We were leaving the countryside today and heading back to the bustling capital city of Taipei. The bus had to travel through winding coastal roads so we were bundled onto the train instead. We arrived first at the train station in Yilan and waited patiently for about an hour for the bus to arrive. Then we proceded to the Yilan National Center for Traditional Arts. This place had buildings with traditional architecture, shops selling everything from local snacks to painted dolls, and a small theatre for performances. After exploring the place for about an hour. it was time to go.
We were heading back to Taipei and our first stop will be lunch at one of the tallest bulding in the world, the Taipei 101. Unfortunately though we could not see much of the view with clouds blanketing the top of the building. Lunch was good though. After we had our fill, we were given time to walk around the shopping center.
Our next stop was a small feng shui shopin Taipei. We were briefly taught how to touch a stone ‘Chi Lin’ before being herded in for a talk by the master. The interesting talk about auspicious names and home fengshui ended rather abruptly before the sales pitch began. This time it was little Chi Lin pendants. No matter how many auspicious strokes our names had, we were asked to buy those pendants that came in different colours and sizes. It is interesting to note that at least one sale was made out of the tour group at every stop (eg. Lingzhi shop, Jade factory, etc).
After feeling happy that my chinese fist name had an auspicious 13 strokes and that we resisted buying all the sales pitch, we were finally heading for Shi Lin night market, the biggest of them all. It was almost dusk now, so the shops were all out. We headed towards the ‘fashion’ street first before settling for food at the well known food market. It was our last chance to sample the Taiwanese street fare, so we dug into ‘Smelly Tofu’, Ji Pa (chicken fillet), and Da Bing Bao Xiao Bing (small bun in big bun).
Tonight we finally get to stay in a 5 Star accomodation, the Grand Hyatt Taipei. It was defintely the best hotel so far.
The next day, we had half the day to wander around before departing for Singapore. We got up for the breakfast buffet and ended up watching the ‘American idol’ finals on TV. Then we decided to roam around the nearby shopping malls which only opened at 11am. Our original plan was to visit the National Palace Museum but it was located quite far away and we just so little time to spend., so we will save that for our next trip. After lunch, it was time to depart for the airport, so we collected our bags at took the bus one last time.