It’s official, Taipei has got to be one of my favorite places in Asia!
My husband and I chanced upon a seat sale months ago and we chose Taipei over the others specifically because we think its underrated. I’ve heard good things about this country from a few friends who’ve gone there so we booked w/o second thoughts!
One important tip is to take advantage of your US/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand visa! Yes, you’re right, when i was searching on going about getting a visa in Taiwan, I found out that there’s visa-exemption for those Philippine passport holders with any of these visas. Hassle-free, we just filled out an online form, printed out an approval for entry and presented it at immigration.
We stayed for about a week there since my husband loathes tight schedule while on a foreign trip- he’s a “whatever floats the boat” / “lets cross the bridge when we get there” kind of guy.
I myself did not prepare an itinerary beforehand, just started researching about places to go to and then decided how to go about the week on our first day.
We arrived late at night and was welcomed by this huge and beautiful structure. I love airports, well at least other countries’ airports. I like the smell of crisp cold air, the scent in the fragrance section of duty free, and the fact that its a destination on its own (talking about SG/HK here). And I digress, sorry.
Anyway, there weren’t too many people then so it seemed more apt to take a snapshot.
Since we’re on a budget, we decided to book our accommodation through Airbnb. Honestly, it was our first time to use the site so I was a bit skeptical in the beginning that I really took time to read through all the testimonials of different guests who stayed in the places I was eyeing on until I finally booked the A05 room at A+ Design Hostel at Zhongxiao Fuxing, Daan District, which had so many rave reviews mainly about its great location, well thought of design and offering of basic necessities.
The room was relatively small compared to the usual hotel rooms but it had everything we needed! Best of all, the room was refurbished and redesigned and the bathroom was clean and well-maintained. The host was not bad at all, too so I’m definitely looking forward to booking again for our Japan trip early next year.
Forgot to take a photo of the room but here’s one from Airbnb:
Looks exactly the same, only the bathroom glass separator was frosted, which turned out better for privacy! Would be weird taking a dump while your husband’s just..there and can clearly see you. Haha. I’m not gonna go there. :)
Here’s our bathroom, it has a huge mirror and a desk, too! Good layout considering the space is small. Prolly about 18sqm. It pays to have a host who’s into interior design!
On our first night, we walked around a popular shopping haven called Ximending. And when I say shopping, I mean Swooshes. Nike and Adidas stores are abundant in this area! For the ladies looking for clothing and sandals though, there are other shopping areas that sell cheaper items like Shilin Night Market and Wufenpu comparable to that of HK’s Ladies’ Night Market at Mongkok.
One thing I noticed in Taipei is that they don’t have much American fastfood chains. I saw 1 KFC (as shown in one of the pictures above) and very few McDonald’s. Not complaining though, I love street food, noodles and anything with soup- during our stay, believe it or not, we never tried any of these American chains yet out tummies left happy and well, bigger. Haha. Thanks Din Tai Fung! Because you’re that good, I’ll dedicate a post just for you and your awesome dimsum.
Speaking of food, one ubiquitous thing in Taipei is street food. I wonder how most Taiwanese people remain so slim considering the amount of deep-fried food available anywhere you go!
Here’s one sticky rice cake I liked, which was grilled! Wasn’t able to take those fried ones like some fish balls, oysters, and the big-ass Hot Star Chicken, among plenty of others.
I ordered two with cheese and green tea (matcha) flavorings. Yummy!
We then found our way to this popular and local flour-rice noodle place named Ay Chung, their bowls cost less than 100 NTD or less than 200 PHP and their soup is made of pig gut.
The line was quite long, without a doubt every local’s favorite!
Earlier that day, we swung by Zhongxiao Dunhua- home to pop up stores and quaint cafes and coffee shops. Thanks to Mikka Wee’s blog post (http://mikkawee.com/tag/pancakes/), I was truly enamored of this area.
During our early afternoon stroll, we decided to dine in Paddington Garden, which is a few steps away from Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT Station and is known for its pancakes.
I just had to have this mixed berry pancakes and it was such a tease just looking at it! But wait…. it tasted even better than it looks! And yup, that’s ice cream in the middle.
Not too hungry we were yet craving for something oily- we had this fried onion. It was huge and taste was average, I still love Chuck’s Deli’s. :P
That’s all on DAY 1, folks!