Category: Taiwan

May 01 2010

Taipei, Taiwan to Quanzhou, China

Walked around the city in the morning

Train station

A typical Taiwanese lunch (80 NT Dollar~USD$2.5)

Got on the 1pm flight to KinMen.
View of Taipei 101 from the air.

Arrived at KinMen airport

at 2pm and a shuttle took us to the harbour

for the next ferry connection. I am supposed to get take the 3.50pm ferry from KinMen to Quanzhou. However only Taiwanese and Chinese are allowed on the ferry because of immigration reason. So instead, I got on the 3.30pm ferry to Xiamen instead.

Arrived at Xiamen port at around 4.30pm. Getting off the ferry, noticed that there were many constructions going on and there are many skyscrapers standing at the water front. Hardwares in China are more impressive but softwares are better in Taipei.

Took BRT no. 2 to Xiamen train station in order to get a ticket to Quanzhou. Xiamen is not building a subway since there is not enough human density, and BRT is used instead. The BRT are buses running on special lane.


Since today is the first day of a 3 day holiday in China, there are a lot of people and most tickets are sold out. Managed to get a 7.55pm train ticket to Quanzhou (32Yuan~USD$5).

250km/hour

Since the past few weeks, I have been planning to get to Shanghai on May 2nd to meet a friend so that’s why I have been moving quickly to get there in time. Express train tickets to Shanghai from Xiamen cost 359~USD$50Yuan and the 2000km journey only requires around 7 hours. However, all tickets are sold out so I have to fly instead. WuYin who went back to Quanzhou for the holiday managed to help me booked a flight from Fuzhou to Shanghai for tomorrow (400Yuan~USD$60).

Finally arrived at Quanzhou new train station

after 40 minutes on the train. Bought another ticket towards Fuzhou for tomorrow (55Yuan~USD$8). WuYin, a university friend of mine and Elly were very nice to pick me up from the new train station.

Quanzhou new train station is pretty impressive. It’s brand new and looks like an exhibition center. Many of the high speed train station stops in China have a unique architecture.

Elly and WuYin showed me around, brought me to try out Quanzhou local food

and even arranged accommodation for me.

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Apr 30 2010

Taipei Day 3, Taiwan

Went to XinBeiTou which is famous for its hot spring.

XinBeiTou library.

XinBeiTou Museum which explained about history of bath house.

Hot Spring valley.

Ketagalan museum, the museum about Taiwanese aborigines.


There are around 14 aborigine tribes with around 50,000 people living in Taiwan. They still have their own languages but also speak MinNan and Mandarin pretty well.

Go north to DanShui.

Rice (50 NT Dollar~USD$1.7)

A Gei (30 NT Dollar~USD$1)

Coast at DanShui

Town of Danshui

A church in Danshui

Fort

Fisherman Wharf

Went to ShiLin and got on bus 255 to GuGong Museum (80NT Dollar~USD$2.5).

FaLunGong practitioner which is banned in China, demonstrating outside the museum.


When the KuoMinTang party escaped from mainland China, they brought with them a large number of Chinese treasures and antiques. It was said that the GuGong museum in Taiwan has more important artifacts than the GuGong museum in Beijing.

A special exhibition about land lost to Russia in Xinjiang province.

During the Qing dynasty, especially during TongZhi and Guangxu reigns, over 500,000 square kilometers of land was lost to Russia because of the declining in the emperor power and because of some unequal treaties signed. The documents were kept secret and only released in 2007.

The museum was pretty informative and provided a good introduction about ancient Chinese history.

National University of Taiwan.

There are a lot of bicycles around the universities.

Went to TaiPei 101 (370NT Dollar~USD$12).

Taipei 101 is the 2nd tallest building in the world after the Burj in Dubai. Under the top 10 ranking of the tallest buildings in the world, 7 are in Asia, 2 in Chicago and 1 in the middle east. 5 Out of the 7 tallest buildings in Asia are in China.

Shopping mall in Taipei 101

The tower has one of the fastest elevator, going up to 1010meter/minute or around 60km/hour. To get up to the 89 floors, it took only 37 seconds.

View from the top

Taiwan is located around an earthquake zone so the tall building need a damper. The big damper with 5.5 meters in diameter and weighting 660 metric tons.

Noticed a similar Love sculpture as the one in downtown manhattan

HuaXi night market at around LongShanSi area.

Fried Rice (50 NT Dollar ~USD$1.7)

Oyster Omelette (50 NT Dollar ~USD$1.7)

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Apr 29 2010

Taipei Day 2, Taiwan

ZhaJiangMian (35NT Dollar~USD$1)

Housing price is quite high in Taipei as well. They use a Japanese Ping for measurement instead of the usual square meter. One Japanese Ping is equal to around 3.3 square meter. A one bedroom apartment with around 600 square feet cost around USD$400,000.

Taiwan has a lot of Japanese influences. Because it was colonialized by the Japanese for 50 years, most older generation 2nd language is Japanese and it’s not uncommon for younger generation to speak Japanese. The residential buildings here have some similarities to Japanese residential.

Taiwanese are very polite. There are pretty good with their please and thank you. I noticed that the bus driver even thank the passengers.

Got a 2 day transportation pass which include the MRT and bus for 310NT Dollar~USD$10.

LongShan temple.

Religion plays a more important role in Taiwan compared to China. Buddhism and Christianity are the 2 main religion here.

XiMenDing area, a shopping area for youngsters.

XiMenHongLou (Red Building), a historical building which once was a theater and market.

There aren’t many high rises buildings in Taipei

and Taipei 101 do stand out.

Met up with Doris, a university friend who I have seen for a long time. Her parents even treated me for a nice buffet dinner.

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Apr 28 2010

Taipei Day 1, Taiwan

Got to the DongDu harbour

at 7.40am for the 8.30am boat

to Kinmen. I almost missed the boat because I am supposed to get there 50 minutes before to confirm my seat.

Taiwan has been populated by some aboriginal local tribes since few thousands years ago. It was colonialized by the Dutch and Spaniards in the 1600s. During the Ming dynasty, Admiral Cheng Cheng-Kung, also known as Koxinga was based in Kinmen Island. He decided to attack the Dutch and defeated them. Many Han Chinese moved to the island during Ming and Qing dynasty and Taiwan was integrated as part of Fujian province. Taiwan was granted a provincial status in 1985 but was ceded to Japan during the Qing dynasty and Japan ruled the island for 50 years from 1895 to 1945.

During the civil war in China, the Chinese nationalist government lost the war to the communist and escaped to Taiwan.

Got to Kinmen at 9.30am (1 hour boat ride).

The shuttle then took me to the airport for the 11am flight


and landed at Taipei airport


at 12pm.


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People here are pretty friendly. An older Taiwanese man who was on the similar trip was pretty generous and offering me to stay at his place.

Took bus 262 to Taipei hostel. Since I only withdrew larger notes from the ATM, I don’t have change and a lady even offered to pay for my bus ride. Taipei Hostel is located around the crossroad of LinShenLu and ZhongXiaoXiLu. (300 Taiwan Dollar~USD$10, USD$1~31 NT Dollar)

Taipei has a population of around 2.5 million people and is located at the northern tip of Taiwan. During the Japanese rule, Tapei became the administrative capital of headquarter and there are still some Japanese style buildings remain in the city.

Chiang Kai Shek memorial

Flag lowering ceremony

Hip hop culture is quite popular in Taiwan and school kids practicing their moves on the street.

White Terror memorial

The White Terror is also known as 228 incident. Taiwan was handed by UNRRA to Kuomintang in 1945 after end of Japanese rule. 1.5 year after the handover, there were accusation of nepotism and corruption in the party. In Feb 27, 1947 there were a protest by the locals and on Feb 28th, ten to thirty thousands people were killed. Following the unrest, the Taiwanese government enacted martial law until 1987 and imprisoned and killed many elites and people suspicious of anti government activities. This remains a taboo subject for many years and is a source of hostility among the 2 groups of Taiwanese, the former are Chinese who inhabited Taiwan before 1945 and the later are Chinese who came along with ChiangKaiShek after the communist took over China.

Presidential Building.

This building was built in 1919 as the headquarter of the Japanese occupying force. Since 1949 it has been the office of the president.

HongShauNiuRouMian (65NT Dollar~USD$2)

Night in Taipei

Taipei is famous for its many night market. One of the bigger one is ShiLin night market.

Oyster Omelet (50NT Dollar~USD$1.7)

Some hostel mate brought me to Roxy 99.

Getting in the bar on Wednesday before 10.30pm is free plus there are and 2 free drinks provided.

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