A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kidd27

Phuket Old Town

overcast 29 °C

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PROMTHEP CLOCK TOWER (STANDARD CHARTERED BANK) @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM @ KRABI ROAD, PHUKET OLD TOWN

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COLONIAL MANSION AT KRABI ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

Phuket is not just only beach and island holiday retreat destination. It is definitely worthwhile to explore Phuket city, the old part of the island city that is. There were rows of colonial or heritage shophouses which lined on several of the important roads during the Phuket tin mining days such as Krabi Road, Thalang Road, Dibuk Road, Yaowarat Road and Ranong Road to name a few. Ratsadanupradit Mahison Pakdi @ Khaw Sim Bee was the key figure on the background of the history of Phuket. I came to know about Ratsadanupradit's background history during my travel to Satun and Trang. His family members descended from his brothers including himself were appointed as governors of several southern Thai provinces such as Ranong, Phuket, Phang Nga, Trang and Satun by King Rama IV and V. The Khaw family in particular Khaw Sim Bee was said to have contributed hugely in the booming commercial activities in Phuket with the development of tin mines industry as well as the introduction of rubber plantations in the southern provinces of Thailand during the colonial era.

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KRABI ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

To get to Phuket city from Patong beach, the most budget way to be connected is through the public songtheaws which run through Patong every hour. Cost of ticket from Patong to Phuket city is THB 30 per person. Another alternative to get to the city of Phuket is through the red tuk-tuks which are readily available on the road side awaiting for passengers any time any day. Costs of tuk-tuk service from Patong to Phuket city is THB 500 for the whole tuk-tuk all by yourself.

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ROWS OF SINO PORTUGUESE SHOP HOUSE ALONG KRABI ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOP HOUSE ALONG KRABI ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SHOP HOUSES AT THE INTERSECTION OF KRABI, YAOWARAT & THALANG ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

The starting point of my exploration of Phuket Old Town was along the Krabi Road in which the Thai Hua Museum or Thai Chinese Museum was located. This former chinese school was the most important Sino Protuguese building which should not be missed out while on Phuket old town adventure. The entrance to the museum is THB 50 per person. There is a large concourse in front of the Thai Hua Museum which resembled the students assembly area of the old chinese school. The museum is a 2 storey building with extensive renovations being done to convert this former school into a museum. There are several sections inside the museum which include section on tin mining history, the existence of Chinese community in Phuket, the costumes of the Phuket's Baba & Nyoya community, the key figures in the development of old Phuket city and how the colonial shophouses were being designed and built up to suit the needs of the chinese during those days. Its interesting to find out some facts on Phuket's history post Khaw Sim Bee a well as on how tin mining development in Phuket had resulted in the set up of black societies to protect the different chinese clans in the tin mining industry and how the chinese community in Phuket blend into the Thai culture including with the Thai muslims which had seen the evolving of Baba & Nyoya culture in Phuket. Another important building on Krabi Road is the House No.96 which was a former British style colonial mansion now turned into a Thai fine-dining restaurant and cooking school named Blue Elephant. There was a huge open field fronting the mansion which is being housed within the gated and fenced area. Here, I also had the opportunity to chance upon an old chinese woman who sells the hard to find Nyoya deserts of Phuket. Try some of the range of desserts and you should never regret and to be complimented with contemporary coffee shops including the one next to the Thai Hua Museum.

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THAI HUA MUSEUM (THAI CHINESE MUSEUM) AT KRABI ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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THE SIGNBOARD AT THE ENTRANCE GATE TO THAI HUA MUSEUM @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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THE INTERIOR OF THE PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM ON THE GROUND FLOOR OF MAIN ENTRANCE

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THE ENTRANCE TO THE PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM

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THE STAIRCASE TO 2ND FLOOR OF PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM

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OLD PHOTOS & DESCRIPTION ON TIN MINING INDUSTRY OF OLD PHUKET @ PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM

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THE CHINESE ASSOCIATION WITH OPIUM DURING THE TIN MINING ERA OF PHUKET @ PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM

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THE CHINESE BABA & NYOYA COSTUMES DURING THE ERA OF OLD PHUKET @ THAI HUA MUSEUM

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PROMINENT FIGURES DURING THE OLD PHUKET ERA @ PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM

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BRIEF DETAIL OF THE ANG YEE BLACK SOCIETY DURING THE TIN MINING ERA OF PHUKET

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A DISPLAY ON REPLICA OF A SINO PORTUGUESE SHOPHOUSE @ PHUKET THAI HUA MUSEUM

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COFFEE HOUSE NEXT TO THAI HUA MUSEUM

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOPHOUSES ALONG KRABI ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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THE OLD MANSION HOUSE NO.96 (BLUE ELEPHANT RESTAURANT) AT KRABI ROAD, PHUKET OLD TOWN

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BABA & NYONYA DELICACIES AT KRABI ROAD @ OLD TOWN PHUKET

From Krabi Road, it was then a stroll along Yaowarat Road. Over at this road of Phuket Old Town, there was no distinctive building located along Yaowarat Road but never short of good old Sino Portuguese style shop houses which were no less interesting than any other parts of the road along the old town area. Between Yaowarat and Dibuk Road is the LoCk Tien restaurant which offers some great varieties of Phuket chinese style food including the famous Hokkien Mee or Hokkien noodle. Hokkien is one of the chinese clan from China's Fujian province. What is special about the noodle is the mixture of vege, egg and barbeque pork and the gravy or soup that comes with the noodle in a bowl. Another good treat over at Lock Tien which is popular among the locals and Thais is the fresh popiah or spring roll which is very much different from those in Vietnam. The filling of Phuket fresh popiah is the shredded jicama and chopped peanuts as well lettuce topped with sweet sauce and chilli sauce. Also had a try on the "lobaK' a mixture of fried tofu and the deep fry pork intestines and pork head's skin dipped with special sauce. Just right in front of Lock Tien on Dibuk Road is the Aekwanit Building. Along Dibuk Road, just as along Krabi Road and Yaowarat Road were rows of Sino Portuguese style shop houses of which some has been turned into restaurant, coffee house and guesthouse. There is also a shop house towards the end of Dibuk Road on the left of Lok Tien restaurant which sells some local Phuket Chinese delicacies such as biscuits, desserts and cakes. Towards the right of Lok Tien restaurant on Dibuk Road is the Thai Hua Association Building which is a white coloured property located on the edge of Dibuk Road near Soi Romanee or Romanee Lane, another interesting lane of Phuket Old Town in which the back lane shop houses have been transformed into colourful buildings giving the feel of modern and old as well as European atmosphere when strolling down this small lane.

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SIGNBOARD OF YAOWARAT ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOPHOUSES ALONG YAOWARAT ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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DIBUK ROAD SIGNBOARD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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LOK TIEN RESTAURANT AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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POPIAH @ LOCK TIEN

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HOKKIEN MEE @ LOCK TIEN

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LOBAK @ LOCK TIEN

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AEKWANIT BUILDING AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOP HOUSE ALONG DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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A CHINESE CAKE SHOP AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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AN OLD CHEVY PICK UP TRUCK AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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GUESTHOUSE AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

From Soi Romanee was then a walk towards Thalang Road in which one of Phuket oldest chinese medicine shop is located. The structure of the medicine hall remained conserved while the interior of the shop has been refurbished to suit the current contemporary design. Then, stroll toward the Phuket Road from Thalang Road onwards to the intersection between Phuket Road and Phang Nga Road in which the Promthep Clock Tower which was also the former Standard Chartered Bank building is located. There are 2 Standard Chartered Bank buildings which are located opposite each other here. While the Promthep Clock Tower building remain much untouched, the other building opposite this clock tower is currently undergoing reconstruction and renovation works to conserve the historically rich property, in which the Phuket provincial officials shall be credited in ensuring the treasure of this unvalued properties remained for as long as it could. The bank itself would have also play a part in collaboration with the local authorities in ensuring the initiative works well into the benefit of all parties. From Phuket Road then headed towards Rasada Road in which the grand Bank of Ayudhya, a stand alone 4 storey white coloured Sino Portuguese shop house. Walking along the Phang Nga Road then led to the discovery of one of the oldest hotel in Phuket Old Town, the On On Hotel, another distinctive property white in colour being a side by side 3 units of Sino Portuguese style 2 storey hophouse. Its worth to spent few hours walking through the trail of Phuket Old Town or even spend a night in this city to appreciate the good old feel of Sino Phuket and while strolling down the roads and streets enjoy some good local Phuket chinese food, relax over coffee in any of the modernised old coffee shops and try out some local Phuket chinese delicacies. Phuket city has much more to offer beyond the beach and island retreat, really.

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MORE SINO PORTUGUESE SHOPHOUSE AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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THAI HUA ASSOCIATION BUILDING AT DIBUK ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SOI ROMANEE SIGNBOARD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOPHOUSES AT SOI ROMANEE @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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THALANG ROAD SIGNBOARD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOPHOUSE AT THALANG ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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CHINESE MEDICAL SHOP AT THALANG ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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PHUKET ROAD & PHANG NGA ROAD INTERSECTION @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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PROMTHEP CLOCK TOWER (STANDARD CHARTERED BANK) AT PHUKET & PHANG NGA ROAD INTERSECTION

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THE STANDARD CHARTERED BANK OPPOSITE THE PROMTHEP CLOCK TOWER UNDER ON-GOING CONSERVATION

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SINO PORTUGUESE SHOP AT PHUKET ROAD @ PHUKET OLD TOWN

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BANK OF AYUDHYA AT RASADA ROAD @ OLD TOWN PHUKET

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ON ON HOTEL AT PHANG NGA ROAD @ OLD TOWN PHUKET, ONE OF THE OLDEST PHUKET HOTEL

Posted by kidd27 00:20 Archived in Thailand

Sino Phuket

Phuket History and Attractions beyond beach & island retreat

sunny 37 °C

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After 7 years, I had another opportunity to travel to Phuket for 2nd time with a different kind of travel itinerary in mind. Phuket is actually an island rich in history in which most of the tourists who travelled to Phuket were unaware of. Long before the opening up of Phuket as Thailand's tourist island in 1986, this southern island of Thailand was a booming mining territory as well as major rubber plantation producer of South East Asia. The man behind the development of Phuket was actually Ratsadanuphradit Mahison Pakdi @ Khaw Sim Bee, who found his fortune in doing business in Phuket both in the tin mining as well as in rubber plantation industry. He had modelled the grooming of Phuket as a commercial city based on the development of Penang by the British during the colonisation of the English in those days. Just as in Malaya now Malaysia, the tin mining industry in Phuket during the colonisation era had a fair share of the black societies insurgency issues in which group of associations were set up by different clans to protect their own people from discriminations in the course of their work as coolies in the tin mining industry. Phuket became a major island tourist attractions after the shutdown of the tin mines in Phuket in 1986 and it has never looked back since then. As what we could see now, Phuket is indeed an island paradise for those who seek for nice island and beach retreat. But beyond this, the history of Phuket is worth to be explored and to get into the knowledge of the roots of Phuket's past is to explore the Phuket old town by itself.

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A general view of Patong Beach @ Phuket

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A Red Bull decorated 4 x 4 parked along Patong Beach

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Patong Beach street

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BANGLA WALKING STREET AT PATONG @ PHUKET

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Jung Ceylon Shopping Mall at Patong @ Phuket

WINE CONNECTIONS AT SINO PHUKET SECTION @ JUNG CEYLON SHOPPING MALL

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But before that, I would like to share about this round of Phuket trip in comparison to my previous trip 7 years ago. The main commercial area of Phuket island remained as Patong, in which the infamous Bangla Road now known as Bangla Walking Street is located. This is the street which is the usual place in which one would find all the beer bars and discotheques dotting the street on the left and right. The street fronting the Patong beach now is known as Banana Walk. I remember years ago when I was in Phuket, the Banana discotheque was one of the most in-place to be but I did not bother to check out how different it is today. The Banana Walk possibly could have got its name from this discotheque since it was famous among the party goers. The shops selling mostly tshirts, watches, shoes, souvenirs, gadgets, electrical & electronic accessories, massage shops and restaurants, both Thai and international as usual still dotting the streets and alleys of the Patong beach. One of the major change that I had seen is the existence of a major tourist outlet and shopping heaven named the Jung Ceylon. This is one of the most extensive development I could see being brought to Phuket as of now. But there are more to come I believe as even condominiums popular among property investors in Bangkok has been booming as understandably this is a smart business move because investors would love to put in their money without thinking twice in snapping up units available. Why? Because there is good money in leasing out the units for purpose of tourist accomodation facilities. Back to Jung Ceylon, this is also the biggest shopping and entertainment mall to-date in Phuket I would say and the mall is divided into several section including the one named Sino Phuket, which is a section for fine dining as well as beer bar lovers, which is different from what you see over at Bangla Walking Street. One of the most notable outlet over at Sino Phuket, which was themed after the old town of Phuket is the Wine Connections, which is a F & B outlet famous for its wide range of good and fine wines and champagne as well as beers and great western food. All in all this is a place which centred and fits in everything to suit everyone including family entertainment.

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AT RAWAI PIER @ PHUKET

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BOAT SERVICE AT RAWAI PIER

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GREAT SELECTION OF SEAFOOD AT RAWAI @ PHUKET

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FRESH SEAFOOD READY TO BE COOKED AT RESTAURANTS JUST OPPOSITE THE SEAFOOD TRADERS

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PEARL & CORAL ACCESSORIES AVAILABLE FOR SALE AT RAWAI @ PHUKET

Of course when you are on an island, one thing that should never be missed would be the seafood. And never be fooled with the large lobsters or prawns that were being displayed on the big rack filled with rocky ice as this maybe just a tourist trap. Well, I am not quite sure of this because I had not try the seafood restaurant along Patong beach but if those who seek to have good and inexpensive seafood adventure, then the right place to head to is Rawai. Rawai is located at the southernmost of Phuket island and apart from seafood is also famous for its pearl. Here, you could find a good number of shops located at the edge of the Rawai pier that deal in pearl accessories including the pearl necklaces, pearl pendants, pearl bracelets and related accessories as well as decorations and accessories made from shells. At another section at the Rawai pier next to the shells and pearl traders, are the proprietors dealing with fresh seafood. You can get to choose range of seafood including fish, crabs, clamps, mussels, prawns, oysters, lobsters and other seafood items. After purchasing these seafood items, there are restaurants located just opposite the seafood proprietors, where you can get the restaurants to cook the fresh seafood from their kitchens and pay them a fee which is good value for money and considerable. From Rawai pier, this is the place to board the boat to some nice surrounding islands including Racha island and Coral island.

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THE CHEDI OF WAT CHALONG @ PHUKET

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THE UBOSOT OF WAT CHALONG @ PHUKET

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THE UBOSOT OF WAT CHALONG @ PHUKET

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ENTRANCE TO BIG BUDDHA @ PHUKET

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THE VIEW WHILE ASCENDING TO THE BIG BUDDHA @ PHUKET

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A CLOSE VIEW OF THE BIG BUDDHA @ PHUKET

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A BIRD EYE VIEW OF THE EA FROM BIG BUDDHA'S PEAK @ PHUKET

My most notable tourist attraction visit 7 years ago was Wat Chalong and today Wat Chalong has transformed differently as the colour of this temple which resembles the Phra That Luang in Vientiane has changed from white to dark gold. This temple is beautiful and many Thais as well as tourists were seen visiting while in comparison to my previous visit, the numbers has seen a tremendous surge. Possibly, more people have knowledge about Wat Chalong and the beatification of this temple was also possible with the increased in donations from visitors. Another new attractions in Phuket today is the Big Buddha. As suggested by the name, the main attraction is the gigantic white Buddha sculpture which is still under on-going construction as of today. The white Big Buddha which is on a sitting position was about 80% completed. The sculpture of the Big Buddha was already fully constructed and painted in white while the basement of the Buddha is still on work-in-progress. The Big Buddha is located on top of a hill and to get to the Big Buddha area, there are staircases built for visitors to climb up to reach the ground in which the Big Buddha being constructed. At the lower ground before the staircase to the Big Buddha, there is an ubosot (prayers hall) in which devotees can offer prayers to the Buddha sculptures as well as seeking blessings from the chief monk of Big Buddha temple. While climbing up the stairs to the peak of Big Buddha, you can experience some great views of the sea. At the peak of Big Buddha, the large view of the sea can be seen from here and you could feel the cool air here at the Big Buddha's peak. Visitors could also contribute by donating money for the marbles and tiles which are being used to construct the walls and the pilings of the base of the Big Buddha. Donors could have their names as well as their wishes printed on the slab of tiles or marbles.

THE SCENES FROM PROMTHEP CAPE @ PHUKET

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During my last trip to Phuket, I wanted to visit and take a look at Promthep Cape as it was said that this is a place which has very distinctive view of the sea from the peak of the cape. It did not happened at that time but this trip, I had the opportunity to see with my own eyes on how true it was that the cape offers a great viewpoint and a must visit place for those who travel to Phuket. I just could not explain it with words on how beautiful the scenery could be and only photos could best describe how true on what has been said about Promthep Cape. While it can be extremely hot, humid and sticky due to the scorching and burning afternoon, it was worth its while to brave the unbearable weather condition just to capture one of the best view in Phuket. Other than the stunning sunset and beautiful sea view, Promthep Cape is also an alternative energy conservation station. Another area for good sea viewpoint is the Karon Viewpoint. What is distinctive about Karon Viewpoint is that you can get to view 3 beaches from the peak of this viewpoint which is the Kata beach, Small Kata beach and Karon beach. As for a nice city view, the place that you should not missed is the Khao Rang (Rang Hill), which is located at the Phuket city. One of the recommended place to visit within the Rang Hill is the Tung Ka Cafe, which offers patrons a great place to enjoy the view of Phuket city while having great time dining at the cafe over some good Thai food. Unfortunately, when I arrived in the morning, this restaurant joint has not been opened for business. There were also some other restaurant here at Rang Hill including one with the name Khao Rang Breeze. The man behind Phuket's rich history as related earlier, Ratsadanupradit Mahison Pakdi's sculpture can be seen being constructed here as a remembrance of his contributions which developed Phuket as it is today.

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PROMTHEP ENERGY STATION @ PHUKET

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A VIEW FROM PROMTHEP ENERGY STATION @ PHUKET

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AT KARON VIEWPOINT, 3 BEACHES, SMALL KATA, KATA & KARON BEACH CAN BE SEEN CLEARLY

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A RESTAURANT AT KHAO RANG (RANG HILL) @ PHUKET CITY

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THE STATUE OF RATSADANUPRADIT MAHISON PAKDI AT KHAO RANG @ PHUKET CITY

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BIRD'S EYE VIEW OF PHUKET CITY AT KHAO RANG @ PHUKET CITY

Phuket as in Bangkok and some other major tourists city also has its own version of budget shopping bazaar which cater for locals, Thais and also tourists and the one in Phuket is the Chaofa Variety Weekend Market. This is a weekend market and shoppers can get everything here from tshirts, shoes, bags, pants, ladies accessories, decorative items, souvenirs and all kind of Thai street food. All with inexpensive price tags. This trip to Phuket has proof that there is no regret in visiting a second time and I had said before that I would not mind visiting same place for many times because you never know what you would experience each time you visit the place again. Phuket has more to offer than just being purely for fun and shopping. The history on the background of how Phuket has developed into a major tourist attraction is worth to take a look. More can be done by the provincial government to enhance the tourism industry in Phuket. The old Phuket town development to draw tourist attention should be given a salutation as to how the officials being proactive in coming up with innovative ideas in enhancing tourism products in Phuket. Perhaps, one of the best way to further compliment the current Phuket Old Town tourism is to have guided cycling tour or self tour which enable tourists to rent a bicycle and go on cycling exploration on a Phuket Old Town trail with special map.

THE CHAOFA WEEKEND MARKET @ PHUKET

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Posted by kidd27 03:03 Archived in Thailand

Back To Where It All Began

Ho Chi Minh City 8 years on

overcast 29 °C

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The Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh city

Yes, Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon was where all the backpacking story began. Eight years ago, I stepped my foot on the soil of this country that was full of mystery yet never short of history that would surely lure those who were curious and adventurous to be here to experience by oneself by exploring and finding out about the facts, culture and life of the Vietnamese. At that time when I started, the low cost airline or budget airline company which has gained its ground and notoriety with budget travellers over the last 10 years was yet to start its flight to Ho Chi Minh city. So, I actually travelled to Ho Chi Minh city from Phnom Penh by the coach that time, which can be said the most easy among the long distance bus travel within the Mekong or Indochina region. Why this was easy? Well, depending on where you headed to, some destination could even take up to 16 hours or more but as for me, the longest journey without accommodation overnight was the journey from Vientiane to Savannakhet in Laos and onwards to Hue,Vietnam through the Dansavanh/Lao Bao border checkpoint. Its good to be back to Ho Chi Minh city to rekindle the past memories which would always stay in the mind, heart and soul. It was also the Phnom Penh/ Ho Chi Minh backpacking travel in which I started my travel blog ironically. As a beginner, I was not good at it as I had no knowledge of how a blog should indeed be written due to lack of guidance and also poor research on materials on how this should be done upfront. Its true that one doesn't need to be a writer to pen a blog but it would be handful to get some tips on what are the contents in a blog which could capture good level of readership. I must admit that even until today, after 8 years of indulging in blog writing, there are still much to learn and improved on. There were really some travel stories that derived much interests from readers while some stories may not. But to be very frank, I still find it kind of difficult to understand why some stories would have high level of readership while some may not though I believe that there were some form of elements which could have contributed to this phenomena. All I could say to myself was that, I do not have any interests in any of the things mentioned about persons, businesses or places nor do I try to promote any of these stakeholders either. The fact is, whatever being written were purely due to what I had experienced when I travelled and how I feel and about each and every of these travel experience. There were only encounters with people I met, places I stay, food that I ate and places I visited which were being written to keep such precious memories for the rest of my life without being forgotten, Photos were good to keep such wonderful memories but if the stories were written, these great memories would even be more meaningful and more informative in which what transpired could be shared beyond the photos.

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Notre Dame Cathedral

When I reached Ho Chi Minh city from Phnom Penh, the bus stopped right at the Pham Ngu Lao street, the iconic street for the backpackers community and should or worth a stroll for even those not within the budget travel category. Pham Ngu Lao street does not only offers affordable accommodation, it also offers some affordable and nice vietnamese food at the restaurants and bars which even scattered on the small lanes of this backpacking street, souvenir shops as well as affordable drinking joints. Its a mix of everything in one which surely be very convenient for those who seek assurance on such comfort travel but at the same time it doesn't hurt one's pocket. So, this is where why Pham Ngu Lao street was well-liked by backpackers of all ages because it has everything under one roof. It was not only Pham Ngu Lao street that enjoys the popularity among backpacker travellers but the adjacent streets also get to ride on such enormous popularity including De Tham street, Bui Vien street as well as Quang Dao street. Some changes noted at this backpacking area was notably the well decorated interior and exterior of some restaurants and guesthouse or hotels which were rather scarce 8 years ago. Those days, the shops and hostels or guesthouses were with much humble presentations but 8 years on, things had changed as expectations from guests and travellers had also changed due to several reasons including increasing number of travellers who came from different background. Previously, backpackers consisted mainly young people who were on gap year of fresh graduates from all over the world but things had changed today with even those with family and children would also love to be part of the interesting backpacking community. I stayed at one of the guesthouse along De Tham street when I 1st travelled to Saigon and the rates was only USD10 for a decent small room but good enough for a solo backpacker traveller. There were also curfew issues those days as guests may be locked out of the guesthouse after certain hours. But at the place I stayed, the owner was kind enough to let his guests to roam late at night with guests who returned late finding access door being locked out may just need to knock hard enough to get the attention from the sleeping person on-duty to opened up the main door. Today, there no longer have such issue I believed as some hotels have different access from its lobby with bell boy cum security guarding this access point. The park along Pham Ngu Lao street was also said to have recaptured schoolboy memories with teenagers and adults playing outdoor games there and today these group of youth still seen playing the same game just like 8 years ago.One thing that remained much unchanged in Ho Chi Minh city is the traffic which is always busy, hectic and notorious. But even one who is new to this city of motorbikes, it should not be of much an issue crossing the roads in the city as motorists know well enough how to managed their directions should they be confronted with you in any situations. The rule of thumb is know the directions you are heading to and not to change your mind after deciding that it was the right time to move. As I have mentioned before about traffic in Vietnam, though this country is much less advanced than its neighbours within the same region, it has one of the most organised traffic and good road condition and system which can be much admired and respected.

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Cruising through the canal at Mekong Delta

I was approached by a middle aged cyclo man somewhere around Quang Dao street when I went for a walk around the backpacking area after settling down at the guesthouse at De Tham street. It has now become scarce to find this 3-wheeled vehicle on the road in Ho Chi Minh city. At that time, scams by the cyclo drivers were not common and hardly being an issue with travellers who seek to experience some form of distinctive city tour adventure that cyclo travel may offers. At least, not that I had read of at that time. Nevertheless, that scam was what I was hit with when I decided to hire that middle aged cyclo man to go for a 1 day city tour which of course include several important tourist spots including the Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Reunification Palace, Ben Thanh market, Binh Tay market, pagodas and temples. The scam that I encountered with that cyclo man including patronising expensive restaurant for lunch and to pay for his portion, to pay for repair of "puncture" tyre in between the city tour, short of the places promised to visit and creating commotion in front of crowd by saying that that was not being the agreed tour rate when indeed it was after taking into consideration of the lunch, cost of "puncture" repair and places being missed. In the end, I was lucky that I went through such scam without major issue though it was a very 1st backpacking experience. He refused to accept the fee unless I pay wht he demanded. The very thing that saved the day was the mentioned on police and immediately that scare such scammer off. He did say that he wanted to report to the police because I never fulfil the contract to pay him what has been promised but it was indeed him who try to cheat me off. So I told him immediately please show me the nearest police station and he needed to come with me as well but that was the turning point as he began to tone it down and became less arrogant because he knew he was fighting a losing battle. I know this happened anywhere and not easy to flush scammers out but I think surely things could be improved with good governance from the police and cooperations from every parties including having a tourists police at some points within the backpacking area for easy management on issues and bring this scammers to justice to clamp them down for good. In fact during the course of my backpacking travel in Vietnam, I had experience few of these issues which had indeed hurt the general good feelings about Vietnam. It is hoped that things would changed or even had changed today. I was not quite sure about this but rule of thumb is to avoid touts, xe om or motorbike men on the prowl on unsuspicious travellers and anything that may seemed too good to be true. Motorbike tour can be a very interesting form of travel within the Ho Chi Minh city as I did engaged one back in those days and its easy for you to get from one place to another without the stress on traffic congestion and being herded into a group of strangers for a city tour by the travel company. I did not encountered unpleasant experience with xe om driver when I engaged one 8 years ago. My travel down memory lane of Ho Chi Minh city today were mainly by walking, bus and taxi with the fare being quite reasonable and acceptable. The airport bus from Tan Son Nhat airport only charged VND 5,000 and another VND 5,000 for big luggage. Its easy and very affordable. The bus dropped passengers at the bus terminal situated opposite from Ben Thanh market. I did asked for the taxi fare from the counter at the airport and was quoted at VND230,000, which was still affordable though not as low as that of the bus fare. From Ben Thanh market terminal, there is a bus service to Cho Binh Tay or Binh Tay market with a fee of VND5,000 for 1 way. I took the bus on the opposite direction, from Binh Tay market to Ben Thanh market, which proven to be easy and comfortable. The taxi fare may costs up to VND 250,000 when it gets sandwiched in traffic congestion. Taxi fare in Ho Chi Minh city starts at VND 11,000 but I noticed that there was one that started with VND13,000 instead.

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Binh Tay Market

Ben Thanh market is a market that offers huge varieties of consumer goods as well as authentic vietnamese food. The price of goods were said to be quite expensive over at Ben Thanh market and a good bargaining skills is a must to get good and value for money items. The last time when I was here, I just took a brief stroll inside but this trip I get to walk inside the market and spent some time doing some shopping as well as to sample the ever popular and delicious "pho ga" (soup noodle with chicken), fresh prawn spring roll and fresh coffee. There were also many shopkeepers dealing with great vietnamese coffee beans and packed coffees at Ben Thanh market of whom some even offer to have customers to try out the different kind of coffees that offer different taste. The night market over at Ben Thanh market was still there together with the seafood stalls in between the night market traders. This night market attracted good number of vistors and bargaining is also a must as prices of items were being inflated just as those inside Ben Thanh market. Just a short walk from Ben Thanh market and across the road, Saigon Square 1 also offers wide number of consumer items, mainly on textiles with prices considered much better than the former. The environment inside Saigon Square 1 was much well organised, clean and comfortable. I think Saigon Square 1 was still not existed 8 years ago and with this new shopping addition, Ho Chi Minh city now offers a great place for those looking for affordable yet offering quality items for a value for money shopping experience. There is another version of Saigon Square which is the Saigon Square 2, which is way farther from the backpacking tourist spot but a taxi to get to here shouldn't be much of a problem. It offers similar items and prices as Saigon Square 1 but worth a visit and get some value for money items from here as well. There are also now few shopping malls sprucing up within Ho Chi Minh city and if you have such time to spend on buying things, a visit may help to keep you occupied. Diamond Plaza is one of the upmarket shopping mall within easy rich from the tourist spot in Dong Khoi area where Notre Dame Cathedral, The Central Post Office and Reunification Palace were located.

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Ben Thanh Market

Sightseeing shouldn't be missed out while travelling or in Ho Chi Minh city. Though I had been or visited to some of these great city sights during previous travel, this memory lane trip down the road yet again brought me to the interesting and iconic sights of Ho Chi Minh city within the Dong Khoi area. When I visited the last time, I did not managed to get an interior view of the Notre Dame Cathedral but today, this trip provide an opportunity to have a view inside the cathedral. The exterior structure of the Notre Dame Cathedral was very much impressive though the interior may not be as "european" as compared to those I witnessed when I travel to Kontum such as the wooden cathedral, which has very nice interior and exterior with european touch. The adjacent Central Post Office offers another interesting and marvellous sightseeing experience with its unique exterior building design and distinctive clock tower with the middle of the post office building. The exterior design were equally impressive with world map on 2 sides of the wall on the left and right together with several clock on each side indicating the time of several countries on display. There were also souvenir sections on the left and right of the building at the main entrance in which some items sold at affordable price. My previous visit I did not managed to get inside the post office and today, its good to be able to revisit and get to see what the post office has to offer as well. A further walk up to check out Reunification Palace did not produced much of a difference as I did not get to explore the place just like when I last visited. Hopefully, there will be another visit that will enable me to check out the history of this palace.

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A bowl of Pho Ga (Chicken Soup Noodle) at Ben Thanh Market

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Vietnamese iced milk coffee

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Vietnamese fresh spring roll with prawn

Coffee is synonym with Vietnam and travel to Ho Chi Minh city would never be complete without a sip of a cup of aromatic vietnamese coffee. There are now many coffee houses within Ho Chi Minh city and I did managed to get some taste on some varieties of vietnamese coffees including the one at Highland Coffee, Phuc Long Coffee and Phuc Long Coffee. Highland Cofee indeed offers some very tasty and aromatic coffee which is very unique to itself or even to Vietnam. As for food, definitely the "pho" shouldn't be missed out while travelling in Vietnam. Even the hotel's breakfast that offers free breakfast also produce great "pho" that is unbeatable in taste, aroma and its add-ons. Pho 2000 opposite Ben Thanh market where former US President was said to have dine at also offers good authentic pho and many tourists seen here dining at the unassuming outlet. The original outlet in which Bill Clinton dine at may not be located at this one where it was on 1st floor of the Coffee Bean Tea & Leaf outlet. "Banh Mii" or french bread with omelette, salad and add-on stuffings also worth a try and should not be missed out. Such bread vendors are now getting lesser though its nice to still see them around today. Other vietnamese food worth a try include the rice noodle salad that comes with rice noodle, grilled pork, deep fry spring rolls and plenty of vegetables all mix together and eat with special sweet chilly dipping. I feel happy that I was able to come back to Ho Chi Minh city today though I still missed out some places that I wanted to visit but the rekindling of old memories was just well too overwhelmed and would provide another version of great memories both in writing as well as through photos.

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Tan Son Nhat International Airport Bus to Ben Thanh Station

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The Ben Thanh Bus Station opposite Ben Thanh Market

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Traffic on the road of Ho Chi Minh City

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Pham Ngu Lao Street, HCM City

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A bowl of Pho Ga for lunch at Ben Thanh Market

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A food vendor at Ben Thanh Market

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The general view of Ben Thanh Market interior

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A coffee vendor at Ben Thanh Market

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A vendor at Ben Thanh Market

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This coffee vendor was kind enough to prepare various coffee for tasting before purchase

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A pack of vietnamese coffee powder that comes with coffee filter at Ben Thanh Market

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Ben Thanh Night Market

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A bottle of Bia Saigon @ Ben Thanh Night Market

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HOT POT DINNER AT BEN THANH NIGHT MARKET
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A food seller carrying his items on the head along De Tham Street

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Highland Coffee outlet at the corner of Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham Street

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Enjoying a cup of hot vietnamese coffee at Highland Coffee

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Shopping at Saigon Square 2, HCM City

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Vendors at Saigon Square 2

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Dinner at Wrap & Roll, De Tham Street

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A bottle of Bia Saigon @ Wrap & Roll, De Tham Street outlet

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A vietnamese rice noddle salad at Wrap & Roll (Must try in Vietnam)

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Banh Beo which is a Hue (Central Vietnam) specialty

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De Tham Street at night

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The guesthouse I stayed 8 years ago for USD10 a night at De Tham Street

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Pham Ngu Lao Street at night

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A bar at Pham Ngu Lao Street

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The roundabout at Ben Thanh Market with Bitexco Financial Tower on its background at night

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Banh Mi for breakfast at HCM City

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Pho Ga for breakfast

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Notre Dame Cathedral on a walkabout trip@ HCM City

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Notre Dame Cathedral

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The interior of Notre Dame Cathedral

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The Central Post Office, HCM City

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The Central Post Office

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The interior of Central Post Office

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The Reunification Palace

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Binh Tay Market

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The interior of Binh Tay Market

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Diamond Plaza, HCMC City

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The bus stop for the Cholon-Ben Thanh route

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Lunch at Pho 2000, Ben Thanh (Bill Clinton was here before)

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The interior of Pho 2000

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A bowl of Pho Ga at Pho 2000

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A good glass of ice cold vietnamese coffee at Pho 2000

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A photo of Bill Clinton dining at Pho 2000

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Pho 2000 offer something different Banh Mi with chicken curry

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Shopping at Saigon Square 1 adjacent to Ben Thanh Market

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A walkabout around Quang Dau & Bui Vien Street

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A shop at Pham Ngu Lao Street

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Banh Mi vendor at Bui Vient Street, HCM City

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Dinner at Mon Hue Restaurant, De Tham Street

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A bowl of vietnamese rice noodle with baby clamp and salted fish (Hue specialty)

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Enjoying Banh Xeo at Mon Hue

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A cup of vietnamese coffee at Phuc Long, HCM City

Posted by kidd27 07:15 Archived in Vietnam

Mekong Delta-My Tho & Ben Tre village

rain 25 °C

My previous travel to Ho Chi Minh city aka Saigon did not include a trip to Mekong Delta as I was not able to fit my backpacking schedule to add this trip to the itinerary. That was 8 years ago. Well, 8 years may not be a very long period of time but that was enough to see some changes that had taken place in Ho Chi Minh city. Back then, one of the most popular budget airline today has yet to start its route to Saigon and I travelled to this southern city of Vietnam through Phnom Penh by bus which took approximately 6 hours journey. My place of stay was a humble little small guesthouse located at De Tham street at that time and things had been different when I passed through this guesthouse during my recent travel. It is now more lively and vibrant with the neon lights decorating its main door and the few small table and chairs were taken off replaced with few stools and the theme of this guesthouse seemed to be that of blue colour. Previously, the small table and chair served as a place for breakfast dining with the menu being the banh mi (french bread stuff with ommelette) and coffee. A small room that I paid for costs only USD10 a night, It could have increased slightly now but I did not checked it out. One of the famous travel agent was located just 2 doors away which at that time was popular among foreign backpackers. Those days, this travel company occupied just a small ground floor shop with very minimal interior renovation done. The office could be seen packed with many tourists and travellers alike in its office enquiring tours as well as paying for tour bookings. When I visited the same company recently, how things had changed. It has now expanded to 2 units of shop with improved interior which looked much contemporary. The name of the company has also changed to reflect the nature of its business. What really get me surprised was, there were no longer western or european travellers that packed the placed as it was 8 years ago. It seemed to me that instead, it is now popular among Asian travellers & tourists, Well, the general feeling in me was that, as a backpacker, it feels very much a different atmosphere when you see fellow travellers within the same mode of travel gathered in a familiar place at any one time as compared when you are with a group of travellers which are of family oriented travel. So, perhaps this can be good for Vietnam or specifically Ho Chi Minh city as it has now gained its grounds among different group of travellers instead of just the backpackers. More travellers and tourists mean more income generated for people of HCM city which ultimately increase the wealth of its people and brought further developments to the country.

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The tour bus crossing the bridge across the Mekong Delta on the way to My Tho-Ben Tre village

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The Mekong Delta

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The pier to board the boat to My Tho-Ben Tre Village

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This is the boat to My Tho-Ben Tre village tour

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The boat interior which we board to My Tho-Ben Tre

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The boat cruising along the Mekong river to My Tho village

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The boat reaching My Tho village pier

For this trip, as I had missed out on the Mekong Delta in my previous itinerary, I decided to book the tour for the My Tho & Ben Tre village trip with the same travel company in which I booked for the Cao Dai Temple and Chu Chi tunnel trip during my last visit. The cost of tour is not expensive and worth the money paid I thought. For VND 209,0000, which include a bottle of drinking water on board the bus, a paid lunch and paid fruit dining, this tour was rather affordable. The tour to Mekong Delta departed from the travel company office at 8.30 am on a large tour bus with a guide that would lead the group of travellers. It took about 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach My Tho from Ho Chi Minh city on the road and approaching the pier to board the boat to Phoenix Island (one of the few other islands in My Tho), the bus crossed over a bridge that oversee the Mekong Delta. From the boat pier, it took about 15 minutes to reach the Phoenix Island in My Tho. When the group reached Phonix Island, the wind started to blew heavily and it began to rain soon after. We were provided with disposable raincoat by the guide to prevent us from getting wet as the group will have to walk for some distance from the pier which brought us through the fruit plantations to the restaurant located at the other end of the island for lunch. The highlight of the lunch was the tilapia fish which was being hang on a holder and the waitress would cut the fish meat and wrapped it with a spring roll wrapper stuffed with fresh lettuce. To add more flavour it is to be dipped into a sweet sauce before eaten. Other dishes include rice served with mini fried spring roll, stewed pork, stewed fish and soup. Since the island is also famous with coconut, get a taste of one when you are there.

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Walking from the pier through some plantation farms to the restaurant for lunch at My Tho village

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Banana and papaya trees at My Tho Village

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A vietnamese lady making the spring roll wrap at My Tho Village, Mekong Delta

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The ready made spring roll wrap at My Tho Village

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Coconut trees at My Tho Village, Mekong Delta

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Continue walking through the plantation farm in My Tho village

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Some of the souvenirs item sold at My Tho Village

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Tilapia fish for lunch at My Tho Village

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Deep fry spring roll for lunch at Mekong Delta

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The spring roll wrap. The fish meat was cut and wrap in the spring roll wrapper

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Stew pork for lunch at My Tho Village

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Fresh coconut at My Tho

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Boarding the boat to Ben Tre Village

After lunch, we then board the boat again to get to Ben Tre village with the boat ride took about 30 minutes, While on the boat cruising the Mekong river, some great sights including the mangrove trees and water palm which were abundant in the Mekong Delta area. The boat would then reached a smaller and narrow river after cruising through the wider Mekong delta before it approached the pier at Ben Tre village. From the pier, we would walked to the small coconut museum with informations on coconuts and sample of preserved coconut shells were also on display. From here, we walk to the bee farm in which we were being shown how the bees constructed the bee hive that eventually would be filled with honey, which then being collected and packed into bottle for sale by the bee farmers as well as transformed into other items made from the honey. We were also taken to taste the honey drink mix with "kumquat" (the bitter lime), which was quite refreshing. From the bee farm, we then head to the horse ride to the fruits village where we were served different kind of fruits include the dragon fruit, water melon, rambutan, pineapple and pomelo which include vietnamese tea. There was also presentation of traditional singing by a group of veteran women singers. Donations can be made by purchasing flower to be presented to these singers.

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Cruising from My Tho to Ben Tre village along Mekong river

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Water palm along Mekong Delta

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The boat approaching the small and narrow canal on its way to Ben Tre Village

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The boat cruising through the canal to the pier at Ben Tre Village, Mekong Delta

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Water palm along the canal to Ben Tre Village

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Walking through plantation farms to the bee farm at Ben Tre Village

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The coconut museum at Ben Tre Village

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The bee building the bee hive with honey at Ben Tre Village

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A cup of honey with kumquat

After the presentations ended, we then took the sampan from the pier cruising through the natural creeks which were dotted with water palm. It was quite an interesting experience bringing us close to the nature and the weather was pleasant as the rain has just stopped while the cool breeze blowing as we cruise through the canals. A we reached end of the canal, the boat docking at this larger pier were waiting for us to bring us to our final destination, the coconut candy factory. The factory was a small facility with few machines in operations. Staffs can be seen cutting the candy and packed it into paper package. There were few types of candy for sale within the factory and you can buy them for own consumption as well as travel gifts. As coconut is the major industry in the Mekong Delta, it produced some of the good quality items that made from coconut including the coconut candy. Overall, the trip was worthwhile and it provide some interesting experience in getting close to the nature while visiting Ho Chi Minh city.

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The horse car at Ben Tre Village

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The horse working hard to send us to our next destination: tropical fruit sampling at Ben Tre Village

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Some souvenirs sold at Ben Tre Village

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Tropical fruits sampling at Ben Tre Village

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The vietnamese traditional folk song singers performing at their best effort at Ben Tre Village

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The pier to board the sampan to cruise through the natural creeks at Ben Tre Village

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The sampan waiting for passengers to board at Ben Tre Village Mekong Delta

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Cruising through the natural creeks along the canal of Mekong Delta at Ben Tre Village

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The water palm along the canal at Ben Tre Village, Mekong Delta

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The sampan cruise ended at this pier for us to board the boat to the coconut candy factory

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The machine at work to process the coconut candy at Ben Tre Village

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The coconut candy ready to be cut into pieces

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A worker seen here cutting the coconut candy into pieces at Ben Tre Village

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Various flavour of candy available for sale at Ben Tre Village

Posted by kidd27 05:45 Archived in Vietnam

Taipei City Adventure

Marvellous temples, interesting night markets, nice & nostalgic historical old streets and grand and massive national leaders memorial parks

rain 21 °C

Taipei city is not just any typical city. This capital city of Taiwan has everything travellers are looking for. The temples within the city are simply amazing not only due to its age but also its unique architecture design beautifully built in accordance to the Chinese temple art skills which made them grand no matter what their size are, massive, big, small or medium. There are night markets in each nook and corners of the city. Never worry you would be starved for food. Just take a pick of which night markets you would want to head to from any of the available Taipei city map and you are ready for an adventure of food paradise once you get out from the easy and efficient Taipei Metro, Taipei most convenient transport system. Of course the public bus is also another very convenient way to get around the city. If you are someone who enjoys or admires historic old buildings of the bygone eras, well, Taipei city is yet another metropolis that will not let you down. In fact there are quite a number of them that scattered all over the city but surely those which are within the concentrated area known as old streets, that would make the whole journey of "old street adventure" much more fun because you would be able to see the old streets as a whole rather than a broken puzzle and surely Taipei city have such treasures that never disappoints and match up expectations. Taiwan's leaders of the past which had contributed hugely to what Taiwan is today including Chiang Kai Shek and Dr.Sun Yat Sen were not forgotten by the Taiwan government and grand or massive should be more accurate to describe them, memorial and parks of these leaders of the past greatly signify their contributions in building Taiwan as an independent country, though not in total. Taipei city is surely not limited to what have been described above as there are also the wonderful tower of the world, the 101 Tower, beautiful rivers and botanical gardens, huge tea plantations and national parks, interesting hot spring, great museums and grand government buildings, so many more that you cannot seems to get enough of it within a short span of travel. This trip to Taipei city covered only some very limited but satisfactory and important itinerary including the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, National Theater and National Concert Hall, all within the same location, the Longshan Temple, one of the old and beautiful temple in Taipei city, the Bopiliao Historical Street, Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, Tamsui or Dansui for cycling along the scenic and beautiful Dansui River as well as visiting the Tamsui old street markets, venture into some of the historical sites including old fort and old universities and schools, visit the Confucius & Baoan Temple in Yuanshan, get to Beitou for a stroll along the hot spring town which have few interesting historical sites such as the hot spring museum and library and enjoy a relaxing and healthy hot spring bath, stroll and window shopping at Taipei's most hip and happening Taipei's commercial district , the Ximenting, in which the historic Red House a former market place of Taipei city once was also located here, also a brief stroll on the road that housed the Presidential Office and The Armed Force Museum in Xiaonanmen, take a walk at the Dadaocheng Wharf and the old street at Dihua Street, said to be most lively place during the lunar new year where shoppers converged to get items to prepare for the spring holiday, get up to the 101 Tower to have a bird eye view of Taipei city, visit Xingtian Temple, another great Taipei city temple and shall be included in Taipei city itinerary which include the unique fortune teller street located on the underground pedestrian walkway, took a brief self-tour of the National Palace Museum in Shilin, get out of Taipei city and stroll the small town of Jingmei, visited the Jingmei Jingyi Temple and had noodle lunch and some local desserts, returned again to C.K.S. Memorial Hall (Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall) to take good shots of the 101 Tower (because you cannot get the full view of the tower at 101 Tower itself!), stroll along the Yongkang Street in Dongmen for some delicious delicacies and bubble tea, visited 3 night markets, namely, the Ningxia Night Markets in Datong, nearest Taipei Metro, the Zhongshan station, Shilin Tourist Night Market in Shilin, Dalong Night Market near Confucius and Baoan Temple and the Raohe Night Market in Shongshan, have coffee at some of the local franchise coffee house such as Dante Coffee and Ikari Coffee as well as range of milk at Taipei Milk King, have a brief walk at Taipei Botanical Garden which incorporate the National Museum of History. There were so many things and activities to be covered within the city and if you are to enjoy each of those places seriously, you would never had enough of Taipei city just for several days. Hopefully, I would be able to returned to Taipei city to visit some of the places that I had missed out and to venture to the East Coast, Central and South of Taiwan to get to experience what Taiwan has to offer within each of the cities and sights.

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Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

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A statue of Chiang Kai Shek at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

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The grand entrance gate to C.K.S Memorial Hall

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The National Theater of Taipei city

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The National Concert Hall of Taipei city

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Take a stroll at Yongkang Street in Dongmen for some delicious delicacies

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Enjoy some Yongkang Street food, a special Taiwan pizza

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Enjoy a cup of bubble tea at Yongkang Street

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Another Yongkang Street favourite

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A general view of Yongkang Street

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A queue in Yongkang Street

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The main entrance to Longshan Temple

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The main gate of Longshan Temple

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The Longshan Temple

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The Bopiliao Historical Street

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The five foot walkways of row of shops at Bopiliao Historical Street

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Row of old shops at Bopiliao Historical Street

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The back alleyways of shops at Bopiliao Historical Street

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The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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The statue of Dr.Sun Yat Sen at Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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The Ningxia Night Market at Zhongshan

SOME OF THE FOOD VENDORS AT NINGXIA NIGHT MARKET

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Cycling at Tamsui

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The Dansui River at Tamsui

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Ready for cycling trip along Dansui River at Tamsui

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Fort San Domingo at Tamsui

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The Red House at Tamsui

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Oxford College at Tamsui

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Aletheia University at Tamsui

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Tamkang High School at Tamsui

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The Tamsui Old Street

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The Hong Gate or the main entrance to Confucius Temple

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The Dacheng Hall of Confucius Temple

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The main entrance to Baoan Temple

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The Baoan Temple

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Enjoying duck noodle at Dalong Night Market

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A bottle of Taiwan Beer

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A stroll along Ximen Walking Street

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To Xinbeitou for visit to the hot thermal valley from Beitou Metro station

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Walking along the Beitou stream

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The Beitou stream

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Puji Temple at Beitou

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Beitou Taipei Public Library

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The Hot spring Museum at Beitou

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The Supreme Prosecuters Office @ Xionanmen, Taipei

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The Arm Force Museum situated next to Presidential Office in Xionanmen

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The Red House at Ximenting

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The entrance to Dadaocheng Wharf

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A walking bridge at Dadaocheng Wharf

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The Dansui River view from Dadaocheng Wharf

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Dihua Street at night

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The Taipei 101 Tower

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A bird's eye view from Taipei 101 Tower

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The main entrance of Xingtian Temple

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The main hall of Xingtian Temple

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A fortune teller street at the underground walkway at Xingtian Temple

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A welcome arch at National Palace Museum

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National Palace Museum

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Jingmei Jiying Temple

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Enjoying local snacks at Jingmei

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A bowl of hot noodles for lunch at Jingmei

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Shilin Night Market

Some of the food vendors at Shilin Night Market

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A plate of stinky tofu at Shilin Night Market

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A bowl of coffee shaved ice cream at Shilin Night Market

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The Raohe Night Market

SOME OF THE FOOD VENDORS AT RAOHE NIGHT MARKET
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The Bu Cheng Shih Sz Musuem at Taipei Botanical Garden

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Inside the Taipei Botanical Garden

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National Museum of History @ Taipei Botanical Garden

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National Museum of History rear side from the Botanical Garden

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A cup of peanut flavour milk at Taipei Milk King

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A cup of Ikari Coffee cafe latte

Posted by kidd27 09:08 Archived in Taiwan

Taipei City Adventure

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, National Theatre & National Concert Hall

sunny 22 °C

A visit to Taipei city would not be complete without these 3 places included into Taipei city travel itinerary. Well, its very convenient and easy to get to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall (CKS Memorial Hall) where it also housed the other 2 iconic and landmark red buildings, the National Theater and National Concert Hall. The whole area within the CKS Memorial Hall was quite massive and wide with a welcome arch in white fronting the 3 buildings. From the welcome arch, walking to the CKS Memorial Hall, the National Concert Hall was located on the left while the National Theatre located on the right. The CKS Memorial Hall was situated at the far end on the middle of these 2 red buildings with a mix of palace and Chinese temple look alike architecture. There was a huge concourse fronting the CKC Memorial Hall with white coloured ground which welcome visitors from the main arch. The memorial building looked grand with a feel of patriotism and nationalism. There was a flag pole located on the middle of the memorial hall located just on the base ground of the memorial hall. Just as with the national theatre and concert hall, to get up to the CKS Memorial Hall, there were a large staircase built to reach the memorial hall building. The CKS Memorial Hall building was built the highest among the 3 buildings. The view from the upper level of the CKS Memorial Hall overlooking the National Theatre and National Concert Hall was breathtaking and marvellous. The memorial hall also housed a post office and some souvenir shops. The highlight of the visit to CKS Memorial Hall would surely be the Chiang Kai Shek grand bronze statue on the 4th Floor of the memorial guarded by 2 army personnels on the left and right. There were also exhibits of items that were once used by Chiang Kai Shek himself during his rule as the main leader of the Taiwan government. The 2 army personnels that guard the Chiang Kai Shek Bronze statuewould actually be changing duties through guard rotations on hourly basis beginning from 0900 to 1700 hours. It would be interesting to get to witnessed the change of guard as I did had such opportunity to experience this event. The 2 army personnels whom were to assume their duty would be led by a chief army from the ground floor through marching until they reached the elevator. When they reached the 4th floor of the memorial hall, they would continue to marched to the Chiang Kai Shek Bronze statue led by the chief guard. A series of salutation to the Chiang Kai Shek statue were being honoured with the chief army standing in the middle of the 4 guards whom were to exchange duties. The bronze statue of Chiang Kai Shek was in a sitting position placed on a high gigantic squared marble structure, so the statue was in fact in quite a high level as high as a building of several levels. Visitors were limited access to the statue by several metres and there were barriers being set up for such purpose. Red carpets were also placed on the ground base below the statue.

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The exit information at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Taipei Metro station

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Exit to the CKS Memorial Hall at the CKS Memorial Hall Metro Station

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Once exit from CKS Metro Station, you would see the National Theatre building

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On the ground of the national theater. All the 3 buildings, the CKS Memorial Hall, National Theatre and National Concert Hall built on higher ground with staircase to reach the buildings with CKS Memorial Hall built the highest among the 3

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Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

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The welcome arch at CKS Memorial Hall

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The large concourse area at the CKS Memorial Hall

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National Concert Hall

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The staircase leading to CKS Memorial Hall

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A view from the upper level of CKS Memorial Hall

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Inside the ground floor of the CKS Memorial Hall

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A map of the exhibition centre at CKS Memorial Hall

SOME OF THE EXHIBITION ITEMS ON DISPLAY AT THE EXHIBITION CENTRE OF CKS MEMORIAL HALL
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A guard seen at the Chiang Kai Shek Bronze Statue at CKS Memorial Hall

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The Chiang Kai Shek Statue

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One of the 2 army personnels standing guard at the Chiang Kai Shek Statue

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Changing of guards. The 2 army personnels led by the chief army marching from ground floor of the CKS Memorial Hall to 4th Floor to exchange duties

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A SERIES OF ACTIONS ON THE ARMY PERSONNELS EXCHANGING DUTIES AT THE CHIANG KAI SHEK BRONZE STATUE
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A souvenir shop at CKS Memorial Hall

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Cute souvenirs available at CKS Memorial Hall

Posted by kidd27 05:21 Archived in Taiwan

Taipei City Adventure

Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

overcast 21 °C

Just as with the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, a visit to Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall was also as convenient and easily accessible through the Taipei Metro and the metro station also has the same name as the memorial hall. The entrance from the Taipei Metro Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall station was through the rear side of the memorial hall. Though Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall was not as grand as that of Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, the structure of the hall was unique and clearly and easily seen from the Level 88,89 and 91 of Taipei 101 Tower as well. The Taipei 101 Tower had the best full view from Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall too, which in fact I returned for 2nd time to get more good shots on the Taipei 101 Tower. The building architecture of the Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall replicates a Japanese temple, which was why this memorial hall was unique by itself. Of course if we take a good look at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, it also did resembled a type of Japanese structure. There was a huge open space at the front and main entrance of the memorial hall with a water fountain and flower garden and a flag pole. The frontage of the memorial hall was also where the Taipei 101 Tower could be view in full and clear. There were 2 statues of Dr.Sun Yet Sen in sitting and standing position located outside on the right of the memorial hall and would be easily spotted when walking from the metro station. This area where the statue of Dr.Sun Yat Sen was located was a small open space with flowers decorated the rear base of the statue. Inside the memorial hall, the big statue of Dr.Sun Yat Sen, similar to that of Chiang kai Shek could be seen positioned in sitting condition on a chair. There was also 2 army personnels that guard the statue area. Dr.Sun Yat Sen structure however was not as tall as that of Chiang Kai Shek but equally provides a sense of patriotism just as that of Chiang Kai Shek and the size of the statue reflects on Taiwan government high respect and recognition of Dr.Sun Yat Sen's contributions in building Taiwan as country that deserve world's respect and admiration.

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Exit information at the Taipei Metro of Dr.Sun Yat Sen station

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Getting out from the metro station to Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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A map of Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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The statue of Dr.Sun Yat Sen outside the memorial hall

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Dr.Sun Yat Sen

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The statue of Dr.Sun Yat Sen

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A guard at the statue of Dr.Sun Yat Sen

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The water fountain, flower garden and flag pole at the frontage f Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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Taipei 101 from Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

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Some historical items on display at the Dr.Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall

Posted by kidd27 08:59 Archived in Taiwan

Taipei City Adventure

Tamsui Bicycle Tour

sunny 23 °C

Tamsui also known as Dansui is a beautiful river city north of Taipei and accessible by the Taipei Metro. The reason why I visited Tamsui was to venture into a brief bicycle tour of the city to experience some of the historical spots and to get some taste of local food. Renting a bicycle in Tamsui was inexpensive which costs NTD 150 only for a day. The bike tour started right from the shop I rented the bicycle which was adjacent to the Tamsui Old Street commercial area. From the Tamsui Old Street, the awesome Dansui River can be seen from here. The large open space between the Tamsui Old Street and the Dansui River was just spectacular, breathtaking and marvellous. The long stretched of walkways and the bicycle lane was located right at the edge of the riverside in which the Tamsui Water Ferry Terminal was located in the middle of the long walkways and bike lane. This ferry terminal provide services to the other side of the city known as Bali island as well as serving the route to The Fisherman Wharf for a leisure cruise, which can be also accessible by car and bicycle. My first stop was to sample some local Tamsui delicacies which was the grilled boneless chicken wing stuffed with specially cooked rice. The vendor of this grilled chicken wings was rather friendly and asked to have photos taken of him serving the specially grilled chicken wings which I adhered to. I have heard friends saying that Taiwanese can be very warm and nice and this encounter really proof what has been said. Moving on, the bike journey continue on through the side of the Dansui River bike lane passing through the Tamsui Water Ferry Terminal and Starbucks Coffee. There was an area covered with trees which shelter the place from the hot yet pleasant morning sun, which had a brief stop to taste the grilled boneless chicken wing. It was such a delicious snack and its also distinctive and worth a try if you visit Tamsui. Continuing the journey, I reached the Tamsui Customs Wharf, which was a single storey building built with red bricks. Not far from here was where the historical Fort San Domingo was located at the edge of the hill opposite Dansui River. I had to park the bike at the bicycle parking area and walk opposite the road to head up to the hilly terrain to reach Fort San Domingo. Fort San Domingo was originally built by the Spanish and later taken over by the British. The fort was a red coloured structure which considered mid in size with a small courtyard, few small rooms and a kitchen. Next to Fort San Domingo was the Red House resembled an English style mansion, uniquely and distinctively in its style and design on the exterior. The interior of the Red House has a very strong English presence and hugely designed to that of the British touch. There was a a living hall and dining hall on the ground floor of the Red House fully equipped with furniture and fittings and a curvy staircase leading to the first floor of the house. There was a reading room on the first floor of the house and long corridors leading to several rooms. The first floor of this Red House has a very nice and breathtaking view of the Dansui River due to its location which was on a hill. From Fort San Domingo and Red House, the journey continues further up and came to the Aletheia University and Oxford College. The Aletheia University and Oxford College located adjacent to each other separated by a garden in between the 2 academic buildings. The garden itself was of great admiration which has a pond and has a beautiful landscape. Walking from Aletheia University and Oxford College, I reached the Tamsui Girl School and the Tamkang High School which located side by side and the building of these schools were unique in accordance to the British style of architecture. Walking on a downhill road opposite Tamkang High School was the Tamsui Historical Museum a single storey building in white. From here, returned to take the bike and cycle through the same route to Tamsui Old Street to savour some local and Taiwanese flavour food and dessert including the stinky tofu, grilled squid, the jumbo ice cream which was a tall ice cream (nice) and to purchase the iron egg, a specially fermented mini egg in various flavour unique only to Tamsui.

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Tamsui Map

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Tamsui Metro Station

A VIEW OF TAMSUI CITY
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A bicycle shop at Tamsui

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This bike for Tamsui bicycle tour

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Tamsui Old Street

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Ready for Tamsui bike tour

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Road signage at the Dansui River walkways/bike lane

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The Dansui River bike lane at Tamsui

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Dansui River at Tamsui

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The grilled boneless chicken wing at Tamsui

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The vendor of the grilled boneless chicken wing at Tamsui

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Tamsui Water Ferry Terminal

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The Tamsui Water Ferry Terminal ticket station

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Tamsui Starbucks Coffee

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Have a brief bike break at Tamsui

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For this

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This way to Fort San Domingo at Tamsui

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Tamsui Customs Wharf

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Coming out from Tamsui Customs Wharf where the bike being parked

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And heading up the hill to Fort San Domingo

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The hilly terrain leading to Fort San Domingo

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Reaching Fort San Domingo

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Fort San Domingo

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Dansui River view from Fort San Domingo

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Exterior of the kitchen at Fort San Domingo

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A small room at Fort San Domingo

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A view from the courtyard of Fort San Domingo

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The entrance door to Fort San Domingo

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A replica of Fort San Domingo

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The small courtyard at Fort San Domingo

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The interior kitchen of Fort San Domingo

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The side view of Fort San Domingo

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The Red House next to Fort San Domingo

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The Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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The entrance to the Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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Living hall of Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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The staircase of Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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Reading room of Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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The corridors of the rooms of Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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A room of Red House @ Fort San Domingo

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The room at Red House that overlook Dansui River

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Aletheia University, Tamsui

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The garden that separates Aletheia University and Oxford College

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Tamsui Girl School

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The Dr.George William Mackay Memorial Park between Tamsui Girl School and Tamkang High School

THE HISTORICAL BUILDINGS WITHIN DR GEORGE WILLIAM MACKAY MEMORIAL PARK BETWEEN TAMSUI GIRL SCHOOL & TAMKANG HIGH SCHOOL
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TAMKANG HIGH SCHOOL, TAMSUI
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Enjoy a jumbo ice cream after the bike tour at Tamsui

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Squid vendor at Tamsui

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Tamsui Specials, The Iron Egg

Posted by kidd27 11:58 Archived in Taiwan

Taipei City Adventure

Beitou Hot Spring, Supreme Prosecutors Office, Ximenting Red House & Dadaocheng Wharf

rain 19 °C

Beitou hot spring is located on the Taipei city's Beitou district and accessible through the Taipei Metro. To get to the hot spring area and tourists trail in Beitou, the easiest way is to take the Taipei Metro to Beitou station and continue the journey through from there through a transfer train to Xinbeitou. After exiting the Xinbeitou station, walk across the road to the opposite direction of the Xinbeitou Metro station and you would be on the Zhongshan Road where most of the tourists attractions are located. This road was an uphill road and the first tourist spot along Zhongshan Road was the Ketagalan Culture Centre, which exhibits the cultures if life of Beitou's Ketagalan indigenous community. Walking further up from the Ketagalan Culture Centre, the next stop would be the Beitou Library, which was a distinguished wooden structure in dark brown colour built resembling a ship. Next to the Beitou Library was the Beitou Hot Spring Museum. This museum was a formerly built during the Japanese occupation era as a public hot spring bath facility When the Japanese left after the war, the facility was abandoned and later discovered by teachers and students who visited Beitou on study tour. The hot springs facility was then reconstructed and refurbished which later was transformed into a hot springs museum of Beitou for purpose of imparting informations of how Beitou once was a popular public hot springs bath house. Along the Zhongshan Road, this was also where the Beitou stream ran through on the shoulder of the road towards the right on the ascending direction of the Zhongshan Road. There was a wooden structure walkways for visitors to walk along the stream. Walking further up from the Beitou Hot Spring Museum, you would then reached the Thermal Valley on the left side of Zhangshan Road on ascending direction. Unfortunately, the 3 Beitou hotspsots, the Ketagalan Culture Centre, Beitou Hot Springs Museum and The Thermal Valley were all closed on the day of my visit. On the edge of the lane leading to the Thermal Valley is the Beauty Age Spa Spring Resort which offer hot spring bath service for NTD 540 an hour which I tried out. The service include a private small room and a bath tub enough for 2 persons with 2 taps, one for the hot spring water while the other the normal tap water. The temperature from the spring water tap was good enough to enjoy a truly satisfying spring bath spa and it was as enjoyable and natural as that of the outdoor hot springs. One advantage of such private hot spring spa is that, you get to have the place all for yourself to enjoy a good and quiet spa therapy. All hot spring facilities need to obtain certification from Taipei City Government before being permitted to display official Hot Spring Mark in red in which Beauty Age did. Because Beitou was once a hot area for the Japanese, Beitou has a very strong Japanese presence and culture which include the existence of Puji Temple, a Japanese Temple located off Wenquan Road. Its a little tricky to find Puji Temple as the structure is not visible from the main road as it is located on a quiet hill accessible only through a walk on a steep staircase. Photos are not allowed to be taken interior of the temple and visitors could offer prayers to the God of Puji Temple. Beitou is worth the visit for the hot spring spa which would truly provide a satisfying spa therapy that would rejuvenate your body inside out.

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A decoration at Xinbeitou Metro Station

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Boarding the metro train Beitou to Xinbeitou station

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The road sign at Beitou

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Xinbeitou Metro station on the opposite of the road

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The Ketagalan Culture Centre @ Beitou

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Walking up the Zhongshan Road @ Beitou

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Beitou Stream on the shoulder of Zhongshan Road

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Pedestrian walkway along the Beitou stream

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Beitou Library

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Beitou Library

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Beitou Hot spring Museum

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This way to Beitou Thermal Valley

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Beauty Age Spa Spring Resort

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The private room at Beauty Age Spa Spring Resort for hot spring bath

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The private hot spring bath tub @ Beauty Age Spa Spring Resort, Beitou

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Beauty Age Spring Resort is a certified hot spring facility bt Taipei City Government

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The wooden fence door to Puji Temple @ Beitou

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The staircase leading up to Puji Temple

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Puji Temple

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The small garden at Puji Temple

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A statue at Puji Temple

Moving back to Taipei city, head to the Xiaonananmen Metro Station to visit the Taipei Supreme Prosecutors Office and the Arm Force Museum. Arriving at Xiaonanmen, it was just in time for lunch, so found a noodle shop that served delicious dry pork noodle served with fried egg and a bowl of pork ball soup. After an enjoyable and delicious noodle lunch, continue the journey to the Taipei Supreme Prosecutors Office which was a 6 storey light brown coloured building which has a strong European architecture design. The building create a kind of European atmosphere and the structure of the building looked elegant in its own way. Just on the side of the Supreme Prosecutors Office is the Arm Force Museum, a heavily tinted glass building decorated with row of fire canons and missiles on the exterior of the building. From here, ride on the Taipei Metro to get to Ximenting station. Ximenting is the most happening and upmarket shopping dstrict in Taipei city which attracts both locals as well as tourists alike. One of the outstanding structure in Ximenting is the Red House, visible from the exit of Taipei Metro, Ximenting station to Ximenting shopping area. The Red House in Ximenting was formerly Taiwan's first public market designed heavily towards the Western architecture. The Red House has been preserved as historical site and also a centre for arts and cultures. From Ximenting, head on to the Dadocheng Wharf in Datong district. Dadaocheng Wharf was formerly an important port of Taipei city which was later abandoned. There is a big wall that covers the wharf and a gate that allow blockage to the wharf area. The Dadaocheng Wharf also serves as one of the Taipe City biking trails for those who would like to venture into a biking experience in Taipei and Taiwan. The Dadaocheng Wharf overlooks the Danshui River and offers breathtaking view of the buildings and towers across the river from the pedestrian and bicycle bridge area. Take a stroll along the adjacent Dihua Street which is an interesting historic old street lined with colonial shophouses. This is the most lively place before the spring holiday and lunar new year in Taipei.

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A noodle lunch at Xiaonanmen, Taipei City

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Supreme Prosecutors Office at Xiaonanmen, Taipei City

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The Arm Force Museum at Xiaonanmen, Taipei CIty

THE RED HOUSE AT XIMENTING
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XIMENTING COMMERCIAL & SHOPPING DISTRICT
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The big gate and big wall at the Dadaocheng Wharf

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The ferry and boat terminal at Dadaocheng Wharf

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A pedestrian and bike bridge at Dadaocheng Wharf

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A breathtaking Dansui River view from Dadaocheng Wharf

A STROLL ALONG DIHUA STREET AT DADAOCHENG WHARF
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Posted by kidd27 23:23 Archived in Taiwan

Taipei City Adventure

Longshan Temple & The Bopiliao Historical Street

sunny 23 °C

Taiwan is a country not only blessed with its natural wonders but also its beautiful temples built with skilful architecture design as well as very well preserved precious historic buildings. Longshan Temple is one of the classic example of how Taiwanese temple can be so admirable with its great temple structure design reflecting the high skills of those who design and built it. Getting to Longshan Temple as in any other tourist hotspots in Taipei is never easier than the Taipei Metro alighting at the Longshan Temple Metro Station, which also incorporate an underground shopping bazaar. The Longshan Temple was built in 1738 by the Fujian immigrants from China's Fujian province based on the design and architecture of the original Longshan Temple in Fujian province, China. Time spent to complete the Longshan Temple took 3 years and due to natural and man-made disasters, the temple had been renovated several times as a result of destructions caused by such disasters. There were 2 tiers of entrance to the Longshan Temple with the each of the roof of the entrance gates decorated with dragon structures. Longshan Temple has 3 halls. The first hall was the fore hall which was an open space for worshippers to offer prayers to the Goddess of Kuan Yin. In the main hall, the statue of Goddess of Kuan Yin in gold was located in the middle with 2 other bodhisattvas statues of Manjusri on the left and Samantabhadra on the right of the hall. The rear hall has 3 parts with the middle hall dedicated to Goddess of Marine Voyage, the left to God of Literature and the right to Lord Kuan, the God of War. Entering from the second tiers of Longshan Temple, the wall near the second tier entrance has granite slabs attached to the wall which was imported from China and has chinese characters carvings on it. The east and west (left and right) of Longshan Temple were structures where drums and bells were kept with each of the side also has a 2 levels tower with the roof of these tower in hexagonal shape. Longshan Temple was damaged by a bomb incident in June 1945 with the main hall and the right annex being affected during the incident but the Kuan Yin statue was amazingly spared from being destructed.

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Exit information at the Metro Taipei Longshan Temple Station

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This way to Longshan Temple at the Longshan Temple Underground Bazaar

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The Longshan Temple Underground Bazaar

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The 1st of the 2 tiers of the entrance to Longshan Temple

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The 2nd tier of entrance to Longshan Temple

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The main hall of Longshan Temple

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The fore hall of Longshan Temple

THE REAR HALL OF LONG SHAN TEMPLE DIVIDED INTO CENTRE, LEFT AND RIGHT
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The Goddess of Kuan Yin in the centre of Longshan Temple main hall

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The statue of Manjusri on the left of Longshan Temple main hall

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The statue of Samantabhadra on the right of Longshan Temple main hall

The east and west side of Longshan Temple
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The granite slabs with chinese characters near the entrance of the 2nd tier of Longshan Temple

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Souvenirs available at Longshan Temple

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The 2nd tiers of Longshan Temple

The Bopiliao Historic Street was just adjacent to the Longshan Temple and this interesting old street was lined with rows of colonial style shop houses with very steep presence of the Japanese architecture. Its worth to take a stroll along the area to admire these stunning red-brick built buildings surrounded the streets which also brought visitors back down memory lane. Bopiliao, during the Qing Dynasty era was a main shipping and export centre due to its strategic location on the Dansui RIver and due to this, the area was booming with shops to cater to the needs of the trading and commercial activities during that time. During the Japanese occupation, additional buildings were being built and that was how such influence of the building design came from. Most of the trading communities of the past had left Bopiliao and the Taiwan government has initiated restoration of the buildings to preserved its historic value.

THE BOPILIAO HISTORIC STREETS

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Posted by kidd27 08:54 Archived in Taiwan

Taipei City Adventure

Confucius Temple, Dalongdong Baoan Temple and Dalong Night Market

sunny 21 °C

Confucius Temple was quite an interesting temple in Taipei. Situated in a quiet corner of Dalong Street in Datong district, the temple is easily accessible by the Metro Taipei Yuanshan Station. Confucius Temple was different and unique from other temples in Taipei because the temple occupies a considerable large area which indeed made it looked like a "little" religious institution of the past in a modern world, not exactly any normal temples in other places. Taipei's Confucius Temple reminded me of the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam, which has many similarities in terms of the layout, design and architecture. A brief background about Confucius where he was born on 28 September 551 BC and died on 11 April 479 BC. Confucius was an important philosopher and educator who has created a strong influence in leaders to embrace good governance. His innovation on The Analects has a great impact on Chinese society in terms of morality and ethics until today. Examples of Confucius philosophies include to ensure full responsibility on tasks delegated and to respect the elders.

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Exit information at Metro Taipei Yuanshan Station

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To Confucius Temple from Metro Taipei Yuanshan Station

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The Hong Gate. In ancient days, Hong Gate also known as xuexiao or the school and served as front entrance to temples dedicated to Confucius. There were 3 other similar gates parallel to Hong Gate, known as Pan Gong, Li Gate and Yi Lu. Pan Gong served the same purpose as Hong Gate.

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Minglun Hall, which served as classrooms for young Confucian scholars during Qing Dynasty and today, the Taipei Confucius Temple served as reading classes, seminars and calligraphy courses

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The side of Minglun Hall

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Lingxing Gate. Lingxing is the heavenly star of academic success with dominion over education and literature. It symbolised Confucius education of great men. The 108 doornails on the gate imitate ancient specifications - both paying respect to the Great Sage and evoking the 108 stars of ancient Chinese astrology

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The Pan Bridge and Pan Pond. Schools were known as pan-gong in ancient China with their landscape ponds called "pan" pond. Ponds placed near buildings were available to provide water to fight fires, moderate the surrounding air and according to fengshui belief, blessed those on its preiphery with wealth. Spanning Pan Pond, Pan Bridge features calligraphy brush shaped posts that symbolised scholarly accomplishment-an integration of aesthetics and meaning. The bridge also known as Zhuangyuan Bridge as it is said that the highest scoring candidate in the national government examinations should pay respect to Confucius by crossing the Pan Bridge and walk through Lixing and Yi Gates to reach Dacheng Hall.

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The Yi Gate. Yi Gate protects the main entrance to Dacheng Hall. Its five doors are only fully opened during the Confucius Ceremony. The intricately carved wood screen windows along north side of the centre doors feature eight hornless dragons arrayed around an incense burner. The dragon is a symbol of good fortune.

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The exterior of Yi Gate

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The East & West Side Buildings. The East & West Side Buildings honour Confucius most outstanding disciples and 154 leading scholars in history.

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The Chongsheng Shrine. It was located at the rear of the of Confucius Temple complex, in remembrance of Confucius ancestors along with his brother and teachers who predate the Great Sage. The shrine highlights the importance of familial order in Chinese society.

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Dacheng Hall. The main hall of Confucius Temple dedicated to Confucius through memorial tablets in remembrance of the Four Correlates and 12 Disciples, where the tablets were placed on the left and right side. In front of the main hall was the sacred terrace used for purpose of Yi dances performance during the Confucius Ceremony. The Dacheng Hall also symbolised awe and reverence.

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The interior of Dacheng Hall

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The Dacheng Hall

Dalongdong Baoan Temple was located adjacent to the Confucius Temple and easily reached through a brief walk from Confucius Temple. The Dalongdong Baoan Temple was completed in 1830. The temple has close link to the shaping of Dalongdong community, where it was said that the construction materials from the development of Baoan Temple were purchased by the rich individuals and they used the materials to built row of shops. These shops also served as a defence for the Dalongdong community from any possible threats or dangers.

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The main entrance arch of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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The external of front hall of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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The internal of the front hall of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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The main hall of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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A close view of main hall of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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The interior of the main hall of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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The East and West Wings of Dalongdong Baoan Temple

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After visits to Confucius Temple and Dalong Baoan Temple, have a simple duck noodle meal at the Dalong Night Market which was very close to the 2 temples

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Dalong Night Market

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A bowl of hot duck noodle at Dalong Night Market

Posted by kidd27 05:58 Archived in Taiwan

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