Published: September 26th 2010
September 24th 2010
Hong Kong Airport
coffee with a view
A big thank you to Glenn for taking us to the airport at 5am this morning, especially as we were kept awake until 12.30am, due to Ron doing his last minute packing, sigh. After two flights, three movies and three meals we arrived in Taipei around 7.30pm (9.30pm Australian time). Our two flights were both Cathay Pacific, the service was brilliant, from being escorted to our seats, to having the flight attendants on the second flight search for a vegetarian meal for Ron that somehow had not been ordered when we booked. They resourceful came up with a cup of noodles and fresh fruit.
Off to good start in Taipei, we breezed through immigration, as quick as we were our bags had arrived at the carousel before us (always such a relief to see your bags have arrived). Within 15 minutes of disembarking we were sitting in the comfortable seats of the limo our hotel had booked for us. Arriving at Hotel Quote, http://www.hotel-quote.com we were checked in quickly by the friendly front desk staff and escorted to our room. We were told the mini bar's beer and soft drinks were included, Ron was very happy to sample the Taiwanese
A gift from hotel quote
We were given this toy reindeer to celebrate Hotel Quotes first anniversary, he is sitting next to the ipod dock in our room
beer. Heading out tomorrow sightseeing, can't wait to try the local cuisine and explore the city.
Day 2 - After breakfast we went for a walk, we soon realised we would be best to take an organised tour in the afternoon as we weren't used to the humidity. We joined a small group to take the Taipei city tour, first stop was the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, built to commemorate late president. We were lucky to arrive in time to watch the impressive changing of the guard before walking in the grounds to the National Theater and National Concert Hall, all beautiful traditional buildings.
Next stop was the oldest Taoist Temple in Taipei, Ron said it looked like they were making whisky because of a still like contraption to the side of the building. It was actually an enormous filter used to keep the air clean when they burnt offerings, Taipei prides itself on being one of the cleanest asian capital cities. We then drove to the Martyrs' Shrine which is dedicated to the people who sacrificed their lives fighting for the Republic of China, we were impressed by the peaceful surroundings and amazing buildings.
stop was the National Palace Museum, rated in the top four museums of the world. We both agreed having a guide to show us around and explain the exhibitions some dating back more than 8000 years was best way to see the museum. The museum is very large and apparently holds more than 600,000 treasures from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties, we would have missed many of the most priceless artifacts without Jack as our guide.
The tour over we asked to be dropped at Taipei 101, now the second tallest building in the world, surpassed by Burj Khalifa in Dubai which was complete early this year. Ron was a little disappointed to miss out on visiting the tallest building, guess that mean Dubai is on the list of places to go. After lining up for an hour to get to the top and then another hour to get down again we decided to find something close by for dinner. We took pot luck in the food court, pointed to what we thought we wanted on the menu but ended up a little disappointed with the food, not very tasty at all.
Not many people speak
English, in fact we only saw one other western couple all day and they were on our tour. We were amused by the fact the Taiwanese are so polite they were trying not to stare at us, but with Ron towering about 2 foot above everyone else and with my blond hair we couldn't blame them for being curious.
Tip for the day, Taxi's are spotless and the fares low, but good luck finding an english speaking driver, ensure you take a hotel card or map to show where you need to go.
There are more photos below