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Taiwan Fact Finding Trip From Rainbow Travel Inc
Rainbow Travel Lands In Taipei
Our Travel Consultant, Nigel was fortunate to be able to go on a fact finding trip to Taiwan recently and he was able to give us a valuable insight into the places to visit and the delights of Taiwanese cooking.
Here are his suggestions and recommendations on his week long trip.
Boarding Air Canada's Dreamliner Flight from Vancouver to Taipei on Flight AC17 Direct 12 hour flight.
Service on board was excellent starting with a cooked dinner with complimentary wine, followed by snacks to keep you not feeling hungry and an excellent choice of latest run movies.
Arrival at Taipei Airport 12 hours later.
Met by my guide at Taipai Airport and a short ride on Taiwan's M.R.T Rapid Transit train to downtown Xiaman Square. This is one Taipei's main squares, a very busy and lively area, the first store that hits the eye coming out of the M.R.T. Station is H&M, almost a home from home.
After checking in at the Han Shen Hotel (see below). A great budget property minutes from Xiaman Square, very clean and
Back out in the mid afternoon heat to The LONG SAN SU TEMPLE, one of Taipei's oldest temples, this is apparently the place to meet your next loved one with the Budda's blessing, the smell of incense was quite overpowering.
Huaxi Street Night Market.
This is a market to be seen to be believed, Taipei is famous for it's " Street Food" but this was a sight to be seen, so much choice as well as amazing gifts to buy, a true night market that stays open late into the warm night.
A visit to the famous Red House, a heritage building showing the history of Xiaman Square through the ages, a first glimpse of a typical Taiwanese Toilet, vastly different from Canada.
A trip to The National Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, which shows the history of the birth of the Taiwanese Nation. A fascinating exhibit including a life like replica of the Dr making one of his famous speeches, along with his presidential Cadillac Limos which he used on state occasions, as well as all of his medals of hounour bestowed to him by so many countries.
The changing of the guard ceremony is not to be missed. Every two hours the guards change and an amazing display of military precision is displayed in the main hall with an enourmous figure of Dr Dr. Sun Yat-sen sitting on a throne watching over the whole proceedings.
Taiei's tallest tower, Taipei 101 is only a short distance walk away and gaze at this amazingly tall structure which dominates the skyline. Take the world's fastest elevator whisk you to the top if you can part with the equivelant of around CAD $30.00.
If you want to take a trip to the top of Taipei 101? The Taipei 101 Observatory is open every day from 9AM to 10PM. The observatory is spread over 4 floors where visitors can enjoy the fantastic scenery and learn about the engineering marvel that is Taipei 101, the tallest green building the world.
5F Taipei 101 Mall - Here, visitors purchase tickets and take the Guinness World Record breaking high-speed elevator to the observatory on the 89TH floor, traveling at 1,010 metres/min (60.6KPH), taking only 37 seconds to ascend to the observatory at the 89TH floor.
Once you have parted with your elevator fee why not go the whole way and buy a gift from one of the high end stores inside, you can choose from Gucci, Prada, Burberry and Chanel to name but a few.
Take the M.R.T. to Yongkang St Market and enjoy a cup of Taro or Lemon Jasmin Tea to help soak up the evening air.
Take a trip out of town on the bus to enjoy a natural hot spring spa at Tuan Tan up in the mountains in the Beitou District. You soak up the youth enhancing minerals in your birthday suit ladies to the right and men to the left, no mixing of the sexes.
The hot spring is as it says, very hot temperature but there are plenty of ice cold "plunge pools" to cool yourself down, as well as high pressure massaging showers.
Why not take advantage of eating at the spa restaurant at a cost of around CAD 16.00 per person by using your entrance fee towards the cost ( a cost of around CAD 8.00 per person). Take the last bus back to downtown at around 10:30pm to the M.R.T. Station to your hotel.
Temple Taipei Xiahai City God Temple on Dihua St.
If you have ever been to Japan or seen Japanese dramas, you will find that Ximending resembles shopping streets in Japan. Ximending is located in the Wanhua district of Taipei and became developed when the Japanese colonized Taiwan, hence its resemblance. Tourists may become attracted by the sights and sounds on the streets and fail to notice that this place fuses modernity and tradition.
Leave the city and head to a modern city in the south of Taiwan, Kaohsiung shifting from ancient to contemporary culture with ease. Don't miss the breathtaking Fo Guang Shan monastery and its hall of giant Buddhas. Dream Mall, the largest shopping mall in Taiwan, has a Ferris wheel on the roof.
A great budget hotel to stay is The 85 Sky Hostel, but don't be mistaken by the word "hostel", this is nothing like a hostel, more like a hotel type accommodation.
View from 18th Floor 85 Sky Hostel
A stay at 85 Sky Hostel places you in the heart of Kaohsiung, steps from Tuntex Sky Tower and 4 minutes by foot from Kaohsiung Public Library. This guesthouse is 3.4 mi (5.5 km) from Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts and 3.6 mi (5.8 km) from Former British Consulate at Takao.
Make yourself at home in one of the 48 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and LCD televisions. Your bed comes with down comforters and Egyptian cotton sheets. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and digital programming is available for your entertainment. Bathrooms feature showers with rainfall showerheads and complimentary toiletries.
Make use of convenient amenities such as complimentary wireless Internet access, shopping on site, and tour/ticket assistance.
Grab a bite from the grocery/convenience store serving guests of 85 Sky Hostel.
Business, Other Amenities
Featured amenities include a computer station, luggage storage, and a library.
Drive to Kenting National Park for beautiful landscapes.
Kenting National Park has a vast range of scenic terrain, with wild and isolated beaches, rocky coastlines and sprawling green meadows.
Walking along the hiking paths you discover intriguing plant specimens and explore historic landmarks, such as the Eluanbi Lighthouse.
The park covers a scenic area of more than 81,500 acres (33,000 hectares). The site is the oldest national park in Taiwan and was founded in 1984.
The diversity of the park’s landscapes makes it an ideal place to bring a camera. Capture photos of the many different colors as you explore meadows, lakes, forests, beaches and the ocean. Stay for the sunset to witness the changing hues of the sky and the romantic effect it has on the landscape.
Go surfing on the crashing waves of one of the pretty beaches with relatively few crowds. Spot monkeys in the forests and make sure they don’t steal your belongings. Amble through the tropical forest and crawl into caves.
Appreciate the intriguing history of the Eluanbi Lighthouse, which is perhaps the only armed lighthouse in the world. Admire the white concrete structure and its accompanying building.
Climb to the top for excellent views of the Taiwan Strait and the Pacific Ocean. The lighthouse still functions today and is known as “The Light of East Asia.”
NEXT STOP PHILIPPINES!
Head back to Kaohsiung to stay overnight again at the 85 Sky Hostel.
Spend one more day in Kaohsiung to enjoy the big city sights before driving back to Taipei.
Head to the airport in the early morning, return the car and stay hotel near the M.R.T. to easily head to the airport.
The Bliss also features an open-air laser tag course, open both day and night for guests looking to test their stealth skills in a science-fiction setting.
For both the race track and laser tag, be sure to reserve a spot early in the day as both attractions fill up quickly!
For guests looking to make a splash, the ship’s Aqua Park features two multi-story waterslides, including the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide and the tandem Aqua Racer slide, which allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet.
Looking to unwind with a show afterwards? For its inaugural season, the Bliss is offering two productions – a full Broadway performance of the hit musical Jersey Boys (during the inaugural weekend, original Jersey Boy Frankie Valli of the Four Seasons was on hand for a meet and greet) and a new production titled Havana!, following the drama centred around a Cuban night club.
Wining and dining.
On the restaurant front, the Bliss features several NCL favourites including Cagney’s Steakhouse and Teppanyaki, plus new dining concepts such as Coco’s, a new à la carte dessert venue; Texas Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant serving up southern fare; and Los Lobos, bringing a taste of Mexico to sea which PAX got to try first-hand. Mexican cuisine is served to perfection here with fresh ingredients, from fish tacos and carne asada to top-shelf guacamole which your table will not be able to get enough of!
For guests looking to unwind with a beverage, there’s something for every palette, from The Cellars Wine Bar to the Sugarcane Mojito Bar. While it’s hard to pick a favourite, the latter features a jalapeno mojito which is not to be missed.
Accommodations for all.
With a wide traveller demographic in mind, the Bliss features a range of cabin styles for all guests.
Cozy interior studio cabins are perfect for solo travellers (a video screen featuring footage from a deck camera makes up for the lack of a window), while families and groups can opt for larger accommodations such as a cabin featuring a large picture window for great ocean views.
The standouts on the accommodation are the 2-Bedroom Family Villa with Balcony and the Deluxe Owners Suite with Balcony, both sleeping up to six guests very comfortably.