I'm back for the details of my Taiwan trip!
(Although it's been a month since my return from there)

Hello to the continuation of this post (Prologue, VISA, Itinerary, Details of Day 1).

Let's continue to Day 2! 




Day 2. Sunday, 21 May 2017.


Breakfast

It's a sunny Sunday in Kaohsiung!
We started the day by looking up for a place to grab a breakfast. We tried our best to locate it based on the map which David gave to us but we failed. Due to the hour rushing (we woke up a little bit too late, ha!), our first breakfast in Kaohsiung was at a local nearby food stall: Paddy Aurae Taiwan Lunchroom (稻香台灣小吃) for NTD 45.
It's a breakfast portion. Trust me.

I also bought a bottle of chocolate milk at the nearby 7-11 for NTD 30 (if you like Green Tea or Apple, they're also available to choose).

Mine is left, Monica's is right. She bought it because of the cute packaging of Baby Boss.

Somehow we noticed that most of the stores around have different operation hours compared to Indonesia. For example, the mall starts at 11 AM and closes at 9 PM. We even found a store which opens at 12 PM and closes at 10 PM. I wonder if it's just some stores though.

Oh, in case you wonder about how we communicate there, here are some key points.

If you expect fluent English speakers, lower your expectation.
If you want the food menu in English, prepare to be confused.
If you think we're fluent in Chinese, I'll laugh at myself.

Monica can speak Chinese, yes, but she herself admits that she is not an expert. I am far from better; I do understand basic conversation but can't really bring myself into a long, complex conversation. However when it comes to read the Chinese characters, we're bad at it. Monica does very well in reading characters related to food though (oops!).

So, yes, we rely on luck and images and all of the other stuffs to choose our menu.


Holy Rosary Cathedral, Kaohsiung Film Archive

Our next destination is a church. A cathedral, to be exact.
The Holy Rosary Cathedral (officially called Chinese: 玫瑰聖母聖殿主教座堂) is the oldest Catholic church in Taiwan.

To reach the cathedral, take the MRT to Central Park MRT Station and walk out from Exit 1.
You'll walk pass the park and busy streets.
If you can take the bus, it saves you from the farther walking distance but, since we couldn't, we lived with walking as far as we could. Ha!

As we arrived a little bit too early, we walked around to find Kaohsiung Film Archive (高雄市電影館), located across the bridge from the cathedral.
However, as I mentioned above, some places here opened later than we thought they would be. KFA's opening hours is 01:30 PM to 09:30 PM.

We dropped by at KFA in the afternoon to find out that we actually could borrow the films collection and watched them there (terms and conditions applied). However if you just want to check what's inside, you're free to go!

A corner of KFA: not novels.

We finally attended the English Mass on 11 AM (there were several Indonesian students who sat behind us) after walking around, under the sun as it's a very, very sunny day. Bring an umbrella or a cap if you need something to help you from the heat (not as bad as Jakarta).

Beautiful, isn't it?

It's my second time attending an English Mass but it's definitely a new experience to attend one in another country! During the song of "Our Father" (Bapa Kami), everyone immediately offered and took the hand of the person next to them, connecting all people hand by hand.


Gang Yuan Beef Noodle

After the mass, I had my best lunch in Taiwan!
It's the famous Gang Yuan Beef Noodle (港園牛肉麵). Just for NTD 110, I got a big bowl of delicious, tasty Beef Noodle. I'm kind of picky when it comes to food so when I say it's the best lunch, then it means this food is really, really recommended!

Not a fancy restaurant but they're very crowded. We just walked from the cathedral, across the bridge, as it's not too far (we followed Google Maps, yes).
Queued in the line, ordered the food, mentioned name, and then we waited for our name to be called. Fortunately it didn't take long for us until we could enjoy the bowl of (great taste) noodle.
(You can see how much I love the beef noodle, no?)

I want to have this again!

Short funny story.
Since it's so crowded, we shared a table with a young couple. We're so concentrated to open our drink in box packaging that we failed to notice there were available straws near the clerk. The young woman grabbed two for us when they're going to leave.
We did laugh at ourselves afterwards, lol.


Pier-2 Art Center

Our next destination is called Pier-2 Art Center (駁二藝術特區).
You see, getting here is not very difficult but let's just agree that sometimes we want to mingle around (or just get lost, go figure). It took us a while to wonder if we had reached the right place even after we walked out from Exit 1 of Yanchengpu MRT Station.

Cited from Wikipedia, the arts center was originally an abandoned warehouse site due to Kaohsiung's shift from industrial city to service city. Due to the persistence of local artists, the area was finally released and remade to be an arts center.
There are several warehouses (or buildings) served as cafe, bookstore, art exhibitions, theater, and stores. We gave quick visit to the indoor sites but spent most of our times under the sun.

Their bookstores are so neat and lovely!

This area is seriously Instagrammable (not sure if it's even a word).
From the exhibition, railway, 3D art, and the view itself are beautiful! (And free!)

One of my favorites! Thanks to Monica for the shot!

I wanted to take a picture at the swing but lost due to the energetic children in queue.
We also tried to look for the upside down house that we saw on Instagram months ago but failed to find it even after walking back and forth. I wonder if they changed the arts from time to time.

One of the arts there. Uploaded them on my Instagram : @erlia91

It's still 3 PM once we're satisfied taking pictures there. On our way to the next place, I stopped for another Milk Tea (NTD 29). It's the moment when I realized the packaging prepared a spot for you to put a straw. Convenient much?

We didn't take the MRT and dragged ourselves on feet for 1 or 2 kilometers.
I wish I could walk around in Jakarta, from one place to another, but you just can't. Walking should make you healthier but breathing in the air pollution wouldn't help that, would it?


Kaohsiung Museum of History, Love River

Next in our list is Kaohsiung Museum of History (高雄市立歷史博物館).
It's usually closed on 5 PM and we arrived at the museum around 30 minutes before the closing. It's free for visit!
If you're interested with the history but unable to read or converse in English, unfortunately this museum is not the perfect place for you. 99% of the descriptions are in Chinese and the nice staffs are not fluent in English.

Our first decent picture together in Taiwan

Monica and I finally managed to have a short conversation in Chinese with two polite staffs there! They asked if we're sisters (lol), praised us for visiting Taiwan by ourselves, and helped us to take a picture. They wished us to have an enjoyable holiday and we did!

We walked to KFA because we still had a lot of time before night, enjoying scenery of the Love River (愛河) where there were people who trained for the Dragon Boat Festival.
They said Love River would look very beautiful at night (we did consider to take a boat but cancelled it anyway).

My photography skill just doesn't do justice for this view of river

If you visit Kaohsiung with your significant other, you're very much recommended to spend your time at Love River!


85 Sky Tower, Kaohsiung Main Public Library

After KFA, we returned to Central Park MRT Station (of which Monica really loved to mention it in Chinese for no reason, lol) and headed to our night destination.

Taking the MRT to Sanduo Shopping District MRT Station, we stepped out from Exit 2 and tried to find our way to the tallest building in the city. It's easy to spot it as it has an unique shape but we're pretty much confused to find the entrance door. Turned out you just need to find the hotel lobby and the staff would be delighted to show the way.

85 Sky Tower (高雄85大樓), also called Tuntex Sky Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Kaohsiung. It was the tallest in Taiwan until the completion of Taipei 101 though.
We could get to the observatory deck on the 74-75th floor by paying the entrance fee (NTD 150). Experience the high speed elevators, bringing you to the observatory deck in less than a minute.

You will get a postcard of Kaohsiung also!

You'll find a souvenir kiosk plus cafe on 75th floor. Insert NTD 10 and you can use the coin operated binoculars for 10-15 seconds. Walk around the floor to see Kaohsiung city from different point of views.

Truth to be told, I was excited because I like height and night view but, minutes after I reached the observatory deck, I just felt that my excitement faded away. However it's still a good experience that you can't compare with view from Monas (not comparing, but you do notice the height is very different, right?).

Kaohsiung City view from 75th floor; again bad photography skill doesn't do justice for this view

We made a quick stop at Kaohsiung Main Public Library (高雄市立圖書館總館) which is located across the street from the 85 Sky Tower.
It's the definition of perfect library and how I wish Jakarta has one as amazing as this library!

The library at night. Doesn't look like one?

Not only the architecture, but what I found inside made my jaw almost dropped. Feast for your eyes, people.
Comfortable reading space, book collections, cafe. This green library is such an utopia for a book lover! You can even visit the roof garden.
Consisted of 8 floors, they said this library was built from the top to bottom. Dominated by white color, they also provide eBook and hand-made Braille books to borrow.


XinJueJiang Shopping District, Ruifeng Night Market

Our last stop for second day is, of course, the night market.
Before that, we stopped at XinJueJiang Shopping District (新崛江商场) (stop at Central Park MRT Station, Exit 1). They said it's like the Ximending of Kaohsiung (you'll find about what Ximending is on the next post).

We didn't buy anything though. We're just not the type who love to shop (unless for food).
Found one of the most famous chicken cutlet there though; it's called Angel Fried Chicken (天使雞排). We bought it later at the night market. And, yes, do try it if you have the chance!
It's very different from the kind of crispy chicken in Indonesia and it's good!

Image of Angel Fried Chicken for reference. Credit goes to Burpple

Okay, to reach Ruifeng Night Market (瑞丰夜市), take the MRT to Kaohsiung Arena MRT Station. Take Exit 1 and just walk straight to find the location.
Lively and crowded, take a not that Ruifeng closes on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Food, beverages, games, you'll find a lot of things here.
However I found myself confused with the shops since the stalls are everywhere.
I tried one of the most famous snack called... Small Sausage in Large Sausage (大腸包小腸) for NTD 50. It's a pork sausage wrapped in bigger sticky rice sausage. Not my favorite but it tastes good!
We queued for the Angel Fried Chicken (NTD 60) before decided to return to the apartment.

I know, the name sounds unique, right?

And that's a wrap for Day 2!

Definitely not a pro of using a Selfie Stick



Day 3. Monday, 22 May 2017.


Breakfast

On our last day in Kaohsiung, we're so determined to find the breakfast spot which is recommended by David (again) and, of course, failed to do so (again). We had ours at this place which name that we couldn't read.
However it's very delicious (NTD 55)! I like the soup and maybe it's kind of similar to Cufungmoi, the local porridge at Bangka (?).

Mine is the one with soup. Both taste very good!

➣ Cijin Island

After the city tour and all, that day we visited Cijin Island (旗津島), a small island which can be reached by less than 10-minutes ferry ride from Gushan Ferry Pier (鼓山輪渡站).

To get there, head to Sizihwan MRT Station, Exit 1.
We were greeted by several staffs who offered us bicycle services. No need to take it there as you'll find them on the island as well!
Walked for 5-10 minutes and we finally found the pier (two Korean boys helped us to find the entrance door, before we got ourselves in vehicle queue, lol).

I think it's my first time getting on a ferry

NTD 40 and you can hop in the ferry. Just take some pictures and, within no time, you suddenly have arrived at the island! Yes, it's that close.
Again, there were staffs offering bicycle services. Not only bicycles! You can also pick 2 or 4-person cycling vehicle.

We walked pass a temple called Mazu Temple (媽祖廟).
Along the way, there are wide range of stalls selling souvenirs, seafood dishes, and snacks.

In front of Mazu Temple

We headed to the beach right away, ignoring the heat.
It's a beautiful beach indeed! Maybe because it's a weekday, but there was almost no visitors at the beach (or maybe it's just too hot).
Oh, you're not allowed to swim there though.

Like I said, beautiful beach!

Short long story, we finally decided to rent the two-seat electric bike!
NTD 200 for the first hour and NTD 100 for the next hour (we ended up with 3+ hours but they're so nice to us and just charged two of us NTD 400!).
You need to hand over your passport and you can take it back at their post nearby from the pier upon your departure.

Happy girls on electric vehicle, lol

Since Monica can't drive a bike, I sat on the driver seat and, trust me, the staff looked so worried when we tried to use the vehicle, lol.
This is one activity we never planned to have but ended up enjoying it a little bit too much. We drove around and that's exactly why my left hand had sunburn afterwards due to the heat (even until now, my arm has two color tones).

Taiwan is a left-driving country, contrary to Indonesia.
This became a reason why sometimes I forgot that the right side is for the slow lane instead of the opposite. We felt like the king of the streets until I almost forgot to pull the brake and honked by a truck.
I shouldn't laugh as it's a little bit dangerous but we laughed for a short moment.


➣ Cihou Lighthouse, Cihou Fort, Cijin Tunnel of Stars

That's not the only reason we laughed at Cijin that day.
We're (kind of) lost when we drove to Cihou Lighthouse (旗後燈塔) and Cihou Fort (旗後砲臺). Definitely not very good map readers (and maybe our expressions just told everyone that we're lost, lol), we stopped in a middle of a way until a man approached us.

"小姐 , 你們要去哪里?"
(Ladies, where do you want to go?)

He showed us the right way by driving in front of us. His look is kind of fierce but he's so nice!
We parked the vehicle, walked up, and admired the view from there. It's seriously hot that I finally took out my umbrella even before we reached the fort. Thankfully we bought a bottle of mineral water at 7-11 next to the pier beforehand.
(I think the cheapest mineral water is NTD 20 there; which is a little bit expensive compared to Indonesia)
Oh, we didn't go inside the lighthouse as we were defeated by the sun. *white flag*

This is taken on our way to the fort

Our next stop is Cijin Tunnel of Stars (旗津星空隧道).
It's not as 'starry' as  I thought. Maybe better view at night?
Anyway, upon walking through the tunnel, we found ourselves at the other side of the beach. It's amazingly beautiful!

At the end of the tunnel of stars


➣ Lunch

As for the lunch, we failed to try this restaurant as it's already closed at 3 PM.
If you can, feel free to try Cijin Sanlang Noodle House (旗津三郎麵館)!


One of the menus for reference only. Credit goes to DiGTaiwan!

Oh, before we visited the Cihou Fort, we stopped by for a bowl of shaved ice.
Sweet, cold, and perfect for the summer feeling there!
(No, I don't remember the name as I can't read it)

Ice + Milk + Watermelon + Mango = Perfect
 
As for the lunch, since we're already hungry, we picked a choose-your-own stall named 天元自助餐.
I picked seafood as the main menu because, well, it's Cijin. My lunch is for NTD 80.
After we're full, we returned to the pier and hopped on the ferry to return to Gushan Ferry Pier for another destination.

Guess which one is mine?

For your information, David recommended us to visit British Consulate at Takao (打狗英國領事館) but we skipped it as we stayed in Cijin a little bit too long already.
If you're going there, it's nearby from Sizihwan MRT Station!


➣ Confucius Temple, Lotus Pond, Dragon Tiger Pagodas

Our next destination is free of charge but consists of walking and walking and walking.
Yes, a lot of walking since we couldn't take the bus by EasyCard. *insert sad emoticon*

Leaving from Sizihwan, we headed to Zuoying (THSR) MRT Station.
As much as I know, people can take a bus from the station to Lotus Pond (蓮池潭) area, which is the place chosen by Monica.
Again, because our options of transportation were limited, we walked from the station to the destination. Yes, it's kind of far but, because the road and all are good, no complaint (okay, maybe a little because the walking distance is 3 kilometers).

Random fact: it's supposed to be our morning itinerary on Day 2 but we changed it due to the mass schedule at cathedral.

Arriving at 5 PM, The Confucius Temple of Kaohsiung (高雄孔子廟) was already closed for public visit so we could only take some pictures from the outside.
They said it's really beautiful inside so I think you will be delighted to visit this place!

Since it's already closed, I could take this picture easily

To put it simple, you'll enjoy the view from the temple to the Lotus Pond. There are several temples in the area but we only stopped by at two or three places because it's getting dark and Monica's final destination was in the end of the track.
Some said it's better to visit here in the morning so maybe you can consider it!

Lotus on the water, under the sky

Dragon and Tiger Pagodas (龍虎塔) can be seen from quite a distance.
The dragon's throat is the entrance and the lion's mouth is the exit. Entering a dragon's throat and coming out a lion's mouth symbolizes turning bad luck to good fortune.
We're going to enter the dragon but it's already closed (again). The Japanese tourists group were the last visitors before us. Well, at least Monica got to take some pictures of the tiger (she came for it, don't ask me why).
And that's a wrap for our Lotus Pond trip.


The main reason why Monica wanted to come here

➣ Liuhe Night Market

Now, how did we leave there to have our dinner?
Reading the Google Maps, we dragged ourselves to the nearest station and, after 10-15 minutes, we realized that we entered the wrong destination. It's not an MRT station but a TRA station.
There were three tourists who wanted to go to the same destination and, thankfully, we could use the EasyCard to take the train!
I really couldn't imagine if we needed to walk again for more kilometers. *tears*

So we moved on the train to Zuoying (THSR) MRT Station (it's a station for TRA, MRT, and THSR) and changed to MRT.
From there, we left to Formosa Boulevard MRT Station which is, yes, also our route to return to the apartment. Take Exit 11 to find one of the most famous night markets in Taiwan: LiuHe Night Market (六合夜市).

My favorite night market!

It became my favorite in a second with its layout.
It's a straight road where the stalls are set up neatly on the left and right side. You can find chairs and tables to enjoy your food, strolling around before deciding what to eat.
I was completely dilemma as there were many choices but I couldn't eat too many at night. We ended up trying some foods like Oyster Omelette (蚵仔煎) and Quail Egg Takoyaki (鳥蛋蝦燒). The quail egg is exceptionally good!

Some preferred Ruifeng Night Market because it has the perfect atmosphere of 'night market'. Liuhe, on the other hand, consists more of street foods only. Still, I like to visit Liuhe more (personal preference, of course).
I spent around NTD 85 at the night market.

All of them are delicious!

We returned to the apartment as David contacted us, telling us that he would give us something before our departure to Taipei in the next morning.
Other than all the things he had prepared for us on the first day, he also gave us face sheet masks because he noticed that it's a hot and sunny day! Thoughtful, right?

However, he also bought one of the most popular night snacks: Stinky Tofu (臭豆腐).
There are two types: deep-fried and ones in a Sichuan mala soup (feel free to Google the details).
People said you should try this if you visit Taiwan night markets but, once again, my personal preference... I would skip it just because I'm quite picky when it comes to food. If you like unique food, go for it!

As you can see: King of Stinky Tofu

We packed up immediately and hit the bed.
And that's the end of our last night in Kaohsiung!




Part 2 is done!
Wow, a lot of pictures, eh? *sorry, not sorry*
The third part will be the details of our activities in Taipei, including what happened on my birthday.

Until the next post!


First of all, I'd like to apologize for not updating the details of my trip during UWRF 2015 (you can check the post for Day 1 here and Day 2 here though).

I promise I will definitely continue with the details for Day 3, Day 4, and Day 5.
Also I am working with the draft for details of my Singapore trips.

As for now, for today, for this post, I will write down the details of my latest trip to... TAIWAN!

Since it's only one week since I returned from there, I think my memory is still good enough to remember the details. Hopefully.

P.S.: I am not a travel blogger so do not expect a good writing from me in this post (not as if I'm a good writer when it comes to non travel stuff though, lol).

Let's see what I can do with words, some pictures, and the excitement from the travel!
Oh, it's part 1 because it will be a long post so I decided to make three posts instead of one.







Prologue.

On 28 August 2016, I was at The Manhattan Fish Market - Central Park Mall for lunch with Monica Dewi Putri. During that period, travel fair was held at the mall and she told me about a plan to spend holiday alone.

Destination: Taiwan.

The conversation went on and on and she ended up persuading me to be her travel companion. It was such a dilemma for me as I wanted to save money for my dream destination: Japan.
However it's such a rare chance for me to travel with a good friend (as much as we annoy each other) and, on top of it, a heaven of food! Yes, Taiwan and the famous night markets and food and everything.

We went to Panorama Tours in Central Park and decided the travel date: 20 May until 27 May 2017 with these reasons:
  • 20-21 May are Saturday and Sunday
  • 24 May is my birthday
  • 25 May is a holiday
  • 26 May is her birthday
  • 27 May is Saturday
  • 28 May is Sunday and we could take a rest before workday!

It's IDR 4,295,000 for the round trip with Cathay Pacific.
You'll find the details later.


VISA.

Applying for VISA to Taiwan is not difficult, I might say.
It's my first time applying and I was so worried about everything, not to mention both of us applied for it just two weeks before our departure! (Please do not follow our steps for your own safety)

We applied it via Panorama Tours again for a Single Entry (IDR 750,000 excluding 1% tax).
They will help with the VISA application form and you'll need to provide these requirements:

  1. Original Passport; should be valid for at least 6 months upon arrival.
  2. Old Passport; if any
  3. Visa Photo 4x6, white-colored background
  4. Letter of Guarantee; if you're an employee, request it from your office
  5. Personal bank account statement of the past three months; if you have a KlikBCA account, you can print it by yourself at home!
  6. Copy of Family Card

A normal single entry takes 6-7 workdays so, again, do not wait until two weeks before departure.
We're so good at procrastinating. Seriously.

The VISA was granted 3 days before the departure. Ha!
I was so worried, no kidding.


Itinerary.

We had discussion about where we wanted to go in Taiwan and it's so difficult as we found too many spots to visit. From Taipei to Taichung to Alishan to Kaohsiung to everywhere else.
However as we considered the traveling time and everything, we picked two cities to stay: Taipei and Kaohsiung.

If you are a type of person who loves to create a neat itinerary, I'd recommend Travefy for you!

Easy and neat itinerary with Travefy

We used the online planning web to create the 8-day itinerary, writing down the time and place, including the details for us to note. Travefy also provides the option to convert the itinerary into PDF file or share the link with others!

I also installed the Android app instead of printing the handout as my guide during the trip there. Convenient much? (You can't edit the itinerary yet from mobile app though)

Oh, I'll mention the spots I couldn't visit for your information later! In case you have the chance to visit them. ;)





Day 1. Saturday, 20 May 2017.

Flight

We arrived at the airport earlier for dinner and baggage check-in (remember, no power bank in baggage!).
After half an hour waiting at Starbucks and another hour at the boarding room, I finally stepped in the Cathay Pacific aircraft for the 12:05 AM flight! Yes, it's first time for me.

They definitely live up their reputation as an outstanding airline. Even for a passenger of economy class, you'll feel comfortable with the seat, in-flight entertainment (IFE), food and beverages, and the services. Due to the night flight, blanket and pillow were prepared for each passenger.

I tried to catch a sleep but I'm never good with sleeping in vehicles; stiff neck at its worst. However I need to sleep so I woke up once in a while, including when the flight attendant distributed the snack. I finally gathered my consciousness an hour before we arrived at Hong Kong International Airport.

The IFE is updated with the latest entertainment stuffs! At least for me it's updated enough. I watched a comedy movie during the flight, "Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates". A crazy movie. Not the best one but enough to make me stay awake during the flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan.

2 boarding passes for 2 flights

Quick view of Hong Kong International Airport (hopefully I can visit HK in the future!), we moved on to the next aircraft. I got refreshment! Pastry, cookie, and lemon juice. I barely slept as I knew it would not be a long flight.


Arrival, SIM Card

Excitement filled me when we landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
FYI, Taiwan has two international airports: Taoyuan at north and Kaohsiung at south.

First thing first: baggage.
I always wonder why it always takes longer time to pick up baggage at Soekarno-Hatta compared to other international airports. Maybe it's just me.

Afterwards we picked up our 10-day SIM Cards.
Yes, pick up. We already booked for it via Klook here.


Where you pick up the SIM Card. Credit goes to Klook website.

Truth to be told, we were quite confused whether to choose a SIM Card or a Wi-Fi device. Since there were only two of us, we decided to have a card for one. More convenient albeit more expensive.
Just showed our passports and national identity cards (KTP), plug in the SIM Card in phone, and we're ready to be connected by unlimited internet!

It's around IDR 220,000 for a 10-day SIM Card.


Transportation Pass

Next is getting an electronic transportation pass.
We were given three options and, our bad, we had zero information regarding the differences. The lady at the counter offered us EasyCard as it's the most popular one. Without second thought, we bought the cards for NTD 100 and top-up NTD 400 for the fund.
She told us that if we wanted to reach Taipei Main Station from the airport, it would cost us NTD 160.

Quick tips, if you want to go and stay around Kaohsiung, I'd recommend you to have iPass instead of EasyCard since the latter can only be used for the MRT at Kaohsiung; you can't use it for buses in Kaohsiung and you can't top-up at any Kaohsiung stations.
However EasyCard does offer more if you'll spend time in Taipei. Its availability wins for sure. So if you go to both Kaohsiung and Taipei, get an EasyCard but make sure you have enough fund in the card during your stay in Kaohsiung.


Credit goes to EasyCard official website

Anyway, we're not going to Taipei for our first day.
Instead we took Taipei High Speed Rail (THSR) from Taoyuan to Kaohsiung.


Go, go, go to the train!

THSR is equal to Shinkansen in Japan and it's really helpful for people who need to save traveling time. Does it really different compared to the ordinary train?

Here's the difference.
If you take a train from Taoyuan to Kaohsiung, it will cost you around IDR 260,000 to IDR 330,000 for 5-6 hours trip.
Meanwhile my trip from Taoyuan to Kaohsiung by THSR cost me around IDR 480,000 for 1 hour and 35 minutes trip.
You tell me about the difference in saving time.

I bought the one way ticket at Klook (again) here.
You can check the schedule at THSR official website here to decide your schedule. 

You only need to show the voucher on your phone and passport to the ticket booth, then you'll receive a booklet (?) with the details of your chosen trip: train number, seat number, departure, arrival.
Yes, you'll get that instead of a card to tap on the card reader. To pass the card reader, show the booklet and your passport to the staff and they'll let you go through.

The booklet as the exchange of ticket. Credit goes to kkday website.

In THSR, you're allowed to eat and drink. You'll have enough space for your seat and, don't worry, it's really comfortable and clean. Nothing much I could say about the THSR but it's a really good experience (I wish Indonesia will have this kind of facility in the future).

Arriving at HSR Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung, I got my phone ready to check the train map, installed on my Android phone as Transit TW (you'll find it on PlayStore as Transit Taipei Taiwan NAVITIME here). This one is really helpful if you need to check the route map (Taipei and Kaohsiung).


Accommodation

Now come the part: where did we stay in Kaohsiung?

We rented a place listed in AirBnB; the host is David and you can check his place here.
For 3 nights, it cost us around IDR 1,040,000 (including travel credit using reference link). Yes, that's the cost for 2 persons.

It was raining when we arrived at the nearest MRT station to his place (we communicated with him using WhatsApp after the booking confirmation). After around 5-10 minutes, he met us at the Exit 2 of Cultural Center MRT Station and walked us to the apartment.
The AirBnB title is not an exaggeration; you just need 30 seconds walk from the exit to the apartment! There's also an elevator so we didn't need to exhaust ourselves with the luggage.

Upon arrival, David showed us our (lovely) room, completed with private bathroom and amenities, hair dryer, TV, wardrobe, queen-sized bed, lamp, and mineral water. He also prepared some snacks, fresh fruits, and vegetable juice! He also explained that we're allowed to use the washing machine.

Lovely room, isn't it?
 
Afterwards he told us the best places to visit in Kaohsiung (he prepared the list already!) and, unfortunately, when we asked him about going to Fo Guang Shan, it's unlikely the best timing to go there.

Image of Fo Guang Shan for reference. Credit goes to Pinterest

It's almost 2 PM there and we needed to take a bus to reach Fo Guang Shan. Not to mention the weather was somehow unstable; rainy, sunny, rainy, sunny. He recommended us to visit the newest mall there due to those reasons. Monica and I decided to drop ourselves at two malls today as both are not too far from one another.


➣ Lunch, Dome of Light

However we needed food for lunch first.

We took the MRT and got ourselves amazed at Formosa Boulevard MRT Station as we snapped some pictures of the Dome of Light, the largest glass work in the world. It was designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata.

Beautiful indeed!
With zero information, we walked out from the MRT station, trying to find food. Yet we couldn't find any around at that hour. I wonder if we're just unlucky or we missed any available restaurant there! Thirty minutes or so, we're too hungry to argue, we finally stopped at... 7-11!

Our choice of lunch was cold noodle (NTD 45). Yes, we didn't realize it's cold noodle though. We did wonder why the staff didn't offer to heat the noodle first. I bought a watermelon milk (yes, you didn't read it wrong) and it tasted wonderful (NTD 39)!


There's also a variant for Papaya Milk there!

Taroko Park

Long story short, we reached Taroko Park (stop at Caoya MRT Station, Exit 2) and realized it's actually a high end shopping mall; we bought nothing there (considering the Godiva Ice Cream but it's NTD 200 so, no, thank you).
We finally ordered a plate of Omurice at the food court since we're still craving for food. Not bad but it's a little bit overpriced I might say.

I forgot the name of the restaurant but I think it has 'Airport' word within (?)

Officially opened on May 2016, Taroko Park (大魯閣草衙道) is a shopping center completed with F1-level karting circuit licensed by Suzuka, roller-skating rink, softball and baseball ground, and fitness center. You'll also find a Ferris Wheel and a carousel here!


The carousel is behind the name; mostly visited by children and their parents
➣ Dream Mall, Kaohsiung Eye

Two stops away, we took Exit 3 of Kaisyuan MRT Station to Dream Mall (夢時代). Some said there's a shuttle bus to reach the mall but we couldn't find any so we just dragged our feet to the largest shopping mall in East Asia.
Yes, you read it right. Consisted of 11 floors, this mall is famous for the rooftop amusement park. Find the Hello Kitty Ferris Wheel, fondly called Kaohsiung Eye (高雄之眼), and take a cart to the top to see the beautiful view of Kaohsiung city!


Slightly edited using Mirror Lab app. Beautiful city, isn't it?

Oh, Monica is not a big fan of height but I managed to drag her along (she thanked me later for sure). It's not in her agenda but, oh, like one said: we can't let fear determine our future.
Irrelevant quote but I just want to put it here (because I just watched The Lost City of Z yesterday).

We purchased milk tea in Dream Mall (remember, Taiwan and milk tea are heavily related!). Doesn't exist (yet) in Indonesia but I think it's quite good.

Mine is of course the chocolate one!

Kaisyuan & Jinzhuan Night Market
 
You see, we put one night market for our dinner stop there. One night, one night market. That's how greedy we are.
However, very unfortunate to us, we failed on our first night to visit Kaisyuan Night Market (凱旋觀光夜市), also the Jinzhuan Night Market (金鑽觀光夜市).
No, it's not because we didn't have the time.

Walking for 1 km from Dream Mall, we found what they called as the largest night market area in Taiwan and ended up with disappointment.
There were not many vendors open for business at Kaisyuan. Most of the stalls were closed. We barely had any interest to buy food there.

Jinzhuan? It's closed.
We found the schedule, written specifically that the night market is open on Saturday but it's completely dark. Is it out of business already? Were we just unlucky that night? We don't know.

Feeling too exhausted to walk for another kilometer to the MRT station, we took a bus (and that's when I found out you can't use EasyCard for Kaohsiung bus. HA!). Turned out it's a free one (I can't differentiate it actually; we just followed other passengers).

We returned to the apartment right away and called it a day.
Lunch at 7-11, no dinner, but we're in Taiwan!




That's all for the Part 1!
I'm going to post the second part soon! *fingers-crossed*

Until the next post!