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Old 26-01-2005, 10:26 AM   #497
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Just returned from my trip last night. Prior to travelling, I have benefitted immensely from the information provided by members here. I thought I should continue the goodwill and so I'm doing a Just Back Report (JBR). Hopefully some people may find it useful. And anyway, it is a pleasure to share.

I arrived on 31 Dec to a very cold Taipei evening. Ordinarily, Taipei winter is cool, but not cold. But there was a cold wave sweeping Taiwan for the next 3 days, with temperatures dipping to 5C in Taipei and it even snowed on Yangming Mountain, which is a rare occurence even for the locals. Those travelling now, should always bring an umbrella and sufficient warm clothings.

I stayed at the Keyman's Hotel, a recommendation by Naomi9112. No regrets. Excellent location, the airport bus station is just right across the road, and so are the railway station and MRT station. Plenty of shops around and lots and lots of eateries from local fares to international fast food joints, all around it. They charged me NT1660 per night.

Spent a night at Hualian minsu, this one recommended by Beyondgal. Again, no regrets. The hosts are a very hospitable couple. I think for them is more about hosting guests than making money. Not much to see around the house, but within walking distance away is a spectacular seaside. It has a coastal bike track that stretches I think 8km, offering spectacular costal views. I used the bike they provided and cycled to & fro much to the astonishment my hosts who had earlier warned me not many of their guests can cover that distance. The package also offered a near fully-day tour of Taroko Gorge which is a "must see" if you go hualian. To me, it should be one of the seven wonders. Very cold when I was there.

Also, spent a night at a jiufen minsu, recommended by a taiwanese friend. But while the property offers a stunning view of the moutains and sea, I was let down by the service. It is not minsu at all, I would call it a small hotel. I was left alone there for the night, no owner, no staff, no guests. Just me and one big property on a cold and stormy winter night that rained all night. But jiufen's misty moutains and the old streets are really romantic. Like it a lot. From there, I took a bus to Keelung's Miao Kou night market, very different from shilin, well organised, lively but not too crowded.

Also, visited Danshui's Fisherman's Wharf and the night market next the MRT station. I somehow didn't like Shilin night market because it was too crowded.

I took a day tour from a tour agency that covers keelung, Yeliu and jiufen where they dropped me off there to spent the night. Next day, it was easy taking the bus to ruifang and then the train back to taipei. I also bought my own train tix to & from hualian.

I've skipped the shopping centres, ximending, and the historical or cultural monuments. My main priority is sightseeing the natural beauty of taiwan. I managed to find time to go Yangming Moutain on my last day, and didn't regret it. The maple leaves were in shades of green, yellow, orange & red, not a lot of them, but enough cos I've never seen autumn colors before. The peach flowers and plum flowers too were just beginning to bloom.

Overall, despite the cold and rainy weather, I've thoroughly enjoyed my trip and am thinking of going back soon. And oh, yes, tried lots and lots of local food. Maybe I'm just lucky, but almost everything I ate, tasted real good. The street hawker food quality seem to be very high. And no problem on the stomach too.

Any question, just ask. Hope I can help other's Taiwan trip enjoyable too.

Hi, i am interested to go hualian first before going to taipei too. How do u get to hualian from taipei airport? And how to arrange with the minsu ah? Thanks
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