Buffet 101 is one of the restaurants that are frequent by the diners who want to eat buffet in Makati area!
My friends and I booked a 2D 1N for our stay in Diary of Ximen Hotel since we were initially planning to roam around in Taipei by the time we arrived by midnight, 3 AM, and check in at 2 PM. However, we were very sleepy from the flight so our friend sponsored us and availed another day for our stay in Diary of Ximen Hotel to rest well and cancel the plan of hanging around in the city by midnight.
Diary of Ximen is a hotel that is walking distance to Ximending, a shopping hub of Taiwan. Meaning… restaurants are near, vendors are few steps away, everything we need is within reach. The hotel is accessible that we can take a bus or a train. The hotel is near the Ximen MRT Station.
Note: The cons will be colored orange since cons are not quite many.
I am not sure with how much my friend was charged, all I know is we were able to book a 2D 1N PHP 3,100+ / TWD 1,700+ for a room good for four. It’s a 3-star hotel so we could not expect for an extravagant lobby and it was okay. The lobby is located on the twelfth floor which is quite confusing at first. The front office though was not smiling but speaks fluent English.
Our room is on the ninth floor (if my memory serves me right) and another front office with simpler aesthetic welcomed us. From there, we can have free water, free coffee.
The room is not cramped but it’s not spacious, either. There is no window. There is a just a right room for the pieces of luggage, shoes, etc. What I have noticed is we don’t have a cabinet, just a hook to hang some of our clothes. The aircon and the lights are functioning well and so is the TV. There is also a safety box for your important things to keep and a mini refrigerator.
Of course, what matters the most is the bed. It’s a two queen size bed and the linens are clean. The towels are also neat plus some toiletries are placed on the desk of the TV.
When we arrived from our tour, we liked that our bed is arranged again. Housekeeping did their work well. During the day, we noticed that we can hear the people from the other side of the room so we minimized our music player a bit.
As for the washroom, don’t expect a bathtub but a shower. It has a dispenser for the shampoo and body wash which is cool since I don’t see that often in the hotels
By morning, we had our buffet breakfast at the topmost floor. Most of the food served is vegetarian with no specific cuisine, I may say. There is nothing special on the top floor, just a view of the city.
For a frugal traveler like me, a 3-star hotel is good enough to have a good room after exploring the city. I like that it is very near the shopping area and the WiFi works well, too!
Diary of Ximen Hotel
Aside from the places and food, one thing that tourists like me aim for is to have a souvenir from the places I’ve been to. It’s a living evidence that I set foot in a foreign country. Others find shopping to a different country as an opportunity to have unique finds or to have things that are cheaper there than to their home country.
SHILIN NIGHT MARKET
Shilin Night Market is one of the attractions in Taipei when it regards to shopping. Indeed, there are a lot of bargains I found – from their merchandise to international brands. The food is also overflowing! What I like it the most are the friendly sellers/vendors that undoubtedly gave me a free taste of what they sell. Be it fresh or from the packaging. Along the alley, what I usually saw is food, ref magnets, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, home decorations, etc. The stores are not arranged how it should be classified so my friends and I have already prepared ourselves for a long walk.
Roast beef – 100 (Taiwan Dollar) – 5 stars
The legit Takoyaki? – 5 stars
Mushroom – 4 stars
Octopus Tentacles – 4 stars
A tea I don’t know
We thought it was over until my friend was looking for a comfort room and she accidentally discovered a place where there are games, bring home-packed food, and Taiwan shirts.
That part of night market was full of energy! It is located in the inner part of the market. There are darts, shoot the ball, catch the shrimp, play the cards, and many more. We should be playing but we’re totally running out of time since we have to sleep for preparation of tomorrow’s itinerary. Check out my raw video how happy this place is.
This is we shopped most of the “pasalubong” or take home for our friends and family. As I have said, choosing what to buy won’t be a problem because they let me have a free taste of what they sell. I like all of what I bought!
Ximending is the shopping district in the Wanhua District of Taipei. It is where Taiwan’s fashion source can be found. Ximending was the first pedestrian zone in Taiwan. Imagine Shibuya of Japan. Movie theaters, hair salons, restaurants, etc are here. This is where we also bought our gift for our friends. Ximending is very near in our hotel, Diary of Ximen Hotel. Check our video our Ximending experience.
Food, and unique finds are found in Jiufen. More elaborate post here.
All branded shops can be found in Taipei 101. There’s also a food court on the lower ground floor. More info here.
One of the places that should not be missed when visiting Taiwan is Jiufen. Located in the Northeast Mountains of New Taipei City, expect a view of the Keelung Sea, mountains and let’s not forget the cascading small houses of the village. Jiufen can be reachable by getting a train or getting a bus, but we decided to hire a driver/tour guide/car rent for the day. I will be posting the details before this post ends.
A long time ago, Jiufen only houses nine families. When the roads in the area were not yet built, ships are used to transport everything that the families needed. During road construction, it was an accident when a gold was discovered. It was then that Jiufen became an attraction to other citizens until the Japanese era took over that it became the center of gold mining.
Jiufen became popular with tourists when a movie in the 1990s, A City of Sadness, made Jiufen as the setting. It has become a symbol of Old Taiwan. Also, a Japanese anime in the 2000s, Spirited Away, is said to be inspired by the popular A-Mei Tea House located in Jiufen. It has become a tourist attraction to the Japanese. I believe I have a photo of tea house but was deleted probably because I have a bad portrait of it or what.
Enough with the history and let’s go to the adventure my friends and I had.
This is the famous staircase to strike a pose. There are so many tourists even if it was a Monday. Truthfully, it was not easy to have a perfect picture with the rain, umbrella, and the crowd passing by.
This is the old mining tunnel with graffiti that is converted to a secret passage to another part of Jiufen.
There are so many quirky stuff, tea houses, food to discover here. It is another good place to shop to take home. The road is narrow at the very start and it gets narrower because of the people flocking in. I really had pictures taken here, it’s weird it’s gone.
For the car/tour guide/driver we availed, here are details:
Jerry Taxi Tour
Tel: 0913 967 292
Jerry Kakao Talk ID: jerrytaxiwei, jerrytaxiem,
He’s a Taiwanese but can speak English. He toured us in Shifen Waterfall, Shifen Old Street, and Jiufen. The places you want to visit can be coordinated with him but his service is good for 6 HOURS only. It’s a pickup and drop-off at your hotel.
Check the direction here to go to Jiufen.