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Travel Diary

Taiwan – January 2018 (Part 5): Around Taipei

What every tourist needs to do – visit the touristy places!

First stop, Longshan Temple.

Details

It was so crowded when we went there, and we forgot that it was the weekend. It was a feast for the senses: You can see all the vibrant colors of the temple, smell the incense and hear people praying. Most importantly, you feel an inner calm when you see people being so calm and praying.

Off To Next Place

Second stop, Songshan Creative Park

This is a no brainer one of my favorite places we have visited on our 2nd day in Taipei. I’ve listed this down immediately on our draft when we are coming up what to see in Taipei couple of months before our trip. Initially, I wanted to visit as much creative parks as possible and just visiting one was already a big check on my list. The visuals of Sonshan Creative Park are everything. This is another place I wish to see again when I visit Taipei soon in the future.

Creative Park

Flowers and Colors

Just outside the creative park, lined streets (or alleyway) of cute cafes and restaurants. Too bad, we were too starved and craving for some real food and not just coffee at that time or else we ended up doing café hopping instead (mental list to do that next time!)

Flower Cafe

Last – Taipei 101

The Taipei 101

We initially wanted to avoid this place as we are torn/ unsure whether we want to visit the observatory of Taipei 101 touted as the highest observatory and building over towered by Burj Khalifa. Instead, we went inside the mall, checked the price of the observatory and just decided to pass it that day and maybe come back on our last day if we really want to visit the observatory, but we cannot let being tourists and take our picture in the LOVE.

‘Til the next pose & post!

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Taiwan – January 2018 (Part 4): Taipei Cinema Park

Honestly, this part of the trip is just me sliding into our iterinary as I don’t know whether my friends will like the place or not. Good to say that the Taipei Cinema Park is just a couple of blocks away from our hotel in Ximen area. So why not give it walk then?

I honestly surprised in a very good way how the art culture in Taipei is so alive. I like everything about arts and culture, but you cannot call me a pro yet when it comes to art. As much as possible, I try to attend art fairs and visit museum and galleries to learn and appreciate more what art is. Taipei Cinema Park is filled with wall to wall artworks and graffiti. Taipei Cinema Park kind of reminds me when I visited the famed Haji Lane in Singapore though a lot less humid.

Backpack Gang 🎒

This so-called square/park was a slum before (based from google and some travel blogs) and the government decided to improve the area so that it could become an attraction. The serenity of this place does not give a slum area vibe at all. Learning and reading about these stories make me appreciate the place even more. Nowadays, they use this space as events place for arts, skate boarding and other subcultures you can think of that needs a large open space. When we visited the place, there are even students filming their school project.

Visual Treat

Street Mao

Colors

For me, it is a must visit place for anyone touring Taipei. We went there in the morning just after we had our breakfast in McDonald’s, so I can only say that I recommend visiting the area in mid mornings if you want to avoid the crowd. I guess it is a different story on weekends and afternoon, I guess the place is swarmed with people doing anything you can think of – chat, picnic, people watching. When I go back to Taipei soon, I will go back to this place and maybe visit it on the evening and experience a different vibe it will show.

Happiness

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Taiwan – January 2018 (Part 3): Food Streets (Yong Kang Street and Raohe Street)

Taiwan trip wouldn’t be complete without FOOD. On our first day alone, we have visited two food destinations in Taipei and they are: YongKang Street and Raohe Street Night Market.

YongKang Street is quite popular to locals and it houses some of the renowned restaurants in Taipei like Ding Tai Fung, Smoothie House and Yong Kang Beef Noodles (all of which we failed to try but there is always a next time). When we visited Yong Kang Street, most of visitors are locals (a good sign), unlike in the usual places like night markets and Ximenting where there is a good mix of local and foreign tourists.

Cute Artsy Space in YongKang

I love the feel of Yong Kang Street as it is not as busy as the other areas and it feels like you visited the area to enjoy the food and scenery.

So, you may have wonder how I came across YongKang Street? When I was researching months before our trip where to eat in Taipei, Yong Kang Street always pops-up in the result.

I guess this blog entry is my little way to spread more awareness to Yong Kang Street to foreign tourists to visit the place when they are in Taipei. It is quite easy to get there, just ride the red line of Taipei Metro and exit in Dongmen Station. Use Exit 5 and you will see Ten Ren Tea and the next street will be Yong Kang Street. A big branch of SunMerry will welcome you to this food paradise.

We have visited a total of three night markets during our trip in Taipei and the first one we visited is Raohe Street Night Market.

Raohe Street Market is so long and offer quite a variety of food. For us to circle the entire market, I think it took us more or less 1.5 hours to enter and exit. Of course, that includes sightseeing, deciding which food to buy and be fascinated with almost everything we see.

There is just so much to try in Raohe Night Market and in Taipei in general so make sure that you are not on any diet when you visit the country.

My apologies though for not taking too many pictures while in Raohe and Yongkang especially the food we ate as most of the time it went straight to our stomach. All food we tried are so good and appetizing. Even the stinky tofu, I love it (my friends don’t ☹). Despite that, Taiwan offer a wide array of taste palette for everyone to enjoy.

Honestly, everything I ate in Taiwan is so good, even those that we bought from the convenience store. This I have to say, food in Taiwan is simply the best for me – everything I’ve eaten while I am there are highly recommended.

‘Til the next pose & post!

Taiwan – January 2018 (Part 2): Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Taiwan trip will not be complete with the visit to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. I never had visited a vast memorial hall as big and wide as this memorial hall.

When we entered the area, my first word was “wow”. Taiwan really knows how to pay respect and pay homage to the forerunners who built the country. It took us some time before reaching the main building (I am not sure how it is called tho) as we enjoyed our time taking photos on the ground area. Not just us but most of the visitors do the same and take their time to enjoy, talk and take a lot of pictures before going to the main building.

I guess during the entire Taiwan trip, luck was on our side as when we visited Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall it was neither sunny or rainy. Just a perfect balance of cloud and sun and lot of cold wind. I just can’t imagine if the sun is in it’s full glory that day and we will not to fully enjoy the ground area. Another proof that we have luck on our side, the changing of guards happened in the main hall just within 5 minutes when we entered the main hall, so we were able to rest a little bit after the climb and we have a good vantage point for viewing the changing of the guards.

‘Til the next pose & post!

Taiwan – January 2018 (Part 1): Ximenting

Officially the first part of our Taiwan trip last January 2018. First stop: Ximenting.

We have decided to visit Ximenting first as our accommodation is in Ximen area, how clever, right? If you like convenience on almost everything, staying in the Ximen area is actually a very good idea. If you are a first-time tourist in Taipei, Ximen and Taipei Central Station areas are actually good locations to scout for your accommodation/ hotel. Honestly, when I go back to Taiwan as a solo traveler or with friends. Family, I will opt to stay in the Ximen area again.

Going back to Ximenting, it is like the Harajuku of Tokyo and Myeongdong of Seoul. It is a” pedestrian maze” full of restaurants, shops, malls, gift shops and make-up shops! I can walk the area for the entire 6 hours and so and will not get tired of just roaming around and checking the shops one by one (which by the way, we did not just once but I think thrice!)

For me, experiencing Ximenting is a must when you visit Taipei. Make sure to drop by once during day time and once during nighttime. There is a different charisma when you visit it during daytime and nighttime. You can also enjoy a small night market in the adjoining space near the Red House for some fancy art stuff and trinkets for your souvenir.

‘Til the next pose & post

Taiwan – January 2018 (Prologue)

Taiwan. What do we know about Taiwan? Maybe the famed Asian drama ‘Meteor Garden’? A soveriegn country a little bit north of the Philippines? What else? These are the answers that most people will come up but for me it is more than those.

9 Degrees Welcome

Taipei 101

As a child, Taiwan is a country that I really wanted to visit, even before all the hype started: Meteor Garden, milktea, etc. I fondly remember the stories of my “Tita” (aunt) about her travel in Taiwan. Since that time, I made up my mind that I need to go to Taiwan, will have a blast and make great memory just like my tita used to when she visited the country. Another reason I wanted to go to Taiwan is becaude of a tv show aptly titled “Fun Taiwan” in Discovery Channel. I remember marking my own notebook/calendar each week so that I will not miss any episode.

Taipei Cinema Park

Chiang Kai-shek Memorial

So for me, this trip in Taiwan is etra special as this trip fulfills my childhood dreams of visiting the country. We all have that one place we heard about a lot back in the days and you can’t wait to go there. For some, it may be Disneyland but for me it’s Taiwan.

Taipei View From Gondola

Ximenting

Sky Lantern at Shifen Old Street

This I have to say that visiting Taiwan is a big check on my bucket list. Taiwan did not fail my expectations about everything (even exceeded them): I feel at home when I was in Taiwan, people are genuinely nice, public transportation is great, and everything about our trip is so perfect (even the weather cooperated!). I also have to say that most people understand English but keeping a little bit of basic Mandarin will do some wonders. I know a little bit of Mandarin and it was drained to the extreme on the airport when I was buying our bus ticket to the city but I guess that is an experience I wont trade for anything and I promised myself to re-learn, re-study Mandarin as it may come in handy again (when I go back to Taiwan or visit China soon).

Lavender Ice Cream at Lavender Cottage

Taichung and Flowers

This part was supposedly part one of the many entries but I have decided to put this as a prologue. I have never done a prologue before but since this is a very special trip for me and this post has become a little lenghty, so here it goes. I know I said a lot for a prologue and please keep posted for the next in the series. Hope you love this blog post series as much as I enjoy and love Taiwan.

I Fell In LOVE with Taiwan

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In Black Nonetheless

Last from the Taiwan coordinate post. Took me so much time to post all my coordinate from our trip in Taiwan.

You could have known by now that black and gray are my totally favorite and “to-go” to colors. Good thing that I wore this ensemble during our trip in Yehliu as the afternoon heat is not bearable for the skin but at the same time cold wind passes thru. So it is a win-win situation to keep myself warm and at the same time protect my skin to some harsh UVA.

Black Jacket from Zara. Gray Hoodie from Terranova. Cotton Leggings from H&M. Shoes from Puma.

‘Til the next pose & post!

Denim and Stripes

I have been missing the cool weather and the option to do layering for your coordinates. I am stuck wearing light clothing and fabric for my everyday wear. Summer is on full blast and I am not really a summer person. I prefer cooler weather over hot ones (who doesn’t by the way) . I wish that our country has spring and autumn season. I am constantly reminded that we always look for something that we do not have, and for this instance, the weather.

I have been busy the last few months that I almost forgot that I still have pending outfit/coordinate post from our Taiwan trip last January. Back to Taiwan, where weather is cooler and layering is essential. I wish that we will have Taiwan’s weather here and I’ll have the excuse to wear the jackets and coats.

Distressed denim jacket from Forever21. Stripped shirt from SMYTH. Skinny tattered pants from Topshop (been wearing that for years!). Sneakers from Puma.

‘Til the next pose and post!

Jumper, Jumper

Jumpers are recollection of my childhood days. I remember looking at old photos and seeing myself dressed in 90s jumpers put a little smile on my face.

Since 90s influence has been sort of making a comeback, I think it’s about time to try to pull a look while trying in some layering in windy Taiwan.

Ximending

Chiang Kai Shek

It’s kind of tricky to pull out the look as I want to avoid looking full-on 90s and I also want to make it look fresh (hopefully). Then one day, weeks before our trip in Taiwan, I happened to watch a Korean variety show and saw one person wearing long sleeves under his jumper and I said that maybe I could give it a try. Viola, I love how everything coordinates well and layering works on cold weather (Thanks for the semi-Winter, Taiwan!). Luckily, I wore this outfit on our first day before we devour all the delicious food in Taiwan.

Always Windy

Stairs

Matchy Matchy

Denim Jumper from Forever21. Stripped Long Sleeves from Uniqlo. Heattech Innerwear from Uniqlo.

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Middle Of It All

To Each A Peach

I was never the type of person who go for full power color coordination when it comes to my outfit. I guess my aesthetic is all about muted and monochromatic tones. From time to time, I like to surprise myself with a little bit of splash of color for my coordinates.

Shady

Second outfit post from our recent Taiwan trip. This coordinate is among the very first one that pops in my mind when I was looking through my pile of clothes when we started to plan for our Taiwan trip. As usual, the base of the whole ensemble is from my love of stripes and black bottoms. The combination mixes well with the peach coat.

A Magical Place – Xinshe Castle

Greens Are My Friends

I also planned to wear this outfit on the day that we will visit places which involve flowers and nature. On the day I wore this ensemble,  that day we visited Taichung where Xinshe Castle and Zhong She Flower Market are located. The outfit really blends well with the rustic feel of Xinshe Castle and the blooming ambiance of the flower market. Just to let you know of a little secret, the Taichung part of our trip is my absolute favorite part of our Taiwan trip.

Ni Hao!

Love

Peach Coat from Forever21. Stripped Long Sleeves from Uniqlo. Black Skinny Jeans from Topshop.

Lightleaks

Just Happy

‘Til the next pose & post!