This week we cover our last two days in Taiwan! The trip was mostly winding down to an end, but we intended to make full use of the remaining time we had left in the unpredictably fun city of Taipei!
Day 5: Eat, drink, and climb a mountain
After the long day out at Shifen and Jiufen (see our previous week’s entry here), we decided to sleep in and take the day as it came. The weather forecast proved to be unreliable once again, forecasting a day of rain where none was to be seen. Initially we would have opted to hike up the mountains at Yangmingshan, but chose to do so only later in the day. With that, we started the day with the only way we knew how: food!
Walking along Huaxi Tourist night market (albeit in the day); many shops were closed, but we came here only for one thing…
Taiwan’s signature dishes, lu rou fan (braised pork with rice)! It’s very common in Taipei and can found in eateries and pop-up stalls, but we were looking for a good-tasting meal, and this did not disappoint at all!
Singaporeans being Singaporeans 😉
Housing closely built to each other is common in Taipei, with a highly dense population of about 10,000 people per square kilometre!
Damian spotted an old shop selling one of his favourite toys: yo-yos! Naturally, he could not refuse.
Remarkable murals based on some cement stones. Not sure what they are…
Knowing that today was going to be a ‘chill’ day, we stayed in Ximending, enjoying some light shopping and walking about.
We rested at a cafe-cum-toy shop, which was a treat! Amidst the cute plushie and toys, we sat down on swings and drank tea to our hearts’ content.
A really, really, really big bear! The shopkeeper didn’t allow us to take a photo, but we just had to 😉
It was close to late afternoon when we decided to go up to Yangmingshan, the closest national park to Taipei City and located about half an hour from the city centre. Getting there required a change of buses. Upon reaching the bus terminal, we could feel the dip in temperature. Unfortunately, our biggest mistake was not checking the bus timing, and it turned out that many bus services going further up the national park had already ended. That being said, we enjoyed a slightly challenging walk up a nature path before returning back to Taipei City.
The ever-complicated map of Yangmingshan National Park. The red dot in the middle of the map was where were located.
Romantic? Awww… (Sandra wonders why Damian does not play the guitar for her…)
Just one of the many hills adorning the national park.
Sandra and Angela pictured walking through the forested pathway!
Clive pictured on the reflection of the bus window as the bus zipped down the mountain toward Taipei City.
Our last stop of the night was a return trip to Shilin night market! We tried several different ji pa (chicken cutlet) throughout our trip and found Shilin to have the best. The night ended with us filling our stomachs with appetising and oily food (no guilt there!)
The busyness and crowd of the night market never ceases.
Patrick, pictured queuing up for ji pa. This stall is really popular amongst the locals so we had to try!
Cooking chicken cutlets in that deep fryer in the open may be surprising, but such is the F&B/street food culture in Taipei!
Angela, Patrick and Clive posing with their various food purchases!
Upon returning to Ximending, we were surprised at the emergence of a ‘second’ night market! These food stalls apparently do not have licenses, and scurry off at the sight of policemen on bikes. But late in the night, that’s when they really thrive!
The streets were also lined with ‘pop-up’ vendors, selling mostly clothes and accessories. Propped on top of cardboard boxes, they were clearly designed to be kept efficiently (and in the case of making a speedy getaway…!)
Day 6: Celebrating the last day with the first day of Dragonboat Festival!
The last day had us checking out of our hotel (which had been the most comfortable place of rest, would recommend it for anyone) and spending the day with fruitfulness. Our first stop was a ‘secret’ Starbucks on the 35th floor of Taipei 101. We had to make a booking in advance, and could only stay there for 2 hours. But, for the price of a Starbucks drink (instead of the tourist price of accessing the top floor of the tallest building in Taipei), we enjoyed a vast panorama of the city below our feet.
Sandra sends off a mail to a pen pal! (Shoutout to @slr670!! Do check out her Polaroids & film on Instagram)
Back again, Taipei 101!
As expected, a queue had formed for their reservation.
The funny-face bunch!
Our sweet treats and snacks as we dine on the 35th floor!
After our brunch at Starbucks, we headed for what would be the final main activity in Taiwan; witnessing a dragonboat race in commeration of Duanwujie (Dragonboat Festival). The location was at Dajia Riverside Park, where the winding river cut through the north of Taipei City. The weather forecast predicted showers, but given that it was the last day, we decided to just go for it…
A pamphlet for the Taipei Dragon Boat Festival!
No festival is complete without inflatable arches!
A mosaic of a dragon boat and its rower.
There were locals and foreigners (like us) alike, being roused by the spirit of the Dragon Boat Festival and taking part in mini-games and activities!
Snapshots of Angela, Clive, Patrick and Damian taking on an inflatable panda!
Various teams were taking part in the dragon boat competition, ranging from varsity teams to foreigners! Here, a team is warming up for their big race.
A nearby tentage housed several food stalls, serving local treats and drinks for hungry souls. At this point it was raining heavily so we sought shelter and warmed our core with piping hot food.
At the bank of the river, scores of supporters and bystanders cheered on their teammates as the rain continued to pound upon the landscape.
It was amusing to see such a strong team resoundingly beat the rest of the pack, and the last boat to cross the line were made up of middle-aged men and women…
Posing, because we can!
Our last meal of the trip had to be a good one, so we sought for a reputable beef noodles store, and happily found one in Ximending! Beef noodles, just like lu ruo fan, is a popular delicacy in Taiwan. It was a great way to round off a wonderful, fun-filled and unpredictable trip by indulging in the best of local delights!
The matrons of the store working hard to get the orders ready! There was a crowd when we had reached.
The soup was clear and light, the noodles was soft but firm and the beef was tender and chewy. All in all, a good meal!
A different variation of the beef noodles, as the beef and other parts of the cow (such as collagen, stomach and so on) was soaked in a salty, chilli-induced gravy.
Last (but certainly not least), we present our usual collection of Polaroids and instax, taken throughout the trip! We brought our Lomo’Instant Wide, and the Sonar SX-70. It took some time for us to collate and choose our favourites (and we have already been uploading them on our Instagram); so please, enjoy!
Day 1: Taken at the National Museum Palace. The sun was so glaring, lens flare could be seen! Just to clarify, the mountain behind is not a multiple exposure (it is actually part of the background)!
Day 1: Long and multiple exposure, taken at National Palace Museum while we were waiting for the bus! The long streaks of blue and orange belong to the bus passing by.
Day 3: Taken at the Huashan Creative Park, outside the Upside Down House.
Day 3: Taken at the Fisherman’s Wharf; the sunset is so breathtaking!
Day 4: Taken at Shifen; the train passes through the small town so close to its inhabitants and buildings, you can literally touch it as it passes!
Day 6: Taken at the Dajia Riverside Park, where the rainy day did not deter our hopes of witnessing a dragonboat race!
Day 6: The dragon-boaters, pounding their way through the river in the midst of a downpour!
Day 6: Group selfie taken (with a remote) at the Starbucks outlet at Taipei 101, which sits on the 35th floor!
Day 2: Taken at the Fisherman’s Wharf; this brand franchise (selling the ever-popular chicken cutlet) can be found all over the major districts in Taipei City!
Day 1: Long exposures taken while waiting for our bus outside the National Palace Museum.
Day 3: Taken outside the Taipei 101. We used a blue filter, knowing that the humidity of the country would turn the polaroid yellow. True enough, it balanced out the hues and turned out well (at least in our opinon!)
Day 3: The sunset, taken at Danshui.
Day 4: Taken at Jiufen; Sandra enjoying her coffee mixed with Baileys as the sunset over the mountains.
Day 4: Taken at the Pingan Bridge, located just outside Shifen. Polaroid taken using a wide-angle lens!
Day 5: Taken at Shilin Night Market.
Day 4: Taken at Jiufen, along the cobblestone alleyways
And that wraps up our entry of our Taiwan trip! We will return to our usual antics and adventures next week, so stay tuned. 🙂
Till next time,