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Taipei, Taiwan — A Sentimental Trip for Explorers

October 14, 2018

When I think of my trip to Taiwan, I will always remember it as the time I found something I never thought was lost in the first place. I know it sounds sentimental but I needed that breath of fresh air away from reality. The months that preceded this trip were quite grueling. I had a lot of things on my plate that I somehow had difficulty finding my way back to my old adventurous and happy self. Thankfully, I got to experience so many exciting things in Taiwan that made me reflect about life. I climbed a mountain to see Taipei 101, I ate my heart out at all the interesting night markets, I screamed wildly at a theme park, I flew my wishes to the sky and I spent the whole day at a park just thinking how I have taken the good days for granted. Taiwan taught me that life is not always perfect. You must learn to acknowledge that it's not always going to be a bad day; and when you do, that's what makes the warm and sunny days much more meaningful.

 

 

WHAT TO SEE & DO

 

 

 

<DAY 1>

 

1. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

My Rating: ★★★★☆  [ 4 ]

 

If you're going to Taiwan, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial is definitely one of the must visit tourist spots. It's a national monument in memory of their beloved former President of the Republic of China, Chiang Kai-shek. 

 This glorious monument is surrounded by a beautiful park where you can go for leisurely strolls.

In the photo above, you see a monument with lots of stairs behind me. It was a really hot day and the climb to the top was exhausting. However, the view made up for it.  

Moreover, it was a delightful experience seeing the changing of the guards. I truly felt in touch with the culture of Taiwan when I watched this.

 

2. Elephant Mountain Trail

My Rating: ★★★★★  [ 5 ]

 

People always say, "Focus on the journey, not the destination". However, I have always been the type to be more motivated when I set my sights on the place where I want to be. I found myself in the same situation when I was ascending the Elephant Mountain Trail. 

Not seen in this photo is the struggle to climb up the mountain. It took 1,500 steps just to see this amazing view of Taipei 101. 

I had to climb the mountain with a knee that was badly injured just 3 months ago. My legs were shaking and I was drenched in my own sweat but the satisfaction of reaching the top made me forget all of the struggle. 

Initially, I didn't want to climb it because I thought I couldn't do it. However, I am so thankful that JB convinced me otherwise.

P.S. Carry a small backpack and pack extra clothes if you don't want to end up drenched in your own shirt like JB!

 

3. Raohe Night Market

My Rating: ★★★★★  [ 5 ]

 

After enduring the exhausting Elephant Mountain Trail, I had nothing but the urge to stuff myself with delicious Taiwanese food. Now, Taiwan is known for their lively night markets filled with food stalls serving all kinds of food. 

JB and I visited one of the oldest and (definitely the cutest) night market I've ever been to, Raohe Night Market! Sadly, I couldn't remember all of the names of the food we tried because I was too busy being a little piglet. Nonetheless, below are snippets of what to find in Raohe.

 

 

<DAY 2>

 

4. Yehliu Geopark

My Rating: ★★★★☆  [ 4.5 ]

 

One of the main reasons why I've been dreaming to visit Taiwan for a while now is because I always see Yehliu Geopark in photos and I really wanted to see it for myself. It was summer time and we were under the raging heat of the sun. As a friend would say, it was "heatstroke levels." Yet, that didn't stop me from exploring every bit of this natural wonder.

This destination in Northern Taiwan is home to several unique geological formations.

There's the famous Queen's Head, Mushroom Rock and many more. However, my favorite was the formation that looked like KING KONG!

The place was surreal and the ocean view made it more beautiful. 

 

5. Golden Waterfall

My Rating: ★★★  [ 3 ]

 

On our way to Jiufen, we had the opportunity to stop by quickly at the Golden Waterfall. Since we went there during the summer time, there was less flowing water coming from the falls. Luckily, the golden color is still visible on the river stones. 

 

6. Jiufen

My Rating: ★★★  [ 5 ]

 

Jiufen is another place that I have been very excited to go to because it's a destination in Taiwan that inspired the town and bathhouse in one of the few anime movies I actually like, Spirited Away.

Spirited Away featured a lot of food in the movie so it is no suprise that Jiufen would also be filled with delicious Taiwanese treats.

This is a delicious cream puff that reminded me of a croissant with overflowing creamy sauce.

This particular street food reminded me of fishballs back in the Philippines!

There were so many kinds of food to try and sights to see. The place was busy and decorated with traditional Chinese lanterns. It added to the cultural feel of the entire town.

I was particularly excited when I got to eat at the A Mei Tea House beacuse it reminded me of Spirited Away the most!  

I was in pure bliss. I got to drink tea and eat cute desserts just thinking of how lucky I was to be in such a place.

 

7. Shifen Old Street

My Rating: ★★★  [ 5 ]

 

The last place we visited on our second day was Shifen Old Street. This is probably the reason why Taiwan made me so sentimental. Here, I found myself in awe as I watched people release to the skies their floating lanterns filled with hopes and dreams. We got to paint on our lanterns and fly them on the train tracks.

How humbling it was to realize that every person has something that he / she wishes for — and that we are all going through our own separate journeys towards those dreams.

 We might not have it all figured out right now, but that's okay. We'll always have these wonderful moments to live for.

 

8. Modern Toilet Restaurant

My Rating: ★★★  [ 4 ]

 

Modern Toilet is another restaurant that has created quite a buzz in Taiwan. I personally found this restaurant very entertaining so I believe it deserves a special spot here in my list of Must Visit Places.

It is a popular tourist spot because of it's pooped themed cuisine and interiors.

The food was not only delicious, but the serving was also quite generous! My tummy was certainly happy afterwards. Not a bad way to end the day!

 

 

<DAY 3>

 

9. Leofoo Village Theme Park

My Rating: ★★★★  [ 5 ]

 

Our trip to Leofoo Village Theme Park was quite a story. It was actually very difficult for us to commute going there because all the buses were full. When we decided to take a cab, it took up all of our money and we were almost certain we weren't going to find a way home. Luckily, there were ATM machines nearby and we got the chance to withdraw some cash. Afterwards, we finally had the chance to enjoy ourselves.

Despite the ridiculous amount of money we spent, I still felt extremely happy because of all the heart clenching rides.

This particular ride reminded me of the Jungle Log Jam in Enchanted Kingdom. It was the first one we rode and I couldn't help but scream. Little did I know that the rides to follow were much scarier!

Aside from the rides, Leofoo Village Theme Park is also a zoo! They have so many unique creatures from rhinos, baboons to flamingoes.

One particular creature that they had was a white tiger. It was magnificent. I've never seen one before so I couldn't help but stare at its majesty. It certainly made Leofoo a theme park I would never forget.

 

 

<DAY 4>

 

10. Taipei 101 Mall

My Rating: ★★★  [ 3 ]

 

Our fourth day in Taiwan was the last full day. We decided to do less activities, do some shopping and just get lost in the city. Thus we decided to visit the building that towers the entire city, Taipei 101.

Taipei 101 used to have the honor of being the tallest building in the world before Burj Khalifa. This skyscraper is an engineering marvel and is even more glorious during night time. 

The mall had many establishments so we were able to buy some clothes and things that we wouldn't find back in Manila. We were lucky because there was also a cute picnic set-up in the mall that day.

 

11. Da'an Forest Park

My Rating: ★★★★  [ 4.5 ]

 

After roaming around Taipei 101, we went to the nearby Da'an Forest Park. It's dubbed as Taipei's version of New York Central Park. Since I have yet to see that famous park in New York, I guess this will still be one of my favorite parks to date. 

The place is quiet and perfect for picnics. JB and I spent the whole afternoon just laughing on a park bench and talking about life. I remember feeling extra happy and at peace. It's nice to be with someone you can have great conversations with. 

 The park was filled with birds, squirrels and cute dogs. Every corner had its unique charm.

Above is a photo JB took as I was happily staring at the people just playing music or walking around the park.

 

12. Shilin Night Market

My Rating: ★★★  [ 4 ]

 

After our shopping and park escapades, it was now time to grab some food again. Another famous night market in Taiwan is Shilin.

Shilin is one of the largest night markets in Taiwan and it certainly was a pretty long stretch of food, milk tea, clothes and many more!

Shilin Night Market even had some parlor games that visitors can try. Visiting this place certainly made our day more eventful.

 

<DAY 5>

 

13. Ximending Shopping District

My Rating: ★★★★  [ 4.5 ]

 

On our last day in Taiwan, sadly, we only had time to eat and explore Ximending before heading back to the airport to return to Manila. 

The streets of Ximending reminded me of Japan or Hong Kong. Every corner was alive and full of good deals, knick knacks and many more. 

 I found it so entertaining that they even have pop-up arcades around every corner!

Aside from this, Ximenting is also full of pop-up food stalls that just park in the middle of the street and sell yummy treats.

 

We celebrated our last day in this wonderful country the best way we knew how — by eating and exploring! Taiwan will always be a country that I will remember fondly. It reminded me that I must always seek adventure in life even in small ways. It also taught me to appreciate where I am in life and to always keep my motivation throughout the difficult journey to reach my destinations.

 

 

WHERE TO STAY: GO SLEEP HANKOU

Address: No. 54, Section 2, Hankou St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108

My Rating: ★★★★☆  [ 4.5 ]

 

When we were in Taiwan, we chose to stay at Go Sleep Hankou. This hotel has a great location because it's just a 5-minute walk from the nearest train station (Ximen). Aside from this, there are a lot of nearby establishments and it's even conveniently located near Ximenting shopping district. I would also say that it has an affordable price for the quality of service and the accommodations. We paid a total of Php 9,461 for 4 nights or Php 1,182 per head per night. I'd consider this a great deal given that we even had room service!

 

We booked our rooms via Agoda that's why we got a good deal. For more details, visit: Go Sleep Hankou

 

 

FRIENDLY TIPS

 

1. Get awesome deals and hassle free tours using Klook App

This app is something I use religiously when I go out of the country. It was really helpful for me even when I went to Hong Kong. It's a great app to get you discounts on attractions or tourist spots you want to visit. Below is a list of what we purchased in Klook for our Taiwan trip.

 

2. Must Have Apps for any Out of the Country Trip

- Klook: for discounts & convenient tours

- Agoda: for discounted accommodations

- Culture Trip: listicles of fun things to do in any country in the world

- Rome2rio: train schedules, most efficient commute and guides to getting around the city

- Google Translate: easily translate any foreign language (reads pictures and it can also speak out loud for you)

 

3. Try to go to Taiwan when it's not summer

Tickets and promo flights to Taiwan will usually be during the summer time and that's why JB and I decided to go there on July. We certainly enjoyed our trip but the heat was also quite hard to battle. We were sweaty all the time! I'd definitely love to return when the weather is a bit colder.

 

 

ITINERARY & EXPENSES

 

If you're planning to visit these places as well, feel free to copy the itinerary JB and I made!

We spent a total of PHP 21k per head ALL-IN (Flights, Hotel, Tours, Transportation & Food)

 VIEW: My Travel Itineraries (Coron, Dumaguete, Siargao, Hong Kong & etc.)

 

 

Time to make your own memories! Happy Travels!

♡,  Pat

 

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