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admin 16.12.2015

Whenever Taipei is mentioned, many immediately think of the iconic Taipei 101, bustling night markets and mouth-watering small bites.
Many would have been and heard of Jiufen, but apart from the usual tea sessions overlooking the mountains and seas, there are a few other good eats you need to look out for when exploring the smaller lanes. When you alight from the train or bus from Taipei City, there is a bakery near the interchange that sells Paris Baguette's replicated Royal Pudding. While many coffee shops around the world are hyping over the new trend of filtered coffee, there is a humble stall in Jiufen that offers this exquisite beverage at an affordable price. The gold mines that were prosperous during the Japanese colonialism in the 1900s, are turned into museums for the public. Located beside the entrance of Gold Mine Museum, there is a stall that sells a different version of Singapore's Beancurd but definitely worth a try.
If you're a sucker for sunsets like me, this is the perfect place in the city to feel the warmth of the setting sun on your face.
It will be advisable to go up during early hours or evening if you're there during summer to avoid the immense heat. If you do a bit of walking around Mao Kong Shan, you will find many hidden tea houses along the winding lanes. If you are a fan of old school romance films like Apple of My Eye, this is the place you should be at. By Train: From Taipei Main Station, take a northbound train (except Keelung-bound trains) towards Ruifang Station.
The mention of Yang Ming Shan brings about associations to relaxation, recuperation and adventure. Being a backpacker, my friend and I gathered our sense of adventure and hiked through the many different hiking routes of Yang Ming Shan. After a 5 hours trek and multiple pit stops, we reached our final stop, Volcanic vent (Xiao You Keng).
Tucked in a small corner of Ximending, this themed hostel makes for an ideal accommodation after a long day of shopping and travelling.


Although most of these moments were captured during my backpacking trip to Taiwan, we recently had the chance to visit Taiwan again and explore other aspects of it thanks to EVA Air and the Taiwan Visitor Association, Singapore. I’ve mentioned before that my toddler is a bit of a train fan, so we thought he, and his 5 year old brother, would like a day out on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is an 18 mile heritage railway which runs from the market town of Pickering in North Yorkshire, through the North York Moors towards the seaside town of Whitby. The train chugs nice and slowly out of Pickering Station picking up speed as it starts to climb into the Moors. The North Yorkshire Moors is famous for being one of the most scenic train journeys in the UK, and whilst I knew that my husband and I would love seeing the scenery pass by, I was worried that this might not interest the boys. We passed through Levisham station (20 mins), then Goathland (50 minutes) before we arrived at Grosmont. Children’s sandwiches cost ?2.50 and there are children’s books and toys available to play with, as well as a little quiz for children to take part in too. After lunch at the Old School Coffee Shop, we had a wander around the Engine Sheds and shop before heading back to the station to catch the train back to Pickering. Yes – depending on your toddler’s attention span, you can choose the length of the time of the train journey you want to take on the train. There are plenty of picnic spots at the stations so you can bring your own sandwiches and sit outside on a summer’s day. There are lots of little shops along the route which sells NYMR memrobillia as well as Thomas the Tank Engine goodies. There is plenty of parking at Pickering Station – this costs ?5 for the day so make sure you bring correct change. The timetable changes very frequently so check the website to find out the train times for the day you want to visit.
There is a mixture of steam trains and diesel trains operating the route so check the timetable to find out what type of train will be operating your journey if you have a particular preference. Prams and pushchairs can be taken on the train and stored in the Guards Van (accessed by a ramp) on every train.


While I am a fan of city life in Taipei, the geography of Taiwan has endowed her with more than just high rise buildings. After exiting the station, cross the street to the bus stop next to the Wellcome Supermarket and board the Keelung Transit bus towards Jiufen. My eyes lit up immediately as the blazing sun reflected the beautiful shimmers of the Golden Waterfall. Though the gold and copper mines are no longer operational, the rain that seeped into these mines amalgamates with the metal deposits. Turn left at the entrance and head to one of the ATM-lookalike machines and type in Starbucks at Level 35.
To better your experience, get yourself a beverage from the cafe at Level 2 as you enjoy the natural rhythmic beats of the waterfall. Not only because this is the place where Apple of My Eyes filmed, but it is also less touristy. Transfer to the Pingxi Line (???) and purchase a One Day Ticket for the Pingxi Line, NT$52. Lined with hot springs along the mountain, city dwellers will take a day trip to soak their bodies in milky sulphuric baths and rest their eyes on miles of luscious green hills. Gold Mine Museum would be an ideal place for learning if you want to know more about the industry, or even just to touch real gold! You will have to be adventurous to get to this Starbucks with a city bird's-eye view, because there are no guidelines available.
They are missing from the signboards around the mall and you will never find them in any guidebooks.



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