Tuesday, 25 December 2012

travel: Taiwan 2012 Day 11: Taipei: National Palace Museum, National Science Education Centre, Shilin Night Market

This morning we checked out of Sato Castle and gave our baggage for safekeeping with the receptionist while we went out - as our check-in for the next hotel would not be until the afternoon. Our first destination for the day was to go to National Palace Museum. If you are not travelling solo and your time is limited, it's probably best to get a cab to get around Taiwan. Cab fare is quite cheap,

Museum fare is TWD 160 per adult, and non-chinese speaking patrons can get an audio guide for which TWD 100 is applicable. I really recommend to get the audio guide if you don't understand chinese, as the exhibition inside is definitely not english friendly. You would be blind without it and could easily get bored if you didn't understand the background or story behind the exhibited pieces.

My favourite would be the carvings exhibition - on jade, gemstones, bamboo, ivory, tusks, and even fruit seed. The workmanship is crazy! Current living artisans have nothing on these ancient artists/creators. Paintings exhibit area is also worth checking out - the pieces are beautiful and depict the ancient characters, landscape, and nature as the artists saw them in their time. Beautiful, detailed, and it transported you way back just for a few moments, mesmerizing yourself in complex strokes and colors.

Unfortunately, no camera is allowed inside the exhibition.

We did though, ate a wholesome brunch at the 4th floor inside the main building (yes, you have to pay the admission fee to get to this restaurant) - Sanxitang Teahouse. Taste's very nice and definitely worth to have a break and have some flavorsome meal.
We had seafood dumplings, pork bun, some rice dumplings, meatball soup, beansprout roll, and tea jelly.

Total damage: TWD 745

Then we went back to Sato Castle to get our baggage and took another cab to go to our accommodation for the next 3 nights. It's also the last hotel we will stay at during this trip.

Room Type: Executive
Cost: TWD 7590 per night

Despite being 5 star and fitted out nicely, rooms tend to be on the smaller side. Our executive room (and being a member of their preferred hotel group alliance - I Prefer) came with free wi-fi. But usually internet does not come for free here, which is weird - being the 5 star status, the price, and the business-like feel.

And not that I am being very picky about it, but all the accommodations we have stayed at during this trip provided their mini bar contents for free (included in the fare), even though the per night rate is below what we have paid for Palais de Chine. So why does Palais's mini bar not come included in the price? We received some welcome fruits though.

Room is beautifully appointed, though balcony view does not really show anything interesting (unless if there are some hot girls or guys swimming in that faraway pool...)

After checking into Palais, we went to National Science Education Centre - located in Shilin area. We went there basically to visit the Transformers exhibit (we heard about it on the radio when we were in Taichung), that will only be exhibited until March 2013.

Athough there are many exhibits, we were glued at the Transformers section for a couple of hours until their closing time.

The exhibit showcases Transformers robots through different era - from its initial design until the latest movie reproductions.
And some other style as well:

Star Wars: this made me smile.

The Avengers style: Hulk, Captain America, and Iron Man

Ghost Rider:

Black Spiderman, and Venom behind him

And the celebrity of the exhibit: a true scale of Bumblebee figure reproduction.

shagshftyefwt!!!! So so so awesome

One more of Bumblebee. Just because.

Even without Transformers exhibition, I think this place is way underrated (it was so quiet when we were there), and definitely worth visiting for a day of fun. There are a lot of interesting sections/exhibits that we did not have the time to go to, and we plan to go back here the next time we are in Taiwan.

Next stop: Shilin Night Market for our snack/dinner fix.

these chicken pieces are quite yummy, actually. There are a few stalls selling similar ones, but this stall coated the chicken with some sauce, making it quite flavorsome.

The Foodcourt at basement level B1 was so crowded (we did not eat here though, gave me headache just walking through the crowds). The stalls provides seats, so I guess they are more tourists friendly than the stalls on the street above.

Then off we went to Palais de Chine to turn in for the night

Bose speakers (only two though) inside our room o_0

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