Holiday Fun in Taiwan - Part 2

We spent a relaxing holiday in Taiwan last December and I'm sharing with you the simple day tours I planned for the family. Last month, I featured part 1 here where we covered the northern coast with a private car and tour guide. For day 3 of our trip, we skipped the guide and booked a car with driver via Ownrides.com. Our day started at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial.

When I planned the itinerary for this day, I was thinking of going to the farthest location first, which is the Window on China theme park. But our driver suggested go to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall first so it's less crowded, and spend more time in the afternoon at the theme park. We followed his suggestion and off we went to the most prominent historical landmark and tourist spot in Taiwan.

Day 3

Day Tour - 9:30am - 6:00pm

9:30am Ownrides private car pick-up at amba Songshan hotel
  • Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
  • Maokong gondola ride
    • Taipei Zoo (optional - but no more time for us)
    • lunch at one of the tea houses
  • Window On China Miniature World-  Lungtan Hsiang, Taoyuan County
  • Raohe Night Market - shop and dine (walking distance from hotel)

There were repairs and some construction work when we went to CKS Memorial Hall, as you can see in the photos, so I didn't get a clean shot of the beautiful buildings. Aside from the main hall, there's the National Concert Hall and the National Theater, both with those distinct pagoda style orange roof.

The main hall is resplendent in white with blue tiles. Inside you'll find the imposing bronze statue of the former president. We arrived just in time for the changing of guards, at around 10 in the morning. Try to catch it if you can.

"The octagon-shaped white building rises 76 meters and is covered with blue tiles and red accents, echoing the flag of the Republic of China. The eight sides represent the Chinese cultural symbolism of the number eight which is traditionally associated with fortune and wealth. The two sets of 89 steps represent Chiang's age of death and lead up to main hall housing a large bronze statue of Chiang protected by military personnel which change every hour." - www.guidetotaipei.com

We also went inside the museum for a quick look and strolled around the park before heading to our next destination. Obviously, hindi masyadong natuwa yung mga kids dito kaya we didn't spend too much time here anymore.

The kids wanted to ride the cable car when we went to Hong Kong two years ago. But due to bad weather, we didn't push through. This time, they want to make sure we can ride one, and by the suggestion of our friend who frequent Taiwan, I included Maokong in our itinerary for day 3. 

Maokong is a quaint village with scenic views from the top of the mountain. They are also famous for their tea houses and accessible via the gondola from the Taipei Zoo MRT station.

Gondola rates are affordable and you can choose from regular or glass-bottom cars/crystal cabins. It's purely joy ride for us, enjoying the view while going up four stations -- Maokong is the last stop.

You can spend a few hours exploring the village and take your leisurely time enjoying a meal with some of their famous teas in one of the many tea houses there.

As usual, tamad na mag-ikot yung mga kids and just wanted to find a nice spot to sit and have lunch. Sih Ye Tea House wowed us with it's interiors, which you can watch here. It features an actual koi pond inside the resto! The whole place was so photogenic.

Food was just okay, flavors tasted the same with a hint of 5 spice. But their specialty tea drinks (sorry walang photo) like the guanyin and white gourd were very tasty and truly refreshing. Must-try!

After lunch, we immediately for the amusement park -- which was the highlight of the day. 

Located in Longtan District, Taoyuan City, travel time by car is about an hour from Taipei, depending on traffic.

This is just a teaser to the theme park.
I'll write a separate feature to show you the spectacular miniature attractions -- too many pictures to include in this post. :D  And to think hindi din namin nalibot lahat coz it was already too late in the day and we had to leave.

Which is which? 
Which is the REAL and MINI CKS Memorial Hall?

My giant J by the shipyard :D

Traffic was a bit heavy on our way back. We requested to be dropped off at Raohe Night Market instead so we can buy some food and knick knacks. We just walked to the hotel afterwards. Our Ownrides driver Stanley was very courteous and accommodating. I recommend you book via Ownrides too when in Taiwan. Super convenient and rates are reasonable for a 10-hour rental with driver.

Day 4

Free and easy day.
I originally made this day open for a possible "out of town" destination like:
  • Kaohsiung - about 90 minutes by bullet train HSR (because I want to ride a bullet train!)
    • visit the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Temple and Eda World
  • Taichung - more sight-seeing as well
Second plan was to go to Ximending to shop, then check out Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and Dongqu, or maybe catch a Double Decker Bus tour (5pm - 9pm only). 

For day 4, we decided to skip any tours and allowed ourselves to wake up a bit late, have a slow breakfast, relax, eat lunch, and go shopping in Ximenting. The kids did not want to go out anymore, so as usual, tambay na lang sila sa hotel room for the afternoon with their gadgets. No more rules. Chill na lang.

Again, we spotted several temples in just one area. This one (above) is literally in the middle of a row of buildings along a busy street in Ximen!

We lugged around heavy bags of pasalubong including these fish floss (fried salmon and saltfish fiber) and pineapple cakes from Hsing Tung Yang store, and packs of wintermelon cubes (I wished I hoarded!).  I have to include a photo of the seaweed rolls bought from Jiufen coz it was just too good!

Our hotel, Amba Songshan, has a sky bridge connecting to Citylink mall. We can easily cross over to buy snacks or dine in at several food outlets. Much to our delight, there's a Hawker Chan outlet in Citylink and we made sure to eat there before we leave!

We already have this Singaporean franchise in Manila but both branches are too far from our place, so dito pa sa Taiwan natikman, finally, hahaha!  We loved the simplicity of the meal, and flavors of the meat and noodles. It comes with a side dish and the white gourd tea was good too. Cheap and delicious eats on our last night in Taipei.

Day 5

Dec 24. Christmas eve. 
Taiwan was indeed fun, with perfect weather, good eats and cheap thrills. J said this was the only country so far where he felt "at home" -- maybe because he was comfortable with the Chinese language and the locals are very relatable. :)

One last lugaw breakfast for me. We left the hotel at 10:30 am for our 1:30 pm flight. Godiva ice cream from the airport was the perfect sweet ending before we flew out. Thank you for a chill and memorable holiday, Taiwan!


Part 3 featuring Window on China Theme Park
Check out @mymomfriday Instagram Stories highlights, "Fun Taiwan" for our video clips. 

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