Sunday, 13 December 2015

Taiwan Shopping

Since it’s the end of the year and everyone’s in a holiday mood, I’ve decided to do a few travel-related posts.  Disclaimer:  I went on this particular trip to Taiwan in November 2013 so it’s a bit outdated!  Still, I hope that it can help to provide an alternative view of Taiwan as I didn’t do all the typical touristy things there. 
Hello Kitty clocks in Taoyuan Airport

First things first:  the shopping.  Practically everyone I know has told me that the shopping and food in Taiwan are spectacular.  I didn’t find both to be true when I visited with my family.  I won’t comment on the food except to say that all the places that our family friends brought us to were really great and all the places that we visited randomly weren’t great.  I will, however, comment on the shopping and fashion.  If you are looking for branded goods, Taiwan is not the place to shop.  I visited Shin Kong Mitsukoshi department store near Taipei Central Station and it was quite disappointing.  Think Parkson circa early 1990s with far dearer prices.  The style of clothing in Taiwan is also rather cutesy but not very modern and hence, not to my taste.  I gather that most girls shop for clothing at night markets.  It’s no surprise as even their high street stores are quite expensive.  There are plenty of local shoe shops in Taiwan and I found the shoes to be comfortable and not very expensive.  The only fashion-related item I purchased was a pair of rubber rainboots at Ximending.

Part of my very small shopping haul in Taiwan - magnets from the National Palace museum, Bourjois blush and pressed powder
Drugstore cosmetics shopping was quite good in Taiwan.  There were plenty of offers and freebies.  Prices were reasonable – I purchased OPI minis for MYR50+, Bourjois little round pot blush for MYR30+ , Bourjois pressed powder for MYR50+ and two L’oreal 24H Infallible eyeshadows for the price of one. 

However, the best shopping I discovered in Taiwan was at Costco.  I was lucky enough to visit the one near Taoyuan as our family friend was a member.  It was sooooo amazing!  Cases of Veuve Cliquot champagne that worked out to be around MYR160 a bottle, cool automatic umbrellas, huge 500g bags of Lays potato chips for less than the price of an 180g bag in Malaysia, larger than usual bags of Lindt Lindor chocolates, all kinds of nuts, full-sized Neutrogena sunscreens in a pack of three that cost around MYR40………I could go on and on and on.  I bought three bags of those huge Lays, only to find that it took a lot of effort just to finish one bag!  I kept offering them to my father, who exclaimed, “I like to eat potato chips but not that much!”  I really should have taken a photo of the chips. 
Pretty tins + Beatrix Potter = Must-buy
I also bought this lovely tin of egg rolls with Peter Rabbit emblazoned all over it for around MYR40.  I figured that it wasn’t too expensive since pretty tins with food in them would usually cost more in Kuala Lumpur.  I would have bought more if I had luggage space.  Cute, right?  It even came in a special Peter Rabbit paper bag!  I got them at some home furnishing store but I spotted them at a supermarket too.  By the way, the egg rolls were delicious, too. 

Hello Kitty dark cocoa drink - delicious!
Hello Kitty is everywhere in the departure lounge of Taoyuan Airport
Another frivolous purchase was this Hello Kitty tin containing sachets of hot chocolate mix.  I was at the airport and still had plenty of New Taiwan Dollars to burn so I decided to succumb to the cuteness of Hello Kitty and buy something.  Seriously, Hello Kitty was everywhere in the airport!  I love Hello Kitty so I was pretty excited but I send my friend some pictures and she went “Ewwww….Hello Kitty”. The hot chocolate mix was really yummy although the tin cost me almost MYR30.  Imagine, I could have bought a tin of Peter Rabbit something instead and the tin would have been bigger.

Next up:  Taoyuan, Taiwan.

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