to bake and create own pineapple cake. It is like “hopia” style pastry, where you put the pineapple inside the dough or bun and close it like a dumpling and put it in a baking stencil. We also tried other delicacies which were all good.

I will definitely go back to Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I want to explore Taipei more and go back to Fo Guang Shang Buddha Museum with my family. For me, I believe in peace and relaxation. Visiting Taiwan was a really experience for someone who is busy like me, It was a nice stop to enjoy art, culture, sights and earn new experiences.

I highly recommend the AirAsia and Around The World Travels for being so accommodating and giving travelers like me a hassle and stress free trips. I also would like want to thank Jeron Travels for hosting this wonderful trip. They have great Taiwan tour packages, one of them is a two day trip you can experience yourself of with someone special where you spend majority of your days meditating and experiencing what life is like as a monk.

I enjoyed the whole trip and I learned a lot about the diverse culture of Taiwan. I can’t wait to go back!

For more of what went down on our trip, check out:

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Taiwan: Wufenpu Clothes Market & Din Tai Fung at Taipei 101

The prospect of flying back to Taiwan for a few days was exciting. It’s one of those destinations I savor, quite literally in fact because of the delicious street food! EVA Airways had invited me to explore Taiwan together with other travel bloggers and writers. And who was I to refuse, especially since we were visiting Taroko Gorge and Hualien!

After the quick check-in at NAIA Terminal 1, we relaxed a bit at the lounge before boarding our EVA Air flight to Taipei. It was a lunch flight and we arrived late in the afternoon. As soon as we cleared the usual airport arrival procedures in Taoyuan International Airport, we immediately proceeded to the Wufenpu Clothes Market ????????, the largest clothing market in Taipei and our first stop for the tour.

It’s paradise for those looking for value for money clothes and accessories. And one can spend a whole day just walking around and looking for the latest trends at a bargain. But we only had an hour to spend. If you want to check out the market when you visit Taipei, the nearest stations to Wufenpu are the TRA Songshan Station and the Taipei Metro Houshanpi Station.

But I’m really not the shopping type. So it was nice to see a Taoist temple in the market area while walking around, at least a little bit of traditional culture there.

By now, we were getting hungry. And there’s no better place to have dinner than in Din Tai Fung! My mouth was watering at the thought of having Xiao Long Bao for dinner. So I just couldn’t wait. We were eating at the Taipei 101 branch.

And I was not disappointed. It was bun and dumpling overload that night. Plus of course other favorites like their tofu appetizer which I just love! We were served other kinds of dumplings and buns that night, I forgot to take note of what else we had and enjoyed the feast.

Before proceeding to the Shilin Night Market, we first checked-in at the Palais de Chine Hotel which I noticed was smack in the center of Taipei’s transportation hub, with the bus terminal right beside it and the Taipei Main Train Station just a mere five minutes walk away.

And the rooms were spacious, modern and very cozy, perfect for the business traveler. The only thing I don’t like about tours is that we don’t get to enjoy the hotel much. As soon as we were settled, we rushed to the Shilin Night Market. Se more photos of Taipei, Taiwan in the Ivan About Town FB page.

Palais de Chine Hotel Taipei
No. 3 Sec. 1 Chengde Road Taipei 103 Taiwan
Tel. No. +866 (2) 21819999
Fax No. +866 (2) 21819988

Many thanks to EVA Airways and Jeron Travel and Tours for arranging this trip to Taiwan!

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