Saturday, July 19, 2008

Shilin Night Market & Jiantan hiking trail

Taipei Shilin Night Market (台北市林夜市/Táiběi Shìlín Yè Shì)

The weekend started with a night at the famous Taipei Shilin Night Market. A friend told me about snowflake ice (雪花冰/xuěhuā bīng). It was described to me as shaved ice made with various liquids like milk, egg, tea, coffee and others. The ice is shaved, layered and looks sort of like snowflakes.

A particular shop was recommend as a 'must try'. With some help I managed to get a bowl of green tea with red bean (NT$70). It is difficult to describe the feeling of this special ice. It was sort of a mix between ice from a popsicle and ice cream. When I tried to bite into a spoonful it felt chewy. A very unique experience!

My green tea & red bean snowflake ice:

The shop:

Shop name (店名): Xinfating Crushed Ice and Fruits (辛發亭/Xīnfàtíng)

Address (地址):
No.1 Anping Street, Taipei City
Ānpíng Jiē yī Háo, Táiběi Shì

Telephone (地址): n/a
URL (網址): n/a
Menu (菜單): Chinese
Operation Hours (營業時間): 12:00 pm - 12:00 am

MRT (捷運/Jiéyùn) Directions:
Take the red MRT line (Danshui-Xindian line; 淡水/Dànshuǐ - 新店/Xīndiàn) to Jiantan Station (劍潭站/Jiàntán). Take exit 1 and walk along Wenlin Road (文林路/Wénlín Lù). After the Yangming Theatre turn left into a very narrow street, Anping Street.

Jiantan trail (劍潭山親山步道/Jiàntánshān qīnshān bùdào)

After taking dessert I decided to explore the area. I walked over to the Jiantan trail entrance to see how far it was from the MRT station. It turns out it is about 5 minutes walk if you take exit 2 of the MRT station. It was too dark to walk the trail so I was planning for the next day.

I noticed there were bus stops at the trail entrance. I noted down which buses from my area stop there (they have some major landmarks in English for each bus at the bus stop).

The next day I headed out for the trail. I took the bus and it was my first ride I planned on my own. The bus system is very similar to Singapore except for the payment system. You either pay when you get on or off the bus. One needs to look at a Chinese sign above the driver's head to find out. Alternatively, you observe other passengers to see if they pay when they board or alight the bus.

After a 15 minute bus ride (I felt it was much faster than taking the MRT from my place) I arrived at the trail entrance.

I found the beginning of the trail to be quite difficult as there are steep steps. Once you get further up it was much easier.

Just about at the top:

I noticed there were lots of temples on this mountain. There were sounds of music being played, insects and people talking all around. Did not seem like a quiet place to me.

View of the Grand Hotel from the trail:

Not a very difficult walk overall. Took about an hour to walk it quickly and exit at Beian Road (北安/Běiān Lù).

You can walk towards Grand Hotel (圓山大飯店/Yuánshān Dà Fàndiàn) along Beian Road and eventually get back to the Jiantan MRT station. The area is referred to as Yuanshan Scenic Area (圓山風景區/Yuánshān fēngjǐng qū) as shown in the map above.

MRT (捷運/Jiéyùn) Directions:
Take the red MRT line (Danshui-Xindian line; 淡水/Dànshuǐ - 新店/Xīndiàn) to Jiantan Station (劍潭站/Jiàntán). Take exit 2 and walk along Zhongshan N. Rd. Sec. 5 (6th Ave.) towards the Grand Hotel.

Bus services: From my place I can take either the 277 & 612 to get to the Jiantan MRT station trail entrance.

No comments: