In House Hotel Taipei

I went to Taipei Taiwan with Amma last month, just the two of us. I had to arrange and book everything by myself because she just wanted to follow me. A typical parent’s behavior, which I appreciate because I love making decisions. A control freak here.

This time I chose the Taipei hotel based on an Agoda review score because I had never been to Taiwan before, I didn’t know how to speak the local language, and, from what I learned, not everyone could speak English. To be on the safe side, since I was bringing only my mother, I chose a well-known-well-reviewed-but-affordable hotel.

My favorite part of our Taipei hotel, Taipei Inhouse Hotel, besides its room, was the lobby. Every night, I snuck out after my Amma fell asleep and spent many hours there. Apart from being decorated with red sleazy pub lighting, there were comfortable sofas and a pair of MacBooks for guest use. I read books, wrote postcards, drafted blog posts (which are still in the draft folder, gaah…), replied to Facebook messages, and tweeted “I am in Taipei! I can’t believe it!!” every fifteen minutes.

Another part that I like about the hotel? Yep, you guessed it right. It was WAKA WAKA, the restaurant, where we had a sumptuous breakfast every morning. I loved the spread of choices they had. It was mainly Western; no complaint from me. I don’t eat a western breakfast at home, so it was still a treat.

What I most loved about this restaurant, though, was the quality time I spent with my mama. We would choose a table by the window, pile on our buffet breakfast, and spend a good hour there talking and taking selfies together. Until today, I can still recall what she wore on a particular morning in that restaurant. The sweet memory stuck with me.

The room was a bargain; it came with a flat-screen TV with many channels, including HBO and Star World, my lifelong companions. The bed was a 5-star hotel’s standard (disclosure: I never stayed in a 5-star hotel before, but I assumed the bed would be this awesome!). My mama always takes extra-long hours to shower and get ready; I spent them wisely on the bed watching back to back episodes of ANTM. One of the lessons I learned from it was that there is that a model look and a movie star look and you can’t be a model if you have a movie star look. Now don’t give me a confused look because those words come from Tyra herself.

The bathroom was my favorite part of the room because of the amenities. Their bath items are L’occitane people! I never even bought L’occitane before because it was not within my budget, so my pampering bathing goods stop at Bodyshop’s Honeymania. So, I did what Ross did. After using it, I kept it away each morning and yes, they topped it up. Everything! Except for the toothbrush because I didn’t keep it in the first place. I am not that cheap, and it wasn’t L’occitane in the first place.

There was a unique thing in the bathroom. A blowfish-shaped box on top of the toilet. I first thought it was a tissue box, but nope, it was a coin box. What did they expect us to do with it? To develop a saving habit by putting a coin before using the toilet? Weird. Speaking of the toilet, you know how much I love high-tech Japanese toilets. I wish I could buy one but no because: It was too darned expensive It would be hard to fit in my luggage, and I don’t have a home to put it in.

I bid a sad goodbye to them on my last day in Japan only to find out that I got to see them again in the Inhouse Taipei hotel!

The staff here spoke fluent English and were friendly, helpful, and generally good looking. Overall, I enjoyed their service.

Lastly, the main reason I chose the Inhouse hotel was that of the location. It’s right smack in the middle ofXimeding. It is one of the busiest, liveliest, and most happening places in Taipei.  We could roam around and shop until late at night without worrying about taking a cab or train back. Any tour guide knows where the Inhouse hotel is, and we always get picked up there instead of meeting at a train station or somewhere else. Also, the bubble tea counter was a minute away from the hotel.

It suddenly crossed my mind that I should have written a review to Agoda about it and earned their 500 points. Do they still accept almost a year late review?

Anyway, the next time you are in Taipei consider staying at the Inhouse hotel and get ready to explore Ximending.

For food choices in Taipei, check out uncle Tehpeng’s Taipei food adventure.

Northeast Taiwan Trip

It was a cold afternoon and started to drizzle when we started our tour to Taiwan’s Northeast part.

The first stop was Yin Yang Sea, also known as the Bay of Two Colors. Blending with the pacific ocean, it’s locally known as a breakup stop. The bay has a light brown and blue sea colour side by side. They said that the stream running through an abandoned gold mine has gradually brought trace amounts of gold into the bay hence the light brown colour. Cool. Along the bay, there were people fishing, in the cold winter rain.

We then stopped by a small fisherman temple, where they brought fresh catches as offerings.

A little uphill hike, near the now-abandoned mine we saw the famous Golden Waterfall. Same as the Yin Yang Sea before, this waterfall has golden coloured sand which sparkles in the sunlight. Must be a fantastic view to see, too bad the weather was gloomy when we were there.

Amma said, “What do they mean by gold? It is just brown” sunlight Ma we need sunlight.

We also saw a massive graveyard facing the pacific sea, which Feng Shui wise believed to be auspicious for the departed.

Taiwan Itinerary

Here is my Taiwan itinerary that I shared with Amma to ease her anxiety about travelling to a foreign land.

26 January 2013
6 AM – Land in the airport
7 AM – Leave the luggage in the hotel
8 AM – Breakfast and walk around the neighbourhood
Noon – Lunch
1 PM – Tour
6 PM – Check-in and quick rest
8 PM – Dinner
9 PM – Sleep early

27 January 2013
6 AM – Day trip to Taroko Gorge and Hualien
7 PM – Shower and quick rest
8 PM – Dinner

28 January 2013
8 AM – City Tour
2 PM – Late lunch
3 PM – Quick rest at the hotel
6 PM – Taipei 101
7 PM – Dinner at the Night Market

29 January 2013
8 AM – Chill and enjoy the city
11 AM – Check out from the hotel
Noon – Airport
3 PM – Flight back to Singapore

But First Beanie

I’ll be in Taiwan during the winter season and my only beanie was forgotten and left on the Amsterdam tram, I had been looking for a replacement for it all over Orchard. I had been to Top Shop, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Promod, and Mango, but couldn’t find something I like and within my budget. What I liked usually in the kids’ section, which didn’t fit my head.

I finally resolved to online shopping. After browsing through the much raved ASOS, I found what I like. It’s beige in color and has glitters! YAY!

I just clicked buy. Will take some pics with it in Taiwan and post it here.

Why Taiwan?

I  recently realized that even though it has been some time since I started to travel, I have never taken Amma anywhere yet. You know just the two of us.

After hours and hours of effort to convince her, my plane-fearing-cost-calculating Amma agreed to go with me.

Somewhere, anywhere“, she gave in.

My second task was to choose the destination. I only considered taking her somewhere nearby, neighboring countries, like Vietnam; which was my first choice, but something happened and we had to cross off Vietnam from the list. So we booked the ticket to the second choice instead, Taiwan, the heart of Asia.

When I told a friend that we are going to Taiwan, she asked why Taiwan?

Well, why not?

It’s close by, it’s the place of bubble tea and natural beauty. We are going to Taipei and I have been familiarizing myself with it. I have got our visas approved, booked the hotel and tours, also I added some Taiwanese blogs into my feed. I think I got everything covered.

Two weeks to go, you guys!

This will be our first mother-daughter trip together to a foreign land. We both are super looking forward to it.