Taipei

My experiences with Airbnb & how it became my FIRST CHOICE

So, 8 months later and here I am back to bloggin’!
Trust me when I say I actually did want to update this space several times in the past,
But I got distracted and then lazy later on. End of story.

Crap aside… there has been a topic that I would like to talk about for quite some time right now. No, IT’S NOT THAT. I am not diagnosed with any terminal stage disease if you happen to think it’s a serious matter. It’s basically just about this awesome lodging website – www.airbnb.com.

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Call me shallow or that I am living under the rock but I only discovered Airbnb back in 2013. That was when I was looking for a last minute accommodation in Hobart through www.stayz.com.au like I always do but it was out of my budget as it was only myself & Marcus for that trip. I got frustrated and I told him, we are going to end up sleeping in the street freezing our ass off until he suggested,


“why not try checking Airbnb out?”

Ever since,I started getting hooked up with booking my accommodation with Airbnb. I even developed a bad habit to check on the accommodations out first before I proceed to book my flight ticket to that destination. Either it’s just how things roll for me or that is how addictive Airbnb can be.

Up to date, I have stayed in 4 places in different countries through Airbnb booking and each and one of them never fails to impress me. Not only the hosts are friendly, informative and quick to respond to my enquiries; their apartment/house was exactly like how it was shown in the images. I am not too sure if it’s just my luck (touch wood) in getting decent accommodations but after staying at these places, I reckon it’s the quality of service that Airbnb has set for each host to ensure the guest’s well-being are taken care of in every aspect.

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Below are the apartments via Airbnb booking that I have stayed before that I would like to shout about! Oh and all the below apartments are for 3 person and below, just in case if you are wondering but fred not, the host that I have stayed with has other units in the same building as well. Thus, it wouldn’t be a problem if you are going with a family of 10 or more.

Note : This is not an advertorial and I don’t get paid to blog about it. I am doing this because I would like to share my good experience with decent accommodations because how can a holiday trip be complete without a good sleep/stay isn’t it?

Taipei, TAIWAN – Comfy Studio Apartment at Songshan District
[ click to view Airbnb page ]

We stayed at Prue’s studio apartment for 6 days at RM163/per night. No words could describe how comfortable and homely this place can be. I immediately fell in love with the interior and wished to live by my own just like this. I like how the apartment is divided into a living area & sleeping area.
This makes the whole studio looks spacious and for Taiwan’s standard,
this is quite a huge apartment I would say.

taiwan_apt (1)   The lounge area at each floor before entering your apartment

taiwan_apt (2)The living room area

taiwan_apt (4)The other side’s view of the living area

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 In addition, the apartment is strategically located 3 minutes (walk) from Raohe Night Market and I could easily find 7-11 like just around the corner. Though the apartment isn’t near any MRT station but the bus line is directly in front after exiting the apartment and trust me when I say, it brings you everywhere all the way to Ximending. Even for someone who isn’t that familiar in reading Chinese like me, I can assure you that taking the bus is easy because they have English announcement on board as well so what are the odds that you will miss your stop? Probably never.

taiwan_apt (6) Glass divider between the living room & sleeping area

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taiwan_apt (8) The bedroom area

taiwan_apt (9)The view that I wake up to in the morning

taiwan_apt (11)taiwan_apt (12) Panoramic view of the apartment


Melbourne, AUSTRALIA – Double room ensuite shower at Lygon Street
[ click to view Airbnb page ]

Usually when I make a trip back to Melbourne, I would stay at a friend’s place but this time around, I decided to have the whole place to myself. Initially I wanted to stay back at the neighbourhood that I previously lived in at North Melbourne but there were not much that was available.
So while I was browsing for similar accommodation,
this particular 2 bedroom apartment immediately caught my attention.

I stayed 7 days at Antonio’s apartment at RM140/per night. I like how the apartment was not too big, nor it was too small and would be just enough for a solo person like me to stay in because I really do like buying groceries and cook whenever I am back in Melbourne. Little things I do to reminisce those good old Uni days. LOL. Anyway, back to describing the apartment.
I was wrong when I thought it was not too big – it turns out to be rather huge.
Especially my room, it’s so spacious I can keep 10 huge luggages in that room I kid you not.

melb-apt (1)The living room area

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melb-apt (4)The kitchen area

The double bed was ultra-comfortable. I was so tired after catching a flight right after work that once I reached the apartment at about 10am, I dozed off until 4pm. Oh and I went during winter, so the electric blanket that they provide is sufficient enough to keep me warm & cozy.

Transportation wise? Fred not as by walking 2 minutes across the street and I am able to catch the tram 1 and 8 into the CBD. Downside is that they don’t provide toiletries but no fuss, you can bring your own. They do provide towels so that’s good enough for me.

melb-apt (5)Stairs up to the bedrooms

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Seoul, SOUTH KOREA – Atelier White Studio Apartment at Sindang-dong 
[ click to view Airbnb page ]

This is my first time to Seoul so I’m very particular with my accommodation since I couldn’t converse in their language and if I were to be in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, it would be very difficult for us to get around. Again, I was browsing around Airbnb and then I came across this studio apartment. I couldn’t help myself but to feel that THIS IS THE ONE. People has been telling me that Hongdae or Itaewon will be a good area to stay in as its convenient and close to everywhere but this particular is in Sindang.
Lil’ sista and I decided to give it a go since we read the reviews and heard the location was good.
This is where we then spent a total of 9 days at Dorothy’s studio apartment at RM200/per night.

seoul-apt (1)The view of the apartment from outside

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seoul-apt (3)Fully equipped with refrigerator, microwave and coffee machine

seoul-apt (6)Drawer full of cooking and dining utensils

seoul-apt (5)Cooking area & washing machine available

This studio apartment is very strategically located 2 minutes walk away from Sindang station that is in the same line as Dongdaemun, Ewha, Myeongdeong, etc. I love how I don’t need to change train line to do my shopping. You know how girls work when it comes to shopping with that bags & bags of goodness. Imagine that! LOL. There were convenient stores downstairs of the apartment as well as good local restaurants nearby that often, we eat just around the corner because they were yummy and affordable. Any local delicacies from Tteokbokki, Kimbap, Jjigae, Jajangmyeon..
you name it, you will be able to find it.

I just love the fact that Sindang is a neighbourhood that is close to the city. Like I am able to live among the locals and indulge on how their daily’s is like. I mean after all, that’s the experience that you would want to gain while traveling ain’t it?

seoul-apt (2)Two single beds/double bed

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seoul-apt (9)The bathroom

seoul-apt (7)Olleh Skylife TV with every latest Korean drama & variety shows for you to watch 24 hours

I have blogged about the 4th Airbnb accommodation before here – Nature trippin’ to Hobart, Tasmania where we stayed 5 days in a townhouse at Moonah. In a nutshell, my overall experience with Airbnb has been awesome so far and if I had a choice; I would pick them over staying in a hotel. After all, the kind of price you pay for a budget hotel could actually get you a nice and cozy (maybe slightly smaller) studio apartment in Airbnb.

Because for me, clearly I rather spend that extra money splurging on shopping! ❤

xx

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Flying with Cathay Pacific to Taipei

 Usually I don’t find the type of Airline as an issue for me when it comes to booking a flight to somewhere, as long as the price is reasonable. Of course AirAsia would always be the first option whenever I feel like going for an impromptu getaway – CHEAPEST (sometimes) & FREE SEATS!

They sure do know Malaysians best when it comes to capturing our attention with such bombastic keywords like CHEAP & FREE. But that’s not about it. They might not be the cheapest as they claim/state they are.

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While me and lil’ sista decided to go #YOLO and travel to Taiwan (a country where people mainly speak Mandarin Chinese and we are not good at it), we had the thoughts of flying Hello Kitty Eva Air but came to realized the route was only from Taipei to elsewhere.
Of course we were dissapointed. Since it’s pretty much exclusive to only Taiwanese.

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Anyway, while looking into Eva Air – we were browsing through other premium airlines’ website and got pretty much attracted to Cathay Pacific. Why you may ask? Because mum mentioned before that one of my credit card is running promotions with them and they are offering 30kg baggage allowance too.

30kg baggage allowance + shopping in Taiwan sure do sound persuasive.

Thus, a little thinking and comparison was made and then,
we decided to settle down with Cathay Pacific with the difference of RM300 as compared to AirAsia, (EXCLUDING fee for baggage allowance + meal on board + entertainment).
I really don’t mind paying that amount to get refillable drinks with comfy pillow and blanket. Plus point, we get to stop by at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).

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We flew in Boeing 777-300. I guess it wasn’t Airbus A330 or A380,
because our flight is not considered long haul;
looking at the fact it was a less than 5 hours flight, not including transit.
As they’ve won World’s Best Cabin Staff – we were greeted with big smile by helpful steward & stewardess.

Did I mention I managed to get myself windows seat again? YAYS.
And despite it being a morning flight, they gave us blanket and plushy pillow to huggles too! Then, we were served wet towel and refreshment.

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Also, I have to compliment them on their selections of entertainment on board.
Some latest movie was already offered in the list and how could I not watch Super Trio TV show while on board with Cathay? It’s like a classic variety show that I’m pretty sure everyone who watches TVB knows of it. Hong Kong represent!

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And I really do appreciate Airline that offers plug point.
That way, I can save up my Power Bank to use later while navigating myself around in a foreign land. The meal on board was good as well, no complains.. really.
As long as they give me extra buns when I request for them, I am contented.

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While on our transit flight from Hong Kong >Taipei > Hong Kong,
we were served this pretty authentic Chinese noodles that I don’t even know what it’s called but it was damn good. Everyone slurped it in so quickly and we were given packet Oolong Tea to go with the noodles – a perfect combination.

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Triumph in the Skies, indeed.
I don’t usually sleep that much on board (unless it’s a night flight),
so I’m always prepared with my camera to snap such views that could make me tear on the spot. LOL okay I exaggerated but truth is, I am mesmerized.

If you ask, will I fly with Cathay Pacific ever again? Answer is YES, most definitely.
Possibly for a long haul flight so that I could experience their Airbus A380, heard it’s the best though. In addition, feel free to check out my experience on other Airlines below :

Royal Brunei Airlines
Singapore Airlines
Thai Airways

xx


Shihlin Night Market & Taipei City

 I went to Taiwan one week after
I got back to Melbourne from Malaysia.

Actually, it was yet another impromptu decision to head over to Taiwan.
One fine day, when I was trolling around in the city doing some shopping in Swanston St,
I came across a tram written – ‘ Time for Taiwan ‘ on its advertisement. So I sort of stoned for a bit like I always do,  then suddenly I recalled my cousin, Sharon is going to Taiwan after Chinese New Year. And this is where my urge of tagging along comes about.
Reason being is because Sharon’s boyfriend could read and converse in Mandarin really well. So yes, mind me. Pretty obvious I was riding on this advantage to pay Taiwan a visit.
As I am not much of a mandarin speaker myself and I can’t read traditional Chinese characters. Plus the fact that I would never ever thought of heading over to Taiwan unless under two circumstances,

1)  Someone who could speak and read chinese well comes together for the trip.
2)  if I win free trip to Taiwan. Wtf haha oh god please make this for real tomorrow!

Anyway, this is where it all begin.. I started looking for flight tickets to Taiwan.
Of course my flight ticket would be really pricey because I booked pretty last minute.
But heck, I was determined to go so I decided to fly with my top most favourite – Singapore Airlines. It was a long haul flight. 12 freaking hours plus all the transit hours in between, it was 16 hours. I could fly to UK already with that kind of hours I kid you not.


I always opt to take night flights because all I want to do is JUST SLEEP on board and coincidentally, all my previous flights and this one falls around 1-ish in the morning.
I got aisle seating this time and was so not happy about it.
Even at the counter, when I was requesting for windows seating for my flight from Singapore to Taipei, they told me the flight was full and there was only middle seating available for me.

THE HORROR! I was so upset that I literally wanted to pay extra to have windows seating.
But of course there was no such policy so all I could do was wait until I get to Changi Airport and then to double confirm at the transit counter again. Urgh.



Scrumptious flight meals, Singapore Airline never fails to impress me. See. I’ve got two bread rolls because I requested for one extra and they gave me. Unlike Brunei Airlines, who said they couldn’t give me extra because they are shortage of buns. BOO!



Randomly taking photos at Changi Airport while waiting because it was 6am in the morning, the airport was pretty empty and lifeless and I was half awake feeling sleepy.
Couldn’t wait to get on my another flight to Taipei soon because I wanted to sleep so badly.
And I managed to get the windows seating that I wanted  by the way. How lucky!
I didn’t finish my meal on my flight to Taipei from Singapore..
Just had two bites of the omelette and some fruits and then I dozed off.

Reached Taipei at about 1pm and had to wait for the couple to come over from Malaysia,
which happen to be an hour later flight, so it was not too bad.
The line at the passport control was CRAZY I tell you. It was super long and I’ve waited for 20 mins! And I thought it was after holiday season already that people had stop traveling. Had some confusion meeting up with the couple after they’ve arrived Taipei because we were in different terminal and etc.
So yeah. Wasted about 30 bucks to make the phone calls just to look for each other.
Then cousin’s boyfriend’s colleague in Taipei came and pick us up from the airport.




Our hotel room provides us with condom, VERY NICE.
Too bad the couple couldn’t put it to good use because I was freaking there.
HAHA. I feel like such an ass for crashing their trip that they couldn’t put this to good use.
Instead of a couple trip it became a threesome trip. The more the merrier what. No?

Headed over to Shihlin Night Market after we checked into our room and etc.
Was so excited to go over to Shihlin because I’ve heard so much about this place.
Yeah, damn right it was the food over there that I heard about. Too tempting.
I shall let the photos do the talking.
Yummy yumm yumm! ♥













Tummy was so bloated that night after eating those scrumptious foodies.
Rubbed tummy and went to bed happily that night.
and then comes day two – a whole day dedicated to shopping only, my favourite past time.
I realized most of the things in Taiwan was cheaper.. as in their Uniqlo, Daiso and Face Shop. In Malaysia, everything in Daiso is RM5 but in Taiwan, its everything for  NT$39 (RM3.90). Also, the nail polishes at The Face Shop over there is just NT$48 (RM4.80).

I know its just RM1 and RM0.20 difference but if you buy in bulk,
the differences is BIG OKAY!




Even their branded goods like handbags were much cheaper. We explored Coach, LongChamp, Nine West and a few others. All were reasonably cheaper and especially when they have discounts during sales. And plus we get to have VAT refund, so that makes us more tempted to get our hands on those babies.

So I bought tons of mask because they were so cheap and smells so fruity-ly good.
And 2 winter boots because they were freaking pretty, cute frame glasses, fake awesome lashes, and the list goes on and on. Shopping is paradise in Taipei and I have to admit,
I’ve not done enough shopping there and are dying to go back for MORE.

Headed over to the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall for a while on our way to Taipei 101.
As I am not very much a museum kind of person and my main intention was to only shop in Taiwan, I just chilled outside at the park while waiting for the couple who had ventured into the memorial hall. As usual, all I did was just stone and stares in reminiscence (I’m getting pretty good at that already wtf).







Phew. I totally couldn’t feel my feet after a whole day of shopping.
But it was all worth it because I got myself few good stuffs.
Will continue blogging about my Taiwan trip in the upcoming post,
Got to run some errands now. Toodleoo!

Stay tuned.

xx