Maokong Gondola, Shilin Night Market
Trip Start Feb 29, 2012
15Trip End Mar 04, 2012
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You have to take the blue line across from downtown to the brown line, then take the brown line in the direction of Taipei Zoo which is the last stop. Also the brown line is an elevated driverless monorail so good for sightseeing by day or night.
I had the five day tourist pass and I know there was a version of the pass that did include the gondolas. People were tapping their easycards to get in but unfortunately mine was invalid. I had to pay 50 TWD ($1.75) to ride to the end of the four stops on the gondola trail
The gondola trail runs about 4km and there is a choice of two gondolas. For a higher price you can ride the glass carriage gondolas which have a glass floor to look below. There was no way I could do that so went for the normal gondolas.
As it wasnt busy I had my own gondola, but I was hoping for company as I dont really like heights so preferred the reassurance. I've rode gondolas before in Hong Kong and Singapore so had to tell myself it would be ok. For the first two stations it wasnt too bad. It basically clung to the side of the mountains on either side so not really a steep drop.
After the second station that changed. It felt like diving over a cliff. There was a massive valley as the gondala rope tightly stretched across the peak of the two mountains. This probably had the best view of the city but I could only look straight ahead at the gondola ahead.
As the valley ended we came into the third station stop and two gentlemen got on. This helped give a focus and distraction. There was another big valley to the fourth stop but it wasnt as bad with the people on board. Imagine all this with the glass bottom carriage!
Having survived a one way trip I wanted to just ride it all the way back but was told everyone must get off and line up again. I wandered out to see the start of the line. There was a street with a tourist trail so I walked along for a bit to see what it was
A map showed if you walk round about 10 minutes you will come to a temple. Along the way were many teahouses clinging to the terraces overlooking the valley and city view. At the temple was a giant fat buddha. The road would have continued on to the third gondola station but I didnt think I would be able to get a seat back with them all filling up at the fourth terminal stop, so walked back.
My gondola ticket wasnt working as it was actually just a one way ticket and you had to pay 50 TWD ($1.75) again to ride back. They should have just sold return tickets as obviously most people will go back. Back by the terminal station was also a second smaller temple.
Again I had my own solo cabin. This time it didnt seem as bad. Maybe because the view is different and I knew about the two big valleys so was prepared for them. I was facing the city this time on the return.
You can see the Taipei 101 tower but the base was too much haze today. When I left after 4pm many people were just arriving to see the city views and ride the gondola in the sunset and nightfall. I went to Mcdonalds to get an ice cream for 15 TWD (.50 cents) before riding the subway back.
On the elevated brown monorial the best photospot to see the 101 tower is just north of Daan station. I managed to get a quick shot but didnt want to keep riding back forth to get a better one. As it was evening I made my way to the Shilin Night Market
This is supposed to be the biggest and most famous in Taipei and stretches between two subway stops. At first it wasnt that interesting, lots of tshirts, jeans, bags, watches, belts. I found a store selling souvenir food boxes so I got one for the teachers back at school.
All the boxes were 100 TWD ($3) but I didnt really know what they were, so I got the one that looked like korean rice cakes as usually they dont like the stuff I give them. They had this box of pineapple filled cookies for 150 TWD ($5) which I should have got but would have been a special trip back to Shilin Market as I never saw it anywhere else.
There were signs saying to go below the covered central market to the food court. They've moved all the food vendors down below. I was trying to figure out what a lot of the food was, and many seemed to be making some kind of omelette.
I didnt feel like that for an evening meal, but since it was the only thing I could figure out for a reasonable price decided to try it. I ordered a shrimp omlette vs the regular oyster omlette for 50 TWD ($1.75).
It wasnt that good and filled with a lot of jello to make it look bigger. Then I rode the subway all the way home. As I was still hungry I stopped in the bakery to get a three cheese baguette for 28 TWD (.90 cents) and rest after an exhausting long day.