You can travel easily using the Taipei Metro to most of the tourist attractions and destinations. This should not be an issue if you come from a country with mass rapid train services. Connecting on a Metro is more easy than a central or connecting train station.
I have used the Taoyuan Express to travel from the airport to the Taipei Main Station. It is best that you can get your hotel or AirBnb within walking distance of the MRT Station.
This is one of the best travelling card that you must have in Taipei. It allowed you to travel on the Metro, local trains, express train from Taoyuan airport and many others. It save you time queuing to purchase single trip tickets and money for the trips. There is a deposit of NT$100 for the card. You may keep the card and use it when you are back at Taiwan in future. https://www.easycard.com
Please remember to have a data roam plan or purchase a local data SIM Card. You will need it to access Google Map or Apple Map. They are the best companion on DIY trip. I use Singtel ReadyRoam services and my family will share the local data SIM Card purchase from Klook so that we can stay connected when we get separated in the busy shopping district or night markets. You can also opt to purchase at the Taoyuan Airport or at retailers in Taiwan.
The June holidays is coming and I had been looking to rent Air BnB property for my short get away with my family. After a year and there are some minor changes on the app on the iPhone which might affect customer experience.
There is no issue when you are looking at the property details. But before you start a message with the host, please remember to save the property. You will not be able to linked back to the property that you are interested from the message page. The details in the message with the host only allow you to book your stay and give you little details on the property.
The details is very minimum as compared to the property listing which you have browse before entering the message with the host. This only occur on the app in IOS as there is no direct link back to the property listing. There is no issue using the web on a computer. You will find the trip details on the left of the messaging window to link you back to the property that you are looking at.
I am following up with the Air BnB support so that it can improve our customer experience and ease of booking on IOS. It is a hassle to switch between messaging and saved page to look at the property that I am discussing with the host.
Woodlands residents had survived 3 days of no SMRT train service between Woodlands and Yishun. This 72 hours of downtime is worth while as engineering time is require for the Canberra station integration works and cross over track.
No much queue at Admiralty station on holiday as they are shuttle bus and normal trunk services running along this route to Woodlands interchange.
The impact will be higher for Yishun to Yio Chu Kang today. The residents will heavily depend on the shuttle bus to get between the stations.
SMRT should be testing the signal and integrity of the rolling stock and system today.
Thanks for all SINGAPORE residents endurance on this down time.
The Victoria Peak has attracted millions of visitors worldwide. This is despite the long queues for the tram and buses that bring all the visitors up the hill.
The night view of the HongKong City from Victoria Peak.
My camera is only iPhone 7 and may not be as stunning as those taken by the Canon or Nikon DSLR.
This time round for transport, I have choose bus as my mode of transport. You can take bus number 15 at the Star Ferry, Central Pier. Going up is not an issue if you started your journey at the Star Ferry, Central Pier. You will find that the bus will be full after the Exchange Terminus during the holiday season (Nov and Dec). It will not take up passengers en-route if the bus is full.
But coming down at 7pm is going to be an issue as many people are coming down at the same time after watching the night skyline.
The frequency is quite long at 15 to 30 mins. Although the website write 10 to 15 minutes but the wait is longer.
Plan carefully your transport plan or just be patient. Hope you will enjoy the Victoria Peak night view.
I have chosen to return on Day 2 of Chinese New Year to beat the mad traffic jam on the North South Highway. I am driving more than 500km from iPoh to Singapore. It was quite a smooth journey on the roadway.
You should top up full tank in your home town before hitting the roads. Petrol station at the R&R before KL are usually very packed. The R&R after KL is more relax as most travellers are going into KL or the outskirt towns.
Buying Fuel at Petrol Stations
Foreign cars need to pay upfront before they can start the pump. You will pay RM$100 and you only buy premium fuel like 97. If purchase by credit card, then you start the pump after the verification process.
Everything was smooth till we got the Malaysia custom at 2am. Motor cars coming from different sides had to merge into one lane. There are only 12 counters to serve the influx due to the Chinese New Year. You will see how normal good people change character as they try to get to the counters. Outside the custom, you can differentiate drivers who cut queue. But once inside, it is difficult as some are force by the police to do it. The drivers in front will not see the picture and thought you cut queue.
It may be nightmare on the 19 and 20 morning (12am to 6am) as everyone return back to Singapore. I do hope that they will not be like us merging into one lane.
Singapore Custom Crossing
It was smooth at Singapore Custom crossing. There are sufficient staffs to meet the Chinese Lunar New Year influxes.
It is going to be the children first trip to Hong Kong. They are all excited except for their mother. She is not so happy as she had been there with her friend in 2014.
It is the best trip that fit into the budget for this year. But I know my wife wanted a trip to Australia or Japan. A family trip would easily cost us $5K to $7K. This would be reserve in 2016 or 2017.
This may have upset my wife. In view of the budget, I will just keep quiet and proceed with the trip as usual. As you can see travelling alone is affordable. A family trip will run into high cost and yet the expectation is there for the husband to borne the cost of the trip.
Let’s hope a flight on Singapore Airlines A380 will change her perception of the trip. Unless we save enough for a Japan trip next time, else we just stay in Singapore.
Singapore Airlines latest update website have a fare calendar for travellers who are budget concern. The traveller will have an overview of the fares provided 7 days before or after. This will give you an overview of the airfares for the best deal.
You can choose your outbound and inbound with a click of a button. You can see how the fares are so different over the several days. This will made your decision to purchase a ticket much faster.
Now let us look at how Qantas utilized their fare calendar for the budget traveller.
You need at least 2 clicks as there are two different fare tables for the inbound and outbound flights.
You need to do a bit of research and some luck to get the best fare deal out from the airlines. As the date get closer to the traditional busy holiday dates, the tickets get more expensive. Luckily there is Skyscanner which track the ticket prices for us.
Login to Skyscanner for the best fare deal*.
Note* But do look out for the booking sites it refer you to for booking of the tickets.
It was a wonderful experience working with members of the Hirata Japan Team. They show the desire of Japanese hardworking attitude. We always work till the late evening with them to achieve our equipment timeline. I have been working with them from 30 Nov but will be leaving them on this coming Saturday. Hope to see them when they are in Singapore. The factory is about 5mins by taxi from the Yasu train station. Public transport is also available at the Yasu Train Station. You will see a huge Hirata billboard on the factory ground.
The Outlet Park in Japan is very large in size and offered you hours of shopping time.
There are many shops which carry many variety of goods. You will find discount at certain timing of the day which can be as high as 30% to 50%. Famous stores include, Addidas, Coach, Ralph Lauren, Armani and many others.
There are also a wide selection of Japanese and Inetrnational food for you to choose for your meal. We choose the Kobe Beef shop in the food court. Meal start from 750 Yen onwards.
There is an outdoor park for you to relax. You can watch the peaceful lake while the children enjoy the slides.
I have bought my wife a Blue Label Burberry bag while shopping in Osaka. The best place to buy the Blue Label Burberry Bag is in Shinsaibashi, Daimaru in Osaka. You must be asking why I said that. I can get 5% Tax Rebate plus 5% cash discount on the Blue Label Blueberry Bag. Furthermore, this is not available in Singapore and you will pay more if you u get it from resellers.
You must pay by cash or use credit card with Union Pay which is meant for China Customers. Singapore certain credit cards also using Union Pay. Daimaru Blueberry staff can converse in English and the Tax Rebate Counter will have one staff which can converse in Chinese for China Customers or customer like me who know how to speak chinese.
Japan is famous for their Cha Shu Ramen and I have found one in Himeji Station. It is at the Basement 1st Floor. The Broth is very thick with thin sliced pork soak in the broth to bring out the taste. It might be salty with some people. The Ramen is very smooth and crunchy. The servings is big enough to fill your stomach. It cost 900 Yen(US$10) for the meal. Drinks and pickles are free with the meal. Please ask for English Menu and the staff will know what u want to order. Pretty servers in this Ramen Restaurant and the seating capacity is around 20.
In almost every city or local towns or prefecture in Japan, you will find that its has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu ramen of Kyūshū to the miso ramen of Hokkaidō.
The transport operators is making use of the high inflation rate to apply for fare increase. They have not explore way to reduce costs but instead choose to increase fares each year.
Let me give you an example where a bus operator choose to invest in a new fleet of single deck buses. These buses have narrow standing area at the rear and is on a elevated floor. Most communters do not like to stand on the raise floor. The front area got more standing places but less seats. Is this a wise investment?
Bus operators are having good profits every year and with every fare increase it boast their income. The transport authority must help to judge cost efficient fares for the public. Furthermore, bus operators have a social responsibilty to ensure everyone can afford bus fares.
An Engineer in the Day and Tech Cruncher at Night.