Hey all! I’ve been missing in action because of two things: I got sick and number two: I did some traveling! (It’s why I got sick.) Here’s a documentation of my recent Trip to Taiwan with my family:
To celebrate the graduations of my siblings (and perhaps mine too from last year), we decided to go on a family trip to Taiwan (June 20 – 25, 2016).
Warning: Photo-heavy post!
Day 1: Manila to Taipei
Our flight to Taiwan was still at 5pm but we made sure to get to the airport early to avoid heavy traffic. We had a late lunch at Cowan and I ordered chicken katsudon. Then we boarded the plane.
When we arrived at Taiwan, we took a bus to the train station and from there the train to Ximending.
After dropping our luggage and freshening up a bit at the hotel, we headed out to grab some dinner. It was quite late so many restaurants around our area were closed. There were a lot of streetfood stalls around but we wanted our first dinner to be at a restaurant, so we ended up settling for this second-floor steak/grilled skewers place. I ordered skewered Taiwanese Chicken Curry.
Day 2: Taipei Zoo
We had a few street food for breakfast before heading off to our first destination: the Taipei Zoo. We took the train to get there and along the way passed by this station with one of the longest and steepest escalator I’ve ever been on.
It was a really hot day at the zoo and we found ourselves sweating like there was no tomorrow. However, the trip was still worth it because we saw koalas, penguins, different types of tortoises, otters, and the main attraction- a big panda!
PHOTOS: Taipei Zoo
After the zoo, we headed to the train station for a late lunch. I had Tonkatsu Curry at the main foodcourt there.
And then we rushed back to Ximending to get a well-deserved bath and a fresh change of clothes. We decided to just have dinner around our area so we explored the nearby streets and brought back some streetfood to the hotel.
Day 3: Yangmingshan and Taipei 101
For breakfast, I had some plain ol’ bread with butter and jam to go with some Taiwanese sausage from the night before. I had to make sure I had all the energy I got for we were going to do a lot of walking at Yangmingshan National Park.
It took us long, bumpy bus rides and 40 min waiting times (because it was a weekday) to get to the huge Yangmingshan Park. We saw fumaroles, hot springs, and grasslands (our last stop in the area).
We didn’t want to spend too long at the park because we were soaked in sweat from the weather and the walking. So after doing a bit of walking at the Qingtiangang grasslands, we decided to grab a bus that took us straight to the train station (it was only a 30 min drive). We then took the train back to Ximending to freshen up.
Our last destination for that day was the famous Taipei 101. Taipei 101 holds the title of being the world’s tallest green building and the 4th overall tallest building in the world. We had some lunch at the 5th floor foodcourt first. We ate at a Japanese place there and I ordered a Katsu Curry and got some matcha tea.
Finally it was time for us to go up. To get to the 89th floor observatory, we had to ride the world’s fastest elevator. It was a very smooth ride with lights on the ceiling and some music to distract panicky visitors.
The 89th floor featured a great view of the city. I’m normally afraid of heights but I enjoyed the time we spent on Taipei 101. The building was a bit wobbly but I personally didn’t mind it. My siblings and I were feeling adventurous so we walked up the stairs to the 91st floor that featured an open-air viewing deck. However, there were very high bars around the balcony so it turned out to be pretty boring. We then went down to the 88th floor to see the damper that was keeping the building stable.
For dinner, we headed back to Ximending, walked a few streets to this old restaurant. We ordered their specialty: Goose cooked Hainanese-style. For dessert, I went to Coco to grab some Boba tea.
Day 4: Houtong and Jiufen
My parents bought some Hot Star chicken for us to eat for breakfast. We needed all the energy we could get because we were to go out-of-town.
We rode the TRA train to get to Houtong to see the Cat Village! There were a lot of cat-themed decorations and shops around, all while cats roamed the place. It made me so happy as a cat lover. However, we didn’t stay too long because of the scorching weather.
I didn’t get to take photos of the cats because I was too busy playing with them. Hehe…
Our next stop was Jiufen, which was a roughly 20 min bus-ride away from Ruifang station. We had a late lunch at one Taiwanese restaurant there. I had steamed chicken and rice to go with my Taiwanese sausage. We spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening exploring what Jiufen had to offer. For those who don’t know, it is said that master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki drew inspiration from this historical town when he made Spirited Away.
We decided to leave before dark as we didn’t want to leave when the rush hours started. There was an insanely long line to the bus to Taipei, so we opted to ride the bus that would take us back to Ruifang. And from there, we took the train to Taipei. (It’s convenient to do a lot of research beforehand on how the public transportation works in a foreign country. It saves money and time.)
For dinner, we ate at Choir Cafe in Ximending. I ordered a Chicken Katsu Curry set meal. After eating, my parents went out to do some shopping while my siblings and I did some exploring before heading back to our room. We passed by this place that had a lot of claw machines. Of course, my siblings couldn’t resist! It was fun watching them attempt try it out. In the end, nobody won anything though.
Day 5: Taipei to Manila
I spent my last breakfast in Taiwan by having a scrumptious Cheese-filled Taiwanese Pancake. This day was our sort-of “free day” so we spent it by just roaming around Ximending. We had lunch at Risotto Cafe and I ordered a delicious Pesto Risotto bowl. After that, we stopped by Eslite Mall to avoid the rains and to cool down from the humid weather.
When the rains stopped, we walked to the Ximen Red House and explored the inside for a bit. I wish I had saved up more cash as there was a market full of quirky, artsy items!
After stopping by the hotel lobby to get our luggage and rest for a bit, we headed to the high-speed rail (there was a petowner with his cat onboard!) which would take us to the bus station. From there, we took another bus that took us straight to Taoyuan International Airport.
My favorite things from the airport included the Spicy Chicken Burger I had at Burger King (I haven’t seen this dish around my country) and the cozy library near our boarding gate.
We arrived home at around 4am but all I could think about is how I would miss having Taiwanese streetfood for breakfast.