Taiwan 2017 Trip was with 2 kids and my parents
So there were four adults to two kids, you would think that life would be easier because there’s enough people to help keep a lookout. Wrong, we got sick. Because we didn’t vaccinate ourselves against the flu/ cold, hence everyone became sick on the second day of the six day trip. Bummer!
Fortunately, for the first two days it was a breeze. I hired a private tour guide to drive us to places where the Taiwan Metro couldn’t reach. You would still take the public transport, but it was cheaper and easier for the six of us to travel in style. I wouldn’t recommend it if you are alone or in pairs, but once you have kids and older people, private tour guides are pretty good. For the two days, it cost me around AUD 200 in total, from 9 am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9 to 5:30 on Sunday. I was stupid, because I should have picked weekdays where the crowd would be less.
Turns out it was a fortunate mistake, because metro and markets have less people during weekdays; if you have children, best time to go is during weekdays. The crowd is significantly thinner, plus with the rain, it was a hassle trying to get around. But May is definitely a crappy time to go, because it rained 4 out of the 6 days that we were there.
Shifen Must Do
If you ever go to Taiwan, make sure you visit Shi Fen old street, where we went. This place is the only legal place you can light a lantern and let it fly. The belief is that it takes your wishes to the Heavens, and maybe it will be granted. Don’t worry, the whole street is full of vendors, and they are all priced the same: 30 Yuan for a multi-colored one. Each color represents something, like red is for good luck, blue is for career and so on.
This place is the only legal place to do it, because of the agreement that runners will be dispatched to retrieve any lanterns that drop onto forests and nearby settlements. The paper is extremely flammable, and will catch fire and burn cleanly if it every does. Usually the lantern just runs out of fuel and drop back down to earth, where people will dispose of it properly.
It is a novelty those, definitely must do it once, just for the fun of it. It is an Asian tradition, even Koreans have their version of lighting lanterns with wishes.
We Went to Yi Lan County
Yi Lan is not a very popular tourist destination, but I insisted on going for one reason only: cold springs. Taiwan has one of the three natural carbonic cold springs on the planet, the other in Italy and America. We skipped the normal hot springs because Princess Brat was too young. Her delicate skin would not be able to handle the heat.
We rented a private room, and you can see that this looks like an ordinary pool. But it is not, the skin feels numb when you first went in. If you stay still, you can feel the heat rising and warming you up. The water is carbonated, with a slight sulfur smell to it. This spring is in Su’ Ao, in Yi Lan County. I had changed the itinerary to fit this in, because I had no intention of returning to the place anytime soon.
I will admit that cold spring does not have the same skin beautifying effect as a hot spring does. But I could see an improvement in Princess’ skin for a short while. This was also the reason we got sick, because the water is cold, and the weather was balmy. It was worth the experience, because cold springs are rarer.
The same with hot springs, if you have high blood pressure or other vascular issues, it is best not to soak in the spring for long. It might not make you sweat or dizzy, but this sneaky spring will definitely make you feel ill if you overdo it. We paid around $500 yuan for forty minutes. It was worth it as I did not have to worry about my kids being trampled by people.
Another Unique Experience
The local produce of Yi Lan is rice and scallions, where farmers rotate to rejuvenate the soil. Their scallions have more white bits, almost 30% more than the normal variety you will find at the markets. It is also quite tasty, and has milder taste that goes well with a lot of things.
The tour guide took us to this farm, where you can pluck your own scallions. They will also teach you how to make scallion pie. It is just a thin crust filled with this yummy vegetable. Did I mention that you deep fry it? It is a fun experience fit for young (read not teenage) children. My kid definitely had a lot of fun. The parents? Not that much.
I will admit that it was educational, and the weather was perfect for this activity.
What Else Can You Do in Taiwan?
We skipped the Crayon factory, where kids can make their own crayons for a fee. It was because we went to the cold spring instead. Other things you could do (if you have a lot of moolah) is going on food tours, or engage in a local cooking class. I found one that would take you marketing, and teach you a few dishes for lunch. At the price of $150 per person, it was too expensive for that many of us. And it would have been boring for the few who wouldn’t participate.
In reality, it was probably better to hire the tour guide for the whole trip. Fear not, if you speak Mandarin or Taiwanese (I do both, actually), taxi is actually a reasonably priced way to get around. We all fit in one car, which cost us the same as taking the metro. When it rained, it was what we did.
Will We Go Back?
Probably not, there is nothing special about Taiwan. The food is not that great, the variety is vast, but I hardly think it’s mouth watering or scrumptious. Of course, smelling stinky tofu everywhere you go will not help make the food taste better. I do know that there are still places I have not been, experiences that are still waiting for me. But I have done the ones that I need to do. Scenery? It is beautiful, but taking kids to see the view … is not a very good idea.
Plus, I would not say that it is a wow factor for Taiwan. It is not like breathtaking, or memorable. So if you want to go to Taiwan, make sure it’s not raining and you know where you want to go. There are just too many places promising a good time, but not all will deliver.
I was curious when I saw this Star Wars mask. If you have read my old posts, you will have seen the character masks. They are funny, and I was hoping that this would be the same. It was 49 Yuan, which equates to almost Aud 2.50 for this one mask. Expensive, I know.
This one is a Hyaluronic moisture mask, this one would give your skin a hydration boost. The Star Wars mask is made in Taiwan, so I don’t know why it costs so much for a single sheet mask. As you can see, this is just a simple white mask with hyaluronic acid and other ingredients. It feels heavenly when I first put it on, it is like my skin is sighing with relief. Ooops. Someone should teach me how to look after my skin during travels.
I left it on for a long time, despite not having any cute look, this one works very well. My skin does feel more supple and moisturized, surprise!. Since I was a bit lazy with my skincare, so it did show a positive effect for the one and only time I used the mask.
Is it worth the 49 yuan? Probably… because it works and the effect lasted. Will I buy it again, not for that price no. Plus, I could not find a bulk pack, which is disappointing.
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