Travelogue (Mini Moon Edition) : Taiwan 台湾 8D7N (Hua Lien 花蓮 Day 1)

Two days after our wedding, we took off and flew to Taiwan for our mini moon. Even though I had planned a 2-day buffer time to settle the post-wedding stuffs, it was still a mad rush because we were so busy with the wedding preps prior to the wedding day. Luckily for me, I like to pace myself in managing my time. Knowing that life was going to be devoured by the wedding preps nearer to the wedding day, I did some research on Taiwan and shortlisted a list of places of interest first. 🙂

We bought our air tix and booked our hotels quite last minute, so it was relatively more expensive than the usual price. 🙁

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Mandatory wefie shot before boarding! Tired faces!

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Beautiful sun rise 🙂

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View from above!

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Wefie again on the plane! 😛

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Make up does wonders when you conceal the fact that you had only 3 to 4 hours sleep the night before (pun intended)

Anyway, our flight was 7.10 am and we were like zombies when we reached. It was a 4h 45min flight duration approximately. Our friends, another couple, were heading TW for their pre-wedding photo shoot too and we took the same flight coincidentally!

The queue at the immigration custom was mad long, even though it was on a weekday. We spent about a good near 1.5-2h at the airport 🙁 Time was of the essence because we planned our itinerary in such a way that we explored Hua Lien first before heading back to Taipei and departing from there as well. Thus, the journey time from Taoyuan Airport to Hua Lien had to be factored in as well.

We took the Airport bus to Taipei Main Station, which you would need to purchase the bus tickets at the booths in the Airport.

(picture of the bus booths)

Then, we took the Taiwan Railway Administration (台灣鐵路) or more commonly known as the TRA via the Tze-Chiang (自強號) train to Hualien Train Station(花蓮火車站).

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The building beside the entrance/exit of the Taipei Main Station. I snapped this so that it would be easier for you guys to refer.

This is the map of the list of stations which the TRA would pass by.

TRA Map

I must admit that it can get quite confusing at first so you will need to familiarize yourself with the routes before you are there. This would ensure that you save some precious time. But of course, Taiwanese who are known for their warm hospitality and friendly culture, would always be more than happy to assist you 🙂

You will also need to check on the next available timing for your destination station.

We were lucky that we need not wait long for the next available train 🙂

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There are signage to direct you to the TRA area whereby you can purchase your tickets at 🙂

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Sorry for the blurred picture. I didn’t check the camera settings properly…

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This is how the interiors of the TRA look like!

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Their seats are rather comfy too!

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Heh, mandatory touristy wefie in the TRA train 🙂

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And after about 3hours, we have finally reached Hua Lien! 😀

For your easy reference, below is a detailed breakdown of duration of the whole journey from Taoyuan Airport -> Taipei Main Station -> Hua Lien Station

  • Taoyuan Airport -> Taipei Main Station (via Airport bus) : approx 45 mins to 1h (depending on traffic)
  • Taipei Main Station -> Hua Lien Station (via TRA) : approx 3 hours

Total time taken : approx 3h 45mins to 4hours

We reached HL at around 6pm and the sky was already dark not only because of the gloomy rainy weather but we realised that the sky turns dark much earlier than Singapore’s!

It was already drizzling when we first set foot in HL and for the 3 days we were at HL, it rained quite often 🙁 The rain lasted for several hours on off. You can say that it rained 90% of the 3 days 🙁

It was such a pity because the scenic view of the beautiful nature weren’t as pretty as we expected due to the rainy weather 🙁

We took a cab to our Hotel – Cullinan Hotel (Hua Lien) which took about 20 mins due to the traffic and rainy weather and costs us about NTD100?

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Taken during the day:

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Reception/concierge area

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Lobby area

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Waiting area

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Lift lobby

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Our hotel room!

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Considering the fact that we only had a donut each during the flight and 2 rice sushis (which were delicious and you have gotta try them!) at the airport, we were super famished by the time we reached hotel!

Credits : eclecticlimpet.wordpress.com

It was still drizzling so we had to carry umbrellas when we headed out to hunt for food. We recce our hotel surroundings and decided to go with….

陈纪臭豆腐

Address: No. 487, Heping Rd, Hualien County, Taiwan 970
Mee sua with large pig intestines

Mee sua with large pig intestines

The bowl of mee sua was quite comforting such the rainy cold weather 🙂
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Smelly tofu!

I am not much of a fan of smelly tofu and gave up after attempting 1.5 pieces…I felt nauseous, ugh. But the hubs really likes it! :O

After filling our tummies, we decided to drop by the famous night market in HL. Oh FYI, we were informed by our hotel receptionist that all the night markets have all shifted to Zi Qiang Night Market (自强夜市).

We actually walked to the night market area, despite the rainy weather and it was FREAKING COLD I’D TELL YOU!!! Because we wanted to explore the place, thus the decision to walk. But it was quite far and plus, the weather was sooo uncooperative! 🙁

After about 20-25mins, we finally reached.

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You could see that the weather was so bad that several stalls actually closed 🙁

Nevertheless, we tried exploring despite the wet weather and we discovered that there is actually a wide area for people to sit and dine at.

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And here was what we savoured! 😛

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Fried omelette! Tasted not too bad but was rather oily 🙁

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Its unique name captured many attention and the hubs read it somewhere that this is one of the popular food to try at this night market. We were glad to be able to sink our teeth into it! It was quite tasty actually though the hubs found it mediocre.

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The hubs didn’t really liked this though. It is actually a sausage wrapped in glutinous rice, which was quite oily too.

The hubs then went to explore on his own and returned with these:

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We didn’t really like these because of the weird sauce it was marinated with. Plus, the bacon strips were wrapped with huge spring onions which the hubs initially mistook it for asparagus! The spring onions were so “chokingly spicy”, it was no joke 🙁

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Beef noodles can be found almost everywhere when you are in Taiwan. It seems like this is one of their staple local food? This bowl of hot beef noodle soup was definitely comforting under the freezing weather. The beef was also very tender but it contained some fats which I am certainly not a fan of!

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Initially after we had finished eating, we wanted to explore other areas of the night market but the weather got colder and the rain got heavier. As we could not tolerate anymore (we were kind of under-dressed too!), we decided to cab back to the hotel and call it a day.

That was all for our day 1 in Hua Lien! Stay tuned for our day 2 and 3 🙂