A new year has started and due to some work commitments, I had postponed my earlier planned New Year in Taiwan to mid-Jan. This would be a 6-days trip to both Taichung and Taipei, with the outbound on Jetstar and return via SQ J-Class. Taiwan is a very popular destination for us Singaporeans, with nice weather and scenery, friendly locals, great food and favourable currency exchange (aka value-for-money!).
08 January 2015 Jetstar Asia 3k 721 Singapore (SIN) - Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) A320 9V-JSI Budget Class
On the day of departure, we reached arrived at Changi T1 at an ungodly 6am for our 710am departure. Having checked-in online prior, we just needed to drop our bags, but Jetstar's online check-in counters were not manned and the normal counters had snaking queues. However, I realised that Jetstar has started trial on a self-check-in (Step 1) and baggage-drop (Step 2) system and thus used them. Being real unfamiliar with the system, we actually took a while, with the assistance of a Jetstar staff, to self-print our boarding passes and baggage tags, tagged our bags and sent them on their way. In fact we were one of the only few pax using the self-bag-drop as everyone else were unfamiliar with it and apparently half the bag-drop machines were down and waiting for maintenance that morning…. Well, still beats queuing up at the counters and our bags made it to TPE.
Self check-in system printed boarding pass on a slip of paper instead of the traditional type.
Immigration was no hassles, we grabbed a coffee, and proceeded to the gate where boarding has already commenced. Today, our gate was at D46. The flight was actually bound for Osaka via Taipei, but almost all passengers were bound for TPE on this sector. I counted only 4-5 passengers continuing to Osaka from Taipei. Guess most KIX pax originated from TPE, as it must be very painful to fly almost 8hrs on this cramped A320 all the way from SIN.
Sun rising over the horizon as our A320, 9V-JSI, awaits for the day's trip up to Osaka and back via Taipei.
Topped up our water bottles at the gate's drinking fountains (drinking water is chargeable onboard) and proceeded to board. Was warmly welcomed at the door and proceeded to our seats at 20A/C, with 20B remaining empty, luckily. the flight was about 70% full. Initially, I was afraid that this aircraft was fitted with the horrible non-reclinable seats, but apparently Jetstar as scrapped it and refitted the aircraft with normal well-padded reclinable leather seats, albeit with very little recline and horrible legroom. Unfortunately, this aircraft was not fitted with the latest seats which, though less well-padded, offers more generous legroom and recline and is almost similar to what Silkair uses on their new B738s.
View our the window.
Really tight seat pitch. It is even worse from Rows 24 and above. Really salute those pax who survived 8hrs to Osaka in these seats!
Seat Pocket contents.
4 cabin crew on this flight, including a Japanese crew member. All passengers boarded promptly and we were ready to go. However there was some issues with the flight attendant's control monitor which needed some rectification from the engineers, which resulted in a 30min delay. However, the pilot repeatedly assured us that it was a minor problem and the plane is perfectly safe to fly. Also, we would make up considerable time as the flight would be a short 4h10m.
Finally, we pushed back after the problem was fixed, only to be slightly delayed again while holding for a TR plane to be pushed back.
Taxiing out. Didn't know Jetstar still has an A330 based in SIN since they have scrapped all but MEL for its A330 routes out of SIN.
In order to save some time, we took off from 3/4 down the runway 02C instead of taxiing right to the end. Guess the A320 would not need the entire 4km long runway to get airbourne. Took off at 0752am, 42min behind schedule.
Climbing out over Malaysia.
Post-takeoff announcements and cabin view.
Leaving the coastline.
Immigration forms for Taiwan were distributed, followed by distribution of pre-booked meals and BOB service. Crew were all Jetstarry casual and friendly, no complaints here.
Having a pre-booked meal as well as a SGD10 inflight voucher via our flight bookings, we perused what we could order for meals on this flight. 4 choices of hot meals were available and having a pre-booked meal, we were offered choice ahead of other.
The normal pre-booked inflight meal came with a kit-kat bar, a hot coffee/tea and a bottle of drinking water. As for the inflight voucher, I used it to order another hot meal combo (hot meal+cold drink for SGD14) and a cupcake combo (cupcake+hot drink for SGD6) for an additional SGD10 top-up.
Meal with red velvet cupcake and green tea.
Roti Paratha w/Chicken Tender chicken curry and roti paratha, served with omelet triangle garnished with masala The chicken curry was not bad, but paratha a bit tough. Well, can't complain for an inflight meal standard.
Chicken Rice Steamed fragrant rice with fried onions, roasted chicken and oriental vegetable, served with chilli sauce This was also of acceptable standards but would not win awards definitely.
Red-velvet cupcake, kit-kat and hot coffee. Heavenly….
It was rather turbulent for first half of the flight due to, according to the pilot, shifting winds which could not be avoided. We were encouraged to be strapped up even though the seat belt signs were never switched on. Also, we were in the clouds most of the time.
Visit to the lavatory, with nothing more than the necessary. Well, at least it was kept clean.
Cabin view. Most passengers were napping away, including me after the meal.
Weather gradually got better and skies got clearer.
Cabin view from seat. Shortly before descend, another round of BOB service was conducted, but with few takers.
Skies clearing up as we were about to start descend.
Starting descend into Taipei.
Slowing down. We had a straight in approach to Rwy 05L.
And touchdown on Rwy05L at 1156am, just a minute behind schedule! The flight time was a very short 4h04m from takeoff to landing.
See the approach and very smooth landing here.
Taxi to the gate at Terminal One of Taoyuan airport.
Parked at the end-most gate.
Disembarking. The flight and cabin crew would be continuing to Osaka, and turnaround would only be a short 20min! Pax bound for Osaka were also required to disembark and obtain transit cards from the ground staff, though I counted only 5 or less.
Immigration was smooth as it was still the quiet part of the day and bags were out soon enough.
First thing to do when arriving in Taiwan is of course, eat! The first taste of Taiwan cuisine was this delicious bowl of Hsinchu meatballs and beehoon at TPE Terminal One's food court located at the basement of the departure hall.
We than took a direct 2.5hrs bus ride to Taichung where we would be spending 2 nights. Stayed at Holiday Inn Express Taichung Park, which is located inside a shopping mall.
Room was big and comfortable enough and view was across to Taichung Park.
The hotel was of walking distance to Yizhong St and night market, where we explored on the first night and had our fill of street food.
Second, day, it was exploring the town area. But seriously, there was nothing much to see and do in town except shopping for sun-biscuits and eating.
Row of shops all selling Taichung's famous sun-biscuits.
A famous ice-creamy place offering tons of ice-cream flavours. They have 18 different flavours for chocolate ice-cream alone!!
The pastry outlet beside also has very fascinating interior designs.
We then ventured to the outskirts of town to try the famous Urn Chicken.
Then to Taichung's most popular night market, Fengchia Night Market for more street food!
And some comfort food for supper.
A stroll through Taichung Park on the 3rd day.
Yizhong Street on a Saturday noon. Real crowded!
We discovered this really nice Japanese restaurant at the top floor of Chungyou Mall, serving great and value for money Jap food, with awesome service and view too!
Late afternoon, we travelled northward bound for Taipei. The bus journey was only 2.5hrs on a very comfortable Kuokuang coach, which includes AVOD InBus-entertainment! Kuokuang has buses departing between Taipei to Taichung city centers every 15min and thus is much more convenient than taking the train or high-speed rail.
Our hotel in Taipei is In-house hotel in Ximending area. It is a boutique hotel, but offers excellent rooms! Loved the room furnishing and huge bathroom, plus they offer L'occitane products! Only complaint is that the bed is a bit too hard for our liking.
Being to Taipei countless times, we did not visit the tourist attractions and just spent our time walking around the city and eating.
Taipei 101 at night.
Simple Taiwanese-style dinner.
Hearty local breakfast.
Ximending in the day.
Visit to Jianguo Weekend Flower Market.
Jetstar Asia Airways
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Singapore - SIN
Taipei - TPE
It was again a smooth reliable Jetstar flight, with the payable addition of some frills. No complaints, but would not be too eager to fly in one of these cramped seats soon on another mid-haul sector.
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