I’m loving Taipei. It was a great choice to start my trip in Southeast Asia.
It’s busy but not frantic. Traffic obeys the lights so it is safe to cross the streets. Just have to watch out for the scooters on the sidewalk as they access parking spots. Which are everywhere.
Metro is very well signed in English. I arrived at 05:30 and despite my jet-lag addled brain, it was easy to follow the signs and transfer stations twice.
Of course, arriving at 05:30 has it’s problems as the hotel was fully booked and I had to wait until 14:00 for my room. I had left Vancouver at 00:45 , and Taipei was 16 hours ahead, so it meant a very long day!
For a gentle start in 28 oC, I headed to Liberty Square. It’s a huge park with beautiful gates leading to the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (1980), National Theatre and National Concert Hall (matching pair from 1987).
It was lovely and cool under the monument.
For breakfast I found a little back alley stall. The cook was whipping up a storm of small meals so I just pointed to one that looked good. It was a scallion cake but she beat a egg with fresh basil, poured it on the grill and then put the cake on top to meld them. Delicious for 35 Taiwanese dollars (CA$1.50)!
Longshan Temple (1738) is beautiful, but it was all the worshipers that made it special.
Longshan Temple is one of largest and well known, but there are many around the city squeezed in between buildings.
Lots of markets around the area too. A first for me was this black chicken.
I read an article about Dihua Street in the Dadaocheng area that recommended taking metro to the north end and work south. As I wandered around trying to find it, I stumbled into this little alley market. People were shopping from their scooters!
When I eventually found Dihua Street, it had some interesting shops. This was a kitchen shop that was very tempting! I only bought some rice paddles.
Interesting origami – masks and string of lights
The article also recommended the AMA museum. Ama is a term of endearment for older women, and the museum was created to remember the ‘comfort women’, or sex slaves, of the Japanese during their WW2 occupation. The museum is active in supporting women who are currently being abused.
I took the metro to Taipei 101. (508 meters. 101 floors).
After it was built in 2004, it held the record as the world’s tallest building until 2010.
Unfortunately the fog was lower than the building, so I had to back to take a photo!
View from the gardens of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (1972)
Taipei is famous for their food. And they love their night markets. There are at 30 in the city!
I went to Raohe Street Night Market last night. Shilin is bigger but Raohe is older.
First stop was for the recommended pork bun. It also had lots of green onions and black pepper. It’s wrapped in a dough and baked on the walls of a charcoal oven. And judging from the effort to chip them off, they really stick!
For lunch today I did my usual ‘point at what someone else had ordered’. Again, delicious for 50 TWD (CA$2.25)
There is also a dumpling stand which makes great pork, cabbage or garlic chive dumplings. It’s been a meal! I have have a stash of mandarin oranges.
Well, it’s been a busy four days as I recovered from jet lag! I fly home from Taipei on April 19, and I may come back for a few more days. Jiufen sounds like a nice place to stay overnight rather than a day trip. And now that I know the system here, it would be shame not to,use it again!
Tomorrow is a 09:15 flight to Hanoi. See you there!