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Friday, January 15, 2016

CarmenXTW: 趣台北 第三天 剝皮寮历史街区, 台北市立动物园, 猫空, 台北101, 饶河夜市 Fun Taipei Day 3: Bopiliao, Taipei Zoo, Maokong, Taipei 101 and Raohe Night Market

Day 3 of Taipei, packed with lots to do!

1. 剝皮寮历史街区 Bopiliao Street 
Started our day at the Mongkah District! Since I've visited Lungshan Temple before, I've decided to explore the Bopiliao area which was nearby. It's actually a whole block of old red bricked buildings that are restored as a tourist attraction. Visitors get to appreciate the beauty of the buildings and imagine themselves in the old days. In our case, it's the perfect place for all the artistic photos heh..

some of the buildings have been renovated with modern structure

Well actually this area of old shoplots houses the Heritage and Culture Education Center of Taipei 台北市鄉土教育中心. There's a museum that showcases about Taiwan's education history. The exam systems, the books they used and all. Saw many families having fun with their kids, probably a place for them to tell their children about the FUN in studying haha.  

2. 清水排骨面 Pork Ribs Noodle
Just a short walk away from Bopiliao, had our lunch at this simple restaurant that sells pork ribs noodle! Super delicious and it will be on my list of favorite food in Taiwan. I just got back from Taichung and now I realized this pork ribs noodle originated from a town named Qingshui in Taichung. So do try this if you happen to be in Taichung ot Taipei!

Address: 广州街180号,万华区,台北市 No. 180 Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District

排骨酥面 Pork Ribs Noodle -- TWD80
Awesome!! It was kinda chilly in Taipei, the steaming hot soup taste superb! Bursting with the flavors of fried garlic and shallots. The spring onions added a refreshing taste to the rich soup. The deep-fried pork ribs has a thin crunchy layer and taste awesome as well, the meat was tender and even the cartilage can be easily chewed and melts on your tongue. The noodles were chewy as well. Delicious max la! 

From Wanhua District to Taipei Zoo
Took the MRT from Longshan Temple Station at the Blue Line and change to the Brown Line at Zhongxiao Fuxing Station. The Taipei Zoo station is the Terminal Station. 

3. Taipei Zoo 台北市立动物园
Usually Zoos won't appear on my travel itinerary but this Zoo is just so damn worth it! With TWD30 student price (around MYR4) you get to enter this zoo and watch all the cute animals including Pandas (which cost like what, RM50 to see in Malaysia right?), Penguins, Koala Bear, Red Panda and more...
But just a small note here, you may not get to see all the animals coz it turns out many of them were MIA when I was there. 

Finally see a real panda for the first time. But too bad only Tuan Tuan was there. Yuan yuan and her daughter Yuan Zai were no where to be seen :(

Tuan Tuan just showing us how he sleeps hah

Penguin at the center made me thought of Flappy Bird haha 
and those Vain penguins on the left who can't stop staring at the mirror LOL

My favorite animal that I saw on that day
Something about this gorilla sitting down with its back facing us just has so much SWAG

By the way I really love their Zoo! It's huge!  and it was almost Halloween when we were there, they decorated the zoo with Halloween theme. 
And I like how they have so many snack carts around! You don't have to worry about your meals over there. 

I had this 鸡肉卷 Chicken Roll (TWD 80)
yummy, crunchy outer crust with delicious chicken strip inside. 

From Taipei Zoo to Maokong
Take a shuttle train from the south entrance of the Zoo to the Taipei Zoo South Entrance Station for the Maokong Gondola. From there, take the cable car and alight at the last station -- Maokong Station

4. Maokong 猫空 
Wasn't sure what Maokong was about but many have recommended riding the Crystal Gondola 水晶车厢 (transparent floor) up. Damn the queue was looong, waited for almost one and a half hours from the Taipei Zoo South Station (second station in the route)! Do reserve your tickets beforehand to avoid the long queue. After all the wait, finally an empty gondola for us but damn it wasn't the transparent one :( Felt totally cheated after all the long queuing hours. 

View of Taipei City from the Cable Car

It was already dark when we reached Maokong. Paced around the area and realized Maokong was pretty much a Rest and Relax area, with Hiking Trails and many restaurants and there's a street food market as well. Most of the restaurants are cafes and tea shops that offer a view of Taipei's scenery, and I can understand why. You will definitely be craving for a cup of coffee or a warm tea in this cool weather while checking out Taipei's city skyline.   

Had a toasty hot Black Pork Taiwanese Sausage 黑猪肉香肠 (TWD50) 

Maokong truly is a peaceful and serene place, I just can't fight the urge to sit down and order a cup of coffee and laze away haha.

Enjoyed some relaxing time at this garden style cafe 
小木屋茶坊 (XiaoMuWu Tea House)
Address: 台北市文山区指南路三段38巷28号 No.28, Lane 38, Zhinan Road 3rd Section, Wenshan District (It's just a 5 minute walk from the cable car station)
There's a minimum spending of TWD100 per person

The cafe is built on the mountain slope, therefore offering a aerial view of Taipei City
At night, the cafe's warm lighting made the whole place look super romantic. Loads of couples around and I can't help but to feel envy haha #dtythoughts 

Taipei's city lights in the background. There's Taipei 101 as well! 

Hot Mocha -- TWD150
Taste really good! Not too sweet, strong aroma and instantly warms the body. 

My friend was brave enough to  Matcha Smoothie -- TWD150 despite the cold weather.
It taste good but still it was a pain to finish drinking it without sending chills down our spine haha.
Btw we discovered there were plastic bits in the drink! Totally horrified and asked for another one, which gave us an excuse to take-away the drink instead of drinking it in this freezing weather haha.Now that I think back, I should have just asked for a refund right? Plastic is real gross. 

I still enjoyed my coffee anyway. 

From Maokong to Taipei 101
Instead of taking the cable car again, took 棕15 (Bus No.: Brown 15)  at Maokong Cable Car Station to Taipei Zoo MRT Station. From there, took another bus to Taipei 101. I forgot which bus was it, but I googled and it should be 棕18 (Bus No.: Brown 18), it will stop at Taipei 101 MRT Station.

5. Taipei 101 台北101
Can't leave Taipei without paying a visit to their iconic landmark! Didn't go up to the observation deck though. We pretty much just spent our time marveling at the exterior of the building, taking photos and a quick scan around the mall. 

We were lucky, the moon was round and bright!

There's also a musical fountain show at the plaza in front of the entrance. 

Failed attempt to recreate 嫦娥奔月

In the mall, just like KLCC, loads of luxury brands around and almost 60% that I have not heard of LOL But those outlets sure look glamorous. 

6. 饶河夜市 Raohe Night Market 
Another famous Night Market in Taipei city. We weren't looking for anything in particular, but just as usual, Night Market food seldom go wrong.

Sausage again!!
Wild Boar Taiwanese Sausage 山猪肉香肠 TWD100 for 3
I really like how taiwanese sausage is more towards the sweet type with bits of meat and lard to chew at.  

Deep fried Quail eggs with shrimp 鸟蛋虾仁 -- TWD50
Quite yummy too. But nothing special.  

Chicken Roll 鸡腿卷 -- TWD35 
(from the stall in picture above)
I thought it's just like sausage but it really is rolled chicken meat and grilled over fire. The meat taste nice actually, tender and slightly juicy but the super salty and strong garlic flavor powder that I chose spoiled the taste.  

Donut 甜甜圈 -- TWD20 
strangely, for some reason I was craving for donut! Probably because of all the heavy flavored items I ate before, really wanted something sweet, fluffy and crunchy hehe. Simple as it is, but it taste great!

After all the shopping and eating at Raohe night market, strolled around the Rainbow Bridge 彩虹桥 which is just nearby and take in Taipei's city lights.

That was all for Day 3 and we've finished our journey in Taipei City, next day was for Shifen and Jiufen which are in New Taipei City.

Just some thoughts here, Taipei truly is an amazing Metropolitan. The whole area was so well developed and I gotta say the transport system rocks! Not only the MRT routes provides access to many main tourists attractions, the bus were even better! To be honest, you can pretty much go anywhere you want from anywhere you are at. Just google map or find a nearby bus station and check the route. And I like how you can pretty much find food at every corner. From Cafes, to Street Food to local dishes and steamboat, anything you want. And I'm sad that I didn't have the time to visit all the nice restaurants in the city. Probably gonna come back here again when I earn enough money haha and just enjoy all the food here!!

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