Sunday, May 8, 2016

Taipei Huaxi Night Market- Our First Stop in Taipei (Taipei Trip Day 1)

It was our first visit to Taipei together. We arrived at 2:25 pm at Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 1 (台湾桃园国际机场), with approximately 120 visitors already queuing at the immigration counters. We took around 1 hour to get the clearance. Tao Yuan International Airport is not Taipei City Airport. It is located 40 km away from Taipei Main Station at Zhongzheng District.

We decided to travel by mass transport to our hotel. First, we went to B1 level and redeemed our free tickets from Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport (国光客运) counter, then took a bus to Taipei Main Station (special thank to Taiwan Tourism Bureau MOTC, normal fee was NTD125 per person per trip). Bus no. 1819 to the main station was scheduled with 10 minutes interval. We reached Taipei Main Station at 5 pm, registered for free wifi at the tourism information counter, and roamed around for a while. We took MRT (Taipei Metro) to our hotel at Long Shan Temple (龙山寺). Our hotel- Long Shan Hotel was just 5 minutes walk from the MRT station (we will share more about the hotel in our upcoming post).

People queueing for immigration clearance (upper left). One hour of queue time was a bit long. The staff at the information counter at the arrival hall was helpful (upper right). She showed us the way to the airport bus station (lower left). The buses parked near to the ticketing counter. 1819 was the bus that we were waiting for. With the interval of 10 - 15 minutes to get the next bus, waiting is not an issue there.

Taipei Main Station is big, but not big enough for us to get lost (upper left). The the main station ticketing counters is the place where people purchase tickets for the trains to other cities (upper right). Visitor Information Center is located just beside the ticketing counters (lower right). We obtained our free wifi access at the information center. The application required our passports and took around 5 minutes to be completed. The wifi could be accessed in the government buildings, metro stations, and some city bus lines. The free wifi access was very useful to get us connected with our family and friends. Please visit the official website of free Taipei wifi for more information.

By far, we had no problem travelling around. All the signages at the airport, the main station, and the metro stations were clearly stated in traditional Chinese and English. Well, we could understand both. After a short rest, we decided to take our dinner at Mengxia Night Market (艋夜市). Later we realized that Mengxia Night Market was actually connected to Huaxi Night Market. Both night markets open from 4 pm till late night.

How to go to Huaxi Night Market (华西夜市) and Mengxia Night Market (艋舺夜市)? From Longshan Temple Station, exit through gate 1, turn right and walk through Mengxia Park until you are right in front of Longshan Temple. The entrance of Mengxia Night Market is on your left, on the other side of the road. Walk along Mengxia Night Market and you will find Huaxia Night Market on your right. Well, it should be a 2 - 3 minutes walk from the metro station. Staying at Long Shan Hotel, Mengxia Night Market was just 3 minutes away from our hotel by foot.

The entrance of Mengxia Night Market (艋夜市) that marks the beginning of a 400 meters night market spanning along Guangzhou Street (广州街), intersects with Wuzhou Street (梧州街) and Huaxi Street (华西街).

When we walked down Guangzhou Street, the entrance of Huaxi Night market could be seen on our right, some 50 meters away from the entrance of Mengxia Night Market.

Mengxia Night Market is more like a traditional Asian market. Most of the food stalls are gathered at the first stretch of the street, from the entrance till Wuzhou Street intersection (upper row). Clothes, games, shoes, bags, wallets, purses, and pirated VCDs are available after the intersection till the end of Guangzhou Street (lower row).

We tried grilled squid (upper left), sausage and meat on sticks (upper right), fried oyster with egg (lower right), and juice from fresh fruits and vegetables. All of them tasted good.

Red bean pancake (upper row) and sticky rice ball (lower row) attracted our attention, but not our taste bud.

Huaxi Night Market is covered (upper left). The street is around 400 meters long. North entrance is a bit quiet (upper right), and the south entrance which connects to Mengxia Night Market at Guangzhou Street is busier. The shops along the street offer different types of food and drinks. There are shops selling exotic food such as snakes and turtles, massage and nail polishing services, and a few shops selling adult-only toys (lower left)

We found a very crowded eatery (upper left), and tried the pork rice, spiced duck egg (upper right), and winter melon-pork soup (lower right). For us, the taste was just average. There were other dishes offered there, but we wish to spare ourselves for other food.

By the way, Guangzhou Street can be accessed through Wuzhou Street. Huaxi Street lays parallel on the right side of Wuzhou Street.

As described by a few locals, Mengxia Night Market is a traditional night market without much tourist attracting elements. Many stalls set up tables and chairs to serve their customers. We could find more old people here, strolling in a relaxing manner along the streets. These two night markets were less busy compare to Raohe or Shilin. We like the market in the way that we can enjoy our time without squeezing our way down the alley.

We stayed in the night markets for about one hour. After dinner, we rested early. We have Taipei Zoo, Maokong Mountain, and Rauhe Night Market in our 2nd day itinerary. Follow us go to Taipei Zoo and Maokong Mountain now!

More about our experience in Taipei: 

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