Thursday, 12 March 2020

TAINAN FREE AND EASY: Kaoshiung Airport to Tainan Station

We landed at Kaoshiung International Airport. The airport is not really big. There is a visitor information center. There is also counter selling prepaid mobile cards and also a 7-11 for you to buy snacks and food or your youyou card( ezlink card). You can also get the easy card or also known as the youyou card from the metro station. The easy card can be use for payment for various occasions, including for bus, trains and in convenience store. There is a nt$100 (S$5) deposit, if you are staying for a short trip and intend to take a cab or hire a driver, there is not a need to get a card. If you are doing free and easy on your own, getting the card will save you the hassle of digging for coins. 
Sometimes the Taiwan Tourism Board gives away free easy card, watch out for it if you want to save on the deposit

We decided to take the HSR and change to a train to our Tainan hotel.
To reach the HSR station, you have to follow the signage and walk around 5 minutes to take the MRT. Take the train to Zuoying. It will take 13 stops and 26 minutes
You will need you Youyou card to pay the transport or buy a one-time pass. 


The THSR station is much bigger than the train station with slightly more food and drink selection. We bought the one-way ticket from KLOOK as We intend to take another train to Kaoshiung.
Firstly, you need to redeem the tickets at the counters. Passport is need for verification purpose. There are seats allocated and this ticket cant be scanned at the gantry. You have to ask the staff at the control station and they will open the gate for you manually
The ride from the THSR is fast at 12 minutes. We took some time to settle down and before we know it, we reached Tainan THSR. Don't get too comfortable. Just get ready to get down.




 After the THSR, we had to transfer to the local train. We had to walk around 5 minutes to the local train station (Shalun station) and we took the train to Tainan station

This is quite a tiring way to get to Tainan. It will take around 2 hours. The reason is because THSR is not located near Kaoshiung international airport and the main city of Tainan is also not located near Tainan THSR.
If you are travelling with elderly or very young kids, it will be a bit troublesome as you have to bring them up and down and to and fro. Although there are a lot of escalators and lifts, it will still some efforts to navigate the way and keep track of the stations.
This method is recommended if you like to take train, we took 3 different type of train. You want to try out some adventure rather than the safe way of booking a driver from point A to B. And this is cheaper, it costs less than $10 per person. There are other combinations of trains/bus to get you to Tainan. The time and pricing does not differ a lot

The more expensive but faster alternative is find a driver or taxi, it will cost around $50-$60 for 1-3 person and for a bigger car up to 8 person will be $70+. It will be worth it to take a car if you have a large group of people travelling together.  And they will send you right to the Hotel. No walking required.

I traveled with my parents who are in their 70s, they find it a bit tiring to travel via trains. However, they do like to explore the THSR and take the train and experience something different. The biggest challenge is our hotel is located 5 minutes from the Tainan Train station but the path is not smooth and even ground and some stairs, it is quite a challenge for elderly to walk on.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

SEoul Free and EAsy : 5 Places to buy Pretty and cheap Souvenirs and Gifts

If you have a lot of friends, colleagues and relatives which you need to buy souvenirs and presents for when you travelled. Here are some recommendations that will get you good quality products so you don't look too stingy and also will not burn a hole in your pocket. It is like we don't want to look cheapskate but we don't want spend a lot.The places are conveniently located so you have more time to enjoy yourselves.

1. Supermarket or Hypermart
    They not only sell the snacks and kimchi that you want to buy home. They also carry a lot of other items that you can buy. They also carry Authentic BT21, Kakao, Pokemon and Line Products.
More information on Supermarket and Hypermart

2. Daiso
    Daiso? Daiso is also available in Singapore.
    Daiso in Korea has their own range of products that are not available in Daiso Singapore and Japan. At least is something available in Korea only.

The price range is definitely pocket friendly, ranging from 1000 - 5000 won.
The biggest Daiso in Korea are located at Myeongdong and Hongdik University.
They do tax refunds too.

3. Art Friend
Cheap stationery, Beauty Products, bags and the price are reasonable from 1000 won up. The branch at Myeongdong is big with a lot of places to take photos

More on Art friend

4. Beauty Products
 Korea is famous for their beauty product and it is much cheaper in Korea compared to Singapore. I will suggest Myeongdong if you need help with understanding the products as there are more staff who can speak Chinese and English. However, the staff at Myeongdong tend to more pushy. If you know what you are getting, can just walk to a random shop.  Most of the Myeongdong shops also provide direct cash refund if you spend more than 30 000. It is better to consolidate your spendings and enjoy the tax refunds. Beauty products also have special edition like Line bear package, Kakao package which make it more unique.
You can shop at Olive young, LOHBS, Lalavla which house a lot of brands.
Do avoid those shops with chinese signs and sells items at much cheaper price, there are some bad rumours about those shops. I mean it is not worth it to save a bit of money and put your skin at risk.

5.  KPOP
If you are buying for a younger generation, Kpop seems like a better gift.
The best place to buy will be at the basement of Myeongdong station, with a wide selection and reasonable price.
Just remember, albums are heavy. One album can weigh up to 0.5 to 1 kg so do not buy too much as they tend to make your luggage overweight.

The most important thing is when you are travelling, you spend more time  and moneyenjoying yourselves and buying things for yourself.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Seoul Free and EAsy : Art Friend Myeongdong

I was never a fan of Art Friend as I thought it is a place that sells expensive stationery.
I stepped into one recently. It is really a must go for me now. I will suggest the one at Myeongdong.  It is the biggest with a wide range of products, there are also a lot of photo spots.
To locate it, it is a few shops after SPAO and opposite adidas If you exit by Myeongdong station , just walk down and turn left at Nature REpbulic.
They sell a variety of items, including Stationery, heat packs, cute car perfume, bags, mini hair straightener, facial products and a lot more. 
It is a good place to grab not expensive souvenirs and stationery.
As someone who use a lot of stationery,  I find some of the stationery quality quite good.
Prices start from 1000 won. You can get a cute good quality sticky at around 1000 won. It can be more worth than Daiso. 
Remind to ask for your tax refund too.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

SEOUL Free and EAsy : Tongin Market (통인시장)

The entrance for the market

Somewhere in the middle of the market. There is this place. Just go up to the second floor and get your container and exchange for coins.
There is a dining area at the second floor.

The food per serving cost around 2000-5000 won. 
A tray full of food will cost around 20 000 won.
It is not really that cheap for a meal here. 
The concept of using coins to pay is interesting.
The food can get a bit salty if you just order the side dishes. 
We did not order rice or noodles because it does not seems worth it.
There is a lot of Korean food to try. However, the most special item to me is the zhajiangmian rice cake. The taste was just normal.

Some tips:
Don't buy too much coins. 
Maybe you can plan first before purchasing the coins.
If you are going when the temperature is cooling or cold, do take note when ordering food. 
Some of the food are not keep warm on a stove and it does get quite cold and not really nice.