29 June 2018

One Day Trip to Shifen and Jiufen from Taipei

Shifen and Jiufen are traditional old towns both located in New Taipei City, the northeast side of Taipei City. Even though they were belong to different districts: Shifen is in Pingxi, Jiufen is in Ruifang, but they are quite nearby and can be visited in the same day. However, moving from Shifen to Jiufen or vice versa by public transportation is not so easy. I did some research and found that we need to take a train from Taipei to Ruifang Station then train to Shifen then train back to Riufang then bus to Jiufen, with some trains have low frequency. If you missed one train, you have to wait for another hour.

Since Jiufen is my most anticipated place I'd love to visit in Taiwan, I did not want to spend unnecessary time during commuting so we could have a lot of energy when roaming around the place. Therefore I booked a tour in Klook. It was practically a transport rather than a tour, because once we got into the area, we were free to go around the place by ourselves and would meet in a designated place at a particular time. You can read more information about booking Jiufen Shuttle Bus in this post.


Shifen is a mountainous area famous for sky lantern. There is a little village near train station with shops lined up along the railway selling lanterns, foods and souvenirs. Tourists can choose the lantern color(s), write their wishes on it and fly the wishing lantern to the sky, all helped by the shops staff. These are the list of colors and their meanings.

Single Color - NT$150
- Red = Health.Peace
- Yellow = Money.Wealth
- Blue = Career.Promotion
- Purple = Study.Test
- White = Future.Brightness
- Orange = Love.Marriage
- Green = Vigour.Success
- Magenta = Attraction.Popularity
- Pink = Bliss.Joy

Multiple Color - NT$200
- Red+Yellow+Blue+Orange
- Red+Yellow+Blue+Pink
- Red+Yellow+Green+Magenta
- Red+White+Purple+Pink
- Yellow+Orange+Green+Pink
- Red+Yellow+Purple+Blue
- Red+Yellow+Purple+Magenta

Usually the lanterns would fall in the nearest mountains, and the trash would be collected by the local people, usually elderly. They can get paid for each used lanterns they found, that's how the local government keeps the environment clean.

Writing and flying out our lantern wishes in Shifen, hope all of them come true

04 June 2018

A Day in Yangmingshan National Park Taipei

Taiwan is famous for its mountainous and natural scenery. About 53 times smaller than Indonesia, this country has 9 national parks in total. One of them is located on the northeast side of Taipei downtown, and accessible to visit in one day from Taipei City with public transportation. It is called Yangmingshan, named after a scholar from Ming Dynasty, and Shan means mountain in Chinese (similar to Korean's San). The place is good for seeing cherry blossoms, enjoying hot spring, and hiking. 

Since I came here in the middle of May, there was no longer cherry blossoms insights. We also did not intend to dip in one of its hot springs, since it was not too cold anymore. Furthermore, hiking was not an option for us who are traveling with a small kid. What we did was strolling around the park enjoying the fresh air and beautiful views. The place is quite friendly for baby with a stroller and elderly with a wheelchair.

What to See

Yangmingshan has a lot of scenic spots. The complete list can be seen on its official website, and they are all free! Here I want to highlight 2 of the places.

The detail Yangmingshan map can be downloaded here and here

29 May 2018

Booking Travel Deals in Klook

My recent trip to Taiwan has introduced me to a new travel platform that I might use often in the future. It is called Klook, which offers amazingly variant types of travel packages, especially in Asian destination, including activities and transportation. This post is not being sponsored, it is purely a review of my own experience using Klook. Here are the 3 packages I book in Klook when visiting Taiwan.

'Unite Traveler' 4G SIM Card (TW Airport Pick Up) for Taiwan

Except for posting on Instagram, I really need an internet connection for finding my ways around Taipei. Either I buy a SIM card with data connection or rent a wifi modem. Usually, people traveling in a big group prefer renting wifi more than buying SIM card because then they can share the connection. However, if you only travel by yourself or with another (adult) 1 person, like me and my husband (and our kid), buying a SIM card is cheaper. Klook offers many choices of Wifi and SIM card.

24 May 2018

Panduan Aplikasi Visa dan Ijin Bebas Masuk Taiwan untuk Turis Indonesia

Negara Taiwan yang disebut juga Republic of China (ROC) memiliki territory sendiri dan berbeda dengan mainland China yang bernama People's Republic of China (PRC). Taiwan tidak punya Kedutaan Besar di Jakarta, melainkan sebuah kantor perwakilan dengan nama Taipei Economic Trade Office (Teto) yang berlokasi di dalam kawasan Senayan Central Business District (SCBD) seberang Mall Pacific Place.

Dengan bermodalkan semangat mencari Tao Ming Tse tiket pesawat dan persyaratan lainnya, saya mendatangi kantor Teto tersebut untuk apply visa Taiwan buat saya, suami dan anak. Masuknya dari pintu belakang gedung dengan menukar kartu identitas. Sesampainya di Lantai 17, dokumen saya diperiksa terlebih dahulu oleh petugas di bagian depan pintu. Petugas yang baik hati tersebut memeriksa setiap halaman paspor saya dan menemukan ada Visa Korea.

Petugas: "Ini pernah ke Korea?"
Saya: "Iya pak, tapi visa nya udah expired 2 tahun lalu."
Petugas: "Bisa gratis ini, ga perlu apply visa lagi, ada formulir online yang harus diisi"
Saya: "Emang bisa pak udah expired?"
Petugas: "Gapapa asal masih di bawah 10 tahun."

Saya memang pernah baca artikel mengenai Bebas Visa Taiwan bagi turis Indonesia yang sudah mengunjungi negara Amerika, Kanada, Jepang, Korea, Australia, New Zealand dan Uni Eropa, tapi disitu tertulis untuk pemegang visa yang masih berlaku. Sedangkan visa Korea, Jepang, Australia dan Uni Eropa saya sudah expired. Daripada nanti sampai di Taiwan saya ditolak masuk, mending apply visa yang pasti-pasti saja. Tapi si Bapak Petugas kekeuh untuk saya isi formulir bebas visa itu. Karena lumayan kan saya dan suami bisa gratis, jadi cuma bayar visa buat anak saja. Isi formulir itu bisa online dan dicetak sendiri di rumah tanpa perlu datang ke kantor Teto lagi, tapi ga mungkin saya submit aplikasi visa anak tanpa ada dokumen saya dan suami, nanti ditanyain "ini kok anak traveling sendiri?" Jadinya pagi itu juga jam 10.30 saya balik ke kantor saya yang kebetulan dekat tinggal jalan kaki dari Teto, untuk mengisi formulir online bebas visa buat saya dan suami, mencetaknya lalu berniat kembali lagi ke Teto buat visa anak. Bapak Petugas mengingatkan karena hari itu hari Jumat jadi waktu aplikasi visa hanya buka sampai jam 11.30 (kalau biasanya jam 12.00), jadi saya punya waktu sejam kalau mau mengajukan visa hari itu juga. Sebenarnya jadwal trip saya ke Taiwan masih lama sih 2 bulan lagi, tapi pengennya proses ini cepat selesai.

Ternyata prosesnya memang mudah dan cepat banget, baik itu aplikasi visa berbayar maupun ijin masuk bebas visa Taiwan. Berikut saya akan jelaskan keduanya.

20 May 2018

Meet Rokki: Air Asia In-Flight Entertainment

Low-cost carrier means a boring flight? Not anymore. Some AirAsia flights now offer its passengers a free in-flight entertainment using your own gadget called Rokki

What you need to do is to switch on the wi-fi connection in your smartphone or tab, and connect to FREE AirAsia ROKKI Wi-Fi. Voila, you can enjoy music, videos, and games. Although I am not interested in any of its videos and movies, I quite enjoy its music. There are few categories of music such as Classics, Pop and Korean music with about 20 songs each.

Pop Music category contains a list of up-to-date songs

You can also read the news and shop online. Since it's a Malaysia airline, most news is about Malaysia though. While for the online shopping, I think it is not a big catch because who wants to wait for 1 month to get the items delivered to your home? And the price is not as cheap as Alibaba / Aliexpress.

As an online-savvy, the most feature I love is the free 2mb chatting plan for BIG members. BIG is the AirAsia membership program where you can collect points everytime you fly with AirAsia and get many promotions. Fortunately, I had already been a member for a long time, so I could easily log in to Rokki then get a one-time passcode to redeem the free chats. Once I redeemed, I could use WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk, WeChat, and Viber. It was so helpful for me that time because I needed to make some works discussions with my colleagues in WhatsApp (ha! Works keep bugging me even in my holiday). So if you want to use this free chat, better to sign up as the BIG member before your AirAsia flight, it's free! They also have another plan for unlimited chats and internet but of course, you need to pay extra.

Nowadays smartphones get cheaper and almost everybody in the world has at least one.  When big airline company makes expenses in the newspaper daily and entertainment devices on each passenger seats, AirAsia utilize passengers' own device and just invests in the server side. BIG thumbs up!

Currently, Rokki is only available in several AirAsia flights. Even AirAsiaX specializing in long flight does not have this :( Hopefully, they install this onboard entertainment service as soon as possible in all AirAsia flights.