I’m a proud “DIY-girl” whenever I travel and I revel in finding budget travel hacks whenever I can. I would revel in discovering far-away places and meeting new people on my own. I would work on spreadsheets, go on a mad research spree and serve as the lead in most of my travels. It’s fun – but you know, it can get tiring.
Doing all these and being responsible for the rest of the trip can be exhausting and sometimes, all I wanted to do is just sit down and rest – and let someone take the lead.
That’s why it was a nice surprise to get to have a full day tour of three of Taiwan’s biggest draws courtesy of KKday, a fast-growing travel activities platform. Offering numerous and unique travel activities and tours from a number of amazing tourist destinations like Taiwan, Japan, Korea, HongKong, Sydney, Melbourne to as far as New York and Paris.
Using KKday is easy as sign up is painless – you can actually use your Facebook account to sign in and from there, you just book your attraction and tour of choice.
I was travelling with a group of Taipei first-timers, so it’s good to cover the basics first with a day-tour of Taipeui: Yehliu, Jiufen and Shifen. Out of the three, I have been to Yehliu and Jiufen during my first two trips to Taipei. I was able to find these places by sheer chutzpah: armed with a print out from an obscure reference and the determination to keep my eyes peeled as the Taipei bus hurtled towards the sleepy New Taipei county neighbourhoods.
This time, thanks to KKday, I managed to enjoy the trip from Taipei going towards the county – I slept and basically just chilled, and let our capable and gregarious tour guide Bobo explain the charm of these places.
YEHLIU Geo Park – Our first destination is Yehliu Geo Park, a sizable park right beside the Oceanside showcasing various rock formations that date back to the prehistoric era. Yehliu is one of my favourite places in Taiwan, simply because walking through it reminded me of foreign terrain from another planet, probably like Mars due to the deep red clay/soil prevalent in the area.
NOTE: The photos above were taken during my first trip to Yehliu. I just want to show you how it looks like. I was not able to take really good photos during this tour because of the rain.
The rock formations are a sight to behold: taking the shape of mushrooms, slippers and many others, but the most famous one is the Queen’s Head. Scattered along the area are also some fossils embedded deep in the soil and a viewing deck to better appreciate the place.
Unfortunately, it started raining really hard as soon as we alighted from our Poli Bus (the KKday bus decorated with a police car cartoon), and I had to buy a raincoat to shield my stuff from the rain. The rain ruined any remote possibility of us taking our photos along the other rock formations because it made the soil slippery. We just beelined it to the Queen’s Head, took the requisite photo and left.
(NOTE: Better to take your photo with the Queen’s Head since the constant wear and tear of the seasons has made its neck more fragile.)
SHIFEN Sky Lantern – It must be magical being there when the quaint little town of Shifen celebrates its Sky Lantern Festival – imagine hundreds of lighted lanterns floating around the night skin, sending your wishes to the sky. Yes, it does give off major “Tangled” vibes.
Forty five minutes from Yehliu is the small town of Shifen, nestled between the mountains and the train tracks. As mentioned earlier, Shifen’s most famous draw is the releasing of the Sky Lantern set amidst the middle of the train tracks.l For only TWD190, you will be given the chance of writing your “Love, Career and Money wishes on colourful lanterns and set them out to the sky.
When you’re done releasing your wishes via the sky lantern, you can partake on the many delectable dishes that Shifen has to offer. You can also take the opportunity to get a glimpse of the train passing through Shifen’s narrow street (just be careful taking a photo!). You’ll see how time stops until the train has fully passed.
JIUFEN’S Winding Streets and Magical Tea Houses – I have written in one of my blog posts about the oft-quoted travel legend that many of Jiufen’s many winding streets, storefront houses and the famous Amei Tea House was the inspiration behind the magical world of Chihiro, Sen and Yubaba in Hayao Miyazaki’s well-loved animated film, “Spirited Away.” My love of Miyazaki and the film prompted me to search for Jiufen, on my own, more than three years ago – and now, going back, minus the hassle of the search (and worry of getting lost) made me fell in love with this maze of a town. Thanks to KKday, I was able to just appreciate the journey, take my time, focus on the sights, and marvel on the many overt similarities between the Yubaba’s spirit world and Jiufen.
The town, with its many winding staircases, is a maze and the search for Amei’s tea house can be ardous if you won’t ask for directions. But once you finally get to find it, it’s worth the trek and the many missed turns.
Taking a tour via KKday:
Tours via KKday begins at the Taipei Main Station. In our case, it’s at the East Gate where you will meet with the KKday coordinators in order to present a print out of your confirmation slip. After the coordinators have gone through the attendance, checked, and ensured that everyone on the list is present, you will be herded to the waiting KKday bus.
At the bus, your tour guide will brief you on your destination, give you your KKday identification pass (also doubling as a mosquito patch) and a bottle of mineral water. Do note that the cost of entrance fee for Yehliu Geo Park, the cost of the sky lantern activity and of course, your meal and drinks are not included in the tour fee. Price of this tour is just PHP1,174 so it’s really worth it.
Would I recommend KKday?
Absolutely. While I am still a fan of DIY travel and enjoys researching for destinations, I appreciate how KKday made travelling easy, more convenient and more enjoyable – thanks to a knowledgeable tour guide and a very efficient staff. I hope to be able to use KKday again when I go back to Japan.
Visit KKday at their website, or download the KKday app available for easier, more convenient booking,