As many of you may know that I am not a photographer that
travel with little gears. I like to have what I need when I need it.
Even when I am on a holiday. I will hate myself when the scene
presents itself and I dont have what it takes to photograph it.
OK, I am that spoiled brat.
I don’t know why but this trip to Taiwan I decided to do just
that. A X100F with the 2 converter lenses. Yes, this set-up is
consider “underdress” for me. Wifey also had a X70 with her.
Perfect for all those selfie moments. I have to confess that I
will certainly gonna missed a wide-angle lens and also a tele
lens for this 10 days school holiday trip. I guess I will have to
work with what I have. I was actually contemplating if I would
bring a GFX with GF45mm or X-Pro2 with XF10-24, XF35
F1.4 and a XF55-200mm.
I am glad I didn’t. X100F is almost perfect. Most of the time I
just used the 23mm standard focal and once in a while I did
attached the WCL or TCL when time permits. Was there a
moment that I wish I had a GFX or X-Pro2? Yes of course. I
just have to constantly remind myself I am on a camera
detox session on this holiday.
Below are many photos taken with this amazing camera.
10 days of street, portraits, moods style and travel. Basically
my holiday pictures all taken with X100F in Classic Chrome
We arrived almost evening on day 1. We check-in to Amba
Taipei Ximending Hotel. Its our favorite hotel and this is our third
time staying here. Why? It’s a great design hotel and the location is
second to none in Ximending District. Also the pricing of the
room holds good value.
When we check into our Balcony Room; we had a little welcome
note that says; Welcome back to Amba. This little hand written
note makes us feels welcome and a little nostalgia. A warm fuzzy feeling.
In the evening we had dinner with a Taiwanese couple friend at a local
Japanese restaurant and we certainly have to end the evening
with the famous Taiwan Bubble Tea. As it was raining and rather
cold, my wifey decided to try a warm cup of Bubble Tea instead.
Which turns out refreshingly nice. We both like it.
Even though this is my forth trip to Taipei; there are still
many lovely places to explore. Hua Shan 1914 Creative Park
is one of yet to visit place. This is a great place to spend an
afternoon with a few quaint cafes, art galleries and local
designers shops. Before it became an art center in 2005;
Huashan was a Sake and Ginseng winery. Huashan is certainly
an Instagrammable place.
I would highly recommend this cafe for lunch. A local Japanese
cafe/restaurant. There are only 6 set-lunch courses available,
the food may be simple but very tasty. Probably our favorite
cafe for this trip. https://thexiaoqi.com/page/articles_detail/210/
Actually this morning we went back to Hua Shan Creative Park again for 2
hours. We love it so much that we have to go back for a quick fix!
Today we link up with Summer’s kindergarten classmate and family.
We are traveling together for the next 7 days for the first time and
hopefully not our last. LOL. We had a quick lunch at Taipei Main
Station before taking a 45 minutes ride to Danshui, which is the
last station o n that line.
This is my second time there and it’s just as refreshing as my first
time 7 years ago. Danshui is in north Taiwan; located along the river
of Danshui. A beautiful place to go especially for sunset along the
waterfront. No trip is completed without a visit to Danshui Old street.
This vibrant street is full of local snack vendor, restaurant, shops
and cafes. A blend of old and new.
A 5 minutes walk from Amba Ximending Hotel bring us the
Ximen MRT and another 15-20 minutes ride brings us to one of
the tallest building in the world. Taipei 101. Did you know that the
elevator takes about 40 seconds to zip us up to the 89th floor of the
observatory deck. In 2007 its been name the world’s fastest by
the Guinness Book of World Records; at 1010 meters/min!
After spending an hour enjoying the 360 degree view of Taipei city;
we have to make that mandatory lunch break at Summer’s favorite
restaurant in the whole wide world. Ting Tai Fung! Thankfully we took
a quene number before heading up to observatory deck if not we have
to wait 80-100 minutes before one could get a table.
Next top, Chiang Kai-Skek Memorial Hall.(CKS) This tall monument is
surrounded by a lovely park. Standing in the east side is the Liberty
Square. On it side is the National Theater and National Concert Hall.
CKS was never on my must visit place on my last 3 trip to Taiwan but I
am glad that we made it this trip. I love the history and also the huge
ground. We were there in the late afternoon and was blessed with the
opportunity to watch the changing of guard and lowering of the national
flag ceremony. I would come back again for sure.
On the my first day during check-in at Amba I had the opportunity to
meet up with the Hotel Manager Patricia and also Jeanie from PR
whom I have known from my previous trips. I told Patricia that this
coming Sunday; my friends whom we are traveling with will be
celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary and if there is a good place
for dinner at Ximending? Patricia suggested why don’t we all celebrate
at Amba and let her arrange. And here are today for dinner. We had
the most amazing pizza. And it a square pizza! The pasta and chicken
wings were also amazing. Thank you Patricia for hosting us to this
After dinner when our friends were back in their room there was also
a bottle of wine and a lovely anniversay cake in their bar fridge.
Thank you Amba for the amazing hospitality and I am sure you
have won their hearts just like how you did during our last two
stays at Amba Ximending.
As there were a total of 4 adults and 3 kiddo; we decided to flag
two cabs to drive us to Yangmingshan National Park. After we flag the
first cab; a bigger cab that could fit us all came from behind. We were
happy that we could all travel in one vehicle. Five minutes into the journey,
the driver told us that he have forgotten about his 11am pick up. He was
very sorry about that and he had arrange for another vehicle to connect
and fetch us.
Boy were we surprise when the cab arrived. It’s a Hello Kitty theme cab.
All things Hello Kitty is all deck inside. Plus in-car Karaoke! We sang our
heart out all the way to Yangmingshan National Park.
After a brief visit to the Yangminshan Visitor Center; we cross the road
and started to walk toward the garden where we could see cherry blossom.
This 1 hour downhill walk takes us pass many cherry blossom, a waterfall,
a park, and also local street food vendors street.
Our next stop was Xiaoyoukeng. This post-volcanic geological park is
located on Mt. Qixing which is about 800 meters above sea level. We also
did a little simple trek with the kiddos.
In the evening while my friends were visiting Lungshan Temple; I went to
the nearby Guangzhou Street Night Market for some street photography
workout. And on the way back I did more shoot at Ximending. X100F really
shine in this arena.
We say good-bye to Taipei this morning and hello Yilan. We will be
visiting 3 places before reaching Yilan. First stop; Maokong. Wifey wasn’t
very keen on this 4.3KM gondola ride up and ask us to go ahead without her.
She and our driver will drive up the hill and meet us there. We manage to
convinced her in the end.
The view from the gondola is nothing short of breath taking. I have never
felt more loved as my fearful wifey was squeezing my hand very tightly
throughout the ride up. LOL. On the hilltop there was many tea houses.
We did have a quick coffee break and the views are truly beautiful.
Wish we had more time.
Next stop is the Shifen. This small town is famous for Sky Lantern. Both
local and tourist will ink words of blessing on the lantern and after
which let the lantern fly off as a form of good luck.
Shifen town was originally built for coal transportation in the early days.
These days this railway serve as a transport for visitor who wants to
visit Shifen. Before the trains enters or leave Shifen town, a whistle
will blow and visitor will be ask to clear the track. It’s quite an interesting
sight to see a train running in the centre of a town.
Another point of interest is Jing An Suspension Bridge. This 128 meters
long bridge hang above Jilong River linking Shifen to Pingshi Road. Not
recommended for those who are afraid of height. This is especially
true when it windy. As you walk across there is a bouncy feeling that
you will be thrown off balance any moment.
Jiufen is the last stop for the day. A very popular tourist attraction on
the hillside. I will let the pictures do the talking.
We arrived at Yilan’s Wellspring by Silk Hotel about 7pm. Immediately
after unloading the luggages, we zoom to this highly recommended
restaurant that is famous for roasted ducks. Red Lantern is supposedly
the best roasted duck restaurant in Taiwan. I am just glad that we made
in time to this fine dining Chinese restaurant. So; is it any good or
its overrated? Its pretty good and forgettable at the same time. If you
so happened to be in Yilan, I would recommend but not a compulsory.
Had a fun day today. Woke up at 730am and visited a local market
street. Its always good to visit where the local goes to. Right?
Our hotel is located at Jiao Xi district and a 5 minutes walk takes us to
the local train station. A half an hour ride bring us to the south of Yilan.
Another 20 minutes rustic walk usher us to this kiddo crayon theme
park. Lucky Crayon Factory. I was told they have just moved to this
new location 4 month ago.
Here the kiddos gets to draw, make color makers, make 3D map of Taiwan
with crayon and even have a go at face painting. So what do the grown
up do? We go crazy with some fancy costume outfit.
We had dinner at Yilan City. And also spend some time at the night
market which is situated below a road bridge.
As it was still pretty early back at the hotel; the kiddo decided to
have some fun at the in-room hot spring fun!
We check-out this morning and embark on a 3 hour ride
to Flying Cow Ranch. Before leaving Yilan, we made a stop at
Lanyang Museum and also a walk around Wushi harbor. This is
the jetty to be if you are planning to visit Guishan Island. There
are also a couple a seafood restaurant along the broad walk.
After a heavy lunch its time to have a siesta in the mini van as our
driver drives us to Dahu, which is about 2.5 hours ride. Dahu town
is famous for anything strawberry. Strawberry wine, buns, sausages
etc. It was getting dark soon and drizzling when we arrived.
Manage to find a farm that is still open. It’s our first time
picking strawberries in the rain. Armed with a small scissor
and a basket we brave the weather. So I guess we don’t have
to wash the strawberries before eating; as it all been wash.
At about 7pm we arrived at Flying Cow Ranch. Its our 3rd visit! It’s
Taiwan’s best if you are looking for a ranch for kiddo to experience.
It’s also inexpensive. About USD$130 for 3 pax for a charming Garden
Cottage accommodation This rates includes breakfast, Kiddo DIY
art workshop and farm activities.
A whole day is just about sufficient to explore and experience
the entire Flying Cow ranch in a comfortable pace.