After visiting the more touristy areas, I only had a day to spend in Taipei.
Here’s how I went about it 1) National Palace Museum 2) Chang Kai Shek Memorial Hall 2)Yong Kang Street 4) Longshan Temple
I took out the 24/7 Eslite bookstore because when I got there, I had a hard time finding it and I figured I didn’t want to waste time and energy on getting lost.
The National Palace Museum houses the largest collection of Chinese artifacts and artwork in the world. I went through floors and floors of bronze, calligraphy, jade etc with my audio guide. No photos allowed though, but there was one piece of intricate ivory that was just so out of this world.
If you’re wondering how I manage to take shots of touristy places minus the tourists, it’s patience. I stand there for a good 10 minutes until the view is clear. I’m going to be honest, I realized I’m not a museum person unless it’s an interactive one. Still, it was an awesome way of seeing these artifacts in the flesh. I’ve only ever read them in my favorite world history text book when we tackled Chinese History. I used to score perfect on those exams because I was genuinely interested in it (and Social Studies was my forte.) While going through the display I wondered where all that interest went because I couldn’t remember which dynasty was which.
After taking a bus back to the station, I hopped on the MRT to go to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.
I made sure to be there for the changing of the guards. I admire these men for keeping a straight face and remembering every step. If I were a guard I’d have been kicked out.
I spent some time on the steps and just people watched. Afterwards I found a nice little pond and garden by the side of the National Theatre. There was a machine that dispensed fish feed for $10 NTD.
I ended up getting a total of $50 NTD because I had too much fun feeding the Koi fish. It was such a relaxing thing to do. There were even turtles who came out to grab some fish feed too! The people passing by started to stand beside me and take photos of the fishes while I fed them. Lol.
While feeding my finned friends, I realized something. I realized that things can come unexpectedly. When we travel we usually have a goal, we want to see this and that. But there I was feeding fishes in a pond, something you could do in any part of the world. But it was here that I truly enjoyed and felt at peace. I was expecting Jiufen to be the highlight of my trip but instead it was feeding fishes at a fishpond somewhere in Taipei, unplanned.
After feeding my fish friends I hopped on the MRT again and this time headed to Yongkang Street which is famous for its row of restaurants and dessert places!
I had a hard time finding the restaurants I wanted to try and I was getting really hungry so I entered this noodle shop that didn’t have a name. It just said that it was voted best beef noodle soup somewhere. So I had one. I don’t think it was the best I had. I still want to eat more beef noodle soup. Ugh craving!
Afterwards I went and had shaved mango icecream! It was huge! You can definitely order it to share but I finished mine anyway. Luckily I was alone so it was easy for me to get a seat. I loved it, so yummy- even the shaved ice tasted like mango.
Afterwards I walked along random alleys because I found these little back alleys quite cute. I wondered how it would feel to live in one of these apartments and live close to Yongkang street. I tried to figure out a way to be able to live in Taipei for month just to get a feel of the place, same thing I want to do for Bangkok too!
Then it was time to hop on the MRT again and go to the 24/7 Eslite Bookstore branch. However I had a hard time finding it and I was getting impatient and running out of battery. So I just left and went to Longshan Temple. It’s good to note though that as long as I knew my train stop, a dead phone didn’t really make any difference. Also, there were charging stations inside the MRT.
I lit some incense at the Longshan temples and said a few prayers before heading back to my hostel and grabbing my things for my midnight flight home.
I guess sometimes saying prayers don’t save you from misfortunes to come ahead. Didn’t take it that badly though. There’s only a handful of people who know what happened to me after but uh, I’m already back home so everything’s good!
This also marks the end of my Taiwan trip! There are so many places and things I want to do in Taipei that I missed. I wish I had a week to explore. Here are a few things I want to do if I ever get the chance to go back:
- Watch the sunset in Tamsui while eating grilled squid
- Watch the sunset at Taipei 101 and also eat Xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung
- Shop and read and eat at the 24/7 Eslite bookstore
- Hike Elephant Mountain
- Eat eat eat everywhere
- hang out in cute cafes and coffee bars
- shop some more at Shida market
- Go karaoke in Taipei
- Drink Taiwanese Beer
- Go to the beach/ snorkel
- Try their hot springs and spa
Hopefully my friends will come with me this time, it’s such an enjoyable place – I mean it’s only a 2 hour flight away. A weekend spent in Taipei seems like a staycation anywhere in the metro minus the heavy traffic and pollution. Gosh, crossing my fingers and praying for checks in the mail!