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Travelling is a fantastic opportunity to see the world. If you get to enjoy it for longer, that’s even better. Taking the time to live overseas can be an incredible experience - a chance to meet new people, enjoy new experiences and enrich your life in a number of ways.



However, the prospect of spending a year in another country can be scary, especially if you’ve never been away from home for a long period of time. Whether you’re moving abroad to work, to study or simply to enjoy time away, it’s important to make the most of your stay.

Take a look at some tips for making the most of a year in another country for an experience you’ll never forget.

Leave everything at home in a good place
Leaving home is never easy, but it’s harder if you’ve left things unresolved or have concerns. Before you set off, make sure you have your bills, rent/mortgage, car, phone and other things taken care of. If you’re giving up your job or taking a career break, you’ll want to make sure you leave with a clean break and nothing left outstanding.

You’ll also want to make sure that you’re in a good place with friends and family before you leave. Leave on good terms and have a big going away party. Moving overseas is an exciting step for you, and while it’s sad to leave people behind, it’s definitely something to celebrate.

Need extra help? Check out InterNations’ tips for preparing to move abroad.

Research the place you’re moving to
One of the most exciting parts of moving to a new place is researching everything about it. From popular things to see and do to where the popular neighbourhoods are, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with your destination before you get there.

If you’re going to be looking for a job once you’re there, start looking before you leave. It doesn’t hurt to make contact with some recruiters or people who are hiring to help you show some interest and perhaps leading to some interesting prospects.

Be a tourist at the beginning
Starting life in a new location can be overwhelming. You’ll want to take some time to become familiar with your surroundings and get a clear idea of where things are. Spend time seeing the tourist spots, discovering places to eat, etc. and simply take the time to get to know you’re new surroundings. There are some great ways you can explore a new city, including taking buses everywhere, walking around and get talking to local people. Hotel and hospitality workers are fantastic sources of information, so ask for some recommendations and start falling in love with your new home.

Find some great accommodationYou’re going to be living in your new city for a long time, so you’ll want to find yourself a good home. You can find some great accommodation options that will give you your own space and somewhere to feel safe. A local search for properties can bring you some great finds. In Indonesia, you could get a great apartment by searching for properti rumah, including brand new apartments. It’s worth exploring local property websites to help you benefit from the best deals. You can also consider looking for shared accommodation as a way to meet some new people, especially if you’re nervous about living on your own.

Develop a routine
After the excitement of a new location has started to calm down, you need to start developing a routine for yourself. This is how you can start to feel comfortable in your surroundings and really start living there. There are some great ways to create a routine that will start helping you feel like less of a tourist, and more like you’re at home. From creating a morning ritual to how you spend your Saturday morning, a routine will give you purpose and direction and soon help you get to grips with your new home.

Learn the languageIf you’re unfamiliar with the language of your new home, it’s time to start learning. If you want to make progress quickly, you can take tips on how to learn a language faster that will soon have you conversing with the locals. The good thing about learning a language in a foreign country is that you’ll immerse yourself in it, making it easier for you to pick it up and feel confident when speaking the language.

Make new friendsMaking new friends can be difficult at any time, but even more so when you’re in a foreign country. Some of the ways you can make friends in a new city include:

  • Going to fitness classes - make sure you go early to start conversations before you begin.
  • Check out local events - you never know when there might be opportunities to meet new people.
  • Make friends with work colleagues, fellow students, etc., they can introduce you to wider circles and help you develop a range of friendships.
  • Look for ways to meet people online.
  • Indulge your hobbies and interests to try and meet like-minded people.
  • Simply talk to people, you never know where a conversation might lead.

Making new friends in a new location can be tough, but try to keep at it - it will help enrich your travel experience even more and could lead to lifelong friendships to treasure.

Take care of your health
Your health is important, and even more so when you want to enjoy your time away from home. As well as getting a health checkup before you leave, you should remember to keep up any medical appointments you need while you’re away, such as renewing prescriptions. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to help give you the best chance for a healthy, happy time. Burning the candle at both ends can take its toll, so try to get plenty of sleep and take some days off from being busy to help you recharge those batteries once in a while.

Don’t be afraid to venture further afield
One way you can make the most of your year abroad is to venture out and see more than just the place you’re living in. Spend your weekends and free time exploring nearby destinations - you want to take in the country as a whole and not just the city you live in. In places like Europe, where it’s easy to fly or take a train to another country for a day or two, you’ll be able to really make more of your time away and get to see as much as possible. Check out travel articles for inspiration and start planning all of the great things you can do!

Keep in touch with back home
Being homesick can be a serious issue, especially when you’re away for a long period of time. It’s easy for you to keep in touch with your family through the internet, which can help you ease your homesickness, even if just for a short while. Keeping busy is the most important thing, and perhaps you can invite family and friends to visit you so that they can experience a part of your new life too?

Settling into new surroundings takes time, but once you do, you’re sure to find that time starts flying by. So make sure you enjoy every minute, you never know when you might get the chance again! Be open to meeting new people and enjoy new experiences, you’ll soon make your chosen location a second home, ready to take it all in and make the most of it.
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If you’re a bit of a foodie then you won’t be disappointed in Miami- named one of the top food cities in America there are more restaurants, cafes and eateries than you could ever work your way through. However, what if you fancy doing something a little different? Maybe you’re looking to save money, or perhaps you just want to explore other options. If so, here are some alternative ways you can munch in Miami!

Enjoy a meal on a yachtA yacht is far from a budget option, in fact everything about a boat charter Miami oozes luxury and class! However, don’t instantly assume that something like this is out of your price range. If you’re travelling with a group, renting for a few hours and splitting the cost can work out less than you might think. For example, even a yacht costing $150 an hour works out at less than $20 each if you’re sharing with seven other friends. Most of these come with a captain to drive for you and allow you to bring your own food and drinks on board. Hire for a couple of hours and you can enjoy some food or nibbles and drinks on the water while overlooking stunning views- what could be better?



Go for a picnic in the parkMiami might be most famous for its city and beaches, but there are plenty of incredible parks and green spaces to enjoy while you’re there. Take a walk around botanical gardens, and through pretty manicured parks. Bring a picnic and make a day of it in the sunshine, taking in all of the flora and fauna. It’s inexpensive and something a little different you could do on one of the days of your trip.

Barbeque on the beachSpeaking of the beach, when you visit Miami you’re of course going to want to spend at least some time there. There are tons of barbeque and grill places you could go to, but if you enjoy grilling yourself then you could always buy a disposable and cook some food right on the beach. Another option would be to join a guided kayak tour, one in particular held on Saturday nights takes adventurous foodies across Biscayne Bay, right through the islands to see the sunset. Then you move on to Monument Island where you’ll roast sausages and smores on a bonfire, with music and drinks.



Buy ingredients from a market and prepare your ownAre you staying in Miami on a self catering basis? Perhaps you’re renting a villa or apartment and will need to sort your own food arrangements. There are tons of markets in and around the city where you can buy the freshest of ingredients and cook them yourself at your accommodation. Enjoy the delicious fresh seafood, meat and vegetables- you could even have a go at cooking authentic Miami dishes like churrasco, Cuban sandwiches, stone crabs and Arepas.
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Crete, the grandest island of Greece and the greatest of the Mediterranean - an island of legendary kings, mythical legends, and natural gems. It holds glorious history and civilizations, mouth-watering gastronomy, distinctive culture and heritage. Located at the southernmost part of Europe, this island is more than just a page turned in a book.

Here's my travel guide on Mysterious Crete


How to get there
To get to the lovely island of Crete and to its key cities, tourists are advised to fly down to the Athens International Airport then to the Nikos Kazantzakis in Heraklion through airlines such as Olympic Air, Aegean Airlines, and Athens Airways, taking a maximum of 45 minutes. Chartered flights from other European airports going to Heraklion and Chania are also available from the months of April until mid-November.

Getting around
Bus: Explore the island by using Crete's bus system which run across the north to south and vice versa of the island. One of the best thing is the buses are reliable and stick to their timetables, and if lucky, the drivers serve as tour guides - straying from the marked routes to enter little villages if asked. The buses have A/C, comfortable seats, and they also have luggage compartments to store your bags. You may visit the KTEL website for routes and timetables. Tickets can be bought at the bus stations as well as on board.

Car rental: Car rentals and driving around Crete gives you pretty much convenience as long as you have your driver's license. There are available car hire in Chania. If you are good at driving manual, then get one instead of the automatic. Manual cars are half cheaper. Whilst the bus system works well, renting a car does allow much more flexibility.

Taxi: Taxi services are also available in Crete. It comes in a steep costs, albeit it is also a good way to travel since drivers may be directed to go to some off-beaten destinations.

Ferries: Ferries are a thing here too, as the island is filled with many harbors.

Scooter: For short distances, you may want to opt a scooter. Scooters are commonly rented in and around the towns of Crete.

Things to do
1. Discover Minoan Culture at Knossos
Knossos Palace was the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan Civilization during the Bronze Age. This ancient capital and the ruins are some of the oldest in Greece. The archaeological site is about 20,000 square meter and has over 1,500 rooms, as well as old village ruins around the palace complex. So be prepared to walk a lot. The site is magnificently preserved and some of the original colors are still visible on the walls.


2. Explore Samaria Gorge
The walk down the Samaria Gorge from the Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea is very tough but the beautiful views and rewarding finish at the beach town are well worth it. Try to avoid midsummer as the heat it tough to bear. The walk takes between four and seven hours

Most people are totally unaware that Crete is home to Europe’s longest canyon, Samaria Gorge National Park. It’s a paradise for hikers ad nature lovers. The National Park is 10 miles long, and is situated in southern Chania Prefecture’s White Mountains. The entire hike can take anywhere between 5 and 8 hours so be sure to bring plenty of water and supplies with you.


3. Be smitten by splash white Loutro
On the south side of Crete, this village offers beautiful and sweeping views and a clean, white sand beach. It’s a nice place to relax away from the crowds for two or three days.

Perched on the south coast of Crete, Loutro is a tiny little fishing village that you have to visit. I mean, it’s a total throwback to old Greece and the town doesn’t seem to have loads of development for visitors, it really does feel like a hidden gem.

One unique thing about the village is that it’s inaccessible by land and you’ll have to get there by boat (or ramble across the mountains). When you’re there, take some time to relax on the waterfront, enjoy the views and grab some seafood on the front itself.


4. Explore Gerontospilios Cave
5. Fall in love with Chania
Chania is the most poetic city of Crete and encompasses exotic sceneries.


Where to stay
Crete is vast and offers plenty of options regarding accommodation. Our team has created a diverse collection of hand-picked luxury villas in Crete's hottest locations. Whether you are looking for an isolated holiday villa with a pool where you can sit back and take in the Mediterranean sunshine away from the summer frenzy, or a luxury private villa that offers tranquility but is at the same time minutes away from some seaside town buzzing with activity, our Greek Villas team will find the ideal home for your perfect holiday.



The verdict
Amon

Among all of the Greek islands, Crete is perhaps the only one that offers such diversity, both in terms of scenery and lifestyle. The northern coast of the island is the more populated and popular part. Heraklion, the island's capital and main port, has one of the country's best archaeological museums. A few kilometres away lays the palace of Knossos, a place of legend and home to the Minoans, one of Greek history's greatest civilisations.
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Exploring the world is exciting, but it can be hard to find new places to see after you’ve traveled for a long time. Once you’ve seen all the major countries and capitals of the world, you might feel as if you’ve exhausted all the best destinations out there. Luckily, however, there are too many sights in the world for any one person to see. You just need to look a little harder when trying to choose your next travel destination. If you need some inspiration then here are 5 stunning countries to see on your travels. Remember, there are always more exciting places out there for you to see. That’s the fun of traveling.

Singapore

The first country you have to see, at some point, is Singapore. This beautiful island promises some absolutely incredible sights. As you can see in the picture above, it promises a tantalizing skyline unlike any other in the world. Simply wandering the city to take in the sights is an experience in itself. But you have to make sure you stop off at the Marina Bay Sands resort whilst you’re there. This casino is the most expensive in the world and the most unique in the world. It comprises of a ship built atop 3 skyscrapers, and that really summarises the unique nature of this great city.

Of course, Singapore is such a beautiful place with so much to explore that you might want more than a short visit there. Perhaps you could look into a studio apartment for rent in Singapore if you want longer to experience all the fantastic things to see on this intriguing island. It’s more than a city; pictures of its soaring skyline only scratch the surface of what this wonderful place has to offer. Make sure you try out some of the delicious cuisine whilst you’re there. The blend of cultures from all over Asia (and other parts of the world) has led to restaurants offering delicious dishes that combine wonderful food from all over the world. Given that it’s an island, the seafood is succulent and fresh.

France

If you’re heading to Europe then you need to visit France. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful countries in that part of the world. You should head to Paris, first. It might be the most popular city in the country, but there’s a reason for so many tourists visiting the capital every year. It’s a stunning place. The Eiffel Tower is a landmark that looks even more spectacular in person. Make sure you head up it so that you can admire the entirety of the city from a greater height. You should also see the Arc de Triomphe; it might not be as tall as the Eiffel Tower, but it’s an architectural masterpiece with deep historical significance.

Canada

The third country on this list is Canada, and it’s definitely one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Famous for its lush woodland, it’s the perfect place to explore if you’re a fan of hiking through stunning landscapes. You should start by seeing Toronto. It’s the most famous Canadian city for a reason. It may not be the capital, but it’s certainly the largest and most exciting city that Canada has to offer. The skyscrapers are breathtaking; especially the CN Tower, which was one of the world’s tallest tower.

You also need to see Niagara Falls. When it comes to natural monuments, this is possibly one of the most impressive in the world. It’s close to Toronto, so you could certainly head there once you’ve had enough of all the excitement in the big city. It’s a sight like no other. The Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls make up this natural landmark. Once you’ve had your fill of the falls (which are absolutely beautiful), you need to visit the nearby town that serves a theme park for tourists. It’s an exciting and beautiful place, simultaneously.

Iceland


Iceland is another beautiful country that you need to see on your travels. It’s an utterly unique destination that promises breathtaking landscapes, quaint towns, and friendly people. It’s the perfect location for an explorer looking for adventure or a tourist looking for a relaxed trip. It’s a country that offers the best of both worlds. You should definitely start by visiting the Myvatn Nature Bath. Iceland is known for its soothing geothermal spas, and this is certainly one of the most luxurious out there. Obviously, the Blue Lagoon outside Reykjavik is much more famous, but Myvatn is better. It’s less popular, and that means you get to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere in peace. If you want to rest your weary feet then the hot springs will help to soothe you; they have natural healing properties.

You also need to see the Northern Lights. As you can see in the picture above, they’re absolutely stunning, but no picture can do them justice. When it comes to natural spectacles, this is certainly one of the most mesmerizing ones you can imagine. Whether you travel alone or with a group of friends, soaking in that fantastic kaleidoscope of colors. The best nights to observe the lights are the darkest ones. The further you are from light pollution, the better. Head to a remote part of the country (assuming you know where you’re going - there are tours available), wait patiently, and then admire the lights in all their glory.

Japan

The final country you need to visit is Japan. This is a nation like no other, and it offers absolutely beautiful landscapes. Mount Fuji, in particular, is a natural landmark that draws visitors from all over the world. You need to hike up the mountain to get an incredible view of the scenery for miles in all directions. It’s truly an experience like no other. There’s cultural beauty to Japan too. You need to see Kinkakuji, the Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Historically, it was a shogun’s retirement villa, and it’s awe-inspiringly stunning.
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Chiayi 嘉義 is sandwiched between Yúnlín 雲林 and Tainan 台南 in south western Taiwan 台灣 and its sleepy Chiayi City is centrally located in the heart of Chiayi County. For many tourists—especially those from abroad, there is no sufficient reason to visit Chiayi City. The unruffled city was long referred not a destination itself worth spending much time in, but a gateway for places with more distinguished names, notably popular Alishan in the mountains to the east.

This unassuming yet relaxed city doesn't mean it has nothing to offer. It's a quintessential paradise for anyone who dotes an an off beaten track adventure. The city's trove is rich of Southern charm and traditional well-preserved culture all through out. Read on to get to know more about Chiayi...


How to get to Chiayi
Via Kaohsiung International Airport: The nearest international airport to Chiayi is Kaohsiung International Airport. There are direct flights from Manila via China Airlines, Seoul via Jeju Air, Hong Kong via Cathay Pacific, and more.
  • From Kaohsiung International Airport, you can take a train bound to Gangshan South (TWD50, 30 mins.) to Zouying MRT Station, from there you can walk to Zuoying HSR Station (23 mins.). As of this writing there is no THSR station yet in Kaohsiung.
  • Alternatively, you can take bus 301, it will take you from Kaohsiung airport to the new Zuoying train station (which is connected to the Zuoying THSR station).

Via Taoyuan Airport: Usually visitors from Manila will come from Taoyuan International Airport.
  • From Taoyuan International Airport, take the Airport MRT System going south to A12 or A13 THSR Taoyuan Station (NT$30; 20 mins). Another option is to take the airport shuttle bus (NT$15 one way; 25 mins).
  • From THSR Taoyuan Station, purchase a ticket going south to THSR Chiayi Station (NT$445-NT$1260; 63 mins). Since THSR Chiayi Station is located in Taibao City, which is the county capital, it’s easy to get to where you want from here.

From Taipei: You need to book an THSR train from THSR Taipei Station.

* You may want to book an unlimited THSR pass especially if you’re staying longer in Taiwan and plan to visit other places.


How to get to Chiayi City from THSR Chiayi Station:
  • From THSR Chiayi Station, you can take a taxi or a bus to Chiayi City for a price. Alternatively, you can get to Chiayi City via the FREE shuttle bus (BRT shuttle buses) going to Chiayi TRA Station Rear Exit (the rear exit is where the bus terminals are located). This is the last stop of BRT shuttle buses.
  • From the Rear Exit, go one floor up from the bus station and cross the foot bridge to Chiayi TRA Station Front Exit. From there, you can take a taxi cab or walk to your destination. (You might find this Chiayi TRA Station floor map useful.)


Getting Around Chiayi
The Chiayi TRA Station is a major area to catch the highspeed line, and has a free shuttle bus (BRT buses) that will take you to THSR Chiayi Station and vice versa. You'll find the bus terminal by crossing the foot bridge from the front exit of Chiayi TRA Station to the rear exit.

One of the best ways to tour around Chiayi is practically choosing a ride that is the most favored transportation in the whole of Taiwan which is a scooter or a bicycle. You can rent a scooter or a bicycle to save your feet the hassle and you won't have to worry about the traffic. When you have a scooter or a bicycle it’s extremely easy to zip around your neighborhood or even the city.


Best Time To Visit Chiayi
Summer (June through August)
The middle-year months have very comfortable weather with high temperatures that are quite warm. These months see the most precipitation with 10 to 13 days of precipitation per month. June – August is fairly slow season for tourism in Chiayi City, so lodging and other accommodations may cost slightly less.

Fall (September through November)
Fall daily highs range from 89.2°F (31.8°C) and 76.5°F (24.7°C), which will feel very nice given the humidity and wind. It rains or snows a normal amount: 2 to 5 days per month. Tourism is the busiest during these months due to the weather, so hotels may be higher priced.

Winter (December through February)
Weather is somewhat cool this time of year in Chiayi City to be enjoyable for warm weather travelers. The average high during this season is between 77.3°F (25.2°C) and 69.8°F (21°C). On average, it rains or snows a smalll amount: 1 to 2 times per month. These times of year are the slowest with tourists.

Spring (March through May)
Humidity and temperatures combine to make this season feel warm. Highs range from 87.3°F (30.7°C) and 74.2°F (23.4°C) with warmer temperatures in the later months. Rain is somewhat common with 1 to 8 days of significant precipitation per month. Spring is the second busiest for tourism, which makes it a good time for those looking for things to do.


What to do in Chiayi
1. Hinoki Village 檜意森活村
The Hinoki Village or Cypress Forest Life Village is a cultural village park in East District, Chiayi City, Taiwan. It consists of 28 wooden Japanese-style dormitories that serves as the remnants left behind from the logging activities decades ago. These structures were built using hinoki (cypress wood) which is known as highly resistant to rot, a beautiful deep burgundy, and whose oil gives off a citrus-y woody smell for an invigorating feel.

Today, there are some shops and dainty cafes and restaurants, as well as mini-museums. You'll find locals peddle their creative works that are a perfect fit as souvenirs in the village. The village also holds art exhibitions and Instagram worthy art installations from time to time. You can also rent a kimono for a fee and experience a dip in their Japanese style public bathhouse. If you want to experience a taste of Japan then Hinoki Village is for you.


Location: No.1, Linsen E. Rd., East Dist., Chiayi City 600, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00
Price: TWD 0

2. National Chung Cheng University 國立中正大學
One of the reasons why I am enticed to go to Chiayi is because of National Chung Cheng University. If you know the Taiwanese drama series, Meteor Garden 流星花園, this university is one of its major campus film location and it is known as Ying De University on film. Meteor Garden became so popular in the Philippines way back in 2001 and getting to relieve your Meteor Garden fantasies finding Dào Míng Sì 道明寺, Dǒng Shān Cài 董杉菜 or even Huā Zé Lèi 花澤類 is one of the most surreal moment as you explore this beautiful campus. The buildings are truly unique and its surrounded by beautiful scenery. It's right out in the middle of nowhere and you can get there by bus for pretty cheap.


Location: No. 168, Section 1, Daxue Road, Minxiong Township, Chiayi County, 62102, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Price: TWD 0
How to get there: From Chiayi City, you can take bus number 7309 from a bus stop station adjacent to the TRA Chiayi Station's front entrance.

3. Wenhua Road Night Market 文化路夜市
Wenhua Road Night Market is Chiayi's most popular local night market, although not as famous as Taipei's Shilin Night Market 士林夜市 and not as bigger as Taichung's Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市. Every night, peddlers offers the newest fashion and variety of goods, as well as hawkers selling local delights 小吃. In a blink of an eye, 500-meter long road is turned into a hustling thoroughfare. Stores by the road and hawkers serving steaming hot gourmet snacks attract flocks of people every night.


Location: Wenhua Road, East District, Chiayi City 600, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Price: TWD 0

4. Alishan National Scenic Area 阿里山國家風景區
Alishan National Scenic Area is located in the far east part of Chiayi County almost near the border of Nantou County 南投. It's dominated by the majestic Alishan Mountains and ridges of Yushan 玉山 (Jade Mountain, the highest mountain in Taiwan) which features stunning sunrise, bewildering sunsets, sea-of-clouds peaks, and lush green valleys.

The area is home to Tsou aboriginal villages, known for tea production. There are many forest trails inside the recreation area, providing great opportunities for travellers to get close and appreciate nature. One of which is The Giant Tree Plank Trail boardwalk which winds past huge cypress trees, including the fallen Alishan Sacred Tree. There are also picturesque lakes inside the area  providing a magical experience, one of which is the Sisters Pond.

You can book a hassle free day tour from Chiayi City to Alishan via KKDay which includes an Alishan Forest Railway ticket, Alishan Forest Recreation Area admission fee, bento lunch, transportation, and insurance so you can enjoy a stress free trip. You will also get the chance to stop over these additional locations: Fenqihu and Hinoki Village.

Photo by Wentao (flickr.com).

Location: 605, Taiwan, Chiayi County, Alishan Township, 中正村59號
Opening hours: 24h every day
Booking: KKday for a hassle free tour (Includes Alishan Forest Railway ticket, Alishan Forest Recreation Area admission, lunch, transportation, and insurance)
How to get there: If you want to explore Alishan on your own, you can go to Chiayi TRA Station and take a direct bus (Alishan Route B) to Alishan for TWD300 (per way), which runs between 10:00am to 11:30am. Alternatively, you can take non-direct buses that cost TWD221 per way. Travel time to Alishan is about 2.5 hours. Take note that the lust bus to Alishan is at 2pm and the last bus back to Chiayi leaves at 5:10pm (found near Alishan's 7-Eleven shop).
Alishan Forest Recreation Area Admission Fee: NT$150 per person via public transport, NT$200 per person via car, and NT$100 per person for concessions.

5. Minxiong Ghost House 民雄鬼屋
In a countryside, north of Chiayi City, in a small town called Minxiong, on a nearly endless expanse of rice paddies of Chainan Plain 嘉南平原, there's an old abandoned traditional Taiwanese courtyard mansion — well known in the area as a haunted house — the Mínxióng Ghost House, also known as Liu Family Mansion 劉家古厝 for some. This old baroque revival style red brick three-story home is one of the most famous ruins in all Taiwan and it was built in 1929 for Liú Róngyù 劉溶裕, a businessman with seven children. The house has been empty sometime in the early 1950s since the Japanese colonial rule and is now slowly being reclaimed by nature.


Photo by Alexander Synaptic (synapticism.com).


Photo by Alexander Synaptic (synapticism.com).

Price: TWD 0
Location: Minxiong Ghost House, Xingzhong Village, Minxiong Township, Chiayi County 621, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Nearest public transport: Minxiong TRA Station
Opening hours: 24h every day
How to get there: Getting to the old haunted house from Chiayi City or from downtown Minxiong is best if you have a scooter or a bicycle to save you more time. So it is recommended that you might want to rent a scooter or a bicycle or charter a taxi. If you want to go there via public commute you can to, but not advisable. I am not sure if they allow bicycles on buses and trains, probably not. From Chiayi TRA station you can get to Minxiong TRA Station by train (TWD15). Alternatively, you can ride bus number 106 (TWD62) going to TRA Minxiong Station. From there, follow Wenhua Road southward for about one kilometer, you'll see a sign (in Chinese only) pointing to the left. Take this road. After a few hundred meters, there's a small T-junction. You'll easily see the red brick haunted house behind some trees to the left end of the lane.

Where to stay in Chiayi
For first time travellers to Chiayi, finding an accommodation can be really tricky, especially if you plan to stay for a night or so. It would be best to choose a hotel, hostel, or an Airbnb near the Chiayi TRA Station. Here are some options which you can choose from:

Hotel Liyaou 里亞行旅
For our first night in Taiwan, we stayed at Hotel Liyaou. It's walking accessibility to Chiayi Train Station (Chiayi TRA Station) and it's close proximity to restaurants, cafes, shops, Wenhua Night Market and other tourist attractions, makes this hotel an absolute "must-stay" in Chiayi, Taiwan.



Airbnb
You can book also book an Airbnb rental in Chiayi and you may want to get a PhP1,600 travel credit when you sign up at Airbnb via my referral link.

The Verdict
Old, slow-paced Chiayi offers a laid-back destination for every travellers. If you want a little off-beaten adventure to Taiwan then you can't miss Chiayi in your itinerary. Here's my comprehensive travel guide and DIY itinerary to Taiwan for 6 days in Chiayi, Taichung, and Taipei.


Read my other Taiwan Travel Series:

What do you think of Chiayi? Which of the following spots do you like the most? Have you been to Chiayi before? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below.
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amba Taipei Ximending (yes, it starts with a small letter "a"), is a hip and boutique hotel located in the Taipei's Harajuku district and it seems to be a hot topic in the Ximending district. It is a part of amba Hotels & Resorts group chain by Qun Xin Properties Limited. Prior to my most awaited Taiwan adventure, I honestly stalked amba until our trip. Truth beholds that no amount of digital wanderlusting could express my feelings how excited I was.

Here's my experience of amba Taipei Ximending...


First ImpressionsAfter our adventure in Chiayi, Nantou, and Taichung our next stop is in Taipei. We booked a reserved seat train ticket via THSR and headed to Taipei. In just an hour we arrived at the iconic Taipei Main Station and hailed a taxi cab to the hotel.


Located in Wanhua District, within the corners of Wuchang Street and Kunming Street, this amba hotel is in the heart of Ximending's buzzing shopping and entertainment scene. Despite its amazing location, the unassuming main entrance on feels tucked away from the hustle and bustle. From the busy streets of Wanhua district to the hotel’s arrival courtyard on the right of Eslite Wuchang main entrance, we took an elevator to the 5th level, and we went from broad daylight into a warm and cozy lobby of amba Taipei Ximending.


A jolly man, Mr. Mark Li, greeted us with a warm welcome that reminded us that we are in good hands. As we are checking in, a beautiful lady, the hotel's general manager also rewarded us her warm welcome, which gave a personal touch that immediately made me feel at home. There is a cool hotel vibe that hits you as soon as you enter the building, and I was picking up what they were putting on.


The RoomOur Large Room was surprisingly huge at 29 square meters for a Taipei hotel and thoughtfully curated into a masterpiece. The room was filled with interesting design features, such as the dark metal wardrobe rack and the roundtable which actually looks like a vintage vinyl. The two plush single bed had plump cushions and luxurious bed linen, which I couldn't wait to dive in to. The complimentary slippers are not your ordinary hotel slipper but it is actually a nice, durable, and comfortable flip-flop you could take home.


The bathroom is separated from the toilet and both are compact but featured the most beautiful black tiles. What I like the most is the rainforest shower and this is the best rain shower I had during my whole stay in Taiwan.

Waiting in our room were the loveliest welcome gifts, including a handwritten note from the hotel management, a jar-full of noodle crunch, and two bottles of Taiwan's sparkling drink. These personal touches definitely didn't go unnoticed.


Leisurely breakfastI absolutely love starting my day over a leisurely breakfast, so when it comes to hotels, a good breakfast buffet is always high on the priority list. amba Taipei Ximending's Chiba restaurant offers an expansive breakfast buffet and Chiba had it spot on. An interesting fact is that "chi" means "to eat", and "ba" is actually a reference to the hotel name.


Chiba restaurant rewards you with the most interesting interiors you have ever laid your eyes on. A combination of the hip and youthful Ximending, and modern touches made the whole dining experience oozing in style and jaw-dropping. Chiba's extensive buffet offerings were adventurous but I opted for a starter breakfast on our second day: mixed rice dish, bacon, and fried nuggets. On our last day, I chose to have corn dogs, vegetable greens, bread and butter, and kimchi. The fried nuggets and mini corn dogs were magically encased in crispy breadcrumbs, and both tasted tender and fresh. It's an explosion of taste in the mouth.


LaundryNot all hotels offers laundry service for free, and most of the time, the laundry price per apparel is sky-rocketing. That means you have to wash your clothes and underwear on a dirty hotel sink. As a world traveller, who actually enjoys longer trips than shorter trips, I prefer hotels and B&Bs that offers free self-service laundry service, and that makes amba taipei Ximending standout. It's a very convenient service especially if you don't want your smelly and dirty clothes mixed together with your fresh ones.


The VerdictXimending has so much diversity in terms of shops, restaurants, and entertainment, but amba Taipei Ximending has become a potential standout destination hotel that is a draw in its own right. I am so glad that we stayed for two nights in this hip and stylish hotel in Taipei. With a fantastic team of staff who provided genuine service and incredible attention-to-detail, this hotel has style and substance.


During my two-nights stay, I slept through each night without a disturbance and definitely think that the sleep I got was deep quality sleep. The whole experience at amba Taipei Ximending was an indulgent treat. It's safe to say I'll be back for the genuine hospitality and its convenient location. Taipei was actually our last stop before we head home to the Philippines, and having the chance to stay here over others, I can say we have saved the best for last.


Rates at amba Taipei Ximending start at TWD2,700 (USD90; PHP4,700) per night for smart room and TWD3,100 ($103; PhP5,400) per night for a deluxe family room. The closest airport is Taoyuan International Airport, which is just about 40 minutes train ride away.

Book your stay at amba Taipei Ximending: Booking.com | Agoda | Hotels.com | Expedia

Read more reviews of amba Taipei Ximending on Trip Advisor.

What did you think of my experience at amba Taipei Ximending? Have you visited this hotel or are you thinking of booking a stay? If you enjoyed this post please leave me a comment in the form below.


amba Taipei Ximending
77 Section 2 Wuchang Street, Taipei 10843 Taiwan
amba-hotels.com
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My stay at amba Taipei Ximending was provided complimentary in exchange for this blog post. All views remain my own.
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