Thursday, July 29, 2010

Venturing into the Mob's Territory

Sightly sidetracked, but now I'm back to Taiwan.

I realised I completely missed out a destination on our 2nd day - Feng Jia Night Market/Shopping District, located in Tai Chung. Tai Chung is the home of the Taiwanese mafia (thus the name of this post ;)). However, disappointingly, we saw no evidence of black suited, black shades-wearing guys strolling the streets. 

Feng Jia market is a huge sprawling place with various clusters of shops housed within low level buildings, as well as make-shift street stalls that started appearing on the roads later in the evening. It reminds me of the Ikebukuro shopping district in Japan, with its eclectic range of shops and the general layout (though I don't recall seeing street stalls there). It also looks like the Mong Kok shopping district in Hong Kong. hah. Come to think of it, there wasn't anything really memorable about this market, though I could have bought alot of clothes and stuff, I didn't because they weren't very much cheaper than the blogshops I frequent in Singapore. Francis commented that it is remarkably easy to be an entrepreneur in Taiwan - there are plenty of shops/makeshift stalls opened by students or graduates in Taiwan, but there are just as many shops that folded because of the intense competition.

Although we didn't shopped much, we did buy the very famous 'Koi' Grass Jelly Milk Tea from this market. Koi has 6 branches in Singapore, and though I haven't had a chance to sample the Singapore ones, this branch in Taiwan was very generous with their pearls (chewy tapioca balls), and the grass jelly, mixed with milk tea was a match made in heaven! Instant love. Plus there's no queue at all (especially when you've witnessed the long queues in Singapore, you'd be gloating at those poor souls)!





Another item we bought was the 'cong you bing' (Green onion pancake) from a popular and famous stall in this market recommended by Francis. If I have to give a rating, I'd say it's an EM2 lah. Could be because we ate it late that night (unable to eat it right after buying as we were having dinner shortly after), so the pancake was cold. I guess my rating doesn't really count then.

I have to mention the hotel we stayed that night. Remember this hotel name: Freshfields Resort and Conference (also in Taichung). 5 star hotel with exclusive hot spring bathtub in its suites and a couple of huge outdoor hot spring baths in the hotel grounds. This is probably one of the best hotels I've ever stayed in throughout my travels. Although when on backpacking trips, I'd stay in low budget hostels or service apartments, however I've also stayed my fair share of hotels during business trips, package tours and free and easy tours. So if you were to stay in Taichung, be sure to stay in this hotel.

My pictures of the room doesn't really do justice to its elegance and loveliness.





The best hotel bathroom ever.




The black screen in front of the window can be raised to see the view outside. However, as the window is not tinted, the hotel restaurant patrons below can see you as well if they were to look up. Francis had taken care to issue this warning to us before we entered our rooms.




 It was pure bliss soaking in this hot spring bathtub
For some strange reason unbeknownst to myself, I woke up at 5am the next day and took the opportunity to snap pictures of sunrise at the hotel window. Went promptly back to sleep soon after. ;P






Some last shots of the hotel lobby and its veranda.









It may be the mob's territory, but hey, it's lovely all the same!


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