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Hualien Bay Minsu -> TRA train to Kaohsiung -> Mirador Hotel ->文殊讲堂-> Sanduo 三多商圈 + Shinkuchan新掘江商圈

We could hear roosters cocking/birds chirping from our toilet. It gave us a very kampung feel! Breakfast
will only be served at 7am, but as we woke up at 5am and had quite a lot of time to spare, we went for a 
short morning walk around the minsu. Andy told us that we can actually cut through a small path at his
backyard and reach the beach overlook the pacific ocean in just 5 minutes!
front gate of the minsu taken from our room
grasses around our minsu

main living room
main living room - breakfast area

 They hired a maid to help out with the maintenance of the minsu. According to our previous Cingjing starry minsu owner,李大哥 and Andy, we know that in Taiwan the hiring of maid is not as lax as compared to Singapore's. The hiring of maid can only be done if the hirer has an elderly family member of older 60 years old.

Breakfast (2/3 sandwiches + fruits serving)
choice of beverage: 豆奶/十谷茶
They blend the 十谷茶 and this give rise to十谷茶. Andy shared with us that rice bought from traditional market tasted more fragrant as compared to those bought from shopping mall!
We were also shown eggs from the pen at the backyard. Basically according to Andy, he can collect an average of 10 eggs per day.
poultry eggs!
 They are of different colour/sizes with the largest one as Turkey egg!
Our stay at Hualien Bay minsu is a short but unforgettable experience. If given a chance, we would choose Hualien Bay again because of its hospitality and its environment. It's away from the hustle and bustle (city life) giving people an opportunity to relax. But at the same time it is of close proximity to the town area too.

The goats were so excited!
Actually that morning, Andy's wife was bringing the two goats out for a 'buffet breakfast of grass'. It's cute seeing the younger baby goat following the mother goat everywhere she goes. They normally eat bread skin, and as we packed 1 sandwich each from our breakfast set into a bag for eating during our train journey. The goats seem to sniff it, and actually came forward!

HualienBay minsu owner, Andy and his 4 seater but spacious car
Front: Niu niu
Back: Pang Pang
Honestly, we dont find pang pang very fat but rather cute because of its panda eyes. He is a bit shy unlike Niu Niu. Niu Niu likes to mix with visitors more.

We close our chapter at Hualien as Andy drove us to the main Hualien train station in about 15 minutes. Andy and his wife were very kind to give us a packet of 沙奇马 to eat on our 5 hours train trip!

We will miss Hualien because of its less developed (country side) feel and of course the beautiful mountains at Taroko Gorge and the pacific ocean !~

Hualien Main Train Station
We took 8.20am 自强号train!
Train station platform
Our train tickets from 7eleven!
the train that we took to Kaohsiung!
inner layout of the train
Taiwan Tourism advertisement at the back cover of each train seats
It departed quite punctually at 8.20am. Along the way, it stop at quite a few stops. However we didnt buy the 铁路便当 as we missed the stop that sells. There will be people carrying basket containing the bento sets and selling at the platform. However if you are interested in buying, i would suggest you to grab any opportunity of buying the bento sets as you never know when you will see them selling again.

one of the stops along the way
mountain scenary viewed from the train!

There will be a lady with push cart selling tibbits/tie lu bian dang (bento sets)/drinks. If you have the intention of buying the bento sets from her, do take note that if you happen to be at the front of the train, you might stand a chance. But if you are seated near the back like me and my family, there were no bento sets left when she finally pushed it to our area.

lady with pushcart
Eventually we reached at 1+ pm as predicted. I could still remember. The air was very stuffy and hot in Kaohsiung!

@ Kaohsiung train station 
We took a 10/15 mins cab ride to Mirador Hotel. We can jolly well take the MRT but as we were carrying quite a few baggages, we decided to give it a try next time.

We arrived at Mirador Hotel at 2pm. Despite not being the check in time (3pm), the receptionist allowed us to enter the room since there's empty rooms available at that time.The highest level is the 7th floor, and we stayed at room 211 for 2 days.To access the room, they key 4letter passcode instead of key or access card.

Toilet + small cabinet beside our room main door(not visible from this picture)
toilet+ bathtub
We settled at our hotel and reconfirmed with each other about our itinerary for the day as we were earlier than expected, before we set of to a Buddhist landmark near our accomodation area.

On our way to Wen Shu Jiang Tang on the cab @ 3pm, we noticed a lot of the locals wearing face mask, and we see motors dominating almost half of the road.I guess perhaps Kaohsiung is the business district of Taiwan, there's tend to be more pollution due to increased in vehicles, hence the need for mask. We could feel a difference between the air in Kaohsiung and when we were at Cingjing minsu/Hualien. The air there was fresher.
We went to visit the place of worship and came out after awhile as the building wasnt very big.

As we are not sure of the bus number to take though there's a bus stop near 文殊讲堂, hence we hailed a taxi to Dream Mall. Dream Mall is the largest shopping mall in Taiwan and the largest in East Asia. They are quite near each other. 

Perhaps it's a working day,, the mall doesnt seem to be crowded. Rather there's not a lot of shoppers to be seen.

There's a free shuttle bus to and fro Dream Mall and Kai Xuan MRT station. We only waited for a while - 5minutes when we depart from Dream Mall.

Handphone chargers at toilet
On a side note, we spotted this booth that provides convenience to visitors to charge their phone in the case of emergency. Of course you see this kind of booth in Singapore too, like Novena Velocity Information Counter, but you don't see so many variety of brand! They almost provide one charger for each brand (Samsung, BenQ, Sony ericsson) and a few chargers for apple iphone.
But, then, i wonder if there will be security problems. Like when one charge his phone, will the data in his phone be transmitted over the cable to some central computer for illegal use?

We had our dinner at Dream Mall Food Mall, as the restaurants there seem pricey!
Even food sold at the food mall arent cheap too. Approx $6~9 ++.
We bought set meal at Sugakiya store which seems the cheapest of all. We bought this 3 person set meal (2 noodle soup + 1 rice) for NT 299 and NT 150 for an additional rice set.

Three person set meal
additional rice set meal

 We grade it average. Worth eating since its once of the worth-for-money food at Dream Mall. But not die die must eat food.

Then we shop at the supermarket near the food mall @ basement. The fruits sold at the supermarket is quite reasonable in terms of price. Among the fruits we bought, one of it was cut papaya. However the quality wasnt very good, in which we believe that the papaya has been cut and left under the cling wrap for a very long time making it less fresh.

We went to its Eslite bookstore and Daiso too. All Daiso items were sold at NT39. However do note that you need to pay an extra of NT1 for carrier bag at Daiso.

Generally, Eslite bookstore is somewhat similar to Singapore's Kinokuniya, in terms of its layout, book variety and culture (ambience) there. Purchased books were packed in paper bag instead of plastic bag.

There's a souvenir arena at the basement beside the supermarket as mentioned earlier. Good to shop for souvenirs/gifts if you are departing back home the day after.
We bought two packets of 南瓜子酥糖and 杏仁酥糖. At NT 150 each.

shop where we bought our peanut candy!
The Cinemark Theatre's outlook seem to be comparable with Singapore's cinema. However its ticket is quite costly. Cinema tickets were sold at NT280 per person. And its non-3D. However the locals does not seem to be put off by this high cost.

As we exit the cinema ticket booths, we came across their 'Singapore pools'. Was tempted to try our luck, but decided not to as we are clueless about how their system works.

Taiwan Lottery
At level 9, it boast a huge ferris wheel and a mini amusement park. The ferris wheel is also known as the 'Kaohsiung Eye'.

Night view of the Hello Kitty ferris wheel.
It was actually quite deserted, the other rides did not function due to a lack of customers and there's a lot of ferris wheel cabin empty. We wonder how are they going to continue maintain the high maintenance cost. Hopefully its because its a weekday which explains the stark contrast between the mall popularity and Singapore's ion Orchard.

We took the shuttle bus as mentioned before. It's a mini bus, not 40 seater bus. You can ask the people at the information counter for directions to the bus landing/pick up area. They are very friendly! The shuttle bus comes at around 20 minutes frequency.

kai xuan MRT station
life on  Kaohsiung MRT
As compared to Taipei MRT, Kaohsiung has lesser people boarding it. The fare at Kaohsiung MRT is more costly than at Taipei. Similarly, the cab meter at Kaohsiung starts at NT85 while for Taipei it starts at NT70.

Locals tend to bike to work/home. It's a common sight to see woman, young ladies riding the bike. This is not common in Singapore.

We then took the MRT to central Park station. Central Park station is the nearest train station to our hotel. Our is located strategically within walking distance to night markets and shopping areas like Shinkuchan/Sanduo.
We shop around the areas but feel that the things sold are not exactly cheap. Turns out, Taipei/Taichung stuffs are cheaper.

Be sure to arm yourself with a map of your hotel and the nearby places you intend to shop. The map will come in useful when you find your directions back to your hotel since there's a lot of alleys in Taiwan and being foreign, its easier to get lost. If in doubt of which route to take, always ask the locals/store owners there. They will be more than glad to help you!

Home Sweet Home ~


Do bring travel adaptors or plugs that are compatible to the electrical sockets in Taiwan, if not it would be a little troublesome to borrow from the hotel every time, like my family did. The hotels/minsu we went were friendly enough to lend us, but for the final hotel during our stay at Taiwan, they needed us to pay a deposit.


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