spunktitud3

Musings on Travel, Fashion & Fun


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Hello, Sydney

View from Observatory Hill, Sydney

Am in Sydney for the New Year’s Eve Countdown, and looking forward to the world-famous fireworks and celebrations I have heard so much of :) Before that, time to appreciate the icons of Sydney, starting with the Harbour Bridge seen from Observatory Hill.

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Gaya Island Resort – Romancing Sunset

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

At a loss for words. For once.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Best way to take in Sabah’s breathtaking natural scenes?
Go on board the Lumba-Lumba & catch the best sunset of a lifetime

One of the most memorable experiences Darren & I had at Gaya Island Resort was on board a yatch. No resort getaway would be complete without a romantic sunset cruise, so I determinedly pestered him to go on one. Our ‘ dream carriage’ came in the form of a private 64-foot Princess yacht, Lumba-Lumba (even the name sounds so whimsical!).

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Big bright smiles in anticipation of a gorgeous sunset

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

We had a majestic view of sunrise over Mount Kinabalu from the resort, so we had to go around the island to view the equally spectacular sunset just behind the hill. Doesn’t the resort look like a natural sanctuary nestled amongst the lush greenery?

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Interior of the Lumba-Lumba outfitted by Louis Vuitton
Melissa, seen in the photo, was ever-so-friendly and kindly showed us around this mini palace. It was so well-equipped it could pass off as a real living room!

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Can you think of anything more romantic than lying on your bed and gazing at the stars with a loved one? *swoon*
Lumba-Lumba has a total of 4 cabins that can accommodate 8 guests. The main suite comes with an attached bathroom and skylight for stargazing.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Welcome to my living room! For 5 minutes. Duh.
It was so comfortable and cool I was reluctant to peel myself off the couch.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Eagerly moving towards the golden sun
This was one of the rare times I forgot all about freckles and embraced the sunshine in front of me

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Greek God basking in the sun
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it? What a sight for sore eyes, what a treat! ;)

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Meanwhile I attempted to masquerade as the figurehead maiden found on the ship’s bow
Lucky the boat didn’t tip forward from severe weight imbalance.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Panoramic view of the horizon
Going on the sunset cruise is definitely one of the best ways to take in Sabah’s natural wonders, from the majestic Mount Kinabalu, untouched lush rainforests and the great expanse of the South China Sea. No words can do enough justice to the ethereal experience.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Speechless. Brilliant. Jaw-dropping.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Perfect setting for honeymooners
This intimate scene of a sweet pair of Australian newlyweds admiring the opulent sunset looked so surreal.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

The sun transitioned into a warmer hue as it prepared to bow out for the day. And what cute cloud formations!

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Choose to admire the sunset on the upper deck if you prefer shade, or like us – laze on the deck and feel the breeze caress our faces. And cam-whore.
Free flow of drinks (wine, soft drinks) and nuts to nibble are served throughout the 1.5hour cruise. The sunset cruise is offered only on Tuesdays and Fridays, and strictly takes up to 12 guests at a time, so do book early with the concierge. It’s worth the RM250 per pax.
For an even more indulgent experience, you can charter the entire yacht for a private dinner and do some star gazing. Or negotiate with the owner to book it overnight and start procreating for the newly weds *wink*

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

The sun gets playful with peeka-boo!

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

As the sun hid behind the fluffy clouds, it looked as if a magical kingdom had materialised right before our eyes. I half-expected a dragon to fly out of it any time.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

What a dramatic sky. Nature’s canvas was so opulent it’s quite impossible to take a bad photo.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Transitioning into hues of pink and purple

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Dusk finally set in, and it was time to head back to the resort. I felt like I had just been to a theatrical performance, where the stage was the vast horizon and the sun the lead dancer, keeping me transfixed with every minute that passed.

Sunset Cruise at Gaya Island Resort

Definitely a day to remember for a long time to come
It was a short 1.5 hours, but to us it felt like eternity cos’ we simply lost track of time, wanting to prolong every moment. The sunset was just indescribable; it was so mesmerizing we could not take our eyes off it, just like a ravishing beauty. Its ever-changing hues and appearance kept us anticipating for more, ooh-ing & ahhh-ing by the minute. If only a man would describe me in the same way, I would die a very happy dame. Damn.

More on Gaya Island Resort:
Chasing Nature at Gaya Island Resort
Gaya Island – Private Paradise at Tavajun Bay
Gaya Island Resort – Finding Zen at the Spa Village


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Taiwan – Blooming Delights and Cultural Richness in Daxi 大溪

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan
Ahh…a holiday smells gooood!

I made my virgin trip to Taiwan last May with my friend XT. She was visiting for the first time with her family, so I sorta hitchhiked her family vacation :p since it would be fun travelling in a group, and also more economical to hire a driver to bring us around. Taiwan to me is a land of the cutesey second to Japan, and the lure of hot springs, spectacular nature scenery and cheap face masks made me pretty upbeat about the trip.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Taiwan: Here I come!
Taken at Tomita Farm

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

We made our way directly to Daxi once we touched down from the airport since it was pretty close by.

An agricultural township in eastern Taoyuan County just southwest of Taiwan, Daxi 大溪 (or Dasi/Dashee) has a population of 91,855 and area of 105.12 km2. Daxi features spectacular mountain scenery, beautiful flower gardens and was named one of the Top 10 Small Tourist Towns by the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan.  This is also the place to learn about Taiwan’s political history, being the hometown and resting place of Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo, former presidents of the ROC.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Hello Daxi! We are here!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Daxi Old Street (大溪老街)
Daxi Old Street is mainly centered around Heping Old Street and Zhongshan Rd. This historic street is lined with old Baroque-style buildings and much cultural heritage, rendering this a must-see destination in Daxi. There are many speciality stores here, alongside snack bars and stores dealing in wooden products.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Owner sleeping, please self-service and leave the money
Although it’s on the tourist trail, Daxi Old Street is still untainted by tourist trappings, with many businesses actively serving the local community. The tomatoes looked so fresh – and so cheap!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

This dog reminded me of Boo

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Dried tofu from Daxi is famous far and wide because of the sweet water from the township. There are two types – plain and flavoured, which people eat as a dish or snack.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

We met this super friendly uncle selling mini animal-shaped pancakes along the road. He gave us so many to try that we felt embarrassed and ended up buying a packet from him despite a really full lunch. Such is the friendliness and hosptality of the Daxi folks.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The Hundred years of Glutinous Rice 百年油饭 is famous, as the name suggests, for its rice cakes and sticky rice dishes. The restaurant has won many awards for its gourmet dishes. All the dishes are hand made and contain no additives.
Address: 17, Minquan Road, Daxi Township, Taoyuan County
Tel: +886 (0)3 388 1681

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Hundred years of Glutinous Rice 百年油饭

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Hundred years of Glutinous Rice 百年油饭

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Yummy feasting with XT and Carine
We came up with a strategy – we would order just one serving, so that we can taste more food at other stores.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

More food!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

We were particularly interested to try the pig’s intenstines stuffed with glutinuous rice (糯米大肠)

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

And ended up ordering more food…not too bad, but nothing to shout.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The store decor was very good for souvenir photos though

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Fresh starfruit juice anyone?
Everyone was so friendly around here, and we ended up chatting with the stall lady as well

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

As red as the puppets
The baroque architectural style at Daxi Old Street was popular during the Japanese colonial rule of Japan’s Taisho era. The picture patterns of Greek mountains, Roman columns, Chinese style fish, and bats seen at the stores on Heping and Zhongshan Roads are a mixture of baroque, Taiwanese, Greek, and Roman styles.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Oh so cute! I was super tempted to buy this for Rainbow

After lunch, we went on to visit other attractions in Daxi, in particular, the flower farms which they are very famous for. Home to more flower farms than any other parts of the country, Taoyuan County is known as the “flower kingdom” following aggressive promotion of intensive farming, attracting the multitudes with its floral blooms. Some floral farmers have even begun to grow extensive lotus flowers in the marshland. These places are about 20 mins drive from Daxi town.

Love Story Building 爱情故事館

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

We made a quick visit here en-route to the flower farms. It’s a pretty small place with some stalls selling souvenirs. I would classify it as a quickie – stop to take some photos and go. We spent less than 30 minutes here.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Love is in the air!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Pee Pee
I found it odd to have such an exhibit…hmm.

Ta Shee Blooming Oasis 大溪花海農場

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Welcome to the Flower Oasis!

Reputed for the beautiful fields of seasonal flowers and being the largest farm in North Taiwan, Ta Shee Blooming Oasis is a popular filming site of Taiwanese idol dram such as “Green Light Forest,” “My Secret Garden 2,” Wedding Dress of Heaven,” “In Love of Fragrance,” “Fighting Kings,” etc. There is also a restaurant where one can enjoy herbal cusine or an afternoon tea, or participate in some DIY activities organised by the farm. Or you can arrange for a BBQ with your friends here too.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Flowers in the “Rainbow Flower Field” blossom according to season. It’s a sea of red at the moment.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The latest floral addition: spunktitudedilia. Pretty like fairy, noisy like monkey

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Spot the flower wannabe!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

XT and me

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

And more red

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Ringing in bliss & lots of yummy food on the trip!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

This is the main purpose of my visit – lavender. A pity it wasn’t in season, so I was not able to witness a sea of purple I envisioned.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Faint smell of lavender. I wanna smear it all over my body.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

More blooms

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Here’s how we take a photo -1,2,3!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Pretty landscape. Even the trees in the carpark bloom so beautifully.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Time to leave and visit another place…

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

But not before a group photooo! XT’s mum and aunty were even more havoc than us.

Tomita Farm 富田花園農場

Tomita Farm is just across the road from Ta Shee Blooming Oasis. Due to the owner’s attentive care of the flower fields, the farm attracts crowds during holidays and is a super hot spot for wedding photo-taking and producers of TV dramas.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The owner’s idea for the farm ranch comes from a Japanese village-style vanilla garden farm in Hokkaido, where flowers bloom all the year round. In the spring there are lavender spanis and impatiens wallerland. In the summer there are sunflowers, sage, and hybrid verbena. In the autumn and winter there are lavender and cosmos.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

It’s sunflower season!

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The sunflower is as big as my face! Which is not, erm, exactly small.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Spotted this uncle hard at work. He was so focused on tilling the soil.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Even the butterflies came to visit

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Pretty flowers

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Tiny grasshopper

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Ring my bell, neighhh and mooo

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Wonder why there are so many bears here?

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The sorbet came in interesting flavours such as cactus.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Yes baby, I know you can’t bear to say good-bye…but it’s time for me to go. Be good!

The Top, Yangming Shan 屋頂上景觀餐廳

After a day of play in Daxi, we headed to our hotel for a quick refresh before heading to The Top at YangMingShan for dinner. Situated near to the Chinese Culture University, The Top sits on the southern mountainside of YangMingShan and offers marvellous views of Taipei City at night. Food-wise, they offer BBQ or Chinese cuisine in separate sections.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

The Top, Yangming Shan 屋頂上景觀餐廳
Address: No. 33, Alley 4, Lane 61, KǎiXuán Rd, Shihlin District /
台北市凱旋路61巷4弄33號
Website: http://www.compei.com
Menu: http://www.compei.com/product.aspx
Reservations recommended. And take a taxi.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Other than alfresco seating, there are also cabanas for private dining with a minimum spend. The alfresco seating is very popular as you get to admire the spectacular scenery while you dine, so it’s best to make a reservation beforehand.

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Asparagus with lily bulbs

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Sweet sour pork

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Sakura Prawns with Cabbage

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

This dried beancurd with dried chilli was my fave dish

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

Steamed lemon fish – super sour but kinda refreshing

Taiwan: Blooming Delights in Daxi, Taoyuan

What a full first day in Taiwan!
We took in the beautiful night scenery while sipping our coffee, and looking forward to the rest of our Taiwan trip. More adventures to come!

More on Taiwan:
Taiwan – Nature’s Wonders at Yehliu Geopark 野柳地質公園
Taiwan – Jiufen’s 九份 Golden Nostalgia
Taiwan – Urban Respite at Beitou Hot Springs 新北投溫泉
Taiwan – Tamsui 淡水:Of Romantic Sunsets & Tantalizing Snacks
Taiwan – Jingguashi 金瓜石:Goldmine of Yesteryear
Taiwan – SHIFEN十分放天灯: Sending Wishes to the Sky
Taiwan – Sun Moon Lake 日月潭: Picturesque Nature

Explore Taiwan with Spunktitud3!


Addresses

Love Story Building 爱情故事館
Address: No. 1037, Sec. 1, Fuxing Rd., Daxi Township, Taoyuan County 33559
Tel: 03-387-1566
Opening Hours: 9:30AM to 5:30PM (weekdays); 9:30AM to 6:00PM (Sat & Sun)
Free admission
Website: www.9420.com.tw/museum/english/english.htm

Ta Shee Blooming Oasis大溪花海農場
Address: No. 27, Lane 1093, Sec.1 Fu-xing Road, 4th Neighborhood, Fu An Lane, Da Xi Township, Taoyuan County
Tel: 03-388-0801, extension 10 or 11
Opening hrs: 8:30AM to 5:30PM (weekdays); 8:00AM to 6:30PM (weekends and public holidays)
Admission: NT$100 (weekdays) NT$150 (weekends and public holidays); Get a discount with the Youth Travel Card
Admission ticket price redeemable on food and purchases.
Website: www.tasheeblmn.com.tw

Tomita Farm富田花園農場
Address: No. 20-1, Fu-An Li Pi Wei, Daxi Township, Taoyuan County
Tel: 03-387-2540, extension  1
Opening hrs: 10:00AM to 8:00PM (weekdays); 9:00AM to 8:30PM (weekends and public holidays)
Admission: NT$50 (weekdays, weekends and public holidays); Free entry otherwise
Admission ticket price redeemable on food and purchases.
Website: http://www.tomita.com.tw


Other Attractions in Daxi

There are many other attractions and eating places in Daxi, here’s a list I compiled:

Food

Good resource on Daxi: http://travel-taoyuan.tycg.gov.tw/e_content/map/Map01.aspx?sid=335&typeid=-1&PageID=1
Learn more about the history of Daxi (Dasi) http://www.tyccc.gov.tw/englishweb/info9/hist/historic_monuments_05.asp

Getting to Daxi
Taiwan High Speed Rail to Taoyuan http://travel-taoyuan.tycg.gov.tw/e_content/suggest/suggest02.aspx?sid=1
Bus route map from Taipei to Daxi: http://www.tpebus.com.tw/image/1011.gif
Bus timings schedule: http://www.tpebus.com.tw/image/1011.html  

Driver
If you are looking to hire a driver, you can consider Mr Liu 刘先生. He’s a burly uncle who used to be a truck driver, and very honest. He charged us a very reasonable per day rate, brought us to all the places where the locals went, and none of those touristy crap. And we felt safe with him. You can give him a try if you wish.  Mr Liu’s Mobile: (0)988-121-529.

Another contact you can try is Lucky Zhao +886 913 185 157, slightly pricier but good service and speaks well.


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The Adventures of Spunktitud3 in Hong Kong & Taiwan

Coming Soon…the adventures of Spunktitud3 in Hong Kong and Taiwan – look forward to lots of great shopping haunts, yummylicious food and out-of-this-world scenery – all experienced with a dash of spunktitude!

Coming Soon

I had SO much fun and adventures on my trips! The scenery was amazing, food was Michelin star-worthy and shopping was darn good! Looking forward to sharing my adventures with you real soon!