Taiwan Trip Gallery
It should come to no surprise to anyone that I am a romantic self-loving maniac. I mean, I have an entire blog dedicated to my thoughts on romantic dramas. I used to be obsessed about Taiwan as a preteen because of all the Taiwanese dramas that I watched. I dreamed of it as a a bustling romantic city with stories and culture; preteen-me was convinced that I would meet my 言承旭 Jerry Yan, (pretty much everyone’s Leonardo Dicaprio of Taiwanese dramas).
I went to Taipei for three days as a small trip from Hong Kong. It was such a nice break from Hong Kong. Hong Kong is bustling, fast-[aced, superficial, and incredibly metropolitan where there are almost as many Louis Vuitton stores as McDonald’s. Taiwan, I would say is more, laid back and down to Earth – you don’t have to spend an arm and leg to get good food, and you can buy more unique things from small businesses.
I spent two days alone, and one day with a friend. We stayed at the Meander Hostel for $30 a night – and it’s such a nice hostel. The ‘hang-out’ area is very open, and they have a lot of activities at night for backpackers to meet each other. I was pretty paranoid about their co-ed washrooms to take showers (ok, there are a lot of perverts in the news lately), and it wasn’t until the last day where I realized there was a ‘girls-only’ washroom on one of the floors. This place is located in a very young and crowded district (with lots of stores and restaurants) and it’s ten minutes away from the subway – 10/10 location. If you come back late at night from exploring, you can always find cheap foods too.
1) Moe Point Cafe
My friend and I first stopped off at a ‘maid cafe’ called Moe Point where all the servers dress up as maids. It’s right by the XiMengDing metro station, so it was very close to where we lived. Me, being the dumb idiot that I am, didn’t expect most of the customers there to be single, middle-aged men. Feeling kinda like a 變態 weirdo, me and my male friend sat down and realized there was a $100 TWD minimum charge, which was not hard to reach because the food was incredibly overpriced. Too embarrassed to leave, we sat down and ordered the expensive food.
OK even though $200 TWD is only eight bucks in Canada, you must understand that most delicious and easily accessible street food along the streets in Taiwan are priced around $50 TWD (two bucks in Canadian).
How often do I get to go to a cafe where all the servers are dressed in maid costumes right? Might as well ‘do it for the gram‘ and at least put it on Instagram even if the food is bad and I’m paying too much for it.
No, you have to take $150 TWD for taking a picture with or of the servers. And these servers never stop trying to talk to you during your meal. The servers weirdly huddled around our table and referred to me as ‘Miss’, and my male friend as ‘Master’. They proceeded to loiter around our table awkwardly even though we explicitly expressed that we wanted to speak privately.
I went to three night markets in Taipei: Shida 師大, Shilin 士林, and the Xi Meng Ding 西門町 one nearby where I lived.
Honestly, even though Shilin is the most famous one biggest it’s the biggest, it was actually the most expensive. According to my taxi driver too, it’s the one that has more pick-pockets too because you know, it’s a tourist attraction, and they expect foreigners. My favourite one was XiMenDing because it seemed to have the most locals and had the cheapest food and shopping.
Obviously I went to Taipei 101 and checked out the bars around the area. It was so nice around there, it was like a page out of a Taiwanese drama.
So I also visited Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Gu Gong, and the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, because I mean, they’re the tourist attractions – and as you can see on the map, I wasn’t too far from those two places. But… was it worth it? I personally thought they were only alright – because they didn’t have a lot to see, but they were a little bit hard to find. The Gu Gong art museum was really rich with history – if you had to do one historical thing there, I would recommend Gu Gong.
I only visited one temple near my hostel, and this was in XiMenDing. It’s a small quaint temple, only the width of a small store, but upon entering, you’ll see that it’s a really beautiful old temple. You know when you go to Europe, and you see all these old cathedrals and churches? I had the same feeling when I saw this temple – the intricacy of its designs and history is overwhelming.
I also recommend dessert lovers to go to Wei Jei Bao Xin Fen Yuan 魏姐包心 because it is so damn amazing. Inside each mochi-jelly thing is a little bean and they are so yummy that I went back for three consecutive days. I’m waiting for them to open up a place in Canada now.
Ever since I travelled solo in Europe, I’ve gotten addicted to the feeling of lost in a city with nothing but a map and headphones. Taipei for me, is a different form of travelling – it’s more of a place where you sit back and eat good food, go party, and shop, instead of go around and look for landmarks. I probably gained like 10 pounds from this trip.