A Stroll in the Bamboo Grove (Kansai, Japan Trip 2012, Day 9)

This was an unlucky day for me! Not only that we couldn’t follow our initial plan, my camera dropped on the floor and I couldn’t take any more photos after that.

Our initial plan was to take the Randen Arashiyama Main Line from Shijo-Omiya terminal in Kyoto to Arashiyama Station. Then we’ll walk to the Bamboo Grove via Tenryu-ji (天竜寺). After which we’ll take the Sagano Torokko sight-seeing train to Kameoka Station and take the Hozugawa Kudari boat ride.

However, we didn’t manage to get the tickets to the boat rides as they were all sold out. So we took the Torokko train to and fro and stop at Torokko Saga Station to take the JR line back to Kyoto.


After we dropped off the tram at the Arashiyama Station, we saw that there’s a hot spring foot bath (足汤) at the station and we decided to take a dip. If you are worried about hygiene, don’t worry, everyone needs to rinse their feet first before dipping into the hot spring foot bath. After pampering our feet, we walked along the street dotted with shops selling sourvenirs and food to Togetsu-kyo Bridge (渡月桥). We had buns filled with sakura flavour paste for breakfast and my friend even bought a very pretty looking umbrella!

We then walked to Tenryu-ji and headed for the Bamboo Grove to take a slow walk to Torokko Arashiyama Station.  We then took the Sagano Torokko sight-seeing train to take in the view along Hozugawa River. Too bad I can’t show any photos here as my camera died on me at the bamboo grove. 😦


Bamboo Grove


Do as the locals do in Kaohsiung (Taiwan 2011, Day 1)

Upon arrival in Taipei, we dropped our main baggage at our Taipei hotel and took the high speed rail to Kaohsiung with our 2nd baggage. The high speed rail is very new and reminded me of the bullet train in Japan. The journey took about 1.5 hours.

We stayed at King’s Town Hotel (京城大饭店). The hotel is located near the Kaoshiung train station (TRA) and MRT station. However, we need to cross over the platform in order to reach the hotel. To do that, we need to buy a platform ticket at the counter to gain entry to walk across the platform. When we reached the hotel, we asked the counter staff for free admission cards to cross over the platforms.

After we freshened up, we decided to go to the Anning wholesale shopping area (安宁街成衣商圈) near our hotel and later to Rui Feng night market (瑞丰夜市) for dinner. Anning wholesale shopping area is like Taipei’s Wu Fen Pu (五份埔). But maybe because we reached Kaohsiung quite late, most of the shops were closing when we explored the area. So, we didn’t have a good shopping experience there.

Next, we took a cab to Rui Feng night market to immerse in the local’s favourite night market.There were many things to eat and buy at the market. There were even retro game stalls where young children and those young at hearts gathered. Different from Liu He night market (六合夜市), this is the night market that locals go to.

Recommended food:

  • Fried cuttlefish (酥炸大鱿鱼)
  • Prawn cake (高月传说 – 月亮虾饼)
  • Chicken feet (卤凤抓)
  • Fried spare ribs (盐酥排骨)


Getting to Rui Feng night market by MRT:

Take the train to Kaohsiung Arena station and get out at Exit 1. Walk straight ahead for 5 min to reach the night market.

Important things get done first! (Taiwan 2011, Day 1)

The main mode of transport for our trip was to travel by trains – Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) and Taiwan Railways (TRA).

As we were travelling during the festive seasons of New Year, we decided to buy our TRA train tickets on the very 1st day we arrived. This was advised by the information counter personnel at the airport. As for THSR, it was alright to buy on the spot as there weren’t many people travelling by THSR due to the higher train fares.

To make the job easier for the ticketing personnel, my friend had listed all the dates and timings of the train that we need. This really shortened the time as we did not need to ask for the timings. So, one word of advice, if you are travelling on TRA trains very frequently, it’ll be a good idea to check the timings online before you fly off, decide on the timings you need and buy all the tickets you need on the 1st day you arrive.

We managed to buy most of the tickets we wanted except for the tickets on 01 Jan. There were no more reserved seat tickets available and we ended up buying free seating tickets, which means we had to stand and move around to look for empty seats, and most of the time there weren’t many. So, this kind of tickets are also called “standing tickets” (站票).

High speed rail to Kaohsiung, Zuoyin