hANnaeYTHING

Yehey Taipei!

It is the ber-months and it is also the time to book for trips for the holiday season. Last year, i had the opportunity to travel Taipei via Cebu Pacific Air. It was the second trip of Cebu PacificAir to Taipei from Cebu as they just launched that route last year. I am always fond of traveling via Cebu to any destination as they are convenient for me and flights from Cebu usually are on time.

Another consideration in choosing this destination is that we just used our (Multiple Entry) Japan Visa and/or US Visa and apply online for Taiwanese Visa. Here’s the link on how to get a Visa Entry for Taipei.

http://www.boca.gov.tw/ct.asp?xItem=6464&ctNode=868&mp=2

At Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Feeling the holiday vibe with their Christmas tree.

At Mactan-Cebu International Airport. Feeling the holiday vibe with their Christmas tree.

DAY  1 ARRIVAL

Arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at around 12:25 AM. It is a four hour flight from Cebu with no time difference. We took the bus going to our hotel as the rail is up to 12 midnight only. We bought the ticket at a machine at the bus station.

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DAY 2

We started day 2  by going to the first  Din Tai Fung branch in Xinji to have brunch. The queue was long already when we arrive but it was a three-story restaurant and they have the efficient way of accommodating their customers. Customer turn over was unbelievably fast! Waited for just around 20 minutes for us to have a table (not bad!) and the 20 minutes waiting time was used to check out shops nearby.

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Din Tai Fung in Xinji.

Din Tai Fung in Xinji.

super yummy Xiao Long Bao!

super yummy Xiao Long Bao!

After a sumptuous brunch at Din Tai Fung, we went to Chia Te Bakery. It is an iconic Taipei bakery famous for its Taiwanese pineapple cakes, pies, breads and pastries. There are a lot of people here both locals and tourists.

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Hoarded pineapple pies for pasalubong for friends and relatives.

Good thing that our next stop is just nearby our hotel, so we dropped off our Chia Te goodies at the hotel before going to Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

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Witnessed the changing of guards at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

Witnessed the changing of guards at Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

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Going to our next stop, we love that they have efficient rail system.

Going to our next stop, we love that they have efficient rail system.

Next stop is at Danshui. Danshui is a quiet place at the northern tip of the city. It is the last stop of MRT Red Line. From the station, we just walked further and followed the people who were all going there.

Danshui Food Market

Danshui Food Market

And so the food trip began…

Ji Guang Delicious Fried Chicken. The queue is long and the chicken tastes good!

Ji Guang Delicious Fried Chicken. The queue is long and the chicken tastes good!

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Everything here is delish! From meatballs to hotdogs coated with a special flour.

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Candied fruits is a big hit here too! a lot of stalls are selling these.

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Tried Green Tea Jumbo Soft Serve, it was delicious but Japan soft serve is way better.

From Danshui Market, we went to the wharf nearby to ride a ferry going to Fisherman’s Wharf and Lovers Bridge.

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Ferry going to Fisherman’s Wharf and Lovers Bridge.

It was just a 5 minute ferry ride to cross to the Fisherman’s Wharf and Lovers Bridge. The Lovers Bridge was such a romantic place to stroll. The bridge changes light from red to blue to green and yellow. There are also food stalls around the bridge that you can rest and relax. If you are planning to propose to your girlfriend, i think this place can also be an option.

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At the Fisherman’s Wharf, you get to see the view of the Lovers Bridge from afar.

Lovers Bridge.

Lovers Bridge.

At the foot of the Lovers Bridge, there is a big LOVE signage that i really like. It made the place even more romantic.

Lovers Bridge.

Lovers Bridge.

Went back to city and our last stop for Day 2 is Shilin Market. Shilin Night Market is considered to be the largest and most famous night market in Taipei. There are so many people when we went there and a lot of food, gadgets and clothes stalls too!

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Waiting for our freshly baked Taiwanese Pepper Bun.

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Taiwanese Pepper Bun or Hujiao Bing is a street food that is getting popular in the Taiwan region. It is a flaky biscuit-like bread with sliced or ground pork.

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more street food..

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We ate near the temple where the locals and tourists sit and enjoy the food from the market.

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I went gaga over their guava, dragon fruit and strawberries that was super sweet!

DAY 3 Tour Day

We took a tour on Day 3. Pick up time is 9:00 AM. We passed by the Yin Yang Sea. It was a mix of yellow and blue color of the sea. The blue and yellow coloring brings to mind the ancient chinese principle of yin yang. It expresses a natural balance of two sides of a mutual whole.

Our next stop was the Golden Waterfall.

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Golden Waterfall.

Golden Waterfall.

And off we went to Yeh Liu Geo Park. It is a premier destination in Northern Taiwan and it is the home of unique geological formations including the iconic “Queen’s Head”. It is a bit remote so that is why we took a tour going there. But if you opt to take a bus, here’s how:

By Long Distance Bus:
From Taipei West Bus Station – Terminal A (located at Taipei Main Station), go to the KuoKuang (國光) window and purchase a ticket for NT$96 to Yehliu Geopark (野柳地質公園). The journey takes around 90 minutes, and the bus will drop you on the main road just outside the park entrance. Walk down the lane on the left side to enter.

By North Coast Shuttle Bus (from Tamsui (淡水, Danshui) or Keelung):
Take the North Coast Shuttle Bus NT$200 all day unlimited rides from either MRT Tamsui Station or Keelung Railway Station.

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The Queen’s Head.

I will never forget this this place because exactly at this time, Pia Wurtzbach was crowned Ms. Universe 2015. I was actually watching the pageant while touring around this place. I am a big fan of Ms. U!

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scenic Yeh Liu Geo Park.

scenic Yeh Liu Geo Park.

Our next stop was Jiufen.

Jiufen also spelled Jioufen or Chiufen is a mountain area in the Ruifang District of New Taipei City near Keelung, Taiwan. Feel enchanted in this decommissioned gold mining mountain town, originally built by the Japanese and now a maze of lanes and alleyways with rich history and culture.

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So many shops and restaurants along the alleys of the Old Jiufen Street.

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We were given 1 hour and a half to explore Jiufen and have lunch. We came across this little restaurant and we were glad that we chose this because the food was really great.

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Milk Tea for desser.

Taiwanese Milk Tea for dessert.

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Milk tea-ing with this view 🙂

We headed towards Shifen Old Street to experience Releasing of Sky Lantern. There were a lot of shops offering this service and they have uniform price so if you go there, you can choose any shop. They will give you a paint brush for you to write a message at the lantern. You will be assigned with an attendant that will assist you bring the lantern along the Shifen railway. They know how to operate go pro and celphones too. So i was really happy.

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It was something interesting and fun to do at Shifen. We explored the street and there are a lot of shops nearby too.There are also miniature led lanterns that i bought as pasalubong and a keepsake from that place.

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Shifen railway is still in use. So once in a while there is a train passing by the area where locals and tourist release sky lanterns.

We asked our tour driver to drop us off at Longshan Temple of Manka. The temple was built in 1738 by settlers of Fujian. It is one of the most beautiful temples i have ever seen. It is a temple of Chinees folk religion for worshiping Guanshiyin Budda and other divine spirits.

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We went to Modern Toilet out of curiosity since a lot of people who went to Taipei will always drop by at this restaurant. We ordered some dessert for sharing since the serving was really big and some nuggets too. It was a bit pricey for the food but i guess you are paying for the uniqueness of the restaurant concept. It was worth the try.

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Modern Toilet entrance.

We walked along Ximending Market which is dubbed as the Harajuko of Taipei. And i can see that it is really comparable. A lot of food stalls and various shops along the busy streets of Ximending. Here, we got to taste Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken which is famous in Taipei. It was really big and delicious.

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Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken.

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Largeeee chicken!

Famous drink that we bought at 7-11 in Taipei. It was so good that we bought everyday whenever we see a 7-11 store.

Famous drink that we bought at 7-11 in Taipei. It was so good that we bought everyday since our hotel is just near a 7-11 store.

DAY 4

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Taiwan Railway.

We wanted to eat again at Din Tai Fung for brunch and so we did! We went back to Din Tai Fung in Xinji.We just can’t get enough of their Xiao Long Bao.

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Din Tai Fung Open Kitchen

Din Tai Fung Open Kitchen

After brunch, we went to Taipei 101 or Taipei World Financial Center was the tallest building in the world from 2004 to 2009 but was surpassed by Burj Khalifa. It was awarded with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and is now the tallest and largest green building of the world.

We had schedule at Starbucks Cafe at the 35th floor of Taipei 101. Yes, it is scheduled. You need to book online for it. We waited at a designated place at the lobby and then a Starbucks staff lead us to the 35th floor. There is an access card so without the staff, you cannot get inside the elevator. You will be allowed to stay at the coffee shop for 90 minutes. The view was great and the place was so cozy. It was a quiet place and unlike any other coffee shops, there were no students studying. It is a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee and relax.

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enjoying my coffee and the view.

enjoying my coffee and the view.

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Bought my starbucks city mug.

View from the 35th floor of Taipei 101.

View from the 35th floor of Taipei 101.

90 minutes went by so quickly and so after our Starbucks schedule, we checked out Taipei 101 shops. While roaming around the mall, i was so happy to see a Garrett Popcorn stall and when i was about to buy, the girl told me that i need to fall in line and the  queue was comparable to that of a blockbuster movie! But since i really want to have a taste of it, i patiently waited for my turn. Apparently, the store just opened during the time that we went there.

queue to buy Garrett Popcorn.

Queue to buy Garrett Popcorn.

My happy look when i got hold of my Garrett Popcorn stash.

My happy look when i got hold of my Garrett Popcorn stash.

Before heading back to the airport, we stopped by at Du Hsiao Yueh for traditional Taiwanese eats.

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Entrance of Du Hsiao Yueh.

Entrance of Du Hsiao Yueh where traditional Taiwanese food is prepared.

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TIP: Notice the light blue Rimowa at the back. If you want to buy Rimowa Luggages, buy at Taipei 101 store. We bought one there and it was Php 3,000 less than buying here in the Philippines. 🙂

For the entire duration of our trip, we stayed at Ulysses Hotel located at Zhongshan District, a beautiful boutique hotel that is conveniently located near public transit and railway station. Within the vicinity are shops, convenience stores and cafe’s.

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Cute lobby of Ulysses Boutique Hotel with plenty of books for you to read and the hotel wifi is really fast!

It was finally time to go to the airport. It was fun filled trip!  As always, we had a full schedule but that is the beauty of the trips we make, we make sure that we get to see most, if not all, must-go and must-eat places. Looking back at the food that we ate and the places we went, it brings back beautiful memories. I am looking forward to leave more footprints and take home memories (and added weight due to food trips) from the countries that i visit. As they say, you will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of wandering and traveling.

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Thank you Taipei!

For comments about this travel blog, feel free to send me a message or comment below, I am thrilled to hear from you. 🙂

 

 

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