YouBike @ Taiwan, 陳根找茶 Chen Gen Zhao Cha & 邱记凉面 Qiu Ji Cold Noodles @ Taipei
I just came back from my 4D3N Taipei trip last week. It may sound short but the itinerary was filled with surprises and excitements which will definitely become a memory that lasts for long time.
Thank you for the invitation from Taiwan Tourism Bureau (台湾观光局) and their warm hospitality throughout our Taipei’s trip. This is my second time visit to Taipei and the trip has shown me many faces of Taipei city which I never experience on my previous trip. There are too many places and stories I want to share with you, my dear readers but let me start with one of the most special experience that I had on my last day at Taipei.
A group of us decided to skip the hotel’s breakfast on our last day and explored the city with YouBike. We definitely get off on the right foot with this decision, read on to find out why.
If you haven’t already known, YouBike (Ubike 微笑单车) or Taipei Bike Sharing System, is a public bicycle sharing service offered by Taipei City Department of Transportation in a BOT collaboration with local manufacturer Giant Bicycles. As of 26 May 2016, service stations in the bike system are available in Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, Taichung City, and Changhua County. In Taipei City, rental is NT$5 for the first 30 minutes of use and adopts progressive tolls from NT$10 to NT$40 thereafter. No other fee, such as yearly deposit, is required. In New Taipei City, Taichung City and Chunghua County, rental is free for the first 30 minutes. There is a 15-minute renewal restriction period at the station to which the bike was returned. (Source)
We’ve passed by numerous Youbike stations in the city especially near metro stations and bus stops during our trip. We also spotted Taiwanese from all walk of life (students, office workers, housewives, old citizens and even foreigners) riding this orange-y bicycle on the roads which really intrigued us to check it out. Thanks to our tour guide lend us a few EasyCard (悠游卡) which similar with our Touch ‘n Go, it made our YouBike rental process easier and faster.
Since local mobile phone number is needed for EasyCard registration, so as one-time user like us (tourists), one can proceed to kiosk at any station (but keep in mind that not all stations will have a kiosk) and use a chip credit card to rent YouBike. FYI, YouBike puts a temporary hold of NT$3,000 on the credit card until the bike has been returned. Once the bike has been returned, the proper amount will be credited and the hold will be removed. I think this will make tourists like us step-off from using YouBike, hopefully the system can be tweaked to more tourist-friendly.
We wake up as early as 5.30am that morning so that we can have sufficient time to explore the city and have local breakfasts as much as we can!5 of us are passionate food bloggers after all. LOL
We walked merely 10 minutes to the nearest YouBike station from our hotel (Humble House @ Xinyi District, Taipei City). There are many YouBike docking stations located all around the city and the bicycle renting uses an electronic unmanned automated management system to provide “ A Leases and B Returns” bike rental service which means the user may rent one bike in station A and return it in station B.
Notice board at the station in Chinese ONLY. >_< This really inconvenient for those who can’t read Chinese. Apps are available to find bike rental stations too such as Fun Travel in Taipei (in English) and YouBike (fully in Chinese). The apps can tell you how many bikes are available at the station, and how many free slots are open to return one.
How to rent a YouBike?
Follow the instructions on the kiosk and pay by your credit card, after the authentication/authorization, select and pick up your bicycle at the selected parking pole within 90 seconds.
Make sure the head handlers are in their straight-up position, and then pull on the handlers backwards with both hands to retrieve the bicycle.
How to return the YouBike?
Select an empty dock indicated by a blue light on the sensor pad on the dock. Align the head of the bicycle to the white line on the ground, aim the bicycle lock to its docking port then push the bike all the way in.
After the bike is properly docked to its post, there will be a loud clicking sound. Move the bicycle back and front slightly to make sure it is properly locked. Once the bike has been returned, the proper amount will be credited to your credit card.
If you need to temporary park the bicycle, here’s the guide how to lock the vehicle.
There are several things to keep in mind when renting the bikes.
~ Make sure to check the tires, brakes, and bell before you rent. If the seat is turned around backwards, that means that someone has found a problem with it. If you discover a problem with a bike, do the same so that maintenance crews will know to work on it.
~ The bikes have adjustable saddle for people of different sizes. The front and back lights are powered by pedaling so that you can ride them at night.
~ Check the tire inflation pressure and brake system.
Once you get the bike, its time to enjoy all of the sites Taiwan has to offer!
The weather also an important factor how much one can enjoy cycling in the city. It was a cold morning with temperature of 18 – 20°C, the riding journey was extremely pleasurable.
Taipei has an extensive network of bike paths covering over 100 kilometers and the designated bike lanes are well maintained. We discovered the local neighborhood by cycling through the residential areas as well as tracked down the city with such an unexpected way! Have you imagine you can pass by Taipei 101 by cycling? Yes, we did that!
Please follow traffic rules, signals, and lights too 🙂
We cycled to our first breakfast destination armed with Google map. ^___^
陳根找茶 Chen Gen Zhao Cha
No. 7, Lane 391, Zhuangjing Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Operating Hours: Tue – Fri: 6.00am to 12.30pm, Sat & Sun: 6:00am-1:30pm
Located in a neighbourhood near Taipei 101, this breakfast restaurant is introduced by one of the officer of Taiwan Tourism Bureau during our dinner together. This place is known as “The best breakfast in Taipei/ Taipei must eat breakfast” which is famous for their signature Taiwanese Pancake with Egg, Cheese & Bacon (乳酪培根蛋饼) & French Toast with Cheese, Ham & Tuna (法式土司乳酪火腿与鲔鱼)
It was a weekday morning and we just met with breakfast peak hour when we reached there. The place was rather small and we had to queue for a while before seated. Ordering was made when we queuing and the food didn’t take too long to arrive.
Menu in Chinese. Basically there are only 3 food available, French Toast, Taiwanese Pancake and normal toast (bread) with various combinations with different fillings such as cheese, ham, meat floss, bacon and tuna. Beverage is limited to milk tea in assorted flavors, coffee and teas.
Black Sesame Milk Tea (NT$40), Almond Milk Tea (NT$40) & Green Tea (NT$30)
French Toast with Cheese & Ham (NT$55)
Drizzled with honey, the French toast was fluffy and not oily at all.
Toast with Cheese, Ham & Egg (NT$50)
Taiwanese Pancake with Egg, Ham & Meat Floss (NT$60)
Have a mouthful of everything and let’s the ingredients do the magic!
1st breakfast of the day, checked!
Second breakfast was Taiwanese breakfast rice roll (饭团). Passed by a little stall selling this delicacy when we on the way to our next destination. By this time, we had returned the YouBike because the place we heading to is within walking distance.
Freshly made with wrap different ingredients such as braised egg, crispy you tiao, pickled veggies and meat floss into the rice (we choose purple rice) then formed into long oval shape rice ball. It was pipping hot and I adore the multitude of flavors and textures contributed by the ingredients. This undoubtedly a filling yet satisfying breakfast choice!
Third breakfast of the day ~ Qiu Ji Cold Noodles 邱记凉面
No. 1, Lane 281, Wuxing St, Xinyi District, Taipei City, Taiwan 110
Operating Hours: 5.00am to 1.30pm daily
Also introduced by local, cold noodles is certainly not common at Malaysia, not to mention that has it as breakfast. We had the basic cold noodles that came with yellow noodles and shredded cucumber served with house made sesame sauce. The flavor was refreshing with pleasant nutty taste. They mixed wasabi in the sesame sauce as well which lift up the overall flavors a few notches.
Forth breakfast stop, unknown soy milk shop recommended by the affable owner of Qiu Ji Cold Noodles. Location: Wuxing St or Songren Rd (?), Xinyi District, Taipei City, beside Wuxing Primary School 台北市信义区吴兴街或松仁路(?), 吴兴国小隔壁
The combination of soy milk + you tiao is a popular breakfast option among Taiwanese and there are 2 famous brands in Taipei ~ Fu Hang Soy Milk (阜杭豆浆) & Yong He Soy Milk (永和豆浆) both selling sweet and savory soy milk, Tau Foo Fah, 烧饼油条 (sesame flat bread with You Tiao & egg) & other delicacies.
I had the unsweetened soy milk which was slightly different with what I had here. The soy flavor was not too overwhelming and easy to the palate. The freshly fried You Tiao was a hit among us too, crispy on the outer with slightly firm inner.
It was a memorable experience for us and I really enjoy this unique way of traveling which provide opportunity to blend into locals’ life. YouBike system is an affordable and eco-friendly way to navigate around the city, but also a fun and convenient method to visit the various tourist sites at one’s own pace. I hope they can make fine tuning on the payment system for tourists like us so that anyone can afford to take a ride. Let’s hop on a bike, and see the city in different way!
YouBike Taipei website:
http://taipei.youbike.com.tw/en/index.php (English version)
http://taipei.youbike.com.tw/cht/index.php (Chinese version)
Special Thanks to: