Eggs N’ Things Japan.

Eggs N’ Things Japan.


Eggs N’ Things is a chain of Hawaiian-style restaurants with origins in Hawaii. It’s a tempting choice for lunch, brunch, and beyond!

What’s it all about?

Eggs N’ Things first appeared in 1974, and since then has been a firm favourite all over Japan and Hawaii as a “casual breakfast” joint. Their aim is simply to provide you, loyal customer, with an all day breakfast option. What’s not to love about that?


The menu is pretty extensive. It’s virtually all breakfast-type foods, with the odd Hawaiian favourite thrown in for good measure. As the name suggests, eggs are a popular feature. Have them any way you want, with anything you want. Poached are particularly good, especially teamed with one of their meat dishes (steak and eggs is a good meal any time of day). For any vegetarians, don’t worry! There are plenty of veggie-friendly choices, as well as a decent kids menu for little appetites. Since my knowledge is limited, I’ve attached a link to their Menu’s, so any vegan readers can check for themselves if Eggs N’ Things can cater. Pancakes? Eggs N’ Things have got you covered. Their pancakes are awesome. Light and fluffy, they come out heaped with fruit, whipped cream, and sauces, and are part of the grand all day menu, meaning you can enjoy one right up until closing time (It’s hard to say no to pancakes for dinner).


They pride themselves on a laid back feel. All locations are light, bright, and airy, with staff donning cheerful Hawaiian shirts and a big smile to add a pop of colour. There’s also beautiful artwork, a mix of seating, and an open-plan bar so you can eye all the drinks! All locations have souvenirs available, so you can take home a mug or bag adorned with their logo too.


It’s not cheap, but it won’t break the bank either. I would say it’s about mid-range for price, and it’s worth the expense for the experience. For a couple dining with drinks, allow around 5,000 yen (roughly US $50), and you’ll not leave hungry (and possibly with some change!).


There are 17 locations across Japan, including Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Nagoya, and Kobe. The website has a list of locations; click on one to bring up address, opening times, preferred methods of payment, and transport advice (Japanese only).


Whilst Eggs N’ Things isn’t a local food option, it is nice to have choices when travelling. You can take a break from ramen, curry, and sushi guilt-free, and maybe enjoy some eggs n’ slut (an actual menu choice) surrounded by locals who love it.

Kaohsiung in a day.

Kaohsiung in a day.

Kaohsiung is a special municipality located in south-western Taiwan, facing the Taiwan Straight. Kaohsiung International airport is Taiwan’s second largest, and the Port of Kaohsiung is Taiwan’s largest, though it’s technically not part of the city! So, why would you want to visit? Thanks to Taiwan’s High Speed Rail system, you can get there from Taipei with ease and for relatively little money (around $50 per person one way). A week would be a waste, but if you find you have a free day, here’s how to see a good slice of Kaohsiung.

Start: Taipei Main Station.

Let’s just assume you’re starting your journey here. Purchase a ticket for the THSR to Zuoying (this website has a search feature and lists times and fares). I recommend catching a fairly early one, let’s say the 0751, which gets you into Zuoying at 0930. Just in time for breakfast!


Stop by the Movenpick Cafe in Zuoying’s lower level for a tasty breakfast and a well needed caffeine hit. Their rice stews in particular are really good, and filling! Great start for the long day ahead. Next, since you’re in the area, catch yourself a bus (Red Line number 35, NT12/50c) from right outside Zuoying train station to right outside the Lotus Pond. This is a huge man-made lake with pagodas and nods to the Buddhist faith. The first one you’ll come to is Lotus Pond’s most famous; the tiger and dragon pagodas. Enter through the mouth of one mighty beast (the tiger), meander through and marvel at the intricate beauty of the pagodas and their outlook, before exiting through the mouth of the other beast (dragon). From here, take a right, and be sure to stop at the many temples that surround the lake. All are most welcoming, and very typical of Taiwanese-Buddhist architecture. I recommend taking the time to walk around the whole lake, so you don’t miss any of its beauty. There are other pagodas, including one flanked by a magnificent dragon, and another with a giant deity sat serenely atop. It’s truly beautiful. I apologise that all my photos are in the dark, Lotus Pond was my first stop, and it was dark when I arrived! But you get the general idea, and there’s more to see during the day!


Phew! All that walking is bound to build up an appetite! Make your way back to where the bus dropped you off, go to the opposite side of the road and catch the same one back to Zuoying station. Here you’ll transfer to Kaohsiung’s metro system (MRT). Purchase a single journey ticket bound for Yangchengpu (the machines are super easy to use, and all have English options). This will involve a change at Formosa Boulevard. Once you arrive at Yangchengpu, you can either walk to the next destination (around 30-40 minutes, maybe less depending on your pace), or catch a bus. The destination? Ai He! Ai He, or Love River to quote it’s English name, is probably Kaohsiung’s most popular attraction. If you want to sit down and eat, there’s a few nice restaurants and cafes along the river to choose from, or you can grab food on the hop at 7/11. Head down to Love Pier and catch a river cruise! It’s inexpensive (NT300/$9.00), and lasts around half hour. There are two types of boat; a standard open sided vessel, or a gondola! Seriously, a gondola! You can have the Venetian experience without the price tag, perfect for a romantic trip. I, being less romantic, opted for the larger vessel, which comes complete with a tour guide and lots of interesting information about Ai He, which is great if you can speak Mandarin! Once you disembark, head back up to the main road, take a left, and just opposite you’ll see a Catholic Basilica. This is the Rose Basilica, and sits at quite a juxtaposition to its surroundings. It’s a pretty little building, worth more than a passing glance. Catholicism is a minority religion in majority Buddhist Taiwan, so don’t expect to see too many buildings like this. Head back to Yangchengpu, then back to Formosa Boulevard, and exit into the main part of the station to enjoy the Dome Of Light, a stunning art installation that’s a permanent fixture. You’ll also find one or two boutique market stalls here, great for tacky/unique gift buying.


Since you’re already at Formosa Boulevard, why not exit and check out Liuhe Night Market? Taiwan is notorious for its Night Markets, and Kaohsiung is no different. Liuhe is relatively small, but there are some interesting vendors and street foods to sample. An hour here is more than enough time to soak it in. Let’s hop back on the MRT and head to San Ming Vocational school (red line, stop R14) for our final destination; the slightly busier Rei Feng Night Market. This is a more authentic Night Market, not changed to suit tourist tastes. It sits in an enclosed grid type space, and is usually packed out. It’s also not open every night like most, closing on Mondays and Wednesdays. Here you can try all sorts of local delicacies (phallic cake, frogs eggs, offal), as well as some international favourites (the French man selling pastries was one of my favourites), as well as shop for jewellery, electronics, clothing, toys, and items of an “adult nature”. There’s also games to be played and people to accidentally bump into over and over again. Here I recommend a good 2 hours at least, to allow you to really see it all (if you can through the throngs). Once you’ve had your fill, cross out of the chaos and into a shopping street opposite, selling clothing and beauty, amongst other things. You can stroll this on your way back to the MRT station. From here head back to Zuoying, get another ticket for the THSR back to Taipei (last train leaves at 2210), and enjoy one last look at the Taiwanese countryside, albeit in the dark this time.

End: Taipei Main Station.

Done! You’ll even be back in time to catch the last MRT to wherever you’re staying! If you find yourself finished in Kaohsiung early, you can always head to Ximending for one of Taipei’s very best Night Markets.

Extra attractions.

If you have the time, these extras are worth a look.

85 Sky Tower. Kaohsiung’s most famous Sky Scraper, it serves mostly as a hotel but has an observation deck, affording a birds eye view of the metropolis.

Yangchengpu area. The area surrounding the station is good for killing time. Wander through the narrow market-ways and indulge in clothing, tea, jewellery, and more Jade items than you’ve ever seen in your life.

FE21. A large mall complex only a short walk from 85 Sky Tower, great for some retail therapy. It boasts a gym, kids play area, as well as a plethora of name-brand and Taiwan-specific shops.

Final tips.

Budget around $300, especially since the train tickets will be roughly $100 for a round trip. Everything else is relatively inexpensive, especially the MRT and buses, and nothing mentioned has an entrance fee. You could easily keep food spending under $100 if you’re happy to eat light at convenience stores and the street food at the Night Markets. Souvenir wise, I recommend something weird from one of the Night Markets (a tacky T-shirt perhaps, or a phallic cake), or even a cute gift from Zuoying Station’s MRT pop up shop (the postcards are nice and inexpensive, or you can go more extravagant with model trains or photo frames!). It’s best to carry cash as very few places take card. To cut down on costs using the MRT, you can purchase an iCash card from any convenience store for NT500, and top them up at any station. This is more convenient too, as you can tap in and out as you go! Note though that iCash isn’t valid on buses. Take exact change for buses. Most journeys mentioned in this article are NT12.

Oppa Gangnam Style!

Oppa Gangnam Style!

The name Gangnam is more than likely familiar to you, thanks to PSY’s catchy 2012 hit “Gangnam Style”, but did you know it’s actually not just a snazzy song, but a district in South Korea’s capital city? Join me in Gangnam Square for a look at this popular district!

For starters, Gangnam is the third largest district in Seoul, and is its fourth most populated. It’s also one of the more affluent areas, with a higher than average (for Seoul) standard of living, comparative with places like Beverly Hills! Seoul is already notorious for being expensive with regards to property, but Gangnam takes the prize, costing almost double compared to the rest of the city!

It’s safe to say that Gangnam is a happening area. It’s a glossy metropolis boasting eye catching skyscrapers, is a hub for business, and has a plethora of shops. It has several shopping arcades, as well as malls (COEX is the main one), making it a great place to splash the cash. I actually prefer the smaller, more local shops you find off the beaten track. If you venture long enough, you’ll come across “Gacha Shop”, a quirky shop consisting entirely of Gashapon (capsule machines). These are very popular and can be highly collectible, and some of them are downright hilarious (underpants for your phone anyone?). Even if you don’t bother with any, it’s worth a quick look. Another shop I really enjoyed was Art Box, which is a combination stationary, home, and beauty place. Lots of cool gadgets, edgy office supplies, and cute make up! I could’ve easily spent an hour in there. Finally, as a bit of a make up enthusiast, I couldn’t not check out some fine Korean beauty products. Aritaum has a wide selection of both make up and skin care, and it won’t entirely break the bank. Another brand worth looking for, with a slightly heavier price tag, is Etude House. Their pressed powder in particular is a new favourite of mine!

Gangnam is a veritable outside art museum, with interesting sculptures dotted throughout the district. My favourite is the large pointing person (kind of looks like it’s disco dancing!). There’s also a huge tribute to PSY outside Coex mall.

Hungry? You won’t be for long. As well as shops, Gangnam is packed with eateries. If you don’t fancy Korean food, you can also sample Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, and more! Yakiniku (BBQ style) is popular, and you won’t be hard pressed to find one. If you don’t want a huge meal, hunt down one of the trendy coffee shops and rest your feet with a warm cuppa! Gobiter is nestled away from the main part of Gangnam, down a small flight of stairs. It’s modern, cosy, and has the most delicious cake! I highly recommend a slice of their rainbow cake; it’s pretty big though, so maybe think about sharing (or not, no judgement).

Lastly, no visit is complete without a quick stop at Gangnam Square. There’s a little stage there, an art installation dedicated to PSY (it’s perfectly fine to recreate the dance moves, I promise), and it’s close to the subway station.

Overall, Gangnam is worth at least 3-4 hours of your time. You could spend an entire day (or longer) there, but if your trip to Seoul is short, a few hours is enough time to soak it all in.

Taipei’s Metro system.

Taipei’s Metro system.

Getting round a new city can be an intimidating thought; lack of local knowledge, language barriers, price, it can all add stress to what should be exciting and fun. Not so in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, which has one of the best underground train systems in the world. Why? Take a trip with me and discover why I love it so much.

Their slogan “A world-class metro, a wonderful Taipei” (source: Taipei Metro website) gives you a good insight into how seriously they take customer experience. Taipei is fiercely proud of its Metro system, and for good reason. It’s clean, safe, easy to navigate, and has stops at all the right places. Let’s look at it closer.


I don’t think I’ve ever travelled on a subway system as clean as this one. Trains are gleaming inside and out, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any litter at any station, and users are very good about cleaning up after themselves. The fact that eating and drinking is banned on the trains probably helps. Don’t get caught either, as they impose heavy fines (you can carry food and drinks, just don’t consume it on the train).


Coming from a transport background (mainline trains in the UK), safety is one thing I always look for when using public transport. Happily, this is a major concern for Taipei, with barriers at every station, loud (but pleasant!) warning alarms prior to a trains arrival, and staff at busy stations to help the less able bodied (I’ve watched staff assist blind travellers, they are professional and caring), not once did I fear for my safety. Stations are well lit too, and most of the major stations appear to have staff of some capacity during all times of the day, another plus for solo travellers (especially women).

Easy to navigate.

All signs are in Chinese (Mandarin) and English, so it’s not overwhelming if you can’t read kanji. Announcements are in Chinese, English, and Japanese both at stations and on trains, and electronic displays on the trains in all three of these languages also help you to see where your stop is in plenty of time, so boarding and alighting is a lot less stressful! Prior to boarding, of course you must pay for your journey! Several ways you can do this, depending on how much you will be using the Metro. Let me break it down for you.

  • Single journeys. These can be purchased from either the machines or the manned kiosks near the gates. It’s pretty simple, just look at the metro map near the machines for your stop (in Chinese and English), you’ll see a number on it (for example, if you’re at Taipei Main Station looking to travel to Ximen, you’ll see a 20 on Ximen). This is the fare in Taiwan dollar for that journey. Click on your language (Chinese is automatic, but you can switch to English or Japanese too), select single journey, select the desired fare (20, 25, 30, etc.), insert cash only (coins or notes), and voilà! It’ll issue you with a little plastic disc, like a token, that you can use to tap in at your origin station. At your destination, simply tap then pop it into the slot where it will be eaten up by the gates, allowing you to exit. Just don’t lose it!
  • IC cards. Hit up the closest convenience store (usually a 7/11), to purchase an IC card for 100 Taiwan dollar. These can be topped up with as much as you like at all stations. The machines have an option for top up, just click it, click how much you want to top up (100 for example), tap your card on the plate (it’s pretty obvious, it has a sticker on it showing an IC card) and you’re good to go! 100 Taiwan dollar will get you a lot of journeys, and the gates will show you how much you have on the card as you enter and exit, so you won’t be caught short (don’t worry if you are, there are fare adjustment machines if you need them). Simply tap in and out at every origin and destination! (you can also top up at kiosks if you have issues with the machines).
  • Day passes. These are great for tourists. They are a fixed price and allow unlimited travel on the system for 24 hours. They can only be purchased at the kiosks.


Here’s a map to help you out:

As you can see, this one has both Chinese and English translations. It’s an extensive system, with stops at major attractions such as Taipei 101 (an architectural feat that towers over the city), Shilin (one of Taipei’s biggest night markets), and the Exhibition Centre. Their website has a route map and timetable, as well as links to an app to help you navigate the Metro like a pro: find it here. As a general rule, the closer the station is to Taipei Main Station, the cheaper the fare. There are five lines: Wenhu (brown), Tamsui-Xinyi (red), Songshan-Xindian (green), Zonghe-Xinlu (yellow), and Bannan (blue). If there’s a change to be made, signs will point you in the right direction at stations, as well as announcements and signs on trains. It’s pretty simple. As long as you know the stop you need, and the line it’s on, you’ll have no trouble getting your bearings.

Other things to love.

It’s almost an attraction in itself. There’s a mascot called Majimeow, an adorable cat character poised to greet you and ensure you have a pleasant trip, souvenir shops at major stations allowing you to buy Majimeow and train-themed goods, photo booths so you can commemorate your journey (no joke, I have one from the Taipei 101 stop!), and services such as lockers, free wifi, toilets, and care for disabled users. Want to remember each station you visit? Get yourself a notebook and collect station stamps! These can be found next to kiosks, a great way to see where you’ve been.

Enjoying Taipei couldn’t be easier.

Airline review: Peach.

Airline review: Peach.

Peach destination map, taken from their website.

Peach is Japan’s first (but not only) true LCC (low-cost carrier) airline, with hubs at Osaka (Kansai International), Tokyo (Narita), and Naha, but flying to 17 destinations within Asia, including Seoul. It was founded in February 2011, and took up operations in March 2012, and since then has been a popular choice for cheap flights. But what’s it like to actually fly with them? Let’s review.


One of the most attractive things about Peach is their low-cost. Much like the LCC’s of Europe (EasyJet and Ryanair), Peach offers a “no frills” approach to getting you from A to B. This means seating is basic and you pay extra to book seats (more for emergency door seating), there’s food but you pay extra, and service isn’t as attentive as it would be with say ANA. I’ve found that the earlier you book, the cheaper it is, but they also do regular sales on flights to their popular destinations (Tokyo for example) and these can be an absolute steal. I also like that in certain places they offer added extras, such as onward travel by train (from Narita airport to central Tokyo is long and can be expensive, the discounts offered on the flight are pretty good).


In this instance, it really is “you get what you paid for”. Don’t expect oodles of leg room and über comfy seats, and you won’t be too disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t terrible, but if you’re used to flying high quality airlines such as ANA or JAL, this will seem like “slumming it” somewhat.


Again, it isn’t on a par with the big carriers, but it isn’t awful either. The staff are mostly still really polite and helpful, with most speaking a decent amount of English (and with some multilingual speakers). My biggest issue so far with Peach is that they aren’t too great at communicating with their passengers about delays. On a recent trip from Taipei, the flight was initially delayed about an hour, but only one announcement was made and it was hard to hear. In the end, the flight was almost three hours late, the gate was changed with no communication (thankfully only to a gate close by), and with only a further one or two scratchy announcements the entire time. Cue lots of frustrated passengers constantly hassling the staff, and you’ve got for a miserable wait.

Further information.

Peach flies to destinations in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand, and has talked about plans for destinations in Vietnam and other parts of South-East Asia. The cheapest way to book is through their website or through price comparison site They offer two types of fares; “Happy Peach”, designed for budget travellers unlikely to change their travel arrangements, and “Happy Peach Plus”, for travellers who may need some flexibility in their ticket, with no time restrictions and no extra fees for changing the booking (aside from the difference in price). It also includes free seat reservation and one free checked bag (on “Happy Peach” both of these services cost extra).

In summary.

Overall, they really aren’t a bad little airline. They certainly make exploring South-East Asia that much more affordable, and if talks of further destinations are to be believed, the continent will be even more affordably accessible.