Taiwan – Hsinchu

Hsinchu (??) is a city in the north-western part of Taiwan and it is also the oldest city in northern Taiwan with a history of more than 400 years! Due to the constant gusts of wind that blow in from the Taiwan Strait, Hsinchu is often referred to as the Windy City.

I really enjoy the wind that sweeps through the city. It has such a pleasant cooling and refreshing effect! It also make me feel energetic to survive a long day of work, networking and shopping without any tiredness. Unlike Singapore which is so warm and humid, I simply didn’t sweat the whole day in Hsinchu.

The nearest airport is Taoyuan International Airport, which is about an hour drive from Hsinchu. I took a limousine to get from the airport to Hsinchu. The one hour journey was smooth and pleasant with a chatty and friendly driver; we chat about the different lifestyles between Taiwanese and Singaporean.

I heard a lot about the speeding drivers in Taiwan, but this one was a complete opposite. As soon as I reached my hotel, I immediately took down his contact number and asked him to fetch me to the airport on the day of my departure. The limousine from Taoyuan International Airport to Hsinchu costs me NT1200.

Hsinchu offers an exciting and diverse nightlife and is considered one of the culinary capitals of Taiwan. Hsinchu is also a world-class shopping venue for shopaholics. Shopping facilities in Hsinchu are indeed very modern, with many upmarket department stores selling international brands.

Shopping complexes are typically large and dense like Singapore, and some of Taiwan’s most impressive shopping outlets are found in Hsinchu. Windance Shopping Centre, SOGO, RT Mart and Far East 21 Departmental Stores are among the popular shopping spots.

This is the 14-storey SOGO departmental store. Very big and impressive!

I bought most of my stuffs in this Far East 21 Departmental Store.

Sweet, colourful snacks are widely available. Dumplings stuffed with sweetened fillings, glutinous rice cakes and pineapple cakes satisfy any sweet tooth. Yum yum! The popular pearl milk tea, an aromatic tea with an infusion of milk with its soft, flour-ball ‘pearls’ that can be sucked up through an oversized straw, is a must try.

A street in downtown Hsinchu looks like this. I find that it’s quite similar to Penang in Malaysia. There are many motorists along the street; one of the most popular mode of transportation in Hsinchu is scooters. I hardly see any bus though.

The purpose of my business trip is to conduct an inventory audit at one of my company’s subcontractors located in Hsinchu Science-Based Industrial Park. This park is often referred to as the “Asia’s Silicon Valley”.

Home to over four hundred high-tech companies, this park is the world’s center of semiconductor research, design and manufacture. It is about 15 minutes away from the Hsinchu city center and 50 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport by car. Everyday, thousands of managers, engineers and factory workers stream into the park for work. Most of them travel to work by cars, motorcycles and scooters.

Overall, it was a great trip. The food, the people and the weather were fantastic. I wouldn’t say that shopping is cheaper in Hsinchu, except for the face mask sheets which costs only 65 cents per piece (60% cheaper than Sg). If I’ve a chance to travel to Taiwan again, I’ll definitely bring an empty luggage just for these face masks.

The clothings and shoes in the departmental stores are generally more expensive than Singapore. There are simply too many varieties and brands to try, I was simply spoilt by choices.

Lastly, these are pictures of Taoyuan Airport, tastefully decorated with Lunar New Year decorations.

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