A Glimpse of Taiwan: In Words and Photographs
August 31, 2016 nandrawr 0 Comments
Once upon a time I took a trip to Taiwan. It all happened on a whim really, mostly because I’ve been really missing Alex. I booked a ticket from AirAsia, after being lured in by their discount promo. I wasn’t going to stay long, unfortunately, so I only got a few glimpse of Taiwan; mostly of Taipei and a bit of Jiufen. If I had more time, I would have ventured into Hualien, Kaohsiung, and Kenting. I’ve been craving nature so much (still am), it would’ve been a blast to go on some hikes in Taiwan.
But, alas, time and money decided otherwise. I only had 4 short days in Taiwan, but since I haven’t seen Alex for so long that 4 short days seemed long enough.
So, I really don’t have much more to say, other than enjoy these beautiful photographs of Taiwan. It really is a beautiful country to visit 😉
Sights around Taipei
What I like about Taipei is how modern and efficient it is to travel around the city. One can visit its major sites just by hopping on and off the metro. It’s also a city rich in tumultuous history, though. I mean, to this day Taiwan’s status is contested. Though perhaps not visible straight away, but tensions with Mainland still runs high. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you encounter pro or anti-Mainland integration during your visit to Taipei.
In the midst of it all, though, Taiwan’s history is well-documented. Housed in its historical architecture, museums, temples and parks.
Oh, and fun fact: Taiwan’s got a really unique date system. While the Gregorian calendar is used widely, but they also use the Minguo calendar, which is used in newspapers, official documents, etc. The calendar is based on the founding of Republic of China, so 1912 was technically Year 1. If I’m not mistaken, that makes this year, Year 105 in the Minguo calendar.
Chiang Kai-Sek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂)
Got to see the changing of the guard when I visited. Oh, and by the way, I learned about the whole Minguo calendar thing from the mini museum at Chiang Kai Sek memorial complex!
2/28 Peace Memorial Park (二二八和平公園)
This park also housed the National Taiwan Museum, which is quite worth the visit if you’re interested in a bit of Taiwan’s history. When we went, there was an exhibition about Taiwan’s indigenous tribes and it was pretty cool. Admissions to the National Taiwan Museum was NTD 30 for regular price and NTD 15 if you bring a student card.
Longshan Temple (龍山寺)
Apparently Longshan Temple is one of the oldest and largest temples in Taiwan. What I like about this is how it just sits there in the middle of Taipei’s urban dwellings. When we went, there were still decors from the Lantern Festival, and it was such a pretty sight!
Entrence is free, but donations are accepted for the upkeep of the temple.
Ximending is a trendy area in Taipei, and people have said it’s akin to Tokyo’s Harajuku. The area hosts numerous shops, cafes and gaming arcades. The arcades in Taipei is quite a sight, btw. I mean, these guys take the their Dance Dance Revolution VERY seriously.
Above picture is of the Red Building, a landmark in the area.
I’ve written a bit on what I ate in Jiufen, a seaside town just an hour-ish away from Taipei. It’s worth a visit because, well, food. It’s also what inspires Spirited Away so Ghibli fans would want to come here as a pilgrimage.
Elephant Mountain (象山)
One thing that got me jealous about Taipei is, despite being such an urban area, it has a lot of hills and mountains. You don’t have to worry about losing touch with nature. Elephant Mountain is a must go when you’re in Taipei. It’s not that much of a hike up, and the view is just magnificent.
I was lucky that I got to go there when the sky was very clear. I also went here on my last full day in Taiwan, which I thought was a perfect ending to this trip, especially since the first 3 days it just rained all day long. So, even though I only got to see a glimpse of Taiwan (and mostly just of Taipei), I know for a fact that I will be coming back for more.
Until then, 再见台湾!