All posts by Adam

Taipei Main Station Airport Station

How to get from Taipei Airport to Taipei City Centre

There are a number of ways of getting from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to the city centre with a range of prices. Your choice of transport is going to depend on your budget and the time you arrive at the airport as not all options operate 24 hours. I found this out the hard way when arriving at midnight.Taipei Airport to Taipei City Route Map

Cab

Cab is the quickest and easiest way to get from Taipei Airport to the city centre. You’re looking at a fare of around NT$1200 (US$40/€35) and a travel time of 45 minutes from the terminal to your hotel door. Note that the taxi will charge what’s on the meter, plus 50%, plus tolls. That’s why the price ends up being so expensive.

Train

The train from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taiwan City Centre has just started operation! This makes life much easier than in the past. Just hop on the train from the main terminal and it will whisk you away to Taipei Main Station in 35 minutes! From Taipei Main Station, you can then hop on the citywide MRT system in the direction of your accommodation. Either that or catch a cab. Whatever you do, it’s going to be far cheaper and only slightly slower than catching a cab all the way from the airport itself.Taipei Airport Train Inside

Frustratingly, this train service does not operate 24 hours. This means if you’re arriving late or departing early, you simply cannot use this service. In other words, many flights arrive and depart at hours outside of the hours of operation of the Taipei Airport Train.

  • Departing Taiwan Main Station: 06:00 – 23:00
  • Departing Taiwan Airport: 06:05 – 23:35
  • Price of the Taipei Airport Train is NT$160.

Taipei Airport Train Ticket MachinesBus

Bus is the cheapest way of getting from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taipei city centre, but it does come with drawbacks. First of all, you need to figure out which bus number to catch. This will depend on where you want to be dropped off.

If you want to be dropped off near Taipei 101, catch CitiAir Bus 1960. Last bus is at 1:05am and if you’re lucky it will depart 10 minutes late like it did for me. Cost is NT$145 (US$4.74/€4.46). Timetable here -> http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Lang=En&Line=3471

If you want to be dropped off around the Taipei Main Railway Station, take bus 1961 or 1819. Last 1961 bus is at 1am and 1819 runs 24 hours. Cost of 1961 is NT$90 (US$2.94/€2.77) and cost of 1819 is NT$125 (US$4.08/€3.85). Timetable for 1961 is here -> http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Lang=En&Line=3463. Time table for 1819 is here -> http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Lang=En&Line=4645

There are a range of other buses that you could choose, but disregard them! Why? Because they just serve to confuse you. The buses I have listed cover all your options. If you arrive after 1am and want to get into the city by bus, catch the 24 hour 1819 bus to Taiwan Main Station. From there you can catch a cab or walk to your hotel.

Most people are going to catch the train between Taipei Taoyuan Airport and the city centre because it’s easy and relatively cheap. The bus is becoming less and less relevant as time goes by, but if you have a late arrival, it’s still going to be useful. And cabs are really only for people who are comfortable paying top dollar for the ultimate in convenience.

Whichever mode you use, I’d love to hear your feedback so I can keep my advice up to date!

 

Babi Guling Pak Malen

Babi Guling Pak Malen, Seminyak, Bali: A Great Place for Babi Guling in Seminyak

When in Bali, you absolutely have to try babi guling, the famous Balinese BBQ pork dish. But sometimes it’s difficult to find one close to where you’re staying. Babi Guling Pak Malen is not only close to Seminyak, it’s also super tasty.

I got a standard portion of Babi Guling and a fresh orange juice and the total of the bill came to Rp55.000.

The portion of pork is small. Really small. Especially when you compare it to many other places in Bali. So while the value for money is quite low here, the taste is great.

The crackling was super crispy with just a thin layer of fat, the scratchings were sinful and tasty, the sate spicy and tender and the flesh itself oh so moist.Babi Guling Pak Malen BaliI got my lawar medium spicy, but it nearly blew my head off. Soo spicy, but oh so delicious.

I think the orange juice I got with the babi guling was a perfect accompaniment. Fresh and icy cold, it went down a treat in the hot warung atmosphere.

And that brings us to the next point. The warung itself has no character. It’s hot. It’s often busy. And it’s really just functional. You come here, eat your pork, and leave. That’s it!

I really like this place because it’s well located on Sunset Road, the pork is really tasty and service is quick. The perfect place for babi guling when in Seminyak.

Warung Babi Guling Pak Malen
Jalan Sunset No.5, Seminyak
Babi Guling: Rp40.000
Orange Juice: Rp15.000

Ippolito Specialty Coffee in Bali

Ippolito Specialty Coffee, Seminyak, Bali: Great Coffee and a Free Pool!

We arrived at Ippolito Specialty Coffee expecting the place to be packed like so many other good coffee shops in Seminyak. But what we saw was a place so empty that we thought it was closed when we arrived.

It’s one of the enduring paradoxes of Indonesian cafes. You can be good, but you’re not necessarily going to be popular and I see that a lot in Bandung.Cappuccino at Ippolito Specialty CoffeeA range of food and drinks is served here as well as fantastic coffee. I tried a cappuccino which in my opinion is as good as just about anywhere in Seminyak.

Although we haven’t tried the food, it does come recommended and the menu does look quite tempting.Interior Ippolito CoffeeThe building itself is very instagrammable. Lots of brick, wood, great furniture and walls filled with bottles of wine.

Outside you’ll find the pool area. THE POOL AREA! This area is free for customers of the cafe. So if you want somewhere to swim and eat, but don’t want to pay for a beach club, we think this is the next best thing.Free Swimming Pool at IppolitoThe pool is a thing of beauty and if you don’t get a good instagram shot here, you’re not trying!

We really like this cafe. It does have a bit of a restaurant feel and that’s probably what puts most people off. But don’t be put off. It’s perfectly fine to come here, grab a coffee and set up your laptop. And besides, the wifi is fast!

Ippolito Specialty Coffee
Jalan Lebak Sari, Petitenget, Seminyak
Opening Hours: 07:00 – 23:00
Cappuccino: Rp39.000++
Swimming Pool: FREE

Corner House Seminyak

Corner House, Seminyak, Bali: Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

In this very spot used to be a cafe called Corner Store — it burnt down a few years back. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Corner House makes an appearance and it’s very good.

Polished concrete floors, chipped white tiles on the walls reminiscent of an old butcher’s shop and a shaded outdoor area all combine to make this one of the better looking places in Seminyak.Coffee at Corner HouseCoffee here is by Revolver, so you know it’s going to be good. And I can confirm that the coffee does indeed live up to expectations.

The menu is quite extensive and I felt that I would be happy ordering any one of the items on it. In the end I got a ham and cheese toastie. And it was no more and no less than I expected. Lots of cheese, sufficient amounts of leg ham and a few bits of red onion. Definitely tasty and just what I needed for a snack.Ham and cheese Toastie at Corner HouseWifi here is fast and I was consistently getting 20mbit up and down, so it’s a good place to come if you need to do some data intensive stuff.

Interestingly, it wasn’t particularly busy when I was there. I put that down to there being so much competition these days.

Down this end of Seminyak, there seems to be fewer and fewer good cafes and this one certainly stands head and shoulder above the rest. The next really awesome place is probably down at Sisterfields or Revolver.

All in all a really good cafe on the Seminyak scene.

Corner House
Jalan Kayu Ayu (Laksamana) 10A, Seminyak
www.cornerhousebali.com
Opening Hours: setiap hari 07:00 – 23:00
Cappuccino: Rp34.500
Toastie: Rp57.500

Menu at Crate Cafe Canggu

Crate Cafe, Batu Bolong, Bali: Too Cool for School or Am I Just Old?

Located in the up and coming area near Pantai Batu Bolong, Crate Cafe is a “too cool for school” cafe serving up a wide range of breakfast and brunch options such as bowls and toasts. Maybe I’m just old because I just don’t get it.

The cafe is bare in appearance with lots of concrete, white tiles and exposed steel beams. It’s a half-built building made into something modern and trendy.Crate Cafe CangguI have to mention the seats. They are crap. Really crap. The concrete benches are too tall and your legs just dangle without any support.

Customers here are your typical tattooed westerners riding big motorbikes, wearing oversized headphones and carrying 5 pounds of attitude. They’re not my people, but this crowd will suit some.Coffee at Crate CafeFood is all cheap by Bali standards with the maximum price being Rp50.000. And it’s a good selection of food too with lots of muesli, bowls, toast and omelettes on the menu.

My French toast was quite good, but far from perfect. Firstly, they’re using strawberries and we all know that strawberries in in Indonesia are hit and miss — usually miss. Today they were sour and pale. Why can’t they used fresh seasonal fruit such as mango, jackfruit, dragonfruit and papaya?French Toast with fruit CrateAdditionally, the egg wash didn’t soak into the bread at all and this made the bread very dry on the inside. The French toast comes in different configurations and both I tried were ok, but I don’t need to try them again.

I really hope I picked the wrong dishes because I want to like this place. But based on what I experienced, I can’t really recommend it.French Toast bacon at CrateSo what’s the verdict? Not bad, but not great either. If you can put up with some of the cheeky crowd and can manage to pick the right dish, you will probably like what’s on offer here.

Crate Cafe
Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No.64, Canggu
Opening Hours: daily 07:00 – 15:00
Instagram: @cratecafe
Drinks: Rp25.000 – Rp35.000
Food: Rp40.000 – Rp50.000

12 Best Cafes in Seminyak: All of them are Fantastic!

During a recent trip to Bali, I decided to search for the best cafes in Seminyak by trying as many of the good ones as I could. I scoured blogs for recommendations, tripadvisor for advice and apps like foursquare for the low down. I even checked out tripcanvas and found that the recommendations were awful as the writers hadn’t even visited the places they were recommending. The information I found was a real mixed bag!

So after trying all of these cafes out personally, I came up with my list of the best cafes in the Seminyak area. I actually went a little further afield to Canggu and the road to Batu Bolong to make sure I got all the coffee shops and cafes covered.

So without further ado, here is my version of the best cafes in Seminyak.

Sisterfields

Pancake at Sisterfields BaliLocation: Jalan Kayu Cendana 7, Seminyak

Sisterfields wins the title of my favourite cafe in Seminyak. Easily. I didn’t want this to be the case when I first visited. Why? Because it was so busy and I had to line up to get inside. I didn’t want such a super popular place to be awesome. But it is. The crowds have chosen this cafe as their favourite and I agree with them.

All the dishes I’ve had here except one have been awesome. Really amazing. The coffee is also very good and I love the cups it’s served in. Service is attentive despite the crowds. It’s just between Seminyak Square and Grocer & Grind. Go here.

Baby Revolver

Coffee at Baby RevolverLocation: Jalan Kayu Aya / Gang 51, Seminyak

This is actually a fantastic cafe located on Jalan Petitenget. The coffee is awesome, the location itself is tiny and the staff are friendly. It’s the sort of place you come to down a quick coffee on your morning walk/run around Seminyak.

It’s not a place to come with a big group or if you’re after a proper meal. A biscuits and pastries is all you’ll find here.

Milk & Madu

Coffee at Milk and MaduLocation: Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa No.52, Tibubeneng, Kuta Utara

Milk & Madu is a bit out of Seminyak in Canggu, but it’s worth a trip if you want great food, good coffee and a relaxing semi-outdoor environment. What’s more, there’s a large grass area for kids to play on and because the pavilion is open-sided, people don’t get so annoyed with kids shouting and running amok.

Get here and back with an Uber. Even though there is a local taxi mafia in place, you can get around this if you’re a stealth uber rider.

The Fat Turtle

Red Velvet Pancakes Fat TurtleLocation: Jalan Petitenget 886A, Seminyak

The Fat Turtle is another Jalan Petitenget number. Before entering, I was a bit worried it was going to be hopeless. But the food here was good (good range of standard cafe fare & the red velvet pancakes were delicious) as was the coffee and it was consistently full with customers. It’s not going to win any awards for best cafe, but I reckon it’s pretty damn good.

What I really like about it is that it’s unpretentious. Good food without the attitude of many other places around Seminyak and Canggu. This place will appeal to a lot of people.

Pison

Drinks at Pison CoffeeLocation: Jalan Petitenget 8A, Seminyak

I love the name of this coffee shop/cafe. I especially like saying it in an Indonesian accent. Makes me feel like an Aussie. The name aside, the cafe really does a fantastic job of the food it delivers. I thought the burger was a good one and the coffees I had here were all very good. One time when I visited, it got a little crowded for my liking. But at other times it was quite quiet… I guess it depends on the time of day and the time of year you visit.

It’s located up the Canggu end of Seminyak, but still well within the Seminyak area. You can walk here easily from Seminyak Square if you enjoy walking. Otherwise jump in a bluebird and paying about 7000 rupes.

Sea Circus

Location: Jalan Kayu Aya 22, Seminyak

If you’ve been to Seminyak before, you’ve almost certainly been to Sea Circus before. It was one of the earlier trendy cafes and ever since this time they have been bang on with food and coffee. The cafe feels like a mythical beach shack that exists only in people’s dreams and that’s not a bad thing.

Staff are pretty good and their menu seems to have maintained its modern feel over the past 7 or so years. In fact, this place remains one of my go to places because it’s so central to everything in Seminyak. 10 minute walk from Seminyak square down a couple of alleys.

Peloton Super Shop

Smoothie Bowl Bikers BowlLocation: Jalan Raya Pantai Berawa no. 46, Canggu

If you’re vegan, this is probably the best place in the world for you. Located right out in the Canggu area, you must visit this vegan cafe. Lots of soy products, no real milk, no meat lots of bowls. You know the deal. I wasn’t so enamoured with the place because I had my heart set on an bacon & egg roll, but I get it. I get that this cafe is heaven for vegans.

And even if you’re not vegan and just don’t fancy meat or dairy, this place is a winner. A seriously good cafe on the Bali scene.

Nook

Ricefield view Nook UmalasLocation: Jalan Umalas 1, Gang Nook 1, Kerobokan

A lot of you already know about Nook. It was all the rage back in 2011/12 when it opened because it had these great ricefield views and it was fairly low key. If you haven’t been there in a few years, don’t go back. It’s been expanded enormously and the ricefield has started to be built over.

But I’ve still included it on my list of best Seminyak cafes because if you haven’t been here yet, you might just love this place! The food is still good as is the coffee. It’s just that it doesn’t have the same feel for me as it did years ago, but without that comparison, it’s still a decent cafe in Seminyak. Even though it’s technically just outside of Seminyak in either Kerobokan or Umalas, depending on who you speak to.

Grain Cafe

Steak Sandwich Grain CafeLocation: Jalan Seminyak 16B, Seminyak

Grain Cafe is a good place to come for coffee and a bite to eat. It has the feel of a cafe in Inner Western Sydney circa 2010. And that’s not a terrible thing. It just means that the food and coffee is good, the fitout is not ultra-modern and it’s not a place to be snapping Instagrams.

But if you’re not into the world of Instagram, ultra modern cafes and all the fuss that goes along with them, you’re going to love Grain. Good cafe food at the Legian end of Seminyak, just north of Double Six and not far from the Haven.

Crate Cafe

Crate Cafe CangguLocation: Jalan Pantai Batu Bolong No.64, Canggu

I’m torn with Crate Cafe. It was packed when I was there and people seemed to love it. I’d already read a few rave reviews. But the food I was dished up was sub-par. And the fitout was trying to be cool by being minimalist, but it didn’t work for me. I felt like an old man when the backs of my thighs started aching as they were dangling off the super high concrete bench.

Coffee was good, crowd age average about 22, favourite past time = surfing. Try it out if you’re on your way to Batu Bolong. Maybe not worth a visit if you’re basing yourself in central Seminyak. But then again, it might also depend on how old you are.

Corner House

Location: Jalan Kayu Ayu (Laksamana) 10A, Seminyak

There used to be a cafe here back in the day which was ultra modern for the time. Tuckshop/Corner Store burned down years ago and Corner House rose from its ashes. Corner House is much more modern, has much nice food and is just a fantastic cafe on the Seminyak scene.

I was surprised that it wasn’t so busy, but maybe because the centre of Seminyak now seems to be closer towards Kerobokan rather than this end which closer to Sunset Road.

Ippolito Specialty Coffee

Location: Jalan Lebak Sari, Petitenget, Seminyak

This is an odd spot. I understand why there was only one other customer when I was there. It looks like a wine bar crossed with a hotel. But the coffee here is very good, the lounges are relaxing to chill out on and the free pool out the back is awesome. Bring your bikini and towel because you might just want to take a dip after you’ve polished off your coffee.

Maybe not either. If you’re into coffee or just want to try as many different coffee shops as possible in Seminyak, come here. It’s weird, but it’s good.

So there you have it. My version of the best cafes in Seminyak right now. Of course new places open up and old places close. But I reckon this is going to be a good list at least for a few years to come. Let me know what your favourite Seminyak cafe is!

Grain Cafe Seminyak Bali

Grain Cafe, Seminyak, Bali: Aussie Cafe in the Heart of Seminyak

Most of the good cafes these days are either in the far end or Seminyak towards Canggu or in Canggu itself. Grain is an exception as it’s located at the Legian end of Seminyak.

Many of the cafes in Bali are ultra modern and perhaps too over the top modern for some people. If you’re not into the really modern cafes, but still appreciate great food and drink, Grain is for you.Lower Floor Grain CafeLocated not far from Jalan Double Six, it’s quite close to hotels such as The Haven which will be convenient for most people.

We tried pasta and a steak sandwich and both were quite good, but nothing out of this world. In other words, we’d be happy to come here for a meal again, but don’t expect something which is going to blow your mind. And that’s ok. Comfort food done well.Steak Sandwich Grain CafeCoffee here has a good reputation and our friend had a cappuccino which he said was a good one. It certainly looked good!Coffee at Grain CafeThe fitout of the cafe is quite modern and enjoyable to sit in while you surf the wifi. And the wifi is very fast at 25mbit both upload and download.Upper Floor Grain CafeSo what’s our overall view? An enjoyable place for breakfast lunch or dinner in a pleasant environment. Centrally located and fast wifi. Worth a try.

Grain
Jalan Seminyak 16B, Seminyak
(0361) 730 528
www.grainbali.com
Instagram: @grainbali
Opening Hours: 07:30 – 22:00
Steak Sandwich: Rp95.000++
Spaghetti asparagus: Rp78.000++
Smoothies: Rp39.000++
Cappuccino: Rp30.000++

Tolido’s Espresso Nook Bugis Singapore front

Tolido’s Espresso Nook, Bugis, Singapore: Cheapish Cafe, Good Food

What’s not to like about a cafe which does all day breakfast and fantastic coffee? Tolido’s Espresso Nook is exactly this and does a roaring trade as a result.

Located on the pinggir of what we would refer to as Bugis and a short walk away from most of Kampong Glam area, Tolido’s is not one of those places which relies on location to grab customers. It relies on good quality food at a good price.Tolido’s Espresso Nook Bugis Singapore insideThe menu is quite large and features a lot of pancake options, French toast, baked eggs and omelettes.

We tried the pandan pancakes and fell in love. 3 fluffy pandan flavoured pancakes drizzled with gula Melaka and topped with coconut ice cream. A southeast Asian flavour explosion.Pandan Pancake di TolidoWe also tried the stout glazed bacon French toast and again, it was super delicious.French Toast at TolidoBut what’s really interesting about this place is that they are able to produce dishes like this at these prices. We’d normally expect to pay about 50% more for this style of food in Singapore.Tolido’s Espresso Nook Bugis Singapore insideThe cafe is laid back and comfortable and nowhere as stiff and snobby as most upmarket Singapore cafes. This suits us perfectly!Tolido’s Espresso Nook Bugis Singapore counterTolido’s Espresso Nook is a must visit if you love cafe food and coffee. Please note that some dishes contain pork and some don’t.

Tolido’s Espresso Nook
Cnr Jalan Sultan & North Bridge Road, Bugis, Singapore
Opening Hours: 08:00 – 18:30 (closed Monday)
Closest MRT: Lavender (green EW11)
Pandan pancake: $10.90
Bacon French toast: $12.00
Cappuccino: $5.50
Hojicha latte: $6.00

Ji De Chi Dessert, Bugis, Singapore: Crazy Good Asian Desserts

Set right in the heart of Bugis on a street famous for its wacky Asian desserts, Ji De Chi is a must visit if you love shaved ice, sago and other Taiwanese style desserts.

The menu at Ji De Chi starts off with sago puddings with mango and moves onto mounds of shaved ice in an array of flavours such as cendol, black sesame, blueberry and green tea. There’s also glutinous rice balls, waffles and Mille crepes.Ji De Chi Dessert Bugis Singapore mango puddingThis place is so so crowded around 9pm when everyone has already finished dinner and is longing for something sweet. And it’s no wonder. The desserts are extremely delicious and fresh and the service is really fast. You won’t need to wait around long for your order to arrive.

Lastly, if you’re not entirely convinced of the menu here, perhaps try Dessert First next door which looks just as good, but we haven’t yet tried it.

We’re fans of Ji De Chi Dessert and we recommend it for a sweet treat if you’re in the Bugis area.

Ji De Chi Dessert
8 Liang Seah St #01-03, Bugis, Singapore
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 23:00
Closest MRT: Bugis (green EW12 / blue DT14)

Mille crepe: $6.20
Mango pomelo sago: $6.20

Killiney Kopitiam Orchard Singapore front

Killiney Kopitiam, Orchard, Singapore: The Original That Started The Chain

If you’re getting tired from walking up and down Orchard Road and desperately need a coffee, Killiney Kopitiam is great choice. Located just 200m off Orchard Road, make sure you add this to your itinerary.

Killiney Kopitiam has been operating at this same spot at 67 Killiney Road since 1919 and since 1998 has been branching out across Singapore (and the world). So if the name of this kopitiam sounds familiar, that’s because the name that started here has travelled the world.Killiney Kopitiam Orchard Singapore insideIn true kopitiam style, the coffee is strong and chocolatey, the kaya toast thick and crispy and the laksa bursting with spice and flavour. But most people are going to simply pop in here for a drink so we highly recommend the lime juice. So refreshing!

Killiney Kopitiam is extremely popular because it’s the original and most famous and if you come here at the wrong time, you’ll have to wait for a seat. Turnover is fast, so you’re unlikely to have to wait more than a few a minutes for a seat.Killiney Kopitiam Orchard Singapore coffeePrices here are quite cheap especially when you compare it to normal Singapore coffee shops or fancy juice places. Highly recommended.

Killiney Kopitiam
67 Killiney Road, Orchard, Singapore
www.killiney-kopitiam.com
Opening Hours: 06:00 – 23:00 (Selasa sampai 18:00)

Coffee with milk: $1.60
Lime juice: $1.70
Chendol: $4.00