Part 1 – Around the Hotel
The trip to Taiwan is the first such overseas posting I have with my company. As all flights to Taipei CKS international airport is fully booked (by virtue of the June holiday season), we have to transit twice at Bangkok international airport and Hong Kong international airport. The whole journey took 10 hours in all, 4 hours more than the normal flight time.
Our company contracted taxi service picked us up from the airport and drove us to the hotel at Taoyuan (桃园). One of the first observations along the way is that it is left-drive in this country, thus overtaking comes in from the left. With the traffic smooth running, the whole journey is 30 minutes long. We checked in to Chuto Hotel (住都大饭店) which is a 5-star hotel fully equipped with spa, gym and swimming pool. The room and bed looks large and spacious.
The hotel offers a wide variety of breakfast servings, ranging from western, traditional Chinese to Japanese.
Here is a sneak peak into the daily buffet breakfast we will have. My breakfast normally consists of large portions which explain the 3-kg weight gain over 1 month. It is especially noticeable when I went back a month later for my convocation photo shot.
Every morning, we took the hotel chartered service to Long Tan (龙潭) town which is 30 minutes away.
Below is a view of the street right in front of our hotel. The busiest part of the street is 5 minutes away from our hotel. It is considered quite a distance away as there is no pedestrian walkway and walking along the road requires lots of ducking and dodging. Crossing roads in Taiwan requires lots of guts and agility. It is who dares win!!
Part 2 – Visit to Taoyuan City central
I spent the first weekend in Taiwan visiting Taoyuan City central. It is just a 10 minutes taxi ride from the hotel, costing 100 Yuan (S$5). The central is considered quite huge, so we will normally indicate the shopping mall right smack in the middle of all the action, called Tong Lin Bai Huo (统领百货).
Overall the weekends, there are frequent stage shows all over the city centre. Below is just one of it in front of Tong Lin Bao Huo. They invited a mandarin pop artiste for some performance. Not really sure who he is as I’m not into mandopop.
Scooter riding is quite a norm in Taiwan with almost every Taiwanese owning a scooter or a car. The younger generation who can’t afford a car will definitely have a scooter which helps in their mobility.
Here is another stage show in front of another large shopping mall just next to Taoyuan train station.
While shopping around, came upon this fascinating cold-hot pack. Do you all know what it is?
Part 3 – Visit to Taoyuan City temple
The next regular visit to Taoyuan central came during my second trip to Taiwan. As I was assigned to night shift duties, I normally have lots of time to stroll around the central towards the late afternoon. Here is a scene from the busy shopping street branching off the central.
We stumbled upon a popular meal stall just 5 minutes walk from Taoyuan central with its large signboard depicting “Zhou Shifu”. We savour its fishballs and noodles; quite a palatable meal.
Next we journeyed down the street and came upon Taoyuan city temple. It is located right in the middle of the road where the branch roads have to detour around it. I heard from the locals that the people have a strong respect for their local deity and it is considered to be taboo to remove a place of worship from the land. Thus the roads can go around but not the temple.
Within the temple is a gold-plated dragon. It is protected with a circular barricade, preventing visitors and worshippers from coming into contact with it.
The taxis in Taiwan are quite advanced. With TV on the move, convertible enabled features, high end cars, just to name a few. The drivers have the option of selecting and modifying their own cars and still be able to registered as a taxi driver, provided they paint their exterior yellow.