Category Archives: TRAIN TRAVELS

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 | 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

High Speed Trains are in East Asia

While there are more than 20 countries with HSR (High Speed Rail) in the world, unfortunately most of them are from 1st world. But wait, four of them are in East Asia namely; China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.

Forget about the glorious days of the Philippines when it comes to superiority on train networks in the hay days. We cannot live with sentimental values of PNR legendary trains.  Our government pocket cannot afford it! 

My fascination to Train Travel will surely drive me to visit these countries. The advance train technology that I am not pretty sure if Philippines can have a single one in the next 30 years. It is about time to experience them one by one. 😊

Quick Facts:


  • Shanghai Maglev, also known as Shanghai Transrapid, is currently the fastest train in the world.
  • China High-Speed Rail is the longest network in the world with top speed of 350 km/h


  • Shinkansen trains of Japan run regularly at speeds up to 320 km/h (200 mph), placing them alongside the French TGV and German ICE as the second fastest trains in the world


  • KTX Train of Korea has  a top speed of 305 km/h (190 mph)


  • Taiwan HSR  is a high-speed rail line that runs approximately 350 km/h (217 mi)


KTM Long Distance Train Malaysia-Sinagpore
The Best Commute Experience: Philippine National Railways
TGV High Speed Train from Paris to Lourdes, France
TrenItalia Long Distance Train from Rome to Pisa
Deutsche Bahn ICE High Speed Train (Germany-Belgium)

REROUTE: Change of Travel Plan

This weekend, we’ve changed our Travel Plan. We decided to postpone our not so well-planned trip to Japan for this month. Where is the  Peso Fare of yesteryears?

We are going to travel to take some holiday vacations, to take some off from our daily routine, definitely not to stress ourselves out completing the required documents just to log our VISA applications on a very short notice, and as the target date of our holiday vacation is approaching, the price of airfare is sky-rocketing as well. This is a NO-NO, we will pursue Japan in the right time.

We ended up crafting our 7-day itinerary for an alternative country. 🙂 We booked our airline tickets way way cheaper than Japan via low cost airline. My goal of riding a Long Distance High Speed Train is still achievable. The alternative country that we are going to visit 11 days from now is one of the few countries in the world with High Speed Rail.

We are minimal to moderate spenders when it comes to international travels. We cannot afford to pay high airfare when we can get it 70% lower, if we planned our travel earlier.

Traveling without breaking bank account is my core belief. I started travelling on a budget, by DIY,  this was the very reason why I made it to travel abroad in the first place; with the generosity and hospitality of others, and as a result, it trimmed down my accommodation costs. Call me a beggar, I call it wise spender. It was me, and this was how I started travelling!

Though I was blessed to have had some free accommodations on my international travels, I did not gate crash, It was all invitations.  If I was welcome, then I was, if not, then I was not!  My traveling style has also changed as time passed by. The taste of adventure also depletes as I age. My traveling style now is more of chill and relax.  I don’t care if I would be in just one spot for a week. I am not in a competition, I am taking a holiday vacation for myself. 🙂

It has been three years already since I traveled out-of-the country. I could not move on as of yet on my ultimate dream travel destination, Europe. It still runs all over my body for 3 years. 🙂 It is about time to explore another Train Travels. My interest to Train Travel is my new source of excitements.

We are going to reroute! 😊

High Speed Train

VISA: Crafting an Itinerary for travel abroad on short notice is not a joke!

Deutsche Bahn ICE High Speed Train (Germany-Belgium) 2016

Traveling by High Speed Train is the fastest way to move around Europe. When we had a chance to explore Europe by DIY (Do-IT-Yourself), it looked difficult and a bit scary at first but once you had your first attempt, traveling by train should be as easy as ABC. Europe as a whole has very efficient Train systems.

Germany is known for its High Speed Rail. They have the so called InterCity Express (ICE) which is the high-speed train operated by Deutsche Bahn. These trains operate across and beyond Germany, connecting cities like Berlin, Cologne and Munich. The modern ICE trains are one of the fastest ways to get around in Germany and its surrounding countries like Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Switzerland.

Our very first experience of DB Bahn ICE High Speed Train was when we visited our friend in Belgium. Since we were coming from Norheim, a small but beautiful village in Bad Munster, Germany, we had like our 5 train transfers on our way to Brussels, Belgium. We basically traveled by utilizing all types of German trains, and so the possibility of getting lost was there. It was our first time, Getting LOST was part of our anticipations due to train transfer time intervals which was as short as 3 mins. Speed and Time accuracy were the real name of the game!

How was the train experience?

  • DB ICE High Speed Train by far was the best long distance train experience I had, the series of train transfers were the best train adventures

How many hours did it take to travel from Germany to Brussels, Belgium?

  • Approximately 4 Hours

How much was the train fare from Germany to Belgium?

  • EU 230 Round Trip

How was the stability of Train?

  • German Precision Engineering is at its best, you could put your coffee on the table without spilling over; some were drinking beers inside the trains ,while others were working with their laptops..
  • Very minimal noise inside the train

What is the speed of German DB High Speed Train?

  • Average speed of 320 kmh

What is the distance from Bad Kreuznach, Germant to Brussels, Belgium?

  • 354.5 kms

KTM Long Distance Train Malaysia-Singapore
The Best Commute Experience: Philippine National Railways
TGV High Speed Train from Paris to Lourdes, France
TrenItalia Long Distance Train from Rome to Pisa


Believe it or not! I was inside the PNR (Philippine National Railways) Bicol Express Train. It was my first long distance travel by train in my own country with a distance of 400 kms from Manila to Naga City in Bicol. The legendary PNR train of the Philippines was relaunched back in September of 2011.


For a long period of time, I only heard from my grandparents that PNR train was a popular transport in the hay days for the Southern Luzon folks who traveled long distance to Manila. PNR railways however have been neglected after the World War II. Neglect made the train networks looked battered and so its cars. The train of the past became unpopular as the government shifted to building expressways and highways.

In 2011, the government relaunched its operations with refurbished imported cars from Korea. It was a new look for me. An adapted second hand or “ukay-ukay” trains from foreign countries was a good try.  Though it was not my first time to travel long distance by train, my very  first long distance travel was from Malaysia to Singapore back in 2010.

What was the speed of PNR Bicol Express on its launching in 2011?

  • It had an average speed of 40 kph

How much time did it take from Manila to Naga?

  • 10 hours

How much was the Train fare from Manila to Naga?

  • P 647 for cabin 1st class
  • P 380 for economy

Was the train stability smooth?

  • The car/train was shaky due to poor railways. The car/train was running on locomotive engine and so the noise and unwanted car/train imbalances were prevalent.

Is the PNR Bicol Express still operational this Year  (2019)?

  • The train service that was running from Tutuban in Manila to Legaspi City in Albay, stopped operations in 2012



The Philippine National Railway’s Commuter Train that travels from Tutuban to Alabang is a must-try for ALL TOURISTS. You simply have not visited the Philippines if you did not try to ride the PNR Train this 2019. 🙂

If you want to experience the true-to-life daily commute of the ordinary Filipinos, then PNR Train is of the best commuting experience you can have in visiting our country.  The bumpy and shaky feel as you traverse the metropolitan from North to South is the selling point of this train ride experience. You do not have to go to theme park for a roller coaster and pay a hefty price. For only P15, train experience of a lifetime is waiting for you.

If I am going to sugarcoat of what you can expect, then I must be fooling myself to blog about the train experience. This is not a sarcasm. Filipinos, in general,  are friendly and so no matter how jam-packed the train is, there are abundance of smiling faces all over. 🙂 It is always “More Fun in the Philippines”! Nevertheless, we cannot underestimate its historical significance because Philippines was once the leading country in Southeast Asia that had the most advanced train network in the early 1900.

So take a ride now as it might change in the coming years. PNR administration has already ordered brand new Trains from Indonesia and is expected to be delivered in the Philippines by 2020. The PNR as we know today might completely change in the years to come. 🙂

KTM Long Distance Train Malaysia-Singapore 2010

Rewind to Year 2010, If there was one of the most excited train travelers in the world, it was me! It was my very first time to travel long distance by train, something I’d never ever experienced yet in my home country, the Philippines.

I was crazily talking to myself on the day when my High School classmate sent us to KL Central Station ready for our long distance train travel from Malaysia to Singapore. Our kind and generous HS classmate who invited and welcomed us to stay in her relaxing and spacious condo in Kuala Kumpur. It was all about fun and adventures! High School classmate who we only met again after 18 long years! 

Surprisingly, she was academically outstanding in our memorable High Schools years. She chose to be  a Singer as her career in Malaysia, and  is now based in Thailand. I think I should visit her again, this time in Thailand! 🙂

At times, we have to go somewhere to experience spectacle!

If you are considering traveling by train from Malaysia to Singapore or vice versa. You can get a KTM ticket at KL Central Station or you can book online at  Be prepared for a 7-hour trip from Malaysia to Singapore.

How was the overall experience?

  • It was my first time to travel long distance by Train abroad, the overall experience was great. 1st time is always the great time! 🙂
  • If my estimation was correct, its speed was 140 kmh.
  • The shakiness/turbulence of Train was tolerable, I was able to sleep at sleeper cabin

How much was the train fare?

P742 – one way from Malaysia to Singapore  (converted to Philippine Peso) X2 for Round Trip

Was it safe to travel by train?

The train system of Malaysia appeared to be safe by International Standards

Was it hassle-free crossing the boarder of Singapore? 

  • It was, we just presented our passports. The immigration officers basically asked of our intention of crossing the border, we just replied that we were visiting a friend in Singapore.
  • One of our friends was interrogated by immigration but was allowed to enter to SG after few interviews  by immigration at the enclosed immigration office. 🙂
  • Also, as soon as you step on the land of SG, the price would change dramatically. Significant Price Difference 🙂

The Best Commute Experience: Philippine National Railways
TGV High Speed Train from Paris to Lourdes, France
TrenItalia Long Distance Train from Rome to Pisa
Deutsche Bahn ICE High Speed Train (Germany-Belgium) 2016