Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Taiwan Hits: Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Old Street

It was not only a few years back when more Pinoy tourists started discovering Taiwan and its amazing natural wonders and great food as it offered visa-free entry for short-term stays. Before this, Philippine passport holders had to either apply for a tourist visa at the embassy or get a visa entry pass done online granted that you hold a valid US, Canada, Japan, or Schengen visa with multiple entries. I first travelled to Taipei back in 2015 and it was delightful to see more of our kababayans choosing to visit Taiwan when we came back in 2018.

For a 5-day stay, we decided to squeeze in a one day tour of Yehliu Geopark since we haven't been there yet and we don't have any other plans except go to as much night markets as we possibly can. Yehliu is about an hour away from Ximen Station so we thought it's more economical and time saving to join a tour rather than DIY. For this, we chose Klook, our go-to app/site for discounted tour rates, attraction passes, airport transfers, and even restaurant vouchers.

Yehliu Geopark



Home to the famous "Queen's Head" and other unique geological formations, Yehliu Geopark is a foremost tourist spot in Northern Taiwan. The amazing views of Pacific Ocean and the park's interesting attractions make this a worthwhile visit and a great place to recharge with nature.


Tip: As with most tourist spots, best time to go is early morning during weekdays to avoid the crowd. Also, remember to wear sunscreen and a hat as it can get very hot during dry season.





Queen's Head




Jiufen

Our 2nd stop was Jiufen, a mountain town in New Taipei City known for its numerous alleys that snake around the area filled with Chinese- and Japanese-styled tea houses, cafes, and souvenir shops. It was actually my second time here but the place never fails to amaze as new and amusing finds continue to find its way to make tourists look forward to visiting again and again.




Our favorite grilled king oyster mushrooms!


Shifen Old Street

This charming old street is actually a rail track but home to the tradition of releasing sky lanterns for goodluck. For a minimal fee, you can buy yourself a colorful paper lantern from one of the shops where you can write your wishes, send it to the heavens, and pray it will come true.



Back in Taipei after 8 hours with new learnings, great experience, and wonderful memories. It was indeed a tiring tour with long walks and some hikes but a fun and enjoyable one!


Monday, June 1, 2020

Conveyor Belt Sushi at Kura Sushi, Taipei TW

Any place we go, visiting a sushi place at least once during the trip is a must. In Taipei, we were able to try one of the most popular Japan-based revolving sushi chain - Kura Sushi, another addition to our list of the best and most sulit sushi places. In fact, it has already gained a following all over the world with its 400 restaurants and 35 years of brand experience.

Once you're seated, you'll immediately notice a parade of delightful sushi on the lower conveyor but if you fancy something premium or simply not available on the belt, you can always order from the iPad provided which will then be delivered on the upper conveyor in a jiffy.

What we ate

Hotate (Scallop) Sushi

Inari Sushi

Maguro (Tuna) Sushi

Shime Saba (Cured Mackerel) Sushi

Fatty Salmon Sushi

We basically ate 3 to 5 plates of each of the above but seeing our total bill was nowhere near a shocking experience as each plate only range between TWD40 (Php70.00) for the basic sushi up to TWD80 (Php140.00) for the premium ones. With its fast service and a wide variety of quality offerings at affordable prices, Kura Sushi is a great find indeed!


Tip: Download the Kura app on your mobile phone to make a reservation or prepare to wait at least an hour if walk-in as Kura Sushi is always packed anytime of the day.

~o~o~o~

Kura Sushi
B1, No. 101, Sec. 2 Nanjing East Road
Zhongzhang District
Taipei, Taiwan
Tel.: (8862) 2568-1519

Friday, May 29, 2020

Heritage Cafe, Taipei TW

One random afternoon walking around Taipei brought us to this charming and beautifully-designed spot in Zhonzheng District called Heritage Cafe because honestly, who could pass up for some delicious sweets and cold drinks on a hot day? Definitely not me!



Heritage Cafe has two floors with brick walls and modern industrial interiors. Just my type.


What we ordered

Apple Earl Grey Iced Tea

Seasonal Fruit Tea


Blueberry Cheese Tart


Everything tasted great plus the presentation were visually stimulating so dining here was a win-win! Both iced teas were sweetened perfectly and the addition of fresh fruits made it even more refreshing. The cakes were equally delicious but the star of the day really was the cafe's bestselling cake - the Guava Delight. Taste and texture were exemplary, not to mention that the guava flavor was a delightful treat from the usual cakes you can find anywhere. 

Guava Delight

Finding spots like Heritage Cafe is one the reasons why I love traveling with minimal (or zero) planned itinerary nowadays especially if I've been to a place once. I just love discovering hole-in-the-wall restaurants and secret spots where most locals hang out and keep for themselves.

~o~o~o~

Heritage Cafe
No. 73 Section 1, Hankou St.
Zhongzheng District
Taipei, Taiwan
Tel.: (8862) 2311-1079

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Itoya: Japan's Oldest Stationery Store



Ginza Itoya was founded in 1904 and has since held the tradition of offering quality, innovative, and unique office and school supplies available in the market. With its re-opening back in 2015 after a major renovation, this massive shop now introduces new features and interactive fun activities that will surely make your visit worthwhile. High-class Itoya stationery is also being enjoyed worldwide to as far as the United States and Canada.


Itoya is a well-curated shop with each of its 12 floors opening up to a stylish and highly-organized offerings. Trust me when I tell you that time stops here and you'll feel like being happily lost in stationery paradise the minute you step foot in the building. In fact, I barely even remember to take photos anymore as we were so engrossed with all the unique and cool finds here.




One of my fondest memories of visiting Itoya was finding the craft space intended for visitors who wish to try making paper flowers (materials are complimentary) which, for a non artsy-craftsy person like myself, was a delightful and fulfilling experience!




Up in the 12th floor is Cafe Stylo where you can try the fluffiest Japanese pancakes you can find and other Western-inspired dishes to satisfy your hunger after hours spent going through racks and aisles of wrapping papers, all occasion cards, functional travel items, postcards, various types of papers for crafting, fancy pens and pencils, and so many cool souvenirs.





A floor down below Cafe Stylo is a green farm where they plant and produce their own vegetables used for the salads and other dishes offered at the cafe. How cool is that, right?


Sunday, March 22, 2020

Sunday Treats No. 65

Ichiran 5 - JPY1,490 (Php710.00)

~o~o~o~

Ichiran
3-34-11 Shinjuku
Peace Bldg. B1F, Shinjuku 3 Chome
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Tel.: (813) 3225-5518
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