Taiwan is a magical country where you can find Meteor Garden. Kidding aside, this little nation in East Asia has lots to offer. I booked a flight (thank God for seat sale), packed my bag and flew to Taipei- a haven for food lovers.
Taipei is the main city of Taiwan. The city alone is rich in culture with impressive temples, countless food stalls, lively night markets, and the home of the famous Taipei 101 – one of the highest buildings in the world. Taipei is lovely and I am thankful to see its beauty in person.
My 2 friends joined me in this trip and I couldn’t be any happier since it’s always fun to have them around.
We arrived at Taoyuan Airport and went to MRT Wende station to meet our host. It’s late and food shops were closed already so we bought beef cup noodles at 7/11. Our host welcomed us with some Taiwanese drinks, perfect combo for our late night dinner.
The next day, we went to Jiufen Old Street at Ruifang District, New Taipei City. From MRT Nanjing Fuxing, we rode a 1602 Keelung Bus going to Jiufen. The fare is NTD100 and it takes about 1 hour to see this mountainous area.
Food stalls and souvenir shops line up at Jiufen Old Street. The aroma of food in each shop made us hard to choose where to have brunch. Finally, we saw a jampacked resto and thought they serve delicious food. We pointed at what we wanted to try and voila! It’s in our table and we devoured our first authentic Taiwanese food.
The street is full of locals and tourists; we checked each shop and made sure that we won’t miss anything interesting. Some shops offer free taste of desserts and juices, which we gladly accepted.
Street food ranges from NTD 20 – NTD 70. Fair price to please your taste buds.
After a series of delightful treats, we ended up walking in the rain of an unknown street. The fog got thicker and the temperature became colder.
We decided to return to Taipei to meet our host. We met at MRT Jiantan to have dinner at Shilin Night Market. Note that there’s an MRT Shilin, next to MRT Jiantan. Don’t be confused on where to alight.
Our host recommended local foods to try like oyster omelet and stinky tofu.
We also tried our host’s favorite bubble tea. You can see in our faces how happy we are with the taste. The milk tea is just right and the bubbles are so soft and juicy.
Some shops sell exotic food like snake and turtle
Next morning, our host brought us to JSP, one of his favorite restaurants. The menu has no English translation so we let him decide what to order. We really loved the tuna and cheese wrapped in egg.
After a sumptuous meal, we went to Longshan Temple. It is one of the oldest and largest temple in Taiwan.
Our next stop was Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. It was built to commemorate Taiwan’s great leader.
After visiting the huge hall, we went to see The Red House. Sadly, the landmark is under renovation so we just walked around the area of Ximending.
Our last stop was Taipei 101. It’s a 508m skyscraper that resembles a bamboo stalk. It used to be the World’s tallest building for a couple of years and has the fastest elevator from 2004- 2015.
Taipei 101 Observatory allows you to see Taipei city in a 360 view. Admission Fee costs NT$600/ PHP936 at the 5th floor of Taipei 101 shopping mall. We bought our ticket online via Klook and paid only PHP815.
The admission fee to the Observatory is expensive but the feeling of standing in the elevator that takes you to the 89th floor for only 37 seconds is an amazing experience, thus, priceless.
Our next plan was to hike Elephant Mountain to see the night lights but it was rainy and our feet started to have a heartbeat so we just went to Chia Te Bakery (they have the best pineapple cakes in Taiwan) near MRT Nanjing Sanmin to buy souvenirs.
Since it was our last evening in Taipei, we bonded at night over some drinks, music and laughter. Our host is outgoing and very funny as we share random stories. We couldn’t thank him enough for hosting us and recommending lots of food to try.
On our last day, we packed our bags early in the morning and deposited it at MRT Taipei Main Station’s locker area. We visited Beitou to see Thermal Valley only to find out it’s closed every Monday. It’s a good thing that there are still nice places to see in the northernmost part of Taiwan so it’s not really a waste of time going there.
After Beitou, we went National Palace Museum to feed our minds with history of Taiwan. From MRT Shilin station, we took bus 815 going to the museum. The ride is about 15 minutes.
The admission fee cost NTD250, reasonable price to see a collection of Chinese precious treasures and traditional artifacts.
Taipei filled our hearts (and tummy) with love. Truly, it’s fun in Taiwan! What made it more fun are my friends, Aletha and Jaydee, who effortlessly made my belly ache because of laughter.
And of course, our couchsurfing host, Jon, who welcomed us with open arms and showed us Taipei in a local way. Xiexie! 🙂
Please check Taipei Travel Tips for more info about how you can travel to Taipei on a budget 😉