HELLO, TAIPEI + TAICHUNG!
This is definitely a long-overdue travel post–but I have finally edited all the photos I wanted to share! :-)
As some of you may know, I went on a five-day trip to Taiwan last month. It was such a beautiful trip with a great mix of the busy city (urban) life and relaxing nature life! Both Taipei and Taichung were fun and special in their different ways. Here is a quick summary of the places I got to check out:
- 春水堂 (Chun Shui Tang) : Probably my favourite boba place in Taiwan. It's a very popular branch so they are everywhere! They have decent food but GET THEIR BOBAS! Another very popular chain is 50嵐 (50 Lan).
- 秋紅谷 (Qiu Hong Gu) : An amazing park located close to the heart of downtown Taichung. The architectures here are visually stunning, and the area is very relaxing and comfortable to just wander around. Lots of greens and flowers, the best phrase to describe the overall feeling is probably "peaceful"/"calm". Highly recommend to spend a good couple of hours to hang out there!
- 九份 (Jiu Fen)，十分 (Shi Fen) : These two places are right next to each other–though there are mountains in between them. They both have very different atmospheres and things to do. The first is a famous spot with packed streets that you can barely get through, with restaurants all saturated in one area for you to check out! Make sure you have good walking shoes to go up what can feel like a million steps (it's all stairs up and down). The latter is famous for lighting lanterns–like what you see in the Disney movie Tangled. It can get super crowded and everyone might be fighting for a good spot to light up and fly their lanterns, but it is a beautiful and memorable experience! If you are hungry though, make sure you eat in Jiu Fen instead of Shi Fen–the first has a lot of delicious tea houses and restaurants. Go to 阿妹茶樓 (Ah Mei Cha Lou) for some authentic (but $$$) tea!
- 清境農場 (Qing Jing Nong Chang) : A cute little suburb area hidden away in the tall mountains near Taichung–only reachable either by car or cab–which also is one of my favourite places! Because it is so high up, it can get very chilly both in the morning and at night. I highly recommend Florence Holiday Villa (where I stayed). It is cozy and the staff are incredibly friendly! The most common/popular thing for tourists to do in the mountains is to visit the actual Qing Jing Farm! There are sheep roaming around casually and you can snap as many pictures as you want of them–well, before they get annoyed obviously. They only sell street food (not food-food) so if you are hungry, make sure you eat before going up. They have very nice paths to walk in the woods as well so I'd recommend that.
- 西門町 (Xi Men Ding) *NOT IN PHOTOS* : This is a very famous and exciting street for shopping in Taipei. You can find most things you want to buy there–including souvenirs!
- 夜市 (Night Markets) : Honestly you can find pretty decent night markets all over Taipei and Taichung. Just ask around 'cause I think they are all quite similar–make sure you try their stinky tofu for a real taste of Taiwan's traditional street food!
- 自由廣場 (Liberty Square) : A historical site in Taipei that was all over the news before. Taiwanese locals often gather and protest here when they want to express their thoughts to the government. It's got some great architectures here too!
- 兩餐 (Liang Can) : Okay you've got to try this Korean restaurant in Taipei for sure–highly recommended. It's buffet style for a good amount of $, and the reason behind the name "Two Meals" is that they will teach you how to make two entrees out of the Korean hotpot (first you hotpot with different kinds of rice cakes, then you cook off the soup and pour some rice in to make kimchi fried rice)! Don't forget to leave some space in your tummy before you go, 'cause you will get REALLY full from this meal, trust me. Oh and order the additional cheese "plate" with the hotpot–you won't regret it.
Honestly I wish I had more time in both Taipei and Taichung–there was so much to see and it could get tiring rushing from one place to another. Overall it was an amazing trip, though, and I would definitely visit again. Taipei was more mainstream-city-like, and Taichung was more authentic and unique so I enjoyed Taichung a bit more. Anyway, I have other recommendations but I can't remember off the top of my head. I shall keep another post coming when these suggestions come back to me! :-)
*All photos edited by meeeeee.