Saturday, October 24, 2015

Taiwan Day 3 - Ah Zhong Mee Sua, Shifen and Jiufen

Ahh, if I had to choose, out of our 6D5N itineraries, I was looking forward to this the most because we were going to one of the most beautiful places (at least in my opinion based on the photos I've seen) which is Jiufen!
We started the day off with breakfast at the infamous Ah Zhong Mee Sua or Ay-Chung Flour Rice Noodle as shown in the photo below.
The XMD branch is just relatively easy to spot. Walk into the same row as Family Mart which is located at the KFC/The Face Shop junction.
Ay-Chung Mee Sua is on the right side of the aisle.
Quite a number of people around. Standing and eating.

This is the mee sua!

The mee sua tasted a little like shark fin soup but nonetheless, I think it's quite nice especially since we don't get it back in my hometown.

Posing before eating! :)

Next was to go to Shifen which is famous for its waterfall and sky lanterns where visitors will write their wishes on the lanterns before sending them to the sky hoping they will come true..
Shifen is located in the Pingxi District. To get there, we will need to get a train ticket from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station. From Ruifang, buy another ticket to head to Shifen.

Taipei Main Station (MRT) ---> Ruifang District Train Station ---> Shifen Train Station

Train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang.

The train was quite a nice and relaxing one with ample space to recline your seat as it will take about 40-50 mins to reach Ruifang.

At Ruifang, exit the station and on the left there will be a counter to purchase the train tickets to Shifen.

Ruifang to Shifen was a slightly shorter train ride but nevertheless, try to get a seat if you can because your feet will need a lot of rest after Shifen. :-/

First look of Shifen upon reaching the station.

There were a lot of people roaming around the station when we arrived on Monday noon.
Once you cross the railway track, there will be lots of stores selling souvenirs and snacks along the way.

Sky lantern souvenirs. Get them near the famous Shifen waterfall for cheaper deals! 

I don't think the cats are for sale though..

On our way to the waterfall.

One of purposes of going to Shifen is to visit the Shifen Waterfall, which is apparently the broadest in Taiwan.
I have read articles saying rainbows will form as the water splashes down but we had no luck that day..

From the station, it takes about 20-30mins leisure walk to reach the waterfall. You can opt to get a cab to bring you there which will cost NT$100 but we didn't think it's worth it so we walked instead. :P

There you go! Shifen Waterfall right before our eyes..

To be honest, I was expecting something more majestic so when I saw the waterfall, I was a little disappointed.
Nonetheless, it's a must see in Taiwan so why not! :)

Upon leaving the waterfall.

Next on our to-do was to write our wishes on the sky lantern but before that, we came across an empty railway track for photography opportunities!
If you want to take such photos too, do it far away from all the crowd by walking slightly further away from the station but do be careful because there might be trains coming your way!

On our way back from the waterfall, we decided to get the sky lantern from the first few shops instead of those nearer to the station.
There were less people and you can write your own wishes without having people walking behind you or staring at your wishes as you write!
Each color on the lantern represents different thing so be wise! :P

The owner of the lantern shop was kind enough to offer help to snap photos for us as we posed and released the lantern to sky.
I actually wanted to take a video of our lantern flying but the owner kept saying he's not done yet wtf because he wanted to take a photo of us releasing it. Damn. Haha.

More snacks to fill our tummy before heading to Jiufen.

Remember to get these really unique postcards to send to your loved ones! Each of these cost NT$80 and to send back to Malaysia, it'll cost you another NT$50 each.

We had to head back to Ruifang and take a bus to Jiufen which can be pretty stressful because you will have no idea where the bus station is unless you ask.
We waited for about 5-10 mins before knowing that we were at the wrong bus station and we ended up with the cab for NT$250 one way to Jiufen to save all the hassle since it was getting late.

By the time we reached Jiufen, it was about 7.10pm and 70-80% of the stores were already closing!
Not sure if the shops close at about 7pm daily or it's just on weekdays so be sure to be early if you want to see the pretty lanterns and Santorini-like buildings over the edge.

First snack in Jiufen. This is not bad at all.

OCY wanted to go to a famous tea place but it was only left with tea and no more food for us so we left for another restaurant that was still open.
Food was pricey and not delicious at all! >:(

Apparently this building inspired the Spirited Away animation. Everyone was taking photos from this same angle!

I really wish I could take more of the beautiful steps in Jiufen...

After dinner and a short walkabout, it was already too dark to roam around (only 8pm but the day is very short during fall, skies get dark at about 5-6pm) so we headed back with cab as well for the same charges (by meter).

Back to XMD and we finally found the giant macaroon ice cream store!
It sells the cute mini melts (originates from Korea from my knowledge) and also the huge macaroon ice cream below!

Tadaaa! Took me quite a while to finish because I just can't seem to finish the thick ice cream..the macaroon wasn't even delicious pun.

That's all we did on our 3rd day in Taiwan.
So our 3rd day itinerary was:

Shifen ---> Jiufen

You can exchange between the two depending on how you arrange your time but then again, remember that Jiufen shops close early!

On our 4th day, our itinerary was SHOPPING!

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