I fell in love…..with you, Taiwan.
Arriving in Taipei, Taiwan, I was beyond excited. This was the country I had always wanted to visit ever since the early days when I found myself interested in Taiwanese drama. Taking the train from the airport to Taipei city, greenery covered every acre in sight as raindrops hit the window pane. A feeling of “coming home,” yet I knew nothing of what I was about to experience once my train arrived at Taipei Main Station.
‘“The station was quite big,” as this was my excuse to why my friend and I got sort of lost finding our way around. However, we got to eat a local meal and grab some ice cream! Exiting the station, we were instantly hit by the surprisingly cool spring wind (no regrets on getting that ice cream). Every other person was covered in jackets and long sleeves, and here you have two boys who just came from Singapore dressed ready to hit the beach. Despite what others may have thought, we loved a weather where we were not sweating under the humidity and heat of Singapore’s sun.
Immediately after checking into our spaceship themed hostel, we grabbed our bags and headed out to explore Taipei! On a second thought, we went back and grabbed the free umbrellas as it started to rain outside. Staying in the Ximending district, we were walks away from nearby attractions, shopping malls, subway stations, and bars! More of a reason to stay out later at night (haha).
The city itself was alive, beautiful, and slow paced. Compared to any other city, the locals here took their own sweet time and were in no rush to get to their next destination. The alleyways and walkways gave of a similar vibe likewise to Japan, quiet and peaceful. Traveling from the west of the city to the east of city, we came across many small neighborhoods and lively night markets. My favorite had to be Raohe Night Market, where lanterns lit up the streets and I got to stuff myself with all the local delights. Pork buns and milk tea for days!!
Traveling outside the city was no hassle, as there were direct buses and trains. Likewise to Taipei city, the districts outside of the city were stunning and peaceful with its mountain and sea views. We hiked many trails, captured many beautiful sceneries, walked behind a waterfall, screamed at the snakes we saw on one hike (at least I did), all the while calling those few days “leg day” to burn off all the food we had ate since we arrived. The areas of Jiufen and Shifen truly resembled the past through its architecture and local community. Although these two locations have heavy tourist crowds, I would say it was definitely worth visiting.
If there is one thing I absolutely loved about Taiwan, it is the genuine kindness shown by the local community. They move out of the way just so they don’t photobomb your pictures!!
Nightlife in Taipei is one of a kind! Whether it may be meeting up with friends to get supper, or going out on weekend nights for drinks and clubs, so much is happening all around. Taipei 101 usually lights up around 7-8PM, and can be seen high up from the nearby elephant hill hike (be warned, endless stairs). The best night scenes are within Ximending and Taipei Central, with large shopping malls and roads filled with late night snacks and bars.
As big as Taipei is, 5 days was definitely not enough to see it all. Furthermore, there is so much more to Taiwan than its capital. Without a doubt, this country has captured my heart, and left me with a bigger desire to visit again!
. . .
Food For Thought: