環島記 (Round Island Tour Part 4) Beitou 北投 and Dan Shui 淡水

We decided to allocate one full day to the Danshui and Beitou areas. These 2 places are located at the end of the Tamsui Line which you can catch from Taipei Main Station.

To get to the the more touristy Beitou hotsprings area, you have to change train and get to New Beitou Station.

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There, we stopped at a local eatery for breakfast.

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Kinda like Singapore’s Cheng Tng but with Beancurd. Perfect for a hot summer morning

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A must try in Taiwan is the Orh Lua Jian = Oyster Omelette. Unlike the Singapore version, the Taiwanese one is more of an omlette and it comes drenched in a sweet ketchupy-mixed sauce. The SO did not really like it but he reckons its just the style rather than the stall. Ketchup-loving me felt it was pretty tasty and it tasted more like an omelette that way.

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We took a quick walk around the market after breakfast and found many fruit sellers displaying delicious looking fruits. By that I mean that it the fruits are seriously over-sized and juicy! Summer is the perfect time for my favorite mangoes which never disappointed me anytime.

 

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Look at the size of the watermelons the uncle is cutting 0.0

Its about a 10 mins walk to the start of the Beitou Park, along which many of the attractions are located.

First on our list was the Beitou Public Library. The building is the first to be awarded the Diamond award for its Eco-friendly theme. The building itself is constructed using wood which leads to less carbon footprints than cement . For its roof, part of it is covered with Solar panels while the other part is covered with a thick layer of soil for thermal insulation. The building also gathers and uses rain water to flush its toilet.

You can go in to take a look at the cosy interior of the library though photography is not allowed indoors

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Just a short way uphill, is the Beitou Hotsprings Museum. Do visit it to walk around and learn about how the hotspring culture developed in Taiwan. The Museum is house in a Japanese style building and boasts the oldest tatami room in Taiwan.

 

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We dropped by Plum Garden as well. Though I did not think it was particularly interesting unless you are acquainted with the works of famous Taiwanese calligrapher, Yu You-ren. In any case, like many of the architecture in the area, the Plum garden takes you into the interior of what used to be living quarters in the early 20th century.

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I am not particularly cultured in this area but I liked that my chinese name (quite rare!) was written in this poem.

Though I can read chinese, chinese poetry demands a higher set of language skills I do not possess. I kindly asked the guides on standby to explain the poem to me instead. Turns out that the content is pretty meaningful. It is a poem that Mr Yu wrote to his wife for their 30th wedding anniversary (i think) telling her that even though they have been together for so long, their ‘work’ together is only half passed and that they still have roads to traverse together.

AWWWW….

We finally reached the thermal valley. Basically, this is reason why Beitou was so in demand in the past as a tourism hotspot.

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Its a really pretty sight but as with most natural thermal springs, it does reek of a strong sulfur smell.
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You will need breaks from all the walking -.- 

Although I did not get to visit any hotsprings (since it was crazy hot when we visited), but there are plenty of hotsprings hotels around for your picking. Do check the pricing as the rates vary quite widely depending on how luxurious the establishment is. You can even get private rooms where they feed the hotspring water to the comfort of your own room instead.

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We picked up a random flyer from the convenience store. Entrance to their hotspring is only 150NTD (6SGD) 

That concluded our day trip to Beitou.

Next up is Danshui, the sea-side district of Taipei.

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Street buskers such as this are such an integral part of the Taiwanese street market atmosphere. I am pretty this was here back when I first visited Taipei 5 years ago.

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Start of Commercial Street

Although the buildings here look old, this is not the famed Dan Shui old street. It is however a popular shopping district in Danshui. Throngs of locals flock down to browse the many shops that sell a myriad of goods from beauty to homewares. You wont have to worry about being hungry as the small food sellers have strategically placed themselves into any available space between the stores.

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Fried Durian (the King of Fruits)

Though it is much like many of its counter-part world wide, the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not Museum in Danshui is a good respite from a day of shopping and eating, plus it carries some local and asian themed stuff. Plus I got to carry a snake, all for a price below SGD 5!

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I like big butts and I cannot lie

If you are thinking of buying some souveniers back, why not get some traditional pastries?

This place is rather un-represented online i guess due to the fact that it does not really have an english name (“shjc” is pretty impossible to find). They specialize in traditional cakes which reminds me of chinese weddings. I like the pastry that contains salted egg.

You can get them in individual size or as a big cake (it really is a ‘cake’ shop). And for those who would like to have a taste of Chinese wedding culture can purchase the : 禮香炮燭 package.

Such gifts are usually given to relatives before the wedding to share the good news with them and to invite them to the wedding as well.

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Chicken roll made using Chicken Thigh…YUM!

Due to a lack of time, I didn’t really research on food in Taiwan. Instead, I took my spirit of adventure and aimed to try as many things as my stomach will allow me.

We chanced upon this Scallion Pancake (蔥油餅) stall in the back alley. Apparently they are famous or something as there was a loooong queue. So in typical Singaporean style, we proceeded to queue.

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The boss is really young

One thing you will note about Taiwan is that they have no lack of young hawkers. Many young people are willing to take over their parents stalls while others are jumping into entrepreneurship.

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When the food is about to finish, the owner will give out these paper bags to indicate how many they have. We were the last in line to receive the paper bag. HOW LUCKY!
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Taste like spring onion prata! NICEEE
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Just across the road from the pancake store is a store selling  steamed dumplings which was really good as well.
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Look at the huge turnout for the weekend performers. Some of them even have CDs which you can purchase on the spot.
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Enjoying the sea breeze. Not sure what hill is behind me but it makes a nice backdrop.

I ended off the night with some dessert.

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Traditional Taiwanese dessert
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My last snack of the day: Milk Bomb aka Fried Fresh Milk

 

 


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