Free and easy holiday is not really that easy actually. It took me one over month to plan and get everything organized! Hubby didn't like rushing around and with 3 young ones, we have to go slow. So while others may take just 6 days to complete what we did, we took 9 days!
So why Taiwan? Well, because Rachel will be there too with her schoolmates for their Higher Chinese Immersion Trip. A tie-up with 联合早报. The news agency was so cool they even got a photographer to teach the children how to take photo during the briefing!
Anyway, I booked ourselves on the 7.10am Jetstar flight. A perfect time as we do not need to be at the airport at those ungodly hour. Everything went smoothly EXCEPT my helper was not allowed to check-in because we didn't get her the VISA! Sh*t! I didn't know we have to get visa for Indonesian.
Actually beside the heart-pain over the financial portion, my heart actually was delighted. I had never wanted her to come on our holiday trip, not because of the finances but because its a time hubby is "forced" to bond with the kids. Luckily, we got extra hand-carried bag for her to transfer her stuff out from our luggage. Gave her $50 to take cab home.
Everything went well and the flight time was 4 1/2hr. We landed at 11.45am and it took us only 30mins to clear the immigration custom. Since our taxi booking is at 1.30pm, we went to the cafe to grab lunch and also the local SIM card. I gotten this transport contact through a friend and think he charged very reasonably @ only NT950 from airport to our hotel. Actually if not travelling with kids, I would have taken the HSR (High Speed Railway train) as our hotel is just diagonally opposite the Taipei Main station.
Our Taipei hotel is Keymans Hotel. Location is good and place is clean. I booked their "Japanese Room" @ NT2020/night + NT260 for additional child. Knowing my troop well, I refused to let them step into the room. They, including hubby, waited outside the room while I bring in the luggage.
We checked out the street food before hailing a cab to our next destination...the Guard Changing ceremony at The Marty's Shrine (139 Beian Road). They changed guards every hourly and the whole ceremony took about 15 to 20 mins. The last change of guards is 5pm. The cab fare from our hotel to The Marty's Shrine cost us NT200. We got there at 3.15pm, just in time to watch the ending of the ceremony. So stay on and explored around while waiting for the next slot.
We were supposed to check out the Miranmar Ferries Wheel which was about 10mins drive away but the males were getting restless and thus, decided to skip the "wheel" and go straight to Shilin Night Market. We got there about 5pm and guess its still too early as there isn't many stall "open". We grab a little of everything and shared. We tried the "Big Sausage wrap small sausage" 大肠包小肠, Oyster omelette, Stinky tofu 臭豆腐 (the kids nearly puke)， 甜不辣, salted baked squid...The queue to the Chicken Cutlet was really long, so we didn't get to try.
Then, when we had filled our tummy, we realised that the Shilin Night Market Food Centre is actually at the basement! It was crowded with people though they were selling similar food as those up at the street.
Just as we decided to head back to hotel, the kids saw this prawning game and asked to play. It cost NT100 for 7 satay stick. The string snap rather easily and thus need to be gentle. They have trouble catching at first but soon the 2 big ones learns the trick and each caught 4 prawns which the owner BBQ it with salt for us.
Back at hotel, the kids took turn to shower and then its "Reflection" time. Charmaine and Nicholas both brought along a notebook to journal down this trip. Nicholas needed lots of help with spelling and Charmaine was happy to teach. Ryan's "reflection" was with daddy talking about what they did today.
Lights off @ 9pm. Told them to sleep early as we will need to check out early tomorrow and leave for Jiufen 九份.
Point to note: -
- Get Visa for Indonesian
- You need 2 identity documents to get the SIM card. So remember to bring your NRIC and passport with you.
- Change Money before you leave Taipei Airport. There is no money changer in Taiwan. You can only change money at their banks.