To me, Taipei seems to be everything all at the same time, the perfect mix of modern and traditional. Cityscape, nature, skyscrapers, markets - so many vastly different things but all within reach. Our short stay was split quite evenly between sightseeing, shopping and eating.
We thought Tamsui would be perfect for a half-day outing. The MRT ride was only about 45 minutes from the city, and it was lovely to be greeted by rippling blue waters and misty mountain views. Apart from walking along the old street and eating iron eggs for the first time, we also visited Fort San Domingo and Oxford College.
#2: Taipei 101
I knew I wouldn't forgive myself if I didn't make the effort to see the great Taipei 101. Everyone else was pretty tired from the day's activities and were resting in the hotel, but I couldn't bring myself to 'waste' the afternoon. Armed with my MRT day pass and my camera, I decided to make the journey alone. Majestic, to say the least!
#3: Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
I stopped by after my visit to Taipei 101. Unfortunately, I only arrived less than half an hour before their closing time so I decided not to enter. I did stick around the beautiful grounds to take a few photos though!
#4: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall
We visited another memorial hall dedicated to Chiang Kai Shek. To be honest, I initially had wanted to visit only because it was listed as a must-do. I'm really thankful we did because it made me aware of this part of history. Some of the artworks depicting the circumstances during war really made me want to cry. If someone as ignorant as me already feels so much sadness, I can't imagine what it would have been like living in those times.
Ximending was a great shopping area but the highlight had to be our lunch at Modern Toilet. Everything was toilet-themed from the menu to the food to the decor. While the food was rather ordinary and expensive, it was a great experience. You should've seen the bowl after hubby had finished the curry...
#6: Shilin Night Market
#6: Shilin Night Market
And who can forget Shilin, the king of night markets? We definitely got our fix of street food from here, sausages, noodles, seafood, fruit, drinks, you name it. My favourite was the sweet potato balls dusted with plum powder. I thought it was such an odd combination but it tasted so good!
The rest of our time was spent shopping, mostly at the underground mall. To my surprise, I didn't actually end up buying much clothes because I found it hard to find designs that I liked, but the shoes, oh the shoes! Shopping life is so much easier when shops actually stock your shoe size. I found it amazing that almost all shoes came in size 225 (or AUS size 5, which is so hard to find!), and that it was so cheap yet comfortable!
Taipei takes the cake as my favourite part of the trip. I do wish we had more time to spend there, because I feel like we've barely scratched the surface. I know for a fact that there are some great hiking trails around and I'm slightly disappointed we didn't get to do one this time. Apart from the diversity, I love how the people are so polite and friendly, and that I feel so safe roaming the streets even on my own. I've relayed my thoughts to hubby and he thinks Taipei is a wonderful place too. Seems like we'll be going back!