Things to do in Taiwan: Taipei

Taipei is a quick getaway from Tokyo’s ‘fast paced’ city life. An entirely new place to me, yet it feels so nostalgic.

Have you ever felt like you’ve been to some places you’ve never been before? Well, I have.

Honestly, as a Tokyo resident, Taipei is not interesting that sophisticated to some extent. However, as someone who was born and raised in a developing country surrounded by Chinese influence, I dare say that it is definitely worth a visit.

As I mentioned before in my previous post, I came to Kenting first instead of Taipei. After spending 3 nights in Kenting, I headed to Taipei from Kaohsiung with the High-Speed Rail.

Kenting to Taiwan
Kenting to Taiwan

Taipei, Day 1 – Strolling around the City

In Taipei, I stayed in Wanhua area which appeared to be the red light district of Taipei. The location itself was quite good, right in the heart of the city.

When I was searching for the location of the hotel, I stumbled upon a familiar street snack shop signboard. It was Hot Star. Well, it’s quite famous back then in Indonesia.

Hot Star, a famous Taiwanese Fried Chicken
Hot Star, a Famous Taiwanese Fried Chicken Stall

Once we settled up, we took a break at our hotel. That day, we only went out at night looking for dinner.

We took a stroll around the city. I noticed that there’s a lot of Japanese brands or shops here in Taipei. To me, the city itself seemed familiar. It brought me back to my childhood era when I used to live in North Sumatera. It’s a typical Chinese Indonesian building. Only this time, it’s more advanced.

Taipei, Day 2 – Memorial Hall & Shilin Night Market

The next day, we went to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. Honestly, I sucked at history. Let alone Chinese history which was totally foreign to me. However, the history of Chiang Kai-shek was kind of intriguing. For Chinese and Taiwanese, he played an important role in defending the country during the Japanese invasion. Though in the end, he lost a battle and was forced to gave up some of his territories, some people still think of him as a national hero.

When the night came, My friends and I went to Shilin Night Market. You could find various kinds of tropical fruit here. You should be careful though if you’re thinking of buying one because mostly it’s overpriced.

Taipei, Day 3 – Elephant Mountain & Taipei 101

We were ‘white peopleing’ (LOL) on the third day. We climbed the Elephant Mountain which was quite exhausting, especially if you’re not good with physical activity. I personally wouldn’t consider it as a mountain. Judging from its size, it looked more like a hill. When you feel like giving up, remember that each stair you take contributes in burning the calories you gained from the Taiwan’s street stall delicacies.

However, all of that weariness were paid off once we reached the top. We could see Taipei 101 and the surrounding skyscrapers from here. When the sun set, it was really pretty.

Once we finished, we went down and headed straight to Taipei 101 to have a dinner together with Andreas’ childhood friend.

In 101, we dined at the famous Chinese Dumpling restaurant, Din Tai Fung. Finally, my longing for authentic Chinese food had been paid off.

Dinner at Din Tai Fung
Dinner at Din Tai Fung

Taipei, Day 4 – Xinbei, Danshuei & National Palace Museum

I didn’t remember exactly the order of the activities that I did on this day. First, I went to the port in Danshuei district with my Chinese roommate and her friend to see the so-called Bridge of Love.

Then later on that day, I went to the National Palace Museum with Ben and Andreas. It was freaking huge! FYI, this place is also considered as one of the largest museums in the world. Too bad we couldn’t take a picture inside. It was also good that they provide an audio guide device to be rented, so you could get an explanation of the object that was being displayed in the exhibition.

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