Kaohsiung, Taiwan: What to see and do at Ruifeng Night Market (Including buying a whole box of Taiwanese Instant Noodles!!!)

Kaohsiung, Taiwan: What to see and do at Ruifeng Night Market (Including buying a whole box of Taiwanese Instant Noodles!!!)

If you read my earlier posts, you would have guessed that I visited Taiwan recently. As part of that trip, I visited yet another Taiwanese Night Market: Ruifeng Night Market. I previously wrote about my experience visiting Ziqiang Night Market and Liouhe Night Market here. Ruifeng presented a totally different ball game altogether.


Unlike Ziqiang and Liouhe, Ruifeng isn’t a night market that runs parallel and along the sides of a road. Instead, its a market squeezed into a large open space. The stalls are set out in rows with pathways cutting through that are no wider than 5 abreast. So it may be a squeeze walking through these paths as you browse the stalls. Do expect to face mini-jams when you are there as people tend to just stop abruptly to either to look at something or buy that delicious snack from one those bright eye catching stalls.




My personal favorite is the grilled beef cubes (and I strongly recommend you try this). The chef will blast a juicy chunk of  steak with a blow torch searing both sides with that beautiful brown crust before cutting it down into bite sizes:



There are also small eating areas managed by certain stalls that sell more substantive food instead of snacks. So if you want to have a proper meal, it is still possible:


While I had branded Liouhe Night Market as being touristy (and with that, touristy prices applying), Ruifeng brings that to a whole new level.  If you are trying to find a lively place to spend your evening Ruifeng is one such possible spot. The atmosphere was great but I would prefer a less crowded environment.


Th night market offers not only food and some shopping but also some friendly entertainment like archery or BB guns.


Try your hand at one of these games. An easy game to win at such night markets are the BB guns. Super easy if you know what you are doing. A few tips to be a marksman for the day (I managed to get a 30/30 that night before being shooed away to the prize gallery):

  • Know your “master” eye. Unlike in the movies, not all of us aim with our right eye. If you are aiming with your right eye when your master eye is your left, you are doing it all wrong!
  • Hold your breath. Yes, you should hold your breath before taking a shot.
  • Squeeze trigger lightly. You don’t want your gun going off target, do you?


Pro Tip (Where to buy carton boxes of Instant Noodles while in Kaohsiung, Taiwan):

For my Singaporean and Malaysian readers (actually, it applies to all my readers ><), if you are wondering where to get cheaper Taiwanese instant noodles to bring back home instead of buying from the many Family Marts and 7-11s around your hotel, Ruifeng offers a great opportunity as it is located close to a local supermarket. Supermarket = cheaper instant noodle prices!

The best part is that the supermarket has a packing area near the entrance where you can pick up carton boxes for free to pack your purchased products. Yes, it comes with carton boxes and also tape to seal those boxes with.

You can now check-in a whole box (or boxes) of instant noodles at the airport! Of course, there are many other supermarkets but if you are already at Ruifeng, why not just tick that off the list of things to do. You can then take a cab back to your hotel with your box of loot.

Address: Carrefour Nan-Ping Branch, 813, Taiwan, Kaohsiung City, Zuoying District, 南屏路369號


Kaohsiung, Taiwan: One day Cijin Island Guide

Kaohsiung, Taiwan: One day Cijin Island Guide

Hello, all! Just came back from my Taiwan trip.

One highlight of my trip was my tour of Cijin Island with my colleagues. Cijin Island is a small thin strip of land/ island lying at the entrance to Kaohsiung’s port. This island offers plenty for its visitors both in terms of things to see and do and also offer an opportunity to feast on seafood while in Kaohsiung.

Getting to Cijin Island

There are two main ways of getting to Cijin Island. Both involve taking a short 5 minutes ferry ride from Gushan Ferry Terminal. You can get to the ferry terminal either by the metro and alighting at Sizihwan station or the light rail at Hamasen station.

We took the light rail since there was a stop close to where we were staying. For those who are reading this blog for the first time, I typically stay at 85 Sky Tower Hotel while in Kaohsiung. My review of that hotel can be found here.


The ride was slow paced since its more of a light rail than a metro line. It, however, allowed us to have a good view of the sights along the shoreline including, the Pier 2 Art Centre, the Iron Bridge (crossing the Love River) and Hamasen Railway Cultural Park where you can find disused train tracks!



From Hamasen Station, the ferry terminal is a short walk away. There are a number of ice shaving shops along the way. While you can always grab yourself some ice shavings, there are other shops on Cijin Island as well.




The cost of the ferry is 40 per pax. The cost of the light rail is 30 per pax. This is assuming you pay in cash. If you have their local transport cards, discounted fares apply.

Things to do while in Cijin Island

The most important thing to do is, I think, to hire for yourself a mode of transport. Either grab a bicycle or a battery powered bicycles (either 2 seaters or 4 seaters) as they will allow you to cover great distances while on the Island and allow you to not only explore all of the sights but also feast on cheaper seafood outside of the main tourist belt. My suggestion is to get a battery powered vehicle as it may be too tiring to cycle for long.



Talk to the salesperson who you are renting the bikes from. They will normally offer a short introduction of the things to see along the route and also they own personal suggestions of where to eat.

We covered the many sights along the way in our 4 seater:


One possible itinerary is to go along the coast and hit all of the main sights like the Rainbow Church, the huge ass clam and the Wind Power display before heading for lunch. After lunch you can then turn back towards the other half of the cycling route and finishing off at Cijin Star Tunnel, Fort and Lighthouse.













For lunch, we had it at “Wan Er”. It appears to be a more of a no frills restaurant where their chefs prepare dishes and place them on a counter. You take the dishes that you want and pay for them at the designated counter using vouchers which you can purchase from their main counter for cash (third pic below). Don’t worry, any excess vouchers can be swapped back for cash. You can park your bicycle nearby. The battery powered bikes come with a key so you can just remove it while you feast away. Our little feast here was only a 1000 Taiwan Dollars and we had scallops, abalone, a huge fish, some kind of mock abalone and some broth:








We finished off the day at the main street on Cijin island after returning our bikes. There were plenty of stores there selling both touristy items and also local eats. We decided to pop into a ice shavings shop for our well deserved ice shavings having burnt large amounts of calories climbing up to both the Fort and also the Lighthouse:


For those who still have some time left, you can also consider popping over to the other side and visiting the British Consular Residence which lies on top of a hill also overlooking the small gap leading into the harbour. It is a short walk away from Gushan Ferry Terminal and offers pretty decent scenic views of both the Lighthouse and also the harbour itself.

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Quick update – February/March plans

Quick update – February/March plans

Sorry Guys!

It has been a quiet February so far. While I had some ideas on what to post, I was struggling whether to work on them. I prefer higher quality posts to just posting for the sake of posting.

No worries. I have a few items planned for the next few weeks.

I will be heading over to Kaohsiung, Taiwan again later this week for work. Fortunately, I will have some free time there to attempt to do up a few quality posts for you guys. Expect to see places to go to and places to eat at. Surprisingly, the Taiwanese like to give their restaurants names like “Chicken Big Brother” or “Cow Second Brother”. I will hopefully be able to cover one or two of those restaurants this time around. Until then, do check out my earlier posts on Kaohsiung here.

I will also be doing short updates leading up to my trip to the Golden Triangle in India (i.e. Delhi, Agra and Jaipur). I hope the mini guides will be helpful for all those heading to India (e.g. How to apply for visas online before visiting India and booking the dreaded railway tickets). God willing, I won’t have to shift my travel dates due to work obligations.

Meanwhile, have a look at this hidden gem in Singapore (Photos were taken at CHIJMES). It looks really pretty with all those lights. Very dreamy… Perfect place for a drink or two with your SO. For my foreign readers, CHIJMES was previously a convent/school that was converted to an entertainment facility showcasing various restaurants and pubs! Cheap booze anyone? (Tip: If you want happy hour prices, stay away from the main square and head deep into the interior corridors for better prices!)




Blog update – Japan 2017

Hi guys!

Just dropping in with a quick update on the blog. I have been busy travelling the last few days. I was again back in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for a work trip. Starting to feel like a second home of sorts now. If you haven’t checked out my entries for Kaohsiung, they can be found here. Speaking of which, I have a review pending for a pretty good restaurant in Kaohsiung specializing in all things chicken.

While I was caught up with work, I am leaving tonight for my next adventure (thankfully, leisure instead of work). I will be visiting Bangkok again for a short layover before heading over to Tokyo, Japan.

I hope to keep you guys updated during my trip.

Really awesome content is coming your way including an awesome travel hack that saw me bagging a Business Class return ticket to Japan for less than SGD1000! Been too long since I last flew Business ^ ^.

I will also be covering attractions both in Bangkok and also Japan where I will be visiting Hakodate, Noboribetsu, Sapporo, Otaru and Tokyo. So, also expect my own travel guide for Japan to feature in my next few posts!

Also lined up are my travel reviews of Japan Rail, my experience using a pocket wifi router, and all the yummy delicious food that I will be munching away while in Japan.

So keep a look out for this blog.

Remember to follow so as to be kept updated as and when I post all this awesome content!


Review / Guide : Kaohsiung – Night Markets

Review / Guide : Kaohsiung – Night Markets

Review: Kaohsiung – Night Markets

If you are in Taiwan, night markets are a must do.

Whether you are looking for a quick cheap bite, shopping or plain simple fun, these night markets promise to deliver with their different food stalls selling food items as cheap as TWD 45 (USD 1.5 / SGD 2) to grilled palm sized oysters for TWD 250 (USD8.3 / SGD 11.20), clothing and other items and also game booths.

When I was in Kaohsiung the last week, I managed to squeeze in two night markets (for the first time in so many business trips to Kaohsiung): Liouhe Night Market and Ziqiang Night Market.

Liouhe Night Market


Also known as Liuhe Night Market, it is a pedestrian only street that is lined with stalls on both sides from end to end selling food items. So if you are a foodie and are not interested in doing any substantive amount of shopping and/or visiting the game booths, Liouhe Night Market is just right for you.

The market has a bit of everything. You can find your papaya milkshake (apparently quite popular among tourists and locals alike) and other “small eats” ranging from teppanyaki beef cubes, grilled seafood, Taiwanese Oyster Mee Sua (i.e. wheat noodles):



Look at the size of those things!



Oyster Mee Sua


Papaya Milkshake Store “木瓜牛奶”


And a long list of other drinks on offer: Honeydew Milkshake, Banana Milkshake, Watermelon Milkshake, Bitter gourd with honey juice …

My personal favourite is the grilled giant oysters that are the size of your palm. Unlike oysters elsewhere, which are eaten fresh, the oysters here are grilled with a generous serving of ginger, garlic, spring onions and a good amount of pepper. So for all those who can’t stomach raw oysters, this is once chance for you to take in the good stuff cooked:


Look at this beauty. A huge bite of grilled oyster!

If you want something fancy, why not try some snake meat when you are there?


The market is spacious with wooden tables set out in the middle. This is free seating and you can grab your food and head over to an empty table. Just be sure to clean up after you are done. There are big trash bins strategically located along the street.

The only downside to this market is that it appears on tourist itineraries so you tend to see more foreigners here and also expect to pay more.

Getting here: If you are going by metro, the closest metro station is Formosa Boulevard Station (take exit 11). Be sure to stop by the station to take some pictures of the colourful “Dome of Light” that is the largest glass work in the world:




Ziqiang Night Market

In terms of night markets, Ziqiang is on the other side of the spectrum when compared with Liouhe. You can consider it as a no frills market that is frequented by locals. The market is located close to the 85 Sky Tower and is not a pedestrian only market; cars and bikes still have access to the roads along which the stalls are found. This gives the market a more local flavour instead of the tourist friendly watered down experience you get at Liouhe:


Bikes parked along the road and in front of the stalls


If you want to take in the atmosphere, just drop by any stall along the road, order your food and sit at the tables placed beside the road. If you, however, prefer a quieter environment or an air-conditioned environment, there are also small eateries along the road that you can eat at:


Dishes we ordered while at a small eatery – Greens, Bamboo shoots and a 四神汤 (a kind of herbal soup)


Sour and Spicy Rice Mix – 酸菜烩饭


Soup dumplings similar to xiaolong baos

The prices here are generally cheaper than at Liuhe.

For some comparison, a good sized sugar apple costs approximately TWD 200 in Liuhe. You can get similar sized sugar apples for less than half that price in Ziqiang (TWD 80 for one and TWD 150 for two!).

Getting here: The closest metro station is at Sanduo Shopping District Station.

Since you are at the night markets, why not go check out the betel nut stalls and give them a try. A small pack of 6 would be sufficient so be sure to ask the stall operator if they can sell you smaller portions to try. I shared my experience chewing betel nuts in another post. Happy chewing!


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Betel Nuts – My experience

Betel Nuts – My experience

Many people are familiar with common drugs used to bring its users to a “high” state. Depending on where you are, such common drugs like cannabis may be illegal to either possess or consume. These drugs may also be addictive in nature. This is the reason for Singapore putting in place harsh penalties (including being “hanged by the neck until dead”) against drug trafficking and drug possession and consumption.

Why did I do drugs (sort of)

I did drugs. Well sort of.

So what made me try the nut of the Areca palm (i.e. Betel Nut) – a “mind-altering drug”? Do I not fear death or punishment?

For the record, the betel nut is not technically a banned substance here in Singapore and also other territories such as Taiwan. Some “drugs” are in fact socially acceptable (think for example coffee or tobacco both of which are in fact “drugs” that are acceptable) and even form part of a region’s culture. Betel nut is one such drug.

Betel nut has a historical/cultural slant to it and forms a key part of many Asian cultures. It can be consumed dried, fresh or wrapped. Depending on where you are in Asia, the exact wrap varies but would normally involve a wrapping of slaked lime and a betel leaf. However, innocuous as they may sound and look, betel nut is one of the more popular mind-altering substances in the world. It is slightly spicy and gives a warming glow to a body. As a stimulant, it is very popular among labourers who chew such nuts to stay awake through long hours of work. Its effect is comparable to caffeine or nicotine (but less addictive unless adulterated with tobacco or other substances).

Betel Nut

So the answer maybe that it is a socially recognised drug (no different from tobacco and coffee). Or it maybe that I just wanted to try something my forefathers could have tried (some ingrained genetic memory deep inside me).

My experience chewing betel nut

So far, I had it twice (spaced out with a 17 months gap).

Both times were in Taiwan which is a hotbed for the consumption of such products. The nuts are cheap at NTD90 (SGD4 or USD3) for 12 nuts/wraps. That said, I understand such products are also available in Singapore (but maybe not as prevalent as that seen in Taiwan where you can easily find your next “chew” a block away from a street side stall)

For the uninitiated, betel nut chewing is a messy experience. Even before I had my first, I heard of stories of people spitting every so often to get rid of the build up of the betel nut juice from chewing and have also seen photographs of people smiling and showing off their red stained teeth.

I remember prepping myself for my first time.

My girlfriend had just went into the bathroom for her shower. Perfect time to look unglam.

I got ready a box of tissue paper just in case the nut bleeds too much. I didn’t want to stain the hotel room floor blood red. I also got ready a plastic bag (well… I had to make do as I don’t have a spittoon) for me to spit the expected betel nut juice into. When everything was handy and ready, I sat myself down onto a comfy chair and popped the first one in.

I can still remember that taste. It has this fresh herby taste to it from the betel leaf. It reminded me somehow of dishes that involve fresh herbs such as the Vietnamese Pho (with the basil leaves) and also Rojak (with the shavings of the flower of the banana plant). That is the first thing you will taste when you start chewing.

As you chew, the nut will start to “bleed” and your mouth will fill up with a red fluid. I was lazy and I did not spit out as much as I should have. I thought to myself “why bother” and “what’s the difference going to be if I kept it for a while longer before spitting it out”.

As it was my first time trying and also the fact that I had a few nuts to go through, I worked my way through the packet diligently. Imagine me chewing and spitting while watching tv with a bag stained red in my hand.

I didn’t feel much during the first two. By the time I reached the third, I was starting to feel the promised warm glowing sensation. It’s not the hot sensation you get from drinking a strong drink but close to slow buildup of warmth.

I gave up on my fourth.

My world started to spin and I got dizzy. I suspect my laziness (i.e. not spitting regularly) is to be blamed as the juices had more time to work its magic when I was holding it in my mouth. My girlfriend, after her long shower, found me in slouching in my chair with a bottle of water in my hand. Note to self: Do not go through the package too fast.

Would I try it again? Well, yes. I did have another go a year and a half later.

In terms of experience, it is quite unique and different from the consumption of other drugs. And when taken in moderation (and irregularly), this drug offers some “fun” element to it.

A note of warning, while it is all in the name of fun and to experience something new, please take this in moderation. While I don’t think it is addictive (at least from my two encounters with it), you should not over consume such drugs as the ingredients used (e.g betel nut, betel leaf and slaked lime) are either cancer causing or exposes you to cancer causing substances. For more information please read this insightful article on the BBC.

Let me know in the comments below whether you tried taking betel nuts before and your experience.

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