Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Taiwan Trip: Going Around Taiwan (台湾绕岛)

Finally I'm getting around to blog about my Taiwan trip from 19th April 2014 - 26th April 2014! I only decided to go on this trip with my mum and sister just two weeks before the actual date! It's the first time we are having such a sudden trip, but since it's spring time there, we didn't have to prepare much. 

We joined Leisure Vacation tour through AR Travel Agency and it's a trip that goes around the whole of Taiwan (绕岛). Although we followed tour but we decided to go there one day earlier by ourselves just because the flight changed time for the tour, and boy was I glad we did that. Because on the first night, we stayed at what has become my favourite place in the whole of Taiwan -- Ximending!


It won't do justice for me to just give a brief introduction of this place because I love it so much that I really want to go back there some day (a couple of times), so I shall save this for the next post where I will talk about all the night markets, old streets, and some fashion districts that I have been to. So there will be no Shilin Night Market or Jiufen Old Street...etc in this post okay.

But anyway, we arrived Taoyuan International Airport at 2pm and reached Ximending around 4pm, where I spent the whole day shopping. hee.


Met up with our relatives who are staying there the next day and they brought us to Wulai! It's something like our Cameron Highlands there as we had to go up a very long and windy road all the way to the top. They have a natural waterfall, hot springs and an old street there with a lot of local street food. 

Didn't dare to try a lot of food though because I was still very full from lunch and I have motion sickness and rough car rides don't mix well for me. 

I did eat this though. Syrup sweet potato! It was really nice, and sweet. Apparently, Taiwanese love sweet food. But too much of this will be...too much. lol.


A few of my friends and my mum's friends recommended that we head over to Danshui, so we did. Didn't expect the journey to be that long though. We sat the MRT to Danshui Station which was the last stop. Then we had to take a bus to the Fisherman's Wharf (淡水渔人码头) which was also the last stop of the bus. Took us about 1 and a half hours to get there I think. And in Taiwan, it starts to get dark around 5.30pm, and then totally pitch black at about 6.30pm. 

They say that the best time to go Danshui is during sunset, so I presume it'll be around 5pm? A bit sad that we didn't get to be there during daylight because we spent too much time at Wulai, but quite okay la, at least we got to see the night view.

情人桥! On Lover's Bridge without a lover. Lol. *goes to a corner to cry*  #kidding

The view at night was quite nice, but it was very very cold. The wind was very strong, good thing I had my jacket on, or else I'll seriously be frozen there.


The next day, we reunited with our tour group and visited Martyr's Shrine (忠烈祠) where the guards that are standing there must be: handsome enough, tall enough, no eyesight problem, and their families' names must be clear. Have to stand for one full hour without moving! I can't even do 3 minutes -.-

Headed on to Jiufen Old Street (九份老街) later on for lunch! (more about this place in the next post)

...and then we headed off to the countryside of Taiwan starting off with a 3 hours train ride to...


My tour guide said this when we arrived at the countryside of Taiwan: 这里有三种好:好山,好水,和 好无聊. Basically it means there's only mountains and seas to see, nothing much. haha. I have to agree with her, but we did had a nice view of the Pacific Ocean (太平洋) here at Seven Star Beach (七星谭).

The reason why this placed is called Hualien is because long time ago, their native there had to tattoo their faces, those that have tattoos near their mouth area are women, while guys only tattoo their foreheads and chins. And in Chinese they called them 花脸, but it doesn't sound that nice la, so they changed it to 花莲.

The black parts on their faces are their tattoos. Looks quite painful ._.


Headed to Taitung the next day and visited Taroko Gorge 太鲁阁国家公园 which is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world!

The rushing river waters cut through the marble and granite to form the gorge. It was a really beautiful sight in person!

Today was also the day where we spent our night in a 5 star hotel called Papago International Resort!
This resort was too awesome beyond words! There were so many facilities, including a hot spring!

We also hitched a ride on one of the trains of the hotel (pic at left top corner) and was introduced to everything surrounding the hotel including paddy fields, rivers, farms, but my favourite was their flower garden 池上花海!Where they planted many different types of flowers in all colours!


We headed on over to Kaoshiung butI dont have any photos from there because we only went to EDA outlet mall (which is something like our KLCC / Pavillion here) and also a temple. Nothing else.


Taichung is where we sat Taiwan's oldest train at Jiji Station to Checheng Station.

Look at this lunch box! So cute right?? We got to keep the bucket as a souvenir after eating. hehe. Then it's off to Sun Moon Lake 日月潭 where the view on the way up is better than the view at the tourist spot itself. Lol.

The view on the way to Sun Moon Lake

We also went to a Peacock Farm and for the first time in my life, I saw a white peacock. It is so so so beautiful and rumours has it that if you see a white peacock you'll be lucky for the whole day *gasps*

If you follow my Instagram (@mandy_minli) you might have probably saw what I ate for my dinner today (No I didn't eat any peacocks), we had our dinner buffet at Buffet Le Soleil, view my food video here and dessert video here. We were extremely spoiled for choice! AND TAIWAN BUFFETS ARE SO CHEAP! With all these delicacies, you only have to pay around 600 Yuan and eat all you can! That's like RM60++ only! Super contented ah that day!


Headed back to Taipei on our second last day there and visited a few night markets and also...

Taipei 101! 
Feeling a bit ashamed because I will take pictures with other country's significant buildings but I don't have a picture of myself with the Petronas Twin Towers yet :S aiks.   

We then dined in this very quirky looking restaurant which every single detail of the restaurant was all designed by the artist herself. It was quite interesting, the structure was like a cave and we had to 'climb in the cave' to eat. Food was good too! :D

Also went to CKS Memorial Hall 中正纪念馆 to have a look around before we head back home the next day.

Wow. This turned out to be a longer post that I expected. lol. *phew* Finally done.

All in all, I thought this was a nice trip. Heard quite a lot of negative feedbacks from friends/family saying that Taiwan is really boring and there isn't much to look at so I was quite doubtful about this trip of mine at first.

But now, I think it really depends on your motive of going there and which season you choose to go. For me, my motive was to eat (A LOT) and to shop (A LOT) and I did! I also chose Spring time when the weather is just nice. I didn't expect to see anything extraordinary as I know our cultures are very similar, so it was all good for me.

人生应该有一次说走就走的旅行,很开心有这个机会去到了我想去的地方 =)
We all should have a spontaneous trip at least once in our life. I'm glad to have this chance to go to Taiwan =)

What I ate and where I shopped in Taiwan: *click here*
What I wore in Taiwan: *click here*

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Splash of Red

Black three ways top, black skorts & Red London cardigan from Honey Moon  l  Black Chanel inspired phone case (free gift)  l  Paris Eiffel Tower watch (Birthday gift)  l  Jeffrey Campbell inspired boots from SingxFashion

If you are like me and your wardrobe mostly consists of black and white, I think it is wise to invest in a bright coloured outerwear. The reason being a bright outerwear can really make you standout in photos and brighten up your look.

I personally love the colour red the most (for outerwears that is, my number one favourite colour is still purple) because it is the most eye catching colour. 

Oh and I noticed these Chanel inspired phone cases are so popular nowadays and I really wanted one for myself. I even considered buying it before I bought my phone because it's just so pretty that I cannot resist! LOL. Glad that I didn't, because I got it for free! The phone shop owner said I can choose a case for free when I bought my phone from him, so of course I chose this one! It's really chic and elegant. Plus, it is so so convenient. There are slots for you to put your cards and cash. No need to bring handbag out anymore! A lot of online blog shops are selling them, but so far, I think Adore to Style is selling it at the cheapest price. Just in case any of you are interested la :D

Some life updates: 

  • I have been having back pains on and off for a few years, recently it has been confirmed I have a mild case of scoliosis. If you don't know what is it, you can see the explanation here. But Thank God that my case isn't serious, it's less than 10% and all I have to do is to take care properly by not carrying heavy stuff and er..I have to stay off walking with high heels =/ Still grateful that my case isn't serious and I am trying my best to do some stretching exercises to lessen the chances of the pain coming back from time to time.

  • I also sent out the KOSE Sekkisei Lotion Masks to the winners today already. If you are one of them and you didn't provide me your address by now, I'm sorry but I cannot send it to you anymore. (For those whom I didn't ask for your addresses, I'll be handing out to you personally, don't worry)

  • For the most exciting news, I will be going to Taiwan soon! Crossing out yet another one of my post exam to-do list  :D  Prayers for safe flight, safe trip and good weather will be much appreciated :D

Will update this space when I get back! Have a great weekend everyone :)

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Halia Inc. (Revisit)

After I went to Halia Inc. the first time, I decided to come back here again to taste more of their food. Sad to say, what I ordered this time around was quite a disappointment :/ But do read on as there is one dish I particularly loved!

The ambience:

As you can see, the place is quite spacious and as I have said before, it's just beside the Melaka river, so it is quite nice. You can take a walk around the Melaka River after your meal maybe? haha.

Took some time to order, all the names of the food are in the pictures already :) However, I forgotten to take down the price as I was quite disappointed about the food this time around, apologies in advance. Anyway, this is what I ordered:

Rate: 5/10

If I were to compare this pizza with the pizza from Pizza Hut and Dominoes, it will be Dominoes Pizza > Pizza Hut > Halia Inc's Pizza. The crust was too thick and it really just tasted like flour, the pizza was also slightly soggy. Not worth ordering.

Rate: 6/10

Maybe it will be unfair of me to rate this as I am not a Latte fan. I only liked the coffee arts on Lattes. Latte lovers will be more eligible to rate this, but it was just too bitter for me.

Rate: 6/10

I'm not sure if this is just a personal preference or that it should be this way, but I always prefer vanilla ice cream on my brownies. Never chocolate. In addition to that, the brownie wasn't anything spectacular. It wasn't the 'melt-in-your-mouth' kind, I still think the brownies from DeReve are the best in Melaka. 

Rate: 6/10

This is a mix of Peach and soda but all I tasted was the soda. Quite a disappointment. Even the Lychee Love was better than this. If you want to order any flavoured drink from this section, I highly recommend the Passion Fruit flavoured one that I tried during my last visit. 

Rate: 9.8/10

I saved the best for last. This carbonara spaghetti is amazing!! It is not as creamy as the usual carbonara spaghetti, but that's why I love it even more! You can eat the whole thing without feeling jelak. This is really a must try! The taste is really awesome! This is definitely a must try!!  

The final verdict:

I'm disappointed with the food. I think so far, the only worth trying dishes are their spaghetti, the rest are either so-so or just downright disappointing. Personally feel that it is not worth the price. Previously said that I think this restaurant is really worth revisiting but I'm not sure about that anymore. Even if I do go back, I'll only go back for their Carbonara Spaghetti. After all, it is still one of the best carbonaras I've ever tasted.

Oh by the way! I have already chosen the winners for my KOSE Sekkisei Lotion Mask Giveaway! (Click here to see who are the winners!). I have also sent an email to all of them, kindly respond within 48 hours! Thank you :D

Also, click here to read more reviews of the other dishes at Halia Inc.

Halia Inc.
1 Jalan Merdeka, 75200 Melaka.
Halia Inc Facebook Page
Tue - Thurs: 7.00am - 11.00pm
Fri - Sat: 7.00am - 12.00am
Sun: 7.00am - 10.00pm

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