After breakfast, we checked out from our hotel and proceeded to the train station. Our next stop is Taipei which is the capital where there are a lot more places catered to tourists. We will be spending around 3-4 days there before flying back to our home country. It took us around 3 hours from Taichung to reach Taipei.
As Taipei was further north, we could feel the cooler climate as we reached closer to Taipei. It also has a more international outlook as it is the capital. From the Taipei main train station we took an inner-city train to Ximen. We have pre-booked an apartment in the famous shopping area in Taipei called Ximending. The apartment was cozy but comfortable.
After settling down, we set out to visit Taipei 101 which is the second tallest building in the world. We didn’t went up to the top because it was pretty crowded as it was a popular tourist spot. We instead take in the grandeur of the building from outside.
It was almost night, and we set out to visit a popular nightmarket in Taipei. It is called Shida Night Market. As usual, we tried quite a few of their popular food items like Garlic Flavored Fried Chicken, Pan-Fried Dumpling, Grilled Chicken, Beancurd with peanuts and a refreshing Grapefruit + Lemon drink. Some pics below.
Day 6 began with us having carrot cake (a local dish made from radish) and bubble tea for breakfast before setting off to Ruolin to visit Jiufen Old street.
Jiufen is a old gold mining town located on the top of the mountain thus having great scenic views. The streets are lined with shops selling items like mochi , handicrafts and pretty much anything that is traditional.
It was even colder there as it was located high in the mountains. We also had the famous A Gan’s sweet taro balls desert. Piping sweet desert high up in the mountains in a cold weather facing the scenic views. It was truly a surreal experience for all of us.
On our way back we again visited Shida Night market for dinner and tried those items which we wanted to try again from last night. After dinner, we went back to our apartment tired but satisfied.
We started Day 7 by taking a cab to the famous “Chia Te” shop that sells traditional pineapple and sun biscuits. Believe it or not, it as so crowded that we need to queue up just to enter the shop! When there is a crowd you can be assured that the items there will be good too. It was indeed true as we bought and tasted the biscuits.
After “Chia Te”, we went to Tamsui which is a coastal town with great scenic views. But the first thing we did upon reaching Tamsui was to eat at this famous shop selling mee hoon and other items which is apparently popular among the locals there. True enough it was a light and tasty meal.
After the meal, we took a ferry to the other side of Tamsui. Apparently there is a “Lover’s Bridge” there which is a popular wedding shoot spot among couples. When we were there we saw a few couples doing their wedding shoots there. Surprisingly even couples from other countries like Malaysia and Singapore goes there for their shoots. We chilled at the Starbucks there and waited for sunset. The place was really captivating and it was a quiet and calm evening for all of us.
From Tamsui, we took a bus to supposedly the most famous night market in Taiwan. Shilin Night Market.
True enough the layout of the shops were very different. It was in an enclosed place and there were alot of shops in a compact manner. Even though it was an different kind of experience as here there are tables and chairs for you to have your meals, we preferred the more traditional type night markets where it was in open air and you walk and eat at the same time. In Shilin we tried some new dishes like oyster omelette, spicy dumpling, fishball noddles and lemon jelly drink.
It was pretty much coming to a end of our trip. Next day evening was our light. We went back to our rooms satisfied but at the same time determined to explore the area we stayed, Ximending to the max before we leave Taiwan.
Day 8 started with a breakfast in Mcdonalds. Then Project Explore Ximending started. Apparently Ximending has a strong Japanese influence and is reported to attract almost 3 million shoppers a month!(See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ximending) No wonder it was crowded all the time.
We explored the place and bought many items at a reasonable price.
We finished the shopping by having braised geese at a shop. When geese is not cooked well it will be very tough but here they have braised it to perfection and it just tastes great. Look at the picture below, it looks gorgeous.
After the tasty meal, it was back to room to pack our luggage and then to airport to catch our evening flight back home.