Sunday, June 15, 2014

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall -Taipei, Taiwan

As with every trip we go to, we always make it a point to go to landmark (historical) places or watch a play to learn about the country's history and culture. To enumerate a few, we went to temples, visited Jim Thompson's house, and we also watched the A.MA.ZING Siam Niramit when we were in Bangkok, Thailand which is worth every penny. We also saw the highly-acclaimed Water Puppet Show when we were in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In Singapore, we saw Songs of the Sea. Having a penchant for such, I actually felt bad when Nanta Show was removed from my itinerary when I was in Seoul, South Korea. Oh well. #unnecessaryremarks #needtoletthatoutthough #goodvibesonly ;'p 

In Taiwan, aside from Taipei 101, we also went to a famous landmark and monument which is the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. This was built 5 years after the death of (the controversial leader) Chiang Kai-shek who ruled the Republic of China for 47 long years (1928-1975). A rule which involved martial law. Hence, he has both admirers and detractors.  

The 250,000 square meter "Liberty Square" where the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is also houses the National Theater and the National Concert Hall which are an identical performing arts venue.
Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall's huge gate behind us.
The National Concert Hall... or is this The National Theater. I am not sure, hrhr.
89 steps that lead to the main entrance. 89 represents Chiang Kai-shek's age at the time of his death. 
The obligatory family photo
Chiang Kai-shek
Ceiling above the statue
I felt like an Emperor standing here. No wonder emperors and leaders that I see in Asian dramas, lol, choose to stand at higher posts. It's like the world is yours. Everything and everyone below looks so tiny. It was as if no one can stop you.
As you can see, that's the massive gate to Liberty Square in front and the identical building on its left and right the National Theater and the National Concert Hall.
Is Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall a must see when in Taipei, Taiwan, you ask? I'd say... DEFINITELY YES! :-) Aside from being a historical landmark, it's super beautiful, picturesque, and relaxing here.
We rode the MRT again after our Chiang Kai-chek Memorial Hall visit.
Had a quick grub at this pizzeria we passed by while walking. i Pizza Wood Fired Pizza is the best!! We also had gelato. Haay, love going to places... to eat. :-p
i Pizza / iPizza Wood Fired Pizza is located at Shilin District, Chungshan N. Rd. Section 5, Lane 505.

LocationJust off MRT Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Station
Operating HoursOpen Daily. Admission is free.
9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Related Posts:
- about Ximending, Ximending Night Market, Beauty Hotels Taipei's Hotel B6, Red House Theater, Mala Yuanyang Hotpot, pineapple cake for pasalubong, Shinjuku Plaza, and Taipei 101.
✿ Fun Taiwan: IKEA 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Shilin Night Market -The Best Night Market in Taiwan

Whenever we are in another country, our family usually go to tourist attractions in the daytime and able to go back to the hotel around 8:00-10:00 in the evening. And I know most people or rather families (meaning: children travelling with parents) do as well. ;-p It is quite a nuisance when I still want to go out at night to shop or just get dreamy, but all are closed or are closing already. Hence, it is always pure joy to know that there are night markets specifically located near the hotel we are booked at (read about our hotel in Shilin HERE) that is open until at least midnight. I thank God that our hotel is just a 10 minute walk to Shilin Night Market and that it closes PAST MIDNIGHT. *wink wink*

Shilin Night Market is the night market you dare not miss when in Taiwan. It is the BIGGEST, most popular, most talked about (naks), and considered as the BEST night market in Taiwan. It is a massive shopping and food haven. #icanteven There are also cinemas, video arcades, karaoke bars, and massage shops offering weird massage methods (uses knives or bamboo sticks). It is, undeniably, a fascinating adventure for the senses.

Shilin Night Market is located adjacent to MRT Jiantan Station. Yes, Jiantan Station. Do not exit at Shilin Station because there is basically nothing there and that is the end of the market already.    

I wouldn't chatter anymore. Let me just give you a virtual tour of Shilin Night Market and tell you about the plethora of delectable food at Shilin Night Market. It is simply the best!
Few meters away from the sprawling Shilin Night Market. Got overly giddy standing in this point seeing that view.
About to explore Shilin Night Market while finishing my blended fruit juice.
Candied strawberries always look inviting to both the wallet (lulz) and the camera. ;-p
Taste-wise, though, I don't think I liked it.
The many shops at Shilin Night Market selling trendy clothes, accessories, and other goods that you can bargain. 
Yes, you can haggle, but not too much. Haggling in Taiwan is not the same with Thailand and Vietnam where you can haggle up to half the initial asking price. I think this is good. For me it means that they sell fairly and they are not opportunistic. #touristfriendly
As I mentioned in my Ximending post, I was not able to buy anything there. It was a totally different story in Shilin Night Market. 
I spent all my (meager amount of) money here. *Woot*
I bought an outfit or two here. I scored three to four pairs of shoes too and bought necklaces for my friends here.
The many super cute hawker-style Taiwanese food.
Just to share...
Shopping is not exactly our #1 priority whenever we are on a sojourn even though I rave about shops, good finds, and markets so much. 
If only time permits and if fate brings us to shopping places, then we do a bit of it really, REALLY fast since dad don't usually like... waiting (LOL)... 
but he loves to eat and he spends for us, so yea, I almost always rave about night markets mostly because of the local cuisine / favorites you get to try and enjoy. 
Food at night markets are the best. 
In Taiwan, Shilin Night Market is definitely THE place to go for that. It is one of the best night markets I've visited.
In one end of the Shilin Night Market maze, we were able to reach this area where we actually tried MANY food and various fruit juice.
Since I was with my family, we just get one order and share among ourselves so we can taste as many as possible.
I suggest that you don't eat too much at one place or of one kind too. Sample a lot, because there's really A LOT to feast on. 
Well, except for the fried mushrooms. It was our comfort food in Shilin. We ate A LOT of salty fried legit mushrooms (enoki mushrooms and shitake mushrooms) during our entire stay! It's that good!
Just my two cents, forget about the corn cubs in Taiwan. They are not good. :p
I was not able to take photos of  all the food and drinks that we tried. I also was not able to take photos of random finds and other shops inside. We were too engulfed by the hustle and bustle of Shilin Night Market. All our senses were too busy enjoying.

We weren't able to taste the stinky tofu, the oyster omelette, fried milk, fried buns or fried baozi, sausage wrapped in big sausage (a Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in a slightly larger sticky rice sausage. Similar to a hot dog, but replacing the bun with sticky rice and the hotdog with Taiwanese sausage), lemon aiyu jelly (when you see the signage in the stall which says "WOW Frog Eggs", that's it. I know!! What in the world! ;p), oyster vermicelli / oamisior, oh misua, Xin Fa Ting's shaved ice (they say this is divine!), and Hot Star large fried chicken.
We were looking for the stinky tofu and oyster omelette, but to no avail. :'(
Dad found out months ago that we weren't able to go to the Shilin's food court at the basement area. We did not know. He said there are more food stalls there. :'( Oh, well. Next time. 
Below are photos of the food and part of Shilin Night Market that we missed which I enumerated.
Making a collage of these photos that I nicked from google images made me hungry!! Huuuuu!

Any more recommendations that we missed? :-)
LocationJust off MRT Jiantan Station
Operating HoursOpen Daily
6:00 PM - past midnight (around 1AM - 2AM)

Partial list of the MANY Night Markets in Taiwan: Visit link HERE.

Related Posts:
- about Ximending, Ximending Night Market, Beauty Hotels Taipei's Hotel B6, Red House Theater, Mala Yuanyang Hotpot, pineapple cake for pasalubong, Shinjuku Plaza, and Taipei 101.
✿ Fun Taiwan: IKEA 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hotel in Shilin, Taipei: Starbeauty Resort Hotel

I love how our parents organized our Taipei trip. I know, it's quite obvious that I left an undying piece of my heart in Taiwan. Aside from Hong Kong, it is one country that I'd love to go back to time and again. I guess I experienced the ~awesomeness~ of Taiwan by staying in two different districts that I want of it more. I'd give that to my parents who always plan our trips. *insert a big smile*

After our two-day stay in Ximending, we transferred to Shilin District. We stayed in another Beauty Hotels Taipei hotel namely the Starbeauty Resort Hotel. They provided us the van transfer from Hotel B6 (in Ximending) to Starbeauty Resort Hotel (in Shilin) −talk about convenience and good service.

Starbeauty Resort Hotel is conveniently located. It is 20-25 minutes away from Taoyuan International Airport by taxi. From the hotel, we just walk for about 10 minutes to get to the MRT (Jiantan) Station and to Shilin Night Market. There are also convenience stores nearby. A bonus? We also pass by a big fruit store whenever we walk to Shilin Night Market and the MRT Station. #gottaloveShilin I have to say, though, that coining it as a RESORT Hotel is quite misleading. It is not in any way a Resort Hotel. 
Upon entrance
View from our room.
I was too worried when I saw this view. What will we do here, I asked myself. It was too rural. Please note that we came from Ximending which is very modern (read post HERE). 
I belittled Shilin at first, but found heaven (*ehem* Shilin Night Market! *ehem*) in this unlikely place.
Our hotel behind us.
Beauty Hotels Taipei has seven (7) hotels all over Taiwan. 
Mixed photos of our parents' rooms and our room.
We always book two separate rooms.
Unlike Hotel B6 in Ximending, Starbeauty Resort Hotel in Shilin is triple times more spacious.
The bathroom is very spacious too. Both rooms that we availed had separated shower and bath tub area.
But since Hotel B6 is one of Beauty Hotels Taipei's newest hotels and is located in Ximending, it's more modern.
Needless to say, both hotels are clean, fully equipped, well-maintained, have good WiFi reception, and both tender good customer service. :-)
The breakfast area of Starbeauty Resort Hotel located at the basement. I nicked this photo from their site.
We were not able to take photos during breakfast. But, yes, that's it! :')
I said in my introduction about Taipei, Taiwan (read post HERE) that "people who are sucker for healthy food will enjoy [in this beautiful country]. Fruit juices, fruits, and healthy snacks are rampant in Taiwan. They sell it even on the streets". This is one of those.  
Their fruits are HUMONGOUS!! I wonder if they're genetically modified. Hmm. I hope not. I hope they are just naturally huge. hee
Whenever we are on an out of town/country, our daily juicing is compromised. [Read about my post on Juicing HERE]
But thank God they also have cold fresh blended fruit juice which is soooo soooo good.
We buy and drink this everyday during our stay in Shilin.

Overall, we had a pretty good stay at Starbeauty Resort Hotel. Got nothing to complain. :-)

Starbeauty Resort Hotel:
Address: No.38-1, Ciangang St., Shihlin District, Taipei City, 111 

Taipei Trip: March 28 - April 1, 2013
We transferred to Shilin on May 30, 2013

Related Posts:
- about Ximending, Ximending Night Market, Beauty Hotels Taipei's Hotel B6, Red House Theater, Mala Yuanyang Hotpot, pineapple cake for pasalubong, Shinjuku Plaza, and Taipei 101.
✿ Fun Taiwan: IKEA 
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