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TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Lotus Lake in Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Very Little that we knew about Kaoshiung when we were crafting and planning to visit Taiwan, we included Kaoshiung city in our itinerary ONLY as our exit point to the Philippines. I just checked the map to look for the southernmost city of Taiwan where we could exit back home. My primary intention was to to experience the High Speed Rail of Taiwan from North to South.

I’ve become so passionate about Train Travels since I’ve got to experience High Speed Trains in Europe. I was missing the experience, I wanted to rejuvenate the experience without breaking bank account. I’ve discovered Taiwan as an alternative. Surprisingly, the overall experience has gone beyond what I expected!  🙂

Lotus Lake is a place to be. It is a popular destination in Zouying district, Kaoshiung City. It is one of the best landmarks in Kaoshiung if I may say from personal experience. Yes! intstagrammable worthy collections of lakeside Pagodas are waiting for you

Nonethelss, If you are looking for a peaceful trail, waterfront resting spot, and great wildlife viewing in the park’s woods and wetlands, Lotus lake should be included on your bucket list. The park has a 1.6 Kms boardwalk to enjoy the gigantic statues.

Getting there by Train:

  • Take a metro/subway from Kaoshiung Main Station to Ecological District Station, NT20
  • Take a bus ride from Ecological District Bus Station to Lotus Lake Bus Station, NT12

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Maokong Gondola in Taipei, Taiwan

Maokong Gondola cable car ride is a must-try experience if you are planning to visit Taipei. You will surely enjoy the 4.3 km.s long cable car ride with four stations all the way to Maokong Peak. We ourselves were even surprised of its length. The stirring one way Gondola ride will take 20 to 30 minutes to reach the 4th and last station at Maokong where numerous tea plantations and tea shops are located. It was an exhilarating experience! 🙂

Getting there by Train:

  • From Taipei Main Station Blue Line to B15 (Transfer Station)
  • From B15 (Transfer Station) to Taipei Zoo Station
  • Metro Fare NT30

Gondola ride stations:

  1. Taipei Zoo Station
  2. Taipei Zoo South Station
  3. Zhinan Temple Station
  4. Maokong Station

How much is Gondala Ride?

  • NT120 one way 4 stations

TRAVEL GUIDE | Affordable Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off

When we visited Taipei, we originally planned to explore Taipei city’s top destinations via Metro/Subway. In fact, we already had the lists of our DIY (Do-It-Yourself) destinations. As we browsed google, Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus popped up on our screens, it was a good deal, we then agreed to grab it since it was our very first time we would experience sightseeing by double decker bus! The experience was absolutely perfect! It is highly recommended.

How much is Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus | Hop On-Hop Off?

  • NT300 for 4 hrs
  • NT500 for 24 hrs
  • NT600 for 24 hrs + Gondola Ride at Maokong Peak + Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions).

Note: If you avail of the pass with Gondola Ride, it is not part of the route, you have to go to Gondola site yourself, the great news is you can get to Gondola ride in 10 to 15 minutes via Metro. 🙂 The Gondola Ride is a must-visit cable car ride in Taipei 🙂

I highly recommend Package no.3, if you are going to book a ticket from Klook

  • NT600 for 24 hrs + Gondola Ride at Maokong Peak + Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions).

To avail of the FREE Miniature Taipei Double Decker Toy (Klook Promotions)

  • Take a selfie photo at Taipei Main Station with Klook banner of Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus in the background, it is located at Taipei Main Station’s Visitors Information Center
  • You also have to post your selfie photo on instagram with hash tag #TaipeiDoubleDeckerBus
  • You can claim the toy at the bus, just present your selfie photo on instagram to the usherette, you can also have a selfie photo with her if you wist to. 🙂

Taipei Top Attractions Lines

  • Blue Lines – bus route heading to National Palace Museum, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions, bus comes every 40 mins
  • Red Lines – bus route heading to Taipei101, you can hop on and hop off to any attractions, bus comes every 40 mins

Taipei City Top Landmarks

Taipei 101
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial
National Palace Museum
Presidential Office Building
Taipei Main Station
Taipei Old North Gate
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall

Where is the starting point of Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus?

  • The starting point is at Taipei Main Station (M4 area outside TMS)
M4 – Taipei Main Station Taipei Sightseeing Bus Starting Point
NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM
NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM
CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL CHERRY BLOSSOMS
CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL
CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL
TAIPEI MAIN STATION
TAIPEI SIGHTSEEING BUS MINIATURE TOY

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Cigin Island in Kaoshiung, Taiwan

Cigin Island is a growing tourist destination in the south of Taiwan, it is situated in the city of Kaoshiung, the 2nd largest city of Taiwan. Cigin area is a small island which is just 15 minutes away from the harbor of Kaoshiung city.

When we visited Taiwan, we included city of Kaoshiung in our itinerary. We had Kaoshiung as the final leg of our 7-day adventure in Taiwan. We entered in Taipei and exited from Kaoshiung on our way back to Philippines.

Topping the list of our Kaoshiung adventure was Cigin Island where we almost spent our entire day biking in Cigin island. Biking is the fastest way to navigate each point of interests in the entire island. Walking is advisable as well, while biking is full of fun!

Getting there by Train & Ferry:

  • Take a Metro/MRT from Kkaoshiung Main Station to Siziwan Station – NT20
  • From Siziwan Station, walk all the way to Gushan Pier (5 Mins walk)
  • Take a Ferry from Gushian Pier to Cigin Island – NT30
  • Bike Rental at Cigin Island – NT100
  • Foods ranges from NT30 to NT200

7 minutes walk from Love River to Kaoshiung Main Station

Walking at Gushan area from MRT/Metro Siziwan Station

It may appear on the photo that I was the only person walking, we arrived very early in the morning around 7AM, but in reality Cigin is touristy travel destination. 🙂

Gushian Pier 2

Ferry is packed with tourists all over the world, I highly recommend to go to Cigin island early in the morning

BIKING at Cigin Island

Cigin Island is the place where we enjoyed the most in Kaoshiung City

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PingXi Line in Taiwan

To explore Metropolitan Taipei always comes first to our mind visiting Taiwan. Well, Taipei highly efficient transportation systems can get us around Metropolitan Taipei in a day or two. We can just simply utilize its state-of-the-art train networks and efficient bus transportation system to roam around the city to visit its top destinations, but how about sparing another day exploring a historical place rich in Taiwanese culture and nature wonders northeast of Taipei?

Exploring Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfalls, Shifen Lantern Flying, & Jintong via PngXi Line in Taiwan should be part of your itinerary in visiting Taiwan.

Shifen Old Street is one of the most popular destinations in Taiwan. It is situated in PingXi area or PingXi railroad, the railroad was originally built to transport coal. It was completed in July 1921.

Before we visited Taiwan, we knew nothing about PingXi Area or Shifen Old Street. We just planned to stay in Taipei for 4 days and the next 3 days down south of Taiwan in Chiyayi city and Kaoshiung City. When we were already in Taiwan and had already explored the destinations of our interests in 2 days, we were thinking of where else to go. We tried to google and to look for blogs, we found Shifen Old Street. We spared a day to explore the famous Shifen Old Street. It was an awesome experience!

Getting there by Train:

PingXI Line DIY North of Taipei  – Shifen Old Street Lantern Flying, Shifen Warerfall, Xing PI, and Jungtong

  • From Taipei Main Station to Ruifang (Regular Train) – P72, NT42, US$1.38
  • Transfer to PingXi Line to Shifen Station(One Day Pass for PingXi Line & Sheniao Line) – P135, NT80, US$2.58
  • Lantern Flying in Shifen – P253, NT150, US$4.8
  • Taruko Express Train from Ruifang to Taipei Main Station = P128, NT76, US$2.45

Please see the railway guide below: 

Shifen Train Station & the Skyway in Shifen area

The sky way stretching in Shifen area really caught my attention. The old suddenly appeared to be modern. Despite the contrast, Shifen Old Street is a very romantic place.

Lantern Flying At Shifen

I also had my fair share of Lantern Flying. I initially thought of wishing to win a lottery. I wrote different wishes on the lantern. 🙂  

Shifen Waterfalls

It is a 1.5 kms trek from Shifen train station all the way to the breathtaking Shifen Waterfalls. A well paved path way is waiting for you. Trekking is like walking in the moon.

Jintong, the last station in PingXi Line

 

Taiwanese Cuisine: No Travel will ever be complete without the food

TRAVEL GUIDE | How to get to VILLA ELMA, Lucban, Quezon

If you want to commune with nature away from the noise of metropolitan, Villa Elma is the perfect weekend getaway for you.I am a native of Quezon Province, however it was also my very first time to visit the place this weekend.  I was not even aware it ever existed. Let us call it an astounding hidden getaway!Villa Elma is located in the town of Lucban in Quezon Province. Many of you may have heard already about the world renown “Pahiyas Festival”. Yes! It is where Villa Elma is also situated, its address is at A. Mabini St, Lucban, Quezon.

What to expect at Villa Elma?

  • Expect the unexpected, the downhill walk/trek is full of surprises
  • Communion with nature; breathtaking view of Mt. Banahaw
  • It is a good place for family bondingthe cool breeze climate, ecological balance is at its best

When is the best time to visit Villa Elma?

  • If you enjoy crowd – go during summer or holy week
  • If you are after to bliss and you want to enjoy the nature as it is yours, go during off-peak season – weekdays and non-summer days

How far is Lucban, Quezon from Manila?

  • 3 hours travel time form Manila, 123 kms.

How to get there:

Commuting by Bus

  • Go to Jac Liner/Jam Liner/DLTB Bus Station in either Araneta Center in Cubao or LRT Buendia in Pasay, Bus Fare to Lucena as of 2019 is P250
  • Take a bus ride to LUCENA – signboard must be LUCENA, advise the driver to drop you off at Jollibee Lucena diversion
  • Right beside Jollibee Lucena Diversion is Jeepney Terminal going to Lucban, advise the driver to drop you off at Lucban Public Market
  • Take a trycicle ride to Villa Elma

Driving your own Car

  • Drive all the way to SLEX and g all the way south to Calamba exit, it has a signboard from your right to Lucena, the easiest way is to use google map and wayze You will not surely get lost using these apps. Traveling has been very easy nowadays with the aid of technology

Bruges, Belgium

DAY 23: June 19, 2016 – Bruges was one the seven cities we were able to explore in Belgium. If not from our good friends in Belgium, we would not be able to explore this beautiful city. Truly, a trip of a lifetime for Yapak Pinoy who traveled all the way from the Far East! 😊

Interestingly, the historic city center of Bruges is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The city of Bruges is also well-known as the seat of the College of Europe, a university institute for European studies. It is also the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of this country.

If my recollection was still clear and correct, our Belgian friend had his secondary education in Bruges. Who could best describe his home country? it is none other than the pure-blooded Belgian who was born and raised in his own country. 😊

We basically just traveled by train from our home base in Izegem to Bruges, it was just like a 32 min train ride. Trains are everywhere in Europe, they are known for trains after trains despite most of the working adults have their own cars.

Bruges like any other cities in Europe is touristy, but not as crowded as you might expect like you are in a theme park jam-packed on weekend, the romantic ambiance is still there.  It is part of Europe, the world sees it as full of romance! 🙂

Boat Ride at the Rozenhoedkaai canal and the foods were the highlights of our visit in Bruges. While just roaming around was already an eye-popping, there was a feeling of fairy tale wherever we looked at. It is normal for us Asians living in Asia to get fascinated of the amazing structures in Europe, it looks different to our very eyes, the same way as Europeans visiting Asia, everything looks different in their eyes as well. It is what it is!