Taiwan-dering for the 3rd time.


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Asia » Taiwan » Taipei
November 27th 2019
Published: May 4th 2020
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Whoa! I can't believed this is my 3rd time in Taiwan already! Coming from my motherland tired, groggy, sleepy, and my appetite was lost, our plane landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 1AM - on a wee hour. It was a 2 hour flight from Manila via Cebu Pacific.
Taiwan, particularly Taipei will always be my second home out of the Philippines. I guess my heart was left there. I loved this country so much! So after the Immigration clearance, picking up our luggage and did some currency exchange, we took Kuo Kuang Bus; NT$140 as of November 2019 going to Taipei Main Station. Approximately, travel time is about 1 hour only.
Reached Taipei Main Station at around 3AM already, decided to catch some sleep and headed off to our next activity of the day. We stayed at NeoSoho Hostel, a walking distance away from Taipei Main Station. This is ideal for backpackers, budget or solo travelers, with a common kitchen, free WiFi, and shared bathroom. The accommodation is also a good location since there were restaurants, convenience stores, coffee shops, and shopping centers nearby.
Woke up at 7:30 AM, freshened up, leave the hostel and off to Taipei Main Station, our meeting place for the tour tody and grabbed some coffee and bread for breakfast.

EXPLORING YEHLIU GEO-PARK, JIUFEN, AND SHIFEN OLD STREET

These are the places I don’t want to miss out whenever I am in Taiwan. And I think, I don’t get tired going back here as some of my wishes come true. Partly yes. First, we went to the weird and unusual rock formations at Yehliu Geo-Park. We began strolling and observed some rock formations we spotted. They're so beautiful. We bought our tickets from our guide for NT$80. Then we went next to Jiufen and Shifen Old Streets. Jiufen Old Street and Shifen Old Street’s colorful history were so interesting, by the way. In Jiufen Old Street, lots of tea houses were there and some Chinese red lanterns. Jiufen was often associated with Japanese anime movie, "Spirited Away" and that Totoro was everywhere. I just lately discovered through our guide that "Jiu" from the word Jiufen, means number 9 in Chinese/Mandarin. Jiufen was once composed of nine families before it was discovered by Japanese. For lunch, we settled for xiao long bao which is NT$230 and rice pork toppings for NT$70. Our original
Nì hăo, Taipei 101!Nì hăo, Taipei 101!Nì hăo, Taipei 101!

The famous Taipei 101 seen from Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Garden
plan was to eat at the bus some xiao long bao but we ended up eating all of it in just one sitting. Back to the bus, our next stop is at Shifen Old Street where we released a sky lantern with our wishes written on the colorful sky lantern at the old railway tracks which was also known as Pingxi Line which is still operating up to this days. Multi-colored sky lanterns is NT$200 and single colored sky lantern is NT$100. It was full of tourists that afternoon. We also took a glimpse of Shifen Waterfalls, also known as the Rainbow Pond before we formally went back to Taipei Main Station. Our guide treated us with an ice cream with a shaved peanuts and an herb. It was a bit weird but it's worth a try when at Shifen Old Street. After the tour, we went back to Taipei Main Station and have something to eat. We ordered a bowl of hot noodles.

SHILIN NIGHT MARKET AND XIMENDING

Shilin Night Market is one the largest night market in Taipei. Night market depicts the beautiful culture of Taiwanese and their love for food. You won’t be surprised that a lot of people from work came here to eat at the night market and queued in at the famous Hot Star Fried Chicken. Here you can buy some souvenirs to take home, try different kinds of snacks, shop for some clothes, and some take home treats at a reasonable price. Well, I loved milk tea so much so I bought 3 bags of it for NT$500. To get there, take the MRT Red Line (Tamsui-Xinyi) going to Jiantan MRT Station. By the way, Jiantan MRT Station is nearer to Shilin Market than in Shilin MRT Station. Shilin Night Market is one of the most visited night market in Taipei, very much known to tourists and locals.

Off to Ximending, one of my favorite shopping spot in Taipei and also watching some live street performers, we hopped at MRT Red line again from Jiantan Station going to Zhongshan Station and transferred at MRT Green Line Zhongshan Station going to Ximen Station. We did some little shopping, watching people, and some street performers there. You could always tell, the night is still young at Ximending. We call it a night, went back to our hostel and prepared for our next
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial HallChiang Kai Shek Memorial HallChiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

One of the most visited tourist spot in Taiwan.
adventure for the next day.

MAOKONG GONDOLA's EYE, TAIPEI ZOO, AND HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS

Woke up early on our 2nd day and grab something to eat at 711, normally coffee and bread and went to Taipei Main Station, hopped on to MRT Red Line Taipei Main Station going to Daan Station. We transferred from MRT Red Line Daan Station to MRT Brown Line Daan Station. From MRT Brown Line Daan Station, we directly headed off to Taipei Zoo Station (also the last station). Maokong Gondola Eye Station is just a walking distance away from the MRT Brown Line Taipei Zoo Station. We bought our tickets for the Maokong Gondola Eye (a cable car) with a ticket ride at Hop-On Hop-Off Taipei sightseeing bus at night via Klook. Maokong is a quaint tea village. It offers a breathtaking views of Taipei City. Maokong Gondola Eye stops at four stations: Taipei Zoo, Taipei Zoo South, Zhinan Temple, and Maokong (Sanxuan Temple). We booked a crystal cabin cable car and was able to share the ride with a Chinese couple (if I am not mistaken). We decided to stop at Zhinan Temple Station, with its serene atmosphere, it is a Taoist
Last night in TaiwanLast night in TaiwanLast night in Taiwan

At Taoyuan THSR Station
temple that we have decided to explore which was accessible through the paved road. We were able to light some stick incense there. From the temple, it offers amazing and breathtaking views of the city mixed with trees and shrubs.

I still felt so energetic that day that we have decided to hop on to cable car at Zhinan Temple Station back to Taipei Zoo Station and go directly to Taipei Zoo. This was not part of the plan but I don’t want to waste my stay as there were plenty of time ahead before it gets dark. We walked going to Taipei Zoo, bought our tickets from the vending machine for NT$60 and enter the zoo. That was fascinating because I was able to go to a zoo abroad for the second time already. Well, going to the zoo was not literally for kids only but for adults as well too! We took also lunch there.

Tired from all the walking we did, we went back to MRT Brown Line Taipei Zoo Station going to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station transferred to MRT Blue/Bannan Line Zhongxiao Fuxing Station going to Taipei Main Station. Next on the list, we tried is the Hop-On Hop-Off Taipei Double Decker Sightseeing Bus. This is ideal for a personalized and hassle-free city tour because it has designated stops to some famous tourist spots in Taipei City. It’s totally worth a try and a must when in Taipei. The Red and Blue bus has its designated different routes both leaving and ending at Taipei Main Station Exit M4. The bus has free WiFi and has headset in different languages: English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. It has brochures too. After the tour, we bought some dinner and went back to our hostel and prepared for the next day’s activity. I would say, I will definitely try again the hop on hop off bus next time.

TAMSUI

Located at the north coast of Taipei, Taiwan, this is my first time to visit this place here in Taipei where you will be able to see the mountain and the sea. So for our 3rd day, we decided to check out the place after we explored a bit the Taipei Main Station. To get there, we took the MRT Red Line Taipei Main Station going to Tamsui Station (the last station). Tamsui is popular among locals especially during weekends. There were restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, hawkers and food stalls nearby, even some street performers. It is a very good place to just simply hang out, stroll, wait for the sunset, and watch people nearby and taking photos.

TAIWAN’S NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM

From MRT Red Line Tamsui Station, we stopped at Shilin Station, walked a bit and paid NT$15 via Easycard for the bus R30 going to the National Palace Museum. This is one of the famous museum in Taiwan which houses different kinds of artifacts.

CHIANG KAI SHEK MEMORIAL HALL

This is one of the most visited tourist spot in Taipei. The memorial hall is a tribute to former Republic of China President Chiang Kai Shek. It houses the National Concert Hall and National Theater.

Getting there:
MRT Green or Red Line Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Station Exit 5

DR. SUN YAT SEN MEMORIAL HALL

This is one of the visited local attraction as well as the leisure park in Taipei. The hall is used for art exhibitions. This memorial hall is a tribute to Taiwan's most important person, Dr. Sun Yat Sen.

Getting there:
MRT Blue (Bannan) Line Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Station Exit 4

TAIPEI 101

Taiwan visit won't be complete without visiting this most famous tourist spot in the country. Getting inside Taipei 101 is free, however, there's an admission fee when you go to the Observatory deck which is at the 89th floor. Our admission ticket was pre-booked at Klook.

Getting there:
MRT Red Line Taipei 101/World Trade Center Exit 4

TEMPLE HOPPING

Can't believed my last full day in Taipei has come. I don't want to leave yet but I have too. The last full day was devoted on visiting temples.

1. Longshan Temple
MRT Blue (Bannan) Line Longshan Temple Exit 1
2. Xingtian Temple
MRT Orange Line Xingtian Temple Exit 3
3. Shandao Temple
MRT Blue (Bannan) Line Shandao Temple Station

So after those temple hopping, we grabbed something to eat then checked out at the hostel. I have a pre-booked ticket for the bullet train they called THSR for NT$160 from Taipei Main Station to Taoyuan Station. I just want to try this and from Taoyuan Station, we transfered to Airport MRT Taoyuan Station going the Taiwan Taoyuan Airport Terminal 1. My flight back to my motherland was 2AM.


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