Saturday 15 January 2011

Taipei Day 2: Ferris Wheel, Taipei 101, Wufenpu & Raohe

We agreed to wake up at 7am and meet at 8am for breakfast at the hotel, which was nothing special.

Later we set off to explore the city of Taipei and the best way to get around is by MRT (refer to this Taipei MRT Map).

Gantries at Taipei Main Station

As Taipei Main Station is an interchange station, crowds of people were seen walking in and out of the gantries. I was really impressed by the efficiency of the MRT system, especially their willingness to cater to the needs of nursing mothers.

Availability of nursing rooms at MRT stations

I was really impressed that nursing rooms are readily made available in MRT stations in Taipei, something which you don't see in Singapore.

Our first destination was the Ferris Wheel at the Miramar Shopping Mall 美丽华. To get there, take the MRT from Taipei Main Station to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station 忠孝复兴站 (bound for Nangang) on the Bennan (blue) line. Then transfer to the Wenhu (brown) line and board the train heading towards Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center and alight at the Jiannan Road Station 剑南路站.

MRT ride to Jiannan Station

As we were early, we couldn't get on the ferris wheel till 11am when all the shops will open. This is the largest ferris wheel in Taiwan and also the eighteenth largest in the world

Entrance of Miramar Shopping Mall

We took a long escalator to the 5th floor of the main building and bought tickets to ride the ferris wheel.

At the foot of the Ferris Wheel

You can choose to ride the regular or the transparent cabin for the same price. As we were very early and there was no queue, we had the luxury of choice. If you were to come during the peak period, you might need to wait for five times as long for the transparent cabin as there are only two. We decided to stick with the regular cabin just in case the transparent one was too scary.

Boarded the ordinary cabin (left) and had a great view from the top (right)

Although it was quite high up, I must say that it wasn't as exciting or scary as I expected (but then again I don't have a fear of heights). On hindsight, we totally should have gone on the transparent cabin.

Other than the ferris wheel, Miramar Shopping Mall is also famous for their 3D IMAX shows, which we didn't watch as it was time for me to pump. The nursing room of the mall was located on the 4th floor (kid's department) next to a hair salon for kids.

This kid's salon has cars instead of chairs! Baby girl would've loved it!

The nursing room was pretty cramped, with 3 cubicles side by side and separated only by flimsy curtains that didn't really cover very well. It was also very crowded as every single cubicle was fully utilised when I was using it.

Chinese words on the tag said "Currently In Use"

The only good thing about the nursing room was the tag that was hanging on the curtain that told people that the tiny cubicle was being used. They should totally have this in Singapore too!

Once I was done, we headed to our next destination, Taipei 101 台北一〇一.

To get there, take the train back to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station and transfer to the blue line. Take the train heading towards Nangang and alight at Taipei City Hall Station 市政府站.

Exit here to take the free shuttle bus

You can choose to take the free shuttle service at the exit or take a cab. If you want to walk, head towards the W hotel and Shin Kong Mitsukoshi shopping centre. You'll see Taipei 101 once you are walking in the right direction. Obviously you can't miss it as it is the tallest building in Taiwan. It takes only 15 minutes by walking and 5 minutes by cab. We went with the latter of course.. my old man didn't want to walk -_-

Taipei 101

Taipei 101 Mall houses many luxury brands such as LV and Gucci. If you'd like to visit Taipei 101 Observatory, you may buy the tickets (costing NT400) at level 5 of the mall. As it was winter and we weren't allowed in the outdoor viewing gallery, our family decided not to purchase the tickets as we felt that it wasn't worth it. We had our lunch at their food court at Basement 1 instead and discovered the best bubble milk tea in Taiwan (in our opinion).

CoCo Bubble Tea

The milk tea was rich and the bubbles (or tapioca balls) were chewy, which was a perfect combination. Yummy!

After lunch, I decided that I should go pump (yes again!) as it may not be as easy to find a place to do so at our next destination. I headed to the nursing room of the Taipei 101 mall, which was located at level 4.

One of the cubicles of the nursing room at Taipei 101 mall

It was much bigger than the previous nursing room and had an accompanying changing table, electrical sockets as well a child toilet attached to it. A very nice and clean place indeed.

Later we proceeded on to the wholesale center Wufenpu 五分埔 Fashion Area by cab (NT120).


[Note: If you want to take the MRT, head back to Taipei City Hall Station and take the train bound for Nangang to Houshanpi Station 后山埤站, Exit 1. Walk along Zhongpo North Road 中坡北路 to Yongji Road 永吉路, cross the road and turn left. Continue walking until you reach Wufenpu.]

Although famous for great stuff and cheap bargains, we found ourselves getting lost in the many little lanes of stuff. Some stalls also did not sell items individually. The material of the some of the clothes was not as good as Korea (according to the sister) and it wasn't even that cheap. Perhaps it will be better in the summer but as we've been to the wholesale area at Shenzhen (China) during the winter as well and we all agreed that Shenzhen was much better. We were very disappointed and it is unlikely that we'll be back.

The night dipped to a chilling 12 degrees celcius. We almost gave up on going to the Raohe Night Market 饒河街夜市, which was just a short distance away from the wholesale area.

Entrance to Raohe Night Market

To get there by foot, locate the Song Shan Train Station 松山火车站 and cut through it to Ba De Road 八德路 behind it. From there look out for a lane that leads to a temple, where the entrance of the night market is (you may need to ask for directions).

We were exhausted and hungry from all the walking so we stopped for dinner at a street stall.

It was super cold! *Brrrr*
Dry beef noodles for the hubby, beef noodle soup for me

The beef noodle soup was nice but the bowl of dry noodles was better. We also tried the famous pepper bun 胡教饼 located near the entrance of the night market.

Pepper Bun

There was a long queue despite the icy cold weather. The meat inside the pepper bun was really good but the bun was too starchy for our taste. We decided to buy supper back to our hotel as it got too cold to stay there any longer. We took a cab back but you can also take a train at the Song Shan Train Station (Railway not MRT) to the Taipei Train Station.

Tiring day!

Continue to >> Taipei Day 3: Ximending & Shilin
<< Back to Taipei Day 1: Arrival At Taipei Main

P.SFor the rest of my Taiwan posts and other travel itineraries, please visit my travel page! =)
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