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Published: August 31st 2012
Sunday, 19th August 2012
We staged a visit to the Taipei Zoo this morning knowing that the rest of the day would be scorching hot after checking out the weather forecast. It probably made more sense trying to cool down in one of the many malls in the city. However, given that our main objective was to visit the two pandas, Tuan Tuan & Yuan Yuan, we were undeterred by the weather.
Reaching the zoo via the Metro was convenient since it was located at the tail end of the Wenhu Line. With a change of trains at Zhongxiao Fuxing Interchange Station, the zoo was a further 20 minutes away. The entry fees were a nominal NT30 after discount. This would certainly put the hefty admission fees charged by other zoos to shame. An outing to the Taipei Zoo was our perfect antidote to a budget excursion.
We followed the signs and headed straight to the panda enclosures after clearing the ticket gantries. Ironically, we spent most of our time taking pictures with the panda figurines outside their enclosures. We were herded around as soon as we entered as the queues were relatively long. To add to our
disappointment, the lazy pandas were having their afternoon naps when we visited. From where we stood, we could only see their backs facing us.
Food choices were limited inside the zoo compounds. After lunch at McDonalds, we continued our visit to the Formosa Animals Enclosure to visit the Black Bear before calling it a day at the Insects Exhibits.
From the zoo, we took a bus which would bring us to Shenkeng Tofu Streets, about 25 minutes ride away. The skyline soon changed from that of concrete jungle to that of mountains and countryside as the bus entered the suburbs. The smell of fermented beancurd greeted us when we arrived. Like the many old streets we had visited, Shenkeng was bustling with people on a Sunday afternoon.
There were many stops selling a variety of beancurd products but we only stopped for one along the main road that sold delicious beancurd desserts. The air-conditioned environment was a plus point. After stopping for about 2 hours in Shenkeng, we rode on another bus towards the direction of Taipei City Hall. After a brief photoshoot outside the Taipei 101 Building, we crossed over to the Tokyu Departmental Store that
was linked to the Metro Station. The Metro would eventually bring us back to our hotel via the Blue Line.
The rest of our evening was spent at the Ningxia Night Market, about 10 minutes walk from where we stayed. Ningxia probably appealed to diners looking for a proper sitdown meal as it was lined with food stalls on both sides of the street. Shopping opportunites were limited unlike Gong Guan NM that we visited the previous days.
Still, our day was fruitful as it was filled with new travel experiences which we had not had a chance to visit previously.
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