Sunday, October 19, 2014

Taipei Throwback: First Night in Taipei

My travel posts kept being thrown back. Some of you might recall that I had a few photo story posts on winter in London, summer in Venice and Florence and then they simply stopped. Then, I flew to Taipei in May this year and you saw pictures of the trip from my Instagram feed with no other mention here on my blog. Well instead of trying to keep up with my travels in Europe, I decided that perhaps I should shorten the throwback time and blog about Taipei which is more current (5 months ago! o_O) instead. The Europe travels could be thrown back further.


[Photo credit]



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~*At Changi Airport*~


I do love our airport so much. Changi Airport has a reputation for setting standards in airport service quality, being the world's best airport in 2014, 2013, 2010 and 2006. Before flying, we visited the Butterfly Garden which is located at the Departure Transit Lounge in Terminal 3. The Butterfly Garden officially opened in 2008 and but May 2014 was our first visit there. I'm so glad that I dragged the hubby in. I felt like my holiday had already begun in this fascinating world of butterflies prior to our holiday.




My favourite butterfly of all is this black and blue one. But wait, is this a butterfly or moth? Do you know how to differentiate? This is actually a moth. *Gasp* Now who says moths are ugly and scary?




Even though this is called Butterfly Garden, there are both butterflies and moths in there. I guess many people's perception of moths is that they are dull-coloured and just not so pretty. Whoever heard of a moth garden? All these pictured in this collage are actually moths. They are quite beautiful, aren't they? It was easier for me to capture pictures of moths than butterflies. Moths tend to be still at rest whereas butterflies love to flutter their wings, resulting in many blurred shots which couldn't be featured in the collage.




How about this collage? Could you tell which are butterflies and which are moths?
Ans: All are butterflies except the last one (bottom right). It is amazing how the insects at the bottom have similar wing patterns but the one on the left is a butterfly and the one on the right is a moth.




Still confused about the difference?
♥ Wings - When at rest, butterflies tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs. Moths tend to hold their wings flat.
♥ Body - Butterflies have thin and smooth bodies while moths have thick and fuzzy bodies.
♥ Antennae - Butterflies have club-shaped antennae while moths have feathery antennae.
♥ Colour - Well we have been taught in primary school Science that butterflies are brightly-coloured while moths are dull-coloured. However after that day at the Butterfly Garden, I now know that some moths could be so pretty too.
♥ Pupa stage - Butterflies typically form a chrysalis while moths form a cocoon. See if you could spot the difference in the collage below.





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~*Rainy Night in Taipei*~


It was a rainy evening when we touched down at Taipei. It was 10+ °C with strong winds; we were wearing thin summery clothes. When we finally hopped onto a cab and told the driver where our hotel was, he told us that there had been street protests along the street of our hotel the past few days. I braced myself for an adventure which never came.




On a cold rainy evening, I had craving for hot soupy food for dinner. After checking in, we walked around the vicinity of our hotel and ended up in a stall selling steaming hot beef noodles. Despite staying in Asia, we haven't been travelling to Asian countries for a while and was surprised at how cheap the food was. The price of our noodles converted to about SGD$2.30 and SGD$4.80. You could never get a bowl of noodles for $2.30 in Singapore except in school canteens.




I was expecting 红烧牛肉 (braised beef) noodles but mine tasted nothing like that. It was a tad bland. The hubz was very satisfied with his 麻辣 (ma la: numbing spicy) noodles though and insisted that I could not always dislike something just because it isn't the taste that I expect. Well, he's right but isn't it human nature to expect and be disappointed (especially when it comes to food for me)?




There were Asian and Western shops around our hotel. You could see from the 2nd picture in the collage the reminiscence of the street protest.




Beauty Hotels Taipei -- Hotel B7 was where we put up for our stay in Taipei. There were several positive reviews online ranging from 3.5 to 4 stars but we hadn't quite expected the room to be so TINY. Well I guess the price was good for its accessible location.




=) Service was good, or maybe expected from most hotels. The lady counter staff for the afternoon shift resembled Cyndi Wang, A Taiwanese singer. I don't like Cyndi Wang but that's some eye candy for us.

=( The room only had a few feet of floor space around the queen-sized bed. There was no wardrobe, only a clothes rack at the corner. We were perfectly fine with that as we usually live out of our luggage when travelling. Meanwhile, our luggage were stashed under the bed to keep out of the way. This room is definitely not for big-sized people or claustrophobes. Even tiny Asians and non claustrophobes like us found the room too small.

=( The room had no windows at all... which was BAD! It was the rainy season and I needed a window to plan the itinerary for the day. We woke up every day in the dark wondering how the weather was. Google wasn't always accurate and sometimes we did not plan and dress appropriately for the weather.

=) The room was really clean. The tiles were shiny and smooth and we didn't get those dusty feet feeling. There was a day when we headed back to our room after breakfast and we saw a kindly old lady getting down to her knees to wipe the floor with a wet cloth. So that's how they mopped such a small room.

To see how small the room is, view my 15 sec instagram videos here:
Hotel B7
Hotel B7's room
Hotel B7's toilet




=) The ratio of the toilet to the room is 1:2. They could probably allocate more space for the room but I do appreciate a spacious toilet. I love the heater function most.




=) Everything was free at the mini bar which really wasn't anything much but that was fine as Taiwan is well-known for its cheap and good street food. We were issued breakfast coupon which could be redeemed at the bakery next door every morning.




I hope that I could keep up with my Taiwan photo story posts. Stay tuned for more Taiwan adventures!

32 comments:

  1. Jo, I remember so well your adventures in Taipei and Im glad you decided to post about it now. Your airport must be impressive to visit, the Butterfly Garden looks amazing, I wish I visited it too. Btw, Taipei is so different from what Im used to, I think all the Asian cities, thats why Im so fascinated by that side of the world, the culture, the food, Id love to go there one day. Your room was really small but at least was clean, which is always good!:) Brr, must have been also cold once landed!
    Happy Sunday dear Jo, many kisses! xo

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    1. It works the other way round too. Since I'm from a developed city in Southeast Asia, the developing S.E.Asian countries fascinates me too. As for places further north, I'm always fascinated by European cities-- the rich history and culture behind all the landscapes as well as the natural aspect of the place too. It was in May and supposed to be summer in Taipei with frequent rains and temperature 20-30 degree Celsius. Hence, we thought it would be a comfortable air-conditioned temperature. The cold when we landed was unexpected.

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  2. So beautiful pics. The first pic is amazing, so many lights. Love the pics taken during night, it´s like different atmosphere from town. The butterflies are lovely too. I wouldn´t say that it´s a moth, it´s too pretty for it haha. We have only the ungly ones here. The food looks delicious too, I know what you mean, I usually expect the best and then I can hardly eat it. What a hotel propose a room with no windows?! It´s unbelievable, hopefully next time you will have more luck with this. I can´t wait to see next pics. :)
    Fashion Happenss

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    1. Ah, unfortunately the first picture wasn't taken by me. I love how pretty is looks out of all teh Taipei cityscape pictures I could find on Google. We also only have ugly dull coloured moths here. I guess all the pretty ones could only be found in the Butterfly Garden. See, even the place they could be found suggests they are pretty enough to be butterflies. Lol

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  3. OOoo...I don't care how long ago, I love seeing photos from other people's trips and travels! I'm glad you enjoyed the butterfly garden in our airport! I haven't visited it for years! The food that night looked so yummy! Love the noodles and dumplings!

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    1. I love living vicariously through other people's travel photos too. I'm always happy to see fellow Singaporeans commenting here. I think we shared before that our local readers usually just read us silently. =)

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  4. Wow that is a tiny place but it is so compact and clean... it sounds like you had a pretty good vacation but I think you are right, sometimes we expect certain things and when they don't happen we can choose to be disappointed or choose to enjoy the changes. Traveling can be fun, however; it can be exhausting too... I know I would want to see everything and that is not possible in a huge place like Taiwan...

    One thing I would want is a window in my room... I just think that is a must have... I think that is a law here in Canada. There has to be two entrances to a room, a door and a window... for safety :)

    The dumplings look delicious, I would have to stay away from them, they would enjoy residing on my hips if I were to eat them regularly... lol

    Have a wonderful week ahead xox

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    1. I'm glad you picked out the part on expectations and I agree with you. Usually I try not to have expectations so that I won't be disappointed but for food, I can't practise the same concept. Haha... I want my food as how I expect especially if I know how a dish should taste like. I would definitely opt for window hotels in future after this experience. I didn't know about the safety must-haves of windows in Canda but you are quite right now that I think about it.

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  5. To be honest, I didn't know how to differentiate moths from butterflies. A moth garden sounds interesting and looks beautiful. I really can't say which is a moth and which is a butterfly. Thanks for teaching us how to make the difference, Jo!

    About the food - yes, it's normal to have expectations and to be disappointed when something doesn't meet them. The noodles look delicious.

    When travel, usually I prefer a good location than lux. I don't spend much time in the room anyway so I have no problems with that. At least your tiny room was at a good place. But howcome there wasn't a wardrobe in the room? That's strange... And windows? How is it possible?!

    The good thing is that you had a great time, no? Looking forward to your next Taiwan posts! xo

    sunandsany

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    1. I'm glad that you found the "lesson" on the difference between butterflies and moths useful! As I used to be a teacher, I always enjoy educating people, as well as being educated by others as I believe that learning is a life-long process.

      Agreed and the choice of accommodation depends on the country too. If I'm at a city for lots of site-seeing, I simply need a decent hotel to unwind after a long day. But if I'm at a beach resort to bum around, room is of the utmost importance since bumming around a lux resort is the main highlight of the day. It was indeed strange not to have wardrobe and windows. I would definitely opt for window hotels in future after this experience.

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  6. Gorgeous pics! Looks like one lovely trip. I adore butterfly gardens! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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  7. Wow sounds like you had a fun time! The butterflies look so amazing! And all that food too delicious. I'd love to visit some day

    New post on my blog -
    www.JuneWantsItAll.com and we could also connect on Twitter, Facebook ,Bloglovin and Pinterest
    Keep in touch
    xx
    June

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  8. I was also in Taipei back in May! Hope your trip was good, despite the very small hotel room. Can't wait to read about the rest of the trip!

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    1. That's so coincidental. My hubz and I had 4 seperate groups of people at Taipei/Taiwan during the time we were there too. And it was such a coincidence that his friend whom he hadn't seen for years was seated just behind us in the airplane.

      Love seeing newcomers here and would pop by your blog soon!

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  9. Ahhh...I love the butterflies, those are so gorgeous. I could have stayed there for a very long time, I love butterflies :))) Your trips always look like so much fun :)) I hope you have a wonderful week my dear Xxx

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    1. Frankly, I had wanted to stay longer in the Butterfly Garden but time was running out. I know you would love that garden too, sweetie.

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  10. This post supports my approach to a certain project at work. It's overdue--but has no "real" deadline, it's just something my director thought would be nice to do. The BS work project is already late, so my priority has been making sure the real work gets done on time. My boss wants to criticize me, but can't because I work harder than anyone else here.

    Is it weird that the food and butterflies are the highlights for me??? :)

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    1. When I first read your comment on my phone sleepily, I didn't know what you were talking about but the next time I read it when I was awake, I laughed at it. My my, and it seems like your work place has been understaffed for quite a long while from the last time you shared. My branch is understaffed too and hence the bz-ness coupled with our major events that we are organizing.

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  11. You guys travel to the best places! Those butterflies are so gorgeous! You captured them so beautifully Jo. We have one in our zoo! I have yet to visit it though. That room was small! I couldn't do it, but glad it worked for you guys. Love the chandelier. So beautiful.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. There were lots of failed blurry shots of the butterflies and moths so these are all the better ones for all of you to enjoy. It is always so difficult to capture animals in motion. We had to make do with the room. Anything more than a week and that room would be outta our list.

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  12. I LOVE butterflies, so that butterfly garden would be so fun to see in person. Looks like a great trip! WOW to the small hotel room!

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    1. Thank you for your comment, dear. The garden would definitely be fun to see in real life!

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  13. That's crazy that there's a small garden at your airport Terminal (or did I misunderstand?)! Our airport sucks, there's a few shops (hardly any) and it's just plain boring. I love checking out international airports and I think my favourite so far is the Heathrow airport, so much shopping!

    Who knew moths could be so beautiful! I always wondered if the fuzz on their bodies would be soft or prickly :/

    Omg, noodles for less than $10 is unheard of in my city and they're not even that good! The best noodles we have here are the ones my mom make. It's too bad you didn't enjoy yours though but at least it was cheap.

    http://sushiibear.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, you got it right. We have a Butterfly Garden in our Airport. In fact, our tiny country's only airport has got 3 terminals (and 2 upcoming under construction) and it is full of wonderful stuff! Lots of shopping and dining too. Singaporeans ourselves often go to the airport to eat and many parents treat that as a playground coz there are lots of spaces for the kids to run arounf. If you love Heathrow Airport for the shopping, I can guarantee you would LURVE Changi Airport even more. You' got me thinking about moths fuzziness. They do look soft but I could be wrong since I haven't touched a moth's body before.

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  14. Hi Jo :D Great pictures. I love architecture of Taipei. So modern and with amazing mood. It's my dream to visit Asian country and cities one day mostly like Seoul, Tokyo or Hong Kong. So amazing energy and coulture around. And butterflies... so great :D
    Kisses, Nabil ;)

    http://www.nabilunity.com/

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    1. Those Asian destinations you chose are such great choices. Even though I live in Asia, I haven't visited Seoul or Tokyo and I would love to visit Tokyo a lot except that the dangerously high radiation isn't a wise choice.

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  15. Dear Jo, although for sure I'm looking forward to the posts of the European cities I thank you for this wonderful and informative post. Honestly I never thought before that there is a difference between butterflies and moths, but thanks to you now I learned something new. Interesting that the minibar was free and I think you could have been satisfy with the room. But I can imagine it was not so comfy to walk there around with summer clothes during it rained and it had only 10° ...

    I thank you really for your so kind comments on my blog, which I appreciate and pleased me a lot. Not only of this cause I follow you know with huge pleasure and hope we can stay in contact.

    All the best from Germany/Bavaria, Rena

    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    1. I'm glad that you found the "lesson" on the difference between butterflies and moths useful! As I used to be a teacher, I always enjoy educating people, as well as being educated by others as I believe that learning is a life-long process.
      I would definitely blog about my trip to London, Paris and various cities in Italy. So do look out for them!

      It is my pleasure to make acquaintance with you. From your posts, I know that you are one who appreciates when people read your text and I know we would be able to identify strongly with each other on that. Thank you for the follow on both GFC and bloglovin. I hope we could continue to connect more in future.

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  16. It's incredible that you guys have a beautiful butterfly garden in your airport! That is seriously cool and I didn't know moths could be so pretty. Looking at Taiwanese food always makes me happy though we don't have that many great Taiwanese restaurants in NYC anymore. That hotel room looks like the size of the bathroom we had in our hotel in Turks & Caicos but that's very typically Asian. If you were any bigger it would be hard to even turn around.

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    1. Not only a beautiful butterfly garden, our tiny country's only airport has got 3 terminals (and 2 upcoming under construction) and it is full of wonderful stuff! Lots of shopping and dining too. It was quite difficult to find good Asian eateries when I was in NYC a few years back. It is a surprise though coz I thought NYC is a melting pot of cultures with definitely many Chinese around. I hope some great Taiwanese restaurants open soon!

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