Monday, September 28, 2015

Goodbye, Taipei!

After a memorable time in Taipei, it was time to bid adieu to this bustling metropolis, that absolutely enthralled us, during our stay here.
So, we set out this morning for Taichung, to head to the Sun Moon Lake, and then we would be heading onward to the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung. 
We wanted to experience the high speed rail and upon hearing that during the holiday season, tickets run out fast, we had reserved our tickets online couple of weeks back. The online reservation voucher had to be exchanged for a physical ticket - that could either be done at the railway station or at any of 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, Hi-Life or OK Mart convenience stores in Taipei. To save time, we collected our tickets last night at Zhongshan Subway station's FamilyMart. It was super convenient and there was no need to go out of the way to collect the tickets.
We checked out of our AirBnB apartment and took a taxi to Taipei station from where we were to catch the Taiwan High Speed Rail or the THSR train to Taichung. Built in 2007, the THSR was modelled on the lines of Japan's Shinkansen high speed trains, operating at a speed of 293 kilometres per hour, covering the 339 kilometres between Taipei and Zuoying, a suburb of Kaohsiung in about 90 minutes. On the way, the THSR stops by at Banqiao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi and Tainan.

We reached Taipei station an hour prior to the scheduled departure, giving us time to have a decent breakfast - sandwiches and fruit with tea from 7-Eleven, afterall these convenience stores are all over the city...

The ride into Taichung took about 40 minutes. The journey was so smooth that we feel into a deep slumber all along the way. But as we reached Taichung, we were crestfallen - it raining hard. Typhoon Dujuan is scheduled to make landfall over central Taiwan tonight!
Oh no! Our plans of visiting Sun Moon Lake seemed to be going awry... 

Our next task was to head downstairs to find luggage lockers to store our bags, as we headed towards the Sun Moon Lake. After securing our bags, we bought flimsy raincoats from the FamilyMart to protect us at Sun Moon Lake, as we headed into the basement from where buses to the Sun Moon Lake start. 

And there we are, waiting for the bus to take us to the Sun Moon Lake. We hope this detour doesn't turn out to be a disaster, with Dujuan coming in...

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