(image credits to travel.taipei)Besides viewing 508m tall Taipei 101 up close at Taipei 101 station, take one stop further to XiangShan, Exit 2. Walk along the edge of the park, and take a left at the end of the road. Continue the path till you reach the starting point of Xiangshan Hiking Trail. A distance of 650m consist of mainly steps, you ascend uphill and an amazing birds’ eye view of the spectacular skyscraper awaits you. You can try to catch the sunrise or sunset view for a different skyline. After which, make your way back to Taipei 101 mall, where you can find some upmarket shopping, Agnes B cafe and most important to check out theirFood Court! It is definitely one you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking for a cheap yet good meal with variety. Digest your food by venturing into the corner of Xinyi Shopping District or along Songzhi Road with malls like ATT 4 Fun or international brands like Forever 21, GAP or renting a uBike to travel around the heart of city!
Tamsui Old Street
Walk along the Tamsui old street near the river, and you’ll find a ticket stall that sell a return ticket to Fisherman Wharf by using a boat. In Tamsui old street, you can find a unique person that is look alike with a statue (the gesture, everything).It is so interesting to see. Not only that, Tamsui is famous for the very long ice cream cone. The taste is so-so, but you can take a nice picture with it! It’s very cheap though, only NT 25. Again, there’s a lot of food stall along the Tamsui old street that you need to try ! Not only that, there’s also bag and fashion store along the way, and the price is worth it. If you walk along the river, you will feel that you’re not in Taipei anymore. I don’t know if it’s only me or not, but the atmosphere is really calm here in Tamsui.
Last but not least how could you forget about visiting cafes? It seems to be in the trend of cafe hopping or visiting theme restaurants with quirky interesting decorations wherever you go regardless of the country you are in. To me one is for a different experience, like an eye opener, second is like a comfort resting corner, enjoying the ambiance and pace with a cuppa and plate of dessert. But it is always an irony – pretty and adorable cafe are usually photogenic, but food are not stomach worthy; whereas those urbane and poised cafe usually serves a good deal of dessert and coffee for enjoyment. There are quite a good variety of different cafe concept you can spot in Taipei such as branded cafe like Agnes B at Taipei 101; Barbie Cafe in Zhongxiao East Road and Pompompurin Cafe in Songshou Road for the cartoon fanatics; Myowa Cafe in Jinhua Street for the Green Tea lovers; Zenique cafe in Yongkang Street for a touch of japanese zen; Topo+ Cafein Zhongshan N Road; there is just simply too much to mention! But do you know, the best places are usually the ones you come across by chance?Bonus Sharing!1.Accomodation – Good 9 Stay at the Heart of Ximending
Chiufen (Jiufen Old Street)
Jiufen-Shifen is a must go area if it is your first time to Taiwan or have not visited the area before. It’s a bustling winding streets that houses truckloads of local specialties and souvenirs. It is also renown for their Peanut Ice Cream, Ah Ma Taro Balls and their handmade Meatballs. Once you’re done with the food and souvenirs shopping, you can head down to the -
During the day Taipei has all the hustle and bustle of a modern city. In the evening, the seaside district of Tamsui is a great place to watch the sun set, and has an absolutely stunning beach. The night markets of Taipei are alive and full of color. From street parades celebrating the birth of a deity to betel nut girls (girls in glass booths selling cigarettes and betel nut). And here's the catch, they have to wear skimpy clothes and the skimpier they are the better their business! The food on offer contained many quaint local delicacies, like turtle meat, which was quite good and snake blood, and bile which were, well, indescribable. The markets outside also had some diverse types of foods, snails for example! But apart from this there were a number of delicious seafood options and other foods that wouldn't make a tourist cringe.
Taroko National Park
Suspension bridges take you across these streams and the lush green forests in Taroko National Park (home to Taroko Gorge) make for an amazing sight. Moreover, because of the geology of the place, there are natural hot springs and volcanic mud baths that you can get into and relax and refresh yourself. Really works!
Sun Moon Lake
A bus to central Taiwan takes you to the beautiful Sun Moon Lake. Surrounded by rolling mountains, vast sailing curtains of mist, the lake is shaped like the sun and a crescent moon with cherry blossom trees lining the shore. The cobbled streets in the town on the edge of the lake and the views from there of turquoise waters make it seem like a picture from a piece of Chinese tapestry.TRIVIA The lake is separated by Lalu Island, a place where aboriginal tribes talk to their ancestral spirits.Arrow bamboo found in surplus at the Yangmingshan National Park is used by aboriginal tribes to make weapons for hunting. Shop for arrow bamboo writing materials, and traditional musical instruments and mah-jong tiles made of bamboo, and follow the arrow bamboo trail at the park running through a thicket of canes on either side.Taiwan is a popular holiday destination with the Japanese and the Koreans. The Yangmingshan National Park has sulphur springs known to have medicinal qualities, and a lot of resorts have water from the hot springs flowing into their pools for guests to take a dip in.
Yangmingshan National Park
The Yangmingshan National Park is set on the Tatun Volcanic Group of mountains, a volcanic bed from millions of years ago. Today, the twenty volcanoes here are theoretically dormant. We got off the bus at Xiaoyoukeng to an overwhelming odour of rotten eggs, which Francis informed was sulphur, pointing towards sulphur fumes that were escaping from the steaming vents and fumaroles. Hot springs and yellowish green sulphur deposits are found across these mountains here, making the area a popular tourist spot.
Sun Moon Lake
No trip to Taiwan is complete without a visit to the mystical Sun Moon Lake, the country’s largest freshwater body. The lake is considered sacred by the local aboriginal people and its name is derived from its distinctive shape, with a rounded main section similar to the sun and a narrow western border comparable to a crescent moon. Sun Moon Lake’s emerald green waters reflect the striking mountainous scenery that surrounds them, creating some of the island’s most enthralling landscapes. Also encircling the lake are numerous temples and picturesque pavilions, gardens and pagodas, each offering a unique perspective on the waters below.
I still prefer shopping at Ximending or even at those night markets, which i find it sometimes more trendier and of better quality. While you are there, some of the drivers may suggest Underground Shopping at Taipei Main Station which i felt it is good for shoes shopping only to me personally. Just remember, you must haggle for those higher priced items when you are at Wufenpu.14.Savor the best tasty snacks you can find in the Night Markets
Points of interest include the Chingshui Cliffs and Taroko Gorge National Park, which I will talk about more in the itinerary. The rocky beaches alongside the Chingshui Cliffs were empty each time I visited, though the towering road above was frequented by large trucks passing through the winding tunnels. This stretch of highway is one of the best places for taking photos, but it also is somewhat dangerous. People should be on alert for gargantuan falling rocks as well as speeding motorists.
Wu Fen Pu (Wufenpu Garment Wholesale Area)
Where will be the best shopping with the best bargains in Taipei? Everyone will tell you it is Wufenpu! It is undeniable that it houses a lot of fashion clothing, bags, caps etc. It is really a big area with different segments, some segment are filled with cheap bargains as low as NT100, while some are of better quality and not as much bargains, but still considered reasonable, and some are selling at much higher price which are comparable to outside shopping malls. I don’t deny it has loads of goodies to choose from, but still it all depends if it suits your dressing style.
Huashan 1914 Creative Park
If you would like to experience the artwork of the creative young aspiring artists, pop by Huashan Creative Park. Previously a Japanese plum wine factory turned into an arty warehouse showcases different genre of exquisite art pieces and holdsperiodic exhibitions such as the Tsum Tsum, or the lastest addition – Topsy Turvy House that was built by a group of architects from Taiwan. It gets real crowded on weekends! If you would prefer to enjoy the quieter, serene view of Huashan, please pop by on a weekday!
Besides all the bustling vibrant city life, enrich yourself at the heritage sites and memorials filled with history of how Taiwan came by from then till now! Embrace the surreal Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall which document CKS life and career and exhibit the history of Taiwan in the Zhongzheng District and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall which is literally known as the ‘Father of the Nation’ which consist of SYS’s life and the revolution he led. If you are passing by both, please be sure to catch the Changing of Guards Ceremony at either location! If you would like to further immerse in their cultural tradition, make a visit to their Taipei Confucius Temple to pray for good results and Manka Longshan Temple for worshipping GuangYin, Mazu and GuanYu.
Chung Tai Chan Monastery
We spent our time here leisurely sailing around the enchanting lake on a boat tour, making trips to Cih En Pagoda Temple and the Chung-Tai Monastery.Sun Moon Lake is also home to Taiwan’s annual mid-autumn festival, the Sun Moon Lake Swim. Every year in October, around 10,000 people swim from one side of the lake to the other. This is the only time of year that anyone can swim there, as it would be too big for lifeguards to patrol. The annual swim ends with a spectacular fireworks display and party, all set against a stunning backdrop. Well worth making a second trip back for, methinks!
Leo Foo Water Park
(image credit leofoo.com.tw)If you are on a trip with fun loving people or exhilarating kids, have an exciting joyful day in Leofoo Village Theme Park! Leofoo Village awaits you with their thrilling roller coaster rides, wild animal safari, musical water shows and majestic parades at designated show times!16.Enjoy the moment with some Cafe/ Theme Restaurant Hopping
Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
To get here : MRT Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. SYS Memorial hall is a very beautiful place. You even can look at the Taipei101 directly. Not only that, it has a lovely garden full of colourful flowers :)Inside the memorial hall, you can find the Honorable Sun Yat Sen statue and you can take a picture there !
After which embark on a uphill trail to Wulai Waterfall via the Lover’s Path. They used to have a Wulai Log Cart which can bring you to the foot of the Wulai waterfall but a portion of it was destroyed in August 2015 typhoon and has yet to be restored. Once you reached the foot of the waterfall, you can choose to take a Gondola up to the head of the Wulai Waterfall and there holds a mini Yunxian Amusement Park with some peddle boats, natural obstacles, natural trails. Alternatively, you can visit any of their Bathing House as Wulai is also a home to natural hot springs. After spending half a day there, when you’re taking the bus back to Xindian, drop by Bitan which is just next to the station. It’s yet another picturesque scenic area with the 200m long Bitan Suspension Bridge over the Xindian River which you will not want to miss. They also have a stretch of cafes overlooking the Xindian River, at times there will be someCarnivals otherwise, photo worthy pictures with colorful vibrant sculptures at the end of the stretch of restaurants. You can hop into a Pedal Boat along Xindian River too.
Shi Men reservoir I am typing this real time on a boat cruise at Shi men reservoir石门水库, where Taipei city gets the water supply from. The reservoir is surrounded by mountains. On this cloudy morning, the silhouette of layers shrouded in mist is like one Chinese ink painting. The captain is a small thin man, tanned by years working here. His teeth are rotten by a beetal chewing habit popular by most boatmen here. Cheeky and flirtatious, he charms the women with his jokes as he steers. Like how he describes these mountains as Double Breasts hill 二奶山, pointing out the valley in between as the career line事业线, a derogatory term used to described women who dressed provocatively to get promoted.
The Red House Market For Artists & Designers
After look around and take some rest, we go to the Red House at Xi Men Ding.To get here : MRT Xi MenAt the afternoon, Xi Men Ding is not that crowded, and it is better to visit the Red House at the afternoon so you can take a beautiful picture infornt of the Red House :)Red House is basically like a little museum for the artists. It got a lot of unique stuff like an old radio, old telephone, CDs, and so on.You should visit it when you have some time.
After we look around and enjoy the view, we got back to our boat and back to Tamsui old street. Then we go to our next destination which is the Modern Toilet Restaurant! :) To get here :MRT Xi Men, it's located near the Kunming street. Some people are having trouble while finding the Modern Toilet Restaurant .Just make sure that you brought a picture of the food (it helps) because Taipei people don't have any idea if you ask them where is the modern toilet restaurant. Modern Toilet Restaurant is a very famous restaurant on the internet.The price of the food is about NT 240, which you already get a main course, beverage, and a dessert.Many tourists come to Taipei to try to eat at this restaurant. The decoration is full about toilets! Very interesting, isn’t it?
Best place for shopping and Local Food This was a memorable place for me. 2 Girls approached me and asked if I could give them a radio interview. They do interviews on foreigners in Taipei. It was nice. I met 2 Expats there from the USA and ending up talking around 1 hour about God. Haha