Listed as No. 1 in 2015 from a survey of CNN’s top cuisine in the world, a land of hot springs and mountainous terrain, a country of rich cultural traditions lies on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean.
We arrived in Taoyuan International Airport around 11PM and there are only a few and passengers were flocking from different airlines. Most tourists arriving were from mainland China.
Diary of Taipei II
We lined up for a taxi and told the driver to take us to Diary of Taipei II in Zhonghua road. The skyway was long and it took us about an hour to reach our hotel. The driver got confused though because he stopped in Diary of Taipei I, and not the Diary of Taipei II. He took the voucher of my hotel where there was a Chinese character of the hotel and the address and turned around to go back, just one block away from where he stopped.
We arrived at the hotel at the wee hours of the morning, luckily, the staff of the hotel was available 24 hours. Our room was also upgraded to a Family room instead of the Standard Room, and our room was located on the 11th floor. The room was okay for a budget traveler because we were upgraded, our room was spacious and artsy.
Breakfast was served at the 12th floor, a buffet of the traditional Taiwanese food. The hotel provided an MRT guide and a map of the Ximending area where our hotel was located. Just a five minutes walk from our hotel is the Ximen MRT. We bought an e-card and load it with money which you could use for both the train and MRT.
Our first stop was the Lungshan Temple, one stop away from Ximen. There were signages that would direct you to the temple, so you need not worry about it. It was a Saturday morning and as early as 9AM, there were lots of Buddhist who were offering food and prayers.
Chiang – Kai Shek Memorial
From Lungshan, we went to Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. Along the MRT hallway going to the memorial hall, paintings hang on the wall that showcased the artistic sides of the Taiwanese.
A park with 2 enormous temple-like building awaits you and these are the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall was at the far end of the Liberty Plaza with 88 steps going up the stairs towards the top, which was the age of Chiang Kai-Shek. The view from the Memorial Hall was also amazing as you could see the designed garden of flowers. Inside the memorial hall is a monument of the famous Chiang Kai-Shek, the founder of Taiwan.
We also walked through the garden with the lake before going to the famous Taipei 101, the tallest bamboo-shape skyscraper in Taipei.
It was already past 12 noon when we arrived at the busy train station of Taipei 101. We proceed to the Food Court which was located in the basement of the building. The food court offers different cuisine but mostly Taiwanese food. We ate at a food stall where we ordered squid with beef and bean sprout, eggs and tofu. Afterwhich, my mother and I toured the Taipei Mall which was fully branded and signature shops while we wait for my brother to arrive.
When my brother arrived, we availed tickets to the Taipei 101 observatory, a promise of 360 degrees view of Taipei City. The entrance was 500 NT dollar. Tourists invaded the tower. The only problem was it started to rain, and thunderstorm swept across Taipei. We waited for about an hour in the observatory and when the rain stopped, we started to explore the different sides of Taipei 101 and took pictures of the scenery of the South, North, West and East of the city.
We then checked the level 88 for the wind damper. The mass tuned damper supports the Taipei 101, and it was designed to withstand typhoon winds and earthquake tremors. The 91st where the Outddor Observation deck was located, was not open to the public during our visit.
Sun Yat-Sen Memorial
After which we went to Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Sun Yat-Sen is another heroic figure in Taiwan. He’s the forerunner of the Republic of China. The memorial was built in 1972 in his 100th birthday. After which we headed back to Ximen and ate at the nearest mall in the station. The skyscraper Taipei 101 had a good view while your walking in the garden of the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial. We weren’t able to go inside of the memorial because there were activities happening at that time we arrived.
For other posts about Taiwan, please check: Yehliu Fishing Village, Taiwan and Maokong and Ximending, Taiwan