Saturday, November 5, 2011


With our major sightseeing plans over, we decided to visit areas nearby in Taipei. First of all is Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, easily reached by the MRT of the same name. It was crowded since it was the weekend.

National Theatre or concert hall, don't know which is which...

The actual memorial.

Looking down from the memorial, they were having a Halloween kid's event in the main grounds.

Can't see anything through the crowd. It was the changing of guards ceremony, held every hour.

Chiang Kai Shek, first president of Taiwan. The crowd only dispersed after all the action's over =/

Guards stand very still. There were idiots who thought they were fake and tried to poke them until they were cautioned by security to step back.

An art exhibit on the walls of the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall MRT. Next we decided to visit a place of interest that was situated near an MRT station. I chose Maokong Gondola, a cable car ride building situated beside the Taipei Zoo MRT. They have signs all over the place once you reach Taipei Zoo station so you shouldn't be lost.

The normal cable cars have no queue but the crystal cabins you have to obtain a schedule ticket since it was more in demand but less number of cabins & passengers allowed per cabin. We waited about 30mins before we could even go up, I didn't think it was worth the wait. You use the Easycard to pay for the ride.

Tour groups were queuing for the normal cabins, it was quite crowded since it was a Saturday.

View from the Maokong Gondola station. That blue bridge is the Taipei Zoo MRT track. You can just spot the peak of Taipei 101 mall in the background (2nd pointy thing from the right), which we were going to later.

Crystal cabins just have larger windows and a clear glass bottom.

The ride lasted about 15mins one way. Sometimes gusts of wind would blow into the cabin and everyone would be quiet lol.

They have 3 stops in the mountains where you can get off.

Walking down the road there were stalls selling street food. I wanted a BBQ Taiwanese sausage, going to the one stall with no customers! Fresh from the grill. It was empty when I ordered, then suddenly a whole bunch of people started to patronise the stall as well. This was annoying because some of the people wanted to cut my queue. Sheesh. Yummy anyway!

The view of Taipei up here.

Maokong Mountain is mostly tea houses, spend some hours here strolling and enjoy a pot of chinese tea. There are also some plantations and trails to explore. We didn't know which tea house to visit so we decided to walk down further into the mountains since some of these appeared too crowded.

A pack of stray dogs.

Quiet road. There are tea plantations around.

Large spiders dangling out of nowhere, mostly on the left side of the road, there were a lot of them! I was too afraid to go closer in case the wind changes direction and blew that thing onto me. With Taipei 101 looming in the horizon.

The tea shop we chose, it was a quiet part and further down the trail. It was down a steep slope at a corner. There was only one other customer there, and then 2 others as we waited for our food. It had an outdoor veranda with umbrellas or you could choose indoors. I chose this place because their sign said there was a good view and it was 24 hours.

The view from our table! It was chilly and windy here so later we swopped tables.

Tea seed oil vermicelli, 100NTD. The tea oil is trans-fat free, with vitamin E and the lady said it was easier to digest. It's very plain: just noodles, oil, fried shallots and spring onions. We had to wait 30 mins for our food to arrive since they only cook after an order is placed.

Giant claypot of bittergourd pineapple chicken soup, 400NTD. I had 5 bowls but the pot was still 3/4ths full! We couldn't finish it. It was delicious. The chicken was tasty I think they were local kampong chickens (ya know the kinds that are allowed to run about). The pineapple was just in the soup to make it sweet.

Cute puppies, related to the strays in the earlier photo. The tea house adopted them!

Cute and playful!

Next stop was Taipei 101 mall, once the tallest building until Burj Khalifa of Dubai beat it in 2010. It cost 400NTD (about US$13.40) to go to the observatory deck so never mind. I took a photo on the outside to show we were there! Taipei 101 can be reached by Taipei City Hall MRT and then you take a bus from outside the station. I can't remember which number we took but there are a few that passes the mall if you look at the bus route map.

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