Taipei and the Surprises it brings during your visit. (part 1)

I visited Taipei during the spring season.  It was this country that offered me my first Sakura experience.  Weather was perfect in April.  Not too cold, not too hot.  Sakura blooms in major parks within the city.  Though unlike Japan and Korea where the streets are also lined up with trees that offers scenic views, there are only notable areas for sakura viewing which I hope Taipei will improve on in the coming years.

Day 1 – traveling via Cebu Pacific leaving the country with flight @10:55pm as this was the only flight available from airlines during the time of our travel, Taipei is a 2.5hours direct flight arriving @1:20am in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.  We took a bus to the city as the MRT is no longer operating past midnight.  The bus is located at Terminal 2, you will clearly see the queue of people going to Taipei upon exit.  The bus will also display the destination so you need not worry about entering the wrong bus.  Besides, this is the only bus operating at such hour.  Purchase ticket first inside the terminal before heading to the bus.  Please note that the bus’ final stop will be at Taipei Main Station.

Our hotel, The Hotel B7 Journey is located near the NTU Hospital Station so that is our base camp. From the Taipei Main station, it will take around 15 minutes walk and a mere 5 minutes walk from the hotel.  The journey from the Airport to the hotel was tiring but it was not that complicated.  Retired for the night with high hopes for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 2 – After having our breakfast at the hotel, we embarked on our first itinerary for the day.  As Taipei is connected with MRT, it’s easy to navigate around the city once you have decided what station will be your base camp.  As for us, it’s the NTU hospital.  From our hotel, walked down a park called Peace Park and it’s a delightful route towards the station.

Riding the MRT going originally to Beitou, we happen to see the Taipei Farmers Expo and decided to go down and check it out.  It was not actually in our itinerary but since the supposed destination can also be reached by walking from the Expo location, it’s like hitting 2 locations in 1 stop.  The expo is a must in your list but only if there is one during your visit.  This only happens occasionally.  This is a food haven.  Lots of local food to try.

My Post (15)After some knick knacks, we went to see the Confucius Temple which is near the area.  The temple is well maintained and very quaint.  Peaceful and perfect for meditation.  There is not much tourist in the area so you can get all the kinds of angles you want for your photo op.

My Post (5)After exploring the temple, we went to Beitou for the famous hotsprings.  Thermal Valley is where the boiling hot water lake is located.  Steam literally is emitting from the lake so definitely not suitable for swimming.  From the valley, you will also come across a creek where you can rest for a while as they have benches along the path and the path is lined with trees.

My Post (6)After the hotsprings, we went for the Shilin Night Market alighting at Shilin Station itself.  Just follow the trails of people walking towards the area.  Shilin Night Market is a vast market opens until 12mn.  We went back to the hotel just before MRT closes.  This place offers both goodies and food!  Get your wallets ready for the ultimate food trail of your Taipei visit.  I recommend eating the Sizzling Teppan Noodles….so so good! For goodies, I got some cable organizers and souvenirs for friends back home.

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to be continued….

Taipei and the Surprises it brings during your visit. (part 2)

…continuation

Day 3 – After our long day from Day 2, we retired early for the night as we get ready for Day 3.  We visited the famous Yangmingshan National Park.  This is where my first Sakura experience happened.  From our base camp, we went to Shilin station and from there, took a bus going to the park.  Note that YNP is a big park with different attractions.  Some attractions can be reached by riding bus inside the park.  The attractions are quite far from each location so you better get a map from the entrance to see exactly where you are.

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The Calla Lily Farm – based on the research I made before the trip, this is the reason why Yangmingshan is on the list.  The Calla Lily Farm!  I love calla lilies! This flower is very simple but elegantly looking.  We were lost in the park initially as we thought that we can walk but we’re dead wrong.  We hired a taxi to take us to the farm and asked him to wait for us.  Be ready to experience a glimpse of heaven as these white lilies paved the mountains with so much beauty.

My Post (10)After our heavenly visit to the farm, we went back to Shilin Night Market before heading home.  From the park, we took the bus back to Shilin station so since we are already in the area, we went to buy my son’s cute travel luggage as well as one luggage for me.

Day 4 – This is our last day in Taipei but still got loads of itineraries to follow.  Our flight is not until late night.  We checked out of the hotel early and left our luggages at hotel while we make the most out of our last day in Taipei.  We headed down to Longshan Temple.  This temple has more visitors so a bit chaotic.

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From Longshan, we went to see the Chang Kai Shek Memorial.  The place is huge so it doesn’t matter if there are tourists around.  There’s plenty of room for that coveted photo ops.

My Post (13)After Chang Kai Shek, we headed to Taipei 101 for lunch.  Taipei 101 used to be the tallest building in the world but was outgrown by the likes of Tokyo Skytree and Burj Khalifa.  But nonetheless, this the the tallest man-made structure you can see in Taipei.  After our stint at Taipei 101, we headed to Ximending and went with the flow of youngsters of Taipei.  They call this place the Shibuya of Taiwan.

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The Taipei trip is one trip you should start listing in your bucket list.  There’s much to see, prices are reasonable and attractions are not too crowded.  Get the chance to tell stories about the place first hand.

What I missed, but you shouldn’t:

  1. Elephant Mountain
  2. National Palace Museum
  3. Taipei Old North Gate
  4. Yingde University (from Meteor Garden)
  5. Jiufen
  6. Taroko National Park

More info here.

Here are some random snaps from our trip:

 

Reminders for your Taipei Trip

  1. Filipinos entering Taiwan can have free-visa if they have travelled to countries like Japan and Korea.  Visit their website for more information.  Recently, the visa-free initiative has been extended.  See below:

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2.  Rent a Flytpack before your travel.  It will help you with your internet connection especially if your trip is DIY.20170411_203009

3.  Buy their metro pass – Easy Card.  Can be bought in any metro stations.

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4.  Get your maps at the Airport or in your hotel.  If you don’t have internet while you are roaming around, your travel applications are useless.  Maps comes in handy.

5.  Taipei is a modern city.  Shorts/flips flops are ideal to use.  Be modest when you visit temples though.

6.  People in Taipei can communicate in English.  So don’t worry much about language barrier.

Schedule your visit to Taipei soon!!!