TRAVEL: Taiwan Day1 Kaohsiung (Pt 1 of 8)

Planning for Taiwan trip can be quite a experience to me. I knew very little Chinese despite being able to communicate almost fluently...Well, self taught case...I've been looking at Taiwan over Google Maps for couples of months just before booked my flight ticket. 3 weeks before the big day, my leave just got approved! Screw die you...I wonder what takes so long just to approve the leave. Once it was approved, almost immediately I booked my flight with Scoot Airlines then proceed to book rooms via AirBnB. To my surprise, I actually got quite a deal despite placing my booking at such a near date. For Scoot, I came to know that they were flying recycled plane from Singapore Airline. For a first timer, I never thought about "how bad can it be" questions. Well, I only paid $182 all in for 5 hours flight. That's a good deal when I told my parents about it. 

There you are my huge Scoot! You looks cute! To my horror, soon after boarding, I was stuck in the plane for an hour pass the departure schedule due to air ventilation failure (boo old plane...)...WHY?! But I wasn't too bother about it course the night before, I got too nervous that I don't want go to sleep or too afraid to fall asleep...

Soon after arrival at Kaohsiung International Airport (KIA), I waste no time because I was overflow with excitement to explore the city!!! But first thing first! Get a mobile data plan! 

Forget what all the Chinese letters...All I know is unlimited data, how long I will be needing it and how much it cost me. Funny thing is, there's 2 telco pop up kiosk side by side offering same plan but different price...I've decided to go ahead with Chunghwa Telecom plan D for 7 days pass with unlimited data at only NTD500 ...

Soon after got my data plan, I head over their MRT station. in Taiwan, they call it as "Jie Yun", instead "di tie" like what most country using. For a Chinese not so Chinese me, I got confused for one second. 

As soon as I reached the MRT station, knowing that I'll be using train services from time to time, I think no more to get myself this cute MRT card at only 50NTD to make my life easier traveling from one place to another. (as for now, only Kaohsiung and Taipei are equipped with MRT services). This multipurpose card can be use to ride on public buses and also MRT. Comparing to SG/MY, trust me, the fare is by far the cheapest I've paid for each stop I make.

From KIA, I took MRT to Central Park Station, exit from Exit 1, you will reach at a garden called Urban Spotlight. Ride on the FREE shuttle bus to HanSin Department Stores ( they called it as "Han Shen") and I arrived at my first AirBnb location which located at QianJin District. This is also my first time using AirBnB service. For a room like the photos above (psst:just exactly like what I've booked), it costs me only SGD79 (NTD1865) for 2 days 2 nights stay. The owner named Robert, he can speaks fluent English and he's the first person that direct me "how" to get to his place. Guess what! He had the room ready even before the check-in time and turn the air-cond on just to make sure that I don't get into heat stroke! LOL (well...its summer 

Almost immediately, I put down my stuff, went for a quick shower, IT'S TIME TO EXPOLE KAOHSIUNG!!! First thing first, FOOD HUNT!!! At first, I tried not to be so touristy and more localized, but I just can not! My Chinese are limited and the moment I speaks, immediately they know I'm not local... #FML. First shop to attack is non other than lots of middle age ladies cooking in front of the shop. Well... they are selling the norms food, that's exactly what I'm going for!

My first bowl of WanTon Noodle (NTD40). Kid you not, the wonton (dumplings) are made right before your eyes and it taste so fresh you can't wait to order another bowl with only wontons...

Second bowl of noodle comes soupy. Introducing you this bowl of Za Chai Mian (pickled vege noodle) (NTD45)

Oh dear...I kid you not, this chili paste is really nice! Not very spicy but in fact comes with a little of fermented bean taste. I likey it! Oh yah, just before I forget, in Taiwan, almost all food shop/stall don't serve beverages. That means, you can bring your own drink into the shop. 

Next is Taiwan most famous (or what you can get almost everywhere in Taiwan) "Ru Rou Fan", braised pork rice (NTD40). This one is sinful!!! One thing I don't fancy is, the whole shop smells weird. It's obvious that smell came from pork...Nevertheless, this bowl of rice is a must tot try when you're in Taiwan. Just any shop that sells this, you can just hop in. The meat literally just melted in my mouth!!! Oh dear...

As I made my way back to hotel, out of the blue, I suddenly thought, why not get a haircut?? So I go around asking if there's any salon. Then I found one! 

The whole session takes about 40 mins which consists of intense head and shoulder massage, wash and cut. 

Him...the guy with a golden blown up hair working his magic fingers on my head for nearly 15mins at the shower area. 

Her, full with curiosity why I will end up here getting a haircut. 

Right after the haircut which costs me NTD500, I made my way back to my nest for a short rest before I head out again to explore. 

Exactly at 1700 hours, I made my way out from the nest, walk blindly and ask around passer by for Ai Qiao ( Love River) as over Google, I came to realized that this river is one of the attraction in Kaohsiung... It takes about 30 mins of walking to Ai Qiao from where I stay. 

On the way to Ai Qiao, I stopped at one shop that sells desserts. I ordered a bowl of chilled lime bean curd(NTD30). Trust me, on summer days, this little bowl can quench your thirsts!!!

Yab...this is it! Frankly speaking... although there are tons of cafes, restaurant and cultural interest nearby, none of them actually attracted me but instead, I only eyeing on good spot for photo taking purpose. Tripod? Checked! 

When I'm travelling, I don't just hop over tourist attraction place to stand next to whatever everyone's doing. Instead, I'll set my tripod, get a good angle, pose and snap with self timer! *boys behind catching Pokemons.* 

As I eyes around, there's nothing that catch my attention...not until I found one abandoned looking school looking building. I rushed over, set my tripod and voila!

and many more!!! I spent at least 30mins at this spot just to create many many 小幸運 feels. Once I got what I wanted, I started asking again...where, how, *repeat many many time to different strangers* to get to night market. 

Then I stop by a ice-cream hipster cafe called Yorkshire because I'm already punctured. I need some rest before I move on again. 

Oh Kaohsiung, there are several night markets you can stroll around. From the local(s), I was advised not to go to Liuhe Night Market as that's more like a tourist spot and the prices there can be slightly cut throat. Instead, I was pointed to Ruifeng Night Market. From Ai Qiao, it takes about 20mins walk to Ruifeng night market. As my asking mission doesn't go so well, I end up following a auntie like a little puppy from Yorkshire cafe all the way to Kaohsiung Arena train station before she direct me how to get to Ruifeng night market. hairs gone haywire by that time. Time for food again!!! Are you ready???

Now...I came to realized that "why on earth that everybody keeps talking about how great, how awesome, how fantastic and bla bla bla about Taiwan's night markets. Soon after I reached, one thing that make me wow this wow that is the varieties in one place!!! Hats off!!! Why Singapore tak lak? Malaysia pun kalah? *facepalm moment*

The crowd seriously too loaded...Also, that short afternoon food session still digesting in my tummy, I can't possible swallow much. So I just tried on something that caught my liking... #failed

After a good amount of time strolling, eating, drinking many cup of Mu Gua Niu Nai (papaya milk), I burped loud enough that passer by can pass by with a death stares to me...

On the way back, I knew it will be a long long way for me to walk from Ruifeng to QianJin, so I decided to hop over Kaohsiung Arena Mrt station and make my way back to Central Park to hop over the free shuttle bus service.

There goes my first day in Kaohsiung.

Part 1 End.

Till then!
Jeremiah Teoh

-Tomorrow I'll be heading to Kenting!!! I'm heading for my Vitamin SEA and roll on the beaches!!!-


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