Sunday, August 16, 2015

Taipei - ShiFen

Shi Fen 



While the Shi Fen Waterfalls cannot be compared to Nigeria Falls of Canada, the falls was still rather big. Natural Scenery just never fails to make people feel happy.
Laughing Buddha which was long the trail at ShiFen Waterfalls.


 We love to feed animals. The fishes at the koi pond at the entrance were so fat. Don't feed them because they wont give a damn about your food and they need to lose weight lol. Do feed the ducks, fishes and goats at Shifen area. You can buy the feed from the snacks stall.


Cycling

I do not know when we started having crazy ideas about cycling road trips. I am pretty sure Dust was the one who suggested it and I just went along. After the Kranji Farm Expedition, I was pretty convinced that I cannot trust Dust to plan trips around Singapore as I am pretty sure he will try to kill us both. But nevertherless, I trusted that he still loves me and won't make me DIE. hahaha. Jokes aside, I am pretty sure we both love each other a lot.
For all the road trips, we start of from Serangoon (DM's place). 

Punggol Settlement 
The first time we cycled from Serangoon to Punggol Waterway. Instead of taking the route that passes through the industrial area, we took the path towards Kovan and Hougang then towards Punggol. It was really difficult to cycle along this route because of the number of people on the pavements as well as the number of upslopes. (The bike which I rode wasn't very good.) The joke of it all was that at Seng Kang, we had to seek for shelter at Seng Kang Swimming Complex/ Sports Complex. I was pedaling so hard but the bike was just really slow. The guy jogging beside me was the same speed -.- hahahaha. Really hilarious.
So the next time we went, we took the route which passes through the industrial area. This route is slightly longer but really a lot easier and faster because we could ride faster as there are less obstacles along the way. While we might be worried about cycling on pavements and roads, NParks have been constructions various Park Connector Networks (PCN) in Singapore which makes such cycling expedition a lot easier and more fun. (I have to admit that I cannot cycle very well. Therefore, if I can do it, so can you!) I recommend these routes that we take to beginners like me! Tip for those thinking of going on these cycling trips in Singapore: Don't cycle too fast! Take a look at the kingfishers, catfishes and plants along the canal. It can be really interesting. Appreciate the beauty of mother nature!
At Punggol Waterway. Lotsa pretty background to take photos. Rmb to bring the selfie stick!
Punggol PCN route

Bishan Park 
For the past week, I have been down with sore throat and running nose. Thank god that M decided to pardon me because of my illness and chose a shorter route. It's around 4km from Serangoon to Bishan Park. (It's really short. Unlike the 28km route to Punggol. Pardon my fatty thighs please!)

Bishan Park is one of my favourite parks in Singapore. On weekends, you will see lots of children playing along the water bank (Yes, you are allowed to go down to the stream to catch small fishes, tadpoles, insects such as water boatman.) It is also a great place for parents to teach their children about water plants and insects. In my opinion, the best way to learn something is to really seeing it.(Ok, I am not a parent. Too young to be one, but I just thought it will be a nice place for a family to bond and have fun!)
There are also sun benches where couples like M and I can lie down on to chit chat and enjoy the breeze. There are also more than enough space for friends to gather and play frisbee (Though I guess Botanic Garden seems to be more of a picnic place for me.)
We wanted to go prawning at HaiBin (Bishan). If you have not already known how much I like to prawn. However, when we reached there, we realised that they have ceased operations due to the high rent. Disappointed, we cycled back home. (Hahaha because I rejected M's idea of cycling to Marymount to eat ice cream at Salted Caramel because I really didn't feel very well. )
I highly recommend going on cycling trips in Singapore. Dating in Singapore can be much more fun than just going to malls in Orchard Road and squeeze around with people. Something out of the normal can be just as fun and interesting. Hope to go on another one soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Prawning

Dust and I like to prawn. Actually, I like to prawn and Dust like to eat the prawns. Haha. While many people laugh and think that prawning in a concrete pond is lame, I still like it. The thrill of having a bite, the frustration of losing your bite and catch, the satisfaction from counting your catch for the day. All these just made me keep going back. 

For those who are interested to prawn, here are some of the places where Dust and I prawn at. Don't be too cruel to the prawns! Have fun!

1. Haibin @ Bishan
This outlet used to be very popular. They have closed their operations there citing high rental costs. 

2. Bottle Tree Park (Yishun) 
While we only went to the prawning and fishing place, it is really more of a Kampong style farm/ park. The reason why the place is called the Bottle Tree Park is because of the Bottle Tree located in the park. There aren't many Bottle Trees in Singapore, thus having a bottle tree does make the place unique and attractive to some. 

Although I had bad catch while prawning at The Bottle Tree Park, I will say that the environment is very conducive for outings with the family or couple dates. The environment was very not as man-made. The pond was not concrete pond but  like a real pond with a tree in the middle of the pond.  Besides the prawning pond, there was also a mini "stream" where kids are able to catch guppies and bring them home. (In comparison, Hai Bin offers the 'tub' experience.) 

3. Haibin @ Punggol

This is the place where I prawn the most often. Firstly, it is because of the location. It is conveniently located next to the Riveria LRT station thus making it easy to get there.  

Secondly, prawning at Punggol fits nicely into our fun-filled activity plan. Sometimes, Dust and I would from Serangoon to Punggol. Thus, prawning will be one of our pit-stop. After prawning, we would take a relaxing stroll at Punggol Promenade and Punggol Waterway. It was really relaxing and interesting!

In terms of catch, I think it is one of the places with the most number of prawning ponds. They also release prawns into the ponds frequently. For those who would like to watch soccer, they show soccer matches at Banyan Tree (next to the prawning pond).  

Besides prawning, the place also houses a fishing pond. It is really interesting to watch. On weekdays, you even see some guys in office wear battling with the fish! However, do stand behind the yellow line when watching or you might get injured.

4. Haibin @ Jurong 
This is the newest facility which Haibin has. It is located next to Jurong Bird Park at The Village. It can be rather inconvenient for some, as it is really in the West of Singapore. The attractive part about prawning here is that they have a Yabby Pond (Yabbies are baby lobsters). So that might be an interesting experience for some. However, I had a hard time trying to catch the yabbies because the techniques used for catching prawns and yabbies are really different. Therefore, you will have to pay some "school fees" to learn how to.

However, in comparison to the Haibin outlet in Punggol, this facility has 2 ponds only. As the place is near NTU, they do have special discounts for NTU students. However, I am not very sure about how much the discounts are.
Similar to the outlet at Punggol, they have BBQ pits for cooking your prawns :)
The big prawn which I caught which is as big as my face! Not the biggest prawn that I have caught though!
The big prawn which I caught which is as big as my face! Not the biggest prawn that I have caught though!
Prawns on the BBQ.
Prawns on the BBQ.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Taipei - SYS Memorial Hall, Cat Cafe, Shilin Night Market


Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

After having beef noodles for lunch, we made our way to the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. To be honest, I was rather disappointed with this memorial hall as I was expecting a clearer organisation of information as well as more in depth information of the revolution. There were not many exhibits, nevertheless, you can still have a brief idea of what happened. 

This picture is slightly blur. In the main hall, there are soldiers who are on duty. They do not move (yes, they dont even blink). Therefore, flash photography is not allowed in the main hall as the lights might hurt the soldiers' eyes. The guard duty is rotated among the land, air and navy. There is a change over of duty every hour. Many tourists would stay to see the change over.

Cat Cafe 猫花园

Nearest MRT: Zhi Shan 

The cat cafe is located just beside 芝山捷運站. (which is really near to ShiLin Night market). The cafe has 13 cats and 1 dog. They were pretty sleepy at the time when we go over. The price of the food items was rather affordable for a cafe. Therefore, if you are interested, you can just chill there with the kitty sitting next to you. *note* do buy some kitty snacks or the cats will not give a damn about you hahaha!


ShiLin Night Market

Taking a 10 min walk from the cat cafe  which is just opposite the mrt station),  we reached Shilin Night market for our dinner.

The night market is open from 3pm to 2am. Here are some of the food recommendations based on my research ( guidebook and other blogs).
  • 豪大大鸡排
I have to say that this is totally not worth your stomach space.  While there was a long queue for this famous fried chicken. They also had an outlet at Ximending which had virtually no queue. In addition, I find the fried chicken not as tasty as the Singapore branch as the chicken was a lot more oily. 
  • 吉利 oyster mee sua NT50
The oyster mee sua is rather smooth and nice. It is worth you try. There are a lot of stores selling oyster mee sua at the underground area of the night market. I am not very sure whether it is nice, but I guess you can to try to this when you are in Taiwan. Give this a try and compare to the famous 阿宗面线 at Ximending. 
  • 大头龙蚵仔煎
I realised that I really do not like the oyster omelette, no matter how famous they are because of the gravy which they put on the omelette which causes the omelette to lose it's crispiness. Nevertheless, do give it a try to compare the differences between the Taiwan and Singapore Oyster Omelette.

Here are other famous food stalls which I didn't get to try:
  • (老士林)大饼包小饼 NT35
  • 日上铁板烧 NT200
  • 上海生煎包 NT 10
  • 士林香肠
  • 辛发亭冰店 NT50

Taipei - 228 Peace Park, National Taiwan Museum, 良品红烧牛肉面

228 Peace Park

In terms of the architecture, there isn't any particularly unique features about the place. It reminds me of the Chinese Garden in Singapore, just that it is a lot cleaner and more up-kept than what we have in Singapore.

The park was established in 1908 as Taihoku Park when Taiwan was still under the Japanese Rule. In 1945, KMT came over the Taiwan. The park was then renamed as Taipei New Park. According to the Taiwan Tourism Board website, the economic monopoly and corruption of the government led to civil resistance. On February 27, 1947, people gathered in front of the police department but were shot by the soldiers. The next day, people gathered in the Taipei Park and broadcast the movement at the radio station. The KMT government used military force to restrain the protesters and arrested alleged participants afterward. In order to relieve this historic pain, the park was renamed to 228 Memorial Peace Park in 1996. 

National Taiwan Museum

Silence please... 
To be honest, there isn't any particularly interesting museum in Taiwan. While reviews said that it is worth visiting, I would think that you might want to skip this place if you are not particularly interested in Taiwan's history and politics. 

While we wanted to make a trip down to the Presidential Building. The area was closed due to the protest again building a nuclear plant in Taiwan. If you were there, do make it a point to go during the weekends. On weekends, visitors are allowed entry to the entrance and presidential reception area which is grand. It was a pity that we didn't get to go.

良品牛肉面

Nearest MRT: Taipei Main Station
After all the walking, of course our bellies are rambling! (Not literally. In Taiwan, there is no such thing as being hungry.) We ate at 良品牛肉面.  After comparing with RuiFang Beef Noodles, we felt that this was still the best beef noodles! 

The tendon was soft and the beef melts in your mouth. The beef was well seasoned and he broth was just right and tasty. While I find the noodles rather normal, I think the rest of the ingredients elevates the dish.  Do hop by to try. This is Crystal Jade/Din Tai Feng (Singapore) or any other restaurant you can think of, but at hawker centre price. Totally worth a trip there if you are nearby.

Address: 开封街一段 10 号 
Cost: $150 (if my memory did not fail me. For a bowl with half tendon and half beef.半筋半肉)