Taipei Travel Journal – Day 3

We planned to visit Yang Ming Shan on the third day.

–  Intended to set forth at 9 p.m. but ended waking up at 9.30 a.m. Nonetheless we were in time for breakfast. We exchange our breakfast coupons provided by the hotel at Taiwan Milk King for two loaves of bread with butter, oily ham, egg and hot cuppa tea each. It was the most pathetic breakfast I ever had. We didn’t bother going for free breakfast for the rest of our stay in Taipei.

–  There are two alternatives to go to Yang Ming Shan. First is to take a bus from Jiantan Station. Second is to take it from Shilin Station. We chose the latter. Bad choice. We took bus 303 to somewhere near Yang Ming Shan and had to transfer to bus Red5 when we could have taken it directly from Jiantan Station.

–  One thing I really love about Taiwan is the people. Taiwanese are very friendly and helpful. I was asking the bus driver how to get to Yang Ming Shan National Park when a lady in the bus offered to take us there to see the butterfly.  (Let’s call her “Lady A”, because she’ll appear again later) Apparently it was the butterfly season.

–  We reached the entrance of the park and took free shuttle bus up the mountain peak. I had no idea Yang Ming Shan is super HUGE. It took approximately half an hour to go up. It was pretty scary ride because it was showering and our visions were covered by fog. To our disappointment, we didn’t spot a single butterfly because of that. So much for butterfly season eh. Never go to Yang Ming Shan on a rainy day.

–  We decided to try our luck at the flower park. We took shuttle bus down to Yang Ming Shan bus terminal and waited for bus 108 in the cold. If you’re traveling solo in Taipei, knowledge of Mandarin language is crucial. As long as you can speak the language, do not hesitate to ask strangers for directions, they’ll be most happy to help.

–  According to someone who wrote on Taipei Travel Forum, to see Lilies plantation we had to go to Xiao You Keng. Wro-O-ng. We bumped into Lady A (a-ha!) again in the bus and she told us we wouldn’t see any flowers in that day’s weather. Other passengers told us there weren’t any flower plantation in Xiao You Keng. Even if there was, we had to walk quite a distance. After much consideration, we decided not to stop at Xiao You Keng. We confirmed our decision after seeing the deserted bus stop which wasn’t even visible in the thick fog.

 Can you see the bus stop?

–  Lady A was on her way to the Hot Spring. My sister wanted to try it out so we followed her and stopped at Leng Sui Keng. I’m sorry but the hot spring was … unhygienic looking. We quickly made up some excuses and left. As a result, we were stranded on a mountain covered in fog, in the middle of nowhere. We were looking  around to ask for directions when someone approached to ask the location of the Hot spring. I could tell from his accent that he’s a Singaporean. He went to the hot spring with another 2 girl friends and came back within 5 minutes. Not difficult to guess why. We ended up talking for while. Yes they’re from Singapore. Then the bus came shortly and we went down the mountain.

–  We weren’t ready to go home without seeing a single attraction. After all, we had traveled far to get there. We took our chances and had a go at finding the Calla Lily Plantation again. We referred to our map and discovered that Lily plantation could be found at Bamboo Lake. Important lesson learnt; before going anywhere, read a dependable guide book first!

–   I shall provide you with a dependable guide on how to get to Calla Lily Plantation.

1)      Take bus 108 from Yang Ming Shan Bus Terminal.

2)      Ask the bus driver to stop at Zhu Zhi Hu (Bamboo Lake).

3)      Follow the signs.

– There are several Calla Lily Plantations in that area. But another important point: Do not visit the plantation in mid June!! Because the flowers are dead and there’s nothing to see except bed of dying Lilies. Nevertheless we bought three stalks of lilies as complements.

– Contented, we headed back to Taipei City by bus 108 then bus red5 to Jiantan bus terminal. We were really famished then because we hadn’t had proper meal for the day. We bought garlic bread and 3 pieces of sushi from Sushi Take Out at metro station for 65 NTD and they tasted lovely!  You should definitely try them. Where else can you get Tamago Sushi for paltry price of 5 NTD??

– It was about 6 p.m. We took metro train, wanting to dine in Zhong Shan. My sister and I were chatting in our native language when a stranger approached and talked to us in our native language. There were 4 of them; 3 men and 1 woman. All of them working in the outskirt of Taipei. I don’t know how the conversation went but we agreed to go along with them to Song Shan for they seemed friendly and proper. Especially we understood there weren’t many of our countrymen in Taiwan, they must have been delighted to bump into us.

–  We stopped at Taipei Main Station to take the railway to Song Shan Station and arrived at RaoHe Night Market. My sis and I planned to visit this place and we wouldn’t know how to get there via shorter route if it wasn’t for our newfound companies.  They even bought us few Taiwanese signature street foods such as chicken cutlets, milk tea, corn and smelly tofu. Surprisingly, I quite like smelly tofu. The smell isn’t so bad but my sister couldn’t stand it.

– We walked to a cycling park not far from the night market and ate our food. We also walked along a red bridge (I don’t know what it’s called). Our newfound companies had to return to their dorm before curfew hour, so we headed back at 9.30 p.m. 2 of them accompanied us back to Xi Men Ding via bus to make sure we reached home safely. How very generous of them.

The third day is a day when we got lost and redeem ourselves.

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