Thrilling Time In Taiwan
I never thought I would be able to visit Taiwan. It’s been 7 years since my last international trip. I missed traveling so much. So, the moment I heard Taiwan has extended its free visa to its neighboring countries, including my country the Philippines. I took the chance to ask my parents to visit Taiwan with me. With all excitement and without further thinking, they immediately said “Yes”. Ha ha!
Of course, as an online researcher before, I did my homework prior to the trip; I did a lot of research about the country, culture, maps, transportation, food and its tourist spots. While researching and reading hotel and guided tour reviews, I was impressed and enticed with the plethora of amazing and positive reviews of travelers who have visited Taiwan.
So, talking about our trip, I last visited Taipei last 29th of April 2019 with family – my daughter, my mom and dad. I booked our plane tickets 2 months before the trip as its way cheaper to book early than to get tickets on the spot.
We arrived in Taoyuan Airport around 10:30 in the morning. Everything was already booked online before arriving in Taipei – from airport pick-up to city and vice versa to accommodation, sim cards, train passes, bus tours and guided tours. Most of these are booked through Klook.
Hedo Hotel is where we stayed for 3 nights. It’s a nice hotel located in Kaifeng Street in Ximen area, with buffet breakfast not to mention the hotel is centrally located and just a few blocks away from the Taipei Main Station.
Ximen is a nice area to be in as there are plenty of budget-friendly hotels, dining establishments and 24/7 marts around.
Taipei Main And Surrounding Areas
On our first day, we roamed around the vicinity of Kaifeng Street. We proceeded to Taipei Main Station to located where the Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing tour bus stops and loads tourists. The bus roamed around the red line wherein the loop starts in Taipei Main Station and passes through tourist attractions like Creative Park, Chang Kai Shek Memorial, Office of the President, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Yongkang Street, Xinxi District, Taipei 101 and many more. It was a pretty enjoyable bus ride.
Boasting 101 floors and also deemed to be one of the tallest buildings in the world, Taipei 101 is definitely worth a visit.
We passed by Taipei 101 thru our sightseeing bus tour. Sadly, we were not able to get into this high-rise building as we were tired from our flight. But it was good that we’ve seen it up close and personal.
Thanks to our lovely and friendly Klook tour guide who took this photo of me.
On our second day, we went to Wenshan by train to ride the Maokong Gondola. The cable car ride super fun! It was already lunch time when we arrived at the top of Maokong so we went to eat in one of the family owned authentic Taiwanese restaurants in the area. Their authentic Taiwanese dishes were delicious.
After our sumptous lunch, we headed back down to the exit of Maokong gondola station through another cable car ride, had some nice hot latte and bought some souvenirs.
A nice souvenir shop and cafe called Chance is just beside the Maokong Gondola station where you can get souvenirs, coffee and food.
Then, we rode the train back to Taipei Main Station and exit through M4 to avail our 24 hour pass for Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing bus.
We went touring the blue line which passes through a number of spots such as Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei Expo Park, Martyr’s Shrine, Shilin Night Market, The Grand Hotel with secret slide, National Palace Museum and Chang Kai-shek’s former residence then back to the Taipei Main Station. The double decker bus tour was educational, relaxing and entertaining.
The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel was grandiose and remarkable. Inside the hotel is a secret slide wherein tourists who booked thru Klook can take a quick peak of this hotel’s fun secret. However, due to time constraint, we were not able to enter the hotel.
National Palace Museum
We also went to the National Palace Museum which is also a great attraction in Taiwan. There were loads of tourists in the area. The place is interesting. You need to have a lot of time if you want to explore what’s inside the museum.
Our 3rd day of touring Taiwan was the busiest; as if everything was squeezed and a number of places were visited in one day.
I booked our Yehliu Geopark, Shifen, Juifen bus tour through Klook. This was actually a group tour. The meeting place for this tour was in Gokuden Bakery in Ximen – approximately 15 minutes walk from our hotel. I used Waze and Google maps to find the location.
Our trip started 9 in the morning and our first destination was Yehliu Geopark. The heavy rain was a bummer. But, nevertheless, it was one amazing experience to be able to be in that place and see such amazing rock formations near the sea. Raincoats were actually sold in the area for 50 NT$.
Yehliu Geopark is one place that you shouldn’t miss when in Taiwan.
Juifen Old Street
Our next stop was in Juifen Old Street. Since it was raining and cold at the same time not to mention a lot of tourists flocked the area, it was hard to traverse up the Juifen old street market’s alleyways. So, we decided to have a quick lunch in one of the restaurants in the area and headed back to our meeting place.
Here, you can get a glimpse of the lovely ocean view of Keelung outer sea. Tourists can delight in famous country snacks all over the place. Tea houses never ran out of this area. Well, this is what Juifen is famous for as well. We felt like were in an enjoyable food tasting tour.
It was spring when we visited Juifen. The weather was cold and rainy. Weekdays and summer are the best days to visit Juifen.
Juifen is located far from central Taiwan yet it’s such an interesting and fun place to visit.
Then after that, we headed to Shifen waterfalls. The place is unspoiled, blessed with lush green mountains, fresh air, was so serene; rendering a calming effect on my body and soul. It was still raining but gladly just light rain showers.
The environment is so clean and green! And it feels so nicely different.
There’s a coffee shop down the road in area that you’ll pass by before you can go to the waterfalls. Here you can also buy some food and souvenirs.
Before reaching the Shifen waterfalls, you got to pass through a suspension bridge which makes the trip more exciting.
The falls appears like a “mini-Niagara” of Asia, mimicking the famous waterfalls of Canada.
Aside from being a beautiful spot outside the city, Shifen waterfalls offers a refreshing and rejuvenating feeling. No wonder why many tourists are lured to visit this area.
The place, though far from the city, is well-worth the visit. Getting hungry isn’t a problem as there’s a restaurant near the waterfalls.
Though it was just a 45-minute visit in Shifen waterfalls yet it was totally memorable.
Shifen Old Street
Shifen Old Street was next on our itinerary. Culture and nature at its finest, this place is located in the northern part of Taiwan in the Pingxi District. It’s actually quaint and interesting at the same time and has very small population but one massive tourist magnet. Seeing an old railroad (Pingxi rail-line) felt nostalgic like I was living in the past; it made me curious and made me imagine how people live here and what their life is in this charming and pretty little village.
Flying a Chinese lantern is a popular activity that one shouldn’t miss. The sky lanterns come in many different colors like white, yellow, pink, green, etc., and all of these have meanings which of course I totally forgot. Ha ha!
It costs 120-150 NT$ for each lantern. You need to write or paint your wishes in the lantern, set it up and release it into the sky.
It was amazing to experience writing all my wishes in a lantern and letting it fly. We’re also lucky that we got to see the training coming and running through the old street.
The place is actually perfect for photography, family trip, solo trip, group tours and romantic dates. Souvenir shops, restaurants and grocery stores are plenty in the area.
Since it was May 1 and a holiday in Taiwan, our tour package did not include the 13 Remains and the Golden Waterfall as the said places were usually closed during the holidays.
After the sky lantern-releasing activity, we headed back to Ximen. Arriving in Ximen, though tired, we decided to go on with our 4-hour bus tour as we don’t want to miss the most important historical landmark in Taiwan.
Chang Kai-Shek’s Memorial Hall
We went to the Liberty Square which is comprised of Chang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, National Concert Hall, National Theater and the Liberty Square Main Gate.
The landmarks are so majestic and stunning! I was blissful to have set my foot on these grandiose attractions in Taiwan even just by night.
It’s interesing to see a number of group of kids who were practicing their dance while some are playing music. There were also many who were jogging and just visiting the complex.
The trip was quick and unforgettable. We were short of time and there were lots of places to visit that we wanted to visit but we never got to visit like Miramar Ferris Wheel, Shilin Night Market, Creative Park and Longshan Temple.
But overall, our 4-day and 3-nights trip to Taiwan was adrenaline-injecting, stress-relieving, exhilarating and a totally fantastic activity as most activities and destinations were squeezed into the schedule, not forgetting that it was a dream come true for me that I was able to bring my parents in Taiwan
Moreover, we got to taste their traditional food. There are plenty of dishes that we enjoyed while in Taiwan. I took some photos of the food that we ate. Indeed, Taiwan has a vibrant, interesting storied food culture. There are just plenty of food choices that’ll make you drooling and hungry.
Aside from the beautiful attractions in Taiwan, the people are also surprisingly amazing, friendly and helpful! It’s a safe country to travel as the people are nice, law-abiding and peace-loving.
We truly had a thrilling time in Taiwan! I love this country and I hope to be able to visit Taiwan again someday.