Friday, 21 December 2012

Travel Guide: Taiwan (Shifen Station & National Palace Museum)

Salam alaikum! 

Here's the continuation of the previous entry!

Aside from the Houtong Cat Village, you can also alight at the popular Shifen station. 
Btw, I forgot to add a WHAT TO BUY section in the previous entry. 
I only bought some magnets and postcards from the Cat Village's tiny souvenir shop. There's not much there to be honest and the items are quite pricey but I guess its worth it if you want something for keepsake memories right? (:

Alight at Shifen station. 
This place is famous for the releasing of lit up lanterns!

We were so excited! I mean, it was my first time releasing a lantern up into the air! A friend told me that this is illegal nearly everywhere in the world, I'm not sure how true is that though. The Chinese people believe that whatever wishes you write on the lantern will come true so they take this lantern seriously. We, on the other hand, just do it for fun lah ok! :)

Its such a lovely quaint town. The train passes by every hour so you can walk along the tracks, take pictures and just immerse in the old school feel of the area hehe. 

The lanterns are really cheap and huge! So you can share it with your friends. I only paid about 20 twd (around 1 sgd) cos I split the cost with 4 of my friends. You get to choose what color you like, and even put firecrackers which will go pop pop when you release it up into the air. 

Hehe I wrote this because all the Chinese people were writing stuff in their language so hey, let's write in Arabic! :D

We were so excited! Hahahhaa like small kids and because it was freezing, the warmth from the fire felt so gooooood! 

Byebye lantern!

The train will bring you along to other stations but we didn't get to explore. It was our last day so we decided to head back to the city cos we had a lot more to do (coughshoppingcough) hehe.

The entire trip didn't cost us much! Less than $10 per person if I'm not wrong. I would suggest that you head over there early in the morning so you'll get to explore the entire area. My friends who went at night told me that the view of Shifen is prettier though cos you can see all the lit up lanterns in the sky. Up to your personal preference!

What to buy?

There's a souvenir store selling small cloth lanterns you can hang as keychains or just for decoration. I didn't take a picture but I bought quite a number to give away to family & friends (:

National Palace Museum

Afiqah and I went exploring on our own. We had some research work to do so we decided to head over to the National Palace Museum to interview international tourists.

We took the train from Taipei Main Station and alighted at Shilin Station.

Haha the trip there was so funny! Afi and I were so deep in conversation that we missed our stop. Not just 1 stop ok, I think it was 5 or 6 stops. We couldn't stop laughing when we realised how silly we were!

You need to take a bus from Shilin Station. 
There's a lot of signs that will pinpoint you to the bus stop and also, there are a few buses that will take you there. 

I really love looking at how traditional their buildings are. 

Gorgeous courtyard leading up to the National Palace Museum.

Of course, jump shot is a must. Hehe.

Look at the lush greenery! @.@

I took this picture right after praying outside the museum with Afi. It was so funny! I think everyone was staring and thinking what on earth is this girl wearing? :B

I have no pictures in the museum because they do not allow cameras inside and there is no way I can sneak a dslr in but I would say that it is definitely an interesting museum to go to. Lots of tourists especially from mainland China come over because most of the items that were once located in Beijing's Forbidden City were brought over to this museum. I talked to a few tourists from Germany, France, Canada and they were all impressed by the museum's collections. 

I loved looking at what they had on display. They rotate their collection every few months because the amount of treasures they have is really, a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Haha! You won't see much of Chinese history though, more to Chinese art. But it was so fascinating, seeing all the devices they created. I especially remember all the mystery boxes with lots of hidden compartments for the prince's toy. The interior is poorly lit though but I reckon they purposely made it so for people to have a certain feel and experience, wandering around in the dark with lights only on the display items. 

I wouldn't say its a must visit, but the sheer volume and beauty of the treasures makes it so worth it to go there. Bring your student pass (if you're a student), you get 50% off the total ticket fee. 

Then, Afi and I headed back to the train station to go to our next destination!

Yes! These lines are for people to queue up before entering the train! I thought it wouldn't work but really, everyone abides by the queue line rule and its such a breeze for people boarding and alighting :) Hello SMRT, maybe you should consider doing this! 

I cannot take it. 
I will blog about shopping in the next entry!

Much love friends,

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