One with Taiwan



Indescribable. From the previous places I have been, I think nothing can be compared to Taiwan. Its a little bit of the past and the present. It is a little bit of what was and what is. The streets are engulfed with old and new buildings complimenting the past and the present.







On a weekend, I have tried to compress as much as possible the things I need to do and places I need to step foot into on a few days in Taiwan.

Well how do I even start my story. The shortest trips perhaps would always be the most exciting ones because you don't seem to have the luxury of time to immerse yourself with the surroundings. And that right there, could be greatest challenge and what I love most about these short-term vacations. How do I keep myself in pace for fun in the most little time?


With the guts and a really good fortune that came in our way, everything went well. With just a handful of to-go listed destinations, Taipei was more than accommodating to let us hit the road towards a hot spring, night market bazaars, high-end and local restaurants, temples and national parks.



The night markets are definitely Taiwan's crowning glory. It is a paradise to those who endures long walks to get good finds, especially that we came on a season's hype. The Shilin Market is like the Phat Phong and Chatuchak of Bangkok. But shopping is no-sweat, the literal coolness of Taipei will make you scavenge for wraps and coats in Shilin, just like the typical street fashion in Taipei.


Best gifts are Taipe's Jades. And you can search the city for the best places to buy quality Jades. I personally bough Jade trinklets while I bought my mom a Jade infinity pendant and my grand mother a jade bracelet from the Grand Palace.  







Just a few blocks away from our hotel is the famous Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. Across this memorial is the Presidential Palace and a few fresh markets. At this point, everything is walkable so go around and indulge yourself in 



After the thrust in shopping, plunged into a spectacular scene at the Fisherman's Wharf. Hop on this place at the cold night and get a warm view and if you need some romantic time, this is the place to be. 


 

There's a handful of free parks around the city,  we even had a swing at this children's park and the next thing we know is that a police man came to us and was speaking Mandarin translated to be as: "This place is for the children only". Sorry if I feel like a child at heart. :))

 

The Republic of China (Taiwan) resembles a lot of the mainland People's Republic of China, bicycles are convenient means of transportation plus you would not really mind pollution since there is none to spot in the first place. But aside from these two wheeled inventions, the MRT and the Bus are very convenient to use. You can buy your tap tickets at 7/11 stores and are consumable with both means just like Singapore's transport system. Otherwise, the cab is yours to enjoy.





Taipei 101 has got to be the heart of my adventure, the tallest in Asia and in 2004, the tallest sky scraper in the world. You'll have  your adrenaline rushing as soon are you are lifted to the 89th floor and get a magnificent birds eye view of the whole county. While on the view deck, narrations are also being played in different languages so the view at your current angle is detailed in voice. 




The Taipei 101 also holds the Guinness World Record of the fastest elevator with a swift 32 seconds lift to the 89th floor. Its unique architecture is very noticeable from a far. The ground floor of the tower is also a shopping mall. 


Downtown Taipei is piled with old and new constructions a front each other, which I think would be the city's identity. Others would find it ironic but I find the diversity lovely.
It is also necessary to learn at least he basics of  Mandarin just so you can survive bumping into conversations. Professionals speak English well but those merchants selling in the streets - the ones you want to get a good negotiation with can barely speak English (although they are friendly and accommodating).




The Yang Ming Mountain, roughly a 45 minute drive from Taipei downtown was one of the best views in the country, it is said to be the top most point in Taiwan, so you could just imagine how cold it is here. If  the plains  of Taipei was at 15 degrees, the Yang Ming Mountain was nearing zero. The wind hitting your face was freezing and you could just stand still rock as ice. And no, the scarves I have worn here are not meant to be fashion icons but are extreme necessities in the place. ;)





 
Lunch at the Taiwan Grand Hotel was a cherry on top. Not only did we dine first class, but the view of the city while having tea was a grandeur way to spend the weekend. Five star hotel and five star gourmet defined what life is all about - all authentic Chinese delicacies.

Around the Taipei 101 were a chain of malls for the kids, the teens and the more matured taste for fashion. Western and Asian brands are along side each other giving you a shopping hard time.



Also tried the fast speed train which is different from their MRT on the way to Taoyuan. The airport hails at Taoyuan and would take around 40 minutes on a regular ride, but the speed rail only took about 15 minutes. Dropped off at the station and took the bus to the airport.





Got the chance to be at the airport at exactly 00:00 in the morning. It was truly remarkable  to cross countries while crossing days. Left Taoyuan on December 4 and arrived in Manila on December 5 having two different date stamps on my passport. Although it was a little disappointing that stores and shops does not operate 24 hours in the airport.

Spent only a few days in Taiwan, just like any other trips I have made, but the experience was truly remarkable. Well I always believe that no two experience is identical and I'd like to keep it that way. Their hospitality was a rip off from the conventional hospitality we have in mind, they will treat you like the most important people on earth and even the old folks will run after what you need.

Its very difficult to paint the right words for Taiwan, but the closest I believe I could get is what they have in their tourism slogan, Taiwan: Touch Your Heart.
Wander Dude Notes:

  • In the Philippines, check out how to get your Taiwan Visa (Republic of China) HERE
  • From Taoyuan Airport, you can take a bus and the bullet train towards Taipei or a cab for 45 minutes which roughly costs $2000 (Taiwanese Dollars). 
  • Get familiar with their MRT routes as it can be a little tricky.
  • Citizen Hotel is just a few minutes walk from the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial. Visit their website HERE.


10 comments:

  1. looks like you had lots of fun.... can't wait to see taiwan! =)

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    Replies
    1. Yes indeed! I wish you have a fun trip too! :)

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  2. sana may 'like' button din dito hehehe...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay! I hear the message though! Thanks Maam Lils!

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  3. IMPORTANT QUESTION OF THE YEAR:

    Y U NOT WEARING BOOTS WITH DA PUR???

    Hahaha. Seriously, really love this post. It gave me an overview about Taiwan. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. K, so nag comment jud diay ko 4 yrs ago HAHAHA

      Delete
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