Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taipei 2011: Day 2

I promised E that our second day will be more relaxing than our first one.  He, of the sore feet and bad temper, was delighted to hear shopping was NOT in the itinerary for the day.  My mom specifically asked if we could go to one of Taiwan's many hot springs for a day trip and we eagerly complied.  We planned to go to the nearby Dan Shui area but opted not to go because of time constraints. 

Taiwan's MRT system is easy to navigate.  We just took the red (Xindian-Danshui/Nanshijiao-Beitou) line to Beitou MRT station. From Beitou station a one-station branch line runs to Xin Beitou station, which is very near the hot springs area.  The Taiwanese are so lucky!  It takes only 45 minutes of relatively pain-free commute and they can enjoy a relaxing day of soaking in hot spring.  

J, are you bored?  We promise not to take too many pictures.  

Hot spring themed MRT car.  This train only goes back and forth between the Beitou and Xin Beitou station.  (It's a like the Disney themed train going to Hongkong Disneyland. But with hot spring references instead of hidden Mickeys!)

There are public and private hot spring resorts with a range of prices to choose from.  We wanted to indulge, and needed to stay in nice place because we had a baby with us.  My sister (the vacation planner) saw good reviews for Spring City Resort and we were convinced when we saw the free shuttle service (right beside the MRT station) they offer.  Pushing a stroller up a hill with a 30 pound toddler is not my idea of fun. haha 

Spring City Resort charges 800 NTD per person for a day trip which is not cheap.  However, they also offer a set lunch meal which includes the entrance fee.  The Chinese food package for 2 costs 1750 NTD which makes it only 875 NTD per person.  You essentially pay only 75 NTD for the food.  Lunch is served at 11am.  

I love Taiwan!  They set the table with cutlery for the toddler even without you asking.  J had a grand time eating and drinking from his own set of tableware.  

Group pic!

Lunch came out in the order below.  Each dish was a serving for 2 people. 

Various vegetables with scallop and mayonnaise and berry dressing.

Sauteed chicken with gingko nuts and aloe vera.  Surprisingly, E ate the aloe vera and the nuts with relish.  I found it weird.

Steamed prawn with noodles. 

Fried prawn and squid patty on lotus root.  J loved this!  He ate my portion. :(

Weird and sticky sauteed root vegetables.

Misua with pumpkin sauce.  Another J approved dish.

Chicken soup with medicinal roots.

Sweet lotus root and longan soup. 

Watermelon and honeydew.

Lunch was healthy, light and made me crave for fried food. hahaha

Photography is not allowed inside the swimming area.  You can opt for a private pool where you can stay for an hour, or you can swim all day in the outdoor pool.  We swam outside and it was definitely a different experience.  The place a had a Japanese zen vibe with pools of different water temperatures, ranging from cold to scalding hot!  The smell of sulfur permeates the area and sticks to your skin and clothing.  We thought J was farting but soon realized it was the water.  Poor baby, always getting blamed. 

The swimming attendants will give you a basket with towels, shower cap, slippers and a locker key.  The bathroom and locker room was pretty clean and had all the necessities.

If you have spare time while in Taipei and want to relax, this is definitely a great place to spend a day or two.


Ahh.. Fried chicken for a post-hot spring snack.  T.K.K Chicken serves Chinese style fried chicken.  We ordered a small portion to share.

I know it doesn't look too appetizing but believe me, it was realllllllly good!  The chicken was dusted with a spicy pepper powder.  It was crunchy, crispy on the outside and the chicken juices literally drips out when you bite into it.  The sweet potato fries were fresh and homemade and the bread was sweet and fresh.  I wouldn't mind having another basket of this!

Pa-cute at the cutest MRT station ever!


My ninong treated us to dinner at the Shangri La Far Eastern Plaza Hotel.  Again, thumbs up for the kid-friendly place setting.  It saved me from entertaining J while eating dinner. 

Swimming makes me hungry!

Eat-all-you-can Movenpick ice cream.

Thank you Ninong Steve!!


After eating a buffet dinner, my sister I insisted that we have to eat at this restaurant she says serves the best fishball soup.  Apparently, my stomach is a blackhole.  I still ate 2 balls and  they were yummy.  Silky smooth fish ball surrounds a soupy, fishy filling. 

Fruit stands are all over Taipei's night markets and they serve the sweetest, yummiest fruits.  It gets expensive though.  If you want to buy in bulk, it might be better to go to a fruit market instead of buying in the streets. 

It took me 2 days before hitting a milk tea stall!   Come Buy has branches all over Taipei.  I did not enjoy my drink because the lady kept getting my drink wrong.  In the end, I ended up with a completely different drink.  Baah!  E's lychee drink and K's grape calpis were good and refreshing.

There ends another food filled day. 

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