Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Taiwan 2014: Day 4 - Yehliu Geopark

It's our 4th day in Taiwan and we will be exploring the northern coast of Taipei! We will be going to Yehliu Geopark, Jiu Fen and Shi Fen as well as other destinations for sightseeing along the way. 

Breakfast at Sato Hotel was good enough to keep our stomach full for the road trip. Our driver picked us up from the hotel lobby at 9am and it took us about 40 minutes to reach Yehliu Geopark.

The driver was very chirpy and we chat along the way to our destination. He's very knowledgeable about the history/stories of the destinations that we were heading to. Weather was not very good that morning and it was drizzling along the way to Yehliu Geopark. Along the way, we saw some fishing ports and plenty of seafood restaurants.

According to our driver, there's lots of tourist from Mainland China at Yehliu Geopark. And he was right when we reached there, the entire carpark was full of buses carrying tourist from Mainland China. There's like more than 50 buses! Our driver was very thoughtful where he brought raincoats for us. 

The entrance fee to Yehliu Geopark is NT80 per adult. The queue to the ticket counter was surprisingly short. Probably those tour groups already bought their tickets beforehand. And the entrance ticket looks like this:

Here's the first thing which we saw; the cute princess rock formation. Err, this one is a fake one. It's man made!

Tada. At least we have a "rock sculpture" to take picture with and no other tourist are in the picture. You'll know why I say this at the end of this post.

My pic with the rock formation.
With the "cute princess". Had to thanks the driver for the raincoat. It was actually drizzling when we took this pic. 

The "Cute Princess" suppose to look like this:
The real "Cute Princess"!

The area was wet due to the rain and the soil was quite slippery. Without further delay, we joined the queue to take photograph with the "Queen's Head"; the iconic rock at Yehliu Geopark. This iconic rock is the center of attraction and it is said that the queen's head will be gone in future as the neck's length is getting thinner as time goes due to soil erosion. We were glad that there are on-going plans to save the queen's head by the local authorities. It would be a huge loss if this unique rock is gone.

The queue to take picture with this iconic rock is very very long. We spend the time admiring other rocks at that area while we queue. Do look to the left and right while you queue as there's some interesting rocks standing around you.

This looks like a cute mushroom.

Imperfections creates beauty.

A tiny "pond" with seawater.

Tiny holes on the rocks.

Soon, it's our turn to take the photograph with the Queen's Head. There's guards standing around the area. And you can only take limited shots with the iconic rock due to the long queue. And it was literally raining when it's our turn :(

A very precious moment with the Queen's Head.

We were all soaked with rain/seawater after our personal shots with the Queen's Head. And there's plenty of people trying their best to photograph themselves with the rock from all directions.

Another shot with the Queen's Head behind me! We were soaked from head to toe.

There's a toilet in the middle of the park and it's quite clean. We dried ourselves and continue our exploration before the storm comes :)

With the ocean behind me

See the crowd of people there?

Little ponds of water which is quite an eye opener.
Rainy day with eagles hunting above the sky.

Her's the infamous " fairy shoe" rock formation.

Behind pig is the "three" something rock formation. Can't remember the name but it suppose to be 3 pieces joined into one? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Rain Rain Rain!

Ancient clock?

It would be a beauty if it didn't rain.

Another unique rock formation.

This one looks like a group of little mushrooms to me.

Another side of the park.

See the red line on the floor? There's the furthest you can walk to. 

There's a lots of guards around asking people not to touch or climb or etc to the rock formation. However, it's sad to see that most tourist does not follow instructions. Barbaric people! It's because touching the rock formation might destroy it. Imagine there's thousands of people touching the rock everyday. And the some of the rock is not harden but it's just made of sand. Sad to see people actually climbing and sitting on the rock formation just to take photographs although the guards are scolding them.

And it's hard to have your photographs taken in the park because the tourist crowd is crazy! It will be better to come on a non-rainy day and anyone knows when it's low season at Yehliu Geopark?I would want to go again to Yehliu Geopark.

At the exit of the park, there's stalls selling food, souvenirs and dried seafood products. Do walk through the stalls to compare price as most of them are selling the same products.
And you can see the list of rock formations at Yehliu Geopark here.

If you have some time to spend, the Yehliu Ocean World is just right next to the Yehliu Geopark. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Taiwan 2014: Day 3 - Sato Castle Hotel

After our ferries wheel ride at Miramar Entertainment Park, it's time to check-in for our accommodation for the night. Guess what, we will be staying at Sato Castle Hotel. Sato Castle Hotel is famous for their theme room and just like its competitors nearby; they do have this drive-thru feature where for those who have a car, you can just drive straight to your room entrance.

This hotel is within walking distance from the Miramar Entertainment Park. This is the view of the hotel from the mall.

It looks like a real castle from outside.

Behind me is where you can drive your car straight to your room's entrance.

Basically, there are three categories of room to choose from: "King, Queen and Castle". The difference is on the size of the room as well as the theme. If you prefer to go for a Cinderella theme room complete with the horse carriage decoration; it's the King room you'll need to go for. But the downside is that you can't choose the room's theme when you made the booking. Instead, you'll be given the theme based on the room availability when you check-in. Thus, we went for the most affordable category where it costs NT3000+ plus and there's lots of interesting fairy tale theme to choose from. Do note that the check-in time is at 9pm as during the day; this hotel offers hourly usage rate and also those who would like to do their wedding photoshoot in their unique theme room (sounds convenient as the whole street nearby are the wedding boutiques).

Check-in was convenient and fast but as we were not driving, we took the lift from the reception to the floor which our room is located. And from there, we need to drag our luggage to the room. Oh, their room card is unique too. We were at No. 201 and the theme is "One Thousand and One Night".

Room key :P

This is how the room entrance looks like.

Even their lift is beautifully decorated.

Here's what you can expect for this "One Thousand and One Night" theme. It looks like the Aladdin theme to me due to the blue and yellow colours.

With the fake flying carpet on the ceiling

A very elegant bedside table.

Here's another fun facts about the hotel room. In every room, there's a secret button which you need to search for. Each theme has a different effect. For ours, there's a giant Aladdin magic lamp look-a-like lamp which suppose to blow out some special effect like mist or smoke or something. But too bad that the wire and switch was not functioning.

And if you're those who need to munch something before you go to bed. There's a free mini-bar full of drinks and local chips for you to munch on.

The room looks pretty cool huh? Wait till you see the bathroom. The bathroom is crazily huge! As it's a theme room hotel, your bathroom amenities are all kept in a mini castle box :P  You can have your own whatever sauna. spa, bubble bath, etc here without paying the extra fees.

Spa anyone?

Check out the lovely bathroom amenities.

Even the lighting is so elegant.

Blue tiles surrounding the entire bathroom.

Check out the decorated treasure in the bathroom as their decorations.

Your child may have their dream come true to stay in a Disney-look-a-like theme room. Do keep the remote control in a safe place as you know most hotels here have channels unappropriated for kids. Unlike the surrounding accommodation which focuses on being a motel for couples; Sato Castle is different as it's suitable for families with kids due to the fairy tale theme room. You'll be surprised to know that most of their guests are family with kids. Saw that during the breakfast the next day. There's even a large group came with tour group. 

Do check out other cool themes like Spiderman, Christmas Nutcrackers, Phantom of the Opera, Popeye the Sailorman, and others.

Sato Castle Hotel
No. 75, Jingye 2nd Rd,
Zhongshan District, Taipei City,
Taiwan 10466

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Taiwan 2014: Day 3 - Ferries Wheel at Miramar Entertainment Park

Continue from my previous Taiwan trip post, we went to Miramar Entertainment Park after dinner as we will be staying in Sato Castle hotel that night. This hotel is very near (within walking distance) from this Miramar Mall. Since the hotel check in time in at 9pm, we spend our remaining time exploring this mall.

To go to Miramar Entertainment Park/Mall, you should alight at Jianan Road Station. It's about 3 minutes walking distance from the MRT station. The reason I'm here at Miramar Entertainment Park is because of its infamous ferries wheels. I've ride many ferries wheels before but why is this particular one so special?
I've grown up watching Taiwanese drama and this mall with its iconic ferries wheel had been the shooting location of a lot of Taiwanese drama I've watched. Thus, I'm a bit excited that I'm finally marking my steps here after watching it on dramas for years.

One of the Taiwanese drama which uses this mall as part of the main location in the story is "Why Why Love" drama. I still remembered watching it about 6 or 7 years ago when I was in secondary school. Time passes... tremendously fast.

Here's a snapshot of the scene in Why Why love which shows the iconic Miramar Entertainment Park.

The iconic ferries wheel is located at the 5th floor of the mall and it's the highest floor there. At this floor, you'll find some restaurants, a arcade centre, merry go round and the ferries wheel. It costs N150 per pax (Adult) for a ride on weekdays. 

Got our tickets!

It was raining that night and the weather is cold. But we still dragged our feet here to ride the ferries wheel! It feels like I'm dreaming when I was there as I can't believe I'm finally there!

No, it's not a dream. I'm right here at the iconic ferries wheel.

So tall and lovely.

Can't wait to get to the top.

Pig is here on the iconic ferries wheel.

Here's some view from the top. You can see the surrounding buildings where there's lots of wedding couture outlets surrounding the area.
Our hotel of the night from the ferries wheel.

Oh, saw some motel too.

When you're at the top of the ferries wheel, smile and take pics!

Pig's hand is shaking and hence the snap twice pic :)

The ticket for the ferries wheel ride includes a free ride to the merry-go-round beside the ferries wheel. Since we still have time to spend, to the merry-go-round we hop.

There were not many people there and guess what, we were the only human being on the merry-go-round when the ride started turning round and round. haha.

Pig ridding a horse. :0

A special horse to hold my handbag :0

When we left, there were a couple taking wedding photograph at the ferries wheel and merry-go-round. Such as interesting scene to see :P

Bye ferries wheel. Til we meet again in future.

Bye ferries wheel and we checked in at Sato Castle Hotel for the night.