Last week, we took off on an epic journey to Taiwan, the land of good food and great scenery! We travelled with Damian’s friends (Patrick, Clive and Angela), and it was Sandra’s first time to Formosa (the name given to Taiwan during a short-lived Japanese occupation). We stayed in Taipei but travelled out, and our adventure will be described in greater detail in our next few entries!
Our post outlines what we did generally, and is not intended to be a complete guide to our trip. If you would like more personal details e.g. budget, addresses or our itinerary, feel free to contact us in private at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to supply you with what information we have!
Taiwan is a beautiful, mountainous island (though not featured above… yet!) that is home to more than 23 million people, who live mostly in the urban cities such as Taipei (pictured above), Kaohsiung and Taizhong. The country enjoys both hot and cold weather, but during June through September one can experience typhoons, heavy storms and immense sunlight. We are certainly not discouraging anyone from going, but be sure to check the weather in advance if you do not wish for your travel schedules to be disrupted by unexpected weather forecast!
DAY 1: National Palace Museum and Shilin Night Market
Our first day involved a 4 1/2 hour flight from Singapore to Taiwan (via Taoyuan Airport). It was a morning flight, so as to maximise our time spent in Taipei City. Our choice of airline was Jetstar, having found a good return airfare (but obviously without the luxury of a full-service airline).
The most common way to get to Taipei City from Taoyuan Airport would be via bus/taxi, and we chose the former. A short one-hour trip, and voila, we reached Taipei! Taipei is densely populated, but remains the prime location for tourists. The city is well known for its street food, friendly residents and amazing scenic locations in and around the region.
Our accommodation was situated in Ximending, and also belonged to a popular chain of hotels, Go Sleep Hotel. For the price we paid, it was really worth it! The rooms were clean and well kept, as was the toilet (arguably the most important place of any accommodation)!
We immediately sought out some nourishment, and as shown below, the Taiwanese cuisine was simply tantalising, delicious and out-of-this-world!
Our first place of interest was the National Palace Museum. The iconic grounds houses over 700,000 unique pieces of Chinese artifacts and artworks, and was the former Palace Museum for China during the 1920s (and aesthetically similar to the Forbidden Palace in Beijing, both being sister palaces). We were not allowed to take pictures in the museum, but nevertheless enjoyed reading and witnessing Chinese history and folklore!
After staying at the Palace Museum till sunset, we headed to the hugely anticipated Shilin Night Market! It serves, amongst others, the famous Shilin friend chicken, which we immediately grabbed! The night market also features fun carnival-style games, with enticing rewards but seemingly difficult tasks (such as lifting a glass bottle with a rod and string (!?)).
We returned to our accommodation, which is located in the famous shopping district of Ximending. It boasts a wide array of shops and eateries, and since we were staying nearby we took our time in exploring the area.
DAY 2: Walking, Shopping, and Wufenpu/Raohe Night Market
In lieu of the weather forecast projecting intermittent rain throughout the day, we decided to stay indoors for most of the day. That being said, we certainly enjoyed the better part of the day exploring the local sights!
We first headed to SOGO, a popular Japanese chain of departmental stores (which had a flagship store in Raffles City, Singapore till the early 2000s); the ladies immediately found some Disney-themed shoes (which could not be found in Singapore) and promptly got them! We also found a Lomography shop, where a workshop was being conducted for enthusiastic instant photographers.
After a brief rest at the hotel, we headed out again to Wufenpu, a well known commercial shopping district much like Bugis Street, with alleyways filled with shops for both men and women. Admittedly, it was not as impressive, and in fact it was its foodie counterpart, Raohe Night Market, that drew our attention! Unfortunately, it was raining heavily and we could not fully enjoy the normal boisterous atmosphere of the night market.
Heading back to Ximending, we found more delectable food to tuck in and savour before the night’s end. After all, there’s no such thing as a curfew on food in Taiwan!
So that’s it for our first two days! We also had the opportunity to take some Polaroids and Instax wide films (which will be posted during our last entry), and if you follow us on Instagram, you would have gotten a glimpse of our photo montage. We will be posting more about our trip in the next two weeks, so keep a lookout for those entries!
Till next time,