Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 8 & 9

Thankfully mum was feeling a bit better the following morning so we were able to fly back to Hong Kong. We arrived safely and my auntie, uncle, and dad were waiting to meet us just to make sure mum was alright!

The next morning, we went Yum Cha with my grandma and then headed to Hong Kong Wetland Park as I fancied going somewhere we hadn’t been before. It was a lovely day so it was nice wandering about outside and seeing the scenery, though mum and I weren’t quite feeling ourselves – probably just extreme tiredness from the adventure the day before!


In the evening, we met with some of my family and went to a Korean buffet near their house in Yuen Long. It was amazing as we could cook our own meat on the grill in front of us and there was a massive selection to choose from ranging from duck, beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and more! There was also a lot of delicious cooked and cold foods too – it was amazing!! We all left feeling very stuffed and I’d totally go back there again!


Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 7

This day was definitely not the best. To be honest, it was probably the worst day of my life and I’m not being overly dramatic, it was horrible.

The day started really well! It was still rather grey and rainy, but it was meant to clear up during the day! We headed to the Maokong Gondola and I was rather excited as I love cable cars of all sorts and was really pleased when there was one in Taiwan too!! Definitely the cheapest cable car ride I’ve ever been on at only $50 for a return journey! There was also a glass bottomed option, but mum wasn’t so keen, but as it was so foggy, I doubt we would have seen very much anyway!

We managed to get a gondola to ourselves until the first stop, when two rather cute young boys got on with their mum. They provided good entertainment for the rest of the journey as one of them was clearly quite scared whilst the other was just loving life.

Since it was raining, we couldn’t see too much out of the glass, but thankfully there were windows at the top of the gondola that opened, so I managed to get some decent photos without bleary windows in the way! There were several patches during the journey when we went through some very thick fog and we couldn’t see anything or where we were going – it literally felt like I was in a horror movie and anything could have jumped out at me! So glad I was wasn’t on my own!!

We soon reached the top and it was just so drizzly! It wasn’t heavy rain (thankfully!) but I think we must have been in loads of clouds as the air was just so damp. I’d read online that there were loads of amazing street food vendors at the top of the mountain and was really keen to try one item which was a pancake with peanut brittle and ice cream, but due to the rain, it was pretty deserted :( We weren’t too sure where to go so just followed some signs along the road towards a tea museum. It was quite interesting to see all the different teapots and methods of making tea and we could even try some if we wanted!

Afterwards, we decided to make our way back down as we’d planned to have lunch at a restaurant in the skyscraper Taipei 101 which I was very excited about! Gondolas and dining at a restaurant with an amazing view – the day couldn’t get any better! Definitely a case of speaking too soon here!

We got a table in Diamond Tony’s Italian restaurant as my mum and auntie came the last time they visited and I was keen to go too. The restaurant was on the 85th floor and the lift whizzed us up there in no time. Unfortunately, we initially weren’t able to get a window seat, but were soon moved after our soup when a table was cleared :) It was just really strange looking out of the window, as I’m used to views in London being littered with skyscrapers and cranes everywhere, whereas here, we were in the tallest building and everything else was very flat and low! Quite surreal in a way!


We opted for the set menu which provided us with a massive amount of choice! We had a choice from two soups, then a million starters, and then a large selection of delicious looking main courses. Both mum and I had the mushroom soup which was lovely and we got some really soft focaccia bread and dip too which was plus! For starter I chose the calamari rings and mum had an aubergine and courgette dish in a cheesy tomato sauce. For the main course, I was highly tempted by the lobster or duck, but after much deliberation, opted for the fettucine pasta with seafood and mum had the pasta with crab.

We had just about began eating our starters when mum really wasn’t looking well at all. To be honest, I’m not really up for reliving it here, let’s just say she ended up passing out several times and was rushed to hospital. Scared doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling. You never really think things like that would ever really happen to you, so when it does, it’s even more terrifying. Being in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language made it even scarier as it made it harder to communicate with the staff at the hospital and to understand fully what was going on. Thankfully a waiter from the restaurant came with us and he did a great job of making sure I was alright and stayed with us for hours! So thank you Mr Waiter, whoever you are! After a ridiculously long 6 hours of being monitored in hospital and a few more horrible episodes, the doctors thought mum would be okay to head back to the hotel to rest. They thought it was vertigo, but it seemed a hell of a lot more severe than that! So yeah, not the best day I’ve ever had!


Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 6

Today we visited Yangming National Park, and just like yesterday, it was tipping it down with rain! Undeterred, we donned our rather fashionable rain coats and got on with it! The National Park is in a beautiful area, so it was a shame that we weren’t able to see much of the views due to the heavy clouds and rain!


We took a bus around the mountains first because we had no idea where we wanted to get off!

We then had a bit of a wander and got to the visitor centre where they advised us on the best places to visit.

On the second journey round on the bus, we got off at the Erziping stop and decided to walk down the trail. It was a bit creepy as it was totally deserted apart from a couple of stray dogs which scared the life out of my mum! We chose this trail as it was flat the whole way and easy to walk in the rain. One of the stray dogs stayed with us the whole route and back much to my mum’s displeasure! At first I thought it just wanted food, but when it kept running ahead and then coming back to us, I genuinely think that it stayed to look after us! Even mum warmed to the dog after a while! The end of the trail opened up to a large open area where there was a beautiful lake and really pretty scenery. It would have been lovely to wander around there, but it was getting windier and was a bit scary, so we decided to head back the way we came, guard dog in tow ;)


We were absolutely soaked and weren’t really in the mood to do anything else since it was already getting fairly late in the day, so we made our way back to the hotel which took a good couple of hours!

We had a rather un-Taiwanese dinner tonight and went to a pizza/pasta buffet restaurant. It was pretty funny when we first went in as we weren’t too sure on how the whole thing worked, and since we can’t speak Mandarin, but my mum can write in traditional Chinese, there was a lot of writing and gesturing before we both understood what was going on! They had an amazing selection of creative pizzas on offer such as cappuccino, Japanese Teryaki chicken, and concubine bao, and I sampled a lot of them! We were also able to order as much pasta as we liked and they also kept coming round with loads of other food like chicken wings too.



Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 5

It was such a horrible rainy day today and I really didn’t want to go outside and do anything! However, we’d come all this way and it would be a shame to just sit inside and wallow! So after a hearty breakfast, mum and I caught the bus to the Yehliu Geopark. Funnily enough, my mum visited here with her sister last year and it was also pouring down with rain so they didn’t go inside! Instead they just visited a cake shop and headed back soon afterwards! Mum and I visited the same cake shop that they went to previously, in the hope that the rain would cease, but unfortunately the rain just didn’t want to go away!

We decided that since we were already here, we might as well venture inside!


The Geopark is a collection of really interesting rock formations that have been eroded by the sea into quite interesting shapes, such as a head, flip flops, and mushrooms. Unfortunately, it meant that we had to venture out along the sea, which made it very windy and almost unbearable in combination with the torrential rain! It would have been beautiful to see if it were a nice day, but we made the most of it and battled on! We got about half way and then decided to turn back since the second half would have required us to climb some very steep, slippery steps by the ocean, and as much as I really wanted to see it all, I valued our lives a bit more!!


It was pretty late in the afternoon and we were pretty hungry, so we just decided to eat at a local place near the bus stop. We had clearly interrupted the owners’ lunch as they were sat in front of the TV munching away, but one of them quickly rustled up two plates of noodles to help fill us up, all for less than £1!

We headed back to the hotel and dried off for a bit before heading back out to Chiang Kai Sek.


We decided to head to Taipei 101 for dinner as mum said that there were a vast array of restaurants to choose from there. It was basically like a massive food court in a shopping centre and we walked round several times trying to choose what we wanted to eat. It was a nightmare for someone like me who is attracted to everything on offer!! Since we were pretty hungry and everything was so cheap, we went pretty crazy and got a lot of food between the two of us! I had a whole squid with lamb, noodles, a fried egg, and vegetables for about $170 and mum decided on food from two different places. One included drunken chicken, rice, and some veg, and the other had a Taiwanese style omelette, chow mein, and some soup. It was literally a feast for less than £10!! Needless to say, we were suitable well fed ;)


Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 4

After a very early start at half 6, we checked out of our hotel and made our way to the airport as my mum and I were spending a few days in Taiwan! I’d never been before, but mum had and I’d never really thought of it as somewhere to visit, but since it’s so close to Hong Kong – why not?

When I’m in Hong Kong, I always seem to eat an insane amount of McDonald’s! I’d never normally eat it at all when I’m back in England, but I guess it’s just a cheap and reliable option when you can’t be bothered to search for anything else! So after checking in, we had a nice little McDonald’s breakfast to help wake us up!

Our flight left a bit late and wasn’t full at all, so I kicked mum out of the seat next to me and stretched out across both seats ;) After flying for around an hour, we landed in Taiwan! It took a really long time to get through immigration as the queues were massive! I just found it so amusing how pretty much everyone was looking down on their phones!


I definitely hadn’t prepared myself for the terrible weather in Taiwan and regretted only bringing shorts and no leggings!! After settling into our hotel, we got the underground to Longshan temple and I was amazed by how cheap the journey was! It cost about $16 which equates to less than 20p! That’s ridiculous considering my train to work which is only two stops costs £2.60! The temple itself was very grand and the decorations were very intricate and colourful.

We then wandered around some food markets and there were so many weird and wonderful stalls such as ones selling pig tails and trotters! Everything was ridiculously cheap too, so my mum and I literally had a tasty feast for around £1!

We then took the underground to the Red House which used to be an old market and is made from red bricks (surprise surprise, given its name ;) )


Afterwards, we decided to find somewhere for dinner and I was still amazed by how cheap everything was! Even the poshest looking restaurants had dishes like steak for dirt cheap! We were both still very full from the delicious snacks we’d eaten earlier on, so decided to keep it simple and went for some sticky rice each and shared a fishball soup with marrow. Madness how all of our food so far only cost around £5! If only things are that cheap in England!! (Or maybe not, as I’d probably be the size of a house!)


The area that we were in really reminded me of Piccadilly Circus due to all the really colourful lights and general buzz of the place!



Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 3

Today was quite a chilled day and in the morning we went for Yum Cha with my dad, grandma, Auntie and Uncle in Yuen Long. Afterwards, my mum, dad and I just wandered around the shops in Yuen Long for a while.

Mum and I then headed back to Tsim Sha Tsui and waited until the sun had set so that we could see the colourful lights on all the buildings :) I love how different everything looks at night and it gets even busier the later it is so the place was really buzzing with life :D We stayed to watch the Symphony of Lights which happens every day – must be a nightmare for everyone living close by!

Symphony of Lights

Symphony of Lights

We then went to Maxim’s for dinner and I fancied something different so went for a rather untraditional Chinese dinner of veal sausage, bacon, chicken, pork chop, sweetcorn, chips, and a soup covered with puff pastry – it was gooooood! Mum went down the Chinese route and had mixed meats with rice, veg, and soup :P


Hong Kong & Taiwan: Day 2

When my mum went to Hong Kong last year she went on a mountain walk with one of my Aunties. When I saw the pictures, I really wanted to go too as the view looked amazing. So on our 2nd day in Hong Kong, that’s what we decided to do! Before we headed up the mountain, we went for Yum Cha with my Big Uncle and his wife, and one of my Aunties. For anyone that doesn’t know, Yum Cha is basically a Chinese style morning meal (which literally translates as ‘drink tea’) and involves consuming copious amounts of dim sum, which isn’t a bad thing at all – though going pretty much every day does make the novelty wear off after a while :P I always feel like the amount we go when we’re in Hong Kong fills up my quota until the next time we visit in a couple of years time! I do have my favourites when we go such as Ha Gow (prawn dumpling), Ha Cheung (prawn rice noodle roll), and Cha Siu Bao (cha siu bun) as well as many others. My mum is weird and likes the stranger stuff like chicken feet and fish head – give me some dumplings over that any day!

After filling our bellies full of delicious food, I headed with my mum and Aunties to the Tsing Yi Nature Trail. It’s great how after a short walk from the restaurant, we were already in the mountains! Sadly, it was another quite foggy day so the views weren’t quite as clear as when my mum came here last time, but still nice nonetheless!

After walking for a couple of hours, we headed back to my Big Auntie’s house which is pretty much behind the mountain. I’d love to live so close to a walk like that and she kept joking that it was her back garden haha! My Big Auntie is an amazing cook and she can whip up a delicious feast in no time at all! On the menu tonight was a lovely soup containing fun see (glass noodles) and beancurd, many types of meat and seafood such as pork, duck, beef, prawns, scallops, and abalone, as well as lots of yummy stir fried veg and egg! An absolute dream if you’re a meat eater with eyes bigger than your belly like me – if you’re a vegetarian, then tough, more food for me :P However, I did stay clear of the pig’s tongue! Since there was so much other delicious food, I thought someone else could have the honour of eating that haha.