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Newer Page 791 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
Taiwan Taoyuan Airport Beef

4 April 2011

The hotel and the airport

Today was an epic travel day.
My goal was to get to the Novotel hotel at the airport, where I am staying tonight....its a good thing I did this and didnt try and get to the airport early tomorrow morning.

Getting to the high speed rail terminal north of Kaohsiung at Zuoying was simple and efficient. Theres a huge mall there and lots of tourists despite it being mainly an industrial area.
The train was full but very comfortable, left and arrived exactly on time, once I got off the bullet train in Taipei, the real fun started.
It was just starting to rain, for the first time in my holiday, I think it was unexpected.
You may recall (if you have read all this and remembered anything), that when I arrived in Taipei it seemed a bit like a third world country, the whole airport, bus, bus terminal, transfer to subway experience.
Well, when I got off the high speed rail at the central Taipei station, it was beautiful and modern, great facilities, everything gleaming, a million shops, waiting areas, etc.
Is this the same station I was at last week? I was confused.
So I follow all the signs to the bus station, its definitely not the same place. Theres an information desk, and English signage, but no airport bus.
I asked the girl, and she in good English told me not to worry, everyone is confused by this, not just foreigners, theres another bus terminal for the airport bus, go outside (in the rain), over the skybridge, and down that road and you will find the airport busses.
So I do this, and yep, heres the shed disguised as a bus terminal.
I still cant work out why they make everyones experience coming into or out of the city via the international airport so strangely difficult.

OK, I have found the terminal, purchased my ticket, and get on the bus. I am the only passenger. We set off and arent really getting anywhere, the brakes on the bus are making a horrible noise, im sure it was calliper on disk or drum or whatever busses have. The driver seems concerned by this too. We drive for 30 minutes and hes talking on the radio or a push to talk phone of some sort, and I can see the terminal where I got on!
I have no idea whats going on at this point.
We eventually get on what I recall is a highway, and are heading towards the airport. Despite the rain I can see out of the bus this time, and its amazing the level of construction for the new high speed rail line that will connect the airport.
Perhaps this is the reason the bus system is such a pain, its about to be replaced.
The driver yells something at me, and I tell him I can only speak English, but we leave the highway and go on a grand tour. Its a really good thing I wasnt catching a flight this afternoon!
Finally get to the airport after 2 hours. Now my hotel is in the airport, actually between the two runways, but due to the construction going on, its impossible to walk to (pay attention, this becomes important later).
So I need to locate the free shuttle bus. This was easier said than done and requires negotiation the construction of the new terminal being built, its pretty impressive actually, theres massive metal pylons and girders that will become the roof I expect.
Eventually I locate my shuttle bus and its about 5 minutes to the hotel, I notice theres a tunnel involved and nowhere to walk.
The hotel is pretty nice, its full of white people, and has millions of meeting rooms and conference halls. I imagine lots of business people come to Taiwan, and all they see is this hotel...how sad.
After checking in etc. I come downstairs to investigate dinner options, I have a thing against hotel restaurants, its boring and you go insane if you sit in the hotel all night. So I ask the desk girl if theres options outside the hotel.
'None, you can only eat in the hotel'
'We have western buffet, that your only option, airport has no western food at all!'. The no western food part is bullshit, they have burger king even.
I enquired as to how much it is, please at this poinit realise my room is costing $60, and how much I have been paying for stuff generally...
She tells me its the equivalent of $55 plus the public holiday surcharge. I found this to be outrageous.
This hotel is clearly running a scam, knowing that its full of white business people trapped there, they get a cheap room rate then pay through the nose for their western buffet bullshit.
She then told me 'you here on business right? you charge your company, what you care the cost for?'
That sealed the deal for me, I went outside and waited for the free shuttle bus back to the airport.
This confused the driver who had just dropped me off greatly, I am his only passenger, and he yells at me and laughs, again I say, only english sorry! Anyway, we diverted into the cargo area, and he gets out and has a smoke with some workers. This went on for a while, I didnt mind I could watch planes move about.

I then got out at the other terminal, much nicer than the one I arrived at last week and will be leaving at tomorrow which is being rebuilt.
Dinner was fantastic, yes I had beef noodles again, plus extras I didnt expect, I will let the photos tell the rest of the story!

Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Still in Kaohsiung, you can rent fold up mini bike things. They look quite cool to me. Shame I didnt see them earlier.

Still in Kaohsiung, you can rent fold up mini bike things. They look quite cool to me. Shame I didnt see them earlier.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Heres the view between shopping malls at the station, right on the edge of town, this is a standard (non high speed) intercity train. They left every

Heres the view between shopping malls at the station, right on the edge of town, this is a standard (non high speed) intercity train. They left every couple of minutes or so.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - The inside of my train, seats had an amazing amount of room, and once I worked out how to recline, extremely comfortable.

The inside of my train, seats had an amazing amount of room, and once I worked out how to recline, extremely comfortable.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - The first of many bus rides, this one had the horrible brakes, I am sure at one point we hit a scooter rider, but the driver never touched the screech

The first of many bus rides, this one had the horrible brakes, I am sure at one point we hit a scooter rider, but the driver never touched the screeching brakes at that point!


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - I bought these whilst waiting for the bus. Fantastic.

I bought these whilst waiting for the bus. Fantastic.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Heres where I waited for the hotel bus at the airport, in the rain.

Heres where I waited for the hotel bus at the airport, in the rain.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Note that its impossible to walk, after this there is a tunnel.

Note that its impossible to walk, after this there is a tunnel.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Inside the hotel bus, note his collection of furry toys and dvd player.

Inside the hotel bus, note his collection of furry toys and dvd player.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - The lobby of my hotel. Despite their dinner (and breakfast) scam, its a pretty nice hotel. The best feature is from my room window I can watch planes

The lobby of my hotel. Despite their dinner (and breakfast) scam, its a pretty nice hotel. The best feature is from my room window I can watch planes take off and land on both runways.
Also the internet is free and super fast.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - The outside of the hotel, next door is the China airlines crew hotel and training centre, it looks very modern with high security, a guard didnt like

The outside of the hotel, next door is the China airlines crew hotel and training centre, it looks very modern with high security, a guard didnt like me wandering around with my camera.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Back at the airport now looking for my dinner, terminal 2 is pretty nice, comparable to say, Narita.

Back at the airport now looking for my dinner, terminal 2 is pretty nice, comparable to say, Narita.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Not sure why, but theres a heap of bulls lined up and painted. I think its where my beef noodle soup comes from.

Not sure why, but theres a heap of bulls lined up and painted. I think its where my beef noodle soup comes from.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - And for my last meal in Taiwan (excluding breakfast in the Cathay Pacific lounge tomorrow morning), Beef noodle soup was had from here. Its 1/6 the co

And for my last meal in Taiwan (excluding breakfast in the Cathay Pacific lounge tomorrow morning), Beef noodle soup was had from here. Its 1/6 the cost of what the hotel wanted to charge, including drinks.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Its the best beef noodle soup I have had as well, huge pieces of beef, more than I would generally serve myself for a roast beef dinner.

Its the best beef noodle soup I have had as well, huge pieces of beef, more than I would generally serve myself for a roast beef dinner.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - Then she bought out some fantastic dumplings to go with it. I didnt realise I had ordered that! They were delicious.

Then she bought out some fantastic dumplings to go with it. I didnt realise I had ordered that! They were delicious.


Taiwan-Taoyuan-Airport-Beef - And finally, I am in the waiting room, waiting for my third ride on the free hotel shuttle bus. The driver cracked up laughing when I got on again!

And finally, I am in the waiting room, waiting for my third ride on the free hotel shuttle bus. The driver cracked up laughing when I got on again!


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