Day 3 started off on a bad note, as we found out that there was going to be a typhoon landing in Taipei that night. With that, our plans had to somewhat re-jigged, hence the relatively shorter post this time round.
It was very windy when we left the hotel, and it was already drizzling slightly when we got off the train at Tamsui (淡水) station. That was just a taste of what was to come later that night!
In total, we spent about 2 hours there walking, shopping and eating. It began to rain heavily near noon so we left the area, and headed to Taipei Main Station. There is an underground mall there, and we spent the afternoon shopping and eating some more haha. Well, there’s not much you can do if the weather is bad eh?
Closer to the evening, we headed to Wufenpu, hoping that the market would still be open. We had heard from the hotel receptionist in the morning that some stalls might be closed as residents prepare for the typhoon that would hit them later in the night.
Thankfully, most shops stayed open, although it was drizzling throughout our time there. The wind was also very strong, and was howling quite loudly. We managed to get some shopping done, and headed back to our hotel.
We went to a Carrefour near our hotel to buy ‘rations’ in case the typhoon was very bad and leave us stuck for the entire day in the hotel. It was as if all the locals in the vicinity had descended upon Carrefour that night, as we loaded up on cup noodles and drinks and queued together with them. There was even a TV crew there interviewing locals who were busy stocking up on food and drinks!
The wind got very strong as we were walking back to the hotel, and it was a real struggle to walk straight at times (no, we weren’t drunk, although it kinda looked as if we were, seeing as how we were swaying about as we walked into the wind). We found out that the Raohe & Shilin night markets would be closed due to the typhoon, and remain closed for the next 1 or 2 nights. Which unfortunately meant that we wouldn’t be able to go to those markets during this trip..
We slept in on Day 4, as we were woken several times during the night by loud noises outside, which were a result of the heavy rain and wind. For breakfast, we had some pastries that we had bought the night before from Carrefour, and then went down to the lobby to get an update on the weather. Luckily for us, the typhoon was moving away from Taipei, and it looked like the worst was over yay! However, there would still be strong winds for the next few days, as well as light to heavy rain, which meant that the night markets would stay closed. 😦
We decided to head over to Taipei 101 (Taipei 101 MRT station on the Red Line) to take pics and do some window-shopping. Thus, we braved the wind and rain (with an umbrella of course) braved the wind and rain to get to Ximen MRT station.
After a while there, we took the MRT to Dongmen station, and from there it was a short walk to the oldest/first Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) restaurant in the world. Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) is famous for its xiaolongbaos (小笼包), which are steamed buns with soup and meat fillings inside. They’re one of my favourite dim sum restaurants, and I just had to eat there at least once in Taipei!
Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) serves really nice fried rice as well, but we didn’t get it this time round, as we were saving space for our favourite dimsum!
We went to take a stroll around Yongkang (永康) street after our extremely satisfying meal at Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐). As the rain was getting heavier, we didn’t spend very long there, nor managed to take any good pics. Unfortunately for us, most of the cafes and restaurants were also closed, probably because of the typhoon.
We decided to go ice skate there and then, since we had time on our hands, and most places weren’t going to be open anyway. We took the MRT back to Ximen, and exited via Exit #6, which put us directly in front of Eslite building. There is a small ice rink there called Polar Bear ice rink, and we spent the next hour or so.
There was actually a bigger ice rink at Taipei Arena, but we found out that it was closed on that particular day, so we settled on the smaller rink at Eslite building. Another plus point was that it was near our hotel, so we could go back to rest afterwards if we wanted. The ice rink has pretty decent ice, and the rental figure skates were quite comfortable to skate in. Although due to the fact that they are cheap rental skates, they do not have good quality toe picks at the front of the ice skates, and my gf was commented that she couldn’t land her jumps smoothly as a result. Other than that, the rental skates are pretty ok to skate normally in.
For dinner that night, we asked our hotel receptionist for a recommendation on a place with tasty beef noodles that was also nearby. The restaurant is called niu dian (牛店), which translates directly into ‘cow shop’; a very lame restaurant name, but it works I guess. They serve really good beef noodles, and you cannot leave Taiwan without trying beef noodles! The restaurant is at 91 Kunming Street (昆明街91号), and is within walking distance from Ximen MRT.
The typhoon had died down by a lot by that morning, although it was drizzling intermittently throughout the day. The wind was also slightly stronger than usual, but it was pleasantly cool, which was a welcome change from our first two days in Taipei haha.
Breakfast was at Yong He (永和豆浆王), which is actually a rather popular breakfast joint among locals. More and more tourists have heard of it though, and it is no wonder why. As their name suggests, they serve delicious soy milk, which goes very well with their youtiao (油条) and various breakfast items. They have a few outlets in Taipei city, and we went to the Daan outlet, which is conveniently located near Daan MRT station. The address is: 102 Fuxing South Road, Section 2, Daan District.
Surprisingly there weren’t many people when we reached, possibly because of the typhoon. I guess many people simply stayed at home and didn’t come out for breakfast haha. Couldn’t find my pics of the yummy youtiao and soy milk, but rest assured, they are really nice! 🙂 Do visit any of their outlets at least once if you happen to be in Taipei!
I like the pineapple tarts and tai yang bing (太阳饼) from Vigor Kubo (Exit 4, Ximen), so we took the train back to Ximending after breakfast. The shop is directly in front of the exit from the train station, so it should be very easy to find it! They have other outlets all around Taipei as well, but we found this the most convenient haha. Do note that the shop is rather small, so it can get cramped if there are many customers around. While we were there, we saw a family buying a LOT of pineapple tarts and tai yang bing. If you buy enough items, the shop will help to pack them into a cardboard box and seal it up, which is very convenient to check-in at the airport for your flight home. 🙂
We hung around Ximending in the afternoon, and bought more street food to snack on haha. We also made a last visit to my favourite San Xiong Mei (三兄妹) for more shaved ice desserts hehe. In addition to my regular order of mango shaved ice, we also got a banana shaved ice to try, which wasn’t as impressive as the mango shaved ice in my opinion.
We collected our baggage from the hotel at around 5pm and made our way to Taipei Taoyuan Airport. To get to the airport, simpy take a train to Taipei Main Station, and follow the signs to Taipei West Bus Station A, which is about a 5-10min walk away. Purchase the Kuo Kuang (国光号) bus tickets to Taipei Taoyuan Airport (125TWD, or S$5.50). It takes about an hour to reach the airport, depending on road conditions, so do factor in more time if you’re travelling during rush hour. 🙂
We had bought 15kg of check-in baggage for our return flight, which turned out very useful, given the shopping we had done haha. :p Our Jetstar flight departed Taipei at 7.55pm and landed back in Singapore at 12.30am, bringing an end to a great trip, although it was slightly dampened by the typhoon haha.
Summary of Day 3
- Tamsui Fisherman’s Street
Shopping at Wufenpu
Raohe & Shilin closed due to typhoon
Summary of Day 4
- Din Tai Fung restaurant
Skating at Eslite Building
Summary of Day 5
- Yong He (永和豆浆王)
Vigor Kubo (Exit 4, Ximen)
Flight back (7.55pm-12.30am)