Mid-Autumn 2015 Mooncake Roundup (Taiwan Special): Pork Floss Mooncakes, Walnut & Medjool Dates Mooncakes, Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

Walnut Date Mooncake

The majority of mooncakes here are from Taiwan. I was there before the Mid-Autumn Festival and bought all my mooncakes from I-Mei’s flagship shop in the middle of Taipei.

Mooncakes 2015

They’re mostly Taiwanese style mooncakes with flaky pastry shell but there are some of the classic mooncakes too, however all of them are made in Taiwan unless stated otherwise.

I Mei Taiwan

I had actually planned to get all the mooncakes from Taiwan. I thought it’ll be nice to give out mooncakes from Taiwan – it seemed like the ultimate souvenir, although I did buy other gifts too. It was a very busy trip and I couldn’t find time to get out, until my very last day, when Diana took me out at 10 am in the morning to a shop that sells mooncakes.


You can get mooncakes at 7-Eleven and the airport but for the former, you have to order in advance and the latter are commercialized stuff and I’ll rather go for a local producer and this place fit the bill perfectly!

Packing Mooncakes

The friendly people there even helped me pack everything and explained what each mooncake was (granted, I spent quite a lot) so that was good, considering I don’t read Chinese.

Pork Floss with Mung Bean Taiwanese Mooncakes (NTD 630)

Taiwanese Savory Mooncake

This is really good! I would give this Best of 2015 due to its unusual savory-sweet mix. I love how the pork floss interacts with the sweet mung bean paste and I really enjoyed eating this gem. I had specifically gone looking for a savory mooncake after hearing about it from Diana (our Taiwanese liaison).

Pork Floss Taiwanese Mooncakes

I was slightly taken aback when she asked me if I was looking for sweet or savory mooncakes. “Savory mooncakes? Whatever do you mean?” I asked. It turns out that pork floss mooncakes have been around for a while and the award winning combination with mung bean and the Taiwanese pastry skin is quite common here.

Pork Floss Mooncakes

This box cost NTD 630 (about RM 85).

I-Mei Specialty Mooncake Selection 2015 with Premium Gift Box (NTD 750)

Taipei Mooncakes

I got this one for my better half. It has a nice painting on the front of the box showing the exact street where I bought this mooncake from in the early days. I-Mei has been around since 1934 and they came out with a commemoration box where they commissioned someone to paint the street scene of their flagship store in Taipei where I went to.

Imei Mooncakes

This has a mixture of Taiwanese style mooncakes, Hong Kong style mooncakes and a selection of Taiwanese pastries (pineapple cake etc). It also has a wonderful Taiwanese mooncake flavor – dates and walnuts! It also appears in the previous box above (I think) as well as the one below (in the Hong Kong skin) and it’s a wonderful flavor!

I Mei Hong Kong Style Mooncakes (NTD 900)

Hong Kong Mooncakes

This is the most expensive selection in their shop and I got in for my dear’s parents. It’s all Hong Kong style baked skin mooncakes but they’re all made in Taiwan. There’s a HUGE mooncake (200 grams) in the middle which has a pineapple filling as a tribute to its Taiwanese heritage but the others come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, walnut and Medjool dates.

Pineapple Mooncakes

I got to taste the pineapple filling and it was really good.

Pineapple Mooncake

I thought the walnut and date filling is really awesome too (but no one else did). In fact, I’ll say the single yolk date filling Taiwanese mooncake is my second favorite this year.

Medjool Dates Mooncake

I also choose a very interesting pack which had dried scallops and XO in a mooncake but for some reason it wasn’t packed and I wasn’t charged for it. I suspect this happened when we switched from a longer box to a flatter one and before it was tabulated and sealed so I didn’t realize it. Oh well.

Teochew Pure Green Bean Mooncake (RM 9.50)

Teochew Mooncake

This lard filled mooncake is from Setapak Teochew Restaurant. It’s been around since 1912 and they’re using their time-tested recipe. It’s a lot of lard (can smell it as soon as you open it) and decidedly (and proudly?) non-halal and there’s a certain charm to old school mooncakes like this, much like the Foochow mooncakes.

Teochew Lard Mooncake

It’s quite good, although the lard smell/taste is a bit overwhelming and the filling is a little too sweet for today’s standards.

Haagen-Dazs Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes (RM 95)

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes 2015

My better half got this for me. She knows I love mooncakes (especially unusual ones) and thus brought this home one day. It’s the Petite Collection which contains 5 hand-crafted ice cream mooncakes. Each set has:

  • White Chocolate Mooncake with Mango Ice Cream
  • Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream
  • Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream

Handcrafted Ice Cream Mooncakes

The first one is the best and the “rarest” e.g. each mooncake configuration will have 1:2:2 ratio with the White Chocolate with Mango Ice Cream being the smallest number. Their Deluxe Collection also has the same kind of ice cream mooncakes, but with 2:3:3 respectively.

Haagen-Dazs Mooncakes

The Strawberry Chocolate Mooncake with Summer Berries & Cream Ice Cream is very refreshing too but my dear liked the Milk Chocolate Mooncake with Chocolate Ice Cream, which tasted like the Mother’s Day ice cream cake from Haagen-Dazs I got earlier this year. This is also the same mooncake we featured in TumblingMinis. :D

Taiwan Mooncakes

Like I said, most of the mooncakes this year were purchased during my trip to Taiwan and are made in Taiwan. We both thought that the Taiwanese style pastry mooncakes were much better than their attempts to make a baked skin mooncake. I loved the pork floss with mung bean mooncake and the walnut and date mooncakes came in a close second.

Jombali @ Citta Mall


We were at Citta Mall when we came across this relatively new restaurant. Jombali had taken out a large sign which advertised (of all things) a Michelin inspired dish. smirk

Michelin Inspired

Needless to say, this had nothing to do with Michelin and I have no idea where the whole “inspired by Michelin” bit came in.

Oreo Shake

I ordered an Oreo Shake (RM 8.90) and my better half had a Coconut Shake (RM 8.90). The latter was quite enjoyable, tasted a bit like the Thai counterpart it was meant to emulate but the former wasn’t anything to write home about.

Nasi Goreng 3 Rasa with Ayam Goreng

It was dinnertime so I had the Nasi Goreng 3 Rasa with Ayam Goreng (RM 13.90). This was from their Jomabli Top Sellers menu and the 3 Rasa part means “3 tastes”. It pulled that off quite well – the fried rice was salty, sour (from the tomatoes) and spicy. The portion was GIGANTIC though and I couldn’t finish it although it was good.

Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah

My dear had the Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah (RM 10.90) – the chicken is the same but hers is made with rice steamed with santan (coconut milk). It also came in a Supersized portion but the rice wasn’t very hot. I think part of it was due to them trying to serve us both at the same time, a very noble concept but maybe not so suitable for an eatery of their aspirations.

Jombali Citta Mall

Jombali serves up decently priced food and adds to the selection at Citta Mall but we probably won’t be going back again unless we were really hungry.

The best way to combat haze (and sinus problems)

Sharp Air Purifier Haze Mode

We have a huge haze problem every year due to the forest fires from a neighboring country. Schools have been closed, airports shut down and lives disrupted due to the haze. Therefore, it may seem puzzling that our API (Air Pollutant Index) seem to be much lower than Singapore’s PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) – especially if we can see and feel that the haze is really bad.

Sharp Air Purifier

There is a reason why you should not believe publicly available figures of API – it’s an outdated method of measuring pollutants over a 24 hour period. There is no accounting for highest level of the day or very fine particulate matter, which is why we’ll have a reading of say, 99 API when it’s actually 200 API at the moment.

Sharp Air Purifier Haze

This method of “averaging” the hourly API readings over a 24 hour period will “dilute” the readings and give a better forecast than it really is. Worse still, our government uses the archaic PM10 (Particulate Matter smaller than 10 micrometers) instead of the newer PM2.5 (suspended particulates smaller than 2.5 micrometers in aerodynamic diameter).

Sharp Air Purifier Assembly

Thus, the API readings in our country are balderdash compared to Singapore, which has PSI readings for the past 24 hours, 3 hours and past 1 hour, with the highest reading displayed and used. However, just coz we can’t change policy doesn’t mean we can’t change the way we live – I have the new Sharp Mosquito Catcher Air Purifier!

Sharp Mosquito Catcher Air Purifier

This is really an awesome device, the first in the world and launched today, on the 30th September 2015. I was lucky enough to be furnished with a device one week before and tested it out with my better half. This Sharp Mosquito Catcher Air Purifier has a Haze mode which features a high density Plasmacluster ion technology to powerfully and quickly remove airborne particles.

Glue Sheet

It’s also the first unit in the world to have an integrated Mosquito Catcher – this is developed in conjunction with Japan and it’s the reason why the unit only comes in black. Black apparently attracts mosquitos and the better air flow of the new Plasmacluster ionizer and air purifier sucks any pesky mosquitos into the unit and onto a glue patch.

Mosquito Catching

I’ll show you how that works:

Mosquito Tray

1. There is a Mosquito Tray which you assemble (easily done) to fit into the back of the unit

Mosquito Catcher

2. The Glue Sheet goes on top of it and catches all mosquitoes that comes into the unit

Sharp Plasmacluster Mosquito Catcher

That’s basically how the Mosquito Catcher function works but it involves more than that – the UV light attracts mosquitoes, the direction of the air flow “catches” flying mosquitoes and directs them into the glue sheet and trap. It’s actually quite complicated but for the user (that’s you and me) you only need to do a few quick folds and it’s done!

Sharp Air Purifier New

Best of all it’s 100% non-toxic and safe for the family!

Sharp Air Purifier Settings

The new Sharp Mosquito Catcher Air Purifier works really well – it can provide ionizing and air purifying benefits to a room 30m2. There’s also a HEPA filter with a 2-step dust collection system which is meant to filter haze and particulates (in addition to bad smells and odors). We’ve been keeping it on 24 hours a day and it works very well in providing restful sleep.

Sharp Air Purifier HEPA Filter

My better half has sinus problems and tends to wake up sniffling (due to dust) and I have to pat her forehead to get her back to sleep or else she’ll really go into a sneezing fit and wake up with a runny nose. I heard her sneeze *once* the first night it was on and she stopped sneezing after that.

Sharp Air Purifier Mosquito Catcher

I’m a firm believer in the Sharp Mosquito Catcher Air Purifier after witnessing that. It not only deals with haze you can see and smells you can well, smell, but also invisible particulates which causes sinus problems.

Sharp Air Purifier Sleep Mode

There’s a Sleep Mode which turns down the lights too (although I quite like the lights as it doubles as a night light) and it just runs on 3.5W when it’s in that mode so you won’t get a shock when the electricity bill arrives.

Our Mid-Autumn Festival 2015

Mid-Autumn Festival

I was out with the kids last week when we saw a shop selling lanterns for Mid-Autumn Festival. These are the newer cellophane type lanterns instead of the paper ones we had as kids.

Mid-Autumn Lanterns

I remember the bigger one got a similar type during Mid-Autumn two years ago – it was a dragon and she wanted the *same* one for this year. Haha.

Godzilla Lantern

We all chose one and in the end she went for a dinosaur (looks like a baby T-Rex with wings – Godzilla?)…

Goldfish Lantern

…while her younger sister went for a goldfish.

Rooster Lantern

I made my better half choose a rooster coz I thought it represented our Zodiac, but I was wrong, we share the same star sign in Western astrology, but different ones in the Chinese 生肖.

Elephant Lantern

I got myself a jumbo elephant for no particular reason.

Mid-Autumn Lantern

We played outside the house and the kids were so afraid of burning down the lanterns (coz a similar thing happened in 2013) that they ended up playing with the candles instead. :)

Playing with Candles

It was a lot of fun though and we also had a whole bunch of mooncakes. I’ll get on it, the annual mooncake roundup is coming up tomorrow!

8 course dinner at Cross Straits Restaurant in Taipei

Cross Straits Club

This was what we had for our final dinner before we all left Taiwan. Cross Straits Club (known locally as CS Club) is a rather swanky place in the middle of Taipei.

Braised Shark Fin with Abalone

Braised Shark Fin with Abalone

I thought it was really good – everything was hidden underneath that piece of cabbage. Please, spare me your PETA rhetoric, I’m really not interested in being evangelized to when I’m not going to convert. smirk Shark fin tasted good in this dish. Full stop.

King Prawn in Superior Soup

King Prawn Pasta

This dish is quite misleadingly named. I’m sure the Chinese is more descriptive. It’s actually the best one of the night – a huge big head prawn in beurre blanc (very buttery!) paired with hand made pasta. Blew my mind.

Stewed Osso Buco with Burgundy Wine

Stewed Osso Buco with Burgundy Wine

Yup, what are we doing eating a Milanese dish in Taiwan? I don’t know but it was delicious! I loved how fork tender and juicy the osso buco was. There’s a lot of melt-in-your-mouth cartilage too.

Vegetables with Dried Scallop

Vegetables with Dried Scallop

This is some kind of crunchy root vegetable but deceptively some of the white bits are actually mushrooms. Nice surprise.

Steamed Fresh Fish with Tofu

Steamed Fresh Fish with Tofu

I love fish so this is a winning combination! I like the whole piece of tofu under the fish too, since we didn’t have rice, the tofu does a nice job in absorbing the flavors.

Xiao Long Bao

Xiao Long Bao

There are two pork xiao long bao and the odd one with prawn roe on the top is filled with truffles! I love the truffled xiao long bao, the earthy stock that came out when you piece the skin into your soup spoon was good.

Seasonal Fruit Platter

Beautiful Fruit Platter

A very nicely arranged selection of fruits. I like how CS Club portions their dishes individually, it’s thoughtful for them to think as a diner and make the appropriate cuts and slices to make your dining experience better too.

Sweetened Hashima with Crystal Sugar

Hashima with Crystal Sugar

This is also known as hasma, the dried fatty tissue near the fallopian tubes of frogs. It’s not frog sperm, contrary to popular belief, it’s the complete opposite. Tastes wonderful in a dessert.

Cross Straits Restaurant

Cross Straits Club also has a London style red telephone booth which they sealed up and filled with water and fish. I thought that made for a unique entrance feature. :)

7 reasons my smartphone plan is awesome

1. 7 GB monthly data


This is the highest data package I’ve seen out there. I use up a lot of data every month, especially since cloud computing (Google Drive, Dropbox etc) makes it easy to upload everything when you’re out. I also went for two trips this month (Taiwan and Bali) so the high data quota has been great for me since my lifestyle demands a high data package and this is the crème de la crème of high volume requirements.

2. No misleading advertising

I’ve seen all sorts of shenanigans by telcos with regards to data. Some advertise a high amount but in actual fact it’s a combination of WiFi + 4G LTE (not just mobile broadband e.g. 4G LTE) which is frankly false deceptive misleading. There are also “unlimited” plans out there – they just don’t bother telling you the network is so bad that you can barely load Wikipedia, much less something more graphics intensive.

3. Unlimited calls

Using Smartphone

Yup, I no longer have to choose between high voice or high data. I can have BOTH!!! This package allows me to make voice calls to ALL networks for as long as I want. Its true unlimited calls, which is a good thing as everyone is on a different telco nowadays. It’s no longer dominated by one or two and what’s the appeal of free calls within your network when you can have free calls across *all* networks for a low price?

4. Share Internet with your tablet

I know a lot of people who own multiple devices – I’m one of them. In the past, telcos would upsell you on another “data only” SIM card where you’ll have to basically pay for another SIM card with its own data package which you might not finish and can’t transfer. Those days are over. You can share data and get up to two SIM cards with your main line for just RM 10/month so your 3G/4G tablet can have its own number – allowing you to make calls and send text messages while sharing the 7 GB pool of data in the main line.

5. No unnecessary stuff

Monkey Business

I’ll be honest and put this out there – when was the last time you sent an SMS? With Whatsapp, WeChat, LINE and other mobile messaging apps, gone are the days when we require text messaging packages. It looks good for marketing when they can offer you 3,000 FREE SMS (just imagine the copy – 3,000 THREE THOUSAND FREE SMS!!!!!!1111111oneexclaimationmark) but who uses that stuff nowadays? I only get marketing/spam and credit card/bank notification SMSs now. I receive but I don’t send. Just pay for what you need, in the off-chance you time travelled 15 years back and needed to text someone (with SMS) and use Whatsapp like a normal person.

6. Free Internet roaming

I travel quite a lot. I’ve been to two different countries in this month alone so I quit the RM 38/day (or more) data roaming charges habit and jumped on the free Internet roaming bandwagon. Well, there isn’t a bandwagon per se coz this is the first telco in Malaysia to offer this AFAIK. The 50 MB/day I get while roaming is perfect – just the right amount for all the Hearthstone games, Instagram photos, and Facebook vacation albums I play/post/upload when I’m overseas.

Free Internet Roaming

7. Just RM 70 per month

This is the real kicker. You thought I was paying out of my nose for this kind of data, calls and roaming privileges right? Nope, I just pay RM 70 per month, which is just RM 2 more than what my tablet alone used last time (and I can use Internet sharing for mine now so I don’t need another package for my iPad).

What Kind Of Sorcery

What kind of sorcery is this? What am I using and where can you get it, you say? U Mobile mate, I’m using the Hero Postpaid P70.

My disastrous schedule malfunction, 1.3 million bill at the spa and other interesting stories from Ubud, Bali

Bali Padi Fields

This is mostly about the scheduling malfunction. I’m currently sitting in the airport in Bali alone coz of a series of unfortunate events. I realized too late that my Taipei trip overlapped with my Bali departure so it was decided that my better half would fly out first and I’ll go join her in Ubud when I came back from Taiwan.

I hadn’t realized that the ticket conditions prevented me from taking the return trip if I hadn’t shown up for the departure.

AirAsia Bali

Yup, the original ticket was on Malaysia Airlines, not a point-to-point airline like AirAsia or I wouldn’t have this problem.

My dear had bought us both tickets to Bali but since I was in Taiwan at the time, I had to buy another ticket from KL to Denpasar (cost me RM 432). I don’t have a problem with this, little did I know that since I was a “no show”, I revoked my rights to travel back on the return leg.

Bali Breakfast

I’ve been travelling quite frequently since I was a kid and never ran into problems like this until the downgrading of Malaysia Airlines (in the glory full service days, you could just about do anything). Maybe all you needed was a small rebooking fee, but with the cost saving measures by MAS, it’s now effectively a low-cost airline with restrictions. It’s definitely not a premium airline anymore.

Ngurah Rai Airport

I assumed that I could travel back on the return flight and didn’t think to do anything until my better half told me she couldn’t check in for me and I wasn’t listed. After talking to a distinctively unhelpful Khairul (“I’m the only Khairul in Customer Service“) in Malaysia Airlines, it turns out that he couldn’t help and I decided to just rebook my return flight using AirAsia.

I managed to get one slightly after my original flight for an additional IDR 1,512,350 – you need to pay in rupiah if you’re in Indonesia while booking online, it’s about RM 504.

Venezia Spa Ubud

This was very late into the night, we had just came back from Venezia Day Spa & Salon in Ubud where the rather misleading Honeymoon Package (IDR 607,000) is the price for one, not for two. At least my better half thought it was for the both of us, I had suspected that it’s just a name and it’s the price per person.

Venezia Massage Bali

It turns out that the total price was IDR 1,214,000 or IDR 1,358,699 with 12% tax of IDR 145,680. It’s still decent for a 5 hour treatment since 1.3 million rupiah is about MYR 452 and the important part was that she enjoyed herself. I didn’t mind the treatments too, I’m just not used to these kind of things – my first manicure and pedicure.

Million Dollar Spa Bill

Anyway, after realizing late into the night that my return flight wasn’t secure, I had to quickly book another ticket back on the rather unreliable hotel WiFi – it took me the better part of an hour before the credit card payment went though.

Bali Airport

I’m writing this now from Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali while awaiting for my flight – it’s been a long week with little sleep but it sure was fun though, certainly an interesting past few days. It was great, we needed the break and it made us all the more closer. :)

Sun Link Sea (Shanlinshi), Nantou

Shanlinshi Nantou

Sun Link Sea is a large highland forest park located 1,600 meters above sea level in Nantou. It’s also known as Shanlinshi (杉林溪) and a very welcome respite from the heat of Taiwan. You know the song that goes Alishan di gu nian? It’s an ancient tune that describes the virtues of the maidens of Alishan, one of the handful of Chinese songs I know.


You can actually reach Alishan from Sun Link Sea Forest and Nature Resort – it’s on the way as you pass by Xitou, and there’s a footpath you can walk though. That’s what makes Shanlinshi so popular with day trippers. The air is so fresh and cool that you feel invigorated just from breathing it in.


It was around 18 degrees Celsius when we arrived, the temperature dropped even further at night, so you might need a coat if you’re sensitive to chilly environments. It’s like Cameron Highlands, but a lot colder.

Sun Link Sea Hotel

Despite having a reputation as an overnight destination before people go to Alishan mountain resort, there are a lot of things to do here and the food is great! You can reach Shanlinshi from Sun Moon Lake in 1 1/2 hours. We stayed at the Sun Link Sea Hotel – the fresh air paired with the cool temperature (it was in the low teens) made everything better. The Nantou area is also famous for their tea.

Beautiful Flower

There is a lovely botanical garden here. You can see butterflies fluttering around the flowers as well as various specimens of strange and interesting plants, including a flower that grows in the middle of a leaf:

Flower on a Leaf

Fascinating, eh? It starts out as a seed and becomes a bud before it blossoms.

Sun Link Sea Nature

There are two waterfalls at Sun Link Sea (it’s actually a corruption/Romanization of Shanlinshi) which I affectionately dub the twin dragons. They are Chinglong Waterfall (青龍瀑布 or Green Dragon Waterfall) and Songlong Rock Waterfall (松龍岩瀑布 or Pine Dragon Rock Waterfall). You’ll see Songlong Rock Waterfall first, and see it you must, for it’s the *most beautiful* sight in Sun Link Sea!

Songlong Rock Waterfall

Songlong Rock Waterfall looks like a scene that came out of a postcard. It’s a picture perfect sight with the mist and spray from the waterfall framing the stones in the middle of the lake. This is the start of a long nature trail – you can go to the higher Chinglong Waterfall, the stark Shui Yang Forest, and the curious Tien Ti Yen as well as a variety of other natural attractions from 1-4 hours.

Songlong Rock

However, if you don’t have time, you can just do the circular route that brings you into the hole in the middle of the mountain (a little like Tian Ti Yen, the Heaven and Earth Eyes which are depressions in face) and back out. The photo op from here is magnificent since the recess allows for high contrast photos with reflections.

Tien Ti Yen

The steps can be a little slippery here though. The dripping is caused by water coming down from high up the mountain. I nearly slipped and faceplanted once while attempting to take a photo.

Stepping Stones

You can also come back via the stepping stones but only if you’ve been religiously following your daily recommended intake of calcium since slipping would be a little disastrous here. Heh.

Stone Pig

There are a lot of cultural totems here too, and you can see stars at night due to the elevation and lack of light and pollution. I enjoyed my time in Sun Link Sea, if you’re heading to Alishan, you might want to consider dropping by to check out the unique and beautiful gifts of nature here.

Sun Link Sea Giant Penis

Oh, before I forget, let me do an introduction. This breathtaking carving of rock hard wood was erected here as a symbol of fertility by Taiwanese aboriginals.

Wooden Penis

Everyone, this is me and my good friend Dick. smirk

Posted: 6:36 am Taiwan time (GMT/UTC +8)

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village

Alisan Girls

This was one of the places I was looking forward to visiting in Taiwan. I’ve heard much about the Taiwanese aborigines, although I’m only familiar with the Amis and wanted to know more about them. It turned out to the one of the highlights of my trip!

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village

I can’t say it’s THE HIGHLIGHT of my trip since it’s just my second day in Taiwan but I was totally blown away by the Amis performance. It’s a courtship ritual dance and it starts with the girls slowly trooping down from the back of the open courtyard to meet in the middle with their male counterparts.

You won’t regret watching this 5 minute video coz I certainly was very proud of being in the right place at the right time at the right angle to capture everything from beginning till end.

Theme Park

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village is actually a theme park that has several components to it – there’s literally something for everyone, from the European Village to the Amusement Isle, which is an amusement park and waterpark rolled into one. It’s like having multiple attractions and rides that appeals to both young and old in one place.

Taiwan Aboriginal House

That’s exactly what it is – a place for everyone. Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village opened in 1986 and is originally a cultural village for people to observe and experience a Taiwanese traditional tribal lifestyle. That was why I wanted to go. It expanded to be a lot more than that to capture a larger audience for just NTD 780 (about RM 100) for adults, which gives you access to everything.

Amis Woman

There was an actual, real-life Amis woman who dressed up and gave us a commentary throughout the day. I thought that was awesome, coz she spoke English well and she was a veritable fountain of knowledge. Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village actually has two places that tells the history of the Taiwanese aboriginals via rides.

Discovering Sun Moon Lake

The first is at Dynamic Movie and called Time Travel – Discovering Sun Moon Lake. This is one of those motion 3D simulators which has intense levels of gyro action and alarming tilts. It’s fully animated and it’s a production that’s completely done in Taiwan! Stuff like this is usually imported, so a locally made rendering makes it all the more meaningful and it tells the story well – just more geared towards the younger ones.

Illusion Fusion

The other is a beautiful medley of theatre and interactive elements called ILLUSION FUSION. The show started with two girls coming together…

Taiwan Theatre

…and segues into a man shooting down the sun (more about that later), people chasing a white deer etc.

It’s The Origins of Taiwan in abstract form and I think theatre lovers would totally dig it.

Taiwan Aboriginal Hut

I really enjoyed it but I wouldn’t have understood the symbolism if I hadn’t watched Discovering Sun Lake Moon earlier. You can say both serves their purpose, I would definitely go for the 3D motion simulator first to get the mythology straight before delving into the heavier Illusion Fusion.

Taiwan Aboriginal Tribe

There are a lot of roller-coasters and water slides around but I skipped all that to delve into the proper Taiwanese aboriginal history. Yup, even UFO Adventures, Taiwan’s tallest free-fall ride at 85 meters.

Longest Cable Car Taiwan

There was a poll on who wanted to go and I went for Taiwan’s first cable car system instead, the Sun Moon Lake Ropeway. The significance of this cable car is in the name – you actually descend down (or up, depending on where you’re coming from) to the aforementioned lake.

The legend about how Taiwan started goes like this. There was a group of hunters who saw a white deer and wanted to kill it, chasing it to Sun Moon Lake. However, they didn’t catch it but they settled down here instead. These were the original inhabitants of Taiwan – the Amis and other Taiwanese aboriginals.

Sun Moon Lake

It was nice to see the beautiful blue lake and you can even go on boat rides if you want.

Ceremony for Good Luck

There was also a ceremony where we were blessed with fire and had to “jump” over a flaming pit to get rid of bad luck, the traditional Taiwan aboriginal way.

Jumping Flaming Pit

I love the interactive portions, I did it twice, once for real and once for the camera…does that mean I reversed my good luck? smirk

Amis Performance

The Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Museum was very interesting too – everything has both Chinese and English descriptions, even the digital screens, so I could understand the history and culture behind the Taiwanese original inhabitants.

Paiwan Wood Lintels

They also own the largest collection of real Paiwan status wood lintels in Taiwan! It’s quite impressive to see all the ancient artefacts and learn about the culture of the 19 recognized tribes of Aboriginals.

I decided to spend more time at the actual Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village and caught a couple of shows, including the natives’ flagship song. Naruwan actually means “Hello“. You’ll hear this multiple times as the people there greet you in this format.

Alisan Courtship Ritual

Try and catch all the performances if you can, they’re the best thing about this place. I managed to get involved in an impromptu dance where a Taiwanese girl came over to grab my hand to join the circle of dancers.

Bunan Dance

I was trying to get the dance right, kicking and switching stances when prompted when one of the guys (who really is a Bunun – one of the Aboriginal people of Taiwan) handed me a drink. It was their version of fermented rice wine and I drank it. Surprisingly fruity, it was good. I was wondering why they didn’t grab children to join in the dances until I realized it was alcohol. Haha!

Alisan Dance

That was a lot of fun and it made for a great photo op – thanks to the resident Amis for taking the photos. I highly recommend coming if you love visiting a country to learn more about the cultural elements. :)

Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village
555, Nantou County, Yuchi Township
Nantou County, Taiwan

Posted: 12:06 am Taiwan time (GMT/UTC +8)

Greetings from Taiwan!

Arriving in Taiwan

This is the traditional 您好 post that I make each time I visit a new country. I arrived late at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan and all of us made the 1 1/2 hour drive down to Taichung. I was quite surprised to see that the airport had an excellent feature – video cameras pointing towards the people exiting (on both sides) so you have visuals of arrivals.

Taoyuan International Airport

I have been to quite a lot of countries and never seen this feature – Australia, New Zealand and Europe (from England to Georgia – the places I’ve been to anyway) don’t have this. It’s very nifty, you can see the faces of people coming out on a big screen on both flanks with overlapping coverage.

Taiwan Vending Machine

I tried to get something from the vending machine too. I like to check out the vending machines in places I go to, every country has something different. Unfortunately, all I had was notes (it’s coin/smartphone only) and I didn’t want to keep everyone waiting so we made the long drive down to Yamay for the night.

Fullon Hotel Yamay

I’m staying at Fullon Hotel Yamay in Taichung. It’s a good thing that everything has been arranged in this trip. I would have to book hotels otherwise, which is a constant source of stress, as my better half can tell you. I ponder excessively over what hotels to stay in. You can compare hotel rates and find cheaper deals though the HotelsCombined search engine before planning your holidays. I just found out about it and it automatically checks prices at several of the popular hotel booking sites to see which offers the best deal!

Fullon Hotel Taiwan

My room has an awesome view too!

Yamay Dinner

Next up was dinner – it was pretty awesome, first meal in Taiwan and we had a 12 course veritable feast. Delicious!

Taiwan Dinner

I’ll post more about the trip soon. Taiwan has great free WiFi coverage in most major cities and that’s how I’m able to post this. Check out my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for live updates!

Posted: 12:01 am Taiwan time (GMT/UTC +8)

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