Tuesday, December 18, 2012

5D4N Taiwan Trip Itinerary: Day 3 - Yang Ming Shan + Danshui + Xinbeitou Hotsprings + Ningxia Night Market

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Day 3
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Formally established in 1985, Yang Ming Shan is one of the seven national parks in Taiwan that boasts various mountain formations, cherry blossoms and hot springs during the different seasons, making it one of the most visited tourist attractions. Located within an hour's reach from Taipei city, why not head there to enjoy some sight-seeing and witness the beauty of God's creations.


For more information on Yang Ming Shan National Park, do check out their official website (english):
http://www.ymsnp.gov.tw/HTML/ENG/INDEX.ASP


Danshui (淡水, or commonly known as "Danshuei"/"Tamshui") is a small fishing city located at the northern tip of Taiwan. Surrounded by peace and transquility, this beautiful paradise is often filled with foreign and local travellers, especially lovey-dovey couples who came to watch the romantic sunset and stroll along the prominent Lover's Bridge. Strongly recommended by my friends, I see no reasons not to visit this particular quainty side of Taipei.


Affectionally named by former president, Chen Shui Bian, the Lover's Bridge is approximately 196 metres and takes 2-3 minutes to walk from one point to the other. This "cable-stayed" bridge is probably the star attraction of the whole of Danshui, so do not ever say you have been here unless you've walked the bridge.


If you managed to stay till late evening, when the night falls, you will witness a spectrum of colours that lit up the Lover's Bridge. The colours of the bridge change every minute or so, representing the different elements of love (I guess.)



If you are looking for authentic Taiwanese street snacks, old school arcade games or souvenirs to bring home, Danshui Old Street is the place that you want to slot into your itinerary. Located alongside the shore of Northern Taiwan, this charming old street is always bustling with crowds, both young and old who came to chill out amidst the nicely preserved Japanese colonial buildings.


Besides the gastronomic part of this journey, why not drop by the Museum of the Strange which is located near the mouth (from MRT station) of Danshui Old Street? It is hard to miss with its huge signage and quirky entrance. Admission fee is priced at only NT$70 per person.


Activity 4: Xinbeitou Hotsprings

Wash your tiredness away with a relaxing bath at one of Taiwan's favourite hotspring spots - Xin Beitou. Prior to research, we chose Sweetme Hotspring Resort, which is located approximately 3-minute walk from Xin Beitou MRT station. There are a lot other private hotsprings (such as Spring City, Beauty Age Hotel etc) as well, so remember to do your research.


For NT$1100, we have a spacious and private room to ourselves, with two baths providing hot, cold and spring water. The room is also equipped with basic toiletries, towels and hair-dryer etc.


If you are looking for public baths, it is advisable to come during mornings or afternoons, as they close when the skies turn dark. Moreover, if you visit Beitou in the day, do make a trip down to their thermal valley, public library and hotsprings museum as well.


Besides the famous Shilin Night Market, do give a visit to the minor and less "advertised" ones such as Ningxia night market (寧夏夜市) where nearly 90% of the crowd is made up of its local people. Although not as decorated and crowded with tourists, it does however offers an array of delicious street snacks, souvenirs and classic carnival games. On top of that, Ningxia was one of the cleanest and organized night market I had observed in Taipei.