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August 23rd 2008
Published: August 24th 2008
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Quoting the words of 阿布 in the now defunct "冒险王" on Channel U, "我永远无法忘记这趟旅程,因为是它让我看到一个更全面的台湾!"

Since I started writing way back in 2005, this has been my 101th entry in this travel blog space. This number coincides with the landmark of Taiwan, the Taipei 101 International Financial Centre. And this is where I had spent my last 8 days over the past week. The thoughts for this entry were penned down at the Burger King Restaurant at Taoyuan International Airport prior to my flight to Singapore.

Anyway, completing my tour of duty of Taiwan was great as I said good bye to this beautiful island for the last time yesterday. I shouldn't be contemplating another visit of this island anytime soon as I had gotten too "comfortable" with the environment. I should be moving on to uncover other places on earth.

Despite been to Formosa for my 3rd time,

there were still a couple of "firsts" waiting for me :-

1) 1st time travelling alone. Although many travellers have done it, I guess it still takes certain courage to DIY alone. From booking of air tickets to confirmation of hotel reservations and setting up the itinerary, the process was exciting for me. There was total flexibility and I enjoyed the experience. At times, loneliness does set in but I had more chances to interact with other solo travellers.

On my 1st night, I chatted with this young gentleman, Mr Jerry from Tainan at Gong Guan Night Market. We hitted it off quite well and there was free dinner for me even though I insisted that I could pay for my own expense.

2) 1st time on the High Speed Rail between Taoyuan and Taipei. For me, this was certainly a new 22-minute experience from the Airport to Taipei City.

3) 1st time on the Maokong Gondola between Taipei Zoo and Maokong Stations. I was shocked by the notorious loooooong queues even on week days evening. However, the long wait was worth it as I was rewarded by the amazing night views of the Taipei Basin. At times scary when the strong winds blow, the 40 minute return journey was very affordable @ NT100.

4) 1st time to the amazing Taroko Gorge at Hualien. I can finally say that I've been there and done it. I loved the place, the lunch and the knowledgeable tour guide, Mr Huang Mao Yuan. And yes, the eastern coast of Taiwan is stunning as the railway passes through Taipei enroute to Hualien.

5) 1st time to Pingxi County ~ Home for the Sky Lanterns. Just an hour from Taipei, the place is certainly over rated. But then, it was a refreshing change from hectic Taipei.

Each time I'm back to Taiwan, there are new experiences to uncover. And certainly, these experiences allow me to gain greater knowledge of this beautiful country as I move on from the 走马看花 phase.

Additional photos below
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Journey to the FutureJourney to the Future
Journey to the Future

The plight of domestic airlines, traditional railways (台铁)and express buses remains unknown.

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