Ok I admit it... this post comes a little late. Very late. In July 2015 we stayed for 3 days in Taipei.
I wanted to write about it months ago but never did. In August we went to Bali for 2 weeks and in November to Vietnam - Cambodia - Laos. In between we were in Germany for quite a while. Sooo.. I have a lot to write about. Then I started to plan our destination wedding in Thailand and everything got out of control (yes, we are getting married soon "again" ) I know it's not an excuse for NOT blogging but I totally lost it and procrastinated as usual...
So back to Taipei! What can you do there and must see?
Taipei is famous for night markets. They offer a variety of fresh Taiwanese snacks, clothing, or fun accessories. You won't be disappointed, it's really fun and this experience shouldn't be missed. For the history lovers - there are many temples and museums in Taipei. ( I don't really like going to museums, except art museums... and now, after our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam I will NEVER EVER set a step into a temple again! It was too much!!! ) The 101 Tower is also a very famous sight. If you have children, the Taipei Zoo probably is a must see. I've heard they have Pandas there. ( I didn't go, not a big fan of zoos) What else can I recommend? We also went up with the Maokong Gondola, passing the Taipei Zoo station. I didn't like it tho. The Gondola ride was too long for my taste and when we finally reached the top, there was nothing special and the view wasn't good that day as it was smoggy. If you have enough time take trip to outside of Taipei. You should go to Jiufen. We went there, it was about 45 minutes out of town and was so worth it! This was my favorite part of or whole stay! More about that later.
We stayed at the Madison Hotel. A very new and modern, rather small hotel. The room was nice and clean. Hotel has a good location - it is located between two metro stations and just a short walk from the main shopping street with many restaurants in the area.
I recommend the night markets Shi Lin 士林夜市 and Raohe 饒河夜市.
Shi Lin is quite modern, there are many Nike and Adidas stores. In general you can buy a lot of clothes and gimmicks there. Raohe is more traditional, there are tons of street food! I usually never eat street food. I do not like how it looks and it makes me feel sick when I see all the stuff floating in grease...Not to mention the strange smells!!!! Anyway, I am proud of myself - I've tried a few things in Taipei! The famous Taiwanese sausage, pineapple cake and crunchy peanut ice cream wrap. All of these were very good. The ice-cream wrap was my favorite. A Must try!
My highlight of our trip was definitely the day we spent at the small town up on the hills called "Jiufen". When I read on the internet that the movie "Spirited away"by Miyazaki was inspired by this town, it was out of question that I had to go!!! It's is one of my favorite movies! I was excited like a five year old to see the real "Spirited away". FYI - We booked the trip at our hotel. Can't remember how much it was, but it wasn't expensive. We went there with a minivan and had a nice tour guide. On the way we stopped at the ocean to take some pictures. All together we were 6 people and the trip was half-day tour.
What do you need to know about this town? Jiufen is a very busy and crowded place, do not expect your visit to be like a nice relaxing afternoon walk! Many many tourists travel there especially on the weekends. We went there on a Saturday and it was boiling hot! I was sweating like crazy and pushing around with other sweating people is not very cool ... but the hassle was totally worth it. This small town is sooo charming and an extraordinary place! I really could imagine Chihiro running trough the small alleys - looking for her parents, who already turned into big fat pigs because they tasted the wicked food at the stalls! HA- in case you do not know what I am talking about... Go watch the movie or click on this link Spirited away to read about it.
Even if you are not a fan of the movie, it's a lovely place (despite the amount of tourists) During your walk up - you should try some of the snacks at the food stalls, like the sausages or famous pineapple cake...When you finally reach the top (end of the town) you will have a great view. Afterwards you should relax, with a nice cup of tea (or coffee :)) at one of the famous teahouses.