Hikes Travel

Honolulu for a Week

The pandemic took a toll on all of us, physically and mentally. Nonetheless I cannot complain about how much I have learned to enjoy being at home with my family and dogs. Fortunately things started to open in June and more people are vaccinated so Stanley and I planned his birthday week in Oahu, so called The Gathering Place.

Day 1:

As soon as we arrived on Saturday noon, we got our baggage and car then headed to Nico Market at Pier 38 for lunch so we can start explore Waikiki right away. We started off our hike series easy at Diamond Head trail which took us an hour to complete. Elevation was steep at the stairs but the breeze helped and the view was amazing. We then chilled at Waikiki Beach before dinner at Seoul Tofu House which has the best tofu soup I’ve ever tasted.

Day 2:

We started our second day with an acai bowl from the Sunshack before heading to Manoa Fall. The trail offers a refreshing breeze that you can only find in the rainforests of the Hawaiian islands. The forest is flourishingly green and dense which made it a pleasant walk. We got socked in the rain while hiking to the waterfall and it reminded so much of my childhood in the country side in Vietnam where my cousins and I would casually storm out the alley when the rain comes to enjoy the cool water on our faces in the hot and humid summer. We then relaxed at Waikiki beach before our sunset cruise in the evening.

Day 3: West Side

We decided to spend our third day on the west side of the island since we were gonna meet up with a photographer for a photoshoot. The Ma’ili Pillbox hike was moderate, but we hiked at the hottest time of the day. We both got sunburnt the next day, so I recommend bringing a lot of sunscreen and aloe vera gel.

Some amazing photos from our shoot at Makua Beach by Amanda

Day 4: Day 4 was planned for exploration on the East side of the island. We first drove through the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, visited the Byodo-In Temple (which is only 15 minutes away), went to the Pillbox hike, and finally ended the day at Lanikai Beach.

Day 5: Hanauma Bay, Koko Head

It took us some extra effort to make a reservation at Hanauma Bay since they do not let people drop in during the pandemic; anyhow, we got our tickets and visited this beautiful bay around 10AM. We spend the whole morning snorkeling and I was amazed at how many colorful fishes we saw and how close they were swimming next to us.

After Hanauma Bay, we had a quick lunch and completed Koko Head trail in pain LOL. It is for sure the hardest hike of our trip since I previously snorkeled and did not have enough water.

Day 6: Northshore

We climbed the Crunching Lion first thing after we got to the North side of the island. I recommend everyone who wants to try this hike to wear appropriate clothing and footwear since this is a gorgeous hike but it can be very steep and slippery.

We then had lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, which is over rated for my taste. We stopped by Shark’s Cove for another dip. On the way back in the afternoon, we stopped by Dole Plantation and Green World Coffee Farm for some souvenir purchases.

Day 7:

We spent the last full day in Oahu at the Waimanalo Sunflower Farm and Halona Beach Cove before our flight back to San Francisco. It makes me so happy whenever I see a farm of sunflowers, especially in front of massive mountain ranges. We then experienced Thai massage with a view as a birthday present for Stanley.

The last place we visited was Halona Beach Cove, a beautiful secluded beach on the East side of the island. The water is pearly blue, but the waves were too strong for us to swim that day. Around noon, we packed our stuff and got on our flights back to San Francisco. Goodbye Oahu! We both had an amazing time.

Thank you for reading and have a good one!


Solo in Washington

I was lucky enough to do this me-time trip to Washington in November, 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. With extra caution, I had an amazing solo trip that showed me more of my nature-loving side and gave me lots of time for self-reflection. 2020 was a year full of doubts, heart-aches, and self exploration. Not being able to see friends and relatives made me sad, but it allowed me to appreciate Mother Nature so much more. It is funny how I am writing this on the last day of December, 2020. Happy 2021 you guys!

Day 1: Mount Rainier National Park

My day started with a cup of Starbucks and some chicken strips so I wouldn’t have to stop during the day for lunch. The drive from Bellevue to Mount Rainier was full of autumn colors. I first stopped by the White River and a short 1-mile hike near the beginning of Mt. Rainier National Park. Morning air, chilly winds, yellow trees, and Folklore songs will remind me of this day, in which I visited Mt. Rainier National Park by myself and met some friendly hikers toward the end of my daytrip.

Day 2: Olympic National Park

The second day in Washington, I drove around Olympic National Park, visiting the High Ridge Nature Trail at Port Angeles, the City of Forks, and the Roh Rain Forest. I left Bellevue around 9AM and got home around 8PM. Do not tell my mom I was at the park all by myself LOL. To be honest, it was scary. It was worse during sunset when it was dark and cold, but it was quite an experience I am proud to speak about. If you are a fan of Twilight, you must visit Forks. The city became popular because of the movies but there are many hidden beautiful hiking spots and beaches. The Roh Rain Forest is a must see if you are in Washington! Make sure you plan your stay so you can visit all the cool spots at the Olympic National Park.

Day 3: Downtown Seattle

My middle school friend and I drove around the city to see the fall colors and to try Coffeeholic House. Their coffee is amazing!!! I also had to stop by Pike Place Market for the clam chowder since they have the best chowders I have ever tried. It was a chill/catching-up date with my 13-year-friendship friend and I treasured every second of it.

Day 4: Leavenworth

I spent some time in Leavenworth for the festive atmosphere on my last day there. The Bavarian-style village is decorated in Nutcracker theme and you can find people holding cups of German beer on the street eating hotdogs. It was gloomy but it created a totally different vibe from the city. Cloudy mountains, Christmas lights, and sprinkled walks with my hot coffee were worthy and magical for my last day in Washington. Hopefully I can visit next year during Christmas so I can visit the Reindeer Farm.

I drove back to Bellevue and caught my night flight back to San Jose right after dinner. That is it for this blog. If you would like to see more of my travel photos, check out my IG’s stories. Besides that, happy new year, stay safe, and GOOD LUCK!

Hikes Travel

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Tunnel View

I wonder what I accomplished or crossed off my bucket list in 2020 since there are many unfortunate events happening this year. Time slips away more quickly if you do not have memories to hold onto. The 3-day Yosemite trip was a highlight of my year. It also marks the end of a wondering period and the beginning of where my life picks up its pace.

My boyfriend and I stayed in Sonora for more affordable accommodation and it’s an hour drive from the park. We did not mind driving and were traveling on budget with my 2 dogs, so we opted to stay at Heritage Inn, Sonora. We drove from Sacramento at 3 AM and got to Yosemite around 6:30 AM. Here are some shots at the Tunnel View.

My fascination for Mother Nature really showed when I only drove in circles around the park and stopped on the way for photos at these grand and massive rocks. The first impressive location at Yosemite was the El Capitan meadow, located between the El Capitan and the Cathedral Rocks.

After viewing the El Capitan meadow, we headed to a parking lot to hike the Yosemite Fall (upper and lower). I brought my dogs so we only saw the Lower Yosemite Fall up close, but you can see the Upper Yosemite Fall from other locations.

Yosemite is dog-friendly; however the dog-friendly trails are very limited so I advise to plan ahead or not bringing your dog at all if you want to conquer harder hikes. We then took a stroll to the Cathedral Beach Picnic Area and rested before heading back to the hotel on the first day.

The next day we came back to hike the Vernal Fall, but dogs were not allowed up there due to unpaved roads and the altitude. We still walked for 2 miles up and down to get some views from above and it was absolutely spectacular. Vernal Fall and Mist Fall are still on my hiking bucket list.

After the short hike, we drove to see Glacier Point before heading back. There was a lot of driving and enjoying the view from my car’s windows. Taylor Swift’s Folklore album can be a great playlist for the drive around Yosemite as well.

2 short days at Yosemite yet many memories that last a lifetime. This is the first national park that Bailey and Bowser visited. Another camping trip so I can be away from the light pollution and watch the stars at night is necessary when nature is all we got.


Mini but Big Sur Trip

During my bestfriend’s birthday month, Sherry and I planned a second trip to Big Sur since our last trip was really sad (it was raining and the highway was closed ?). This time we decided to save up and spend big at the Hyatt, Carmel Highlands for a night. Usually I would not spend that much for a night at the hotel, but it was a special occasion after not seeing my best friend for a long time. Here are the spots we stopped at:

We drove from San Jose straight to Big Sur to see Bixby Bridge first. The weather was nice and sunny and we were able to see the ocean view.

After seeing the bridge, we went back to Downtown Carmel for lunch and after that, we went to Carmel beach. It was the beginning of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place period and many places were closed so we got a simple lunch. We then headed to McWay Fall for a hike but the hike was closed. We were still able to get pretty close to the waterfalls though.

We headed back to the hotel for dinner and rest. It was the first time I got to learn how to make a fire in the fireplace. Soaking in the jacuzzi alongside the fire pit and listening to lo-fi music was so relaxing.

The view from our room

The next day we hiked at Point Lobos State Reserve before heading back home. Point Lobos is definitely a location that you should visit while in California. This easy/moderate hike has both forest and ocean views and it is not crowded.

The trip was short (2day/1night), yet fulfilling. I prefer one-on-one time with a friend so we can both focus on updating each other’s life. I will plan more trips like this in the future.

Thank you for reading & have a good one!


The Rainbow State ?

Wow, what can I say to my boyfriend who invited me on this trip?! I am also very grateful to his family for letting me stay with them at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki. It was my first time visiting Hawaii and I had a great time. 

1st day: The Pearl Harbor and the Dole Plantation.

It was very sad, but inspiring listening to what happened to thousands of Americans who died on December 7th of 1941. It was surreal seeing the memorial on the top of the Arizona, the tome of 1177 seamen who died after the attack of Japan on Pearl Harbor. If you are a history person, I recommend visiting the Pearl Harbor while you’re in Hawaii. The Dole Plantation is pineapple heaven! We spent almost half an hour in the world’s largest maze, thanks to my boyfriend’s amazing navigating skill. The plantation also offers the plantation tour, which takes you around their tropical fruits’ plantation. We were not interested in the tour but got the pineapple ice cream in the plantation mall instead. The dole whip had a very strong pineapple taste, it was delicious!

After visiting the plantation, I got a poke bowl from Yama’s Fish Market on the way back to our hotel. It was so fresh and delicious! I ordered the spicy wasabi ahi poke, ocean (seaweed) salad, kimchee cucumber, and hijiki rice. As someone from Norcal, it was strange for me to see the cashier packing the rice, the salad, and the poke all separately, so I had to unpack and mix them myself.My boyfriend and I chilled at the hotel until dinner, and we had dinner with his family at Marukame Udon. The waiting time was around 40 minutes. I got the Niku Udon and shrimp tempura. As a soup lover, I love myself a boiling hot bowl of soup but it was not hot enough. My boyfriend loved how warm it was though. On the other hand, the way they serve their eggs will keep me coming back.

2nd day: Zip-lining and Waimea Falls Park and Botanical Gardens 

Another first off my bucket list. My first time zip-lining at CLIMBWORKS was scary and exciting at the same time. I do not dislike height, but I am adventurous enough to try it and I totally recommend it if you want a little bit of that adrenaline rush. There were 8 lines in total and we got to do it in a group of 10, which made it even more fun. Sightseeing, listening to the historical facts of Hawaii, and zip-lining with my special someone made this whole trip memorable. The zip-line, honestly, was the highlight of my whole trip. 

The lunch spot was 10 minutes from the zip-lining spot. The Hawaiian shrimp scampi from the Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck was very garlicky and tasteful. The portion was small for its price, but its flavor was addicting. In the same lunch spot, there were multiple food trunks selling different cuisines. My dessert was yogurt with berries and condensed milk at Ono Yo

After lunch, we visited the Waimea Falls Park and Botanical Gardens. The admission was around $15-20 per person. The walk to the waterfall was short, but I saw a diverse variety of tropical plants on the way. It almost felt like the Avatar movie by James Cameron while you’re in the middle of this hot, moist biome. 

3rd day: Pillbox Trail hike and the Beach. 

The trail was a 45-minutes drive, Northeast from Waikiki. The hike was very steep so wear your most comfortable pair of shoes. Much different from Californian hikes, you can enjoy the ocean view almost every 5 minutes on your way to the top. It was very high and windy at the Pillbox stop, but you must hike here at least once in your life to appreciate this unforgettable ocean view. After the hike, we stopped by Lanikai Beach, Kailua. The water was too cold for me to swim so we only sunbathed.

We had curry at NinNin, Waikiki Yococho for dinner. It was my first time trying Japanese Curry. I am more of a soup person but the curry was very tasty. 


  • 1. Ahupuaʻa is an old Hawaiian term for a large traditional socioeconomic, geologic, and climatic subdivision of land. 
  • 2. I nā mālama ‘oe i ka ‘āina, na ka ‘āina malama iā ‘oe means If you take care of the land, the land will take care of you. 
  • 3. Dole Plantation holds the world’s largest maze, and best pineapple ice cream, imo.
  • 4. Daily, there are 2-9 quarts of oil leaking out of the USS Arizona’s sunken wreckage. 
  • 5. Poke is a 2-syllable word, means “cut-into-chunks in Hawaiian.

Thank you for reading and have a good one!


Beautiful Vietnam

After seeing Korea and Taiwan, I visited my homeland for 2 weeks. Visiting Vietnam leaves me great memories with the country I grew up in. I was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I became a US citizen 5 years after my family moved, but I consider myself very attached to the Vietnamese culture and customs. Vietnam is still a developing country, but I find myself amazed every time I come back since there’s always something new to see. 


I mainly used my time in Saigon to visit my family members/friends and to eat lol. I took my boyfriend and friends around District 1 for some sightseeing at Cho Ben Thanh (Ben Thanh Market) and the Bitexco Financial Tower. Here are some views of the city.


After a few days in Saigon, we landed in Da Nang in the afternoon and we planned to spend the rest our evening at Hoi An. It took around 35 to 40 minutes to get from Da Nang to Hoi An by taxi. The town has a warm and vibrant atmosphere, filled with food stalls and restaurants. Hoi An is popular for its unique yellow-painted walls, but these are only visible during the daytime. If you google Hoi An, you’ll know what I am talking about. Unfortunately, we did not have much time to stay in Hoi An and see it fully. Hoi An is beautiful during both daylight and night time, so the next time you visit, make sure set aside at least 1 day here. 

The next day we bought our tickets to Ba Na hill.  I suggest planning at least half a day in Ba Na since the cable car takes a while from its base to up the mountain. The view and the architecture of the bridge was amazing. It can get very crowded on the bridge, so you should either be there early or close to their closing time for some nice shots.

The third day in Da Nang we rented scooters to ride around the city and saw Marbles Mountain and Linh Ung Pagoda. The heart poles are the signature feature of the Love Lock Bridge, looking across from the famous Dragon Bridge. We got to the Marbles Mountain around noon. This area is known for the numerous marble quarries that surround the area. We took a quiet hike up to the Marbles Mountain overlook for some nice views of the city and beach.

After climbing up the Marbles Mountain, we rode our scooters to see Ling Ung Pagoda on the Son Tra Peninsula. This pagoda contains the biggest Lady Buddha statue in Da Nang, along with a charming mountain landscape and amazing view of the ocean. We enjoyed Mi Quang so many times when we’re in Da Nang and I recommend that to everyone.


Ha Noi is popular for its dishes such as bun cha, pho, bun dau mam tom, cha ca, ca phe trung, etc. The first night there we had Cha Ca La Vong (107 Nguyễn Trường Tộ, Hà Nội, Vietnam). This restaurant is popular in both Vietnam and abroad for their fried fish paste and fermented shrimp paste (mam tom). The next morning, we had pho for breakfast before leaving for Huong Pagodas. The only pho place that I recommend to everyone is Pho Ly Quoc Su (the main store is on 10 Ly Quoc Su, Ha Noi). 


Day 2 in Ha Noi: TRANG AN, NINH BINH

Trang An and Ninh Binh are must sees if you are in Hanoi, Vietnam. It took around 2 hours to drive from Hanoi to Ninh Binh. We first visited Bai Dinh Temple which consists of the old temple (which you cannot visit) and the newly built complex. After lunch, we headed to Trang An Scenic Landscape

Ha Noi had a bad storm the next couple of days so we could not go to Ha Long Bay (another reason for me to go back to Vietnam next time). Ha Long Bay is also another must see location if you ever visit northern Vietnam. We instead met up with my middle school friends, played card games, and chilled at coffee stores around Hanoi.

? Budget:  

  1. 1. Trang An/ Ninh Binh: $81 including lunch
  2. 2. Perfume Pagodas: $42 including lunch
  3. 3. Hotel/Accommodations: ~ $200 for 2 weeks
  4. 4. Food: ~ $150 for 2 weeks
  5. 5. Taxi/Transportation: ~100
  6. 6. Flights within Vietnam: ~$300

➡️Total without accommodations: $673

➡️Total with accommodations: $873

? Must Eats: 

  • Any Vietnamese food that you can find, AND DO NOT GO FOR FUSION!!!

?Must Sees: 

  • Di San Van Hoa Trang An (Trang An Scenic Landscape Complex)
  • Bitexco Floor 52 (Bar)
  • Hoi An (during the day and night)
  • The Golden Hand in Ba Na Hill  

Thank you for reading and HAVE A GOOD ONE!


Winter’s Warm

I love wearing a cute and comfortable outfit, taking a stroll to my favorite coffee shop, and tasting the warm latte. This winter, I was in love with Temple’s Spiced Mocha. There are many things I love about winter in Davis, but I love layering the most. 

It’s always fun to mix and play with different colors and materials so winter is a great season to show off your styling skill. Winter is about bringing out your sense of style and being comfortable with what you are wearing. Here are 3 outfit ideas that I hope you can use as inspiration. 

❄Outfit 1: The first outfit includes a long-sleeve top, overall, and booties. I accessorize this outfit with my Charles and Keith handbag and my ring set. Color coordination is important when it comes to patterns. A pink or neutral top would go well with my red and blue-lined culotte. I choose a tan long-sleeve top for my look to bring out the brownness of my overall and to suit the weather better. 

  1. -Tan long-sleeve top from Forever 21
  2. -Plaid brown overall from Forever 21
  3. -Black booties from TOMS
  4. -Rings from Forever 21

❄ Outfit 2: The second outfit’s theme color is grey. I match my patterned pants with a plain grey sweater to avoid using too many patterns. I also accessorize my look with a ring set and a wine-colored bag. This bag ties this outfit together, and also gives it a pop in color. The pants and the bag are the 2 main elements of this look.

  • -Plaid Print Pants from Forever 21
  • -Grey Sweater from H&M
  • -Bag from Charles and Keith

❄ Outfit 3 : The last outfit is the warmest of them all. Just kidding ?, I meant the color though.  For this outfit, I also have checked pants and a plain long-sleeve top. This outfit has a similar concept as compared to the 2nd one; however, I want to show you my experimentation with different colors. My checked pants are navy with rust and white, so I choose to pair it with a plain white/cream long-sleeve. I top my look with a very saturated-brown, fuzzy teddy coat and a black bag. 

  • -Teddy Coat from Forever 21
  • -Patterned pants from Forever 21
  • -Long-sleeve top from Forever 21
  • -Earrings from Madewell

⛄ Overall advice:

  • 1. Play with patterns, but do not overuse. 
  • 2. Pick an item to pop or tie your look together.
  • 3. Accessories can spice up your look 100%. 

Thank you for reading and HAVE A GOOD ONE!


Wild Flower & Bailey?

The wet winter of 2019 left its mark on my heart with its super blooms. Across from Kaiser Permanente in South Davis, I found this huge field of yellow flowers which looked so gorgeous and delicate under the golden sunlight. Usually this kind of field would not stay bloomed for a long time so when I got my eye on it, I told my good friend Faith and we got some beautiful shots on the Picnic Day weekend. Faith is the photographer who took many of the photos for my blog so thank you, Faith for giving me your time and best effort. 

     This time I put together a simple, elegant, and summery outfit that would go well with the flowers and my story. What I wear here: 

  • -Lace-up White Long-sleeve from Forever 21
  • -Lace-up Denim Shorts from Zara
  • -Earrings from Madewell
  • -Necklace from Forever 21
  • -Bag from Forever21 
  • -Boots from TOMS

This would be the first time Bailey appeared on my blog. She has been the source of happiness after a long school + work day of mine. Khai and I adore her and her wittiness as a senior dog. Bailey is a mixed shih-tzu and she’s 8 now.

The story began with my friend’s dog, Clifford, who was adopted from the YOLO Dog Shelter in Woodland. I enjoyed Clifford’s company so much that one day, my friend Richard, Khai, and I went to visit the shelter to look at dogs for fun. That was the first time we saw Bailey. 

We left without a dog that day since I was so concerned on how to take care or afford a pet. Before having Bailey, I was scared that I wouldn’t be a good owner and I rather look at other people’ dogs than not being able to take a good care of mine own. A week later, I drove back to the shelter by myself and took Bailey home on November 27th, 2018. 

5 months of having Bailey has taught me lots of things: giving dog baths, googling for symptoms, and learning what she likes/dislikes, etc.. She is basically my first child who does not complain but she does cry though. She cries whenever she wants to go for a walk or when she misses us. She loves sniffing people, but we call her sassy for not letting people touch her. Bailey is also super protective of Khai and I, even with her 11-lbs body.

     Seeing Bailey getting closer to me and learning tricks makes me want to adopt another dog. If I really want another dog, I’ll probably adopt. Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love puppies and I can’t stand puppies’ cuteness; but visiting the shelters changed my mind about buying a dog. As a college student who has to work for my own expenses, I wouldn’t drop that amount of money ($500 and up) to buy a puppy. Instead, I can use that $ to buy Bailey’s food/supplies/toys for months. I respect everyone’s decision and this is mine. You should do what you like if you can absolutely afford it. I still hope that you remember “The Ones In Need Are The Best Breed”. 

To Bailey

I don’t think you’ll ever know how much you mean to Khai and I, but you curling up into a ball, getting excited for walks, and kissing us on our faces tell me that you are happy here. I am glad that we saw you at the shelter. I wish you were never abandoned so you would never lose your trust on humans, but you’re with us now. You are a big part of my life and I’ll try my best to be there for you Bailey, besides the time I have to leave for work to buy you food. Khai and I love you so much. Moah! 

-Kieu and Khai

  Thank you for reading and have a good one!                                               


Dixon Flower

 My July post features the sunflower field in Dixon, California. Every summer while traveling to the Bay Area, I am overwhelmed with the summer heat and the bright yellowness of sunflower fields. There are plenty of sunflower fields around Davis, Woodland, and Dixon; however, this field in Dixon has huge flowers and it’s very close to the freeway (I80). If you’re in Northern California, make sure you make a stop to feel the warmth of the golden sun and the sudden happiness that sunflowers bring you.

     I don’t know about you, but sunflower can instantly lift my mood. Sunflower symbolizes the sun with its petals representing the sun’s warm rays. It is the flower of warmth, energy, and longevity; therefore, sunflower bouquets can be picked up for any occasion and any gender. I couldn’t believe that there are as many as 70 species of sunflower out there. Sunflowers are not necessarily yellow, they can be red, pink, brown, copper, etc. 

     Sunflower will always be my favorite flower because of its liveliness and vibrancy. My outfit today is simple, cute, and elegant. Whenever I have an off-shower top on, I accessorize my look with both necklace and earrings so that my upper body isn’t empty or reveling. Straw hats will give your look a more summery feel. I chose a yellow top since yellow is one of my favorite colors. I styled my hair with loose and wavy curls for a natural look. Summer is a season to throw on a cute outfit, to get outside for ice-cream, to catch up with friends.

Outfit details


4-Day in Taiwan

Day 1: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, Lungshan Temple, Guangzhou Night Market 

We landed in Taipei around noon. After getting our rooms at Finders Hotel, we went out for lunch (beef noodles soup) and started exploring right away. Unluckily, we visited the National Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall on a rainy day, but it was still nice. We got to watch the last Changing of the Guard ceremony for the day. We then took the MRT to Taipei 101 for gift-shopping. The admission fee to go up Taipei 101 was too expensive so we passed on that. Just looking at the building from outside was already impressive enough.

We then walked to the Lungshan Temple. The temple was filled with the scent of incense, flowers, and visitors praying during Dharma Day which celebrates the Buddha’s first teaching on the full moon day of the 8th lunar month.  We then walked to Guangzhou Night Market next door for dinner. My friends and I got to try various Taiwanese street foods, and eventually settling for hotpot as the main course.  

Day 2: National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine, Taiwan National Palace Museum, Fish Market, Shilin Night Market

The Beef noodle soup was amazing yesterday so we got it again, except at a different place. I also bought a kumquat tea before we started exploring. We visited the National Revolutionary Martyr’s Shrine and Taiwan National Palace Museum on our second day in Taipei. We got to watch another Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the shrine. The palace is famous for its jade bok-choy. I must say Taiwan National Palace Museum is one of the biggest museums I have ever visited. The museum is huge and I leave it you to grasp its size for yourself when you visit.

In the afternoon, we had a small meal at the Taipei Fish Market (臺北魚市). You can buy anything ranging from boxed sushi rolls to king crab. I ordered a grilled king crab and scallops. The seafood was so sweet and fresh. If you’re like me and love seafood, you can literally spend a day here to satisfy your seafood craving. 

At Shilin Night Market, I tried the ice cream burrito, intestine noodle soup, and beef buns. The ice cream is very similar to what I had in Vietnam with a different twist- the cilantro is in the ice cream. I bought a small cup of the intestine noodles soup and the added spiciness made it very delicious. Lastly, the grilled beef bun was crispy on the outside and savory in the inside. 

Day 3: Kaohsiung (Fo Guang Shan), Tiger and Dragon Pagodas, Rueifong Night Market

We took the high-speed rail to Kaohsiung for our third day. Kaohsiung is known for Fo Guang Shan which is the site of a huge Buddhist temple. I love the scenery and the interior of the main hall. One thing I remember from a lady preaching there is the phrase “Having everything also means having nothing.” We then took the taxi to the Tiger and Dragon Pagodas in downtown Kaohsiung. 

We enjoyed dinner at Rueifong Night Market. The pictures below were some events happening at the market. I adore these people for the effort they put into their work each night at the market. Going to the night markets in Taiwan every night gave me a unique perception of the people here. They are spiritual, friendly, and hard-working. 

Day 4Ruifeng, Jiufen Village, and Raohe Night Market

Our group opted for a simple and cheap Taiwanese breakfast on our last day here with fried egg, fried dough fritter (油條 yóutiáo), and hot soy milk (豆漿 dòu jiāng). The portion was small so we got to order 2 of everything at a cheap cost.

To get to Jiufen we had to take the train to Ruifeng  which took around 40 minutes. We then caught the bus to Jiufen Village. On the way to the bus stop, we tried the 85°C bakery’s coffee (85°C is from Taiwan), which I like very much back in the U.S. We explored Jiufen Village amidst the summer heat. I recommend wearing comfortable shoes since the village involves a lot of walking up and down hills. This picturesque village inspired the theme for the movie Spirited Away. If you’re a fan of Studio Ghibli, then this place is a must-see. I loved the architecture and surroundings of the village.  

We had soup dumplings (xiao long bao), stewed bamboo, and rice for lunch at the village. It was absolutely delicious. Xiao long bao is a must-try in Taiwan. We were traveling on a budget, but I heard Din Tai Fung had the most perfect soup dumplings. Besides lunch, I also tried the grilled snails which were also tasty!

We concluded our Taiwan trip with an amazing and beautiful day spent at Jiufen Village. The next day, we flew to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam.

? Budget:  

  • 1. Hotel for 4 days: $250 for 2 ($125 each)
  • 2. Taxi from Airport to Hotel 1100NT for 4 ($9 per person)
  • 3. Meals for 4 days: 3000NT (~$100)
  • 4. MRT per day 200NT (around $13 for 4 days)
  • 5. High-speed tail to Kaohsiung: $50 one way, total $100. 
  • 6. Training to Ruifang total $5

➡️Total without accommodations: $227

➡️Total with accommodations: $352

? Must Eats: 

  • Beef Noodles Soup
  • Beef Bun
  • Tiger Fresh Milk Boba
  • Soup Dumplings

?Must Sees: 

  • Jiufen Village
  • Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
  • Taipei 101
  • Night Markets (as many as you can)
  • Fo Guang Shan