With a very diverse tourism industry, five days is not so long to explore Taiwan. Yes, we may had a limited time paired with a rainy weather but we made sure to enjoy our stay to this fascinating place. Below is the chronology of the things we did in Taiwan.
Day 1: Taipei City
We arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport almost 10:00 AM so we immediately took the car the we rented through Klook to transport us to Diary of Ximen Hotel in Wanhua District, Taipei City. After checking in, our first line of business was “Food.”
Dine in the funkiest themed restaurants like the “Modern Toilet”
I need not to say more… a poop (shaped) ice cream, pork and vegetables in toilet bowl, and soda in the urinal in Ximen’s Modern Toilet.
Dare to view the city from above at Taipei 101
Taipei 101 was once the world’s tallest building and boasts a beautiful design inspired by the shape of bamboo. It allows you to have a 360 view of Taipei’s skyline. They also got the record for having the world’s fastest passenger elevator; it takes exactly 37 seconds only from the 5th floor to the 89th. The tower is also being secured by its super big — and the world’s largest and heaviest wind damper.
Overwhelming books at Eslite Bookstore
How can a bookstore be a tourist attraction? You have to find it out yourself when you visit one of Taiwan’s largest chain of bookstores Eslite Bookstore. Their Eslite Dunnan branch is one of the most popular branches because it is open 24 hours. For foreign shoppers, Eslite has a promotion to receive 5% off when purchasing over NT$1,000 worth of goods, and will directly refund tax when purchasing over NT$3,000. Remember to bring passport for proof of identity.
Choose from among the city’s parks
The 228 Peace Memorial Park is a historic site and municipal park located at 3 Ketagalan Boulevard, Zhongzheng District, Taipei, Taiwan. The park is built in a traditional style, with Japanese garden landscaping and ponds, arched brid2ges, walking paths, and an amphitheater. The Taipei 228 Memorial Museum and 228 Memorial Monument are also located in the park.
Satiated at Ximending Walking District
Just a few minutes from Diary of Ximen Hotel where we stayed, we took our dinner in one of the food shop in this bustling pedestrian shopping and recreation district known for its many restaurants, bars, boutiques & theaters.
Day 2: Kaohsiung
Taking the Taiwan High Speed Rail, we were ready then to explore the nearby city of Kaohsiung, a massive port city in southern Taiwan and also the sister city of Cebu City since 1990. The Cebu City government received several second hand but in good condition buses from the city government of Kaohsiung and they also pledge financial support for the completion of the Cebu City Medical Center.
It’s a home to many skyscrapers, such as the 248meter-tall Tuntex Sky Tower, and is known for its diversity of parks. Its focal point is the Love River, with walking paths and cafes along its banks, and cruise boats navigating its waters. Shopping options range from high-end malls to the Liuhe and Ruifeng night markets.
The people of Kaohsiung and its city government were successful in their effort to eliminate pollution and foul smell; and made this Love River or Ai River into a tourist spot because of its picturesque location and romantic ambiance.
Pay a visit in Fo Guang Shan Monastary
Fo Guang Shan is an international Chinese Buddhist monastic order based in Taiwan that practices humanistic Buddhism. Its headquarter is located in Dashu District, Kaohsiung — maybe 30 to 40 minutes drive from the center of the city. The buddhists s are very friendly and so welcoming; they have embraced modernism but they have managed to keep the place solemn even though hundreds if not thousands of tourists visit the monastery everyday.
Note: The big Buddha statue is not open for public viewing every Tuesday.
The Dome of Light: World’s largest public art installation made from individual pieces of colored glass
The Dome of Light which is located at Formosa Boulevard Station was created by renowned Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata that tells the story of human life in four chronologically arranged themes: Water: The Womb of Life; Earth: Prosperity and Growth; Light: The Creative Spirit; and Fire: Destruction and Rebirth, with an overall message of love and tolerance.
Chilling at the Dream Mall
For our lunch, we dropped by at Dream Mall, known to be the largest shopping mall in Taiwan and in East Asia.
We spent the rest of our afternoon before going back to Taipei at Lotus Lake, a popular tourist attraction on the northern outskirts of Kaohsiung City because of its several temples — the Confucius Temple at its northern edge and, in the south, the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Spring and Autumn Pavilions. There’s one food cart on the side of the Tiger Pagoda that sells a delicious milk tea (DELICIOUS, according to Carl and Candice).
Wraping up our Day 2 with Taipei’s street food
Day 3: Taichung
There’s a lot of beautiful spots to visit in Taichung, a highly developed industrial and commercial city in the western half of Taiwan.
Sight seeing in Zhongshe Flower Market
Even though quiet far, we did not miss to visit Zongshe Flower Market, it is one of the popular attractions in Taichung. I don’t know, there’s something about these colorful sea of flowers that radiates to our mood. We all enjoy our stroll and picture taking on the garden. Its attendant is very friendly, she let us borrow umbrellas to protect us from the heat of the sun. She even let us connect to her WiFi for us to book an Uber on our way out.
According to the garden’s attendant, tulip season begins is from January to March and hundreds of lillies, cosmos and roses come into bloom from April-December.
Other recommended places to visit in Taichung
Rainbow Military Dependents’ Village
Guguan Hot Springs
National Museum Of Natural Science
Dakeng Lovers Bridge
Day 4: Taipei Countryside Tour
It was supposedly our 3rd day to use the High Speed Rail but we decided not to use it and book a car rental through Klook because we were going to a countryside tour. Our driver Alvin also served as our tour guide at the same time.
The long drive to the northern coast of Taiwan was worth it. These natural wonder of honeycomb and mushroom rocks eroded by the sea has been featured by CNN.
It gives an additional thrill when the bridge swing a little when you walk… but it was fun. This big suspension bridge is the way towards Shifen Waterfall.
Shifen Old Street / Sky Lantern
I kept on telling Mariz how I was amazed by this small countryside neighborhood with an old railway turned into a popular tourist attraction. After our lantern was released to the sky, our driver Alvin brought me to his friend’s food house where they served affordable yet delicious lunch.
This small waterfall is worth the stop on our way to Juifen. It is located in Ruifang District’s now closed and abandoned Ruifang gold mine.
Juifen Old Street
Jiufen was founded during the Qing Dynasty, this small town was a relatively isolated village until the discovery of gold during the Japanese occupation in 1893, quickly developing the town due to a gold rush. It was a wonderful experience bargaining with vendors, accepting/rejecting food tasting offers, and getting lost in the narrow streets with both retro Chinese and Japanese style cafés, tea houses, and souvenir shops, as well as fantastic views of the ocean.
Day 5: Strolling the shopping districts
We spent our last day in Taipei strolling around its shopping districts, bought some souvenir items, drink milk teas, window shopping and back to the hotel to pack our bags. Our observation about Taipei’s shopping districts is that its architectural structures are just like the buildings in downtown Cebu City but cleaner and better flow of traffic.
The visit was short but we hope to be back…. until we meet again, Taiwan!