Monday, June 06, 2016

7D6N Tour to Taiwan (Jiufen), Day 1

Throwback to 13 December 2015
Day 1

It's been 2 years since I last travelled to Taiwan in a study mission as part of a Masters programme. That trip gave me a very warm and welcoming impression of Taiwan, and left many fond memories. Besides the street delicacies and sceneries, the community ground-up initiatives that shaped my view on this island, once known as Formosa.

We managed to make our plans to visit Taiwan materialise. With transition at work, a pregnant wife, my Mother's work schedule, we only firmed up the holiday trip just about two weeks before. It would be my Mother and my wife's first time in Taiwan (and her last holiday travel before giving birth), and I was uber excited.

We took a red-eye flight to maximise our time there. Did the self check-in of luggages for the first time and thought the technology to be pretty cool. With some refinements, the process would save up on sizable manpower.

No Counter staff for baggage drop-in

Star Wars Christmas Tree at Changi Airport

Managed to snap our photo on the Social Tree (Terminal 1)

We arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at slightly after 6am. I was greeted with the familiar sight of the unique architecture. Just 2 years ago, flying here for the first time alone was a tense experience. Now, I can fully enjoy the experience.

We were very tempted to take a taxi to Jiufen, but the rate was a turn-off. Just as we were heading to purchase our express train tickets, a young man approached us, introduced himself as a driver and asked if we would be keen to be driven to our destination at a fraction of the cost of a taxi. As it fell into our budget, we sceptically followed him to the carpark. Glad we made the choice, which was especially comfortable to my wife. We only let down our guards when we know that he is an Uber driver, who had ferried a passenger to the airport and didn't want to leave without passengers.

Ken ferrying us in his Lexus as an Uber Driver

The journey to Jiufen wasn't as straightforward as we thought. We would have walked quite a long distance if we took the train and bus. 

We reached Jiufen slightly before 8am. While we were sighing over the drizzle, Ken shared that it is this 微微细雨 that brings about the emotional richness of Jiufen. We waited for a while till the Windsor Minsu 溫莎堡景觀民宿open for the day. Dropped our luggage and took a stroll around the area before our check-in timing.

After having our breakfast at several stops along the old streets of Jiufen, we headed to Jinguashi Gold Ecological Park (金瓜石). There are several mining museums in Jiufen. Jinguashi appears to be the more touristy one.

"In November 1942, 523 British prisoners of war (POWs) captured at the surrender of Singapore were brought to Jinguashi or KINKASEKI as it was called in the Japanese time..."

Finally, it was time for check-in! 


After a restful afternoon, evening was for dinner hunting...

 and shopping :)

~ Goodnight ~

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