Taipei, Taiwan

14th December 2015

I arrived into Taipei airport about mid day and the same as last month happened to me again. My bank card got blocked at an ATM. Santander have been told many times over the past 3 months that I am not in the UK and I still get blocked. I managed to get money and get to the hostel in Xiamen area after a bit of a faff.

Anybody visiting Taipei should definitely stay at the WOW Hostel Xiamen. It’s one of the best hostels I have stayed in and in a good location, right by Xiamen station.

Shilin Night Market - Taipei, Taiwan
Shilin Night Market – Taipei, Taiwan

Shillin Night Market

Shillin area is on the red metro line and in the evenings they have a popular night market on. I went to check out the night market and get some dinner.

Stinky Tofu smells worse than the sewers in Bangkok. I don’t know how people eat it but the stuff seriously stinks. Durian’s smell is nice in comparison to stinky tofu.

Some food stalls in China town, Seoul the other day were selling baked some bread meat buns. I don’t know the name, all I know is that BBQ pork is char siu. There was a back alley shop selling them so I got a BBQ pork roll. Chinese food is so good.

Taipei 101 - Taipei, Taiwan
Taipei 101 – Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei 101

Taipei city isn’t full of skyscrapers. The contrast between Taipei 101 and the surrounding city makes it much more impressive. You stand outside Taipei 101 and the building is in the clouds and across the road there is a 3 story building. I went up the tower early on a clear day but I can imagine that most of the time the visibility is low because of the clouds.

At the top, you can see the whole of Taipei and the surrounding mountains. Anyone visiting Taipei has to go to the tower, even if it’s just standing next to the building. It’s probably best to get to Taipei 101 early if you want to go up the tower and not queue.

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Buildings - Taipei, Taiwan
Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall Buildings – Taipei, Taiwan

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

I was staying in Xiamending and the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall station is only two stops away on the metro. At first it’s impressive. For some some bizarre reason they have some Disney building slap bang in the middle of the complex. I wanted to get some good photos but without getting the Disney Frozen building in they looked bad.

Going into Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall you can see a massive statue of Chiang Kai Shek himself. I’m not one for looking at the history of places because i’ll forget it as soon as I read it so I just took a photo and left.

I walked through the whole complex around the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall. It’s nice and chilled out. I was there early on my last day in Taipei and there wasn’t many people about but there so it was nice.

Ximending Area

I have been in Ximending area of Taiwan for a week now and at first it seems like just any average shopping district. Walk down some back streets and there is a lot of skate shops and graffiti, something you don’t see much of in Asia.

On coming back to Taipei I will have to check out more of the country. I found the best bar. Beer & Cheese Social House, Tapiei. They had a beer that tasted like pumpkin and a beer at 13% – the Molotov Cocktail. It was a bit intense.
I have loved this week in Taipei and it’s not on the top of a lot of people’s list of places to visit; but it should. There were few westerners about in the city which was a good relief.

I love the Chinese vibe in Taipei. Maybe I will go to Hong Kong or mainland China in 2016.