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CHERRY BLOSSOMS (櫻花)


TAIPEI (台北)


NEW TAIPEI (新北)


YILAN (宜蘭)- NORTHERN TAIWAN


HUALIEN (花蓮) - TAROKO (太魯閣)



SUN MOON LAKE (日月潭)


TAICHUNG (台中) - CENTRAL TAIWAN


TAITUNG (台東) - EAST RIFT VALLEY (花東縱谷)


KENTING (墾丁) - SOUTHERN TAIWAN


OUTLYING ISLANDS


NEW


Delicious mochi covered with powdered peanut brittle, red beans plus taro.  Put them together on top of shaved ice, add condensed milk and you a have summer dessert that will surely beat the heat in Taipei.





You can eat the mysterious food along the historic Futai Street of Taipei. Hungry visitors can find the store by walking from Exit Z10 of Taipei Main Station.  Turn left once you reached the Postal Office or the North Gate.   You will find the dessert shop after walking for a few meters.  The store is also accessible via the MRT Beimen Station.

Street view from the North Gate. left side: camera street; right side: Futai Street

A couple enjoys taking pictures at Taipei's North Gate
delivery bike of the dessert shop

Meet Desserts is the English name of the store

The restaurant is not air-conditioned. So if you are expecting to get a relief from the sun, then you might get disappointed. I suggests going at 6:00 pm but not after 8:30 pm when the shop is about to close.  I went here at 7:30 pm and I was immediately served with my order because there were a few customers.


The store has a menu with photos of the food with its English descriptions, making it easy for foreigners to order.  To make my life easier, I showed to the staff, the picture of the dessert (through my smartphone) that I wanted to eat.  They immediately got what I was looking for, the mysterious dessert with three toppings.








I watched closely how the dessert was made.  First, the soft mochi (which has been covered with powdered peanut brittle) was placed on top of the ice.   It will be followed with taro and finally, the red beans.  To make it more dramatic, the staff will add more peanut to cover the soft mochi balls, plus a splash of condensed milk to make your dessert unforgettable.




While the condensed milk started to flow on the toppings, like an oozing lava coming out from a volcano, I tried to take a bite of the mochi.  It tasted really great! Superb! It was so perfect.  





Underneath the mochi, taro and red beans is a special shaved ice

And when I scooped the white ice, I got surprised of its taste.  It was no ordinary shaved ice that you will find in night markets in Taiwan.  It was creamy and probably mixed with condensed milk.   The mochi with peanuts was the one I enjoyed the most.  Eating the taro will make your stomach full, as if you have eaten a full meal.  Overall, I will give this Taiwanese dessert a perfect 5 out of 5 on my rating system.


Meet Desserts (來呷甜甜品)
address: 100, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District, Yanping South Road, 11號
opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm
[Google Map]

How to go: MRT Taipei Main Station (Blue Line/Red Line) -> Exit Z10 [Google Map] -> walk to the dessert shop

My order:


shaved snow ice with hot mochi, taro, red bean, condense milk and peanut powder (NTD 105)

My rating: 5 out 5 luomujie stars

Rapsa is a slang for the Filipino word "sarap" which means delicious. Delicious -> sarap -> "rapsa" (inverted syllable order). The "Rapsa Edition" Travel Series will take readers to the tastiest and yummiest foods in Taipei. Get to know the best desserts, and local delicacies that Taiwan's capital has to offer, through this subprogram of the luomujie blog.

THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI

TAIWAN SHAVED ICE DESSERTS



Mochi covered with peanut powder + Taro + Red Beans Shaved Ice Dessert [2019 Rapsa Edition]

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Jellies that look so delicious to eat.  I imagine putting them into my mouth to find out what do they taste like.  My quest for this Taiwanese dessert prompted me to open again the "Rapsa Edition" Travel Series.  The luomujie blog will search once again, the best tasting summer coolers in Taipei and my first stop: Right Ice Cream store.








Yes, you read it right.  The English name of the store is Right Ice Cream with its Chinese name as 來特冰淇淋 which means "special ice cream".  I would say that this dessert shop is unassuming.  It's not the typical Taiwanese store with lots of customers.  I visited on a weekday night, so that could be the reason.

Feeling confused because of the look of the place, I talked to someone, which I infer as the owner of the store. He spoke good English, answering my question if they are offering a jelly kind of dessert.  And he said yes.




Right Ice Cream store's menu changes depending on the season.  So for the hot summer months, you can expect to have some ice cream and their best seller, the starch jelly ice.

The menu of Right Ice Cream shop.  Aside from their starch jelly ice best-seller, there's also panna cotta, sherbet and the classic ice cream on a cone.


The start jelly ice cost NTD 80 and I wasn't expecting anything about it.  I was more curious if the cubes are so soft that they can wiggle on a tiny fork.  Haha!  Being made from starch, they tasted like the tapioca pearls of your favorite bubble tea in Taiwan. 










Adding more flavor to the food is the tiny cup of beans which I also loved.  The large wooden spoon made it easy for me to scoop them.  


The jellies are not that sweet and just right enough to be enjoyed.  But what I noticed about the preparation of the cubes, was that it was kept secret, hidden on the other side of the curtains covering the kitchen.  I only saw how the ice was scooped into a cup and what happens next.  I don't know!  The cup of ice was brought inside the kitchen and after a few minutes. My tray of food was lay on the table in front of me.  I grabbed the wooden spoon and the rest was history!



My order:
starch jelly ice: NTD 80

Right Ice Cream (來特冰淇淋)
address: No. 54號, Lane 36, Section 4, Bade Road, Songshan District, Taipei City, 105
opening hours: Wednesday to Monday 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm

How to go: Taipei MRT (Blue Line) Sun-yat Sen Memorial Hall Station -> Exit 5 -> walk to Right Ice Cream Store [Google Map]

Rapsa is a slang for the Filipino word "sarap" which means delicious. Delicious -> sarap -> "rapsa" (inverted syllable order). The "Rapsa Edition" Travel Series will take readers to the tastiest and yummiest foods in Taipei. Get to know the best desserts, and local delicacies that Taiwan's capital has to offer, through this subprogram of the luomujie blog.

THINGS TO DO IN TAIPEI



Taiwanese dessert - starch jelly ice [2019 Rapsa Edition]

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Dear Luo-Mu Jie,

Hi! Just me call "Dani girl" and I'm an OFW (overseas Filipino worker) here in Taichung. I just want to know, is it possible to have a private tour and visit Gaomei Wetlands, Xinshe Castle, Houli Flower Farm and Rainbow Village in one day for only NTD 600?

-------------------------

No Dani girl! NTD 600 is way too cheap that taxi or even private car drivers will be losing money instead of earning. The cheapest that I know is NTD 797 per person and that is via tripool taxi (web app: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji). And if and only if you will bring with you, your daughter Marga, Carlos, Savannah, your Ninang and at least 3 of your yayas. I know you don't want Romina and Cassie to join the trip so that makes a total of 8 people (Marga+Carlos+Savannah+Ninang+3 yayas+you). Haha!

Look at the table below to see the prices for each pick-up point-drop-off point.

Suggested tripool taxi itinerary of 8 people for Gaomei Wetlands, Xinshe Castle, Houli Flower Farm and Rainbow Village. If you want to follow this itinerary, you should make separate bookings in the tripool web app for each pick-up point - drop-off point pair.

tripool taxi web app: https://www.tripool.app/?utm_source=luomuji
Pick-up pointDestinationEstimated fareSuggested pick-up time
TRA Taichung StationXinshe CastleNTD 1,3809:00 am to 9:30 am
Xinshe CastleRainbow Military Dependents` Village
(Rainbow Village)
NTD 1,45711:30 am to 12:00 noon
Rainbow Military Dependents` Village
(Rainbow Village)
Chungshe Tourism Flower Market
(Houli Flower Farm)
NTD 1,2641:30 pm to 2:00 pm
Chungshe Tourism Flower Market
(Houli Flower Farm)
Gaomei WetlandsNTD 1,2184:30 pm to 5:00 pm
(adjust depending on estimated sunset time)
Gaomei WetlandsCingshuei StationNTD 1,0567:00 pm to 7:30 pm
BUDGET PER PERSON FOR A GROUP OF 8 PEOPLENTD 797-

If you will check the table above Dani girl, the final drop-off point for this NTD 797 budget trip for 8 people is Qingshui Station. So you must still ride a local train back to TRA Taichung Station. For a more hassle-free travel back to downtown, you can opt to choose TRA Taichung Station as your final drop-off point, but that will increase the budget per person to 859.50 NTD. But I know, that you Dani girl as the CEO of Camila Sardines, you can afford to pay this amount of money. Haha!

Before I end this post, let me remind you of some things to be able to accomplish this NTD 797 per head Taichung budget challenge:

1. You have to book five times in the tripool web app for each drop-off point-pick-up point and you will have the pay the full amount first. For your convenience, collect the money from your friends before you book the trip on the online app.

Also, the Houli Flower Farm and Xinshe Castle require tickets before you can enter these tourist attractions, so don't forget to bring extra money.

2. If you choose to return to TRA Taichung Station from Gaomei Wetlands, then the budget per person will be ~NTD 860.

3. Book tripool taxi before 3:00 pm, at least one day before your trip.

4. You create your own itinerary with tripool taxi, so you can add or remove a tourist spot in Taichung based on your interest.

5. The tripool taxi fares I listed above are estimated prices and they can be higher or lower when you check them in the web app, depending if there is a sudden change of price or if you got some discount coupons.

And oh! Before I forget, you can bring your red luggage with you. Just ask the tripool taxi driver to put it at the boot/trunk of the car.

"Dani girl" refers to the main antagonist of a popular Filipino afternoon drama.

THINGS TO DO IN TAICHUNG - CENTRAL TAIWAN



NTD 600 per head Gaomei Wetlands + Houli Farm + Xinshe Castle + Rainbow Village [Ask Luo-Mu Jie]

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Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai. Also known as the Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival, this is the most anticipated event in Taiwan every summer. Come and join the event this 2019. The one-man team luomujie blog created this travel guide to help you have a wonderful hot air balloon experience. From the various ways to go to Taitung up to the scheduled events, everything you need to know about the festival is on this page.

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks
Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

1. When is the 2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival?

The 2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival will run from June 29 to Aug. 12

2. How to go to Taitung

The easiest way to go to Taitung is to fly from Taipei Songshan Airport, but most people prefer to ride the TRA train to Taitung Station. If you're coming from Taipei, it will be difficult to get tickets for the Taipei-Taitung trip. The demand is so high that it becomes impossible to go to the east coast of Taiwan. Luckily, the High Speed Rail along the west coast of Taiwan makes it possible to travel to Kaohsiung, and then transfer to a TRA express train at Xin Zuoying Station to get to Taitung Station.

People from Taoyuan, Taichung, Chiayi and especially Tainan, should just go south to Kaohsiung via the High Speed Rail network. I have included the klook links so you will get 20% discount for your HSR tickets. To book a train ticket for the TRA, just follow the link that I have given. You will be directed to the English version of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) online booking website [Reserve here]. Select your origin, destination (ex. Taitung Station) and the date you want to travel. The train timetable will be shown for your chosen date. To book a seat, click the ticket icon under the "Order tickets" column. A new page will open where you will type your passport number. Press the inquiry button again. You will know if there is a seat or not. If you got a seat, continue the booking process. If not, just opt for the HSR method.

Read the table below to know more about the different ways to go to Taitung.

Comparison of the different ways to go to Taitung, where to buy tickets online, prices and expected travel time
RouteMode of transportationTerminalWhere to buy tickets onlineTicket priceTravel Time
TAIPEI to TAITUNGby train via TRATaipei Main Station

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 783 3.5 to 4.5 hours
(Puyuma or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)

[high demand]
[difficult to get tickets]
by plane via
UNI Air
Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA)[Google Map]

[to Taitung Airport (TTT)]
UNI Air website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,566 (promo)

NTD 2,280 (regular)
65 minutes
by plane via
Mandarin Airlines
Mandarin Airlines website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,560 (promo)

NTD 2,303 (regular)
50 minutes
TAIPEI TO KAOHSIUNG

(then follow the Kaohsiung to Taitung route below)
by train via HSRTaipei Main Station (or HSR Banqiao Station or HSR Nangang Station)

[to HSR Zuoying (Kaohsiung) Station]
NTD 1,1921.5 hours to
2 hours and 15 minutes
KAOHSIUNG TO TAITUNGby Bus 0978
[route and timetable]
via
Kuo-Kuang bus
and
Kaohsiung Bus company
Kaohsiung Main Station (Kuo-Kuang bus terminal)
[Google Map]

[to TRA Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
buy your tickets at the bus stationNTD 1863.5 to 4 hours
by Bus 1778
[route and timetable]
via
Kuo-Kuang bus company
Kaohsiung Main Station (Kuo-Kuang bus terminal)
[Google Map]

[to Taitung Bus Station/Taitung Transfer Station]
[Google Map]
NTD 540
by train via TRATRA Xinzuoying Station[Google Map]
(connected to HSR Zuoying Station)

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]

Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 294
(Chu-Kuang Express)

NTD 370
(Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
3 to 4 hours
(Chu-Kuang Express)

2.5 to 3 hours
(Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains)
TAIPEI to HUALIEN

(then follow the Hualien to Taitung route below)
Taipei Main Station

[to Hualien Station]
NTD 340
(Chu-Kuang Express)

NTD 440
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
2.5 to 4 hours
(Chu-Kuang Express)

2 to 3 hours
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
by bus then local train
via combo ticket
Taipei City Hall Bus Station to TRA Luodong Rear Station [Google Map]
by bus

TRA Luodong Station to TRA Hualien Station [Google Map]by train
Taipei City Hall Bus Station (MRT Taipei City Hall Station [Blue Line] Exit 2

[buy the combo tickets at Taipei City Hall Bus Station]
NTD 209
(if there are no local trains when you arrive at Luodong Station,
will need to add ~NTD 70 to upgrade for an express train ticket)
3 to 4 hours
(the earlier, the better)
HUALIEN to TAITUNGby train via TRAHualien Station


[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 220
(local train, no need to reserve)

NTD 343
(Puyuma or Tze-Chiang Limited Express train, book online to reserve)

more than 3 hours
local train

1.5 to 3 hours
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
TAICHUNG to HUALIEN

(then follow the Hualien to Taitung route above)
by plane via
Mandarin Airlines
Taichung Airport

[to Hualien Airport]
Mandarin Airlines website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,159 (promo)

NTD 2,318 (regular)
60 minutes

(after arriving at Hualien Airport, board a taxi to TRA Hualien Station)
[Google Map]
TAICHUNG to TAITUNGby train via TRA

(2 or 3 trains depart per day)
TRA Taichung Station[Google Map]

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 641 to NTD 8065.5 hours
TAICHUNG TO KAOHSIUNG by train via HSR

(then follow the Kaohsiung to Taitung route
by transferring to a TRA express train
at Xinzuoying Station)
HSR Taichung/Taoyuan/
Hsinchu/Chiayi/
Tainan Station

[to HSR Zuoying (Kaohsiung) Station]
NTD 632~1 hour
TAOYUAN TO KAOHSIUNGNT$ 1,0641.5 to 2 hours
HSINCHU TO KAOHSIUNG NTD 9601.5 hours
CHIAYI TO KAOHSIUNGNTD 32830 minutes
TAINAN TO KAOHSIUNG NTD 11213 minutes

3. Airport transfer options to the nearest TRA/MRT or HSR Stations

The Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) is the best gateway to go to Taitung for travellers planning to enter Taiwan. Just look for an airline like AirAsia that has a direct flight to KHH. If you are able to book, then congratulations! You are just one step closer to Taitung.

List of international airports and transfer points to MRT/TRA/HSR Stations
AirportTransfer PointWhere to go
Taoyuan International Airport
(TPE)
Airport MRT A12 (Terminal 1)
or A13 (Terminal 2) Station
Taipei Main Station (A1 Station)

or
HSR Taoyuan Station (A18)
Taipei Songshan Airport
(TSA)
MRT Taipei Songshan Airport Station [Brown Line]Taipei Main Station

or fly directly to Taitung Airport
Taichung International Airport
(RMQ)
Bus 156
(Taichung Airport to HSR Taichung)
HSR Taichung Station
Kaohsiung International Airport
(KHH)
Kaohsiung MRT R4 Station [Red Line]
(Kaohsiung International Airport)
Kaohsiung MRT R16 Zuoying Station [Red Line]
(HSR Zuoying Station/TRA Xinzuoying Station)

4. What to do after arriving at TRA Taitung Station

After arriving at TRA Taitung Station, you can go to your hotel or go directly to the festival if you are too excited to see the hot air balloons. Follow the links that I have given below on the table, to know the location of the bus stops.

Transfer options at TRA Taitung Station bus stop[Google Map]
DestinationBus number
Taitung Bus Station/
Taitung Transfer Station (臺東轉運站)[Google Map]
Urban Anticlockwise Circular Line
Bus 8168
Bus 8167
Luye Highland aka Luye Gaotai[Google Map]

(if you want to go
to the hot air balloon festival directly after arriving at Taitung Station)
Bus 8168 [Taiwan Tour Bus East Rift Line]

(Ask the driver first if the bus is going to Luye Gaotai,
or else the vehicle will go to Taitung Bus Station)

5. Schedule of events for the 2019 Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Tethered balloon activity, Morning Glow and Night Glow Show schedules for the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival
DateVenueTimeActivityComments/Notes
June 29 to Aug. 12Luye Gaotai[Google Map][Tethered Balloon Activity]
5:30 to 7:30

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Bus Station/Taitung Transfer Station (臺東轉運站)][Google Map]
04:10
04:30
04:50

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station]
07:10
07:30
morning tethered balloon activityReserve online or register on-site to join the tethered balloon activity

The 5:30 am and 5:00 pm tethered balloon activities
is also the the time to watch the hot air balloons
while sitting on the grass at Luye Gaotai.

morning bus fare: NTD 75
afternoon/night bus fare: NTD 120
[Tethered Balloon Activity]
17:00 to 19:00

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station (The bus will also make a stop at TRA Taitung Station after 18 minutes.)]
14:00
14:30
15:00

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station]
18:40
19:00

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station
after the Night Glow Show
on June 29 and Aug. 12]
20:30
20:40
20:50
afternoon tethered balloon activity
June 29 and
Aug. 12
19:00Night Glow ShowBalloon tethered activities are affected during these dates
(ex. The afternoon balloon tethered activity for June 29 is suspended to give way for the preparation of the Night Glow Show at 7:00 pm

If you want to attend the Night Glow Show at Green Island, you will have to stay there for at least 1 night.

For the Dapo Lake venue: walk from TRA Chishang. It is possible to go back to Taitung Station before midnight but you will need to ride a taxi to go back to downtown

For the Zhiben Hot Spring venue: there is bus that will take you from TRA Zhiben Station
July 13Green Island[Google Map]
July 20Dapo Lake[Google Map]
Aug. 3Zhiben Hot Spring[Google Map]
Aug. 16Taitung County Stadium[Google Map]
July 6Sanxiantai[Google Map][Morning Glow Show]
4:00

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Sanxiatai]
02:40

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Taimali Dawn Park]
03:10

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Dawu Coast Park]
02:30

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station from Sanxiatai,Taimali Dawn Park or Dawu Coast Park]
06:00
Morning Glow Show
July 27Taimali Dawn Park[Google Map]
Aug. 10Dawu Coast Park[Google Map]

6. Online Booking for the Tethered Balloon Experience

To join the tethered balloon activity, you can book a slot online (only the July 29 to Aug 12 are available) or just go to Luye Gaotai to register on-site. If you are able to book online, just show the QR code to the Taitung Fun Card representatives.

Just a reminder, if you will join the tethered balloon activity, then you might not have time to sit on the lawn area to watch the hot air balloons. To catch the hot air balloons soaring in the sky and not just held by a rope, when you go to the event the weather forecast must be super good. I suggest going for the 5:30 am sessions to get the best viewing experience.

Online selling of tickets for the tethered balloon activity
Online selling datesScheduled datesStatus
June 10 to June 23June 29 to July 13CLOSED
June 17 to June 30July 14 to July 28
June 24 to July 7July 29 to Aug 12

7. Where to stay in Taitung?

The technique during the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival is to choose a hostel or hotel which is walking distance from the Taitung Transfer Station (Taitung Bus Station). So if you want to go to the 5:30 am event or even on the Morning Glow Show, you can just walk from the hostel or hotel to the bus station.

When I went to Taitung, I stayed at Hostel Who Knows. The dorm rates at that hostel was very affordable and the host speaks good English. He even helped me buy a ticket to Green Island and Orchid Island. If ever the owner asked you about who recommended Hostel Who Knows, just tell this: "that guy from the Philippines who travels every week in Taiwan".

Recommended hostels and hotels to stay in Taitung during the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival
NameLocationDistance from Taitung Transfer Station/
Taitung Bus Station
Estimated price per night
(1 adult)
Hostel Who Knows [Reserve here][Google Map]450 metersNTD 375
Le Da Backpackers Hostel [Reserve here][Google Map]400 metersNTD 600
Inn by the Village [Reserve here][Google Map]220 metersNTD 2,900

PLACES TO VISIT IN TAITUNG (台東) - EAST RIFT VALLEY (花東縱谷)



Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks

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