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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Taiwan June 2014 Day 1, Part 1: Starry Minsu 清境觀星園景觀山莊 (Cing Jing)

Have been planning this trip with the boy for the longest time! Glad we chose Taiwan over Hong Kong. ^^ 

So off we go for a 9 days trip to the land of bubble tea~ 

I'll be breaking the trip into different parts to facilitate reading if you're looking for travelling guide to Taiwan!:)

Personally, I have read up so many travel blogs for this trip and I feel that they were really informative and have helped so much in our planning! Thus, it's time to give back! I will try to share more tips along the way as well. :)
x.



Scooted off at 1245am on a 4.5hrs flight to Tao Yuan International Airport. It was our first flight on Scoot and my experience was relatively pleasant. :) Relatively because I slept through most of my flight. LOL. 

Arrived safely in Taiwan at about 5.30am and this was the first thing that we did after we cleared the custom. 


Feed our hungry stomach. :P 


The convenient shops (4 different competitors if I'm not wrong) are just plain awesome! You could find literally almost everything inside! Excuse me while I drool at all the cup noodles. <3 


Another part of my place in the convenient shop is the drink section!! I love Taiwan beer!! Not exactly high in alcoholic content, they are extremely satisfying to go with sinful, deep fried, night market food. :P 

Oh, I love Taiwan tea too!!! It's probably the only drink that I drank other than water/bubble tea in Taiwan. It's totally unlike those unsweetened tea we have in Singapore. #pleaseimportthistosingaporethankyouverymuch. 


Oden/黑轮/关东煮


Whatever you call it, this is plain awesome please!!! 

Ok. I just diverted too much. Haha! 

Alright, here's the things to do when you touched down. Eh, of course after you have collected your luggage and cleared the custom. :D 

1. Pre-paid SIM card.
Because we need to contact our love ones that we are safe and sound in Taiwan. No I kid. Because we need it to Instagram. LOL! 

You can find the two main telecom companies, 台灣大哥大 and Chunghwa, at the airport itself. They are only open after 8am though. I got mine from Chunghwa, but I don't think there would be much of a different between them. Rates are relatively the same too! :) 

2. Youth Travel Card
You can apply this for free at the Tourist Information Counter at the airport or anywhere else. However, you need to be between 19 to 30 years old to apply. All you need is to show them your passport. :) With this card you can get discounts at various attractions. However, from our experience, this card is pretty useless. But no harm applying since its free. :D 

3. Get out of Tao Yuan International Airport
Extremely important don't you agree? :P 

Pretty simple to do so, just follow the signs which will lead you to the airport bus shuttle to get a ticket to Tao Yuan HSR (High Speed Railway). If you really can't locate, don't be shy to ask! People are really friendly in Taiwan! ^^


Besides Ubus to Tao Yuan HSR, there are also other buses available which go to different places. So it all depends on where you are heading next. Since we are heading towards Tai Chung, we chose to take the HSR from Tao Yuan to our destination. :) Bus journey is about 15 mins from airport to Tao Yuan HSR. 


HSR ticket from Tao Yuan to Tai Chung, just 40mins or so! #fastandfurious. 

Anyway, we did an advance booking before the trip, this is to prevent situation where the tickets are all sold out, so that we don't waste time on waiting of course. You can find out more over here


The HSR or bullet train, I would call. 


Was quite amazed by the interior. It feels exactly like in an airplane again. Haha! Oh, there were even attendants selling food and beverages! How awesome ya? #cannevergohungryintaiwan

Anyway, the train system in Taiwan is extremely on time and accurate! So be sure to be on time for your train ya! ^^ 


Arrived at Tai Chung HSR and the next time to do is to get our bus ticket to Cing Jing. You can do so by taking the Nan Tou bus, again follow the sign to locate the ticketing station.:) 


It was a long journey to Cing Jing though. About 3 hours? So we took the time to nap and recuperate. Anyway, the bus ride can be a little bit scary as we are reaching the top because we are going uphill. Thus the road can be a little too narrow for a bus. 


We chose Starry Minsu out of the many minsu available in Cing Jing (just do a simple google and so many reviews would pop out). Anyway, Starry Minsu because it is strategically located at the highest point of Cing Jing. 


Thus, a magnificent view. <3 

However, we got to admit that the road up Starry Minsu kinda frightened us. Haha. Road was extremely steep and narrow, plus it was just inches from the edge! Seriously admire the driving skill of Taiwanese drivers. Haha. 

Btw, the Nan Tou Bus does not go all the way up to Starry Minsu, we just take all the way to the final stop and give the Minsu a call when you are there. They will arrange a car to pick you up from there. Also because the location of the Minsu is quite inaccessible, they actually have van to drop you at the places of attraction and pick you up again when you're done. 


Totally felt like we were living within the clouds. ^^ 


Our cozy room!

The condition of the room was beyond my expectations as I have heard from many that Minsu's conditions can be quite bad comparing to hotel standard. However, we were quite please with our room. Especially when the toilet was so clean. Hehe. I'm extremely particular about the toilet that I use. :P

Anyway, there were even heaters installed under the bed sheet to keep us warm through the night! This was definitely a first for us. 

 Oh, we paid NT 2400 for our one night stay at Starry Minsu, The room that we paid for is actually supposed to be for 2. But they actually run out of such room, so we were given the bigger room instead (room for 4), which would have costed more in fact. So in a way, lucky us? :D 

You can head over to their website for more information on their Minsu and pricing. :) 


Another reason for choosing Starry Minsu is that, breakfast and dinner are all covered by them! ^^


What is more comforting than having steamboat on a cold and wet night ya? 

Food was really simple and very homely. ^^ The bowl of rice was extremely delicious! Didn't know that Taiwanese grain is so yummy! 

Anyway, portion isn't very big. So do load yourself with some chips or cup noodles from 7-11 before coming back to the Minsu ya~ 


730am view from our room. 

#I'minlove #canIgobacknow 


Heaven on Earth isn't it? 


As mentioned breakfast was provided. I guess they have to do so because, there's really no way you can go down and get your own food. LOL. 


Another simple, homey breakfast. :) 

Overall, the experience at Starry Minsu was really fantastic. The people were really friendly and helped us a lot in many ways. Like guiding us on the various attractions at Cing Jing and helped us to book our bus ride to Sun Moon Lake. It was definitely a good start to our trip and brought us so much good impression about Taiwanese. ^^

Stay tune to my next post on Green Green Grassland! :D

Starry House Nantou
清境觀星園景觀山莊

Address: No.96,Bowang Nantou 546 TAIWAN
台灣南投縣仁愛鄉大同村博望巷96號
Tel: +886-49-2802242  +886-919713201
Email: hclee0701@yahoo.com.tw
Minsu's boss: Mr Lee, 李大哥

Love,
Lirong. 

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  2. HI Lirong! First up, thank you so much for this taiwan posts as it served as an execellent reference for me and my family. We are planning for a taiwan trip in March and has booked Starry Minsu for our accomodation. However, 1 cab driver has commented that it is the most dangerous minsu in taiwan and warned us against it. I thought it might be helpful to ask you if you thought that that place is dangerous at any point in time? Thanks a lot!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Yingyan!

      Awww~ glad that the post is useful to you. ^^
      Hmm.. as Starry is at the highest point, so the road up can be a little steep. Especially at one of the turn before reaching the minsu. But I think it's fine? There hasn't been any accident reported on the minsu as well if I'm not wrong. Haha!

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  4. hi, did u book starry minsu via agoda or u email mr lee to book? Thanks!


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  6. Hi Lirong,

    Chanced upon your blog. Can I just check how did you go about booking the minsu as well as payment method? Please advise, thank you! :)

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