Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Travel Tuesday no.35 // Taipei
Before returning home from Asia last summer, we decided to extend our stopover in Taiwan and spend a few days in the capital city. It's been eight years since our last trip here, so this seemed like a good opportunity to explore more of Taipei as well as visit my cousins living here.
Our adventures in Taipei were short but sweet. This was my first time traveling with just my mom and I took up the role of navigator while she was in charge of speaking with the locals and reading the Chinese (my Mandarin is sadly quite limited). Thankfully, there were lots of English signs anyway so we didn't really run into much trouble anywhere we went. It was really easy to get around the city with their convenient metro system :)
I'm highlighting a couple of my favorite travel photos, experiences and moments in this entry. You can see how I documented this trip in its entirety with a 6x8 mini-album here.
The food, oh the food. So good. Taiwan is known for a lot of delicious food, but two places I wanted to mention specifically are Din Tai Fung for their famous xiao long bao (soup-filled dumplings) and Ice Monster for the best and finest shaved ice I've ever eaten. Just to note, there are several Din Tai Fung locations around the world (and a few in the US!) but it was nice to go back to the place where it originated.
Taiwan is also known for their night markets and our first night in the city, my cousins took us to the Shilin Night Market. It was so big and a lot of fun wandering around, though we only ate dessert here since we just came from a eight-course dinner earlier that evening. But if I have the chance to come again, I want to try some more street food and the popular Hot Star fried chicken!
We visited the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall last time we were in Taipei, so we decided to check out the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall this time around. This national monument was constructed in honor and memory of the former president of the Republic of China. The architecture and landscaping of the place were beautiful and the Chinese garden was the perfect place to take a little break.
One of my favorite places we went to was the SongShan Cultural and Creative Park, which opened just a few years ago. Formerly a tabacco factory, the area was redeveloped and converted into a cultural centre and an art and exhibition space. It's right beside the Eslite Shopping Mall and we hung out there as well, checking out unique goods by local designers. I wasn't really aware of Taiwan's growing design scene so it was really cool to be able to admire and see lots of beautiful work by local artists at this place.
Another place that had my heart was HuaShan 1914 Creative Park. This place has a similar history to SongShan Cultural and Creative Park in that it was originally an abandoned wine factory that was converted into a cultural centre. The group of buildings house restaurants, cafes, shops, and temporary exhibits, so there's plenty to see and explore. We were here during the weekend, so the place was bustling with activity. My face was basically the heart eyes emoji as we walked around the area!
Somehow, this trip became a lot more design-focused than I had anticipated or planned, but I'm not complaining. We had a lot of fun checking out Taiwan's arts scene and while we kept our days pretty low-key, we managed to visit a lot of places on my list. I really enjoyed our time in Taipei and I definitely want to go back again in the near future!