Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Accommodations Review: Star and Mist B&B (Hualien, Taiwan)

We booked a 3 night stay at Star and Mist B&B: TripAdvisor reviews, Official website (in Chinese).

It was a lovely and relaxing stay! The hosts do not seem to live on the property (which is a plus, in my opinion, because you don't feel like you're intruding in someone's home!), but always seem to be available when needed! Pictures first, then pros and cons.

Star and Mist B&B - Exterior

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Travel: Zhiqiang Night Market (Hualien, Taiwan)

After a "short" nap in the afternoon (through quite a rainstorm, apparently!), we felt refreshed enough to head out to the local night market to get some eats. It was Mid-Autumn Festival our first day in Taiwan, so we weren't sure if the night market would be busy or empty.

Turns out, it was more on the empty side! About 30-40% of the stalls were closed, but there was still enough to see and eat.

I referenced the following three blog posts when planning what stalls I wanted to try: TtimeTreats.com, Foodiebaker.com, AlwaysTravelicious.com. These should be more helpful than my post, if you're more interested in the local snacks.

Here's the shortlist I went in with based on those blogposts:
  • Chiang's Family Coffin Boards (蔣記花蓮式棺材板) 
  • Bei Gang Spring Roll (北港春捲)
  • "Too Wonderful for Words" Fruit Juice Shop ("妙不可言"果汁店) 
  • Exploding Chicken Roll (爆浆鸡肉卷)
  • Taro balls 芋蝦

This night market is actually pretty small, but has a nice vibe. I'd say there's 2.5 aisles with stalls on either side, but you can walk, look at everything, and take pictures in about 15 minutes. 

There was a pretty big line-up at the Coffin Boards toast stall, but we decided against it. The fillings looked too "saucy", and it looked messy as hell to eat! 
Tried to convince myself I wanted to try it each time we passed by the stall; failed every time.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Taipei Main Station 2F (Breeze Taipei Station)

The 2nd floor of Taipei Main Station has an amazing selection of foods, though they don't open until 10am :( Take note if you are going to be passing through early morning! Otherwise you will be chowing down on strange boiled skewers from the 7/11s or having an Egg McMuffin or Mos Burger.

I couldn't find too much information about this online, so here's a picture next to the escalators up to the 2nd floor. They also have a couple more fast-foody type food courts as well as sit-down restaurants.
Also note the mini MUJI and Tokyo Hands (localized) stores up there!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Travel: Taipei Main Station, Getting TWD, MTA EasyCard, Train to Hualien

I'm back from my 2.5 week honeymoon to Taiwan, Singapore, and the Maldives! I decided to blog about the trip, so hopefully this is somewhat interesting to read! I think I'll post day by day overviews, with more thorough posts on restaurants, attractions, etc.

Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) to Taipei Main Station

I was surprised to learn that there was no subway connection between the Taoyuan Airport and Taipei Main Station. Instead, they have various bus companies that go to different destinations. We took Kuokuang Line 1819 to Taipei Main Station, and it cost approximately 125 NT per pax (my new favourite word from this trip!) and took around 45 minutes. They accept credit card at the bus ticket counter in the airport.
The little TV on this bus was the only TV we watched on the entire trip! TBH, the Taiwanese dramas did not look that great. LOL.