A taste of Taiwan

During my first year teaching in Korea I met Caitlin and we spent the year making the most of our terrible hagwon vacation times together. We soon became travel buddies, and I have some of the best memories traveling around with her. We definitely clicked in terms of wanting to do similar things and being breezy with our plans together. One of the places we visited was Taipei. I didn’t know too much about Taiwan or it’s capital, but what better way to find out about it, than to go to it (I mean, that’s what I did with Korea and that turned out alright, right?).

Our first night consisted of walking around the city, we headed to Longshan temple to have a wander round, before getting caught in a quick tropical downpour. After buying some trendy rain ponchos from the nearest 7 Eleven, (and getting quite the stares when wearing them) we took shelter in a nearby market, treating ourselves to some bubble tea. Rain letting up, we went to Ximending and Shilin night markets. There was definitely many intriguing items to keep our eyes occupied as we meandered around, snake restaurants and frog’s eggs food stalls included. I instead opted to treat my arteries to some deep fried milk, and was happy with my choice.

The second day was a day to get our culture on. Venturing out into the humidity (yay…my fave :/) we visited the Peace park and National museum. The National museum was pretty underwhelming, but we had fun larking about outside taking selfies, copying the many poses that some Asian tourists were throwing about. Our personal favourite was the one leg stand, or the flamingo as I like to call it.

Taipei will forever be known to me as the place I developed my love for rotis. It was so fluffy and just yum. I also braved the infamous stinky tofu that evening. There’s not too much to say about the stinky tofu, except that it smelt (duh!), the flavour wasn’t as strong as I was expecting, bit of a let down really. Breath nice and tofu stinky-ed we decided to try out the gay scene in The Red House district. We sat outside and people watched to some beer.

I’d never seen/heard of Studio Ghibli before Caitlin and Amelia introduced their animations, but after I watched Howl’s Moving Castle I was immediately a fan. Jiufen is the inspiration for some scenes in Spirited Away and was a short journey away from Taipei. We popped by the Golden museum and the Golden waterfall, (which turned out to be not-so golden) en route.  Once we were there we spent some time exploring the small pathways snaking round the village. The place was full of the red lanterns made famous in the movie. We visited a tea house whilst we were there, and of course selfie-d. Plenty of stalls selling snacks were lined along the way, and I had to try some taro balls. There were plenty of other tourists to share the experience with, and this meant we had to battle to get a bus back, as they stop quite early.

Our final full day was spent soaking our tootsies in the hot springs, and walking around the city some more. For sun set we made our way to Elephant mountain, which gave an amazing view of Taipei 101 tour and the city. Before our flight the following day, we had a couple of hours, so we went to the highest Starbucks in the world, located in the very building we watched the sun set over the previous night. It is on the 35th floor of the 101 story building, but still gave great views without having to pay the entrance fee. We had to pre arrange a time slot where we would be taken up to the cafe, and all we had to do was keep our time there to under 1.5 hours, and buy a drink and food item each. Bargain.

Taipei and travelling around with Caitlin was a blast. I need to make sure to have plenty more adventures with this girl.


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