A Playground in The Heart of Taipei for KIDULTS – Your Perfect Weekend Place

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集>

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集

During my weekend escape to Taipei, my local Taiwanese friend took me to a market in the Yuanshan area called the “Maji Maji Square”. I have to say, as a Hong Konger, I know Taipei pretty well, but to my surprise, this market that my friend took me to, I haven’t even heard of it before, and it’s been there since the end of 2013. Better yet, this place is like a playground for adults!

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集

A little bit of the background information about the area, Yuanshan is home to a popular children’s theme park, and has been very popular with parents bringing their kids for a family day. With the opening of “Maji Maji Square” (By the way, “Maji” means buddies/good friends in Taiwanese), adults now have a place to spend a few happy hours too. Located in the Taipei Expo Park’s Yuanshan Park Area (this was one of the exhibition ground for the World Flower Expo a couple of years ago), the square is designed as a fun and causal gathering spot for friends – an adult version of a children’s playground! The square is like a mix of a flea market and shopping complex, a place filled with culture, music, food, and agricultural products!

Travel Taiwan Taipei Maji Weekend Market 台北集食行樂 創意市集
Entrance to the Maji Market

“Maji Maji Square” is about a close 5 minutes walk from the Yuanshan MRT station, and upon entering the market, visitors immediately notice the slow pace and laid back, casual foreign-style atmosphere.  The market uses a variety of recycled materials, using wooden pallets for the walls of restaurants, old cargo containers to house small eateries, and discarded military tents and iron frames to create sunshades and display racks. The design is eco-friendly yet still chic and stylish. Adjacent to the market is a carousel, adding to the atmosphere of youthful play.

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A Budget Stay in the Heart of Taipei – A Minimalist Boutique Hotel

Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介>
Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介
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Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介

The last post I have wrote about hotel stay in Taipei was a review of a 5 stare hotel (Palais de Chine Hotel). That hotel was a great stay, everything was perfect! Except… the price was still towards the higher end, and may not be my first choice when I want to go on a budget trip to Taipei…

I was staying over in Taipei for 2 nights before heading back to Hong Kong from a business trip in Japan. As this Taipei trip was only intended to be a lay over, so I want keep everything at a budget. I also want to stay in a location where a lot of actions take place, whether it’s food, drinks, or other form of entertainment… after doing some research, I have narrow down to hotel stays in the Ximending area (西門町).

Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介

A little background of Ximending – it is often being referred as the Harajuku/Shibuya of Taipei! It is the source of Taiwan’s fashion , subculture and Japanese culture; an area full of little boutiques, clubs and pubs, tattoo salons, local food stores and hawkers. Ximending was also the first pedestrian zone in the whole of Taiwan! This is an area highly recommended to those who wants to experience a bit of the local life here in Taipei.This area gets extremely lively at night time with all the food hawkers, just look at the video below and you will see!

So, this boutique hotel is at the edge of Ximending, and is only a short 10 minutes walk from the closest Metro Station. The name of the hotel is Art’otel, and is on the 5th floor of a semi-commercial building. Even though it is inside a building, they have big signage with the name of the hotel, so you won’t miss it.

Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介Travel Taiwan Taipei Ximending Hotel Stay Art'otel 台北西門町 飯店酒店 艾特文旅 推介

The hotel was opened in February 2015, and has a total of 30 rooms. There are a few different types of rooms available, with the most basic room being the superior room with no window, and the price is around USD$60/night for 2 people. A good thing about this hotel is although there are only 30 rooms, but they also offer family room for a maximum of 4 people (around USD$85/room), which is a great choice whether you are travelling with your family, or with a group of friends.

The decoration of the hotel and the rooms are very minimal yet with great details. The corridor tends to be a bit dark with very dim lighting. However, once you enter into the room, it’s completely the opposite – white is the main colour for all the rooms, with wooden furniture and black steel frames.

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A Secret Garden in Milan – 10 Corso Como

Travel Italy Milan Secret Garden Art Gallery Hotel Restaurant 10 Corso Como 21

After a long day walk in Milan, endless shopping and sight seeing, you would really want to find a place where you could relax and rest your feet. There are many lovely cafes and restaurants in Milan, but nothing beats the 10 Corso Como.

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10 Corso Como is an iconic location for local Milanese situated in the fashionable walking street Corso Como . It is a combination of arts, fashion, music, design, dinning and culture all in one place. It started off as an art gallery and book store in 1990, other spaces soon followed – design and fashion store in 1991, the cafe in 1998, a boutique hotel with only 3 rooms in 2003, and a roof garden in 2009. In year 2002, the brand partnered with the Japanese fashion icon Comme des Garcons and opened their first overseas store in Tokyo, and became a great success. Other International stores followed in Seoul, Shanghai and Beijing in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

I really like the design and layout of the complex. On the exterior of the building, there are wall climbing woody plants with light bulbs on the walls, which make the whole building stands out a lot. From the outside, it is very difficult to tell how amazing the inside looks like. The entrance to the complex is not very wide, but leads you right into the open garden, which makes it feel like a walk into a secret garden.

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The Cafe and Restaurant

This is absolutely my favourite part of the whole complex. Whether it’s for an aperitivo with your girls,  or a romantic dinner with your partner, this place will not disappoint you! (Note: Aperitivo =  Italian happy hour)

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The Gallery and Gallery Shop

There are different exhibition on at different time. The time I was there was a display of photographs by the famous photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. This exhibition will be up until the 12th Feb 2017, check on the 10 Corso Como website for upcoming events and exhibition.

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The Book Store

It’s like a mini library with art and design related books. If you are a lover of art, you could easily spent hours here.

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If you are in Milan, I would highly recommend you to visit this place, even if you are not a fan of design or into art. The design of this place will simply amaze you.

Useful Information

10 Corso Como Official Website

10 Corso Como Facebook


It’s about a 3 minutes walk from Garibaldi Fs Metro Station

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A Home Away from Home in Rome

Travel Italy Rome Colosseum Unique Accommodation Airbnb Hotel 23

A home away from home… this is how I felt when I check into this cute little space while I was at Rome.

As this was my first time to Rome, so while I was searching for a place for my friends and I to stay, my top priorities were safety and convenience. I looked at all possible accommodations, from hotels to hostels to Airbnb etc, and when I stumbled across the listing about this place on Airbnb, my eyes stopped and immediately fell in love with the decorations. After doing some research on the locations and several messages with the host, I knew that this would be the perfect stay for my trip to Rome!

Travel Italy Rome Colosseum Unique Accommodation Airbnb Hotel 22

We arrived Rome Termini station from Milan around mid day, and it only took us around 20 minutes to get to the place. Instructions on how to get to the place were very clear, so it made the journey there very easy. We were warmly greeted by the host who was waiting for us in the house, and she has already prepared all the maps and suggestions of the local area for us.

This lovely decorated house is located approximately 10 minutes walk from The Colosseum, a 5 minutes walk to the closest metro station (Manzoni), and it’s only 2 metro stops away from the Rome Termini station, also, there’s a bus and tram stand right in front of the house, which makes it a great location while travel around in Rome. Not to mention that there are lots of local restaurants around the area, and 2 of the biggest cathedrals around.

The interior of the house is very unique, using a lot of vintage and decorative elements, is fully equipped with all the amenities you will need. The best part of the house was the little outdoor garden of the house, very nicely furnished with chairs and table, made it a great place to dine. We stayed here during winter, which could be a bit cold, but could not resist to dine here.

Entrance:

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Fancy Festive Afternoon Tea in The Lanesborough London

A cup of tea is an excuse to share great thoughts with great minds!

Whether it’s for a special celebration, or just a treat after all your shopping, or you just simply want to indulge in the English ritual, an afternoon tea is an activity not to be missed in London.

During my winter trip to London last year, our company offered us a lovely afternoon treat at the famous Ritz Hotel. This year, to bring in the festiveness, they have organized a special Festive Afternoon Tea session at The Lanesborough London! Not only do you get the traditional tea and scones, you also get to enjoy the super delicious sweets and pastries that looks like art pieces! Let’s not forget to mention, The Landsborough London’s afternoon tea has won multiple awards from UK Tea Council’s Award of Excellence.

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The Lanesborough London
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Exterior of the Hotel

As our booking were a group booking, instead of dinning in the majestic, naturally-lit surroundings of Céleste or the elegantly refined Withdrawing Room, we had our own function room, which is still very nicely decorated.

There are 3 types of Afternoon Tea Sets offered here, the Traditional Afternoon Tea, the Prestige Afternoon Tea, and The Festive Afternoon Tea which runs from the 25th November till the 1st January. During the months of November and December, the hotel is decorated with lovely Christmas decorations, which blends in very well with the design of the hotel. What’s better than festive food paired with festive vibes right?

The Lanesborough Festive Afternoon Tea UK Travel 19The Lanesborough Festive Afternoon Tea UK Travel 09

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Hotel with Mount Fuji View for Under USD$100/person including MEALS!

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel COVER

Just imagine yourself sitting in an open air hot bathtub, having a glass of hot sake, and right in front of your eyes is the Mount Fuji sunset view surrounded by maple leaves?

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It’s the maple leaves season in Japan again, and one of the best place to see the leaves is at the Fuji Five Lake, which is about 2 hours drive from Tokyo. The five lakes are Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakaka, Shojiko, and Motosuko. It is one of the best places to view Mount Fuji from a close distance, and a great base for climbing the mountains.

Mount Fuji Yamadaya Hotel Review Japan Tokyo Yamanashi Travel MAP
Map of the Fuji Five Lakes area

There are many hotels around the areas of the Fuji Five Lakes, especially near Kawaguchiko, which is the biggest and the most touristic one. However, if you prefer something quieter, this hotel I’m going to talk about may just be the one for you!

This hotel is right in-front of Shojiko, which is the smallest lake out of the five. Comfortable rooms with Japanese traditional bedding, view of Mount Fuji in your room, private open air hot spring, and amazingly delicious meals all in one place. Better yet, you can get all these for under USD$100/persons! This is one you sure can’t miss.

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Hampton Court Palace

Travel Bucket List UK London Hampton Court Palace 01

Keep clam and put your crown on!

We may not all own a crown, but we can definitely go visit a palace, to see and learn about how the royal lives in the olden days.

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West Gate

Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in Richmond upon Thames, and is about 19 kilometers South West from Central London. It was built as a private estate, and was then dedicated to King Henry 8th in 1525. As the palace was built and rebuilt during two different time period, it left the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles – Tudor and Baroque.

The Palace is open to the public now a days, and is one of the many tourists spots in London. The Hampton Court Palace seems less luxurious then the famous Buckingham Palace, but have a more royal touch compared to the Kensington Palace. As this Palace is situated outside of the London city, it is usually less crowded, which makes it a nice place if you prefer some quietness.

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Fountain Court

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