5 days in Taipei, Taiwan

Now the first thing that came to my mind when I think about Taipei was food. Taipei, as we all know, is known for its food-filled night markets. There’s so many things to do in Taipei, time never seemed to be enough so we only chose to go to the attractions that we really wanted to go to (obviously). In this blog, I’m going to share with you where we went and how we tried (but failed) to fit in everything in just 5 days.

So the first thing to take note of before travelling to is to check the weather. When we were there three weeks ago, it was raining almost everyday except the last day! Luckily we packed umbrellas, ponchos, wind breaker/ waterproof jackets and something warm to wear. Long pants, sweater, scarfs and waterproof shoes are a must!

We got there at midnight (the problem when you book cheap flights!). We stayed at an Airbnb near to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall station so that was quite easy to get to from the airport using the MRT. The moment we got to Taoyuan Airport – we bought two main things – 7 days unlimited internet package for NTD 500 or you can also register for free wifi ITaiwan (https://itaiwan.taiwan.net.tw/FitTravelRegister.aspxand 悠遊卡 aka easycard for NTD 100 (non-refundable) and we insert NTD 500 for our 6 days trip (any remaining balance are refundable).

Day 1:

Taipei 101 was our first stop this morning. We had lunch at the infamous Ding Tai Fung which was absolutely delicious! We got there at 11am-ish to avoid queue and crowds started multiplying at 11.45am onwards.

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This is my favourite steamed truffle and pork dumpling!

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Taipei 101 – c’est magnifique!

After a few hours shopping in Taipei 101, we then headed to Elephant Mountain for a picture perfect view of Taipei 101.

Getting there: red line [2] → Xiangshan MRT. Head to Zhongqiang Park  and turn left at the end of the park, head up the hill and then to the right, with the trail entrance on your left just past the temple (15 minutes).

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Taipei 101 and Elephant mountain

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Breathtaking view of Taipei 101 at the (half?) top of the mountain

As our airbnb was near, we headed back home to take a good two hours (very much needed after the hike) break before heading to Raohe Night Market (our favourite amongst all the other night market we went to and Wufenpu clothing street (just 10 minutes walk from Raohe market) for cheap buys.

Day 2:

After our tiring yesterday, we decided to take it slow and easy today. We started out at 10am today and found this local restaurant on our way to SYS MRT station. This then became our breakfast place every morning. 

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Longshan temple was our first stop. It was huge and there were lots of people worshiping. At the reception, the temple gave out free joss sticks for those who wanted to pray and candles were also available to purchase. There was also free water dispenser next to the service information center which sell different types of amulets, keychains and pendants.

Getting there: Bannan Line to Far Eastern Hospital Line. BL17 (SYS Memorial Hall) → BL11 (Ximen)

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Mini waterfall on the right hand side of Longshan Temple entrance. At this time of the year, the Chinese new year decorations were still on display.

Next we went to ximending where we had Ay Chung mien sien. I was being greedy so I had the big bowl at NTD 65. I did not regret it. There were no seats available so we just stood and ate our bowl of hot noddle soup – like everyone else. We then did some shopping after.

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Ay Chung Flour-Rice noodle. P.S. The chili sauce (free condiments) was quite spicy but you will love it if you can take the spice.

Tonight we went Shida Night Market where there were more clothes stores than food stalls. Good for shopping definitely as it is cheap. However, we went there on an empty stomach thinking there would be plenty of food waiting for us – but only very limited choices available. We were quite disappointed.

Day 3:

Today we went for a day trip to Shifen and Jiufen. We first stopped at Shifen. This is the famous place for people to release sky lantern. There we lots of stalls trying to ask us to release sky lantern as we walked down the path. Luckily we managed to resist all the temptation and walked all the way down where the crowd slowly diminished. We picked the last stall to release a four coloured sky lantern at NTD 200 plus a free polaroid picture print. Each colour represent different meaning with which the seller were kind enough to inform us of what each meant. I got hitched here (for life I hope)!

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I got engaged!

No, nothing magical about it. Except the fact that the both of us were so nervous about it. I didn’t know how to react or even stand properly. My hair was not in the right place, I didn’t put on excessive makeup I wish I had, I wouldn’t stand so awkwardly if only I knew what was going to happen. I would’ve made sure I looked perfect in front of the camera. But at that moment when he asked me those typical few little words – will you marry me (in mandarin) and he said something like he would take care of me for the rest of my life along the lines – boy they made my feet wobbly, I couldn’t stop smiling silly, my hands were all shaky, it was crazy.

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It wasn’t magical. My fairytale came true. It wasn’t like in the movies. We’ve created our own version of romantic.

There were loads of onlookers when all this happen but it was as if they disappear in thin air and it was only him I see. His words sounded way too clear even though it was noisy with chatters in the background. And when I said yes (how could I not – I’ve been waiting for it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t!), he got up from his knees, took me in his arms, hugged me real tight and kissed me. He was beyond elated and so was I. I wish we could stay in that moment forever but obviously time flies.

Anyway.. that’s my proposal story cut short!

Getting there: TRA – Taipei Main Station, take northbound train (except Keelung-bound trains) towards Ruifang Station. Transfer to the Pingxi Line (平溪線) and drop at Shi Fen Station.

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Lai Ah Po Yu Yuan

Jiufen was our next stop – the town that inspired one of Miyazaki’s famous film; Spirited Away. It was certainly filled with various kinds of food, lots of stairs and red lanterns and tea houses (bath house in the film) – you can see the resemblance of it with the film and even the street style was similar. Take note – it is always crowded. One of the many food we tried was the most recommended taro balls with sweet red bean soup at Lai Ah Po Yu Yuan and it was refreshing – try the cold version in warm weather and hot soup was perfect for the cold weather!

Getting there: From Ruifang station take taxi  NTD 205 (fixed price) or bus 1062/ 788.

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Red lanterns everywhere at Jiufen

Day 4:

We totally overslept until 10.30am today! Our original plan today was to visit these places below:

  • National Palace Museum the whole morning
  • OIA cafe for lunch
  • Beitou Hot Spring in the afternoon for a good hour soak
  • Shilin Night Market for dinner

But as time was not permitting, we only managed to go National Palace Museum for the whole afternoon and then Shilin night market for dinner. I was actually quite looking forward for the hot spring but that will have to wait until next time.

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Wonderful view from the top of National Palace Museum garden

Day 5:

Our last day in Taipei before our flight the next day early at 6am. Because we had an early flight, we needed to get to the airport tonight as trains or buses were not running that early. So our itinerary today was quite free and easy. This morning we stopped at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. We managed to catch the guard exchange ceremony which was held every hour. And for the afternoon, we went to do some more last minute shopping around Taipei main station and Ximending before heading for the airport late at night. We placed our luggage in the locker at Taipei main station that costed NTD 70 per hour. Do note – it is very popular in the weekend so we were so lucky we found one of the biggest locker for our massive luggage!

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Guard exchange at SYS memorial hall

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Found suicide squad in Taiwan!

And that’s the end of my Taipei trip! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did (though I was dead tired by the time I got home!).

Happy travels,

Ee May x 

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