Travel Diary: Babymoon in Taiwan

Saturday, January 27, 2018

#WalkwithChaMikeinTaiwan #ChaMikeBabymoon

Finally, Taiwan! Mike and I had planned for this trip since last year. Yes, we even bought airfare tickets and booked a hotel on the same month last 2016, but unfortunately our plans didn't push through because we had work (good thing we were blessed enough to refund ALL of our expenses because of a change of flight schedule from the airlines' end 🙌)

Because everything happened so fast (getting married and having a baby!) we figured that Mike and I might have to sacrifice most of our future travel plans as we need to focus more on our baby so we really made this trip happen while the baby is still in my tummy and while I am still safe to travel (I was 29-30 weeks pregnant). This would be our last travel without a baby on board.

So after 1 year, our Taiwan dream came into reality. Our last out of the country trip for the year 2017 and our first for 2018. 

So why a Babymoon in Taiwan? While I've been here once, Mike and my parents haven't yet. My husband wanted to witness the fireworks display at Taipei 101 during new year and I, on the other hand wanted to experience the sky lanterns in Jiufen, perfect to start the year. Stayed here for 5 full days, from December 30 - January 3. I just have to tell you that it was not the typical #walkwithcham pace (the jam-packed itinerary) as I was pregnant along with two senior citizens so we had a lighter schedule and we used a cab most of the time every time we were too tired to use the MRT.

Day 1 | Check in at Airbnb, Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Ximending Night Market
Availed of an airport transfer going to our Airbnb. We checked in at our Airbnb in Banqiao district and slept the whole morning. In the afternoon, we roamed around Huashan 1914 Creative Park and in the evening went to Ximending night market for some market finds and dinner. 

Airbnb building
Lobby, elevator and our unit's front door
Our Airbnb is a loft type condominium with kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room and bedroom. Not really my top choice but because it was a holiday, most of the listings were unavailable.

Kitchen, dining area with only 2 chairs
Living room and two queen size beds at the second floor loft
Toilet and Bath
Our morning view
I chose this listing because of how close the MRT is. Xinpu Station is located just below the actual building
The building has a Family Mart, Grocery, a number of restaurants and a food court
The next day, we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant  inside the building 
Our lunch, I have so many side dishes. Hehe
Using their metro going to Zhong Xiao Xing Sheng MRT Station

MRT with the parents

Huashan 1914 Creative Park
An art center that host cultural activities and exhibits. A place for hipsters and millennials who enjoy taking artsy photos and hang out in a cool relaxed vibe. 

Huashan 1914 Creative Park
Resting (preggy and senior parentals)
An IG worthy backdrop
Relaxing again with my parentals
Another IG worthy backdrop
Yes, we just had to. 
You'll find many artsy shops and restaurants too
Drinks and dessert 
Another backdrop
Laser lights

Ximending Night Market
After a couple of hours we went to Ximending Night Market.

Ximending Station
3 floor KFC

Ximending Night Market
Street food
Had dinner at Ximending, a gratin restaurant 
Chicken with Potato Gratin
Day 2 | Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen, Shifen Old Street
The next day is New Year's Eve. It was a jam-packed day. Because we wanted to feel relaxed instead of using public transportation going to Yehliu Geopark, Jiufen and Shifen Old Street we booked a Pinoy guide to take us there. (Read: Babymoon in Taiwan: Day Tour in Yehliu, Shine & Jiufen)

Yehliu Geopark
First stop - Yehliu Geopark
It was raining that time so we had no choice but to buy raincoats
Look at the rock formation
Preggy at Yehliu Geopark
My rock
Particularly windy

After a quick photo session we went back to our van
Jiufen Waterfalls
Had a very quick photo session at the waterfalls

Second Stop - Jiufen Waterfalls
With family
Jiufen Teahouse
Famous for the animated movie 'Spirited Away', we spent a couple of hours wandering around, appreciating local delicacies and trinkets, we also had our lunch here. And it was still raining. boo. 

3rd stop - Jiufen

Mama looking for something to buy
Our lunch at a cozy restaurant 
Yum yum!
The famous Jiufen Teahouse
New Years Eve pictorial
Shifen Old Street
4th and last stop. We wanted to make our 2018 right so we wrote down our personal prayers for the year. They say that all your prayers will come true when you release a lantern here. 

4th stop - Shifen Old Street
Writing our prayers
Every color has a significant type of prayer - green is for growth
Time to release our lanterns
Good thing we rented a van during the whole trip as we slept and relaxed during the travel period which was good for me and my parents. After the tour, we had dinner at the foodcourt of the building that we stayed in. We ate a tonkatsu restaurant this time. 

2nd day Dinner
Tonkatsu Dinner
Taipei 101
After dinner, we all went back to our unit and rested. Mike, on the other hand, went to see the famous fireworks display at Taipei 101. It had been on our bucket list since last year and because I was pregnant I wasn't able to join him. Good thing we went home with all the nice photos and videos he took during the event. Happy New Year indeed!

Taipei 101
Beautiful fireworks!
Happy New Year!!!
Day 3 | Maternity Pictorial, Shilin Night Market
The first day of 2018 was spent with our baby. A maternity pictorial at one of the most iconic campuses in Taipei by Ann of Sweetidleness Photography (Read: Babymoon in Taiwan: Maternity Pictorial). After pretending to be models we went to Shilin Night Market to look for fab finds and had dinner at a famous themed restaurant, Modern Toilet.

Maternity Pictorial at National Taiwan University
This was an iconic place as it was the school location of the phenomenal TV series, Meteor Garden

Channeling Sanchai & Dao Ming Zu
Bridges of LOVE
#ChaMommy and #DaddyMike
Shilin Night Market
One of the famous night markets in Taipei, you can see different shops like souvenir, clothing, delicacies, restaurants. It is also well-known for the Taiwan's street food (too bad I wasn't allowed to eat any street food according to my OB)

Shilin Night Market
Night shopping with this one
Modern Toilet
A unique bathroom-themed restaurant chain in Taiwan. Modern Toilet is quite popular not just with the locals but also with tourists. It is a must to visit this restaurant when in Taiwan, so we did. 

Modern Toilet
Friend Chicken, Chicken Curry, Hot Pot and Steak all in a bathroom looking presentation
Ordered Poop ice cream!
Literally sitting on a toilet
Parents enjoying their toilet themed food
Day 4 | Din Tai Fung, Ikea, Brick Works Cafe, Ximending Night Market
The next day, my parents decided to stay at our Airbnb to rest while me and Mike roamed around Taipei. First we had lunch at Din Tai Fung, a very popular restaurant which originated in Taiwan and is popular in different parts of the world. After filling our tummy with good Taiwanese food we went gaga over IKEA to buy stuff for our baby and our home. Snacked at Brick Works Cafe, a Lego themed cafe near Ikea then capped the night off by going shopping at Ximending with Mama.

Love their MRT 
Their public transportation is very efficient and convenient like HK, SG, Japan and Korea 
Using the priority seat inside the MRT 
Best travel partner!
Preggy Pose!
Din Tai Fung
A very famous restaurant known all over the world for their famous xialongbao (soup dumplings). Din Tai Fung originated in Taiwan so obviously dining in any of the branches here is a challenge. Because we wanted to taste the OG, we accepted the challenge and lined up during its opening for our lunch. 

Din Tai Fung
Look at the crowd at the back, they're all waiting for Din Tai Fung to open!
The moment the mall opened everybody hurriedly went to line up.
Waiting for our turn
Yes! We were able join the first batch of customers!
Checking out what baby and I can eat

Steamed Shrimp and Pork Dumplings, Stir Fried Spinach, Din Tai Fung House Special, Shrimp Fried Rice 
The OG Xiaolongbao
Hungry family!
Eating the yummy xiaolongbao
Checking out the artisans
I've been dreaming of going back to this place ever since Mike and I moved in together. They sell really affordable Scandinavian home furnishings so I bought storage items and baby stuff.

My super duper happy place!
Happy shopper!
Self Service, bought a trolley for baby stuff storage
My handsome assistant! 😍
Brick Works Cafe at Taipei Arena
Before we left the area, we tried this cute Lego themed cafe near IKEA. Brick Works Cafe is located inside Taipei Arena, they serve Lego themed snacks, desserts and drinks. 

Taipei Arena
Brick Works Cafe
Inside the cute cafe
Lego Waffle with Chocolate Ice Cream for Mike
Lego Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream for me
The kids-at-heart
Night Shopping at Ximending
After unloading the IKEA items we bought, we decided to shop on our last night at Ximending, this time with my Mama!

Mama using the Metro
Mama at Ximending
Bought pasalubong
Day 5 | Taichung & Taipei 101
On our last day we went to Taichung, a province outside Taipei about 1 hour travel time via High Speed Railway. We only visited two destinations - Rainbow Village and Houli Flower Garden. There are a lot more places to see in Taichung but because we had limited time, we settled for just visiting the two (Read: Babymoon in Taiwan: Half Day Tour in Taiwan

High Speed Train

Inside the super fast and clean HSR 
HSR in Taichung
Rainbow Village
Our first stop 
A small area with colorful painted murals


Have a rainbow filled year ahead!
Houli Flower Garden
Our second and last stop

Houli Flower Garden 
I 💗U


After visiting the Houli Flower Farm we went back again to the station
Went straight at Taipei 101
We had a quick stop at GU, my fave Japanese boutique
Bought some! WOOT
Last family photo before we leave Taiwan!
Kicking off the year 2018 in Taiwan was indeed a good idea! Now time to concentrate on our baby girl. It might take us quite a while to travel again but I'm excited that when it happens we will be traveling with our little one! 

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