Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Taipei M Hotel (台北門精品旅店)

Day 5 - From CingJing, we booked a transport to take us to Taichung High Speed Rail (HSR) station. We are taking the HSR train to our next destination - Taipei! 

Prior to travelling, we checked the timing and bought the same day tickets upon reaching the station. (NT670 for adult, NT350 for children). Though the HSR train tickets are more expensive, we saved  travelling time as it only takes about 1 hour from Taichung to Taipei. 

Seating are rather comfortable as everyone still managed to have some leg space even after putting our bags/luggage.

Alighting at Taipei HSR station, we walked for about 15 minutes (with our luggage) before reaching our resting place for the next 3 nights ; Taipei M Hotel - Main Station (台北門精品旅店). It wasn't too hard to locate with Google Map and we also managed to explore the area on our way there. 

Taipei M Hotel Lobby

While waiting for Hubby to check-in, the children spotted drink dispenser stations providing refreshing beverages for their guests. This is definitely very welcoming for us especially after taking a long walk to reach the hotel.

Even though Taoyuan International Airport is not very far from Taipei M Hotel, we decided to book the airport transfer service (NT1000) for our peace of mind.

Check-in complete! We took the lift up to the 7th floor and looking at floor plan, there are more than 50 rooms on a single floor!

We booked a Fashion Family Room for NT 9890 (3 nights stay - inclusive of tax). This is the 'smallest' size room we have stayed throughout our trip to Taiwan but the room is clean and comfortable. 

There is walking space after placing our luggage. 

Toiletries and basic amenities are provided (including hair dryer, towels etc).

Toilet and shower room is of reasonable size. 

One of the main reason for picking Taipei M hotel, apart from its location, is the availability of washing machine and dryer. As we are on a 8D7N trip, we planned to wash our clothing and bring minimum dirty laundry back home.

Washing machines and dryers are available on the 11th floor of the hotel but to our surprise, all of them were occupied (even at 11pm) and there was a long waiting line to use the machines. To our dismay, we have to forgo our plans and look out for laundromat near the hotel. (Thankfully, we managed to find one that is about 10 minutes walk away and still got our laundry washed!)

Gym Room on 11th floor

Taipei M Hotel's rooftop garden is pretty neat and relaxing especially for those who wants to have some quiet time and fresh air. 

I must say M hotel has a lot of drink stations, and guests do not have to worry about feeling thirsty! 

Our room rate is inclusive of breakfast and hence we had a hearty and filling breakfast before we head out for the day.

While we were disappointed not being able to have our laundry washed within the comfort of the hotel, we had a rather comfortable stay at Taipei M Hotel. It is within walking distance to Taipei HSR station and there are a few eateries nearby.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Summary Notes:
- Free Wifi
- Air-condition
- Window view - None
(depends on room type)
- Flooring - Carpeted
- Water Flask - available
- Hair Dryer - available
- Phone - available
- Mini Fridge - not available

- Bath towels are provided
- Combined Toilet and Shower room
- Water Heater available.
- Disposable toothbrush/toothpaste provided

Taipei M Hotel (台北門精品旅店)
Address: No. 64, Section 1, Hankou St, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, Taiwan 100

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Nina de Chocolate (妮娜巧克力工坊)

We had a relaxing free & easy day at CingJing after visiting Green Green Grassland and catching the sunrise at Hehuan Shan. Hence, we decided to take on the walking trails and have a leisure walk. The cooling climate at CingJing is very suitable for walks and we ventured into the cypress forest.

Standing before us beneath the morning rays, is a little colourful candy house - Nina de Chocolate (妮娜巧克力工坊). Nina (in Spanish) is translated to "Little Girl". From afar, it looks like the Gingerbread house Hansel & Gretel saw when they got lost in the forest.

Enter via the wooden door and you see rows of chocolates on display.

So tempting

Say "Hi" to Nina :)

Nina de Chocolate has Chocolate Lollipop DIY courses at NT200 per person (~SGD$9). The children gets to experience making their own chocolate and bring back their finished product.

The steps are very easy and simple to follow. Hence children of younger age can do this too. 

First - Pour the melted chocolate carefully onto the lollipop mould. 

Second - Using the decorative dried fruits and design your own lollipop. You can make it into a face or simply randomly fill your lollipop.

Third - Chill the lollipop and wait for it to harden. 

While waiting, we had some ice-cream. 

We waited for about 20 minutes and the children's lollipop is completed. That was our little dessert to munch along the way while we continue our walking trail.

Of course, we also had some fun doing our signature jumping shots at CingJing.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Nina de Chocolate (妮娜巧克力工坊)
Address: 546, Nantou County, Ren’ai Township, 榮光巷8-3號

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - CingJing Minsu 黃慶果園民宿 - 庭園四人房

During our stay at CingJing (清境), we decided to stay with 黃慶果園民宿 because on the good reviews. True enough, we were warmly welcomed and the staff took good care of us during our 2 nights stay. I was having a very bad leg pain (probably due to an over-strained muscle) and the staff offered me a heat plaster to relieve my discomfort. I did felt much better before checking out of the minsu.

As for the rooms, I love the natural wood furnishing which makes me feel like I am within a tree house. It was cozy and relaxing. We chose to stay in Sunshine Room (陽光四人房) on our first night and switched to Courtyard Room (庭園四人房) on our second night.

庭園四人房 is more pricey - NTD4700 (~SGD215) as it comes with a bigger room, courtyard and bathroom (with bathtub facilities). This is the most expensive room we have ever booked on an oversea trip! Price aside, we had a good rest after returning from an early morning sun rise tour.

The children were tired after an early wake up call so it was great that they can catch some rest before we head out for our walk.

Courtyard at the back of our room which comes with a BBQ pit and outdoor seating area.

View of the courtyard. (Level 2 not inclusive)

I LOVE the bathroom as it has a huge window overlooking the courtyard. It is relaxing and rejuvenating to just soak within the warm waters in the tub and let my body and mind rest. 

View of the bathroom

Children enjoy their baths too!

We can see the setting sun from the courtyard and rising sun from the comfort of our room window.

Every morning, we look forward to have our breakfast as 黃慶果園民宿 serves delicious food to start our day. 

The porridge is one of the best we ever had and though the side dishes are simple, they all taste awesome! 

Reception area - where we first entered. There are toys, books, DVDs where you can borrow and spend some family time together in the night.  Am missing the friendly hosts and warm laughter here. 


Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Summary Notes:
- Free Wifi
- Window view (depends on room type)
- Flooring - Wood
- Water Flask - available
- Hair Dryer - available
- Phone - not available
- Mini Fridge - not available

- Bathtub available
- Bath towels are provided
- Combined Toilet and Shower room
- Water Heater available.
- Disposable toothbrush/toothpaste provided

Address: 南投縣仁愛鄉大同村仁和路217-3號

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Taiwan 8D7N Free & Easy Tour - Sun Rise @ He Huan Shan (合歡山)

330am : We woke up really early in order to catch the sunrise atop the mountain of He Huan Shan (合歡山). Sleepy look on our faces at 4am as we get ready to head out. Special thanks to the kind and thoughtful folks from our mingsu who observed that we do not have suitable cold wear and lend us theirs. It was so comfortable that we managed to survive the bitter cold later on. :)

We took a van ride up towards the mountain top. Along the way, our guide stopped and let us get down the vehicle and have a star-gazing session. It was really a pretty sight seeing glittering stars in the dark sky. Our guide said it would have been even better if not for the Super Moon effect which happened the night before.

As we continue our drive up, bits of orange and yellow hue slowly emerged from the backdrop of the skyline.

530am : We arrived at the common viewing point for sun rise. It was freezing cold (~ 4 degrees) and there were already tour buses and vehicles along the road side. Everyone went for toilet break while I stayed warm in the van.

Our guide drove on and took us to a different viewing spot where there was no crowd. It was a scenic drive and I love the view of the different layers of clouds forming. 

It was really cold on top of the mountains but we waited patiently for the sun to rise. We were lucky that our guide was experienced and he was able to grasp the timing perfectly. We did not wait too long before we saw the yellow egg yolk peeping out.

610am - 合歡山日出

I could not contain my excitement as this is my first time waking up so early and finally catching the whole process of the rising sun from the mountains. Plus, I was with my loved ones to share this memorable moment.

Family Photo with the rising sun

My dream to 'catch the sun' came true! 'Holding' the golden pearl within my fingers feels so good!

This is really a great spot to watch the sun rise. The surrounding is so pretty that the leaves turn golden yellow upon the sun rays reflection. 

I thought our tour was over and we are heading back to our mingsu... but wait! Our guide took us to 武嶺. It was said that the sunrise view at He Huan Wuling is unbeatable and many photographers come here to take milky way pictures.

Standing at 3275 meters above sea level, Wuling (武嶺) is the highest point of the Taiwan highway.

From the pavilion, you get a good view of the roads.

We managed to catch the sun continue rising from this spot at 705am after our first destination.


Slightly further down a little is KunYang Rest Station (合歡山昆陽休息站) - standing at 3070 above sea level.

More scenic spots to take photographs.

We also spotted many taking jumping shots here against the clear blue sky.

We tried to do one too... ^_^

This is definitely one of our best moments of our Taiwan trip. Despite having to wake up really early, it was worthwhile. The children were tired and hungry after spending about 4 hours atop the mountains but we are thankful to return with many pictures and wonderful memories.

We took on the tour to He Huan Shan (合歡山) via our Mingsu - 清境黃慶果園民宿.
The sun rise tour cost NT400 per pax (price in 2016)

If you are in CingJing, would strongly recommend that you stay for a night and watch the sunrise the following morning.

Check out our Taiwan 8D7N itinerary.

Visit Date: 15 Nov 2016


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